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Thread: The last and final argument about reality.

  1. #13411
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    I have seen a stage hypnotist make a subject un-exist , for the subject, an object. His eyes received the photons and he touched what we could see but his mind shut it out. Equally a person can be made to see what the rest of us don’t. These tricks demonstrate how flimsy is our model. Of course a believer will call out the trick as no lesson for the rest of us who have our senses intact, but it is still all in mind. In the land of the blind the one eyed man is not king but heretic. We are the fools of our senses , and lack of senses.
    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

  2. #13412
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    Quote Originally Posted by Len Moran View Post
    As has been said, there are many ways to frame what we mean by existence and all involve a cognitive process which by definition places the notion of existence as being a product of the mind. But I wonder if there is a way in which to define an "intrinsic" concept of existence using (obviously) a MD process but nevertheless manages to place the "intrinsic" concept in a manner that is somewhat detached from (in a very subtle manner) from the scientific MD process.
    That's the issue in a nutshell, is that ever possible. Is it ever possible to create a mind-independent amalgamation of various bits of information, perception, and logical inference, such that the result of that MD process can "point to" something "intrinsic" or "detached" from the process that points to it. I argue that is not possible in any scientific sense, in the scientific method an arrow is a suggestion for a course of action that is designed for certain intended purposes, and can be tested to have satisfied that purpose, but it is never detached from that purpose. Of course one can believe in any manner of detachments one wishes, but how does one test them except with more arrows?
    We routinely use thought to change our notion of things and will often in science change descriptive notions of models as more appropriate pictures get developed. But we cannot use thought alone to change the physical world, we cannot "think" a tree to not exist. So perhaps a basic definition of an "intrinsic" property of existence would encompass any object that cannot be manipulated out of existence by thought alone. That definition doesn't in itself offer any notion of a MI absolute existence of objects of course, rather it simply partitions them within a framework of MDR.
    Yes, this is akin to the definition of reality as that which does not go away when you stop believing in it. As you say, that is a useful way to partition our perceptions and is very much what most people mean by their word "reality," and is all quite demonstrably of MDR type because MDR is not a reality you can will into existence, it is a reality that depends on your mind how you make sense of it. So we should say that your MDR is the way you make sense of the things that don't go away when you stop believing in them.
    So the tree in front of us has an intrinsic property of existence, we cannot "think" it out of existence.
    Yes, the tree is regarded as "real" in our MDR.
    But we can (and do) use thought to define it, categorise it, establish processes such as photosynthesis in order to understand it etc. This "intrinsic" property is not at all to be thought of as an absolute intrinsic property as per representative realism, rather it simply offers a reliable definition within a framework of MDR.
    Exactly.


    The scientific model of MDR cannot account for the inability of thought to have any action upon the physical world but what it can do is to include a submodel with no explanatory substance accounting for this aspect.
    And importantly, MIR also does nothing to account for the inability of thought to have any action upon what is defined to be the physical world because that definition involves distinguishing the things that thought does affect (such as, thoughts) and those that it does not (what you mean by the physical world). Once we have made that distinction, we can hardly regard as mystery the qualities of the distinctions that we ourselves chose to make. So if we say that MIR is supported by all the things that thought only subtly affects, should we say it is falsified by all the things that thought clearly affects? We know the MIR believers are aware that thought does affect some things and not others, so their belief in MIR is no help at making that distinction-- it requires a mind to make and explore that distinction, and that is the M in MDR.

    That of course is not without precedence at all in scientific models, the two slit experiment for example models the interaction of particles after the slit in terms of wave interference, but offers a non explanatory sub model to account for one particle interfering with itself.
    More than having precedent, it is the very beating heart of the scientific process. All models involve unexplained elements, it is why they work-- they are always "bite sized" bits that only try to account for some particular aspect of a larger issue. The basic problem is we are trying to fit inside our heads (or inside our computers) something much larger than either our heads or our computers, so that's not going to work unless you can find good ways to simplify and idealize. That also involves accepting unexplained elements. A classic example of this is Newton's laws, which are often said to completely revolutionize our understanding of mechanics. But when they were first suggested, many people were troubled by their reliance on "initial conditions"-- the laws are of no predictive use unless you know the initial conditions for some system, and those initial conditions are never explained, they are simply assumed or observed to be true. So it cannot be said that Newton's laws explain why things happen, they only explain why certain things follow from certain other things.

    But until such time I am suggesting that, within the model of MDR, we can define an "intrinsic" existence as being a property of anything that cannot be changed by thought alone.
    Yes, I would say that is already a key element of anyone's MDR, but it helps to make this clear because some people tend to imagine that MDR is something akin to "make believe", which actually it is the opposite of. It is MIR that is akin to make believe, because it is what is not tested and not asked to be tested.
    Until such time as we find out why thoughts alone cannot change the physical world,
    Or even until we understand how our thoughts affect what works for us in our process of building an MDR, meaning until we understand the "M" in MDR if that's ever even possible.
    I think it prudent to keep the MDR model intact by retaining the submodel but allow for the possibility that we may never establish the mechanism within this sub model and so legitimately carry by the side of it the philosophical definition of "intrinsic" existence described.
    It sounds to me like you are defining as "intrinsic" that which we decide our minds cannot alter by taking a different perspective, which is very close to what in science is called "objective truth." There is no question that a scientific MDR must retain the prospect of objective truth, this is a lynchpin of scientific thinking. All I'm pointing out is that what is objective is also mind-dependent, which can be seen by looking at how objective qualities are established. Try establishing what is an objective quality without specifying what general type of mind you are talking about!

  3. #13413
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    We are the fools of our senses , and lack of senses.
    Yes, and this does not require that we reject our senses, it empowers us to use them to their full potential by not lying to ourselves about their strengths and weaknesses.

  4. #13414
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    So, if my existence is being questioned, what are the alternatives?

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    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post
    So, if my existence is being questioned, what are the alternatives?
    I don't think your existence is being questioned as such, this was what I was alluding to in my last couple of posts.

    I think that there is no question that framing the question of existence can only be carried out within our MDR and within this thread MDR has been presented as a scientific model. Within this model anything we say about anything is a function of the cognitive process, so everything I say in my next paragraph is also 100% accounted for by the model.

