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The Implications Of Generic Subjective Continuity

Discuss any topics related to metaphysics (the philosophical study of the principles of reality) or epistemology (the philosophical study of knowledge) in this forum.
BigBango
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Re: The Implications Of Generic Subjective Continuity

Post by BigBango » April 28th, 2018, 2:51 am

Cycswan wrote:
March 30th, 2018, 12:04 pm
What I'm saying is that we are all one/of the one.
You mean one part/of the one?
Cycswan wrote:
March 30th, 2018, 12:04 pm
One being the totality of all there is. Nothing is separate from anything else.
How can "I" be distinguished if I am not separate from everything else in some way?
Cycswan wrote:
March 30th, 2018, 12:04 pm
And there is no "you" that endures through time. Just virtually similar conscious states that refer back to a prior self.
Seems we all look back at ourselves and feel like we have changed, yet something about us has remained the same. Continuity of self referential memory? Is that continuity observed or remembered by the conscious reflection of non experiential states? If so, is not that a case of experiential states embedded in non experiential states?[/quote]
Cycswan wrote:
March 30th, 2018, 12:04 pm
What I'm saying is that birth/death is a break in the continuity of self refential memory (memory that gives the sense of an enduring self). Since we're all one, "we" can only ever be one part/aspect of the one at any given time, but "we" can never not be a thing that isn't conscious, because there's no experiential content embedded into non experiential states. Taking this to its logical conclusion, means that given enough iterations of conscious states "we" should expect to experience countless kinds of things. The worst being torture of any kind (burning alive, etc).
Why, if the physical world is an unchanging space/time should we ever experience anything different?

Tamminen
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Re: The Implications Of Generic Subjective Continuity

Post by Tamminen » April 28th, 2018, 9:49 am

The post from CIN inspired me to make a piece of dialectic.

Let us suppose there is nothing. I really think there is nothing, because that is the most simple and stable state of affairs there can be: the lack of all states of affairs. Why should there be anything?

So I think there is nothing. Therefore, there is at least this 'thinking of nothing'. Now we have 'nothing' and 'thinking of nothing', subject and object. This subject is the one I have called the transcendental or metaphysical subject, or shortly 'the subject'.

What is this object we call 'nothing'? It can only be myself, because it is nothing, and there is no other 'nothing' than me, the subject. So there appears an individual subject, me, and another individual subject, 'an other', which is nothing but myself as an object. There has arisen the subject-object relation, which constitutes the basic ontological structure of reality. And this relation is expressed concretely as the universe. So the universe is my relation to myself realized by the medium of matter.

We can continue this dialectic by analyzing subjective time and eventually coming to Generic Subjective Continuity, but because I have written about it elsewhere, I think it should not be difficult for the reader to complete the picture.

So there is nothing, and this is what it means.

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Atreyu
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Re: The Implications Of Generic Subjective Continuity

Post by Atreyu » April 29th, 2018, 3:28 pm

OP, without realizing it, you are roughly describing a theory known as eternal recurrence, which I endorse. However, I note that your view of it is rather negative, as if we could have no control over it.

In the original idea, one could develop or hinder tendencies in one 'incarnation', which would then affect the next incarnation. So, for example, if one 'let himself go' in this life, and smoked habitually and never worked against it, then it would mean that in the next life one would probably smoke even more - start at an even earlier age and perhaps smoke an average of 2 packs a day, rather than 1.8. Similarly, if one became a smoker but struggled against it and quit, then in the next life one would probably begin smoking at a bit later age, and/or might quit a bit earlier than the last time.

This idea of strengthening or weakening of tendencies from one life to the next makes this idea less 'generic' and fixed. Your next incarnation is not entirely random at all. In fact, you will be the same person as the last time, the only difference is that certain tendencies might be a little stronger or weaker in the next incarnation, based on your actions in this incarnation.

Tamminen
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Re: The Implications Of Generic Subjective Continuity

Post by Tamminen » April 29th, 2018, 4:24 pm

Atreyu wrote:
April 29th, 2018, 3:28 pm
OP, without realizing it, you are roughly describing a theory known as eternal recurrence, which I endorse. However, I note that your view of it is rather negative, as if we could have no control over it.

