Are we here?

Discuss any topics related to metaphysics (the philosophical study of the principles of reality) or epistemology (the philosophical study of knowledge) in this forum.
Karpel Tunnel
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Re: Are we here?

Post by Karpel Tunnel » February 26th, 2018, 5:59 am

Eduk wrote:
February 25th, 2018, 1:00 pm
Karpel I prefer the definition of logic I get via Google

reasoning conducted or assessed according to strict principles of validity.
That is also clearly not all we have.
Also your example of meeting dead aunts and the like is, in a way, a good example. Some people, I imagine, genuinely believe such things have occurred to them and therefore believe themselves quite logical in something like a soul being real. However to do so they would have to ignore all evidence to the contrary, which is well documented and well verified and logical.
Or let me put it another way. They didn't meet their dead aunt or the like. Therefore there remains no logical reason to believe a soul is real.
There are tons of illogical reasons. And tons of people who believe they are logical, but they are mistaken.
There isn't evidence to the contrary. What one can argue is that since non-experiencers or people who have similar experiences but have decided they were something else - at this point have not been presented with enough evidence to assume such interpretations of the phenomenon are correct. They are not in the same position as someone who experiences such things regularly and has a different paradigm.

Let me give you two examples that causes your simple assessment problems.

In science it was considered irrational to think animals had emotions, intentions, thought processes, or even were experiencers like we were. This is up to the 70s. Animals were considered basically mechanism a la Descartes. You put your career in jeopardy writing otherwise as a professional in biology, zoology. To animal trainers and pet owners, the fact that animals were quite like us in many ways was obvious. Those people were not irrational, even though their ideas did not fit with the current scientific paradigm. Rogue waves: sailors and others reported giant solitary waves. These reports were dismissed as irrational reports distorted by emotionally charged humans. The rogue waves did not fit current models so reports were dismissed. Over time technology changed, cameras were installed in the bridges of ships, later satellite images confirmed that despite solitary huge waves not fitting current models, they in fact existed. So scientists went back to work and developed models that explained the anomolies.

You speak rather easily about truth. What science, which is not complete, offers us is a set of models and vast ranges of data. We do not know what phenomena will be found to be the case in the future history of science. If your experience does not (seem to) fit with current models or with the current set of what science considers verified and correctly interpreted phenomena, you may, yes, be hallucinating, thinking wishfully, etc. On the other hand, it may be that you are correctly interpreting phenomena, just as other people have in relation to other phenomena dismissed by scientists at other times.

Current models should leave one agnostic on issues like this, but a lot of people cannot refrain from saying that science has disproved certain sets of phenomena when it has not.

Karpel Tunnel
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Re: Are we here?

Post by Karpel Tunnel » February 26th, 2018, 6:02 am

I mention being agnostic and I want to be very clear here. Two people with significantly different experiences may very well both of them rationally and logically reach different conclusions. And it may be very hard to prove which of them is right.

Most people confuse: it has not been proved to the community with 'it is false'.

And that is extremely damaging and also epistemologically weak.

Karpel Tunnel
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Re: Are we here?

Post by Karpel Tunnel » February 26th, 2018, 8:04 am

Eduk wrote:
February 25th, 2018, 6:54 pm
Once again the Google definition of logic comes to our rescue.

experience is a better guide to this than deductive logic

Therefore we see it is logical to use experience where appropriate.
This would seem to imply that sometimes you draw conclusions without using experience. I have no idea how that would be done. And then, how would one evaluate how it went without experience. Science, being an empirical method, for example has experience built in at all stages.

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Re: Are we here?