    So here it is, this paragraph as written is 100% MDR. But the model of MDR cannot scientifically account fully for a basic "intrinsic" existence - it cannot account for the fact that we cannot "un exist" a tree in front of me. It can account for me saying such a thing, but when it comes down to the physical world, it cannot (at present) offer any scientific account of our inability to "un exist" the tree in fronnt of me. So that basic "intrinsic" existence of the tree is very subtly detached from the science of the model, it has to be an assumption (not a belief) that there is this basic "intrinsic" existence of the tree upon which the science of MDR acts - "acts " in the sense that it provides all of the knowledge concerning the nature of this existence. MDR at this latter level of "acting" is a an "active" proceess, it defines, creates all that we consider the existence of the tree to be about. But at the level of the basic "intrinsic" level of the tree, MDR is "passive" it can only "observe" the existence without offering any scientific account of this basic "intrinsic" existence. But of course, we cannot have any idea of what this basic "intrinsic" existence refers to outside of phenomena, that can only be a question for philosophy and hence belief. But within phenomena, this basic "intrinsic" existence is not a belief at all, it exists good and proper. If it didn't exist good and proper the MDR model would have nothing to "act" on in an "active" way.

    So again to remind everyone, the above paragraph can only be written and talked about via the framework of MDR, but within that framework the model itself, by default, has to include an element that shows up as not being influenced in any manner by thought alone. That element is the definition of this basic "intrinsic" existence that I refer to and it is an element that is very much not belief - it is there as a real entity, but only "there" and "real" within the framework of MDR. It is not "there" and "real" as an absolute element of a MI reality, it could be, but that would then be a philosophical position.

    So in terms of a basic "intrinsic" existence, yes you do exist as an absolute entity within the framework of MDR acting in a "passive" manner. But from that point on MDR takes over in a very "active" manner and defines via a cognitive process everything concerning the nature of your existence.

    This can really be summed up (taking care of the context in which it applies) by the statement:

    "Existence is prior to knowledge".

  6. #13416
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    Quote Originally Posted by Len Moran View Post
    ... This can really be summed up (taking care of the context in which it applies) by the statement:

    "Existence is prior to knowledge".
    .. or: "Existence immediately signifies cognition".

  7. #13417
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    Cogito ergo sum...

  8. #13418
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    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post
    So, if my existence is being questioned, what are the alternatives?
    Your existence is not being questioned, you exist. This is clear because it is your word, so you get to decide how to use it. What is being questioned is what you mean by it, and where that meaning comes from. We are all so accustomed to this shared pretense that words like existence just mean stuff, that we think all we have to do is figure out if they apply to us or not. But of course that's completely silly, these are just letters on a page that mean nothing until we say what we would have them mean. And that, inescapably, is where the mind dependence comes in. It's completely trivial to decide that we want our word "exist" to apply to us, for the word wouldn't have much use to us if it didn't. It's similarly trivial to decide the word "I" should apply to ourselves.

    What is vastly more difficult, bordering on impossible actually, is to give precise meanings to words like "exist" and "I", so we do the best we can and just muddle along-- or choose to completely forget that we ever had to do anything, and just let the words have a vague and flexible function we can use in many different contexts in many different ways, all the while pretending that since it's the same word, it must be the same thing in all those contexts. It's pure pretense, no language is that simple, and certainly no language that applies to something as profound as the existence of identity. In my opinion, the most likely thing is that we still have only a rather botched version of the entire concept of existence, as may one day be concluded by some more culturally and intellectually developed version of humanity. On that scale, we're still basically cavepeople.
    Last edited by Ken G; 2019-Nov-24 at 05:37 AM.

  9. #13419
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    Quote Originally Posted by Len Moran View Post
    "Existence is prior to knowledge".
    This is what I think cannot be a complete description of the situation. Instead, knowledge and existence must come together, it is again the tiger chasing its tail. The reason is, you cannot say you exist until you can give meaning to what existence is. You cannot give meaning to that until you have knowledge, knowledge that you can use to build a meaning for existence. This process began when we were very young, we've completely forgotten it by now-- but that's not the same as it never happening. In the process of building that meaning, you decide that you could not have had that knowledge unless you existed. But nor could you have existed until you had the knowledge of what you mean by your word "exist." So they come together, there just isn't any other way that's coherent.

    In the past I've made this point by suggesting a correction to DesCartes: "I think I am therefore I am." Notice the crucial difference-- we are no longer claiming that our existence is independent of what we think existence is.
    Last edited by Ken G; 2019-Nov-24 at 05:40 AM.

  10. #13420
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    There is a new scientist article this week reporting that psychologists have found most people believe in an afterlife, including many rational people. I think this shows the link Between psychology and reality. The idea is that the theory of mind, where we assume and believe that other people have minds like our own, directly leads to the belief in A spiritual or non-physical existence. In terms of testability we do form changing Bayesian assumptions about other people starting from our belief that they are the same as us. This theory of mind is emergent in infants at an age before most people can recollect Where their beliefs come from. I think the belief in reality as we have been discussing is directly linked to this hypothesis of the very human characteristic which is the theory of mind.
    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

  11. #13421
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    For me, one possible definition of "spirituality" is simply "the recognition that our concept of physical reality is likely to be incomplete, and possibly vastly incomplete." Framed in that way, I'd say it is quite rational to be spiritual in some form or other. Each person's own vague idea of what a "mind" is does seem related to these types of incompleteness of understanding. I would extend that incompleteness to the notion of "identity", which is my main beef with both DesCartes (the "I" in "I think therefore I am" escapes the scrutiny it deserves, most people focus on only the thinking and being parts) and solipsism (the idea that the only thing we can know is our own internal world completely overlooks how poorly any of us know our own internal world).

