A Critique of Biological Materialism

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Re: A Critique of Biological Materialism

Post Number:#346  Postby Togo1 » March 19th, 2017, 7:08 pm

JamesOfSeattle wrote:
Togo1 wrote:Ask them why they've chosen to have faith that everything in the universe is emperically verifiable rather than the equally unprovable and bizarre idea of a big guy in the sky?

Okay, I'll ask myself. Oh right, the answer is: results.


No, it really isn't.

If you find a village where they figure that boiling the water appeases the god of the stream, and that keeps them from being cursed with illness, they get plenty of good results out that. But you wouldn't place that above a scientific theory that didn't happen to be useful, even if, technically speaking, it got better results.

JamesOfSeattle wrote: In any case, if it really isn't verifiable, then there's nothing I can do about it, or with it, so why should I care?


The idea that there is nothing you can do with unverifiable statements, that they aren't useful or of value, is in itself unverifiable.
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Re: A Critique of Biological Materialism



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Re: A Critique of Biological Materialism

Post Number:#347  Postby -1- » March 19th, 2017, 9:18 pm

Togo1 wrote:The idea that there is nothing you can do with unverifiable statements, that they aren't useful or of value, is in itself unverifiable.


I am not quite sure what you mean by unverifiable... in the sense that a falsified statement is verified, if it's proven to be wrong; is it then verified in the negative sense? Or does it remain unverified (if no instances can be shown to repeat it).

Is the a posteriori instance that denies an unverified claim a form of verifying that very claim (in the negative)?

Yes, or no?

If yes, then the quoted statement is not true.

Proof: for instance, by saying "eating large amount of arsenic improves your health". This can be shown to be false, and as such, its usefulness is nil.

Question is, do you regard a denial (a showing of falsehood) to be a verified occurrence if it is repeated over and over again? Because technically, you fail to verify it, so it's unverified.
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Re: A Critique of Biological Materialism

Post Number:#348  Postby Togo1 » March 24th, 2017, 12:52 pm

I was thinking that verifiability and falsifiabilty were two seperate things, and that the reason why Popper went with falsifiability is the difficulty of verifying anything in practice.

The point I was making to James, that his denial of certain kinds of claim was the kind of claim he was denying, applies regardless.
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Re: A Critique of Biological Materialism

Post Number:#349  Postby -1- » March 25th, 2017, 1:14 am

Togo1 wrote:I was thinking that verifiability and falsifiabilty were two seperate things, and that the reason why Popper went with falsifiability is the difficulty of verifying anything in practice.

The point I was making to James, that his denial of certain kinds of claim was the kind of claim he was denying, applies regardless.

I had got that in the first place. It was clear what you were saying / doing.

But I am having issues with the expression "unverifiable". How do you unverify something? You can only verify something, or fail at it. But how can you prove or show that no matter what you do, you can't verify something?

This is my issue with your statement. "Unverifiable". That is a strange apple. "Unverified", yes, I can see how that can come into existence. But "unverifiable" is something I can't grasp as a concept. It is not simply the negation of "verifiable". It is a positive statement of a quality that something is not possible to verify. I can't see that a real or imagined event can't be verified, if it happened in reality or in imagination. If it happened, then there must be a way to verify it happened. If it did not happen, then verification is not possible.

-----------------

Another meaning of "unverifiable" could be a relationship to "verifiable" as "doable" is to "undoable". If you tie a knot, you undo it by unraveling the knot. A knot is undoable. A verified knot, after you undo it, gets unverified. It is no longer verificable that there is a knot, since there is no longer a knot; a once verified fact gets unverified. Is this what you guys mean with "unverifiable"? That it can be verified that it is undone, reversed, no longer is as it had been?
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Re: A Critique of Biological Materialism

Post Number:#350  Postby Steve3007 » March 26th, 2017, 11:06 am

-1-:

Generally speaking, I think statements that purport to be empirical propositions about something in the real world are deemed to qualify as such only if the person uttering the statement is capable of describing a method that could be used (at least in principle if not in practice) to verify them. In that context, if the person in question is incapable of doing so then the statement is considered to be unverifiable by default, as it were. So although you may be right in saying that such a statement cannot necessarily be shown to be unverifiable with certainty, it is considered to be so if it cannot actually be shown to be verifiable.

There is a train of thought in philosophy, including the Logical Positivists, that consider statements that cannot be demonstrated to be verifiable in this way to be, essentially, meaningless except as expressions of emotion, poetry or the definition of terminology.
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Re: A Critique of Biological Materialism

Post Number:#351  Postby Togo1 » March 27th, 2017, 7:14 am

-1- wrote:But I am having issues with the expression "unverifiable". How do you unverify something? You can only verify something, or fail at it. But how can you prove or show that no matter what you do, you can't verify something?


