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geordief

The relationship between the mind and the observed world.

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First,is there a distinction to be made?

After all the mind is created by the external world (= is that the same as the observed world?)

There are even those who claim that the external world is a creation of our mind.

I don't think our ideas have an obvious "physicality"(no mass anyway) but can this actually be proved?

 

Seems like our ideas are born out of the physical world and ,like ingrates cut all ties and fly away...

 

But could there be an idea that could turn the tables and ,in a sense "rule the world,the whole of the external world even soon long as it was not infinite?

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2 hours ago, geordief said:

There are even those who claim that the external world is a creation of our mind.

Everything we know about the external world (including our assumption that it exists) is created by our mind. So we can't say anything about the external world other than what our mind tells us. I suppose that is indistinguishable from the mind creating the external world.

(If you want to really get into this I depth, there is a thread on the Cosmoquest forum that has been going for about 100 years. And not really getting anywhere.)

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35 minutes ago, Strange said:

there is a thread on the Cosmoquest forum that has been going for about 100 years. And not really getting anywhere.

I thought that was the intent of all threads, on all forums, for all time. :)

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34 minutes ago, Strange said:

Everything we know about the external world (including our assumption that it exists) is created by our mind. So we can't say anything about the external world other than what our mind tells us. I suppose that is indistinguishable from the mind creating the external world.

(If you want to really get into this I depth, there is a thread on the Cosmoquest forum that has been going for about 100 years. And not really getting anywhere.)

Christ,"in depth" would have me juiced

Why can't we just have simple answers😘

 

...everything we know  may be  created by the mind but  wouldn't the mind equally be created by everything we know?

 

4 minutes ago, Area54 said:

I thought that was the intent of all threads, on all forums, for all time. :)

e.g. http://www.sciforums.com/threads/is-consciousness-to-be-found-in-quantum-processes-in-microtubules.161187/   

🤣

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2 hours ago, geordief said:

but  wouldn't the mind equally be created by everything we know?

That’s what the mind tells us

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The primary relationship between the mind and the real world is that the mind interprets the real world based on the inputs of the bodies senses.  The mind does not create the real world.   If it did, then the odds of dying if you step in front of a truck that your mind was unaware of might change.  That is to say, the mind interprets reality but does not control reality.

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48 minutes ago, OldChemE said:

The primary relationship between the mind and the real world is that the mind interprets the real world based on the inputs of the bodies senses.  The mind does not create the real world.   If it did, then the odds of dying if you step in front of a truck that your mind was unaware of might change.  That is to say, the mind interprets reality but does not control reality.

(Not that you said that ,but...) I didn't claim that the mind created the real world -just that it is claimed by some.

To go to your  description  of the relationship between the mind and the real world ,is there a kind of  interface between the two or do these two aspects of our experience "bleed into" one another?

Do the body's senses lie  in the realm of the mind or are they  bits of the real world?

If they are ,as it seems to me  the latter ,what tools does the mind have at its disposal to interpret (physically manipulate?) them if the mind itself  is not made of the same "stuff" as the physical world it is recreating like Plato's  (was it Plato?) shadow puppet show on the side of the cave?

 

 

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15 hours ago, geordief said:

First,is there a distinction to be made?

After all the mind is created by the external world (= is that the same as the observed world?)