  12. #13422
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    Yes it's true that we do not understand ourselves and so much is going on without being conscious, indeed it may be all the important things! I am attracted to idea that this internal model, which is our first model, controls so many aspects of our personality and later life choices. People without what is called "theory of mind" or with distorted models from very bad early experiences have been labeled disordered. They, like all of us , face the difficulty of challenging that early formed model of other people and by a hand waving extension of this argument, reality. I suggest our reality model grows with us and its important base gets lost in infant amnesia. Some psychologists believe it can be accessed but only through experiential routes since it is non verbal. (My own small part is through float experiences) . It strikes me that some people cling to dogmas they encountered in their first seven years, while others reject those. I find that these differences are not in inherited DNA but in early experiences, evidence supports that, overturning many prejudices. It is interesting to me that while debating the role of the mind in forming our scientific models we have a parallel line of criticism that science is not enough to explain every human experience, from kicking rocks to imagining fundamental forces. But of course within the realm of what we cannot know, there is no limit. It is not then enough to "Know thyself" for that is probably impossible as we encompass what we know and what we cannot know.
    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

  13. #13423
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    This is what I think cannot be a complete description of the situation. Instead, knowledge and existence must come together, it is again the tiger chasing its tail. The reason is, you cannot say you exist until you can give meaning to what existence is. You cannot give meaning to that until you have knowledge, knowledge that you can use to build a meaning for existence. This process began when we were very young, we've completely forgotten it by now-- but that's not the same as it never happening. In the process of building that meaning, you decide that you could not have had that knowledge unless you existed. But nor could you have existed until you had the knowledge of what you mean by your word "exist." So they come together, there just isn't any other way that's coherent.

    In the past I've made this point by suggesting a correction to DesCartes: "I think I am therefore I am." Notice the crucial difference-- we are no longer claiming that our existence is independent of what we think existence is.
    I think the continuing puzzling aspect for me is that the model can account for the way we give meaning to existence but cannot account for the inability of that process to remove existence. One way out of that is to make an assumption that the tree that we infer as existing does have some kind of unknowable intrinsic existence that kick starts the MDR cognitive loop of the tiger chasing its tail that is independent of the loop - such a kick start would prevent any cognitive process from "un existing" the tree, the loop would simply start back up again in response to the kick start. In this sense we could say that existence is prior to knowledge, but at a very elemental level - once the loop of MDR is initiated, I fully agree that knowledge and existence must come together.

    The alternative as I see it is to consider that the cognitive process is entirely self contained and the loop is all there is (as perhaps is the case with dreams), but if that was the case I really would expect the cognitive process to be able to "un exist" the tree, but clearly it can't.

    Of course I realise that the whole point of the exercise is to establish a scientific model of our reality and if the remit of that model does not scientifically extend to a level of such a kick start then it is simply an assumption on my part, "assumption" being the word I used in my opening paragraph. But I am wondering if the science of the model is actually indirectly informing us of the presence of this kick start by virtue of what it can and cannot account for within our reality. Not in the sense of informing us that there is a MI tree, but rather informing us that "something" other than the cognitive loop of MDR is required if we follow the application of the model consistently.

    Previously it has been suggested that to maintain consistency of the model we establish a sub model (with no explanatory content) that accounts for our inability to influence physical objects by thought alone. My suggestion perhaps removes the need for the sub model by taking note of what the model is telling us in a scientific manner about this inability.
    Last edited by Len Moran; 2019-Nov-25 at 08:46 PM.

  14. #13424
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    Quote Originally Posted by Len Moran View Post
    I think the continuing puzzling aspect for me is that the model can account for the way we give meaning to existence but cannot account for the inability of that process to remove existence. One way out of that is to make an assumption that the tree that we infer as existing does have some kind of unknowable intrinsic existence that kick starts the MDR cognitive loop of the tiger chasing its tail that is independent of the loop - such a kick start would prevent any cognitive process from "un existing" the tree, the loop would simply start back up again in response to the kick start. In this sense we could say that existence is prior to knowledge, but at a very elemental level - once the loop of MDR is initiated, I fully agree that knowledge and existence must come together.

    The alternative as I see it is to consider that the cognitive process is entirely self contained and the loop is all there is (as perhaps is the case with dreams), but if that was the case I really would expect the cognitive process to be able to "un exist" the tree, but clearly it can't.

    Of course I realise that the whole point of the exercise is to establish a scientific model of our reality and if the remit of that model does not scientifically extend to a level of such a kick start then it is simply an assumption on my part, "assumption" being the word I used in my opening paragraph. But I am wondering if the science of the model is actually indirectly informing us of the presence of this kick start by virtue of what it can and cannot account for within our reality. Not in the sense of informing us that there is a MI tree, but rather informing us that "something" other than the cognitive loop of MDR is required if we follow the application of the model consistently.

    Previously it has been suggested that to maintain consistency of the model we establish a sub model (with no explanatory content) that accounts for our inability to influence physical objects by thought alone. My suggestion perhaps removes the need for the sub model by taking note of what the model is telling us in a scientific manner about this inability.
    What do you think is 'a process' is though, Len?

    In MDR thinking, a process is itself, an explanation of something, for a mind, by a mind. The process is inseparable from the mind which distinguishes it. With MDR thinking, to undo something 'which exists', is simple ... Simply do away with the type of mind which perceives the process, which results in perceptions of existence of that something. In that way, there is no inability to undo existence .. In fact, its staring us right in our own faces.

    All I can see in what you've described is an unwillingness to 'let go' of the notion that 'a something exists physically' and also that 'a process' exists independently from the type of mind which conceived of it in the first place. There is also a persistence of the notion of mind indepedent existence of 'cause and effect' .. (for which there no objective test).

    Nice try however .. I understand what you're probing here, but for me there are very clear distinctions of MIR and MDR, and what I see here is a blurring of those distinctions .. I don't think it serves to embed MIR notions inside what is abundantly evidenced ie: the MDR notion of existence.

    Cheers

  15. #13425
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    Quote Originally Posted by Selfsim View Post
    What do you think is 'a process' is though, Len?

    In MDR thinking, a process is itself, an explanation of something, for a mind, by a mind. The process is inseparable from the mind which distinguishes it. With MDR thinking, to undo something 'which exists', is simple ... Simply do away with the type of mind which perceives the process, which results in perceptions of existence of that something. In that way, there is no inability to undo existence .. In fact, its staring us right in our own faces.
    Not quite sure about this but I will try to answer.

