Is there an asymmetry between me and other subjects?

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Re: Is there an asymmetry between me and other subjects?

Post by -1- » July 26th, 2017, 2:11 am

Tamminen wrote: To make it clear, I see these self-evident facts: (1) there is symmetry between us, (2) the being of the world is independent of my personal existence. The question is: how is this possible?
I see a lot of similarities between your dilemma and the following dilemmas:

One plus one makes two. How is that possible?

The sky is blue, the sea is green, and the sails are white. How is that possible?

Johnny is 5 years old, there are many decaying corpses in graveyards, and grade school teachers talk. How is that possible?

etc.

In general, you can stick the phrase "how is that possible" to the end part of your speech after any number of unrelated assertions, and bang, you still don't sound any more intelligent than before.
"You can always live without a lover, but you can't love without a liver."

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Re: Is there an asymmetry between me and other subjects?

Post by Tamminen » July 26th, 2017, 4:17 am

Gertie:
I'd agree that our current scientific models and approaches don't seem able to get a handle on the relationship between what we call the 'mental' and the 'physical', and might well require a paradigmatic shift in order to see the big picture. As it stands, there is evidence to suggest consciousness is a property of/correlates with certain configurations of matter, which suggests it might be an emergent property of certain complex systems (like human beings). But who knows...
I agree on the correlation part but not on the emergent property part of your idea.
You slide from saying the world continues to exist when you're not in it, to saying it ceases to exist when you're not in it, without addressing the obvious and repeated point that it only ceases to exist from your subjective pov. And that this matches with our observations of how consciousness works, located in certain specific systems (eg humans) as a discrete unified field of consciousness, located in a specific place and time. We know this. We know the universe existed before human beings evolved to subjectively experience it. So you can't just assert stuff doesn't exist unless it's in a subject-object relationship. And therefore the subject-object relationship can't can't be asserted as fundamental, if objects existed before there were conscious subjects to experience them.

All the evidence we have contradicts what you say. Nothing supports it.

However, we don't understand consciousness, or its relationship to matter, so anything is possible. But you're just speculating, in a way which disregards the evidence we do have.
I don't like to repeat myself, because you obviously don't get my point at all. My view is an interpretation of known facts, nothing in it contradicts them.
No you don't transcend yourself, you're just thinking about yourself in a reflective way. No new being called 'transcendental I' comes into existence when you have these thoughts, nothing different is happening. These thoughts will have neural correlates in your brain just like any other thought. That's what the evidence suggests. And you can understand how it's an evolutionarily useful trait if you're imagining a plan for tackling a chore, going on a hunt, etc, to project yourself into a situation, imagine yourself doing this or that, assessing feasibility, risk, efficiency and so on.
You may be right on this on the physiological level, but I think the possibility of reflection suggests a deeper subjectivity. But perhaps this is not enough to prove its necessity.
If you're assuming your discrete consciousness can exist independently of matter, why would you need a body to relate to other discrete conscious subjects? Where's the explanation?
On the contrary, I think my discrete consciousness needs matter to be able to exist. And so does the transcendental subject for its being, because I can exist only as an individual subject.
And it's an assumption that bodies came to exist in order to relate to other subjects, it implies a teleological purpose behind evolution which there's no evidence for. And what about rocks, why do they exist?
I really think there must be some kind of teleology or causa formalis, the source of which is in subjectivity. And the rocks are part of it as its instruments. Note that this is a metaphysical interpretation of our evidence, nothing in my thinking goes against known facts.
Another assumption. We don't know the relationship between between body and mind, matter and experience. Nobody does, not science, not me and not you. You can guess and speculate, create a whole hypothesis, but it should build from the evidence we have, and I can't see how yours does.
Is there something in this that goes against evidence?
-1- wrote:In general, you can stick the phrase "how is that possible" to the end part of your speech after any number of unrelated assertions, and bang, you still don't sound any more intelligent than before.
See the context. I admit I should be more precise.

-- Updated July 26th, 2017, 8:06 am to add the following --
Gertie wrote: We know the universe existed before human beings evolved to subjectively experience it. So you can't just assert stuff doesn't exist unless it's in a subject-object relationship. And therefore the subject-object relationship can't can't be asserted as fundamental, if objects existed before there were conscious subjects to experience them.
In addition to what I have written earlier: Why can't objects of consciousness be historical? Why should there be consciousness in the past of the universe in order for it to be an object for the present consciousness? I see the universe as a totality. To say it metaphorically: a ball is a ball altough its segments are not balls. But it is true that this presupposes teleology and a holistic view of reality. The expression of this teleology is the fundamental subject-object relation. I should have said this more clearly in the beginning, sorry about that.

Can you explain what it is that contradicts evidence in my world view? In fact it explains the crucial evidence of the paradox we started from, and that is something that materialism cannot explain. Admitting of course that the paradox is not self-evident to everybody.

-- Updated July 26th, 2017, 8:35 am to add the following --
Gertie wrote:You slide from saying the world continues to exist when you're not in it, to saying it ceases to exist when you're not in it, without addressing the obvious and repeated point that it only ceases to exist from your subjective pov.
Haven't we just discussed this in the paradox debate? The paradox says: not only from my subjective point of view. Or still better: in that case there are no points of view or anything to point at.

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Re: Is there an asymmetry between me and other subjects?

Post by Gertie » July 26th, 2017, 11:54 am

Tam

I don't think I'm still misunderstanding you, but rather than go round and round I'll just summarise how I see it.

You base your hypothesis on the 'mismatch' between the objective world of stuff, and subjective experience. This is weird, and a genuine mystery, which leads to situations like the world ending for you when you die, but not for me.

You then go on to construct a hypothesis out of thin air, based on that mystery, which makes claims about the fundamental nature of reality, which you can't possibly know. And might well not have the cognitive toolkit to grasp.

What evidence we do have, which would be a reasonable ground-up place to start, doesn't support your model, it leads us towards different possibilities, like monism, consciousness as an emergent property, or panpsychism, but none of these are (currently) testable, they're essentially 'what if...' scenarios, which might offer an explanation, and arise from our observations, like evolved complexity being associated with consciousness, and neural correlation. Your hypothesis doesn't reference these potential clues, it doesn't build up from them. It has an appeal to you, but not me, and without the evidentiary building blocks to persuade me behind it, there's no reason for me to change my mind.

Tamminen
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Re: Is there an asymmetry between me and other subjects?

Post by Tamminen » July 26th, 2017, 1:21 pm

All right Gertie, thanks for an interesting discussion. It was challenging to try to express thoughts that are self-evident for me but still extremely difficult to put into meaningful sentences. I still think my view is simpler and more satisfactory, but let us close the case for now, if there is no one else willing to continue.

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