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Truth

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RJG
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Re: Truth

Post by RJG » December 15th, 2018, 5:09 pm

RJG wrote:I suspect, the thoughts (and everything else) that we experience are just physical 'bodily reactions', ...similar to how everything else in this universe (seemingly) operates.
Fooloso4 wrote:You seem to have an overly simplistic, mechanistic notion of human neurophysiology.
Every 'micro' reaction involved in neurophysiology is still just a reaction.

Fooloso4 wrote:How you see a man standing in the park watching children play may be very different if you have heard stories of a pedophile in the neighborhood rather than stories of a man who stays home to raise his children. We "see" is not simply stimulus reaction, we attribute sinister or benign meaning to the man's smile.
If we react with, or 'experience', the dislike/distrust for this bad dude, then this again is just an experience (i.e. a bodily reaction). -- For it is not logically possible for us to choose or make our own experiences; thoughts/feelings/urges. We only just get to 'experience' them. That's all.

Fooloso4 wrote:As Wittgenstein said, the ability to doubt is not a good reason to doubt.
No offense to Wittgenstein, but he is as naive as Descartes. Both these gentlemen naively and falsely believe that we have the "ability", or the self-power, to actually doubt something, when in actuality, all any of us can only ever do is just 'experience' the doubt given to us.

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Re: Truth

Post by Gertie » December 15th, 2018, 5:45 pm

Fooloso4 wrote:
December 15th, 2018, 2:05 pm
RJG:
I suspect, the thoughts (and everything else) that we experience are just physical 'bodily reactions', ...similar to how everything else in this universe (seemingly) operates.
You seem to have an overly simplistic, mechanistic notion of human neurophysiology. It is not just reactive, it is productive. This need not entail some form of dualism, but experience not simply what happens to us. Perception is not merely passive. Seeing something ‘as’ something is constructive. If, for example, you did not know what the alphabet was you would not see the marks as letters. What you are seeing is not simply a bodily reaction to stimulus. How you see a man standing in the park watching children play may be very different if you have heard stories of a pedophile in the neighborhood rather than stories of a man who stays home to raise his children. We "see" is not simply stimulus reaction, we attribute sinister or benign meaning to the man's smile.
I further suspect, that the 'conscious experiencing', or the 'knowing' of our thoughts (and any other of our bodily reactions) is the result of the singular experience of 'recognition', made possible by only those entities that possess 'memory' capability.

Memory is not passive. It is not a recording of past events. It is constructive. How I remember an event can change over time as I edit the event in my mind. I might make it seem as though I am less responsible and thereby less to blame or more responsible and thereby the hero to be praised.
But then again, we may all just be a 'brain-in-a-vat', with our experiences being stimulated by a crazy electrode-wielding mad evil genius.
And when you think about that possibility it is you who are thinking. It is you who create the images and scenarios. But, you might think: “How do I know that? Is it possible that my thoughts are being generated by electrode stimulation?”. As Wittgenstein said, the ability to doubt is not a good reason to doubt. You may not be able to prove that you are not a brain in a vat, but this does not mean that you have good reason to think you are.

Neuroscience hasn't discovered a 'Self' or 'I' part of the brain. We didn't know until we had the tools to look, but there doesn't seem to be a homunculus mini-me watching the Cartesian Theatre play out, thinking about thinking or perceiving perceptions, making decisions then giving instructions to motor neurons to respond. No central command and control part of the brain which is 'Me'.


Rather the brain is a highly complex web of interacting sub-systems. From which a unified sense of self emerges.


So perhaps the experiential sense of being a Self is just another experiential state, which results from the way experiences are. The experience of inhabiting a body moving through time and space with a specific and unified first person point of view. And it's not hard to see why it would be evolutionarily useful for experiential states to manifest that way.


So while it's absolutely true that experiential states manifest in ways which result in an experiential sense of self, as experience can't be doubted, if you claim a Self is something more than that, the scientific evidence suggests that the notion of 'an experiencer' of the experiences isn't really what's going on.