These are questions that have kept Western philosophy busy for the past few millennia, and there are as many opinions on it as there are philosophers.
My own thoughts on this are (currently) that all we can observe are objects of consciousness - we do not have observational access to anything else. The thing with this is that all objects of consciousness are mental constructs - hence everything we can observe has been pre-processed by the mind in some way. Assuming that there is such a thing as an external reality on which what the mind presents us with is based (I am making no claims whether or not there is), then the big question becomes how the mental model we observe maps to external reality. How accurately does it reflect external reality, and which parts of the model have ontological status, and which parts are ‘merely’ phenomenological? At the very least the model will be extensively filtered and incomplete, since it can only be based on our own limited sensory apparatus (meaning some other sentient being with different sensory apparatus will construct a model of the world that may be fundamentally different from our own). It will also be subject to all manner of distortions and biases, since the way the mind interprets sense data is necessarily based on memory and prior experience; we never get “just reality”, but only some reflection of it plus the mind’s own running commentary, so to speak. The most crucial question, so far as it connects to the discipline of physics, is what kind of ontological status - if any at all - the various fundamental categories have which the mind uses to structure this model. By this I mean things like spatial and temporal relationships, object-subject dualities, etc etc. For example, are space and time really attributes of external reality, or they just categories the mind uses to construct a suitable model of the world? What about the fact the very ideas of ‘observer’, ‘observed’, ‘reality’, ‘mind’,...are all themselves mental constructs?

These are tough questions, but I think it is important to ask them, because it may turn out that things really aren’t the way they initially appear to be. Our scientific models may say just as much about the structure of our minds as they do about the ‘external’ world. And then of course there is the question of whether such a thing as an ‘external world’ actually exists, in what sense it can or cannot exist, and if/how we could find out.

I have personally started out on my own journey as a staunch ‘scientific realist’, but I am finding myself growing increasingly doubtful of this. I think it may be a mistake to try to eliminate all reference to our experience of the world, because such a thing as ‘objective reality’ and its description may ultimately be a meaningless concept. This doesn’t mean that science is on the wrong track, but its domain of applicability may be limited in ways that we are failing to account for as of yet.

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3 hours ago, Markus Hanke said:

These are questions that have kept Western philosophy busy for the past few millennia, and there are as many opinions on it as there are philosophers.
My own thoughts on this are (currently) that all we can observe are objects of consciousness - we do not have observational access to anything else. The thing with this is that all objects of consciousness are mental constructs - hence everything we can observe has been pre-processed by the mind in some way. Assuming that there is such a thing as an external reality on which what the mind presents us with is based (I am making no claims whether or not there is), then the big question becomes how the mental model we observe maps to external reality. How accurately does it reflect external reality, and which parts of the model have ontological status, and which parts are ‘merely’ phenomenological? At the very least the model will be extensively filtered and incomplete, since it can only be based on our own limited sensory apparatus (meaning some other sentient being with different sensory apparatus will construct a model of the world that may be fundamentally different from our own). It will also be subject to all manner of distortions and biases, since the way the mind interprets sense data is necessarily based on memory and prior experience; we never get “just reality”, but only some reflection of it plus the mind’s own running commentary, so to speak. The most crucial question, so far as it connects to the discipline of physics, is what kind of ontological status - if any at all - the various fundamental categories have which the mind uses to structure this model. By this I mean things like spatial and temporal relationships, object-subject dualities, etc etc. For example, are space and time really attributes of external reality, or they just categories the mind uses to construct a suitable model of the world? What about the fact the very ideas of ‘observer’, ‘observed’, ‘reality’, ‘mind’,...are all themselves mental constructs?

These are tough questions, but I think it is important to ask them, because it may turn out that things really aren’t the way they initially appear to be. Our scientific models may say just as much about the structure of our minds as they do about the ‘external’ world. And then of course there is the question of whether such a thing as an ‘external world’ actually exists, in what sense it can or cannot exist, and if/how we could find out.

I have personally started out on my own journey as a staunch ‘scientific realist’, but I am finding myself growing increasingly doubtful of this. I think it may be a mistake to try to eliminate all reference to our experience of the world, because such a thing as ‘objective reality’ and its description may ultimately be a meaningless concept. This doesn’t mean that science is on the wrong track, but its domain of applicability may be limited in ways that we are failing to account for as of yet.

