Are we more than just particles?

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Harbal
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Re: Are we more than just particles?

Post by Harbal » February 15th, 2015, 7:39 pm

When does the fun start?

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Greta
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Re: Are we more than just particles?

Post by Greta » February 15th, 2015, 7:58 pm

A Poster He or I wrote:Biologists tell us no individual cell anywhere in the human body lives more than 7 years, meaning no physical part of us remains from what we physically were seven years earlier.
I had the same misconception in the "What are We?" thread onlinephilosophyclub.com/forums/viewtop ... mp;t=12782. Neurons can persist for life.
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Re: Are we more than just particles?

Post by Steve3007 » February 17th, 2015, 8:03 am

A Poster He or I:
The situation Steve3007 describes is facetious ONLY because we so utterly take for granted the persistence of personal identity, even though our best scientific evidence suggests we are being completely "re-created" in every Planck-time moment. Indeed we don't even have to get so abstract: Biologists tell us no individual cell anywhere in the human body lives more than 7 years, meaning no physical part of us remains from what we physically were seven years earlier.
It could be argued that the proposition: "we are being completely re-created in every Plank-time moment" is somewhat analagous to the frequently expressed proposition: "solid objects are not really solid because (atomic nuclei being very small and dense) they are mostly empty space."

The objection to the latter proposition would be that the discovery of the atomic/molecular structure of matter does not make matter any less solid than it was before; it merely enhances our understanding of the word "solid". The underlying mechanism for solidity is perhaps not what we thought it was in the past, but all our past experiences of solidity and its properties are unchanged.

Likewise, we could argue that our understanding of the biological facts of cell-replacement and the physical facts of QM do not make our personal identity any less persistent and continuous than it was previously; they simply enhance our depth of understanding of the mechanism for that persistence.

I think your placing of the word "re-created" in quotes acknowledges that. But, as you go on to explore in the next two paragraphs, related ideas like teleporting minds, transferring minds into other vessels or the creation of artificial minds all present interesting challenges because of the fact that so many very important ethical questions hinge on this changing understanding of the nature of personality persistence.

I guess it's one facet of an age-old problem arising from the fact that we try to apply discrete ethical rules to the continuum of nature. Our ethical systems force us to judge actions either "right" or "wrong", or to judge people as either "responsible" or "not responsible" for their actions. Or, in fact, to define them either as a "person" or "not a person". We have to make binary, all or nothing decisions. But we have to apply those decisions to a continuous world. This is the origin of the intractability of lots ethical questions, such as the abortion debate.

Greta:

I think you make a valid point about neurons which affects one particular aspect of this idea that the material stuff of which we're made is constantly replaced. But I don't think it affects the overall principle.

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Re: Are we more than just particles?

Post by Greta » February 17th, 2015, 8:40 am

Steve3007 wrote:The objection to the latter proposition would be that the discovery of the atomic/molecular structure of matter does not make matter any less solid than it was before; it merely enhances our understanding of the word "solid". The underlying mechanism for solidity is perhaps not what we thought it was in the past, but all our past experiences of solidity and its properties are unchanged.
I like the way you have expressed this, Steve. I always found this notion of "we are mostly empty space" to be just a slogan, like "everything is an illusion". At subatomic scales, yes, we are mostly space. We are as fluffy as clouds compared with the centre of the Earth too. Yet at our scale the strong nuclear force is plenty solid, as Major General Albert Stubblebine III (try saying that quickly three times) famously found out.
Steve3007 wrote:I think you make a valid point about neurons which affects one particular aspect of this idea that the material stuff of which we're made is constantly replaced. But I don't think it affects the overall principle.
Yes, it would seem a major consideration when it comes to persistence of identity but not the only one. I don't think the neurons alone order our identity. We are each a vast ecosystem with numerous communities of both integrated and independent cells. Each of those communities operates in a certain way and each cell will influence its neighbour, aside from the influence of neurons. A message is only as good as the messenger and we are shaped by all those cooperative, interdependent relationships.

The romantics would say we are made of lurve :)
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Re: Are we more than just particles?

Post by Steve3007 » February 17th, 2015, 8:49 pm

Greta:
Major General Albert Stubblebine III
I had to look him up. Featured in "The Men Who Stare at Goats"? I've never seen that film. Have often mistakenly thought that "here's looking at you kid" must have been a quote from it.

