The Subject-Object Problem

Get Email Updates Email this Topic Print this Page

de Silentio
 
Reply Tue 26 Feb, 2008 08:14 pm
@de Silentio,
Quote:
Ontology is indeed a subset of metaphysics. But ontology isn't science. What exists exists.


What exists exists, unless it doesn't exist and we think it does exist. But now I guess we are crossing the line between metaphysics and epistemology

Quote:
How is physics founded on a priori judgements?
I may be wrong, but it seems that the statement "every event has a cause" is part of the foundation of physics. Kant showed that this statement is known a priori. When I used the word 'judgement', I used it in the Kantiant sense.

Likewise, mathematical truths are known a priori. I will point you to Kant again. Unless I am wrong in trusting in Kant.

Would theoretical physics be metaphysical? It deals with completely abstract notions and mathematics.

Quote:
A metaphysicist would argue that 1, 2, 3 are eternal truths.


Perhaps we are not in agreement on the term metaphysics.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Tue 26 Feb, 2008 11:34 pm
@de Silentio,
de Silentio wrote:
What exists exists, unless it doesn't exist and we think it does exist. But now I guess we are crossing the line between metaphysics and epistemology
I happen not to think that existence is metaphysical. But existence is also a word with some vagaries, which is the problem with all metaphysical discussions. That's why symbolic logic has become so predominant in philosophy -- to eliminate the imprecisions in language.

Quote:
I may be wrong, but it seems that the statement "every event has a cause" is part of the foundation of physics.
The historical foundation, perhaps, but science doesn't actually require that premise at all. If I prove to you that smoking causes lung cancer, that's a mechanistic cause, not a metaphysical cause. There's a big difference. Causality in science doesn't have the same meaning that Aristotle, for instance, would have meant.

Quote:
Would theoretical physics be metaphysical? It deals with completely abstract notions and mathematics.
I don't think anything is ACTUALLY metaphysical. But I do think that pure theoretical physics, like string theory, is the same kind of intellectual project as metaphysics, if there isn't even a proposition as to how it might be observed. If there IS a proposition as to how something might be observed / studied, then it's not metaphysical -- it's just an untested hypothesis.


As for Kant, I've never agreed with his feeling that there are a priori truths. Everything that he proposed as an a priori truth is in actuality a cognitive abstraction we make a posteriori.
 
Edvin
 
Reply Wed 27 Feb, 2008 07:07 am
@de Silentio,
"Descartes was old news within a couple centuries even within philosophy, and he never had a significant impact on science."

The division of mind and matter was primarley advocated by Decart in the celebrated statement: 'Cogito ergo sum' which made people of the west identify themselves with their rational mind and not with their whole organism . This division between mind and matter made people see all phenomena in terms of seperate objects. But I could go on and on about how decart's philosophy and newtonian mechanics influenced ALL the sciences. I'm just going to quote Fritjof Capra about Descarts influence on science: "Descartes' method is analytic. It consists in breaking up thoughts and problems into pieces and in arranging these in their logical order. This analytic medhod of reasoning is probably Decartes' greatest contribution to science. It has become an essential characteristic of modern scientific thought and has proved extremely useful in the development of scientific theories and the realization of complex technological projects ." Fritjof Capra, The Turning Point p. 44. Descartes should not under any circumstance be looked upon as unimportant. If you do, you will be unable to explain the development of scientific thought, method and its development.

Another thing. Modern economics where founded basicaly by Sir William Petty, some 300 years ago. His ideas was emulated, adopted, adapted and further developed by many economists which influence on todays society cannoy be underestimated. Adam Smith, Karl Marx and Keynes to name some. His theories was developed using languange that as much as possible imitated the "hard" sciences to win support in the scientific community, in which they saw the method physics and mathmatics the ones that came closest to describing reality. Economic frameworks is NOT able do develop on it's own. It is able to develop very freely on "its own" WITHIN its framework, given the nature of the free trade concept, open competition etc. This could give the impression that it operates without rules for those that have not looked into the matter. Well, it does submit to rules as everything else.
 