Through logic?

Ok, let's take some examples.

X=Y+1 - absent of any additional information about x or y, do you agree that this is unverifiable?

My Spoo has too much Fleem - absent of any definition of Spoo or Fleem, do you agree that this is unverifiable?

Beauty is Truth, and Truth Beauty, that is all you know, and all you need to know - absent of any agreed definition of what you 'need to know', would you agree that this is unverifiable?

In the parallel dimension of Grank, which we can not detect in any way, roses are green.

Last night invisible goblins replaced my left leg with an exact replica, identical in every way.

The entire universe is made up of undetectable vibrating strings

So in summary I'd count the following as being unverifiable
1) Statements where the definitions of the terms are not available, and thus the meaning of the statement itself can't be determined.
2) Statements where the truth criteria of the statement are not defined, and thus the truth value of the statement itself can't be determined.
3) Statements where the truth criteria can't be tested.

-- Updated March 27th, 2017, 7:19 am to add the following --

Steve3007 wrote:There is a train of thought in philosophy, including the Logical Positivists, that consider statements that cannot be demonstrated to be verifiable in this way to be, essentially, meaningless except as expressions of emotion, poetry or the definition of terminology.


Indeed so - the main issue that Logical Positivists wrestle with is describing Logical Positivism without resorting to such statements. I have a secondary objection to this position, but it's certainly an important position to know about. If only because in practice it's an easy position to adopt without realising that you're doing so.
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Re: A Critique of Biological Materialism

Post Number:#352  Postby -1- » March 27th, 2017, 9:53 am

Togo1 wrote:X=Y+1 - absent of any additional information about x or y, do you agree that this is unverifiable?

My Spoo has too much Fleem - absent of any definition of Spoo or Fleem, do you agree that this is unverifiable?

Beauty is Truth, and Truth Beauty, that is all you know, and all you need to know - absent of any agreed definition of what you 'need to know', would you agree that this is unverifiable?


I've been helped by Steve, so I have a bit clearer insight into the quality of "unverifiable".

The above three statements are unverifiable because they don't state anything about anything. Period. You voided the variables (words, symbols) of any meaning, and of course meaninglessness can't be verified. So yes, I capitulate that they are unverifiable.----

Any practical or theoretical usefulness in this?

The following three assertions, however, are not unverifiable.

They can be verified, or proven to be false.

As long as you find a method, existing or possible, to check the assertion for validity or truth, we can verify it (or falsify it).

Togo1 wrote:In the parallel dimension of Grank, which we can not detect in any way, roses are green.
"which we can not detect in any way" - this is an empirical assertion. You can't a priori or theoretically exclude the possibility of detection.

Last night invisible goblins replaced my left leg with an exact replica, identical in every way.
There could have been a visual recording device, which recorded the leg's moving away and a new leg being moved in; and the invisible goblins's presence could easily be detected by a gravimeter (that measures gravity and presence of masses.)

The entire universe is made up of undetectable vibrating strings

Again, first you'd need to prove that they are undetectable, which is not possible to do.


Togo1 wrote:So in summary I'd count the following as being unverifiable
1) Statements where the definitions of the terms are not available, and thus the meaning of the statement itself can't be determined.
2) Statements where the truth criteria of the statement are not defined, and thus the truth value of the statement itself can't be determined.
3) Statements where the truth criteria can't be tested.

I agree with 1) and 3). However, I must insist that 1) is not useful; "unverifiable" is just a fancy way to say, "meaningless". I also challenge the usefulenss of 3) as I believe that while it's theoretically true, there are absolutely no examples for it in reality. The quality "can't be tested" is relative to the act by the tester, a measure which is dependent on the skills and knowledge base of the tester. In theory, in the physical world, everything can possibly be tested. This is one of the tenets of scienticism, or one of the necessary assumptions in the philosophy of science. Only because we don't know a way to test it, a test can be designed by someone else. And a test does not necessarily have to be carried out to show that the thing is not unverifiable -- it's enough to point at a POSSIBLE way to test it.

You may argue that "impossible to detect" is in the above examples a necessarily true quality or restriction. But this I reject, as it is only an axiomatic superimposition on reality by you; there is no proof that your superimposition can't be false.

2) I am having problems with. Do you have any problems with it too? It would really be helpful if you could please provide an example for this, too. Thanks.

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-- Updated 2017 March 27th, 10:00 am to add the following --

-1- wrote:You may argue that "impossible to detect" is in the above examples a necessarily true quality or restriction. But this I reject, as it is only an axiomatic superimposition on reality by you; there is no proof that your superimposition can't be false.

