Terrapin Station wrote:Putting aside whether I agree with all of that, okay, but the point is that most objects are in no way dependent on us, our concepts, etc.
Yes, and, in my view, that is the key thing that an objective proposition proposes. The proposition "here is a table" proposes that any suitably situated observer will see a table and it proposes that the reason for this is that there exists an object called a table. It's the same, in principle, as a law of physics or any other proposition that seeks, by the process of Induction, to extrapolate from the specific to the general; to take the patterns in a finite set of observations and predict what an indefinitely large number of possible observations would find, as a result of the proposed objective existence of a world "out there".
The only ones that are, in a sense, are artifacts--objects we create, but those are only dependent on us insofar as they wouldn't exist as they do without us having ideas about creating them first, and then once we create them, they're no longer dependent on us in any manner. We could completely disappear and automobiles, computers, etc. would continue to exist as objects.
Yes, I appreciate that but I don't think it's relevant to the point we're discussing.
So why are we focusing at all on us and our concepts when we talk about objects?
Because, in my view, it would be literally meaningless to talk of an object which could never, even in principle, be detected, either directly or indirectly, by any form of observation or measurement. In Bertrand Russell's book on the Theory of Relativity ("ABC of Relativity") he (a bit whimsically) likens it to the poem about the Aged Aged Man in Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, who says:
"I was thinking of a plan to dye one's whiskers green,
But always use so large a fan that they could not be seen."
(Sorry. A bit of a strange digression there, but it just sprang to mind.)
So, for this reason, it's important, when attempting to make objective propositions about the state of affairs existing in the physical world, to start with what is observable. This becomes particularly important when examining what is observed in the context of Quantum Mechanics. But maybe more on that later or elsewhere?
Sometimes people counter with "To think of it as a 'tree' you need to have the concept" etc. What I'm saying is that we can perceive something like a tree without thinking about it (aside from the perception being present, if you count that as a "thought"), without assigning any language to it, any concepts, etc. It's just that particular thing appearing.
Ok, I see. I don't see that as directly relevant to our discussion either.
Why talk about your sensations all the time, though? That always seems oddly self-centred to me. It's "making everything about oneself."
I see why you would say that but, as I've alluded to, I think that when one thinks carefully about things it turns out that's the only way to make sense of the world - to start with what is observed and not, at least initially, make assumptions as to what those observations are caused by.
As I've suggested above, this view is, in part, influenced by the empirical findings of Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. If you're interested, I started a topic a while ago to discuss a particular experiment in Quantum Mechanics which illustrates curious things about what is observed, possible models for them and the philosophical implications of those models.
Here's a link or two: