The January 2023 Philosophy Book of the Month is Entanglement - Quantum and Otherwise by John K Danenbarger.

Objective leftness and rightness do not exist.

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Scott
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Re: Objective leftness and rightness do not exist.

Post by Scott »

I don't think "chirality" (a.k.a. asymmetry) is a correct word for what I am discussing in this topic. Denying "chirality" exists woudl mean to deny that two boxing gloves in a pair are indistinguishable, meaning I couldn't tell which one to put on which hand. But even a non-verbal monkey could figure that you. So in the quote below I will replace that word with "chirality" with what I actually seek to discuss: "[directional orientation (e.g. forwardness, rightness, backwardness, leftness, etc.)]".






Steve3007 wrote: May 5th, 2021, 12:55 pm So it seems to me from this part that at least one difference between us is that I don't think the linguistic conventions used to describe a phenomenon make that phenomenon a fiction. I think [directional orientation (e.g. forwardness, rightness, backwardness, leftness, etc.)] is an objective phenomenon despite the fact that the sides we call "left" and "right" are chosen arbitrarily. i.e. the fact that we could reverse the meanings of those two words doesn't make [directional orientation (e.g. forwardness, rightness, backwardness, leftness, etc.)] fictional in my view.
I agree that if that was the argument it would be insufficent.

For instance, we could swap the meaning of the word "further" to mean "closer" and "closer" to mean "further", but that doesn't logically conclude that the objective (but still relative) distance measurements do not exist, independent of our labels. Quite the opposite: Distance measurements (e.g. the fact that the distance between the blue car and red car is less than the distance between the blue car and the green car) are objective and observer-independent, and exist independently of made-up labels or reference frames. Thus, all observers will agree on that measurement, even if they use different words or whole different languages to describe that fact. In all reference frames, that distance measurement will be the same. If measured in feet or meters, it will still work out the same. It's an objective observer-independent fact that the distance between the blue car and red car is less than the distance between the blue car and the green car.

We don't need to change the meaning of the English words leftness and rightness for it to be true that whether the blue car is on the left or the right is observer-dependent and/or reference-frame-dependent.

The issue isn't (merely) that the side labeled as left side could be labeled as right and that the right side could be labeled as left, but rather the issues is in part that there are no two sides at all to even be labeled, not without a reference frame (something observer-dependent). The concept of there being two sides that need to be labeled comes from imagining a 0-width divider between the two would-be sides that doesn't really exist, and can be imagined as being anywhere, and will be imagined differently by different observers making it utterly observer-dependent. The divider between the would-be left-or-right side and the other would-be left-or-right side does not exist, not objectively in an observer-independent and/or reference-frame-independent way.

Thus, just like you cannot say whether the blue car is on the left or the right (because it is not observer-independent and not reference-frame-independent), you also cannot even say which cars are on the same side as each other.

In terms of the left side and right side, are the blue car and the red car on the same side? (Meaning if one is on the left both are on the left, and if one is one on the right then both are on the right.)

Are the green car and the blue on the same side?

There is no observer-independent reference-frame-independent 1D line dividing the singular whole into two sides of pre-labeled would-be left and would-be right. There are no observer-independent reference-frame-independent sides to be labeled.

Steve3007 wrote: If we get rid of non-symmetrical things then we get rid of leftness and rightness because chirality is an objective property of non-symmetrical things.
No, we don't need to get rid of asymmetrical things, only asymmetrical observers, and only as a hypothetical to prove that something is reference-frame-dependent and thus observer-dependent. (Humans carry their subjectivity and imaginary things with them in their brain as baggage, constantly mistaking the made-up or subjective as real and objective.)

The objects in the 2D world depicted in the image in the OP are not symmetrical. The 2D world is not symmetrical. Asymmetry (a.k.a. chirality) does not provide observer-independent or reference-frame-independent directional orientation (e.g. forwardness, leftness, backwardness, rightness, etc.). The following questions about the asymmetrical 2D world prove that fact:

You can answer this question because it asks about an objective (albeit relative) observer-independent reference-frame-indepenent physical fact: Is the blue car closer to the red car or is it closer to the green car?