Let me elaborate on this. You created an a priori scenario of an a posteriori scenario. This is theoretically allowable, but you can't transport the qualities of the a priori AFTER the change you have made, to the previous state of a posteriori scenario.

This is the reason why I reject your arbitrary assignment of axiomatic superimposition on reality in your above examples.
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Re: A Critique of Biological Materialism

Post Number:#353  Postby Togo1 » March 28th, 2017, 5:33 am

-1- wrote:
Togo1 wrote:X=Y+1 - absent of any additional information about x or y, do you agree that this is unverifiable?

My Spoo has too much Fleem - absent of any definition of Spoo or Fleem, do you agree that this is unverifiable?

Beauty is Truth, and Truth Beauty, that is all you know, and all you need to know - absent of any agreed definition of what you 'need to know', would you agree that this is unverifiable?


I've been helped by Steve, so I have a bit clearer insight into the quality of "unverifiable".

The above three statements are unverifiable because they don't state anything about anything. Period. You voided the variables (words, symbols) of any meaning, and of course meaninglessness can't be verified. So yes, I capitulate that they are unverifiable.----


Ah, this is sounding like positivism.

Ok, so if statements that are unverifiable are meaningless, then how do they sucessfully transmit information?

Take the following experiment. 30 subjects are each given one of three extracts from a poem by Keats to read. For the sake of argument, the extracts contains no verifiable statements whatsoever. They are then asked to write about the extract they have read for a few minutes, without any quotations or direct references to individual words. Then another group of 30 subjects read the writings produced, and try and work out from the writings which extract the author read.

I'd suggest that the second group would correctly identify the extracts at a rate greater than chance. This result would not be possible if the extracts were all literally meaningless.



Togo1 wrote:In the parallel dimension of Grank, which we can not detect in any way, roses are green.
"which we can not detect in any way" - this is an empirical assertion. You can't a priori or theoretically exclude the possibility of detection.


Yes, you can. It occurs quite frequently in modern physics, such as Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, where it is impossible, note not impractical, but actually not possible even in theory, to measure the speed and position of a particle at the same time.


-1- wrote:(Nested quote removed.)


Again, first you'd need to prove that they are undetectable, which is not possible to do.


Why would I need to prove my assertion before making it? Unproven assertions exist, and indeed are quite common.

-1- wrote:(Nested quote removed.)

I also challenge the usefulenss of 3) as I believe that while it's theoretically true, there are absolutely no examples for it in reality.


All sensory data is illusion. Test that?

-1- wrote:The quality "can't be tested" is relative to the act by the tester, a measure which is dependent on the skills and knowledge base of the tester. In theory, in the physical world, everything can possibly be tested. This is one of the tenets of scienticism, or one of the necessary assumptions in the philosophy of science.


Scientism is usually considered to be something to avoid, as being a excessive position that is unecessary to the practice and utility of science. I certainly see no reason why it would be necessary, since it seems science works perfectly well without it.

-1- wrote:You may argue that "impossible to detect" is in the above examples a necessarily true quality or restriction. But this I reject, as it is only an axiomatic superimposition on reality by you; there is no proof that your superimposition can't be false.


Surely the reverse also holds? There is no proof that your own axiomatic superimposition, that everything is testable, is true?

-1- wrote:2) I am having problems with. Do you have any problems with it too? It would really be helpful if you could please provide an example for this, too. Thanks.


Hm.. "That may be good, but it's not Art."

There's a lot of disagreement as to what constitutes art, and what does not. Absent of an aboslute agreement over what is art and what is not, it's not possible to test whether something is or is not Art, even if all possible definitions of Art would in themselves be testable.
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Re: A Critique of Biological Materialism

Post Number:#354  Postby Steve3007 » March 28th, 2017, 6:21 am

Togo1:
...I'd suggest that the second group would correctly identify the extracts at a rate greater than chance. This result would not be possible if the extracts were all literally meaningless.


I guess this is the problem with calling something meaningless. If somebody utters any sounds at all then those sounds are inevitably going to convey some information about that person, if only by simple pattern recognition. If I say "wibbly wobbly pibbly poo" that may well tell you something about me because you may know from past experience that I have a tendency to make sounds like that. Likewise, no doubt Keats and other poets all have their own identifiable styles regardless of whether their words contain falsifiable statements.

Here's a good pseudo-falsifiable statement:

"Twas brillig and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe."

That one actually sounds conventionally falsifiable. Perhaps I could look out of the window to see if it is actually brillig. And I could maybe examine some slithy toves to see if they've been gyring or gimbling and whether the location of those activities was the wabe.
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Re: A Critique of Biological Materialism

Post Number:#355  Postby -1- » March 28th, 2017, 12:01 pm

Togo1 wrote:Ok, so if statements that are unverifiable are meaningless, then how do they sucessfully transmit information?