In the original idea, one could develop or hinder tendencies in one 'incarnation', which would then affect the next incarnation. So, for example, if one 'let himself go' in this life, and smoked habitually and never worked against it, then it would mean that in the next life one would probably smoke even more - start at an even earlier age and perhaps smoke an average of 2 packs a day, rather than 1.8. Similarly, if one became a smoker but struggled against it and quit, then in the next life one would probably begin smoking at a bit later age, and/or might quit a bit earlier than the last time.

This idea of strengthening or weakening of tendencies from one life to the next makes this idea less 'generic' and fixed. Your next incarnation is not entirely random at all. In fact, you will be the same person as the last time, the only difference is that certain tendencies might be a little stronger or weaker in the next incarnation, based on your actions in this incarnation.
So you think we all have our own streams of subjective time? For me that does not seem plausible. I think there is only one stream, and we are all fragments of it, manifestations of one and the same subjectivity, the same 'I'. I also do not believe in memory or causation between successive lives. But the problem in this scenario is, of course, the relation between subjective time and physical spacetime.

CIN
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Re: The Implications Of Generic Subjective Continuity

Post by CIN » April 30th, 2018, 3:19 am

Tamminen wrote:
April 25th, 2018, 12:34 pm
The whole idea of the Generic Subjective Continuity is seeing the absurdity of the thought that when we die, we pass into nothingness, and that there is such a thing as nothingness. But there is no such thing. There is only the last experience of someone and the first experience of someone else, and nothing between them. This is the only way we can speak of 'nothing'.
That may be what you mean when you speak of nothing, but when I speak of nothing I mean the absence of all things whatsoever. This is logically possible, and may at some stage become the case, though obviously it is not the case at present.

When we die, we do not 'pass into nothingness'; that is self-contradictory, and therefore nonsense. If we do not survive death, then we do not 'pass' anywhere, we simply cease to exist. There is no absurdity in this idea. It makes perfect sense.

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Re: The Implications Of Generic Subjective Continuity

Post by Tamminen » April 30th, 2018, 4:35 am

CIN wrote:
April 30th, 2018, 3:19 am
That may be what you mean when you speak of nothing, but when I speak of nothing I mean the absence of all things whatsoever. This is logically possible, and may at some stage become the case, though obviously it is not the case at present.

When we die, we do not 'pass into nothingness'; that is self-contradictory, and therefore nonsense. If we do not survive death, then we do not 'pass' anywhere, we simply cease to exist. There is no absurdity in this idea. It makes perfect sense.
What you say would be rational if it were rational that there can be a universe without subjectivity. But I think that is an absurd idea, and therefore the "dialectic" in the post above. And for the same reason I think my ceasing to exist is impossible, and the hypothesis of Generic Subjective Continuity seems to be the most plausible "explanation" for our existential situation that I have found so far.

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Re: The Implications Of Generic Subjective Continuity

Post by Tamminen » April 30th, 2018, 4:35 pm

A strong argument for the hypothesis of Generic Subjective Continuity, or something like it, is this: The cosmic and biological evolution generates perhaps an infinite number of conscious organisms, individual subjects. Why do I happen to be this particular organism and not any of the others? And is it possible that I would be none of the organisms, but there would still be an infinite number of subjects? That I would not exist, but others would exist. Wouldn't that be "a bit" strange? Again, what does 'I' denote?

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JamesOfSeattle
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Re: The Implications Of Generic Subjective Continuity

Post by JamesOfSeattle » April 30th, 2018, 9:50 pm

[Okay, I can’t help myself]
Tamminen wrote:
April 30th, 2018, 4:35 pm
The cosmic and biological evolution generates perhaps an infinite number of conscious organisms, individual subjects.
But not an infinite number existing at the same time, right? Infinite organisms only if the universe lasts forever, right?
Why do I happen to be this particular organism and not any of the others?
Because you can only be one organism, and if you were any of the others, you wouldn’t be this one.
And is it possible that I would be none of the organisms, but there would still be an infinite number of subjects?
No, and no. You could not be you and not one of the organisms, and there cannot be an infinite number of organisms extant at the same time.
That I would not exist, but others would exist.
It’s possible that you would not exist and others did exist, because there was a time previously that you did not exist and others did exist.
Wouldn't that be "a bit" strange?
No.
Again, what does 'I' denote?
“I” denotes the mechanism which is asking the question.

