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Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Discuss philosophical questions regarding theism (and atheism), and discuss religion as it relates to philosophy. This includes any philosophical discussions that happen to be about god, gods, or a 'higher power' or the belief of them. This also generally includes philosophical topics about organized or ritualistic mysticism or about organized, common or ritualistic beliefs in the existence of supernatural phenomenon.
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Re: Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Post by Consul » July 11th, 2019, 9:15 pm

"[O]ntology accounts for everything there is, and so on. What is everything? Should one perhaps invent a single existent, somehow to succor or support all others, call it existence, and say that whatever is thus succored or supported exists, and conversely? That plainly is a dead end. Nor is there a direct answer to the awkward question. It merely marks the spot for the 'phenomenological turn'. Whatever can be intended exists. This principle, of the existing intention, is of all fundamental gambits the one that has long engrossed me most. So I state it in two more ways. To be intended and to be presented are, as I speak, one and not two. Hence, second, whatever can be presented exists. This introduces a synonym that yields among other conveniences a handy label, I shall speak of the Principle of Presentation. Third, whatever can be thought, or, briefly, whatever is thinkable exists."
(p. 61)

"[T]he Principle of Presentation adds to the realm of existents not only the intentions of false beliefs, nonveridical memories, and erroneous perception, whether the error be qualitative or, as one says, existential; but also those of entertainings, doubtings, imaginings, and whatever other species a fully developed ontology of conscious states requires."
(p. 67)

"Are there facts? Are there classes? Are there makers? Are there simples? In Section 1 I took it for granted. Of course I did. Otherwise there would not have been anything to talk about."
(p. 68)

(Bergmann, Gustav. New Foundations of Ontology. Edited by William Heald. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1992.)

He's wrong, because we can and do talk&think meaningfully about nonexistent things. It is not the case that "whatever can be intended exists," or that "whatever is thinkable exists."
The intentional objects of false beliefs don't exist (because there are no non-obtaining states of affairs); the intentional objects of nonveridical memories don't (didn't) exist; the intentional objects of hallucinations don't exist; and the intentional objects of fictional imaginations don't exist either. In all these cases the intentional object isn't presented to or perceived by the subject, because it doesn't exist; so it's merely (nonveridically) represented to the subject by the (existing) experiential content of those experiences, which consists of original sensations (in the case of hallucination) or simulated sensations ("quasi-sensations") (in the case of recollection and imagination).
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Post by Consul » July 11th, 2019, 10:00 pm

GaryLouisSmith wrote:
July 11th, 2019, 9:04 pm
Since a thought for Bergmann is a universal and you don't believe in universals, I can see why you would say what you did. I think you would also not see a thought as a trope, but maybe you do. I really don't understand just what you think a thought is.
You may say that a (Fregean) thought or proposition is a universal in the sense that many different people can think the same thought or proposition. But this merely means that there can be numerically different sentences in different minds which all express the same thought or proposition, such that its universality consists in its multiple expressibility by different sentences in different minds at different places and times.

However, despite their linguistic multi-expressibility, I think that (Fregean) thoughts or propositions are really particulars rather than universals.

Furthermore, one can say that a thought or proposition has a general idea or concept as a (proper) part that represents a universal; but the thought or proposition as a whole doesn't represent a universal, because it represents a state of affair or fact, with states of affairs and facts being particulars.

"States of affairs contain as constituents both particulars and universals. But what of the states of affairs themselves? Should they be classified as particulars, universals or neither? Confining ourselves here to first-order states of affairs, the only ones that have been so far considered, the answer would appear to be that they are particulars. For they lack the repeatability that is the special mark of universals.

In general,…first-order states of affairs are (first-order) particulars. This is the 'victory of particularity'. For first-order states of affairs, particulars+universals=a particular. Of course, the ' + ' here is a nonmereological form of addition. It is the uniting of particulars and universals in a state of affairs."


(Armstrong, D. M. A World of States of Affairs. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997. p. 126)
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Post by GaryLouisSmith » July 11th, 2019, 10:37 pm

Consul wrote:
July 11th, 2019, 10:00 pm
GaryLouisSmith wrote:
July 11th, 2019, 9:04 pm
Since
Unfortunately I am unable to comment on either Frege or Armstrong. I will take your word for what they believe.

