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Best arguments for idealism?

Discuss any topics related to metaphysics (the philosophical study of the principles of reality) or epistemology (the philosophical study of knowledge) in this forum.
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ThomasHobbes
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Re: Best arguments for idealism?

Post by ThomasHobbes » July 21st, 2018, 5:13 pm

Karpel Tunnel wrote:
July 21st, 2018, 6:07 am
ThomasHobbes wrote:
July 20th, 2018, 2:02 pm

You do not experience the real. That is only a construct of your ideas.

You fully depend of sensation for evidence of what you think might be real.
I don't think that first sentence makes much sense, it would undermine your position, for example.
It happens to be factual. And it applies to you too. You can argue from adverse consequences, but that happens to be the truth. The trick is not to blind yourself with fallacies but to grasp what is in fact the case.
If you are not experiencing the real, then how could you possibly draw conclusions (about what other people are experiencing, for example.). I am not even sure what it means to say one is not experiencing the real. One's perceptions are part of reality.
Maybe you are just making a childish objection here?
The only "reality" you can have is the one you are continually constructing inside your head. I'm not pretending there is not an external world. I'm simply saying we cannot have direct access to that noumenal reality. We only have the world of phenomena that sensation provides us.
If you think otherwise you are just fooling yourself - but not to worry most people do that simply because they are naive enough to never have thought it through.
It's like believing that the the sun rises.
Most people who encounter philosophy know that its the world turning that makes the sun appear to rise.

I do understand that you are probably focusing on things like 'when we look at a tree we are actually experiencing interpretatins of the brain based on sensory impressions, and what we see is not direct experiencing' etc. subject perception object type stuff.

But experience is real or the word real has no meaning. It just may not be the real we think it is.
That sum just keeps on rising every morning, eh?

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RJG
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Re: Best arguments for idealism?

Post by RJG » July 21st, 2018, 6:30 pm

ThomasHobbes wrote:The only "reality" you can have is the one you are continually constructing inside your head. I'm not pretending there is not an external world. I'm simply saying we cannot have direct access to that noumenal reality. We only have the world of phenomena that sensation provides us.
So you are saying... We can only perceive perceptions (phenomena)! ...correct? If yes, then I agree. But then if "perceptions" are just 'phenomena', then what is "perceiving"? Isn't "perceiving" something 'real' (a noumena), i.e. a 'real' action/happening/event?

Is it possible to perceive phenomena, if "perceiving" were not noumenal???

- Can we perceive perceptions if "perceiving" is not real?
- Can we sense sensations if "sensing" is not real?
- Can we experience experiences if "experiencing" is not real?

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Burning ghost
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Re: Best arguments for idealism?

Post by Burning ghost » July 22nd, 2018, 1:03 am

Easy. Idealism doesn’t mean solipsism. Idealism, of which there are various species, is generally stating nothing more than how our ideas can shape our “base perceptions” (whatever they may be.) It is perhaps easiest to see this at play in how language adapts and changes in the field of zoology. We categorise and look more and more closely and through investigations make more precise delineations between things rather tha seeing a collection of items as one singular item.

An example would be “a chair.” The concept “chair” is a idealised item manifested in thw world. For an ant is a chair really “a chair”? I think not. All that said as humans we all have a certain commonality i how we express and interact in world, becasue of this we can communicate and develop ideas and manifest them accordingly.

Language isn’t merely a means of labelling things for communication. Language is the manifestation of something deeply subjective yet similar enough to survive the dilution of communication between individuals and equip us with new ways to position ourselves about the world.
AKA badgerjelly

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RJG
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Re: Best arguments for idealism?

Post by RJG » July 22nd, 2018, 7:28 pm

Burning Ghost wrote:Idealism, of which there are various species, is generally stating nothing more than how our ideas can shape our “base perceptions” (whatever they may be.)
Aren't "ideas" (thoughts/concepts) just "perceptions" themselves?

Burning Ghost wrote:Language isn’t merely a means of labelling things for communication. Language is the manifestation of something deeply subjective yet similar enough to survive the dilution of communication between individuals and equip us with new ways to position ourselves about the world.
Isn't 'language' the rules (and glue) by which sensations are composed into perceptions (thoughts, ideas, concepts)?

anonymous66
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Re: Best arguments for idealism?

Post by anonymous66 » July 23rd, 2018, 11:17 am

chaos_mora wrote:
May 25th, 2018, 4:32 pm
What are some of the best arguments for idealism? By idealism, I am referring to the philosophical perspective that reality is fundamentally mental, mentally constructed, or immaterial. I'm very interested in idealism, and I'd like to compile as many good arguments for it as I can within ontology and epistemology.
I don't find arguments for idealism to be appealing, but here goes:

I know I have a mind. I can't be wrong about what my mind experiences. I can be wrong about the physical world- we are susceptible to all kinds of optical illusions.