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Re: Truth

Post by Fooloso4 » December 15th, 2018, 6:03 pm

RJG:
Every 'micro' reaction involved in neurophysiology is still just a reaction.
It is not a reaction in the same sense that one billiard ball colliding with another is a reaction. It is not linear. It is more than a simple action on the body. It involves complex interactions within the body, feedback loops, etc.
If we react with, or 'experience', the dislike/distrust for this bad dude, then this again is just an experience …
You miss the point. You do not know that he is a “bad dude”. That is something you read into the situation. You do not simply see a man, you see him as a “bad dude”, but there is nothing in what you see that causes the reaction bad dude. Perception does not tell you that, you tell yourself that and see it accordingly.
For it is not logically possible for us to choose or make our own experiences; thoughts/feelings/urges. We only just get to 'experience' them. That's all.

That is not all. Experience is not simply what happens, it is how we interpret what happens, the story we construct of what happens.
No offense to Wittgenstein, but he is as naive as Descartes. Both these gentlemen naively and falsely believe that we have the "ability", or the self-power, to actually doubt something, when in actuality, all any of us can only ever do is just 'experience' the doubt given to us.
Perhaps you cannot help but see it that way but that is because you have constructed a story of ‘experience’ and cannot see things except in terms of the story you have framed it in.

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Re: Truth

Post by Fooloso4 » December 15th, 2018, 6:24 pm

Gertie:

Neuroscience hasn't discovered a 'Self' or 'I' part of the brain. We didn't know until we had the tools to look, but there doesn't seem to be a homunculus mini-me watching the Cartesian Theatre play out, thinking about thinking or perceiving perceptions, making decisions then giving instructions to motor neurons to respond. No central command and control part of the brain which is 'Me'.

I agree. I like Nietzsche’s notion of the “soul of subjective multiplicity” that I referenced earlier: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=15965&start=105#p325617
Rather the brain is a highly complex web of interacting sub-systems. From which a unified sense of self emerges.
Yes, but it is not the brain but a particular brain. Calling it my brain can lead to philosophical puzzles, but whatever subjective states arise within this highly complex web of interacting sub-systems are uniquely mine and I am not just a brain.

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Re: Truth

Post by Newme » December 15th, 2018, 11:15 pm

chewybrian wrote:
December 13th, 2018, 7:32 am
I agree strongly with this position. Even the blowhardiest blowhard might have some sound and interesting principles to communicate, though they may lack the skills to get their point across in a way others can easily understand, or with tact such that others are not put off by their tone. To ignore someone forever because you disagree with them, or are somehow offended by their tone today, is a cop out.
:)
Yeah, each person has something to offer. And often the people most annoying have the most truth to teach the annoyed. Not always pleasant but if truth is the priority...

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Re: Truth

Post by RJG » December 16th, 2018, 2:10 am

Gertie wrote:So while it's absolutely true that experiential states manifest in ways which result in an experiential sense of self, as experience can't be doubted, if you claim a Self is something more than that, the scientific evidence suggests that the notion of 'an experiencer' of the experiences isn't really what's going on.
Just to clarify -- an "experiencer" is just an experiential reactive body, and nothing more. Whereas a "self", is just an imaginary (non-existent) entity, falsely believed to be something more than an experiencer. The "self" only exists as an experienced thought.

RJG wrote:For it is not logically possible for us to choose or make our own experiences; thoughts/feelings/urges. We only just get to 'experience' them. That's all.
Fooloso4 wrote:That is not all. Experience is not simply what happens, it is how we interpret what happens…
And from which thoughts and feelings do we do this "interpreting" with?

Remember, everything we are conscious of, has already been scripted for us. It is not logically possible to know our thoughts/feelings before we are conscious of them.

And again, if you think I am wrong, then please tell me which thought you are conscious of, that you are not yet conscious of.

Fooloso4 wrote:...the story we construct of what happens.
Since we have no thoughts of our own (as everyone of them has already been scripted for us), then from which thoughts do we "construct" our stories with?

We are not the authors (script-writers) of our thoughts, feelings, interpretations, or constructed stories. We are only just the experiencers of all these. Logically, it can be no other way.

RJG wrote:No offense to Wittgenstein, but he is as naive as Descartes. Both these gentlemen naively and falsely believe that we have the "ability", or the 'self-power', to actually doubt something, when in actuality, all any of us can only ever do is just 'experience' the doubt given to us.
Fooloso4 wrote:Perhaps you cannot help but see it that way but that is because you have constructed a story of ‘experience’ and cannot see things except in terms of the story you have framed it in.
None of us can do the impossible! None of us can "construct our own stories". Not only is it logically impossible to consciously "do" (cause/create/construct) anything, but we can't even 'experience' the causation (or 'doing') of anything.