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Re: Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Post by GaryLouisSmith » July 11th, 2019, 10:44 pm

Consul wrote:
July 11th, 2019, 9:15 pm
[ it doesn't exist; so it's merely (nonveridically) represented to the subject by the (existing) experiential content of those experiences, which consists of original sensations (in the case of hallucination) or simulated sensations ("quasi-sensations") (in the case of recollection and imagination).
I think you are saying that the intentional object of thoughts whose objects "don't exist" is something in the experience itself. Such objects are "in the mind", not in the world. Why don't you say that the object of ALL of our thoughts is something in the experience, "in the mind"? What do you think accounts for the "feeling" that some of the things we experience are real, external to the mind? Is it only a feeling?

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Re: Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Post by Consul » July 11th, 2019, 11:04 pm

GaryLouisSmith wrote:
July 11th, 2019, 10:37 pm
Unfortunately I am unable to comment on either Frege or Armstrong. I will take your word for what they believe.
As for what Frege believes, he defines a thought as the sense of a (declarative) sentence, and says that a (declarative) sentence expresses a thought. But what a sentence expresses is not what it refers to, and the referent of a sentence is not a state of affairs but a truth-value: either the True or the False, with these being simple abstract objects. So, according to Frege, (declarative) sentences express thoughts and refer to truth-values (rather than to states of affairs). Accordingly, Frege regards sentences as proper names of the True or the False, which means that every true sentence is a name of the True, and every false sentence is a name of the False.

Moreover, in contemporary ontology, abstract propositions are said to contain (equally abstract) concepts as components; but this is not in accordance with Frege's system, because for him only predicate-senses are components of propositions (thoughts), whereas Fregean concepts aren't senses or meanings of predicates but referents of predicates, viz. universal properties (universals).

Truth-Values: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/truth-values/
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Post by Consul » July 11th, 2019, 11:33 pm

GaryLouisSmith wrote:
July 11th, 2019, 10:44 pm
Consul wrote:
July 11th, 2019, 9:15 pm
[ it doesn't exist; so it's merely (nonveridically) represented to the subject by the (existing) experiential content of those experiences, which consists of original sensations (in the case of hallucination) or simulated sensations ("quasi-sensations") (in the case of recollection and imagination).
I think you are saying that the intentional object of thoughts whose objects "don't exist" is something in the experience itself. Such objects are "in the mind", not in the world. Why don't you say that the object of ALL of our thoughts is something in the experience, "in the mind"? What do you think accounts for the "feeling" that some of the things we experience are real, external to the mind? Is it only a feeling?
Well, there is Franz Brentano's famous concept of "intentional inexistence". Unfortunately "inexistence" is ambiguous between "intra-existence" and "non-existence". I definitely reject the former interpretation of merely/purely intentional objects as intramentally existing objects. For it is not the case that if an intentional object of thought or imagination or hallucination doesn't exist outside the mind, then it exists inside the mind. No, merely/purely intentional objects are "inexistent" in the sense of being "nonexistent": they exist nowhere and as nothing!

The subjective experiential content of perception or imagination is not its intentional object. (Note that the experiential content can itself become an intentional object of introspection or reflection.) For example, when I see a tree, the tree is the intentional object of vision, and a corresponding visual sensation/impression is its experiential content. I experience the internal content and perceive an external object through it.

Strictly speaking, we cannot experience anything else but experiences; but this doesn't mean that we cannot perceive anything but our own experiences. In fact we can. We can and do perceive things other than the subjective contents of our consciousness; but we cannot perceive them without experiencing those subjective contents, which are appearances of them. I perceive external things through internal (sensory) appearances of them; and when I do so, the intentional objects of perception are those external things and not their appearances in my mind.
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Post by Consul » July 11th, 2019, 11:45 pm

GaryLouisSmith wrote:
July 11th, 2019, 10:44 pm
What do you think accounts for the "feeling" that some of the things we experience are real, external to the mind? Is it only a feeling?
I think we're all "naive" perceptual realists by nature—until we read books written by subjective idealists, who tell us that we never perceive anything but the internal contents of our consciousness. But those guys are wrong, because although we never experience anything but (sensory) appearances of reality, it is not the case that we never perceive anything but (sensory) appearances of reality. For we can and do perceive external, nonmental/nonexperiential, material/physical things and events.
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Post by GaryLouisSmith » July 11th, 2019, 11:58 pm