Post by Karpel Tunnel » February 26th, 2018, 8:23 am

JamesOfSeattle wrote:
February 25th, 2018, 2:52 pm
Here’s my take [Warning: Functionalism ensues]

Karpel is correct in that there is more than one way in which we come to know what is real. Experience is one method. I may see a pot on an unlit stove and decide it should be put away. Grabbing the pot and then dropping it because it is burning hot is a learning experience. Next time I see a pot on an unlit stove and have the desire to put it away, I doubt I will go through the logic of “even though the stove is not lit, someone may have just turned it off and therefore the pot may still be hot”. Instead I think I may have a “gut reaction” that just picking up the pot might be a bad idea.
I was also pointing out that logic is contentless. It is about the relationship between assertions and whether the asserted relationships are correct. If all we have is logic we do not, for example, have senses. We do not really even have semantics.
Now if functionalism is correct (which of course it is, ahem) the thing that you think of as your self can be described as a functional agent. Because the functional agent does not dictate a physical embodiment, from its own subjective perspective, a functional agent by itself is not incompatible with dualism, and so not incompatible with souls, magic, etc. The functional agent may well have experiences which seem incompatible with a materialistic world.
YOu don't really need a dualism. Over time science has decided that physical includes things like fields, massless particles, anti particles, things in superposition, neutrinos passing through us in the billions, etc. Physical does not mean what physical seems to imply anymore. It basically means detectable or verifiable or has effects. Souls may well be something not yet detected. WE can black box it.
While the functional agent may be open to all kinds of experience, this agent can also follow the rules of logic. These rules are objective relative to the functional agent. As it turns out, these rules tend to be very useful for figuring out “what is real” because they create predictability. Logic becomes most useful when its predictions run counter to our experience. It just so happens that in every case that good logic predicts something counter to our experience, the logical prediction turns out to be correct: the predicted thing happens.
It sure depends on what that reasoning or deduction (I really do not like the word logic here) is based on.
So getting back to the soul, what should the functional agent do if everything that is experienced, even those things which seem incompatible with materialism, such as the experience of ghosts, can be predicted by applying logic to the known physical world?
And again, one, there is no reason to assume that ghosts or souls are incompatible with materialism/physicalism, though of course many who believe in these things are defacto dualists, but not necessarily philosophical ones. If they knew what is considered physical now in science they might consider the issue fairly moot. See my post a couple back where I mention rogue waves and animal cognition. Nothing in current science ruled out those things, they were just considered via some use of parsimony/occam's razor to be unlikely and they did not fit with current models. Certain people had experiences that made them sure that current models were not correct. Given the problem of other minds it was not easy to prove that animals were experiencers and that they had these various types of subjective processes we now in science consider they do have. What people then did was make predictions that were compatible with current models and decided that hallucinations are predictable, emotional hysteria is predictable we know it happens, so that's what it is. But that's just poor thinking.

There is always a middle position.

I am not convinced because these people say they saw 15 meter solitary waves, but I don't know.

People seem to think that they must choose.

Further there is the assumption that there can be only one rational conclusion regardless of differences in experience.

Actually there can be more than one.

Native americans who saw huge ships and white Europeans and relayed this to tribes who had not seen them would be rational in believing what they saw. That humans could in numbers have different colored skin (and other traits) and further that enormous canoes could be made (and all the other technological things they saw). The inland tribes would 1) be rational to be skeptical about this and even 2) to consider that the other tribe might have some selfish reason for making this **** up and/or have been eating datura or something. Both are being rational and logical out of their experiences.

This does not mean that everyone is right. or that we have no way to tell. But it does mean that we cannot always come to an agreement and that occams razor depends on people's experiences. There are beliefs we should not yet accept for ourselves which at the same time may be logically accepted by someone else with different experiences. And we will not be able to know which we are encountering. Personally I wish there was more agnositicism.

Eduk
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Re: Are we here?

Post by Eduk » February 26th, 2018, 2:40 pm

Karpel what would convince you that belief that a soul exists is illogical?
To answer my own question I simply require evidence that a soul exists and then I would revise my position.

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Greta
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Re: Are we here?

Post by Greta » February 26th, 2018, 7:13 pm

What would evidence of a soul look like? What would we be looking for?

Eduk
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Re: Are we here?