We can only experience the 'effects'; the thoughts/sounds/sights/smells/etc, and never the thinking/hearing/seeing/smelling itself. -- We can only experience the experiences, and never the creating/causing of the experiences.

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Re: Truth

Post by Whitedragon » December 16th, 2018, 7:28 am

We initially were observers of our environment until we created language. We can perceive many things through different means: our senses, our reason, and our intuition. On a personal note, if language was clear we should be all in agreement, and philosophy and religion would not be shrouded the way it is. I think language and truth stand wholly apart. When looking at objective reality and subjective experience, we must bear in mind we are also an objective truth or reality, and our experience of our self is subjective. We know when we are hungry we must eat, this is a truth, but we don't fully know who we are or what we eat or why.

So we can come to the conclusion, that every human being and animal and plant must have some kind of intake to stay alive. This is the truth. Now we become intelligent and start thinking about ethics. And ... we're not sure if our ethics are the truth. We know how it feels to have pain or be hurt, this is the truth, pain is unpleasant. So we ask, is religion the truth. But don't we know how it feels to defend a path that gives you peace, whether it be atheism, theism or whatever. We are here because we are curious, but most of all, because we feel what we believe is truth. Religion doesn't put food in your stomach, but some people beliefs it does, and yet, all the people that believe it need jobs, most of them work for what they receive.

But those who have no food to eat, because having to eat is a truth. They waste away, while those of many walks of beliefs or none beliefs still cling to what may be true. So if a truth like eating can't teach some people sympathy, what use do we have to pursue more convoluted truths? Language can be used in many different ways to tell someone you don't want to help them. Equally language can be used to talk about religion and ethics in many ways, but perhaps, in the end, it boils down to the same idea. The idea of knowing a truth or what may be true, but trying to evade it through language.

If you need to go to the doctor because of a pain in your body, you don't know what it is, are you going to delay? Yet our more obscure sense like our intuition and curiosity often tries to focus our attention on something on the horizon. With eating it's simple, because you know eating. You don't have to question the sensation every time before coming to the conclusion you have to eat. Somethings we are unsure of, and we get the sensation that maybe we should eat this thing. But because we don't know the sensation or the thing we want to eat looks strange, we kind of play with the food on the plate. We put it in our mouth, taste it, then take it out again. You see, we don't know if it is important to eat this thing or not. Like some canaries eat a certain food, they turn red, maybe they didn't like to turn red. *laughs*

But see, if other people like to be red and they like what they eat, let them eat it. If a canary eats this food and it turns red, it's a truth, but suppose a man that bought the canary is colour blind, is it a truth to him?
We are a frozen spirit; our thoughts a cloud of droplets; different oceans and ages brood inside – where spirit sublimates. To some our words, an acid rain, to some it is too pure, to some infectious, to some a cure.

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Re: Truth

Post by Fooloso4 » December 16th, 2018, 11:41 am

RJG:
Remember, everything we are conscious of, has already been scripted for us.
Remember, this is your unfounded claim. It is a claim I do not accept.
And again, if you think I am wrong, then please tell me which thought you are conscious of, that you are not yet conscious of.
I am only conscious of conscious thoughts, if I was not conscious of them they would not be conscious thoughts. This does not mean that thoughts are scripted for me, but simply that not everything that is going on in my mind is something I am immediately conscious of.
Since we have no thoughts of our own (as everyone of them has already been scripted for us) …
That is your story, and obviously you are sticking to it, but it is not made true by repeating it.

Rather than go round and round only for you to repeat the same thing as if it is an established fact and not the very thing in question is pointless, I’m out.

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Re: Truth

Post by Woodart » December 16th, 2018, 2:21 pm

It seems this thread is beating around the bush.

What seems to be discussed here is free will verses determinism.

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Re: Truth

Post by Gertie » December 16th, 2018, 2:56 pm

Fooloso4 wrote:
December 15th, 2018, 6:24 pm
Gertie:

Neuroscience hasn't discovered a 'Self' or 'I' part of the brain. We didn't know until we had the tools to look, but there doesn't seem to be a homunculus mini-me watching the Cartesian Theatre play out, thinking about thinking or perceiving perceptions, making decisions then giving instructions to motor neurons to respond. No central command and control part of the brain which is 'Me'.

