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Conciousness as the definition of existence

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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RJG
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Re: Conciousness as the definition of existence

Post by RJG » January 9th, 2019, 2:12 pm

RJG wrote:An object can be can object without a subject.
Tamminen wrote:An object can be an object without being an object of experiencing for anyone, but its being is not possible without the being of some subject with which it has an ontological relationship of being.
If this were true, then everyone that goes to the dentist/doctor and given anesthesia, would be permanently gone (non-existent).

When you went to the dentist to have your wisdom teeth pulled, did he give you anesthesia? And if so, then when you went under, did the dentist (and all the other objects in the room) suddenly vanish and cease to exist?

...did your teeth never get pulled?
...did you (your body) also vanish and cease to exist?
...if all these objects ceased to exist, then how do you (and all these objects) suddenly 'pop' back into reality?
...even if there were other subject beings walking around, how could they have an ontological relationship with you if they can't even find (or see/know of) you, since you no longer exist?

Sorry Tam, but this view is wholly non-sensical to me.

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Re: Conciousness as the definition of existence

Post by Tamminen » January 9th, 2019, 4:57 pm

RJG wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 2:12 pm
RJG wrote:An object can be can object without a subject.
Tamminen wrote:An object can be an object without being an object of experiencing for anyone, but its being is not possible without the being of some subject with which it has an ontological relationship of being.
If this were true, then everyone that goes to the dentist/doctor and given anesthesia, would be permanently gone (non-existent).

When you went to the dentist to have your wisdom teeth pulled, did he give you anesthesia? And if so, then when you went under, did the dentist (and all the other objects in the room) suddenly vanish and cease to exist?

...did your teeth never get pulled?
...did you (your body) also vanish and cease to exist?
...if all these objects ceased to exist, then how do you (and all these objects) suddenly 'pop' back into reality?
...even if there were other subject beings walking around, how could they have an ontological relationship with you if they can't even find (or see/know of) you, since you no longer exist?

Sorry Tam, but this view is wholly non-sensical to me.
In that case you have much to think about. For instance about what the ontological subject-object relationship means. Because what you say above is pure nonsense and has nothing to do with all this.

We have gone through this, and I am not going to repeat my arguments here. Therefore the reference to our discussions in another thread, for others to have some fun.

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Re: Conciousness as the definition of existence

Post by Alias » January 9th, 2019, 6:38 pm

Tamminen wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 4:57 pm
... For instance about what the ontological subject-object relationship means.
What does it mean?
a set of concepts and categories in a subject area or domain that shows their properties and the relations between them.
Nowhere does that require the relationship to be cause-effect or dependency of one upon the other for its existence.

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Re: Conciousness as the definition of existence

Post by Felix » January 9th, 2019, 9:23 pm

RJG: An object can be an object without a subject.
False, every object is an object of awareness, i.e., it's a subject to someone.
RJG: But a subject cannot be a subject without an object (to experience).
That's not precisely true, nonobjective awareness is possible, what Merrell Wolff referred to as "consciousness without an object," a.k.a., samadhi in Hindu/Buddhist philosophy.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Re: Conciousness as the definition of existence

Post by Alias » January 9th, 2019, 11:25 pm

Felix wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 9:23 pm
RJG: An object can be an object without a subject.
False, every object is an object of awareness, i.e., it's a subject to someone.
RJG: But a subject cannot be a subject without an object (to experience).
That's not precisely true, nonobjective awareness is possible, what Merrell Wolff referred to as "consciousness without an object," a.k.a., samadhi in Hindu/Buddhist philosophy.
So, you're having it both ways: no things in themselves without anybody to vouch for them; yet awareness of nothing to be aware of.
Prove either one and I'll buy you a beer of which I alone am cognizant.
Those who can induce you to believe absurdities can induce you to commit atrocities. - Voltaire

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Re: Conciousness as the definition of existence

Post by Felix » January 9th, 2019, 11:53 pm

So, you're having it both ways: no things in themselves without anybody to vouch for them;


That "anybody" would include all forms of life.
... yet awareness of nothing to be aware of.
It is not awareness of nothing, by definition that is not possible, it is just not conventional subject/object awareness.
Prove either one...
One cannot prove something, e.g., a state of awareness, to one who has never experienced it. Prove to me the existence of an object that no one is aware of (in any way).
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Re: Conciousness as the definition of existence

Post by RJG » January 10th, 2019, 12:14 am

RJG wrote:An object can be an object without a subject.
Felix wrote:False, every object is an object of awareness, i.e., it's a subject to someone.
So when you fall asleep at night, does your wife, bed, and home go "poof"; and vanish from existence? Do you wake up alone and on the floor (or on the dirt under your non-existent home)? And then how do you get everything to 'pop' back into existence the next morning if they are not there for you to be aware of?