Edvin
 
Reply Wed 27 Feb, 2008 07:30 am
@de Silentio,
Btw, it seems that the discourse have taken to a slightly hostile tone. I find myself explaining components of my argument, though I find my general point readily available. And I'm answering these in a cocky way that further encourages unconstructive discourse. Lets just stop, take a deep breath and try to see what the other one is trying to convey Very Happy

Just to sum it up, in case that you actually have overlooked my actual point: Western, modern thought did develope within certain frameworks. To a large extent this framework was largely advocated by Decart and again by Newton. Western thought, that is, scientific method, economics, political systems and so forth, is all results of an attempt to explain the relation between subjects and objects. These has braught upon the eastern part of the world much despair, and problems that can to a large extent be contributed to mechanistic ways of thinking.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Wed 27 Feb, 2008 07:58 am
@de Silentio,
I think one difference between our perspective is that to actually be a scientist one need not have any knowledge (or very little) of the development of that discipline. I'm an academic physician, and I could do what I do without ANY knowledge of the history of medicine or medical science. In my field there are some papers that are just 3 or 4 years old that are completely obsolete and no longer have utility. Galen had a 2000 year long influence in medicine (in fact he still does), despite the fact that he was medically wrong about nearly everything he said, and one need not know a thing about him to be a great physician.

This is different than any other discipline -- because historians and sociologists and philosophers and students of literature and philosophy, etc, DO need to have a good grasp on the history of their discipline. There's much more of an active dialogue between present and past in these fields.

So while Descartes' influence is an important part of the ultimate geneology of modern thought, it's more the successive generations of people he influenced (who were also influenced by other people and circumstances) that has made its way to modernity.

I'd also just offer that modernity has put forth a monumental rejection of the project that Descartes (and Kant) initiated. That is the work of psychology, especially Freud and Jung, but this is seen in diverse thinkers from Dostoyevsky to Sartre and Camus to Yukio Mishima. Namely, they've shown (in their way) that humans do NOT have a conscious core, let alone a rational core. We have an irrational core that is in varying degrees conscious and subconscious; we can be self-destructive and we can have internal conflict. And these other forces are constantly at odds with our reason.
 
Edvin
 
Reply Wed 27 Feb, 2008 08:12 am
@Aedes,
"I'm an academic physician, and I could do what I do without ANY knowledge of the history of medicine or medical science."

I have no trouble believing that. But the question was if the subject/object issue was of any relevance of the eastern world. I think I have proven that there may be much truth to the fact that there is indeed a western framework which has its influence over many aspects of eastern society. And what I'm still trying to say is that the frameworks cannot explain, or solve any given problem that society faces. It must be expanded, and in som places abandoned.

Also, do you think that Freuds psychology did not conform to newtonian mechanics? If so, that is not correct. He did, very much so.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Wed 27 Feb, 2008 12:55 pm
@de Silentio,
What specific aspect of Freud's psychology conforms to Newtonian mechanics? I can't possibly fathom how that argument could be made.

Newtonian mechanics deals in the motion of physical bodies. Freud's psychology dealt in subconscious influences on states of mental health and disease. They're two entirely and wholly different disciplines. Freud's work was almost entirely based on patient histories, so it was subjective research done on multiple subjects, using non-quantifiable data and never at all invoking classical mechanical explanations. And it so happens that what we know now about neuropsychology wouldn't correspond to classical mechanics either -- because it deals in cellular and biochemical physiology, in which quantum mechanics are the only ones of physiologic relevance.
 
Edvin
 
Reply Wed 27 Feb, 2008 03:15 pm
@Aedes,
"What specific aspect of Freud's psychology conforms to Newtonian mechanics? I can't possibly fathom how that argument could be made."