I agree. I like Nietzsche’s notion of the “soul of subjective multiplicity” that I referenced earlier: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=15965&start=105#p325617
Rather the brain is a highly complex web of interacting sub-systems. From which a unified sense of self emerges.
Yes, but it is not the brain but a particular brain. Calling it my brain can lead to philosophical puzzles, but whatever subjective states arise within this highly complex web of interacting sub-systems are uniquely mine and I am not just a brain.
Sure, each embodied living brain seems to give rise to a discrete, unfied field of consciousness. That's the way it seems to work. And I'd suggest this gives rise to a discrete, unified sense of self emerging from from the complex web of interacting subsystems, as I said. And the evolutionary value of this makes sense, an incoherent cacpohany of myriad sights, sounds, sensations, thoughts, etc flickering from moment to moment would be useless in helping us navigate the world - assuming our experiential states are useful/causal.

Here's how you summarised N's position -
He is not critical of Descartes' “I think” but of the notion of a thinking substance, which Descartes identifies with his immortal soul. The soul is not something we have. In his refinement of the soul-hypothesis Nietzsche posits a “soul of subjective multiplicity”. This solves the problem of the seeming mystery of a thought that comes when it wishes rather than when I wish. It is not that the thought has some kind of independent existence and comes to me from elsewhere, but simply that there is not something within me, an “I” or “ego” or “little ‘one’” that is the agent of my thoughts. This is not a denial of agency, it is a denial of something within me, some substance or soul-atom that is the agent.
I'm not sure how 'soul of subjective multiplicity' solves our modern problems. It just seems to be describing what it's like to be a conscious person.

We now know that brain states correlate with experiential states, and brains don't have a homunculus soul-type part. And presumably as our brains evolved to be increasingly complex, adding new subsystems and connections, so did mechanisms which allow us to have a coherent, unified field of consciousness, leading to a sense of being a unified self.

Some would argue that the physical causal system which operates on brain states is enough to account for all our behaviour, and the associated experiential states are superfluous epiphenomenal baggage. If that's true, then in a sense our thoughts (experiential states) do come from elsewhere - that physical causal world we inhabit. The problem is that there are reasons to think that's not the whole story. The bigger problem is that we don't understand the mind-body relationship.

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Re: Truth

Post by Gertie » December 16th, 2018, 3:01 pm

RJG
Gertie wrote:
So while it's absolutely true that experiential states manifest in ways which result in an experiential sense of self, as experience can't be doubted, if you claim a Self is something more than that, the scientific evidence suggests that the notion of 'an experiencer' of the experiences isn't really what's going on.
Just to clarify -- an "experiencer" is just an experiential reactive body, and nothing more. Whereas a "self", is just an imaginary (non-existent) entity, falsely believed to be something more than an experiencer. The "self" only exists as an experienced thought.
I'd put it a little differently, but pretty much agree that's what the current evidence suggests.

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Re: Truth

Post by Whitedragon » December 16th, 2018, 3:04 pm

Woodart wrote:
December 16th, 2018, 2:21 pm
It seems this thread is beating around the bush.

What seems to be discussed here is free will verses determinism.
What we think of something doesn't change the truth, what's true keeps changing us.
We are a frozen spirit; our thoughts a cloud of droplets; different oceans and ages brood inside – where spirit sublimates. To some our words, an acid rain, to some it is too pure, to some infectious, to some a cure.

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Re: Truth

Post by Fooloso4 » December 16th, 2018, 4:15 pm

Gertie:
Sure, each embodied living brain seems to give rise to a discrete, unfied field of consciousness. That's the way it seems to work. And I'd suggest this gives rise to a discrete, unified sense of self emerging from from the complex web of interacting subsystems, as I said. And the evolutionary value of this makes sense, an incoherent cacpohany of myriad sights, sounds, sensations, thoughts, etc flickering from moment to moment would be useless in helping us navigate the world - assuming our experiential states are useful/causal.
I think we are in agreement on this.
I'm not sure how 'soul of subjective multiplicity' solves our modern problems. It just seems to be describing what it's like to be a conscious person.
It doesn’t solve it. As far as I know the problem has not been solved. It does, however, reject the notion of a unitary soul or self or ego that is doing the thinking.
The problem is that there are reasons to think that's not the whole story. The bigger problem is that we don't understand the mind-body relationship.
Again we are in agreement.