Consul wrote:
July 11th, 2019, 11:45 pm
GaryLouisSmith wrote:
July 11th, 2019, 10:44 pm
What do you think accounts for the "feeling" that some of the things we experience are real, external to the mind? Is it only a feeling?
I think we're all "naive" perceptual realists by nature—until we read books written by subjective idealists, who tell us that we never perceive anything but the internal contents of our consciousness. But those guys are wrong, because although we never experience anything but (sensory) appearances of reality, it is not the case that we never perceive anything but (sensory) appearances of reality. For we can and do perceive external, nonmental/nonexperiential, material/physical things and events.
Bergmann has this mental act which he calls "grasping". When we perceive a fact we are simultaneously able to grasp its internal constiuents, i.e. the universal, bare particular, nexus etc.. I think you probably have no use for such a mental act. Psychologically speaking, why do you think Bergmann had the philosophy he did? What was he aiming for? What are you aiming for?

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Re: Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Post by GaryLouisSmith » July 12th, 2019, 12:06 am

Consul wrote:
July 11th, 2019, 11:45 pm
GaryLouisSmith wrote:
July 11th, 2019, 10:44 pm
What do you think accounts for the "feeling" that some of the things we experience are real, external to the mind? Is it only a feeling?
I think we're all "naive" perceptual realists by nature—until we read books written by subjective idealists, who tell us that we never perceive anything but the internal contents of our consciousness. But those guys are wrong, because although we never experience anything but (sensory) appearances of reality, it is not the case that we never perceive anything but (sensory) appearances of reality. For we can and do perceive external, nonmental/nonexperiential, material/physical things and events.
I take it that you think those sensory appearances are subjective. i.e. in the mind. Is the redness of a rose that we see not also external to the mind? I think it is.

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Re: Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Post by Consul » July 12th, 2019, 12:28 am

GaryLouisSmith wrote:
July 12th, 2019, 12:06 am
I take it that you think those sensory appearances are subjective. i.e. in the mind. Is the redness of a rose that we see not also external to the mind? I think it is.
It depends on what you mean by "color". There's a distinction between phenomenal color (color-as-experienced) and physical color (defined in terms of some physical property such as wavelength or reflectance). Phenomenal colors as color-impressions/-sensations are mind/brain-internal, despite the fact that they seem to be out there on material surfaces or in transparent masses of stuff such as Wilfrid Sellars' famous pink ice cube, because this is a projective illusion.
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Post by Consul » July 12th, 2019, 12:41 am

The brain is the organ of consciousness, and all subjective experiences—all kinds of sensation, emotion, or imagination—are realized by and in the brain.

"How to Solve the Location Paradox without Miraculous Projection?

The phenomenal level is a reality of its own, and talk about the 'location' of various experiences only refers to the internal organization of this level. Thus, pains and other bodily sensations are experienced at various locations of the phenomenal body image. Objects are experienced as located outside the phenomenal body image. Thoughts are experienced as located inside the head of the phenomenal body image, and so on. This whole phenomenal system itself, however, is realized by and located within the confines of the brain, as empirical evidence from dreaming shows.

Objects, pains, and thoughts retain their relative location within this phenomenal system even in dreams, although online causal connections with the world external to the brain are temporarily severed. The experience of pain is located in the finger of the phenomenal body image, not in the physical finger of flesh and bones, where the distal cause of the pain may be located. There is no paradox involved; it is just that the notion 'in the finger' is ambiguous as to whether it refers to the phenomenal body image or to the flesh-and-bones biological body part. There are two entirely different coordinate systems in which we could locate the referent of the everyday concept 'my finger'. As long as one does not realize this, there is no hope of construing a coherent story of the location of conscious experiences in the physical world.

The fact that the phenomenal level is the brain's model or simulation of the world is effectively hidden from subjective experience. It does not look like a model; it looks like a world. That is why we do not experience the world to be in our head; it would simply make a disastrously poor model of the world for the brain. At the phenomenal level, we have no experience whatsoever of our brain (as an internal organ within the biological head). Consequently, we do not have (and could not have) any idea of what it would feel like to experience something to be inside the brain. One's own phenomenal body image simply does not include any experience that is located 'inside' the brain, for at the phenomenal level there is no phenomenal image of the brain for an experience to be located in. This is just another reminder of the fact that the phenomenal body image is not identical with the biological body.

If on the basis of purely phenomenal content we have no idea what kind of experiences should be counted as not being inside the brain. The structure of purely experiential content does not reveal its own location (or the location of its realizing ground) in the wider context of physical space. The structure of purely experiential content cannot really be used as an argument against the empirical scientific hypothesis that, as a matter of fact, the phenomenal level resides in and is brought about by processes going on entirely in the brain."


