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Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

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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Tamminen
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Re: Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Post by Tamminen » July 14th, 2019, 5:20 am

Belindi wrote:
July 14th, 2019, 4:41 am
...the experience itself is the relationship between the subject and the object.
Right. From the side of the subject. Its material correlate in the brain is the same relationship from the side of what the experience is about: the material world.

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Sculptor1
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Re: Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Post by Sculptor1 » July 14th, 2019, 6:03 am

To say that an experience is located in the brain is utter nonsense. But you knew I would say that.

It is located in the brain like a story is located in a book.
Where do you think experience is located?
And why is it that you can loose an experience with a brain injury.

GaryLouisSmith
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Re: Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Post by GaryLouisSmith » July 14th, 2019, 6:18 am

Tamminen wrote:
July 14th, 2019, 5:20 am
Belindi wrote:
July 14th, 2019, 4:41 am
...the experience itself is the relationship between the subject and the object.
Right. From the side of the subject. Its material correlate in the brain is the same relationship from the side of what the experience is about: the material world.
What does it mean to be a correlate? Is it identity? Is it association?

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Sculptor1
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Re: Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Post by Sculptor1 » July 14th, 2019, 6:22 am

GaryLouisSmith wrote:
July 14th, 2019, 4:13 am
To say that an experience is located in the brain is utter nonsense. But you knew I would say that.
It is located in the brain like a story is located in a book.
Where do you think experience is located?
And why is it that you can loose an experience with a brain injury.

GaryLouisSmith
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Re: Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Post by GaryLouisSmith » July 14th, 2019, 7:14 am

Sculptor1 wrote:
July 14th, 2019, 6:22 am
GaryLouisSmith wrote:
July 14th, 2019, 4:13 am
To say that an experience is located in the brain is utter nonsense. But you knew I would say that.
It is located in the brain like a story is located in a book.
Where do you think experience is located?
And why is it that you can loose an experience with a brain injury.
An experience in obviously located in time, but not anywhere in space. And to say that an experience vanishes with brain injury THEREFORE it is located in the brain is illogical.

Tamminen
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Re: Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Post by Tamminen » July 14th, 2019, 7:25 am

GaryLouisSmith wrote:
July 14th, 2019, 6:18 am
What does it mean to be a correlate? Is it identity? Is it association?
I would not say more. There are two sides of the relationship between the subject and the material world: the subject's side, consciousness of the world, experiences about the world, and the side of the material world, the body, including the brain. So we have two "worlds" that never meet in the sense that they do not coincide, and they do not have the same "logic" or same type of description. I would say that they are conceptually incompatible. They are different types of "spaces". But their contents meet in the sense that there is a correspondence or correlation between them, so that we can say that our experiences are experiences about the material world, adequate or inadequate. And every time we experience something, something happens in our brains. It is like looking at ourselves in the mirror: when we move, something moves in the image. Correlation is something like this. Some call it identity, and ontologically it is not completely wrong, because we speak of the same relationship, but we should not give a vulgar meaning to the term and say that consciousness is a material phenomenon, reducible to physics.

Did I say more?

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Re: Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Post by GaryLouisSmith » July 14th, 2019, 7:59 am

Tamminen wrote:
July 14th, 2019, 7:25 am
GaryLouisSmith wrote:
July 14th, 2019, 6:18 am
What does it mean to be a correlate? Is it identity? Is it association?
I would not say more. There are two sides of the relationship between the subject and the material world: the subject's side, consciousness of the world, experiences about the world, and the side of the material world, the body, including the brain. So we have two "worlds" that never meet in the sense that they do not coincide, and they do not have the same "logic" or same type of description. I would say that they are conceptually incompatible. They are different types of "spaces". But their contents meet in the sense that there is a correspondence or correlation between them, so that we can say that our experiences are experiences about the material world, adequate or inadequate. And every time we experience something, something happens in our brains. It is like looking at ourselves in the mirror: when we move, something moves in the image. Correlation is something like this. Some call it identity, and ontologically it is not completely wrong, because we speak of the same relationship, but we should not give a vulgar meaning to the term and say that consciousness is a material phenomenon, reducible to physics.