Take the following experiment. 30 subjects are each given one of three extracts from a poem by Keats to read. For the sake of argument, the extracts contains no verifiable statements whatsoever. They are then asked to write about the extract they have read for a few minutes, without any quotations or direct references to individual words. Then another group of 30 subjects read the writings produced, and try and work out from the writings which extract the author read.

I'd suggest that the second group would correctly identify the extracts at a rate greater than chance. This result would not be possible if the extracts were all literally meaningless.

Whoo, boy, talk about a badly designed thought experiment.

Meaningless is void of ANY meaning. If there is SOME meaning left, then the statement is verifiable / falsifiable. That's what you showed in the first few examples; X=Y+1, without ANY meaning assigned to X and Y.

So if Keats' poem is rendered meaningless, then I suggest it ought to read something similar to this text:

doidfgdfg pifog ugh eugh gh uerh gug
erouihj rh rughughudhklsdfghh pegh n apgh jgh
sdspfpgh spfhg sh sphg rugh ugh
spho shji rihj .


If you take Keats' poem and leave any word in it in its proper English form, it carries meaning. The experiment then is defeated, because it does not meet its own criteria to be meaningless.

If, however, the experiment's outset is TRUE to the definition of "meaninglessness", and has a form of or something similar to my four lines above, then I bet your tookush that nobody will reassemble it as a Keats poem.

Hence, meaninglessness carries no information.

That's A. B is that "meaninglessness" can have several meanings. It can be truly meaningless; or it can be meaningless to a particular purpose. "If a ship is 39 feet stern to bow, and seventeen feet wide, and its mast is 44 feet high, how old is the ship's captain?" This has RELATIVE meaninglessness.

So here we find an equivocation-type dilemma. If meaninglessness is true and absolute, then it carries not information. If it is relatively meaningless, then it carries no pertinent information, but it carries SOME information.

Therefore I reject your argument as invalid based on what you presented.

Gotta run, will pick apart (maybe, I haven't even read the rest of your post) your post later.
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Re: A Critique of Biological Materialism

Post Number:#356  Postby Togo1 » March 28th, 2017, 1:30 pm

-1- wrote:
Togo1 wrote:Ok, so if statements that are unverifiable are meaningless, then how do they sucessfully transmit information?

Take the following experiment. 30 subjects are each given one of three extracts from a poem by Keats to read. For the sake of argument, the extracts contains no verifiable statements whatsoever. They are then asked to write about the extract they have read for a few minutes, without any quotations or direct references to individual words. Then another group of 30 subjects read the writings produced, and try and work out from the writings which extract the author read.

I'd suggest that the second group would correctly identify the extracts at a rate greater than chance. This result would not be possible if the extracts were all literally meaningless.

Meaningless is void of ANY meaning. If there is SOME meaning left, then the statement is verifiable / falsifiable. That's what you showed in the first few examples; X=Y+1, without ANY meaning assigned to X and Y.


I'm going by the crition you cited, which is that any item that is not verifiable, is meaningless.

Are you saying that Keates' poems are verifiable, in which case I'd like to hear how? Or are you saying that some unveriable statements are indeed meaningful?

If instead you're claiming that meaning depends on purpose, that something can't have meaning unless a purpose is specified on which to hang the verification, then what happens to statements where no purpose is specified? Do you invent a purpose?
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Re: A Critique of Biological Materialism

Post Number:#357  Postby -1- » March 28th, 2017, 6:22 pm

Togo1 wrote:
Yes, you can [ theoretically exclude the possibility of detection]. It occurs quite frequently in modern physics, such as Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, where it is impossible, note not impractical, but actually not possible even in theory, to measure the speed and position of a particle at the same time.


I so KNEW you would pull in QM. As a last resort to save your argument.

But pulling in QM is invalid in the macro world. QM operates under completely different logic as the MM (Macro Mechanics).

The following are all possible and observed in QM and yet impossible to conceive of in the MM:

- the law of excluded middle no longer applies.

- events that are caused happen before they are caused.

- things move from point a to point b without taking up room in the intervening space.

- observation creates an outcome which would otherwise not happen.

- the smaller the space, the more energy is stored in it. (in an infinite regression.)

- matter can be directly transformed into energy and vice versa, in which process matter completely disappears, or reappears without becoming other matter or becoming from other matter.

- your favourite one, Togo1, which you quoted here: things happen in statistical fashion, that is, identical parts are only identifiable for change / position / energy by statistical probability.