If I understand you correctly, what you're getting at is conscience being a physical condition embedded in a more counter-intuitive context, a context that conscience itself is deprived of, that requires as a mapping constriction to be projected through a 1+3 dimensional spreadsheet, so to speak, in order to run properly. So space time would be a constriction for this conscious mapping to be functional, rather than an innate characteristic of the physical universe.

This is a very interesting idea (+1), and I'm rephrasing just to guarantee that I understand you correctly.

20 hours ago, geordief said:

I don't think our ideas have an obvious "physicality"(no mass anyway) but can this actually be proved?

I'm not so sure about this. How does one get to know an idea has no mass? If it made operational sense, I would assume an idea has energy associated to it, however loosely. When you think a lot, your brain certainly consumes more glucose. Ideas are physical processes.

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4 hours ago, Markus Hanke said:

These are questions that have kept Western philosophy busy for the past few millennia, and there are as many opinions on it as there are philosophers.

Yes, and I think there is a reason for that (adding opinion n + 1): these questions are not answerable. To illustrate I take the famous 'the universe sees itself' picture from Wheeler, and add an extra arrow:

WheelerExtended.jpg.939bf4243348cbf148c0b79e4c51bad3.jpg

Seeing (objects in) the universe is one thing, but seeing the relation between what we observe and our observations is impossible, because it in itself is not an observation. 

Another way to illustrate this is a critique on Kant's 'Critique of pure Reason': we never can reach the 'thing-in-itself' (Ding-an-sich). We see 'things' in space and time, and structure our knowledge about them according the categories of reason, one of them being causality, so the causality is not in the things themselves. But implicitly Kant takes the thing-in-itself as cause of appearances. But then he applies a concept that belongs to our way of applying the categories on the appearances on the relationship between and the 'things-in-themselves'.

5 hours ago, Markus Hanke said:

These are tough questions, but I think it is important to ask them, because it may turn out that things really aren’t the way they initially appear to be.

How can we know? The only thing we know is that we possibly do not see the things as they are, we only know how they appear to us. Isn't that the equivalent of what so many say here on these fora: that science does not explain reality as it is, but 'just' makes models about what we observe?

So Michael's question to you is a good one:  

3 hours ago, michel123456 said:

In this case, how do you explain space expansion & time dilation?

Now Kant would possibly have a problem here. For him, space and time are universal, not because they are the same everywhere in the universe (how could we know?), but because the mind 'impresses' the forms of space and time on the 'things-in-them-selves' and so gives rise to the appearances. But in the meantime we have relativity and QM. How curious I am what would happen if Kant would raise from his grave, and would write the third, completely revised edition of the 'Critique of pure Reason', in the light of relativity and QM.

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6 hours ago, joigus said:

 

I'm not so sure about this. How does one get to know an idea has no mass? If it made operational sense, I would assume an idea has energy associated to it, however loosely. When you think a lot, your brain certainly consumes more glucose. Ideas are physical processes.

Actually, when I was using "idea" I may have had in mind a disembodied idea such  as the fairly universal  idea expressed in the saying "power corrupts".

Now that I reflect  I am not sure if this (or similar) ideas  can exist  without a local mind to host them.

Are they created by an original mind (in an original context as well) and  transferred to other minds  with the usual loss of fidelity that arises in all recordings?

If so the idea only exists as a passing thought and "dies"/gets reinvented with each  step on its multi-pathed ways.

In that case maybe it does have  a mass since it cannot arise without a change of configuration  of the mind enabling brain and  mass in GR is connected to energy.

I wonder if ,with sensitive enough equipment  one could distinguish the difference in mass in regions of the brain that were excited as opposed  to quiescent.

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Posted (edited)
22 hours ago, joigus said:

If I understand you correctly, what you're getting at is conscience being a physical condition embedded in a more counter-intuitive context, a context that conscience itself is deprived of, that requires as a mapping constriction to be projected through a 1+3 dimensional spreadsheet, so to speak, in order to run properly. So space time would be a constriction for this conscious mapping to be functional, rather than an innate characteristic of the physical universe.