Post by Eduk » February 26th, 2018, 7:27 pm

Are you asking me Greta? You make a good point. I was being glib. A good starting point would be a functional definition of what a soul is.
The reason I am not agnostic about the existence of a soul is because souls are undefined. When someone says are souls real what they are really saying is is undefined real. I mean of course undefined is real but how would anyone, including yourself, know it was the same undefined thing.

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JamesOfSeattle
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Re: Are we here

Post by JamesOfSeattle » February 26th, 2018, 8:01 pm

Karpel,

You said
Souls may well be something not yet detected.
My point is there is nothing that a soul explains that is not explained by what we know from physics. Was it Laplace who said “I have no need of that hypothesis”? If you can explain something with the materials you have, why hypothesize some new new material?

As evidenced by your final statement: ”I wish there was more agnosticism”, your purpose in this discussion seems to be to fortify a position that it is okay for people to hold on to beliefs which are counter to the bulk of evidence but cannot be logically proven false. In some cases, such as belief in souls, such a position may be harmless, but in other cases, such as belief in the healing power of prayer, or that immunizations cause autism, the position is actually harmful.

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Greta
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Re: Are we here?

Post by Greta » February 26th, 2018, 8:31 pm

Eduk wrote:
February 26th, 2018, 7:27 pm
Are you asking me Greta? You make a good point. I was being glib. A good starting point would be a functional definition of what a soul is.
The reason I am not agnostic about the existence of a soul is because souls are undefined. When someone says are souls real what they are really saying is is undefined real. I mean of course undefined is real but how would anyone, including yourself, know it was the same undefined thing.
Yes, I was asking you and also wondering myself.

I have never quite understood the quantum laws about preservation of information, why a living thing and a dead thing would be thought to contain the same amount of information. It would seem that information is truly lost, or gone somewhere unknown.

Brian Cox claimed that the LHC conclusive proved that ghosts do not exist because they would have been found at the machine's current power levels. He seemed too enthusiastic about it, in too much of a hurry, to me. I think he would need to first hypothesise what finding a ghost in an atom smasher might look like but he noted that there is no definition:
"If we want some sort of pattern that carries information about our living cells to persist then we must specify precisely what medium carries that pattern and how it interacts with the matter particles out of which our bodies are made. We must, in other words, invent an extension to the Standard Model of Particle Physics that has escaped detection at the Large Hadron Collider. That's almost inconceivable at the energy scales typical of the particle interactions in our bodies."
Theoretically the "bits" of reality can be far smaller than quantum wavicles, at the Planck scale. This remains theoretical and untestable at present because, if one was to use a collider to probe that scale, it's said that one would need an atom smasher the size of a galaxy (obviously other means will need to be found). BC knows all this, of course, and was just making a political statement to counter this situation foreseen by Carl Sagan:
I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or grandchildren's time [...] when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness...

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Atreyu
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Re: Are we here?

Post by Atreyu » February 26th, 2018, 8:49 pm

Eduk wrote:
February 26th, 2018, 7:27 pm
Are you asking me Greta? You make a good point. I was being glib. A good starting point would be a functional definition of what a soul is.
The reason I am not agnostic about the existence of a soul is because souls are undefined. When someone says are souls real what they are really saying is is undefined real. I mean of course undefined is real but how would anyone, including yourself, know it was the same undefined thing.
Here's the functional definition of "soul":
"Soul" is the matter/energy which is present in living organisms, but not in non-living objects. "Soul" is the matter/energy which differentiates a living thing from a non-living material object. At death, this matter/energy separates from the rest of the organism, hence what is left begins to rot, being now merely non-living matter.

i.e. the "soul" is the matter/energy which causes us to perceive what we call "life". It is the substance which animates what would otherwise be perceived/cognized as "dead matter"....

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Greta
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Re: Are we here?