----------

I reject the argument you presented, for it refers to the quantum world. If you want to mix quantum logic with macro physical logic, then you are destroying the basis of any argument on the macrophysical level. Can't do it, sorry, invalid. Because quantum laws and quantum logic NEVER happens in the macrophysical world. So you can't use the laws of QM to illustrate things in the Marco level.

-- Updated 2017 March 28th, 6:27 pm to add the following --

Togo1 wrote:Are you saying that Keates' poems are verifiable, in which case I'd like to hear how? They can be verified to be Keats' poems, by style, by word choice, by rhythm, by rhymes, by topic, by subject matter, by characters. Or are you saying that some unveriable statements are indeed meaningful? No, this is what you were saying, Togo1, by insisting that complete meaninglessness contains information.



-- Updated 2017 March 28th, 6:33 pm to add the following --

Togo1 wrote:All sensory data is illusion. Test that?


Strawman. You have committed a Strawman fallacy by your changing the field of reference. You are right that sensory data can't be tested against reality; but sensory data can be tested against other sensory data.

Please don't use fallacies in your arguments.

-- Updated 2017 March 28th, 6:49 pm to add the following --

-1- wrote:You may argue that "impossible to detect" is in the above examples a necessarily true quality or restriction. But this I reject, as it is only an axiomatic superimposition on reality by you; there is no proof that your superimposition can't be false.


Togo1 wrote:Surely the reverse also holds? There is no proof that your own axiomatic superimposition, that everything is testable, is true?


You got me there.

So we have to first agree whose arbitrary axiom to accept. Because the two arbitrary axioms we cited are incompatible.

I vote that we accept mine as the valid one. "It is possible to test anything." And that we reject your axiom, "there are things that are impossible to detect." (Excluding events in the QM realm.) What is your vote? Please note, you said "Impossible", and you did not say, "we are not able".

I suggest we go with my axiom. Because if something happens, that has causes, then the causation chain will point at the "impossible to detect" thing. If things are truly impossible to detect, then they can't have effects. Effects are a dead give-away of a causing thing. So you can only have things that are impossible to detect if they have no effects, which renders them meaningless, or unverifiable.

In your example the things that were "impossible to detect" caused things. Therefore I move that they are not impossible to detect.

-- Updated 2017 March 28th, 7:04 pm to add the following --

Togo1 wrote:2) Statements where the truth criteria of the statement are not defined, and thus the truth value of the statement itself can't be determined.


-1- wrote:2) I am having problems with. Do you have any problems with it too? It would really be helpful if you could please provide an example for this, too. Thanks.

Togo1 wrote:Hm.. "That may be good, but it's not Art."

There's a lot of disagreement as to what constitutes art, and what does not. Absent of an aboslute agreement over what is art and what is not, it's not possible to test whether something is or is not Art, even if all possible definitions of Art would in themselves be testable.


Unfortunately I can't use this example. Art is defined. Many different definitions exist. Whether a work is art or not, is decided by comparing it to the definition.

Because definitions are numerous and often contradictory to each other, they are still definitions.

Truth? Which corresponds to the truth? The truth is that a work is art if it fits the definition of art. Then it's truly art.

So you may say that at the same time a work is art, and not art. because one definition defines it as art, and the other definition denies it's art? True, the same work is both art and not art, but NOT at the same respect. Therefore the truth exists. (That the work is art, as the case may be.)

I appreciate the effort, but I regret to say that this is not an example where the truth criteria are not defined.
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Re: A Critique of Biological Materialism

Post Number:#358  Postby Togo1 » March 29th, 2017, 11:27 am

-1- wrote:
Togo1 wrote:Yes, you can [ theoretically exclude the possibility of detection]. It occurs quite frequently in modern physics, such as Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, where it is impossible, note not impractical, but actually not possible even in theory, to measure the speed and position of a particle at the same time.


I so KNEW you would pull in QM. As a last resort to save your argument.


Steady on. We've got this far without casting aspirations on each other's motivations or making personal comments. I'd hate to lose that.

I'll note that I haven't advanced an arguement..

-1- wrote:But pulling in QM is invalid in the macro world. QM operates under completely different logic as the MM (Macro Mechanics).

<snip>

I reject the argument you presented, for it refers to the quantum world. If you want to mix quantum logic with macro physical logic, then you are destroying the basis of any argument on the macrophysical level. Can't do it, sorry, invalid. Because quantum laws and quantum logic NEVER happens in the macrophysical world. So you can't use the laws of QM to illustrate things in the Marco level.


????

It's all the same universe though. That was the point of the Schrodinger's Cat thought experiment - that you simply can't hive off the very small and say it doesn't effect the macro universe, because it does. The cat's life depends on a single electron.