Let me explain how that argument can be made:

He made sure his theories was in accordance newtonian mechanics to be sure that his theories was not to be denied acceptance by the scientific community. This was the trend of the time because the "hard" sciences was able to explain more and more of the natural phenomena. They demystified and explained nature by using newtons precise formulation of the Cartesian paradigm and cartesian scientific method. So, if truth where to be gained it had to be through Decartes' paradigm spoken with newtonian language. Freud was according to all his biographers an proud scientist very much concerned with acceptance and recognition. Describing, and making psychoannalysis an accepted scientific dicipline was very important for him. He was convinced that the principles governing all natural phenomena was also responsible for the structuring of the mind, thus he tried whenever possible to describe his psychoanalytic theory using concepts and models of classical physics. Concepts of space and time, objects moving within these frameworks and interacting with one another and forces managing these objects in turn are all fundamental concepts of newtonian mechanics which Freud adapted to his psychoanalysis.

Freuds psychological space served as the framework in which psychological objects interacted. Id, Ego and superego was all objects confined in this space in which there where laws for interacting that where very intently formulated as closley as possible to newtonian mechanical theories and laws. F.eks, the properties of the id, ego and superego where identical with physical objects as described within the Cartesian paradigm. They could not be in the same place at the same time and where defined by their extension, motion and position. These objects where again submited to forces that worked independently of the objects themselves, f.eks the instinctual drive. There are many examples, especially in freuds early writings, where he openly compares some psychological processes to f.eks an hydraulic machine. To round it of, here is a quote from a speech by Freud himself: "...analysts are at bottom incorrigble mechanists and materialists."
 
Aedes
 
Reply Wed 27 Feb, 2008 04:47 pm
@Edvin,
All that argues for is that he adopted scientific terminology to present his work -- but scientific writing had advanced tremendously in the 300 years between Newton and Freud. And considering that Freud and Einstein were nearly exact contemporaries, it's hard to argue that his presentation was an homage to Newtonian mechanics. The id, ego, and superego are not, by the way, presented in a way that resembles mechanics. They are presented topographically and physiologically, which is completely different.
 
Edvin
 
Reply Thu 28 Feb, 2008 07:15 am
@Aedes,
Aedes wrote:
All that argues for is that he adopted scientific terminology to present his work --.


No, what it argues for is that he created an analogue to the mechanics as described by newton, because he firmly believed that the forces that structured reality was also responsible for the structuring of the brain and tried to reflect this when he formulated his theories.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Thu 28 Feb, 2008 07:19 am
@de Silentio,
I don't see this at all when I read Freud. It was never presented as an analogue to mechanics in any writings by him that I've read. He also did not talk about structuring of the brain -- he talked about structure of the mind.

If you have some direct evidence for this I'll stand corrected. By direct evidence, I mean a quote from Freud that describes this project of his in terms of classical mechanics.
 
Edvin
 
Reply Thu 28 Feb, 2008 07:21 am
@de Silentio,
Another thing. To be read independently from my above post.

This is just a good example of how influencal Decartes was, and how deep an impact he made on the scientific community. This influence can still be seen all over the world, and it is limiting and in some cases inhibiting understanding of phenomena. Going in debth on decartes influence over freuds psychoanalysis was an digression, but maybe a necessary one. Still, is it so dificult to grasp the subject/object issue being of any relevance to other than the western world, now that I have explained how deeply rooted his paradigm is in science and ways of thinking? I'm not saying that his is all evil and the root of all bad things in the world. In many cases we have gone far beyond the mechanics, and in some cases we have barely moved away from it. And in regards to many of todays issues one can clarely see the influence of decartes mechanics. And that is my point.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Thu 28 Feb, 2008 07:27 am
@de Silentio,
Here is a link to the full text of "The Ego and the Id", which was Freud's most famous paper. There is literally zero in this paper that even remotely evokes a fixed structure, a structure that reflects all reality, let alone Newtonian mechanics. He talks about the topographic functions of the mind, and unlike Newton (in fact in complete opposition to him) Freud focuses much of his work on irrationality and conflict. In fact Freud can be seen as killing once and for all the intellectual movement that Newton started.

Bibliomania: Free Online Literature and Study Guides

As for your question, all I will acknowledge is that Descartes had a huge foundational influence. But modern thought takes its shape from people who have come since Descartes, not from Descartes himself. Descartes' metaphysics is kind of ridiculous anyway, since it is built not only on the cogito but also a silly and flawed God proof, which makes his whole procedure seem antiquated and medieval. The greatest contribution Descartes made to modern thought was potentiating better philosophers like Spinoza and Kant and the Empiricists.
 