I am not sure I fully understand my own thoughts on this :) Also, my own thoughts are really only half-formed, and in a constant state of flux. I don’t have any coherent idea or model, I am just trying to reconcile my understanding of physics with the phenomenology of my own direct experience. But I think you captured the essential idea. Basically I am questioning whether, if one really wants to understand the universe, it is wise to disregard the subjective observer, because maybe - just maybe - the two aren’t as separate as we think they are. Physics attempts to arrive at a completely objective description of the world based on a perfect subject-object duality, and - while this has lead to some very useful results and applications - I am wondering whether that duality has any ontological status, and whether any description of the ‘world’ can and should ever be objective.
Or perhaps put it this way - if you had some other sentient species with a completely different sensory apparatus, and a mind/consciousness that is structured sufficiently differently from our own (e.g. their thought processes could be non-linear or even chaotic, their memory space multi-dimensional, their perception processes non-dual etc etc), would they arrive at a model of the ‘world’ that is compatible with our physics? Would we as humans even recognise it as a model of the world? If not, then what does that say about the concept of ‘objective reality’? 

19 hours ago, Eise said:

Another way to illustrate this is a critique on Kant's 'Critique of pure Reason': we never can reach the 'thing-in-itself' (Ding-an-sich). We see 'things' in space and time, and structure our knowledge about them according the categories of reason, one of them being causality, so the causality is not in the things themselves.

Interesting, and somewhat like I was pondering. But I would go a step further and ask whether space and time are not themselves ‘categories’ (just like causality), rather than a background stage for the ‘ding-an-sich’ to exist on.

19 hours ago, Eise said:

How can we know? The only thing we know is that we possibly do not see the things as they are, we only know how they appear to us. Isn't that the equivalent of what so many say here on these fora: that science does not explain reality as it is, but 'just' makes models about what we observe?

Of course science makes models - its relationship to what it describes is the same as that of a map to the territory which it maps out. Science isn’t an explanation for reality, it’s a description of it. But the point is that the mapping isn’t arbitrary, because even though it is not identical to the ‘territory’, it has to capture the relevant structure of it - like the contours on a topographic map that capture the elevation profile, for example. And it is that structure that makes it useful.

19 hours ago, Eise said:

How curious I am what would happen if Kant would raise from his grave, and would write the third, completely revised edition of the 'Critique of pure Reason', in the light of relativity and QM.

I have Kant’s text on my eReader, but haven’t gotten around to actually reading it yet. I shall be looking forward to it :)
I think relativity isn’t too difficult to incorporate into that, but the implications of QM on the ontological status of ‘reality’ are indeed profound. In light of the - by now well established - violations of Bell’s inequalities, we can’t even take global Einstein locality for granted any longer. What scientific progress over the centuries is showing us is that we cannot and should not trust our intuitions on what is irrefutably true about reality. Perhaps at the very core that is what I have been trying to say here.

Edited by Markus Hanke

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This "ding an sich" (ironically I am trying to peg it's meaning down🤔 ) would it be used to refer to what we might see as physical ,like a chair or is it also used to refer to any of the concepts that might describe the chair?

 

If ,as might seem more natural it is the former, **then is it not intuitively apparent that such a "ding an sich" cannot be  cornered since it existence relies on its relation to other physical objects?

Also,if  we make the chair infinitesimally small so that we are just looking at one of its constituent parts  doesn't QM(or is that  QFM?) call into question the nature of the individual  existence of such supposed constituent parts?

 

Do they blend into the particle field  like the grin of the Cheshire cat?

 

**would the latter usage involve  the ancient Platonic(?) idea that "redness" etc was  a building block of the world?

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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, geordief said:

This "ding an sich" (ironically I am trying to peg it's meaning down🤔 ) would it be used to refer to what we might see as physical ,like a chair or is it also used to refer to any of the concepts that might describe the chair?