Similarly, what Einstein's theory of Relativity tells us, is not that Newtonian Mechanics magically switches on or off depending on how fast you are going, but that Newtonian Mechanics is wrong. An accurate model in a very narrow range of circumstances, but still wrong overall.

So when we have a model of the universe that claims that all events are predetermined by antecedent events, what emperical results from experiments in quantum physics tell us is that that view is wrong. An accurate model for some narrow set of purposes perhaps, but still wrong.


-1- wrote:
Togo1 wrote:Are you saying that Keates' poems are verifiable, in which case I'd like to hear how?

They can be verified to be Keats' poems, by style, by word choice, by rhythm, by rhymes, by topic, by subject matter, by characters.


That's lovely, but not what I asked. What I asked was how are they verifiable, not how their identity is verifiable. If you need to add any information to answer the question, you havn't answered the questions.

'Ode to a Greacian Urn' is a statement. How is this statement verified?



-1- wrote:
Togo1 wrote:All sensory data is illusion. Test that?


Strawman. You have committed a Strawman fallacy by your changing the field of reference.


I don't think so. A strawman is something very specific, an argument that demolishes a point that differs from the one actually presented. You're claiming that all statements are either verifiable or meaningless, so surely 'all sensory data is illusion' is a statement, and must be verifiable. Where's the straw?

-1- wrote:You are right that sensory data can't be tested against reality; but sensory data can be tested against other sensory data.


Sure it can, but that doesn't test the proposition that 'all sensory data is illusion', because all you're testing is that sensory data is consistent.


-1- wrote:You may argue that "impossible to detect" is in the above examples a necessarily true quality or restriction. But this I reject, as it is only an axiomatic superimposition on reality by you; there is no proof that your superimposition can't be false.

Togo1 wrote:Surely the reverse also holds? There is no proof that your own axiomatic superimposition, that everything is testable, is true?


You got me there.

So we have to first agree whose arbitrary axiom to accept. Because the two arbitrary axioms we cited are incompatible.


Well, no I think we need to reject both assumptions. Because trying to prove something that you're already assuming to be the case would be a fallacy, specifically petitio principii or begging the question. So the question becomes whether your position of empericism (meaning comes only from emperical measurement), contains or logically entails your position on determinism (that all events are predetermined by antecedent events. They seem to be very much of a peice.

Rather than risk begging the question, it seems safer to reject any kind of position around this, and state simply that it may or may not be possible to test every meaningful statement, just as it may or may not be true that every event is determined by an antecedent event. Then we can look for reasons to consider that these axioms may be true.

-1- wrote:I vote that we accept mine as the valid one. "It is possible to test anything." And that we reject your axiom, "there are things that are impossible to detect." (Excluding events in the QM realm.) What is your vote? Please note, you said "Impossible", and you did not say, "we are not able".


Hm.. Well previously were talking about whether statements were testable, and now you've slipped into talking about things or events. That's a very different topic, and one that doesn't really touch on the point I was making, which was that something that can be meaningful without having an unambiguous truth value. I'm not sure why we've suddenly gone to physical events?

-1- wrote:I suggest we go with my axiom. Because if something happens, that has causes, then the causation chain will point at the "impossible to detect" thing. If things are truly impossible to detect, then they can't have effects. Effects are a dead give-away of a causing thing. So you can only have things that are impossible to detect if they have no effects, which renders them meaningless, or unverifiable.


So where does that leave your dualist model, whereby mental events were entirely different from physical events. Wouldn't that render all mental events as being literally meaningless?

You appear to have a position that relies on declaring large sections of universe 'off limits', 'invalid' or 'meaningless'. So far we've been through all mental events and phenomena, then anything small, and now anything that can't be emperically verified. Yet you're still claiming to avoid eliminativism. Can you explain the difference?


Togo1 wrote:2) Statements where the truth criteria of the statement are not defined, and thus the truth value of the statement itself can't be determined.


-1- wrote:2) I am having problems with. Do you have any problems with it too? It would really be helpful if you could please provide an example for this, too. Thanks.
Togo1 wrote:Hm.. "That may be good, but it's not Art."

There's a lot of disagreement as to what constitutes art, and what does not. Absent of an aboslute agreement over what is art and what is not, it's not possible to test whether something is or is not Art, even if all possible definitions of Art would in themselves be testable.


Unfortunately I can't use this example. Art is defined. Many different definitions exist. Whether a work is art or not, is decided by comparing it to the definition.


Which is why I specifically asked you about a statement that does not supply a definition (see bold above). You can add information to the statement, and then test the bit you've added, yes. But the statement itself is not verifiable.
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Re: A Critique of Biological Materialism

Post Number:#359  Postby -1- » March 29th, 2017, 6:28 pm

Togo1 wrote:Hm.. Well previously were talking about whether statements were testable, and now you've slipped into talking about things or events. That's a very different topic, and one that doesn't really touch on the point I was making, which was that something that can be meaningful without having an unambiguous truth value. I'm not sure why we've suddenly gone to physical events?