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Re: Best arguments for idealism?

Post by Karpel Tunnel » October 21st, 2018, 10:43 am

ThomasHobbes wrote:
July 21st, 2018, 5:13 pm
If you are not experiencing the real, then how could you possibly draw conclusions (about what other people are experiencing, for example.). I am not even sure what it means to say one is not experiencing the real. One's perceptions are part of reality.
Maybe you are just making a childish objection here?
The only "reality" you can have is the one you are continually constructing inside your head. I'm not pretending there is not an external world. I'm simply saying we cannot have direct access to that noumenal reality. We only have the world of phenomena that sensation provides us.
If you think otherwise you are just fooling yourself - but not to worry most people do that simply because they are naive enough to never have thought it through.
It's like believing that the the sun rises.
Most people who encounter philosophy know that its the world turning that makes the sun appear to rise.
My point is: with no experience of the real, how did you determine that it was the earth turning and not the sun moving?

And feel free to leave the insults out, implicit or explicit.
That sum just keeps on rising every morning, eh?
What I notice is that you did not respond to the point made. I put forward the position you are arguing from, and instead of pointing out how it was not right or not quite right, you just insulted me.

It actually comes off as afraid. But who gives a ****. Philosophy is not about finding pithy or implicit insults.

An entity that has never experienced the real, it seems to me, would be hesitant to univeralize and also to tell other people exactly what the real is. For someone who claims never to have experienced the real, but who at the same time seems to be an empiricist, it seems odd that you speak, nearly the whole time with utter certainty, and dismiss with insults positions you disagree with.

I do get the elementary philosophical idea that we do not have direct contact with reality. Now, however, we need to deal with the consequences of saying we never experience the real. Just because another position has problems, does not entail that the position we have is without problems.

If you do not experience the real, how do you know your without the slightest qualitification statements about me, the world, reality, all people are correct?

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JamesOfSeattle
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Re: Best arguments for idealism?

Post by JamesOfSeattle » October 21st, 2018, 1:51 pm

Replying to the OP:
chaos_mora wrote:
May 25th, 2018, 4:32 pm
What are some of the best arguments for idealism? .
I have found it useful to start at the bottom with three axioms:

1. Patterns (abstractions) are real.
2. (Physical) Stuff exists.
3. (Physical) Things change.

Now I use the terms “exist” and “real” very precisely. Only physical things “exist”, and “reality” includes patterns (abstractions). Reality also includes all physical things in that all physical things exhibit patterns. Patterns do not “exist”, but they may be discernible in things that do exist.

Now my understanding is that Idealism says that number one above is fundamental and so number two can be completely ignored. I can see how this conclusion was drawn because everything “mental” deals in patterns/abstractions. We recognize trees because of the patterns of experience they produce. Everything we (or anything) “experience” is about patterns.

The problem with Idealism is that it ignores number three above. All changes, all happenings, all phenomena, all experiences require changes in physical stuff. That’s Descartes’ great conclusion. “I can be fooled by the Daemon as to what the patterns I experience mean, but the fact that experience is happening means that there is some physical stuff changing.” Now Descartes himself may have been mistaken about the nature of the substance that was undergoing change, he thinking mental stuff was not the same as physical stuff, but his point has been generally accepted.

So my question is: how do Idealists explain that things change?

*

Karpel Tunnel
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Re: Best arguments for idealism?

Post by Karpel Tunnel » October 21st, 2018, 4:10 pm

JamesOfSeattle wrote:
October 21st, 2018, 1:51 pm
So my question is: how do Idealists explain that things change?
One explanation would be that mind or Mind (or spirit) changes. A bit like how dreams images and feelings change, except the mind or Mind is dreaming in what we call waking also.

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ThomasHobbes
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Re: Best arguments for idealism?

Post by ThomasHobbes » October 21st, 2018, 4:23 pm

Karpel Tunnel wrote:
October 21st, 2018, 10:43 am
ThomasHobbes wrote:
July 21st, 2018, 5:13 pm

Maybe you are just making a childish objection here?
The only "reality" you can have is the one you are continually constructing inside your head. I'm not pretending there is not an external world. I'm simply saying we cannot have direct access to that noumenal reality. We only have the world of phenomena that sensation provides us.
If you think otherwise you are just fooling yourself - but not to worry most people do that simply because they are naive enough to never have thought it through.
It's like believing that the the sun rises.
Most people who encounter philosophy know that its the world turning that makes the sun appear to rise.
My point is: with no experience of the real, how did you determine that it was the earth turning and not the sun moving?

And feel free to leave the insults out, implicit or explicit.
That sum just keeps on rising every morning, eh?
What I notice is that you did not respond to the point made. I put forward the position you are arguing from, and instead of pointing out how it was not right or not quite right, you just insulted me.