Edvin
 
Reply Thu 28 Feb, 2008 07:40 am
@Aedes,
"Freud focuses much of his work on irrationality and conflict. In fact Freud can be seen as killing once and for all the intellectual movement that Newton started"

As for the concept of conflict it corresponds perfectly with newtons dynamics in which forces always comes in pair. That is, for an active force there is always an reactive one. Freud did adopt this concept and the drives and defenses was the result. Libido and destrudo and Eros and Thanats are other examples. These where explained and defined by their effects and their inherent nature was not paid any attention. As is also characterstic of newtonian mechanics.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Thu 28 Feb, 2008 07:48 am
@de Silentio,
Again, I'm sure that you see an analogy here. But it is not present in Freud's actual writings. And he did not write that forces come in pairs. And he did not believe in equal and reactive forces. He believed in conflict, which is something that Newton would have never abided. Newton believed in a predictable order, and Freud did not. Newton was one of history's greatest optimists, and Freud was one of history's greatest pessimists. You're going to need to support this argument with more than analogies if you want us to really see it. A statement by Freud (especially in the context of his analytic theories) that attributes his structure to Newtonian mechanics would be a good start. If you can't find that, then how about a critical interpretation that demonstrates it?
 
Edvin
 
Reply Thu 28 Feb, 2008 07:59 am
@Edvin,
"The greatest contribution Descartes made to modern thought was potentiating better philosophers like Spinoza and Kant and the Empiricists."

Yes, there is such a thing as modern thought which is in stark contrast to Decartes paradigm, but fact still remains that his paradigm is deeply rooted in many of todays sciences. Economics and social sciences is two very good examples.

This is a link to a paper made by to professors a whitby college http://www.iclnet.org/pub/facdialogue/19/baird. In it is a quote worth noticing made by Richard Taylor:

"This Cartesian paradigm has become a dominant underlying and unnoticed assumption in our contemporary world. It is now difficult for many persons to think in non-Cartesian terms. As Richard Taylor points out, this paradigm has become embedded


" . . . in our manner of doing natural science, in
our technology, in some at least of the dominant
ways in which we construe political life (the
atomistic ones), . . . in various ways of healing,
regimenting, organizing people in society, and in
other spheres too numerous to mention. This . . .
model [has sunk] to the level of unquestionable
background assumption.11
Regarding the timeless nature of truth, critical
theorists focus on the importance of eliminating historical
or cultural bias."
 
Edvin
 
Reply Thu 28 Feb, 2008 11:29 am
@de Silentio,
I appologize. I did not see your post before I posted the above, though it serves the original question of this this discusson.

Now, in regards to our little digression towards newtonian mechanics in Freuds works: Earlier on you stated that Freud was "...using non-quantifiable data and never at all invoking classical mechanical explanations." That is wrong. I simply forgot to adress that. Freud dealt with quantitative properties in explaining the mental images projected by the instinctual drives. These where conjured up by definite quantities of emotional energy. He called it the 'process of mental energy exchange'.
In Freuds own words on the "conflict": "The final outome of the struggle depends on quantitative relations."

Also, you stated that "...Newton believed in a predictable order, and Freud did not." Freud was an rigourus determinist. Due to the causal nature of the forces that he believed structured the mind it would in theory be possible to determine the outcome of every event that occured within a persons mind. Every event had an cause in Freuds psychology. The 'initial conditions' for all acitivity was set in 'early childhood.'
In Fritjof Capras terms: "The 'genetic' approach of psychoanalasys consists of tracing the symptoms and behavior of a patient back to previous development stages along a linear chain of cause-and-effect relations.
 
Edvin
 
Reply Sun 2 Mar, 2008 12:10 am
@de Silentio,
Am I going to get any response to my post? Is the discussion over?
 
 

 
Copyright © 2021 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.02 seconds on 03/01/2021 at 04:35:16