You may have got me there. I will think about this, as I believe that statements as such have no meaning... if you remove the action, idea, happening, prediction, etc. whatever they describe.

A statement by itself is not testable. Its meaning is, and a statement's meaning is connected to reality, physical or metaphysical and its corresponding accuracy is what I'd call truth. That's what get tested: the statement's congruity of meaning to whatever it is about.

Now it seems to me that "statements" as such can't be tested at all... only their meaning.

Please correct me if I am wrong.

-- Updated 2017 March 29th, 6:32 pm to add the following --

togo1 wrote:You appear to have a position that relies on declaring large sections of universe 'off limits', 'invalid' or 'meaningless'.


Imagine my surprise reading this. Because all along I had figured this was your position. How else would it be possible that things can be rendered "undetectable" or "meaningless" or "off limits for knowledge", and they can be rendered by sheer declaration?

I don't know how I could have made this impression.

-- Updated 2017 March 29th, 6:50 pm to add the following --

Togo1 wrote: wrote:
Hm.. "That may be good, but it's not Art."

There's a lot of disagreement as to what constitutes art, and what does not. Absent of an aboslute agreement over what is art and what is not, it's not possible to test whether something is or is not Art, even if all possible definitions of Art would in themselves be testable.


-1- wrote:Unfortunately I can't use this example. Art is defined. Many different definitions exist. Whether a work is art or not, is decided by comparing it to the definition.



togo1 wrote:Which is why I specifically asked you about a statement that does not supply a definition (see bold above). You can add information to the statement, and then test the bit you've added, yes. But the statement itself is not verifiable.


Well,well. I asked for a REAL life example, but I may have not been clear that I wanted a real life example. You did not supply a real life example; you supplied yet one more example where an arbitrarily chosen untrue restriction has been placed on the topic. "Absent of an absulute agreement over what art is or what is not" is not the same as no definitions exist. I think I was clear enough to point that out in my reply. However, this is just one more example where you make a make-belief scenario in which the conditions don't parallel reality. This may work as a working model to show how the undefined truth impresses the scenario, I can't argue that. But I wanted you to please describe a real-life scenario. Sorry if I did not make that clear enough.

Your example on art deals with a real-life scenario, but it departs from real life when you claim that no definitions exist of art. "No universal definitions" anyhow. And you from there proceeded to prove your point, which did not take into consideration the existence of definitions, despite your own declaring that definitions exist.

But the statement itself is not verifiable. -- what do you mean? The semantics, the structure, the grammar, the syntax, the words? Because I can only relate the argument to semantics, and semantics involve meaning. Meaning is impossible without applying it to reality or metaphysical reality. So again, like once before already, you talk about statements, I talk about meaning of statements as they relate to reality.

It's time for me to ask the question: what do you mean "Statement is verifiable" when it does not concern itself with its conveyed meaning? I said "events", "things" are verifiable; you countered that we are not talking about events, things, etc. when we talk about statements.

So WHAT are we talking about when we talk about statements, according to how you see it? This is an important question which I need to ask you.

-- Updated 2017 March 29th, 6:59 pm to add the following --

Togo1 wrote:Because trying to prove something that you're already assuming to be the case would be a fallacy, specifically petitio principii or begging the question.


Actually, this is not what happened, as I see it. I am not trying to prove that things have a cause-and-effect relationship. I started with invoking the truth or premiss that things have a cause-and-effect relationship, but it was not part of my QED. I showed that whenever we see an effect, which has a cause missing in our detection, then we can safely assume that a cause exists. And if the cause exist then we can eventually realize what it is, by process of elimination.

This is to counter your argument, that causes exist that can't be pinpointed out to exist. I retorted that then they don't have an effect.

I don't see your actual reasoning of naming this a "beggin the question" fallacy. I see my reasoning, and I find nothing wrong with it. It is a short argument, true, but it does not prove itself; it relies on the fact that causes have effects. That is not part of what I tried to prove; that was a given.

-- Updated 2017 March 29th, 7:06 pm to add the following --

Togo1 wrote:
All sensory data is illusion. Test that?

-1- wrote:
Strawman. You have committed a Strawman fallacy by your changing the field of reference.

Togo1 wrote:
I don't think so. A strawman is something very specific, an argument that demolishes a point that differs from the one actually presented. You're claiming that all statements are either verifiable or meaningless, so surely 'all sensory data is illusion' is a statement, and must be verifiable. Where's the straw?