You cannot answer this question because it is reference-frame-dependent and thus also observer-dependent (directional orientation): Is the blue car on the left or the right?

You can answer this question because it asks about an objective (albeit relative) observer-independent reference-frame-indepenent physical fact (distance): How many car-lengths away is the red car from the green car?

You cannot answer this question because it is reference-frame-dependent and thus also observer-dependent (directional orientation): In terms of left and right, are the blue car and the green car on the same side or on opposite side?
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

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Re: Objective leftness and rightness do not exist.

Post by Steve3007 »

Scott wrote:You cannot answer this question because it is reference-frame-dependent and thus also observer-dependent (directional orientation): Is the blue car on the left or the right?
This exemplifies the disagreement between what could perhaps be called the two camps in this argument. According to the camp with which I agree, the above is incorrect in that being reference-frame-dependent does not mean being observer-dependent. Hence, in my previous (non-trivial) post I said this:
Steve3007 wrote:Using my own position and orientation in a measurement doesn't make that measurement any less objective. My position and orientation is an extra-mental property of me, relative to other objects.
Specifying the position of an object relative to the position and orientation of another object doesn't involve not being objective. Deciding that we're going to refer to that specification relative to the position and orientation of another object as a reference frame, and pointing out that reference frames are mathematical constructs, doesn't change that.

I think, at this point, we can be sure that we're never going to agree about that.
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Re: Objective leftness and rightness do not exist.

Post by Sculptor1 »

Atla wrote: May 5th, 2021, 1:31 pm
Sculptor1 wrote: May 5th, 2021, 1:19 pm
Atla wrote: May 5th, 2021, 10:46 am
Sculptor1 wrote: May 5th, 2021, 6:59 am

Yes, a POV requires a POINT. Points have place. Noplace can not have a point.
A view from nowhere is pointless.
I guess people who lack the necessary level of abstract thinking, will find scientific objectivity to be confusing, pointless, incoherent. Meanwhile, it's the standard in scientific discourse.
Science is not pointless, it is objective. Objectivity requires a full understanding of perspective.
All science understands the point of view and meticulously and painstakingly employs it.
In fact there can be no science without a referent. There is no "view from no where", since there can be no nowhere. It is as incoherent as Atla.
If you were somewhat familiar with science, you would know that this is all well understood, contained within science's "view from nowhere".
Clearly you have no clue about science or much else.
The "view from Nowhere" is not a scientific conceit but a bogus journalistic bit of fluff. Naive and fake.
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Re: Objective leftness and rightness do not exist.

Post by The Beast »

My POV is my focus of attention. There can be an observer with a POV (x, y). The 2D construct might be on a table/plane and the observer is on a 2D floor where the observer is looking down on the paper all the way to the right or to the left of the table. However, reality/POV is superimposed and is given by the 2D plane (x, y) which is one slot on the z axis. There is an observer and there is a POV. The focus of his view is given by the 2D plane. What is right or left of the POV is what is right or left of the observer at a magnified moment that is. I might be looking in a microscope and tell Scott look to the right of the slide that might look like his 2D drawing. Say3007x magnified. I might extrapolate this qualified POV to include ideas related to right and wrong of subjective/objective values. Is it subjective to the right or to the left?
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Re: Objective leftness and rightness do not exist.

Post by Scott »

Steve3007 wrote: May 5th, 2021, 2:45 pm Specifying the position of an object relative to the position [...] of another object doesn't involve not being objective.
I agree.

Thus, if you were the red car in in the image in the OP, and we asked you (or anyone) how far away the blue car is from you, they could answer.

The reason that leftness and rightness are reference-frame-dependent (and thus different observers disagree about which way is forward without either being wrong) is not the reasoning represented in the quoted sentence above.

Rather, the reasoning is based on why you cannot answer the following questions:

(1) Is the blue car on the left or the right?

(2) In terms of left side and right side, are the blue car on the green car on the same side or different sides?

In contrast, you can answer this question: (3) is the blue car closer to the red car or is it closer to the green car?

#3 (distance) is reference-frame-independent. All observers will agree on #3. #1 and #2 are reference-frame-dependent. Different observers will disagree on the answers to #1 and #2.

Scott wrote:You cannot answer this question because it is reference-frame-dependent and thus also observer-dependent (directional orientation): Is the blue car on the left or the right?
Steve3007 wrote: May 5th, 2021, 2:45 pm According to the camp with which I agree, the above is incorrect in that being reference-frame-dependent does not mean being observer-dependent.
It does if we assume different observers use different reference frames.

However, I am more than happy to agree that leftness and rightness are reference-frame-dependent without worrying about whether that necessarily makes them "observer-dependent".

Certainly, nonetheless, we can agree that the following three things are very different concepts:

1. Steve's Taste
2. Scott's Taste
3. Tastiness

The fact that #1 and #2 are different is enough for me to declare that it is not "observer-independent". If you mean something else by the word "observer-independent", let me know.

Likewise, nonetheless, we can agree that the following three things are very different concepts:

1. Steve's forward
2. Scott's forward
3. Forwardness

The fact that #1 and #2 are different is enough for me to declare that it is not "observer-independent". If you mean something else by it, let me know.

The following things are NOT different:

1. The distance between the blue car and green car from Steve's point of view or Steve's preferred reference frame
2. The distance between the blue car and green car from Scott's point of view or Scott's preferred reference frame.
3. The distance between the blue car and green car.

Thus, distance (in classical physics at least) is observer-independent and reference-frame-independent. If you want to use a different word than 'objective reality' or 'objective physics' to describe something like distance that is both utterly observer-independent and utterly reference-frame-independent, please do let me know.

Whether you call it "objectivity" or something else, distance has that quality that reference-frame-dependent things like directional orientation lack.

Steve3007 wrote: May 5th, 2021, 2:45 pm Using my own position and orientation in a measurement[...]
Your orientation is relative to a conceptual made-up reference frame.

Objectively speaking, you don't have an orientation. And that is important to clarify, and it certainly changes the meaning of the words that follow the quoted phrase above, since all following words are thus relative to a made-up created reference frame.

In some reference frames, your nose points backwards. Thus, anything you say under the pretense that your nose points forward is not said in an observer-independent or reference-frame-indpendent way. You aren't treating yourself as an object if you are treating yourself as the center of the universe.

As long as you exist in the universe, both you, your default conceptual reference frame (in which your nose points forward and you are the center of the universe representing the single orgin point where the dividers between left, right, past, future, up, down, frontward, backward all intersect). If you or I exist, so too will the fiction of Santa Claus exist. Our disagreeing reference frames (plural) are fictional baggage you and I each carry as a human observer, wherever you or I exist.

I agree that if, we assert orientation (e.g. state which side of the 4-sided box is the front side and which side is the left side), we thereby create a reference frame. Then, we can then use that created reference frame to communicate actual information. 0-width 1D lines and feference frames are very useful fictions.

It seems that we agree that rightness and leftness, and the 0-width conceptual divider between them are all relative to conceptual reference frames.

In other words, we must make-up/create orientation to get orientation, and one observer's/reference-frame's orientation will not match another's.

Your nose does not objectively point forward. It points forward in some reference frames. It points backward in other reference frames. And it points left in other reference frames. And it points an infinite array of other directions in the other infinite made-up reference frames one can create.
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
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Re: Objective leftness and rightness do not exist.

Post by Surabhi Rani »

I agree with the statement that directional orientation, such as the leftness and rightness, is relative to a made-up reference frame, I.e., a transcendental reality.
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