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Re: Are we more than just particles?

Post by Greta » February 17th, 2015, 9:05 pm

I found out about the major general from my favourite Richard Dawkins lecture: "Queerer than we suppose: the strangeness of science" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1APOxsp1VFw

At first I though RD was just making the character up as a joke and was surprised when it checked out. The man truly did attempt to walk through walls, figuring that he could get the nuclei and electrons of his atoms to pass through the vast spaces between those subatomic particles in the wall. Then he ran into the strong nuclear force.
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Re: Are we more than just particles?

Post by Steve3007 » February 18th, 2015, 4:00 am

It sounds to me as though he was perhaps influenced by Ernest Rutherford's experiments with alpha particles and that the force he ran into was the electromagnetic one. Rutherford did some famous experiments where he fired alpha particles (which are essential the nuclei of helium atoms) at thin gold foil. He found that mostly the particles go straight through with only a little deflection, but occasionally they bounced back.

Perhaps that guy thought he was an alpha particle!

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Re: Are we more than just particles?

Post by Wayne92587 » March 19th, 2015, 4:18 pm

When asking if is man more than Particles? The answer is Yes; when speaking of Particles you are talking about an untold quantity of Infinitely Finites Indivisible Singularities having no relative, numerical value, having a numerical value of Zero-0 Nada, Zip, Zilch, Nothing.

The Point being that Man's as the Whole of a Single Reality, a Singularity of One-1, the Whole is greater than the sum-total of it's it Singular, Individual Parts, having no relative, numerical value, having a numerical value of Zero-0 Zip, Zilch, Nothing; as a unknown quantity of Particles, Nothing plus Nothing being a grand total of Nothing.

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Re: Are we more than just particles?

Post by NRG » September 19th, 2015, 6:55 pm

Bohm2 wrote:
DaveyMc wrote:Are we more than just particles??
Even particles are more than just particles. What I mean, is that at present, at the subatomic level, it's not clear that matter, itself are just particles, at least, in the classical way.
I agree. Particles are more than just particles. If we assume for a moment that matter is responsible for our psychic experience, and ignore any autonomous spiritual world, we could safely say that we experience the activity of normal energy and matter in a non-physical way through psychic experience. Because there is no fair reason to conclude that psychic experience isn't real, it must be said that these non-physical properties of matter do in fact belong to matter, we simply experience our world through differnt means. That is why the predominantly extraverted attitude of todays societies tends to think of the world as only existing physically, outside of our minds. Throughout history there hav been societies that were more introverted and saw the world as being alive with spirits and the like.

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Re: Are we more than just particles?

Post by Atreyu » October 15th, 2015, 1:54 am

NRG wrote:I agree. Particles are more than just particles. If we assume for a moment that matter is responsible for our psychic experience, and ignore any autonomous spiritual world, we could safely say that we experience the activity of normal energy and matter in a non-physical way through psychic experience. Because there is no fair reason to conclude that psychic experience isn't real, it must be said that these non-physical properties of matter do in fact belong to matter, we simply experience our world through differnt means. That is why the predominantly extraverted attitude of todays societies tends to think of the world as only existing physically, outside of our minds. Throughout history there hav been societies that were more introverted and saw the world as being alive with spirits and the like.
Absolutely correct!

Thinking of the world as being composed of a bunch of "particles", or even "matter", "energy", "quanta", "spirits", "gods", "minds",etc, is a completely subjective way of cognizing the world. Modern man has learned to think of the world in terms of particles, but he has many other contemporary ways of cognizing it, and historically there were many others which are completely unknown today.

Yes, many ancient cultures viewed the Universe as being "alive", and that view is actually much closer to the truth, because, as you suggested, the psychological takes precedence over the physical, i.e. the "physical" is merely the manifestion of the particular psyche in question. In other words, thinking of the Universe as something more like a big swirling collection of non-living matter-energy-quanta is giving precedence to the particular cognition we have at present - the one that likes to think of things as being composed of "stuff". This is putting the "physical reality" over the psychology behind that reality - a basic error. The reason why we see and think of the world as "matter" or "particles" is simply because we have learned to think of it that way. It's merely one of many ways that the psyche can present the world to itself, i.e. one of the ways that the psyche describes the world to itself.