As I said earlier, I am not an expert in the discipline of philosophy, and I haven’t read Kant yet - however, I do speak fluent German, so what this term (which translates roughly as ‘thing-in-itself’) refers to would be external reality before it undergoes processing by the sensory apparatus and the mind. So it is meant to be that which exists independently of any perceptual process, the true essence of reality, unsullied by mental constructs, so to speak.

18 hours ago, geordief said:

If ,as might seem more natural it is the former, **then is it not intuitively apparent that such a "ding an sich" cannot be  cornered since it existence relies on its relation to other physical objects?

The trouble is that we have no way of accessing that external reality, except through sensory and perceptual processes. Anything you are aware and conscious of is a construct of your own mind - it is at best some representation of the ‘ding-an-sich’, but a representation that will be more or less incomplete and distorted in ways that are not necessarily readily apparent. So it may very well be that there is an underlying external reality of some kind (though I would think one could make a valid case questioning this), but we will never be able to access it directly, all we can ever know is our mind’s representation of that reality. It’s much like being stuck having to look at a map, without ever being able to go to the actual territory.

18 hours ago, geordief said:

Also,if  we make the chair infinitesimally small so that we are just looking at one of its constituent parts

In what sense would a single elementary particle be a ‘chair’? How many particles does it take before the ensemble acquires ‘chair-ness’?

18 hours ago, geordief said:

doesn't QM(or is that  QFM?) call into question the nature of the individual  existence of such supposed constituent parts?

No, QM does not allow us to conclude that there are no elementary particles (or quantum fields, whichever way you wish to look at it). It does, however, make it clear that the dynamics of those constituents cannot be classical, due to the existence of observables that don’t commute, and due to statistical correlations between measurement outcomes that are stronger than classically allowed (entanglement).

18 hours ago, geordief said:

Do they blend into the particle field  like the grin of the Cheshire cat?

I’m not sure what you mean by this.

Edited by Markus Hanke

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Markus Hanke said:
21 hours ago, geordief said:

This "ding an sich" (ironically I am trying to peg it's meaning down🤔 ) would it be used to refer to what we might see as physical ,like a chair or is it also used to refer to any of the concepts that might describe the chair?

As I said earlier, I am not an expert in the discipline of philosophy, and I haven’t read Kant yet - however, I do speak fluent German, so what this term (which translates roughly as ‘thing-in-itself’) refers to would be external reality before it undergoes processing by the sensory apparatus and the mind. So it is meant to be that which exists independently of any perceptual process, the true essence of reality, unsullied by mental constructs, so to speak.

Exactly. Personally, I think the wording 'Ding-an-sich' is not very apt, because it suggests there are more 'things'. I would prefer 'the-world-in-itself' ('die Welt-an-sich'). I like to picture it as an amorphous totality surrounding us. What we observe, the appearances, we observe in space and time. But you should still imagine this as some chaotic stuff, like a Jackson Pollock painting, or the white noise (I think it is called 'static' in English) of an old fashioned TV screen that is not tuned to a TV station. Only when the subject applies the Categories (in Kant's technical meaning), we are able to distinguish things, processes etc. To give you an impression, these are the categories:

KantsCategories.jpg.c0683e9d2d7ae548e8527da629f3d561.jpg

So there is not 'chair-in-itself'. Only when we apply the categories we get a world with recognisable things, and we can start discussing if a thing is a chair or not.

@Markus Hanke: would you read in English or German? I think it is very difficult to translate Kant to any language. But to discuss Kant here you would need the English translation.

One warning especially for Americans: it is my experience that even the best American philosophers do not understand a very important aspect of Kant's 'Critique'. The 'Forms of Intuition' ('Anschauungsformen') space and time, and the Categories are not psychological, i.e. not aspects of the individual mind, but are basic conditions that knowledge is possible at all. So they do not belong to 'real existing' subjects, but to what Kant calls the 'Transcendental Subject': the (fictional) subject of all possible knowledge. I think it is the empirical background of Anglosaxon philosophy that makes it difficult to appreciate this idea. Kant's question is not how we know things, but how knowledge is possible at all, split up to different 'sciences': mathematics, empirical sciences, and metaphysics. (The latter is not, according to Kant: it is Reason freewheeling without input.)

Edited by Eise

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Eise said:

Kant's question is not how we know things, but how knowledge is possible at all, split up to different 'sciences': mathematics, empirical sciences, and metaphysics. (The latter is not, according to Kant: it is Reason freewheeling without input.

Well there is/are input ,but the outputs can seemingly  feed on themselves( without much loss of energy it seems  unless death and dissolution counts.)

 

It seems "top heavy"(grows like topsy)  and all connection to the initial input can seem lost  ,but there it is . We know for as close to a fact as we would wish that we do engage in these  internal and external intellectual concatenations and comparisons.

Agreed there is no resolution to their posturings  but they have their own place in the sun, although some of us manage without 😃

 

If I  correctly understood your post it was that Kant regarded metaphysics as a kind of mental masturbation( puts me in mind of Socrates' protestation in the Apologia  that he was "not one of those sophists")

 

You were also wondering earlier how Kant would have incorporated spacetime into his presentations.

 

Is the Panta Rhei

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panta_Rhei#:~:text=From Wikipedia%2C the free encyclopedia,in the philosophy of Heraclitus

observation equally aposite ?We can only observe  instants  of the universe and weave them together into a picture in our mind's eye.

 

Any picture of the whole,in either space or time is going to be an interpretation and not a direct observation

 

Edited by geordief

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Posted (edited)
On 7/17/2020 at 5:34 PM, geordief said:

I wonder if ,with sensitive enough equipment  one could distinguish the difference in mass in regions of the brain that were excited as opposed  to quiescent.

I'm not sure plain mass is that much useful to measure ideas. Energy would define a more appropriate scale, as well as measuring procedure.

Ideas should be possible in principle to be traced back to the activity of neurons, and that's how neuroscientists treat them AFAICT. What we call ideas would have to do with certain time-correlated and/or location-correlated patterns of neurons firing. Saying that ideas are but physical processes may be going too far (although, what else could they be?), as "what we see" could be a projection from a perhaps richer level of physicality. So they would be some kind of projections on sets of internal, intra-quantum (or whatever we may want to call them) variables.

This irredeemable puzzlement of "this moment is the only thing there is" feeling that conscience gives us is what tilts me in the direction of what Markus suggests (or at least that's how I interpret him) that consciousness and its formidable paradoxical nature cannot be tackled until we deal with the problem: What is so special about 1+3 dimensions? Another way of putting it could be: What general mathematical (geometrical, topological...) context would make 1+3 projections of it special in a representational sense?

As I've quasi-quoted @Markus Hanke, I want to clarify. I don't necessarily think he and I agree on this, but what he said feels to me strongly overlapping with my mental picture or intuition of what must be going on. And what I've just said is my way of delivering it. He may well not agree.

Sorry, I've spent a long time editing this entry, so it may be outdated by something already said.

Also, I may not have been very clear about what I mean, but it's because the intrinsic difficulty of the subject.

Edited by joigus
minor correction

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42 minutes ago, geordief said:

Any picture of the whole,in either space or time is going to be an interpretation and not a direct observation

That depends on how many people you manage to persuade...

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15 minutes ago, dimreepr said:

That depends on how many people you manage to persuade...

influence ,not persuade. We all have our own  little niche or vantage point where we concoct our own patented view of what is going on out there.(even in USSR or Trumplandia) 

32 minutes ago, joigus said:

What general mathematical (geometrical, topological...) context would make 1+3 projections of it special in a representational sense?

It is the 1 that matters. There could be any amount of spatial (or other dimensions)  but the 1 seems to  bind them together.