(Revonsuo, Antti. Inner Presence: Consciousness as a Biological Phenomenon. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2006. pp. 159-60)
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Post by Belindi » July 12th, 2019, 5:02 am

Consul wrote:
Strictly speaking, we cannot experience anything else but experiences; but this doesn't mean that we cannot perceive anything but our own experiences. In fact we can. We can and do perceive things other than the subjective contents of our consciousness; but we cannot perceive them without experiencing those subjective contents, which are appearances of them. I perceive external things through internal (sensory) appearances of them; and when I do so, the intentional objects of perception are those external things and not their appearances in my mind.
There are two sources of information both of which cause perception of subjective reality. One of those is perceptions via the organs of special sense and this information comes from the environment beyond the body and some comes from the body proper that's to say, the body excluding the brain.

The other information source is memory.

There is a fascinating and magical state of being which holds in suspense both memory and incoming information. It's the liminal. The threshold.
This state of being is of course transitory that's how it's threshold . The state of being is when for instance the individual is undergoing a rite of passage typically a religious ritual such as coming of age ritual.It's also when the individual is in a strange place that holds no memories for him and of which he will never again perceive in the same transitional way as memories begin to accrue. Some actual places symbolise the transitional , threshold state. Such places as an untouched ruin which is a threshold to the past.Or it might be an airport terminal to the future. It was Keats's Grecian Urn. It's the state of being which, as acceptance, allows divination, the paranormal, the odd, the unexplained, the magical. The threshold is a transition to the past or the future and perceptually hovers between.

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Re: Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Post by GaryLouisSmith » July 12th, 2019, 6:35 am

Belindi wrote:
July 12th, 2019, 5:02 am
Consul wrote:
Strictly speaking, we cannot experience anything else but experiences; but this doesn't mean that we cannot perceive anything but our own experiences. In fact we can. We can and do perceive things other than the subjective contents of our consciousness; but we cannot perceive them without experiencing those subjective contents, which are appearances of them. I perceive external things through internal (sensory) appearances of them; and when I do so, the intentional objects of perception are those external things and not their appearances in my mind.
There are two sources of information both of which cause perception of subjective reality. One of those is perceptions via the organs of special sense and this information comes from the environment beyond the body and some comes from the body proper that's to say, the body excluding the brain.

The other information source is memory.

There is a fascinating and magical state of being which holds in suspense both memory and incoming information. It's the liminal. The threshold.
This state of being is of course transitory that's how it's threshold . The state of being is when for instance the individual is undergoing a rite of passage typically a religious ritual such as coming of age ritual.It's also when the individual is in a strange place that holds no memories for him and of which he will never again perceive in the same transitional way as memories begin to accrue. Some actual places symbolise the transitional , threshold state. Such places as an untouched ruin which is a threshold to the past.Or it might be an airport terminal to the future. It was Keats's Grecian Urn. It's the state of being which, as acceptance, allows divination, the paranormal, the odd, the unexplained, the magical. The threshold is a transition to the past or the future and perceptually hovers between.
For an understanding of the liminal, I highly recommend this book - https://www.amazon.com/Trickster-Parano ... 566&sr=8-1

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Re: Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Post by GaryLouisSmith » July 12th, 2019, 7:20 am

Consul wrote:
July 12th, 2019, 12:41 am
The brain is the organ of consciousness, and all subjective experiences—all kinds of sensation, emotion, or imagination—are realized by and in the brain.


If on the basis of purely phenomenal content we have no idea what kind of experiences should be counted as not being inside the brain. The structure of purely experiential content does not reveal its own location (or the location of its realizing ground) in the wider context of physical space. The structure of purely experiential content cannot really be used as an argument against the empirical scientific hypothesis that, as a matter of fact, the phenomenal level resides in and is brought about by processes going on entirely in the brain."[/i]
So how do we come to think or know that the brain is the ground or source of phenomenal experiences?