*

CIN
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Re: The Implications Of Generic Subjective Continuity

Post by CIN » May 1st, 2018, 3:26 am

Tamminen wrote:
April 28th, 2018, 9:49 am
Let us suppose there is nothing. I really think there is nothing, because that is the most simple and stable state of affairs there can be: the lack of all states of affairs. Why should there be anything?

So I think there is nothing. Therefore, there is at least this 'thinking of nothing'. Now we have 'nothing' and 'thinking of nothing', subject and object....
You began with an assumption, that there is nothing, and then you introduced a further assumption, that there is you thinking there is nothing. Thus:

Assumption 1: There is nothing.
Assumption 2: There is I, thinking there is nothing.

Since 'I' is not nothing, but is a thing, these two assumptions contradict one another. Therefore they cannot both be true. Any argument you develop based on these two assumptions is thus based on a contradiction, and an argument based on a contradiction is not a valid argument.
Tamminen wrote:
April 28th, 2018, 9:49 am
What is this object we call 'nothing'? It can only be myself, because it is nothing, and there is no other 'nothing' than me, the subject.
Nothing is not an object. It is the absence of all objects. You are not the absence of all objects, you are an object (and also a thinking subject, but that is by the way). To identify yourself with nothing is an error.

I think perhaps you are confusing two senses of 'object': object as the object of thought, and object as something that exists. The first requires a thinking subject, the second does not. It is the second sense of object that we invoke when we say that nothing is the absence of all objects (or things), not the first. If you confuse the two, it can seem to you that because nothing as the object of thought requires the presence of a thinking subject, a thinking subject is also required where you have nothing as the absence of all objects; but this is not the case.

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Re: The Implications Of Generic Subjective Continuity

Post by Tamminen » May 1st, 2018, 3:54 am

JamesOfSeattle wrote:
April 30th, 2018, 9:50 pm
“I” denotes the mechanism which is asking the question.
I am not a mechanism. I use mechanisms for my existence, intentionally or not. Mechanisms work for me. 'I' denotes, or refers to, something much deeper, something fundamental, something without which there cannot be anything at all. And this is true of us all, everyone's I. It is one and the same I, only separated by subjective time, which is "transpersonal" and has no end.

That there are several I's seems to be a natural state of affairs, but is in fact paradoxical and in the end self-contradictory. That there is only one I seems nonsense at first, but is in fact very consistent if you think of it thoroughly.
It’s possible that you would not exist and others did exist, because there was a time previously that you did not exist and others did exist.
If we see the universe as a spatio-temporal totality, there cannot be a universe where I do not exist. And 'I' denotes here, as always, anyone of us, the "being there" that connects all of us as successive fragments of one and the same stream of experiences.

So you see that I am not a "hardcore" materialist. :)

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Re: The Implications Of Generic Subjective Continuity

Post by Tamminen » May 1st, 2018, 4:29 am

CIN wrote:
May 1st, 2018, 3:26 am
You began with an assumption, that there is nothing, and then you introduced a further assumption, that there is you thinking there is nothing. Thus:

Assumption 1: There is nothing.
Assumption 2: There is I, thinking there is nothing.

Since 'I' is not nothing, but is a thing, these two assumptions contradict one another. Therefore they cannot both be true. Any argument you develop based on these two assumptions is thus based on a contradiction, and an argument based on a contradiction is not a valid argument.
All my "dialectic" is based on the fundamental nature of subjectivity. But the I is not a thing, it is only the necessary reference point of all being whatsoever. We should not reify it. And in fact this whole dialectic becomes a bit absurd because of the impossibility of the non-being of the subject. Our standpoints differ on a fundamental level.
Nothing is not an object. It is the absence of all objects. You are not the absence of all objects, you are an object (and also a thinking subject, but that is by the way). To identify yourself with nothing is an error.

I think perhaps you are confusing two senses of 'object': object as the object of thought, and object as something that exists. The first requires a thinking subject, the second does not. It is the second sense of object that we invoke when we say that nothing is the absence of all objects (or things), not the first. If you confuse the two, it can seem to you that because nothing as the object of thought requires the presence of a thinking subject, a thinking subject is also required where you have nothing as the absence of all objects; but this is not the case.
I "confuse" the two senses of 'object' deliberately. I think the subject-object relation is ontological, and there really cannot be a world without subjectivity, ie. without someone who has experiences of the world. And we are all participants in this subjectivity.