    I appreciate that we can "un exist" a physical object by doing away with the minds that perceives that existence, but that then leaves no mind in which to bring it into existence. The point I try to grapple with is the lack of consistency in the model of a mind that is fully alive - a mind will give meaning to a tree in terms of colour, shape, leaves, seeds, growth etc. All of these are MD attributes that can easily be changed. Words such as a tall tree, a heavy tree, a tree that grows upwards etc all stem from a MD understanding of what they refer to and they can all be changed. Some completely different minds may not even be able to think in terms of height etc. So it seems that the entire descriptive account of the tree in front of me is MD. But the one thing that is fixed is the existence of the tree itself, no amount of thought by any type of mind can change the physical attributes of the tree, no animal can shrink a tree just by looking at it, no human can drop a branch just by thought alone. So we have a MDR model that is starkly selective in what it can influence - so stark that we can partition it in terms of descriptive verses physical. MDR reigns supreme in terms of the descriptive but in terms of the physical it can influence nothing. The degree of starkness is why I wonder if the model itself is telling us something about the nature of our reality, not in terms of a MI full blown tree with all of its attributes but rather "something" that is external to the MD model as we understand that model as outlined in this thread.

  16. #13426
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    Quote Originally Posted by Len Moran View Post
    But the one thing that is fixed is the existence of the tree itself, no amount of thought by any type of mind can change the physical attributes of the tree, no animal can shrink a tree just by looking at it, no human can drop a branch just by thought alone.
    Not sure, but I think you may be predicating attributes of a tree that the concept of 'tree' would lack if it did not exist, when you say that 'minds cannot un-exist a tree'(?)

    The difference between a concept we say 'exists' and a concept we say 'doesn't exist', doesn't come down to a difference in the physical attributes of the concept though ... (In this case the concept of a 'tree').


    Quote Originally Posted by Len Moran
    So we have a MDR model that is starkly selective in what it can influence - so stark that we can partition it in terms of descriptive verses physical. MDR reigns supreme in terms of the descriptive but in terms of the physical it can influence nothing. The degree of starkness is why I wonder if the model itself is telling us something about the nature of our reality, not in terms of a MI full blown tree with all of its attributes but rather "something" that is external to the MD model as we understand that model as outlined in this thread.
    This may be so, if we weren't already predicating the attributes of a tree which would be absent as the basis for determining its non-existence(?)

    MDR thinking doesn't have this problem, as I guess the concept of mind is evidenced as being the attribute for determining 'existence'(?)

  17. #13427
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    This is a very complicated thread. Actually, all boils down to the universe and its objects and creatures exist independently of our minds and we, as creatures of the universe, with limited senses and intellectual power try to make sense of it creating our MDR.

    Yeah, fire away...

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    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post
    This is a very complicated thread. Actually, all boils down to the universe and its objects and creatures exist independently of our minds and we, as creatures of the universe, with limited senses and intellectual power try to make sense of it creating our MDR.

    Yeah, fire away...
    1 repeating your belief is not an argument against MDR
    2 we have predictive knowledge about the universe and we share that knowledge.
    3 that knowledge takes what we call theory of mind for granted, other minds.
    4 the objection to your belief is that we cannot know the fundamental nature of phenomena.
    5 the word “exists” is a false friend, it does not explain phenomena. Except-in a circular way.
    6 our model of experience uses our minds to explain experience
    7 the leap from personal experience to any model of existence is fed by predictive knowledge.
    8 to talk of mind independent existence is a dogma that cannot be tested except in mind. Another circle.
    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 gzhpcu View Post
    This is a very complicated thread. Actually, all boils down to the universe and its objects and creatures exist independently of our minds and we, as creatures of the universe, with limited senses and intellectual power try to make sense of it creating our MDR.
    We certainly try to make sense of whatever we perceive, simply by following a process which can be shown as depending, first and foremost, on our minds.
    We determine what 'exists' means so that we can make sense of that word .. try doing that without a mind!
    Actually, that's what this thread boils down to.

  20. #13430
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    The choice of a tree is quite interesting. If you augment your senses with polarised light and electrostatics you can perceive fields of influence around a tree or if you view it in the x-ray region it completely changes. Our concept of a tree is thus very limited by our human senses and if we use our knowledge to predict the growth of a tree, how many leaves it will have, or how it will Express its genes, we find that the tree becomes complicated. Our ancestors believed that a tree had a spirit just as they believed every human had a spirit and yet science has not been able to find those spirits to test them. So does the spirit of the tree exist? The answer must be yes if you believe it in your mind. Or does the spirit not exist? The answer then is no if you don’t believe it. If I dream a tree can someone argue whether it exists or doesn’t exist? The point is that our common experience of trees cannot be used as a fundamental statement about the existence of trees. Our common experience of trees allows us to make useful predictions concerning trees.
    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 Selfsim View Post
    All I can see in what you've described is an unwillingness to 'let go' of the notion that 'a something exists physically' and also that 'a process' exists independently from the type of mind which conceived of it in the first place. There is also a persistence of the notion of mind indepedent existence of 'cause and effect' .. (for which there no objective test).
    Philosophically I reject idealism and instead take on a philosophical minimalist realist position where I strongly believe that there is "something" outside of phenomena that imparts a structure to our reality - the rules of our reality I believe depend on "something" other than minds and I believe that this "something is beyond any description and outside of time and hence any causal mechanisms. If it seems that I impart notions of a physical "something" and causal effects to my suggestion, that is only because I am trying to work within the scientific model of MDR to see if there are ramifications from the model which suggest a "something" outside of the cognitive process. I would then frame that suggestion in terms of familiar terms but the underlying "something" that gives rise to these familiar terms are really part of a philosophy of realism. So I would accept the criticism that I may be muddying the waters by adopting this approach.