It actually comes off as afraid. But who gives a ****. Philosophy is not about finding pithy or implicit insults.

An entity that has never experienced the real, it seems to me, would be hesitant to univeralize and also to tell other people exactly what the real is. For someone who claims never to have experienced the real, but who at the same time seems to be an empiricist, it seems odd that you speak, nearly the whole time with utter certainty, and dismiss with insults positions you disagree with.

I do get the elementary philosophical idea that we do not have direct contact with reality. Now, however, we need to deal with the consequences of saying we never experience the real. Just because another position has problems, does not entail that the position we have is without problems.

If you do not experience the real, how do you know your without the slightest qualitification statements about me, the world, reality, all people are correct?
You would be advised to read what I said and not what you want me to have said. In this way you avoid making straw men and collecting my scorn.

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ThomasHobbes
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Re: Best arguments for idealism?

Post by ThomasHobbes » October 21st, 2018, 4:24 pm

JamesOfSeattle wrote:
October 21st, 2018, 1:51 pm
Replying to the OP:
chaos_mora wrote:
May 25th, 2018, 4:32 pm
What are some of the best arguments for idealism? .
I have found it useful to start at the bottom with three axioms:

1. Patterns (abstractions) are real.
2. (Physical) Stuff exists.
3. (Physical) Things change.

Now I use the terms “exist” and “real” very precisely. Only physical things “exist”, and “reality” includes patterns (abstractions). Reality also includes all physical things in that all physical things exhibit patterns. Patterns do not “exist”, but they may be discernible in things that do exist.

Now my understanding is that Idealism says that number one above is fundamental and so number two can be completely ignored. I can see how this conclusion was drawn because everything “mental” deals in patterns/abstractions. We recognize trees because of the patterns of experience they produce. Everything we (or anything) “experience” is about patterns.

The problem with Idealism is that it ignores number three above. All changes, all happenings, all phenomena, all experiences require changes in physical stuff. That’s Descartes’ great conclusion. “I can be fooled by the Daemon as to what the patterns I experience mean, but the fact that experience is happening means that there is some physical stuff changing.” Now Descartes himself may have been mistaken about the nature of the substance that was undergoing change, he thinking mental stuff was not the same as physical stuff, but his point has been generally accepted.

So my question is: how do Idealists explain that things change?

*
Point 1 makes no sense.

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JamesOfSeattle
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Re: Best arguments for idealism?

Post by JamesOfSeattle » October 21st, 2018, 5:59 pm

ThomasHobbes wrote:
October 21st, 2018, 4:24 pm
Point 1 makes no sense.
Okay TH. I’m assuming you don’t like the term “real”. How would you describe the relation of abstractions to reality?

*

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ThomasHobbes
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Re: Best arguments for idealism?

Post by ThomasHobbes » October 23rd, 2018, 6:28 am

JamesOfSeattle wrote:
October 21st, 2018, 5:59 pm
ThomasHobbes wrote:
October 21st, 2018, 4:24 pm
Point 1 makes no sense.
Okay TH. I’m assuming you don’t like the term “real”. How would you describe the relation of abstractions to reality?

*
I love the term 'real', but it is often the converse of abstract. Being that an abstraction of not real but FROM it.

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Re: Best arguments for idealism?

Post by Karpel Tunnel » October 24th, 2018, 5:32 am

ThomasHobbes wrote:
October 21st, 2018, 4:23 pm
You would be advised to read what I said and not what you want me to have said. In this way you avoid making straw men and collecting my scorn.
It is possible that I misunderstood, also that perhaps the way you wrote led to a confusion. Could you explain what I wrote that does not apply to your position and answer the question about how you come come to conclusions about what is outside your head, if all you experience is what is inside your head. I did not think that you were denying the existence of the outside world. I think it is problematic to say one does not experience the real. Right off the bat it means that you are experiencing the unreal. Or you are not experiencing. I really do understand the idea that we use sensations to construct a model of what is going on 'out there'. And I do see problems with saying one has direct experience of reality. But there are also problems with saying one does not.

One problem is then you may see to open yourself up to an infinite regress. You don't experience reality, you experience what you have constructed inside your mind. But then, do we have direct access to that construction?
But the main issue I was focusing on is if we do not have experience of the real, empiricism is undermined. Or at least needs to explain how having experiences of what is not real leads to knowledge not just of each of our own minds, but of reality. Idealists and solipsists and even certain types of Hindu mystics suddenly have very strong positions.

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Re: Best arguments for idealism?

Post by Karpel Tunnel » October 24th, 2018, 5:35 am

TH-
Another way to put it is: if You do not experience the real, what is the category of that which you do experience? Is that category NOT part of the real? If not, what is it? Does it not have a direct causal connection with other parts of the real?

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