Post by Greta » February 26th, 2018, 10:54 pm

Atreyu wrote:
February 26th, 2018, 8:49 pm
Eduk wrote:
February 26th, 2018, 7:27 pm
Are you asking me Greta? You make a good point. I was being glib. A good starting point would be a functional definition of what a soul is.
The reason I am not agnostic about the existence of a soul is because souls are undefined. When someone says are souls real what they are really saying is is undefined real. I mean of course undefined is real but how would anyone, including yourself, know it was the same undefined thing.
Here's the functional definition of "soul":
"Soul" is the matter/energy which is present in living organisms, but not in non-living objects. "Soul" is the matter/energy which differentiates a living thing from a non-living material object. At death, this matter/energy separates from the rest of the organism, hence what is left begins to rot, being now merely non-living matter.

i.e. the "soul" is the matter/energy which causes us to perceive what we call "life". It is the substance which animates what would otherwise be perceived/cognized as "dead matter"....
That is basically complex systematisation. Volcanoes, storms, The Sun and other cosmic bodies are systematised too, just less complexly so than biological life so I agree with your use of quote marks around the term "dead matter".

So each individual soul must logically be the set of tendencies most consistently present (but not necessarily displayed) from cradle to grave.

Eduk
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Re: Are we here?

Post by Eduk » February 27th, 2018, 4:00 am

Atreyu it is possible to grow organs in a lab. Fully functionally and not rotting. Do they have souls?

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JamesOfSeattle
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Re: Are we here?

Post by JamesOfSeattle » February 27th, 2018, 12:25 pm

Greta wrote:
February 26th, 2018, 8:31 pm
Brian Cox claimed that the LHC conclusive proved that ghosts do not exist because they would have been found at the machine's current power levels. He seemed too enthusiastic about it, in too much of a hurry, to me. I think he would need to first hypothesise what finding a ghost in an atom smasher might look like but he noted that there is no definition:
"If we want some sort of pattern that carries information about our living cells to persist then we must specify precisely what medium carries that pattern and how it interacts with the matter particles out of which our bodies are made. We must, in other words, invent an extension to the Standard Model of Particle Physics that has escaped detection at the Large Hadron Collider. That's almost inconceivable at the energy scales typical of the particle interactions in our bodies."
Theoretically the "bits" of reality can be far smaller than quantum wavicles, at the Planck scale. This remains theoretical and untestable at present because, if one was to use a collider to probe that scale, it's said that one would need an atom smasher the size of a galaxy (obviously other means will need to be found).
Greta, I think you are missing Brian Cox’s point. Sean Carroll makes the same point. There may be interesting new physics (particles?) at the really high energies, but knowledge of such physics will not change anything we know about what is going on at the human level. If there are ghosts at these higher energies, they will not be able to interact with a human in anyway that we would be able to detect. The new observations would not be able to explain our hearing or seeing ghosts.

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Bayez
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Re: Are we here?

Post by Bayez » February 27th, 2018, 4:10 pm

StayCurious wrote:
February 20th, 2018, 5:54 pm
Many people, under religious, spiritual, existential, or other similar regards consistently refer to a "soul." This is most often defined vaguely as a center of experience, somewhere inside the skin and for the most part experienced as tension between the ears and behind the eyes (though the location differs for many cultures).

Many religions believe our souls use the body as a vehicle and that upon birth our soul is "sent" to our body from some repituior of souls that reside outside of what can be referred to as, "material existence."

Is there any path of reasoning or logic that can be used to establish this or is it a reliance on faith? Is it merely the way our brains have happened to develop that allows the reverberation of thoughts and experience to build on themselves, similar to how a stringed instrument uses an empty space to reverberate sound and create further enhancement of tune? Is "self-aware" simply a term referring to our supposedly unique capability to create fundamentally unnessecary abstractions? Is awareness required for intelligence? Is a creatively shaped flower more intelligent than an insect because the insect uses its own effort whereas the flower uses the wind to get from place to place?

I would love to hear your own opinions, thank you for your time!
The intellect or the mind cannot understand this. The east use the idea of 'the tao' meaning 'the way' BUT in understanding what this means? It cannot be understood in any intellectual or psychological manner - or way.

For my money, we are indeed here. And there are rules to this game. What do you think those rules are?

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Re: Are we here?

Post by Eduk » February 27th, 2018, 4:41 pm

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