    So to try and frame my suggestion again with the above in mind may make things clearer. The evidence for the MDR model is entirely associated with higher level descriptive notions rather than the lower level of laws taking effect. For example, particles are considered to be strings by many and that may change to something else in the future. Newton pictured gravity acting between masses, Einstein pictured gravity as being a function of curved space. These are all MD notions and all are subject to change. But what will not change is the fact that if a stone is thrown up, it will come down. That will never ever change. All of these kind of descriptive notions such as up, down, stone etc are all part of the MDR loop, they owe their meanings to the mind rather than there actually being an absolute notion of "up". And I would say that the model of MDR does a pretty good job at modeling our reality in terms of these aspects.


    Not sure, but I think you may be predicating attributes of a tree that the concept of 'tree' would lack if it did not exist, when you say that 'minds cannot un-exist a tree'
    I don't think so, what I am suggesting is that I might expect a mind to be able to do anything it wanted to with the tree, I might expect it to be able to make it fall, to "un-exist" it, to grow quickly etc. I might expect this to be accounted for within the model of MDR along with the evidence that MDR gives meaning to the same tree. The reason I might expect it is that the model simply specifies a general cognitive process at work, it doesn't categorise two differing levels of cognitive process, one for giving descriptive meanings and one for laws that govern the physical world such as trees falling down.

    What I am looking for is evidence for the MDR model in its entirety - there is plenty of evidence relating to the descriptive notions of our reality, but what evidence is there for the applicability of the model to lower level entities? If the model does not require any kind of "external" tree to produce our MDR tree using the same cognitive process as it uses to give meaning to it, is it the case that this cognitive process can "un-exist" the tree? When I look to test the model in this regard I find that I cannot "un-exist" the tree. I agree that all of this procedure, all of the concepts take place within MDR, a tree that has been "un-existed" starts off as a MDR concept. But I am looking to the practical application of the model, the end results of testing. And I find that descriptions do change at the higher level and thus maker up a changing MDR, but at the lower level of a tree, whatever I might want to happen to that tree using thought alone has absolutely no effect on my MDR. It stays exactly the same no matter what I think.

    The laws of nature prevents a tree in front of me from suddenly "un-existing", trees may be viewed in different ways, they may be viewed by some as having a "spiritual field" that exists as suggested by profloater, they could turn that conception off and on and MDR predicts that, but if they tried to walk through the tree having turned the spiritual field "off", well we all know what would happen.

    This may be so, if we weren't already predicating the attributes of a tree which would be absent as the basis for determining its non-existence(?)
    As I see it I am predicting a basis for determining the non existence of the tree, but does that change the outcome of testing the model? - I see a tree in front of me that I can't walk through, so then I predict that if I could "un exist" the tree by thought alone I could walk through the space previously occupied by it. So I "think away the tree", but no matter what I do in that respect, it is still there. So my test of the model whereby our reality is a function of a cognitive process has failed - I cannot "un-exist" the tree by thought alone. All of the above of course is a function of MDR, exist, un-exist, tree, thoughts, function etc are all part of my MDR, the model predicts that to be the case. What seems to be the case is the model cannot predict the "un-existence" of a tree due to thought alone, the fact that all of the language used in that sentence is part of MDR doesn't alter at all the real world test.

    So to come back to the model, could it be the case that the model itself is telling us that the physical objects that we apply cognitive reasoning to that gives meaning to those same objects are not in themselves 100% part of the endless MDR loop of existence and reason, that there is an element which has to be external to that loop? The manner in which that element could be external to the MDR loop is the problem and I agree that I am muddying the waters between MIR and MDR by suggesting a causal "something". So it could be that although I consider the model to be telling us something very important through its scientific application concerning the need for an external "something", the nature of that message is probably only ever going to be a philosophical one.

    That the model itself, through its application, is able to give us a message concerning the need for an external (external to MDR) "something" upon which the model acts is I think the main message on my part to this topic.

  22. #13432
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    Quote Originally Posted by Len Moran View Post
    What I am looking for is evidence for the MDR model in its entirety
    Then inclusion of the mind's role, within the model itself, surely completes the model to its entirety? The specific exclusion of the mind, from an MDR model, seems illogical (and inconsistent)?

    Quote Originally Posted by Len Moran
    If the model does not require any kind of "external" tree to produce our MDR tree using the same cognitive process as it uses to give meaning to it, is it the case that this cognitive process can "un-exist" the tree?
    Sure .. its done by way of a belief in the tree being "external" (or for expediency purposes) .. but beliefs still require a conceiving mind as part of that reality construct. Even in the scenario where a tree "unexists" by way of the absence of any mind in that model, there is still a mind envisaging that very scenario.

    Quote Originally Posted by Len Moran
    As I see it I am predicting a basis for determining the non existence of the tree, but does that change the outcome of testing the model? - I see a tree in front of me that I can't walk through, so then I predict that if I could "un exist" the tree by thought alone I could walk through the space previously occupied by it. So I "think away the tree", but no matter what I do in that respect, it is still there. So my test of the model whereby our reality is a function of a cognitive process has failed - I cannot "un-exist" the tree by thought alone.
    Sure. However, that test is not actually testing the mind independence of the tree. Its more like testing the incompleteness of the tree model (which apparently neglected the EM force which evidently prevents us from passing through it)? So I don't see how the results can in any way can be taken to infer a mind independent component of the tree model. What was thought was being testing, did not recognise the effects of EM forces as part of the model under test .. and therefore the inference drawn from the 'failure' is not accurate.

    Quote Originally Posted by Len Moran
    All of the above of course is a function of MDR, exist, un-exist, tree, thoughts, function etc are all part of my MDR, the model predicts that to be the case. What seems to be the case is the model cannot predict the "un-existence" of a tree due to thought alone, the fact that all of the language used in that sentence is part of MDR doesn't alter at all the real world test.

    So to come back to the model, could it be the case that the model itself is telling us that the physical objects that we apply cognitive reasoning to that gives meaning to those same objects are not in themselves 100% part of the endless MDR loop of existence and reason, that there is an element which has to be external to that loop? The manner in which that element could be external to the MDR loop is the problem and I agree that I am muddying the waters between MIR and MDR by suggesting a causal "something". So it could be that although I consider the model to be telling us something very important through its scientific application concerning the need for an external "something", the nature of that message is probably only ever going to be a philosophical one.
    Perhaps .. but that message appears to be untestable .. so I don't think its a message for the scientific process at all(?)