Did I say more?
I'm not sure if you are saying that the self IS the brain or not. Whatever, I think you are saying that the self or brain is a an object that takes on the same form as something in the material world. You know the outer world by taking on the form of what is out there. For example if you are looking at a house, then you have that form of a house without the material component. of course the form that you as a self become may be different in that one form may be written in brain code, but nonetheless that code and the outer form must be isomorphic in the same way that music played by an orchestra is isomorphic with the written score. In any case, you become that. To know something is to be that something in an isomorphic manner. I don't think I have expressed that well, but then I think the whole idea is wrong and it simply can't be expressed well.

Tamminen
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Re: Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Post by Tamminen » July 14th, 2019, 8:34 am

GaryLouisSmith wrote:
July 14th, 2019, 7:59 am
I'm not sure if you are saying that the self IS the brain or not.
I would say that my body, including my brain of course, is my instrument of existing in the material world, and therefore it must be material and correlate with my consciousness of the world. But I, as the subject, am something else, something so original and fundamental that everything depends on it: the ontological structure of reality is (1) the subject's (2) consciousness of (3) the world. All three components are needed for there to exist anything. Also the subject is a mere abstraction if it is not conscious of the world. But without the subject, or "self", nothing can exist. So the self is not the brain, it is the subject of the brain. And the subject is not the same as consciousness, it is the subject of consciousness of the world. Correlations exist between consciousness and the brain, but the subject does not correlate with anything, it is the subject of all correlations. And what is important, the subject is not any kind of substance in the way Descartes saw it. It is the metaphysical "I" of Wittgenstein's Tractatus. It is not complex. Perhaps it is something like your "nexus".

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Consul
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Re: Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Post by Consul » July 14th, 2019, 11:13 am

Tamminen wrote:
July 14th, 2019, 4:43 am
Right. An experience is "located" in the "world" of experiences if we can meaninfully say that it is located anywhere. The brain is located in the world the experience is about. The experience has material correlates in the brain. So let us not make this more complicated than it is.
Your "world of experience" is your egocentric phenomenal field/space of experience, whose subjective contents (= experiences) are spatially and temporally organized in a certain way, there being (phenomenally) spatial and (phenomenally) temporal relations between them. Georg Northoff speaks of the "form of consciousness". So the location of an experience in a subjective and egocentric phenomenal space is one thing, and its location in objective physical space is another. A subjective field/space of phenomenal consciousness with all its experiential contents is objectively located in a region of physical space occupied by a brain, because it is generated by and in the brain.

"The concept of the 'form' of consciousness refers to how the contents in consciousness are structured and organized in spatial and temporal terms."

(Northoff, Georg. Unlocking the Brain, Vol. 2: Consciousness. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014. p. 464)

"[C]onsciousness and the intrinsic activity’s spatial (and temporal) continuity are constituted within the physical space (and time) of the brain and the world. In short, there is constitution of an “inner space consciousness” in (physical) space (and time).

Such constitution of consciousness in (physical) space (and time) must be distinguished from the experience of space (and time) in consciousness. The experience of space (and time) in consciousness is expressed by the term “inner space consciousness” (and “inner time consciousness”). Here, unlike in the constitution of consciousness in (physical) space (and time), we no longer refer to space (and time) as physical but rather as phenomenal. One may thus say that (phenomenal) space (and time) are constituted in consciousness. Accordingly, we have to distinguish between the “constitution of (phenomenal) space (and time) in consciousness” and the “constitution of consciousness in (physical) space (and time).”

Both are closely linked, however: since the “constitution of (phenomenal) space (and time) in consciousness” presupposes consciousness itself, it can be considered the output or result of the “constitution of consciousness in (physical) space (and time).” The focus in this (…) is therefore on how the “constitution of consciousness in (physical) space” leads to the “constitution of (phenomenal) space in consciousness,” that is, “inner space consciousness.”

One may even further specify their relationship. The constitution of phenomenal space and time lays the very basis of the subsequent constitution of consciousness in general. Phenomenal space and time provide the spatial and temporal grid into which any content must be integrated and linked in order to become associated with consciousness. Metaphorically speaking, phenomenal time and space can be considered the skeleton of consciousness without which consciousness itself would remain impossible altogether.