If your wife, bed, and home are still existing when you wake up in the morning, then you have been proven wrong, for the existence of these objects are therefore NOT reliant on your awareness (or lack of awareness) of them.

Also:
When you turn your head to the left, does everything on the right vanish?
And when you turn your head back to the right, did you just wipe out everything on the left?
If so, now you have just wiped out all of reality, with nothing left for you to ever be aware of!

No offense Felix, but this is a bunch of non-sensical-ness.

RJG wrote:But a subject cannot be a subject without an object (to experience).
Felix wrote:That's not precisely true, nonobjective awareness is possible, what Merrell Wolff referred to as "consciousness without an object," a.k.a., samadhi in Hindu/Buddhist philosophy.
Non-objective awareness is called non-awareness.
Without 'something' to experience, there is no experiencing.
Without 'something' to know, there is no knowing.

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

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Re: Conciousness as the definition of existence

Post by Alias » January 10th, 2019, 12:39 am

Felix wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 11:53 pm
That "anybody" would include all forms of life.
Which is pretty damn rare, while non-living matter is all over the place.
It is not awareness of nothing, by definition that is not possible, it is just not conventional subject/object awareness.
Without something, your awareness would have to be contemplating nothing, which it can't, so not quite so much of the
nonobjective awareness is possible, what Merrell Wolff referred to as "consciousness without an object,"
One cannot prove something, e.g., a state of awareness, to one who has never experienced it.
I didn't ask you to prove it to someone who has not had experience, only to someone who was already aware of you.
Never mind.

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Re: Conciousness as the definition of existence

Post by Felix » January 10th, 2019, 3:03 am

RJG: for the existence of these objects are therefore NOT reliant on your awareness (or lack of awareness) of them.
I never said they were. I am not speaking only of conscious awareness, that is only the tip of the consciousness iceberg. Most of consciousness is beyond the threshold of conscious awareness (although the field of conscious awareness can be extended). Obviously objective reality does not depend on our sensory awareness of it alone.
Non-objective awareness is called non-awareness.
As I just said, experience occurs on many levels, but we are not consciously aware of most of it. So nonobjective awareness is not equivalent to nonawareness.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Re: Conciousness as the definition of existence

Post by Alias » January 10th, 2019, 2:36 pm

Aw, now it's down to unconscious consciousness...
That's the last stop for me.
Those who can induce you to believe absurdities can induce you to commit atrocities. - Voltaire

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Re: Conciousness as the definition of existence

Post by Felix » January 10th, 2019, 6:05 pm

Let's back track.... RJG inflated the meaning of "objective" to include anything and everything perceived. I was using it in a more precise sense, to mean: a concrete object of perception or thought, something that exists independently of the observer (presumably). Conversely, by subjective I meant: something known that may or may not have objective existence or meaning.

"Aw, now it's down to unconscious consciousness..."

You're right, that leads to a dead end, sorry for the mental detour. My point was that there are levels or states of consciousness that are generally dissociated from each other.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Re: Conciousness as the definition of existence

Post by berend » January 11th, 2019, 9:56 am

I am not convinced by this idea.

If you are not conscious about the existence of a certain entity, or better, if nobody is conscious about the existence of a certain entity, does that mean it does not exist? Or does that mean it does not exist in your current mind / "consciousness"? If I were ignorant / unconscious about the existence of a certain entity, does not mean it does not exist to others? Even if it does not exist for others, does that mean it does not exist at all?

I can see how someone would argue if something does not exist in my mind, if I cannot perceive it, not aware of it, can't think of it or form any idea about it, it doesn't exist. But that is assuming I am a being capable of being consciousness about everything that does exist. This would also mean that things around me pop into and out of existence all the time because the moment I am unconscious about it, it is gone.

Also, you speak of existence and non-existence, what about things that don't actually exist, but exist in potentially? If something potentially exist, it does not exist in actuality, but does it exist because I am conscious of it existing in potentiality? If I were to be ignorant about paying taxes, because nobody ever told me to do so, these taxes do not exist to me. However there will come a day where this secret will be revealed to me and I am in for a surprise. Now, did taxation suddenly pop into existence, the idea?

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Re: Conciousness as the definition of existence

Post by Belindi » January 11th, 2019, 6:04 pm

Felix wrote:
RJG inflated the meaning of "objective" to include anything and everything perceived. I was using it in a more precise sense, to mean: a concrete object of perception or thought, something that exists independently of the observer (presumably). Conversely, by subjective I meant: something known that may or may not have objective existence or meaning.
Something that the observer experiences which has no objective existence is either a dream or a hallucination and those are not mysterious nor are they of ontological interest as each of those things that aren't there are informed by memory not the environment.