    Quote Originally Posted by Len Moran
    That the model itself, through its application, is able to give us a message concerning the need for an external (external to MDR) "something" upon which the model acts is I think the main message on my part to this topic.
    Yet the objection is that because of its untestability, science can march on regardless. (Ie: the message seems unconvincing in terms of potentially directly impacting the results of subsequent objective testing?)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Selfsim View Post

    Sure. However, that test is not actually testing the mind independence of the tree. Its more like testing the incompleteness of the tree model (which apparently neglected the EM force which evidently prevents us from passing through it)? So I don't see how the results can in any way can be taken to infer a mind independent component of the tree model. What was thought was being testing, did not recognise the effects of EM forces as part of the model under test .. and therefore the inference drawn from the 'failure' is not accurate.


    I sort of agree with that, but wouldn't go as far to say that the test cannot infer a MI component of the tree.

    So we have a MDR that gives meaning to the solidity of the tree via EM forces. Maybe in a hundred years time it may not be EM forces it may be "xyz". A thousand years ago the solidity of the tree might have been given a spiritual meaning. These are descriptive notions, generated by a complex loop of existence and meaning within minds. In all three cases, no one would be able to walk through the tree, so does this mean that the inability to walk through the tree is a function of all three different descriptions or is it a function of laws that have no connection with MDR?

    If the solidity of the tree is a function of the EM MDR model, why can't the thought process switch it off such that we could walk through the tree? Or if the solidity of the tree is a function of "xyz" why can't the thought process switch that off such that we could walk through the tree in this case? And again, if the solidity of the tree is a function of spiritualism why can't the thought process switch that off such that we could walk through the tree in this case?

    Whatever model is used via MDR to give a descriptive meaning to the solidity of the tree, the fact that thought alone cannot change the real world physicality of the tree means that something very vital is missing from the descriptive meaning if we wish to show the MDR model as being complete in terms of our experience of reality. This incompleteness can either be represented by a sub model within the main model of MDR containing this missing ingredient but having no explanatory mechanism or it can be represented by laws external to the model.

    However it does appear to be the case that my test cannot scientifically distinguish between these two scenarios, either is plausible.

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    I can see struggles still with the meaning of words, I can happily admit I believe in trees, but that does not inform any fundamental explanation. I have some knowledge of trees too but I could be living in the Matrix, completely unable to test those fundamentals.
    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 Len Moran View Post
    If the solidity of the tree is a function of the EM MDR model, why can't the thought process switch it off such that we could walk through the tree? Or if the solidity of the tree is a function of "xyz" why can't the thought process switch that off such that we could walk through the tree in this case? And again, if the solidity of the tree is a function of spiritualism why can't the thought process switch that off such that we could walk through the tree in this case?

    Whatever model is used via MDR to give a descriptive meaning to the solidity of the tree, the fact that thought alone cannot change the real world physicality of the tree means that something very vital is missing from the descriptive meaning if we wish to show the MDR model as being complete in terms of our experience of reality. This incompleteness can either be represented by a sub model within the main model of MDR containing this missing ingredient but having no explanatory mechanism or it can be represented by laws external to the model.
    Agreed. For example, there are other testable scenarios where the tree could be 'walked through'. Eg: by changing the hypothetical context surrounding the tree it may become vaporised, for instance.
    The solidity of a tree is contextual and provisional in science.

    The stubborn persistence of a tree's solidity throughout recorded history is by necessity, contextually bound by the presence of our own mind's eye (or understanding) in that model.
    The notion that a tree might suddenly be made to 'unexist' in its present context however, by that mind's eye, is unbounded by experience and therefore leads to a multitude of increasingly implausible (untestable) 'possibilities'.
    The choice between these two alternatives I think, comes down to a question of where one chooses to direct one's efforts:
    - in the pursuit of discovering, devising or extending to new contexts or;
    - in the pursuit of unbounded and untestable beliefs.
    For me, the choice is clear (I choose the former). In the very least, this choice acknowledges the presence of the mind in the same model under consideration ... as opposed to denying it equal status as the solidity of a tree, in the case under question. We need our minds .. we don't need the irrelevancy of a belief which makes doesn't directly influence the outcomes of testing for as yet unexplored models/contexts.

    Quote Originally Posted by Len Moran
    However it does appear to be the case that my test cannot scientifically distinguish between these two scenarios, either is plausible.
    For me, 'plausible' is always an easily slipped in 'escape clause' leading towards philosophical gateways and whilst I might agree that Realism may be one that has served science quite well, I think (IMHO) it is also leading us down some highly questionable paths in science in terms of returning practical utility value (as somewhat opposed to returning mainly conundrums - eg: Wigner's experiment etc).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Len Moran View Post
    I think the continuing puzzling aspect for me is that the model can account for the way we give meaning to existence but cannot account for the inability of that process to remove existence.
    Shouldn't we reframe that by saying that if the process can't remove it, we call it existence (that's part of the process), and if it can, we exclude it from our meaning? So the point is, the mind affects what we mean by existence in certain ways, but not in other ways. It's all part of the mental process. Let's use a concrete example: the passage of time. Most MIR believers would likely hold that time exists, and in some sense "really does" pass by. They don't think their mind is doing any of that, it's just happening. They might point to the mind's inability to stop time, or the impossibility of time travel, as evidence for that. But many modern physicists (and Einstein did too) regard time as a kind of mental construct, a way of making sense of reality (along with similar concepts like cause and effect) that are not actually a part of reality because they don't act in the physical equations anything like the way we perceive them. In quantum mechanics, for example, time is merely a parameter that acts like a quantifiable label one can attach to observations. There is nothing in quantum mechanics that even suggests that "time passes", it's purely an organizational tool in regard to making successful predictions.