 

I doubt this 1  exists  originally in the mind .I think the mind "bleeds into" its environment ** and so  we do have 1 +3 minds (or 1+2)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It's_a_Square_World

 

** hope that makes me a "staunch scientific realist"

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11 minutes ago, geordief said:

influence ,not persuade.

Righto 🙄 

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Posted (edited)
17 hours ago, Markus Hanke said:

I’m not sure what you mean by this.

I don't imagine you are unfamiliar with the scene in Alice  in  Wonderland so you must be asking how I was  using it...

 

I just used it as an example of things blending into and fading into the background.

Actually in Alice the grin is all that remains ,which is a lot  more complicated ,and weirder than what I was trying to describe

My analogy was a bit lazy.

 

17 hours ago, Markus Hanke said:

what sense would a single elementary particle be a ‘chair’? How many particles does it take before the ensemble acquires ‘chair-ness’?

In the sense that it had been part of a chair  .It's past was a part of what it  had become ( I realize that we may not be able to view the quantum world in that way)

 

If you also ask how many particle relationships are needed to form a chair   as their number increases then first we have to agree what a "chair" is.

Being flippant.we could agree to call  anything, including a single particle " a chair" but you presumably  are asking how many particles are needed to achieve any recognizable form at all

I don't know that ,but  presumably that might arise when the classical effects  of the system were more dominant than quantum effects (if that means anything)

 

Edited by geordief

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19 hours ago, Eise said:

So there is not 'chair-in-itself'. Only when we apply the categories we get a world with recognisable things, and we can start discussing if a thing is a chair or not.

Yes, that seems trivial to me. Something being a chair - or anything else - is of course not inherent in the object, the recognition and labelling is something that happens during the process of perception.

19 hours ago, Eise said:

would you read in English or German? I think it is very difficult to translate Kant to any language. But to discuss Kant here you would need the English translation.

I have the English version on my eReader, but could of course also read it in German if there is any advantage to it.

19 hours ago, Eise said:

The 'Forms of Intuition' ('Anschauungsformen') space and time [...] are not psychological, i.e. not aspects of the individual mind, but are basic conditions that knowledge is possible at all.

I am not sure if I would actually agree with Kant on this. I certainly do agree that some form of structure must be imposed on a data set, before it can become ‘knowledge’ in the epistemological sense; but I don’t think that structure necessarily has to be spatiotemporal. If I once again may bring up Loop Quantum Gravity as an example - none of the fundamental dynamical quantities in the model are spatiotemporal, but everything still remains well defined, and one can extract observables from it - this is, knowledge. Space and time are emergent properties in this model. Likewise, I am sure that some basic requirements need to be met in order for knowledge to be possible, but I don’t think that necessarily must include space and time. Or maybe it is necessary for the human mind, but that does not allow us to make the claim that space and time are thus independent principles.

16 hours ago, joigus said:

What we call ideas would have to do with certain time-correlated and/or location-correlated patterns of neurons firing.

The problem I have with that is two-fold:

1. Empirically there certainly is a correlation between thought patterns and brain states; but this does not automatically imply a causative relationship. Also, if you get a group of people together and perform this experiment, no two brain states will be exactly the same, even if you get them to think about the same thing / the same thought. So you get a large number of empirically different brain states mapping into the same moment of experience - that’s problematic, to say the least.

2. Even if the relationship is causative, there is still a subjective layer to it that cannot be explained by those patterns - there is the thought process itself, and then there is the subjective experience of having it; it is like something to have that thought.

16 hours ago, joigus said:

What general mathematical (geometrical, topological...) context would make 1+3 projections of it special in a representational sense?