This means that the constitution of phenomenal time and space provide the bridge between the physical space and time of the physical world on one hand and the phenomenal features of consciousness on the other. To put it slightly differently, the transformation of the different discrete points in the physical time and space of the physical world into the spatial and temporal continuity of the brain’s intrinsic activity predisposes the subsequent constitution of consciousness and its various phenomenal features. Therefore, I speak of a neurophenomenal account of space and time, which I believe mediates the transition from the physical world of nonconsciousness to the phenomenal world of consciousness."

(Northoff, Georg. Unlocking the Brain, Vol. 2: Consciousness. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014. p. 70)
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Consul
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Re: Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Post by Consul » July 14th, 2019, 11:21 am

GaryLouisSmith wrote:
July 14th, 2019, 4:13 am
To say that an experience is located in the brain is utter nonsense.
No, it's utter nonsense to say that it is not. Where do you think your experiences are (in physical space) if not in the brain? Of course, a Cartesian substance dualist will reply that his experiences aren't anywhere in physical space, because they are part of a spatially unlocated immaterial soul. But that's absolutely absurd!
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Consul
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Re: Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Post by Consul » July 14th, 2019, 11:25 am

Felix wrote:
July 14th, 2019, 4:28 am
GaryLouisSmith said: To say that an experience is located in the brain is utter nonsense.
Yes, I agree. It's a passe 19th Century Newtonian concept, which has been effectively discredited now by quantum physics and chaos theory.
Rubbish!
Tell me, if your experiences aren't located anywhere inside your CNS, where are they located then?

"[A]ny metaphysical claim of the form 'Quantum mechanics shows that ...' should be treated with suspicion."

(Lewis, Peter J. "Metaphysics and Quantum Physics." In The Routledge Companion to Metaphysics, edited by Robin Le Poidevin, Peter Simons, Andrew McGonigal, and Ross P. Cameron, 517-526. Abingdon: Routledge, 2009. p. 525)
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Consul
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Re: Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Post by Consul » July 14th, 2019, 11:38 am

Belindi wrote:
July 14th, 2019, 4:41 am
Does experience require an experiencer?
Yes, of course.

"There are two kinds of entity that feature in the mental realm. On the one hand, there are items of mentality (mental items). These are such things as sense experiences, beliefs, emotions, and decisions, which form the concrete ingredients of the mind. On the other hand, there are subjects of mentality (mental subjects). These are the persisting entities that have mental lives and in whose mental lives mental items occur; they are the things that have experiences, hold beliefs, feel emotions, and make decisions. Mental items can occur only as elements in the lives of mental subjects. This is because our very concept of any type of mental item just is the concept of a subject’s being in a certain mental state, or performing a certain kind of mental act, or engaging in a certain kind of mental activity. It is fundamental to our understanding of the forms of mentality in question that for an experience to occur is for a subject to experience something, for a belief to occur is for a subject to believe something, for a decision to occur is for a subject to decide something, and so on for each type of mental item. To suppose that an item of mentality could occur without a subject of mentality would be as absurd as supposing that there could be an instance of motion without something that moves, or an instance of smiling without something that smiles.

(Foster, John. "Subjects of Mentality." In After Physicalism, edited by Benedikt Paul Göcke, 72-103. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2012. pp. 72-3)
Belindi wrote:
July 14th, 2019, 4:41 am
Or not? I say experience requires both an experiencer and an object of experience and that the experience itself is the relationship between the subject and the object. The brain-mind's function at least the cognitive part of the brain-mind is seeking and establishing relationships between subject and object. The liminal state is much to be desired for several reasons however you will always be tolled back to your sole self.
All kinds of experience have a subject and a content, but not all of them also have an (intentional or perceptual) object. For example, what's a mood about? There are philosophers who argue that not even sensations have an intrinsic aboutness, that they aren't intrinsically (re)presentations of anything.
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Consul
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Re: Are you a Realist or a Nominalist?

Post by Consul » July 14th, 2019, 11:53 am

GaryLouisSmith wrote:
July 14th, 2019, 6:18 am
What does it mean to be a correlate? Is it identity? Is it association?
"The neuronal correlates of consciousness (NCC) are the minimum neuronal mechanisms jointly sufficient for any one specific conscious experience. It is important to distinguish full NCC (the neural substrate supporting experience in general, irrespective of its specific content), content-specific NCC (the neural substrate supporting a particular content of experience — for example, faces, whether seen, dreamt or imagined) and background conditions (factors that enable consciousness, but do not contribute directly to the content of experience — for example, arousal systems that ensure adequate excitability of the NCC)."