    Now, of course the MIR believer (and most MDR builders too) will hold that this only tells us that quantum mechanics is incomplete, because it cannot account for the reason that "time passes." Indeed,if one takes the many worlds view, one cannot even account for the fact that events occur, so it's not hard to maintain that quantum mechanics is an incomplete description. But interestingly, there is not actually any evidence in terms of the occurrence of events or the passage of time that says quantum mechanics is incomplete, we can equally maintain that the incompleteness is an illusion of perspective, like a baby that thinks their mother disappears every time she covers her face and goes "Peekaboo." Once we grow up and obtain a more sophisticated MDR that adds to our model a quality of persistence (a mind-dependent quality, as we say what we mean by it), we laugh at the baby's incomplete world view, but we never get the chance to laugh at our own.

    Now you realize all this, but what troubles you is that even if an MDR is an incomplete description (or more correctly, a mass of partially overlapping and often partially contradictory descriptions), does not logic require us to hold that we must include in our models the existence of something that predates our minds? And of course it does-- but as part of the model, not as something separate from the model. Anything that logic requires we do must be part of our model, because logic is part of our choice to make a model in the first place. So yes, all our MDRs are built on the logic that there is something there what would be there even if our minds were not. But it is still our minds that are saying what would be there if our minds were not, we simply have to apply the correct algebra of model building. (It gets back to Neil Armstrong walking on the Moon is not a model walking on a model.)
    One way out of that is to make an assumption that the tree that we infer as existing does have some kind of unknowable intrinsic existence that kick starts the MDR cognitive loop of the tiger chasing its tail that is independent of the loop - such a kick start would prevent any cognitive process from "un existing" the tree, the loop would simply start back up again in response to the kick start.
    And that is what we all do in our model building, but it, like many of our other models, includes inconsistencies and incompletenesses. This is nothing new, our models are always idealizations, we always have to throw something out to get what is more than our minds to be less than our minds and thereby fit in our minds. It's like the axioms of the real numbers, if we wish to hold that those axioms are not contradictory, then we must allow there are truths about real numbers that do not follow from those axioms. Rich systems, like the real numbers (and presumably "that which exists" too) have this property-- you cannot build them from a set of finite axioms, they always have a kind of life of their own, a kind of "tiger and tail" property. The tiger can't catch the tail because the act of trying to reach it causes it to move out of the way. This is what would happen if you discovered some new truth of real numbers that the current axioms couldn't arrive at, so you add the new truth as a new axiom but the Godel proof puts you right back where you were before. I think the attempt to "understand existence" is similar-- any model of "what exists" will either be incomplete (so cannot account for certain truths we encounter) or will be internally inconsistent (and lead to wrong conclusions stemming from the model). So I think this is what troubles you-- you conclude there has to be more to what exists than what our idealizations can arrive at, so therefore our idealizations must include their own incompleteness. I completely agree, indeed this is one of the main values of MDR thinking-- a sense of humility around what we have concluded does and does not exist.
    In this sense we could say that existence is prior to knowledge, but at a very elemental level - once the loop of MDR is initiated, I fully agree that knowledge and existence must come together.
    I don't think one can say it's prior to knowledge, only that knowledge of it is always incomplete (or inconsistent, or most likely, both). Again I would raise the example of the real numbers. There can be a lively debate on the issue of whether the real numbers "exist" or not, in a sense of being "prior to" our mental abilities to understand them and prove things about them, which will look a lot like a debate about whether the things we prove have a truth that is independent of our ability to do proofs. I would maintain that it makes no sense to say that something can be true independent from our ability to give meaning to its truth value, on the simple grounds that "true" is our word and means absolutely nothing beyond our ability to give it meaning. So a theorem might be true even if we can't tell if it's true, but not if we can't tell what truth is-- unless someone else can tell what truth is and we can defer to their mind's meaning. (Which is more or less the situation with advanced mathematics.)
    The alternative as I see it is to consider that the cognitive process is entirely self contained and the loop is all there is (as perhaps is the case with dreams),
    By "alternative" do you mean an alternative way things could actually be, or an alternative model we might want to apply in certain situations (but not others)? Framed like that, we see that the alternative model might have context-dependent strengths and weaknesses, and that's all we can ever say about a model.
    ...but if that was the case I really would expect the cognitive process to be able to "un exist" the tree, but clearly it can't.
    So that's a weakness of the model. But these are just several different types of models, I don't see them as the only alternatives. Your argument here is a bit like saying either the real numbers exist independently from our ability to understand what they are or say things about them, or they are only what stems from all the logical consequences of the set of axioms we use to define them. We could (and do) take either idealization in different situations, but when a mathematician talks about their most precise meaning of the real numbers, there is always a concept of "you know what I mean here." These are the elements of the model that are never proved and never described beyond "this is what I'm talking about, you get it right?" Imagine talking to a famous mathematician and asking them, "when you say real number, is it just what you mean by a real number, or an actual real number?" and watch their reaction. My guess is they will either look very annoyed, or very thoughtful.

    This is why math is so hard for many people, because the "you get it, right" starts at a level they don't get. Sometimes you can lower that level and build up the truth as a theorem, but eventually you can't keep doing that-- all mathematical systems start with some basic intellectual ability to "get it", that's why you can't teach math to a dog (beyond, perhaps, the distinction between zero, one and maybe two or three). When it comes to existence, we're the dogs, but the inescapable problem is that "existence" is our concept, not the concept of some super-intelligent masters that we barely understand. So when we say "I exist, you get it, right?", that's as far as we get-- and there's the mind dependence that's built right in. Yes, we then add to our model an attribute of existing whether we are here or not, just like our concept of time has built into it the idea that it "passes by", but none of that transcends the model we are making-- it's all just part of the model, and so it suffers from the same incompletenesses (and inconsistencies) of any model.
    Previously it has been suggested that to maintain consistency of the model we establish a sub model (with no explanatory content) that accounts for our inability to influence physical objects by thought alone. My suggestion perhaps removes the need for the sub model by taking note of what the model is telling us in a scientific manner about this inability.
    I'm not sure any model needs to account for what it doesn't account for-- it simply says "this model accounts for X and Y" and leaves it at that. If you want to also account for Z, you always need a new model! For example, we can say gravity accounts for why the Earth orbits the Sun, but it does not account for why there is gravity in the first place. If you feel that a model of gravity should account for why there is gravity, then you need a much more sophisticated model, but you don't need a submodel that says why you are not bothering to account for why there is such a thing as gravity. Similarly, we make models of what existence means, and testing those models helps breathe meaning into the very word "existence", and those models do not include any ability for our minds to change what exists beyond our ability to change how we feel about what exists (a power we should not underestimate the importance of). This incompleteness is not a failing of the model, it's simply part of the model.