Something known that other people cannot experience is knowledge by acquaintance not knowledge by description. (Stanford)

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Re: Conciousness as the definition of existence

Post by Felix » January 11th, 2019, 11:57 pm

Something that the observer experiences which has no objective existence is either a dream or a hallucination and those are not mysterious nor are they of ontological interest as each of those things that aren't there are informed by memory not the environment.
That is the parochial position, that anything other than empirical knowledge is delusional, but there is also synthetic and intuitive knowledge, which inform both the arts and science and are not merely regurgitated memories.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Re: Conciousness as the definition of existence

Post by EventHorizon » January 12th, 2019, 2:46 am

Howdy y'all - I was told my inquisition into Being was metaphysical rather than ontological and to skip to the conclusion of Being and Nothingness where Sartre briefly elucidates on some metaphysical questions. I'm not sure if I'm completely tripping myself up, if I'm really understanding him, or if I'm off base. I'm going to post quotes here and I ask for help in explanation because I think it is relevant to my original post. Page numbers are from the Barnes translation.
Sartre, page 788-789 wrote: It is only by making itself for-itself that being can aspire to be the cause of itself. Conciousness as the nihilation of being appears therefore as one stage in a progression toward the immanence of causuality -i.e., toward being a self-cause. The progression, however, stops there as the result o the insufficiency of being in the for-itself. The temporalization of consciousness is not an ascending progress toward the dignity of the causa sui; it is a surface run off whose origin is, on the contrary, the impossibility of being a self-cause.

...

Thus ontology teaches us two things: (1) If the in-itself were to found itself, it could attempt to do so only by making itself consciousness; that is, the concept of causa sui includes within it that of presence to self - i.e., the nihilating decompression of being; (2) ...
These two quotes appear to touch on conclusions I have already made.I don't think Sartre is claiming these to be true but simply playing with the ideas. I don't quite understand the second point too well, it is long to type out but maybe someone could help me with it?
Sartre, page 789-790 wrote: Ontology here comes up against a profound contradiction since it is through the for-itself that the possibility of a foundation comes to the world. In order to be a project of founding itself, the in-itself would of necessity have to be originally a presence to itself - i.e., it would have to be already consciousness. Ontology will therefore limit it-self to declaring that everything takes place as if the in-itself in a project to found itself gave itself the modification of the for-itself.
I really want a concrete understanding of the part I have bolded here. Again, is this Sartre's conclusion or an idea he is playing with?
Sartre, page 790 wrote: This unification [of the in-itself and for-itself] naturally must not be constituted in the perspective of an historical becoming since temporality comes into being through the for-itself. There would be therefore no sense in asking what being was before the appearance of the for-itself. ... the task belongs to the metaphysician of deciding whether the movement is or is not a first "attempt" on the part of the in-itself to found itself and to determine what are the relations of motion as a "malady of being" with the for-itself as a more profound malady pushed to nihilation.
...
if consciousness is bound to the in-itself by an internal relation, doesn't this mean that it is articulated with the in-itself so as to constitute a totality, and is it not this totality which would be giving the name being or reality?
Here I want to ask which metaphysicians have taken this task and what books I should read. Furthermore, the bolded section seems awfully close to Sartre saying that there exists no Being outside of the Being that consciousness reveals.
but he then goes on to pose this question:
Sartre, page 791 wrote: To which shall we call real ... To the pure in-itself or to the in-itself surrounded by that shell of nothingness which we have designated by the name of the for-itself?
To which it seems he is again at the very least saying there is a serious consideration to be had that there is no "pure" in-itself outside of the for-itself.
Sartre, page 791 wrote:
...the in-itself has no need of the for-itself in order to be; the "passion of the for-itself only causes there to be in-itself, the phenomenon of in-itself is an abstraction without consciousness but its being is not an abstraction.

Here what is the difference between the phenomenon of in-itself and the being of in-itself?

And finally what I am most curious about:
Sartre, page 794 wrote: But if we can not "adopt a point of view on the totality," this is because the Other on principle denies that he is I as I deny that I am he. It is the reciprocity of the relation which prevents me from ever grasping it in its integrity. In the case of the internal negation for-itself-in-itself, on the contrary, the relation is not reciprocal, and I am both one of the terms of the relation and the relation itself. I apprehend being, I am the apprehension of being, I am only an apprehension of being. And the being which I apprehend is not posited against me so as to apprehend me in turn; it is what is apprehended. Its being simply does not coincide in any way with the question of totality. To be sure, I exist here as engaged in this totality, but I can be an exhaustive consciousness of it since I am at once consciousness of the being and self-consciousness.
I am curious if this is sartre's metaphysical conclusions or again simply a path of thought he starts. Furthermore, I think I am still blurry on his non-reciprocal case. What are some thoughts on the final bolded sentence? Was this conception of totality expanded on by anyone?


I know it's bad of me to skip and I already regret it - I will certainly be returning to my original spot to keep reading.

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