Source: https://www.nature.com/articles/nrn.2016.22

Of course, it is true that the fact that the NCCs are located in the CNS is logically compatible with the denial that C itself is located therein too. According to substance dualism, C itself isn't located in a brain but "in" a soul. (I'm using quotation marks, since a zero-dimensional soul lacks an inside or interior.) However, if souls are located somewhere like brains, then C itself does have a location in space. However, substance dualists must postulate mysterious supernatural interactions between NCCs in brains and conscious states of souls, which circumstance alone renders their view utterly implausible. It's totally unintelligible and unexplainable how a neural process in a brain could produce consciousness "in" a separate immaterial soul.

The NCCs I'm talking about from my materialistic perspective are the NMCs (Neural Mechanisms of Consciousness) which are or cause C. According to reductive materialism, consciousness is a brain state constituted by (and thus identical to) certain neural mechanisms or processes.
"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 14th, 2019, 11:59 am

GaryLouisSmith wrote:
July 14th, 2019, 7:14 am
An experience in obviously located in time, but not anywhere in space. And to say that an experience vanishes with brain injury THEREFORE it is located in the brain is illogical.
How can a brain process in space and time produce an experience in time but not in space?
Obviously, if experiences are in themselves neural processes, they are in space, since neural processes take place in space; and if experiences are mental processes caused by neural processes, they are in space as well. For no spatially located neural process can produce anything spatially unlocated. That would be supernatural magic!
"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 14th, 2019, 12:12 pm

"…what unifies the phenomenal level as a whole: phenomenal space. Phenomenal experience has several features: quality, intensity, location, duration. But if we think about the phenomenal level as an entire simulated world, then perhaps the most pervading global feature of the world of consciousness is its all-embracing spatiality." (p. 167)

"The phenomenal fact that the world is centered or that it is constituted by an egocentric reference frame has also been called its perspectivalness, or the first-person perspective. The centeredness of phenomenal space means that the spatial volume surrounding us is experienced as spreading outward in every direction from a region which is itself immersed in the space. That central region is like the origin of a coordinate system: wherever it moves, it is always in the same centered position with regard to the other coordinates of the system. The center of phenomenal space anchors the rest of the coordinate system." (p. 168)

"The Relationship between Phenomenal Space and Physical Space

What is the relation of the phenomenal spatiality of consciousness to volumes of 'real' or theoretical physical space? The spatiality at the phenomenal level is categorically different from the 'real' or 'physical' space that surrounds the biological organism. Phenomenal spatiality is directly present in experience (it constitutes experience), whereas the idea of theoretical physical space is an abstraction in physical theory, not anything directly experienced. The phenomenal level literally resides within the confines of the brain, and therefore, whatever the spatiotemporal basis of the phenomenal level turns out to be, the physical space-time in which those properties are realized is the physical space-time inside the brain.

One exiting possibility (also mentioned by Dainton, 2003) is that neural activity in the brain is somehow using the physical space-time it occupies from moment to moment to realize phenomenal qualities within inherent spatiality. The problem of how the spatial (or spatiotemporal) organization of the phenomenal level is actually realized, however, remains to be solved by the empirical research program that discovers the phenomenal level of organization in the brain. All that can be said with certainty at this point is that the experience of space is a transparent surrogate of external physical space."
(p. 169-70)

"I propose that the existence of phenomenal space is a fundamental requirement for the existence of the phenomenal level. At bottom the phenomenal level consists of the direct presence of spatially organized and interrelated qualities. For several qualities to be present at the same time they must share the phenomenal space that interrelates them. Thus phenomenal space is necessary for the global unity of consciousness. And for any single quality to present itself, it must be spatially located somewhere in experiential space. Thus phenomenal space is a prerequisite of any qualities at all to spring into existence." (p. 170)

"Phenomenal space is a 3D coordinate system that allows qualities to present themselves for us." (p. 171)

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

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