  27. #13437
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    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post
    This is a very complicated thread. Actually, all boils down to the universe and its objects and creatures exist independently of our minds and we, as creatures of the universe, with limited senses and intellectual power try to make sense of it creating our MDR.
    You have just described your MDR, which is fine-- that's pretty close to the MDR we all create. But it's still an MDR, you just described yours even though you embedded the phrase "exist independently of our minds." You have built a model with the attribute "independent of my mind," and everything you said there depends on your mind because you are the one it makes sense to, and if your mind was different, it wouldn't. Certainly what you just said makes little sense to a dog, and it might also make little sense to a super-intelligent alien with a completely different model of how space, time, and reality itself, work. The super-intelligent being I have particular interest in would be one who has come to understand how the specific attributes of their own mind affects the way they make sense of the world, and puts limits onto the kind of world they could come to hold as real. We already know that kind of "world" would be completely different for a super-intelligent electron, if that were even possible (and it may well be impossible for an electron to be intelligent but that only underscores the two-way connection between what could be real and what could have intelligence), so the real question is, what kind of "world" would be perceived by a super intelligent alien that can travel at close to the speed of light (or time travel, or be at two places at once, or predict their own behavior, etc.)?
    Last edited by Ken G; 2019-Dec-02 at 09:32 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Len Moran View Post
    I sort of agree with that, but wouldn't go as far to say that the test cannot infer a MI component of the tree.
    It comes down to what you mean by a model that has the attribute of being independent of your mind. We always have to be crystal clear what meanings we intend-- we all use our minds all the time to make quite clearly mind-dependent models in which we include as an attribute to the model the idealization that the model is mind independent. But it is still our minds that put that attribute in there. What's interesting is that it even makes sense to our minds to build a model with an attribute that the model is mind independent, you can see right away the significant sleight of hand that is required there. But this should not surprise us-- models are all about sleight of hand, sleight of hand is practically their raison d'etre. That's why some people don't get physics at all, they immediately object to the sleight of hand involved in a model-- they can tell right away that what we are talking about cannot be real. (Examples abound, we tell someone that an electron is a point particle, and they object immediately. We say an arrow can be at a given location at a given moment, and Zeno objects. We say an electron can be at a given location at a given time, and Heisenberg objects, and we say the electrons in my head are different from the electrons in your head, and Pauli objects. But the presence of these objections should never surprise us, because all is model, we just need the right algebra of models (like, models don't walk upon other models). So models are constantly including models that we know aren't right, or should know, but we soldier on all the same. It's no different for the attribute "mind independent" that we include in our clearly mind dependent models.
    In all three cases, no one would be able to walk through the tree, so does this mean that the inability to walk through the tree is a function of all three different descriptions or is it a function of laws that have no connection with MDR?
    That sounds like a backward algebra of models. The reason we cannot walk through a tree is never "because of" some model, we can't walk through a tree because we can't walk through a tree. But the model gives us a way to understand why we can't walk through a tree, a way that has to be accessible to our minds to count as a reason. It's never the "real reason", because reasons are what our minds do, and so a different mind may find a different reason (perhaps a clearly inferior, or a clearly superior, one to ours).

    This is a sticky but crucial point, it relates to how deeply embedded into our language and thinking is MIR bias. We find ourselves saying "the reason a proton attracts an electron is because of electric force." And we might even think that we did just give a reason, but that can't be the reason that the attraction actually happens, because every part of that reason is so intimately connected to a particular model that our minds can access. We should have have even imagined that reasons are anything but ways that certain minds can reach a certain degree of understanding, that's just precisely what reasons are and nothing more. Yet how often do you see that simple fact recognized? Hardly ever, certainly not in a high school science class where a lot of these "reasons" are first encountered, and soldered into the minds of how budding scientists think.
    If the solidity of the tree is a function of the EM MDR model, why can't the thought process switch it off such that we could walk through the tree?
    You are asking why a reason our minds come to which "explains" why something happens does not allow the thing to not happen if we switch off our understanding of that thing. This question only makes sense if we mistake reasons for the actual cause of something, as if our understanding of why we can't walk through a tree is the reason we cannot walk through a tree. But that's not what reasons are, they are how we understand the fact that we cannot walk through a tree. You can easily see this in action. Ask five people why they can't walk through a tree, you might get:
    1) an uneducated person: because it is solid, and that means you can't walk through it.
    2) a botanist: because it is made of fibers left behind as a new ring of dead tree cells is added each season
    3) a spiritualist: because you have not learned how to separate your aura from your body and move unhindered through the physical world
    4) a chemist: because chemical bonds mediated by the electric forces between protons and electrons hold the tree together too firmly to pass through
    5) a physicist: because all electrons in both you and the tree are indistinguishable fermions and are forbidden to occupy the same states
    All these answers are right, and all of them are wrong also. They are idealizations, effective in certain limits, but probably missing big pieces of the full story, if there even is any such thing as a full story. But the remarkable thing is, all of those people know to jump off a sled before it hits a tree, so the "reasons" work fine for them.
    This incompleteness can either be represented by a sub model within the main model of MDR containing this missing ingredient but having no explanatory mechanism or it can be represented by laws external to the model.
    Or we can just accept that reasons are always incomplete-- completeness is simply not a goal of any model.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    Or we can just accept that reasons are always incomplete-- completeness is simply not a goal of any model.
    So there is a part of our 'reality' that is truly independent of our minds, or at least of the models that our minds use to determine reality?

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaurieAG View Post
    So there is a part of our 'reality' that is truly independent of our minds, or at least of the models that our minds use to determine reality?
    I'm not sure how you logically get from my point that all our mind-dependent models that we cobble together to give meaning to our concept of reality are purposefully incomplete, to the conclusion that there is part of reality that is "truly" independent of our minds. The second set is not the complement of the first, which is what that logic requires.

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