Putting the physical manifestation over its underlying psychology is what causes modern man to look at the solar system and "see" only large rocks and balls of gas. Ancient man did not do that, he was not captivated by the modern materialistic view, so when he looked at the world around him, he didn't see mostly "dead matter" in the midst of the exception of life. Rather, he perceived "living matter" only, no exceptions. Modern man only sees the Earth as a "big rock" because the socialization process has convinced him that there could not be anything else there. Planets cannot be living things, because it does not fit into the narrow definition which science has already established as correct.So he no longer sees all that is there, but only what he has been convinced is there (nothing but "matter"). His awareness won't dare to see anything else but a "big rock", because seeing that it is really a Gigantic "Mother", an actual highly intelligent sentient being, would simply be too shocking a discovery. It would shatter its entire "world view" beyond repair.

And it is this limiting of awareness by contemporary society which causes us to even consider the absurdity that the Universe could possibly be nothing more than just a "bunch of particles". Without a lifetime of the materialistic view being pounded into us since birth, we would never entertain such a ludicrous, absurd, and shallow idea....

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Re: Are we more than just particles?

Post by NRG » October 19th, 2015, 5:49 am

Atreyu,

This attitude with its peculiar bias that characterises the current stage in humanity's development is at the at the root of all current human activity in all it's manifestations. The general misinterpretation of mythology and religion is one good example of this one-sided point of view. Modern people often interpret mythology as being a sort of compensation due to a lack of understanding of material phenomena, but I believe that people throughout the past could have just as easily reversed that statement to say that ruthless examination of material phenomena is a compensation for lack of understanding of the non-material. I would agree with both in principle, but not as to diminish the importance of either side.

I feel that all experiences ought to be taken seriously, for they all constitute the spectrum of perception available to the human being. It is easier to develop sensitivity to one segment of this spectrum at a time, and indeed, many great minds throughout history were very much one-sided their whole lives, but it would appear to me that most rewarding of all would be to seek experiences of all that is available to you. This is what leads to a much deeper understanding of the universe. It is also worth knowing that repressing certain tendencies or perceptions does not stop them from existing nor does it stop them from manifesting themselves, repression only seems to cause the content to manifest in more crude and unproductive ways. Self discovery is not just about discovering more about the things you like about yourself, but also discovering the things that, consciously, you may regard as useless, delusional or even dispicable.

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Re: Are we more than just particles?

Post by Atreyu » October 31st, 2015, 12:34 pm

Well put, NRG....

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Re: Are we more than just particles?

Post by Wayne92587 » November 11th, 2015, 4:05 pm

The Universe is more than just a bunch of individual particles.

A Reality which includes Us, exists as a bunch of individual particles acting as the Whole of a Singular Reality.

We exists as Individualities, as an untold quantity, number, of particles existing as an Individuality that exists in part as part of a greater whole; to exist as a Singularity, as a singular individual alone in the emptiness of Time and Space, Space-Time is meaningless.

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Re: Are we more than just particles?

Post by New_View_of_Physics » December 18th, 2015, 11:49 pm

I like this discussion and I like to add a thought. Suppose that we are all the same person with different memories. Existing in different places at the same time but actually connected within. Like wise all particles of matter are the same particle only in different locations. The space is from the particle and the personality from the person.

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Re: Are we more than just particles?

Post by Greta » January 2nd, 2016, 4:26 pm

NRG wrote:This attitude with its peculiar bias that characterises the current stage in humanity's development is at the at the root of all current human activity in all it's manifestations. The general misinterpretation of mythology and religion is one good example of this one-sided point of view. Modern people often interpret mythology as being a sort of compensation due to a lack of understanding of material phenomena, but I believe that people throughout the past could have just as easily reversed that statement to say that ruthless examination of material phenomena is a compensation for lack of understanding of the non-material. I would agree with both in principle, but not as to diminish the importance of either side.

I feel that all experiences ought to be taken seriously, for they all constitute the spectrum of perception available to the human being.
I agree. I am regularly reminded here of the parable of the six blind men and the elephant http://www.his.com/~pshapiro/elephant.story.html, which reminds us of both the validity of all people's subjective perceptions and the inherent limitations of all individual perspectives.
The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated—Gandhi.

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