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Re: Truth

Post by h_k_s » December 16th, 2018, 11:00 pm

jkim0231 wrote:
December 15th, 2018, 4:00 am
h_k_s wrote:
December 10th, 2018, 10:33 pm
I'm not sure that we totally resolved whether truth asserts existence or whether truth is merely a function of language interpretation.
I agree. I'm in my learning process from reading this forum too, which has been enjoyable.
Now on to your suggested starting point.
h_k_s wrote:
December 10th, 2018, 10:53 pm
A is B.

This strongly implies that A exists and that it possesses the quality of B.

A is not B.

This strongly implies that A exists and that it does not possess the quality of B.

In either case there is a strong suggestion of existence for A whatever A is.

A is an object. A must exist to possess any qualities at all, or even to lack them.

Here I will try my best to deduce the meaning of certain words as intended by you, h_t_z. If we do not agree on a definition, let me know.
When you stated in the initial posts that sun must be real regardless of whether there is language for it, I had a different view.
I defined existence as : to exist objectively

When Aristotle said truth is to say what is A to be A and what is not B to be not B, I think he was defining 'truth'. Not existence.

I don't think the statement "A is B", or "A is not B:, strongly implies the existence of A. If A is an object, say an orange, we must determine the following.
If Orange is sweet, and the Sun is bright. Does this strongly suggest the existence of the sun and orange?
Perhaps the existence of the sun and the orange as experience by the person can be said to exist.
But we cannot absolutely determine the existence of orange and the sun as objective bodies.

I think in philosophy, one tries to define and determine the state of things in an exacting manner. While (A)orange is (B) sweet) and (A)the sun is not (B)blue may be true sentences, they are not enough to make certain of their existence.
(A) must exist to have possess any qualities. Yes. But That we say that the orange of sweet do not confirm with certitude the existence of the orange. Rather, it reveals that some we experienced and orange that may or may not be an objective real thing. It could be, however absurd sounding, our minds conjuration of an orange. But we cannot, with absolute certitude claim to know of their existence as real bodies outside of our realm.

The explanation you have, h_t_z, on language(which was interesting) maybe accurate. However, I think you came from the stance where you believed that the sun existed with out much doubt. This is normal for most people, and I do too tend to believe that the sun exists too, since I like to look at it and feel it and such. However to determine with certitude that the sun, and for that matter all of reality that we can know exist in some objectively measurable manner is not possible it seems. We can kind of believe that they are there. But once again, philosophers would apply exact science in there approach to all of this, so I think they would be uncertain about the existence of anything. In ethics however, I would deduce that they would practice some engineering-esque rounding to make possible the process of thinking about what and how to live as humans.
I suspect that everyone is born as an Empiricist (taking sensory observations -- like the heat of the Sun -- for granted) but can then be twisted into a Skeptic by unbridled Philosophy -- especially by Sophistry.

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Re: Truth

Post by RJG » December 17th, 2018, 1:08 am

RJG wrote:Remember, everything we are conscious of, has already been scripted for us.
Fooloso4 wrote:Remember, this is your unfounded claim. It is a claim I do not accept.
This is not 'my' claim, this is a matter of simple logic.

Fooloso4 wrote:I am only conscious of conscious thoughts, if I was not conscious of them they would not be conscious thoughts.
Yes, of course. But if you are conscious of something, then there is 'something' you are conscious of, ...right?

One cannot be 'conscious-of-X' without a pre-existing 'X' to be conscious of

Fooloso4 wrote:This does not mean that thoughts are scripted for me…
Of course it does! For you can't possibly be conscious of a non-scripted thought (a 'content'-less thought).

Without 'something' to be conscious of, then there is 'nothing' to be conscious of. And if there is nothing to be conscious of, then there is no consciousness. (E.g. without 'something' to see, there is no seeing).

Woodart wrote:What seems to be discussed here is free will verses determinism.
Not quite. Although there is a bit of free-will (conscious causation) in this discussion, there is no "versus determinism" here at all. This discussion is about the logical impossibility of, and the false belief in, "thinking"; authoring/scripting one's own thoughts. (Descartes error!)

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