I would answer this using the anthropological principle - the direct experience of what it is like to be a conscious, fully functioning Homo Sapiens is possible only if the representational model of reality that our minds construct are structured using (3+1) spatiotemporal (macro-)dimensions. That was my original pondering - if you get some other sentient being with a mind that is structured completely differently, would they be presented with a similar model by their minds? Perhaps there isn’t just one notion of ‘this universe’, perhaps there are many different ones depending on the observer, and they are all right, even if they disagree on some aspects. Not unlike reference frames in relativity - they can disagree on space, time, simultaneity etc, but they nevertheless have correct models of the world in their own local frames. So essentially what I am pondering is a principle of ontological relativity, if you so will.

6 hours ago, geordief said:

Actually in Alice the grin is all that remains ,which is a lot  more complicated ,and weirder than what I was trying to describe

Well, in quantum mechanics you can separate the grin from the Cheshire Cat, and the grin may also not be strictly localisable to the cat’s face. That’s weirder than any novel ;)

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44 minutes ago, Markus Hanke said:

Yes, that seems trivial to me. Something being a chair - or anything else - is of course not inherent in the object, the recognition and labelling is something that happens during the process of perception.

Maybe I should have been clearer that my reaction was more to geordief than to you. 

45 minutes ago, Markus Hanke said:

I am not sure if I would actually agree with Kant on this. I certainly do agree that some form of structure must be imposed on a data set, before it can become ‘knowledge’ in the epistemological sense; but I don’t think that structure necessarily has to be spatiotemporal.

Right. That's why Kant should arise from his grave, to write the third edition of the Critique of Pure Reason, based on all we know now in QM and RT. In his time everybody was impressed by the Newtonian framework, so Kant as well. On the other side, he found Hume's position about the basis of empirical knowledge too weak. If e.g. observing causal relationships were just 'habit and custom', why did Newtonian mechanics work so well?

An important difference between Newtonian mechanics on one side, and QM and RT on the other, is that Newtonian mechanics is about objects and processes that are normally observable in daily life, and they all (seem to) exist in space and time and both are seen as a fixed framework.

 

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1 hour ago, Markus Hanke said:

The problem I have with that is two-fold:

1. Empirically there certainly is a correlation between thought patterns and brain states; but this does not automatically imply a causative relationship. Also, if you get a group of people together and perform this experiment, no two brain states will be exactly the same, even if you get them to think about the same thing / the same thought. So you get a large number of empirically different brain states mapping into the same moment of experience - that’s problematic, to say the least.

2. Even if the relationship is causative, there is still a subjective layer to it that cannot be explained by those patterns - there is the thought process itself, and then there is the subjective experience of having it; it is like something to have that thought.

I fully agree as far as I understand. That's why I said:

17 hours ago, joigus said:

What we call ideas would have to do with certain time-correlated and/or location-correlated patterns of neurons firing.

"Have to do with" was not meant to imply causation, nor with a one-to-one mapping from ideas to patterns of neurons firing.

 

17 hours ago, geordief said:

It is the 1 that matters. There could be any amount of spatial (or other dimensions)  but the 1 seems to  bind them together.

 

I doubt this 1  exists  originally in the mind .I think the mind "bleeds into" its environment ** and so  we do have 1 +3 minds (or 1+2)

The 1 is far too special. It shouldn't be there. But it is.

But I tend to think that the 1 is in the mind and only in the mind.

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13 hours ago, joigus said:

 

The 1 is far too special. It shouldn't be there. But it is.

But I tend to think that the 1 is in the mind and only in the mind

Is there any way to perform any  theoretical experiment to show that ,in the absence of  a mind  such a "mindless" universe could exist without any property associated with time ?

 

Could we go back in time to an epoch  where we can be certain that life (that is where "mind" is to be found, I assume) had not yet taken root?

If we were able to hypothesize  such a  scenario  how would life get established subsequently if time was not part of the scenario?

The universe would be permanently stuck in "3rd gear"  ...wouldn't  the universe need time to progress to a state where there could exist a mind that  you suggest operates on a 3+1 basis? (ie time is inherent in minds but not in the "inert" universe) 

 

 

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