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Re: Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Post by Consul » July 12th, 2019, 2:26 pm

GaryLouisSmith wrote:
July 12th, 2019, 7:20 am
So how do we come to think or know that the brain is the ground or source of phenomenal experiences?
There's ample scientific evidence provided by medicine, anaesthesiology, neurology, psychiatry, and psychopharmacology. It is well known that many brain diseases or brain injuries affect and alter consciousness. It is well known that psychotropic substances affect and alter consciousness. Anaesthesiologists can switch consciousness off or on at will through the chemical manipulation of brain processes. All this is compelling evidence for the assumption that the brain is the organ (substrate/ground/source/seat) of consciousness. Dream research provides further evidence:

"There is overwhelming evidence that the whole range of subjective conscious experiences—the entire phenomenal level of organization—does come into existence during dreaming. From this simple, well-attested fact it follows that the same physical or neural realizing basis of consciousness must be responsible for the sphere of subjective experiences both during wakefulness as well as during dreaming. The mechanisms of consciousness must be active in both states and furthermore organized in a closely similar way—otherwise dream experience would not amount to a faithful simulation of the perceptual world.

Knowledge of the physiological activity in the brain during dreaming could be utilized to constrain hypotheses about the locus of control of consciousness. Many of the sensory and motor systems that normally during wakefulness are in causal interaction with the phenomenal level, are no longer so in REM sleep. As the phenomenal level is fully realized all the same, the sensorimotor systems disengaged from phenomenal consciousness during dreaming can be excluded from the locus of control of the phenomenal level. Phenomenal consciousness cannot be ontologically dependent on any bodily or physiological state that is missing during dreaming. No state missing during dreaming can be absolutely necessary for the existence of the phenomenal level. Therefore, physiological states or activities missing during dreaming cannot be constitutive of phenomenal consciousness.

During REM sleep in the brain there is a sensory input blockade (preventing stimuli from reaching consciousness), a motor output blockade (preventing motor commands from reaching the muscles), and a highly active brain in between them. As a result of all this, the phenomenal level of subjective experience is brought about inside the brain. Yet, for an external observer the dreaming person's body appears to be paralyzed and unresponsive, revealing no behavioral signs of the vivid phenomenal world wherein the dreaming subject is immersed in all sorts of colorful adventures.

Even so, physical stimuli are received and processed by our sensory systems, but only at levels not involving consciousness."


(Revonsuo, Antti. Inner Presence: Consciousness as a Biological Phenomenon. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2006. pp. 86-7)

"The significance of the dreaming brain for the theoretical description and explanation of consciousness lies in the fact that dreaming effectively isolates the explanandum from the surrounding nonconscious biological mechanisms. When considering the dreaming brain we acquire a crystal clear distinction between the phenomenal level itself and what lies just beyond its borderlines: the preceding causes and the underlying microlevel mechanisms of consciousness, tightly surrounding the phenomenal level, but fundamentally distinct from it nonetheless.

The isolation of consciousness consists of the following elements: Sensory input is received normally by peripheral sensory organs during sleep, but blocked from consciousness at higher thalamocortical processing levels. Sensory input thus does not modulate phenomenal consciousness in any way. This is the sensory input blockade. Bodily action is experienced in dreams and related motor output is being produced by cortical motor areas during REM sleep. The motor output is blocked from reaching the muscles. This is the motor output blockade.

The isolation of consciousness in the dreaming brain establishes that sensory input and motor output (and the mechanisms involved in dealing with them) are not necessary for producing phenomenal consciousness. The dreaming brain furthermore provides us with insights into the internal biological mechanisms that are entirely sufficient by themselves for supporting the phenomenal level. During REM sleep, the level of general activation in the brain is similar to that during wakefulness.

The evidence gathered concerning the location of consciousness in the physical world now seems definite: the entire sphere of phenomenal consciousness resides within the confines of the brain. It is ontologically dependent neither on the sensory input mechanisms leading to the brain, nor on the motor output mechanisms reaching out from the brain.
Our sensory-perceptual and bodily presence in the world is brought about by wholly internal neural mechanisms that work in a similar manner during wakefulness and dreaming. The experience of a seemingly external perceptual world and the experience of being personally embodied and situated in the center of the world are grand illusions brought about by the internal workings of the brain.

The above conclusion about the place of consciousness in the world is highly controversial in philosophy, where several lines of thought resist the idea that consciousness resides in the brain. Now the burden of proof is on the advocates of those views. Anyone who denies that consciousness is in the brain should come up with an alternative interpretation of the evidence provided by the dreaming brain. Furthermore, he should come up with a clear answer to the question, If consciousness is not located in the brain, where then is it to be found?"


(Revonsuo, Antti. Inner Presence: Consciousness as a Biological Phenomenon. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2006. pp. 97-8)
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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