-1- wrote:
You are right that sensory data can't be tested against reality; but sensory data can be tested against other sensory data.

Togo1 wrote:
Sure it can, but that doesn't test the proposition that 'all sensory data is illusion', because all you're testing is that sensory data is consistent.


You know what? I called it a Strawman because I WHOLLY misunderstood your point.

Your point was expressed with a question. I don't do well with rhetorical questions. I normally and always ask my debating partners to avoid stating their opinions in question forms. I let this one go, and I did not ask you to please state your point in a declarative form, and then BANGG it blew up in my face as I really must have grossly misunderstood your point.

So if you wish to revisit this part of the conversation, then please express your point you made with declarative sentence(s), not with questions.

-- Updated 2017 March 29th, 7:22 pm to add the following --

Togo1 wrote:
Are you saying that Keates' poems are verifiable, in which case I'd like to hear how?

-1- wrote:
They can be verified to be Keats' poems, by style, by word choice, by rhythm, by rhymes, by topic, by subject matter, by characters.

Togo1 wrote:
That's lovely, but not what I asked. What I asked was how are they verifiable, not how their identity is verifiable. If you need to add any information to answer the question, you havn't answered the questions.

'Ode to a Greacian Urn' is a statement. How is this statement verified?

-------------


If you remember back to how this started, you claimed that if you removed the meaning from Keats' poetry, and gave it to students, then if there was no meaning, or the poem was unverifiable, then how come the students could still guess correctly that this was a Keats poem, which they did.

It is not the poem that needs verification in your example. What needed verification was the elements of examined parts through which students were able to identify the author. That is verified by the things I listed: rhyme, cadence, topic, similes, etc. I countered with the claim that though semantics may have been destroyed, some meaning was indeed conveyed after the "removal of all meanings".

Your argument somehow got lost in the shuffle, and you slowly but surely, it seems to me, forgot what I was challenging there. I was challenging the fact that this was an example where all meaning was removed. I counter charged that meaning was conveyed, and by that meaning I meant the recognized features of Keats' poetical style.

The mistake I made was I used the word "meaning" instead of "information".

This is not an easily grasped concept, I do realize that. And I admit to have made that mistake in choosing the wrong word.

-- Updated 2017 March 29th, 7:25 pm to add the following --

Steady on. We've got this far without casting aspirations on each other's motivations or making personal comments. I'd hate to lose that.


Amen to that. My bad for faltering there for a moment.

-- Updated 2017 March 30th, 1:32 am to add the following --

Dear Togo1,

I think we are now playing ping-pong on several tables, so to speak: we broke up the main argument into smaller points, and are squabbling about the smaller points. Not that they are small, they are indeed incredibly germain to the main topic, but I am afraid we (I for one, and I fear you as well) have lost sight of the main issue.

I wish to propose that at this point we both revisit the main issue, and restate our positions on it, incorporating as needed the arguments we have presented so far.

The main issue at hand being, if you agree, the quality of unverifiability.

That's Proposal A. Proposal B is (I offer you the choice between A and B, while stating my preference) that we agree that we have done our best, either of us individually, to present our arguments in the best possible way we can, and therefore further discussion to convince the others is futile, inasmuch as examining the points of the other in an honest fashion ought to create a resolution, even if it does not. What I mean, is that we can agree (under Proposal B), that we assume that the other made his or her points well, and examining those points of the other potentially presents a valid argument; we are not under obligation to examine those points and accept them, but we are under obligation to accept that we both made our best efforts to present our points, and it is possible and highly likely that the other made good points.

My preference is Porposal B, but I let you decide between A and B proposals, or else, I'm willing to hear your alternative proposal(s).
Sweat the small stuff... because then the big stuff will take care of itself.
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Re: A Critique of Biological Materialism

Post Number:#360  Postby Togo1 » March 30th, 2017, 9:48 am

Proposal A is good. Let's try it

Ok, I'll kick off with some high level points that I suspect we differ on:

a) I tend to see verfiability in terms of falsifiability. I'm not committed to that view, but I see other approaches as having troubling issues.

b) I don't agree with your views on determinism, cause and effect, scientism, or empericism. To the extent that you're relying on these to inform your position, we'll need to discuss seperately.

c) I see non-falsifiability as referring to statements, not events. I find the idea of a verifiable event to be a contradiction.

d) I see non-falsifiable statements as not only common, but logically necessary.

e) Because of the above, I see emperical measurement as being a valuable tool applicable to a small subset of statements, those being statements about the physical world.

Because of the above, I see any attempt to limit oneself to using only falsifiable statements about the physical world to be logically incoherant.

Does that give you enough to work with? You want to try your own list? Or would you prefer a different format?
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