All this leads to the conclusion we started with: nothingness is impossible. I am not sure if this is formally true, in terms of formal logic, but I think it is true as a phenomenological intuition.

CIN
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Re: The Implications Of Generic Subjective Continuity

Post by CIN » May 1st, 2018, 9:16 am

Tamminen wrote:
May 1st, 2018, 4:29 am
All my "dialectic" is based on the fundamental nature of subjectivity. But the I is not a thing, it is only the necessary reference point of all being whatsoever. We should not reify it.... there really cannot be a world without subjectivity, ie. without someone who has experiences of the world.
An interesting viewpoint, and I now see a little more clearly where you are coming from.

I also think subjectivity is fundamental, but in a quite different way. I take the view that my only available data is the subjective experiencing I take to be sensory input; this input has an internal coherence which I take to be indicative of, and partly caused by, the existence of a world which exists independently of me, existed before I arrived, and will continue to exist after I have ceased to be. That is, I suppose, the 'common sense' view. If I understand you, you do not accept that view.

What do you consider reality to consist of, if not mind-independent physical objects? Are you, for example, a Berkelian idealist, who considers that the physical world's existence consists merely in its being perceived, and the only real things are minds? I have some sympathy with that view, but it still would not persuade me that nothing was logically impossible.

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Re: The Implications Of Generic Subjective Continuity

Post by Tamminen » May 1st, 2018, 11:42 am

CIN wrote:
May 1st, 2018, 9:16 am
I take the view that my only available data is the subjective experiencing I take to be sensory input; this input has an internal coherence which I take to be indicative of, and partly caused by, the existence of a world which exists independently of me, existed before I arrived, and will continue to exist after I have ceased to be. That is, I suppose, the 'common sense' view. If I understand you, you do not accept that view.
I accept that view. But although the world is independent of my personal existence, its being depends on the being of subjectivity in general, so that there must be someone or something experiencing the world so that we can meaningfully speak of the world at all. So the basic subject-object relation is genuinely ontological, so that the being of the subject depends on the being of the world and the being of the world depends on the being of the subject. And by 'the subject' I mean subjectivity in general, so that there must be at least one experiencing subject in our universe. What is the relation of subjectivity to individual subjects is another question, and I have written about it elsewhere on this forum.
What do you consider reality to consist of, if not mind-independent physical objects? Are you, for example, a Berkelian idealist, who considers that the physical world's existence consists merely in its being perceived, and the only real things are minds? I have some sympathy with that view, but it still would not persuade me that nothing was logically impossible.
As can be seen from above, I am not a subjective idealist, but I consider myself to be some kind of an ontological idealist, because I see subjectivity as fundamental ontologically. But I leave it for others to pick up the proper category.

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Re: The Implications Of Generic Subjective Continuity

Post by CIN » May 1st, 2018, 2:08 pm

Tamminen wrote:
May 1st, 2018, 11:42 am
... although the world is independent of my personal existence, its being depends on the being of subjectivity in general, so that there must be someone or something experiencing the world so that we can meaningfully speak of the world at all.
Are you implying that the world did not exist before there was anyone to experience it? If so, then I think your view is incoherent, because it would mean that the world had no history prior to that point which could explain how it comes to be the way it is.

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Re: The Implications Of Generic Subjective Continuity

Post by Tamminen » May 1st, 2018, 4:58 pm

CIN wrote:
May 1st, 2018, 2:08 pm
Tamminen wrote:
May 1st, 2018, 11:42 am
... although the world is independent of my personal existence, its being depends on the being of subjectivity in general, so that there must be someone or something experiencing the world so that we can meaningfully speak of the world at all.
Are you implying that the world did not exist before there was anyone to experience it? If so, then I think your view is incoherent, because it would mean that the world had no history prior to that point which could explain how it comes to be the way it is.
Of course I do not claim that. In the same way as an embryo has no subjective experiences in the early stages of its development, the cosmic evolution of the universe had no conscious organisms at its early stages, but its evolution is nevertheless essentially evolution of consciouness, ie. a process generating consciousness. So it is teleological in this sense, in the same way as the growing of a child is teleological, a physical-temporal totality with consciousness as its essence. I hope this clarifies my views somewhat.

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