Unconscious inferences...

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Reply Tue 9 Jun, 2009 08:37 am
Unconscious inferences. Suppose you were presented with this image;

http://i44.tinypic.com/316rfwz.jpghttp://i44.tinypic.com/2il0dux.jpg


Is the rectangle a subjective surface, or more precisely, a rational surface? Or are we just looking at a rectangle through a few holes in the wall?
 
Theages
 
Reply Wed 10 Jun, 2009 05:27 pm
@VideCorSpoon,
What do you mean that the rectangle "is not actually there"? Under what circumstances would it be reasonable to conclude that it is "actually there"?
 
VideCorSpoon
 
Reply Wed 10 Jun, 2009 06:42 pm
@Theages,
Theages;68131 wrote:
What do you mean that the rectangle "is not actually there"? Under what circumstances would it be reasonable to conclude that it is "actually there"?


Take for example the first picture.

http://i44.tinypic.com/316rfwz.jpg

The main thing to consider is the fact that though the picture is only constituted by 8 individual circles, the way that the rectangle is superficially transposed upon the majority of those circles (like the orange 90 degree angle on the bottom left circle for example), makes us see a rectangle. The dilemma is that the rectangle does not have a shape of its own as far as the elements of the picture are concerned; it is composed of a series of fragments which makes it appear as though there is a rectangle there. The rectangle is suggested rather than a part of the picture. We rationalize that the rectangle is there.

This is why I suppose that when we see the top picture with what would appear to be an orange rectangle in it, I would think it would be a "rational surface." But I am not suggesting that the rectangle is not actually there though, just that we have to use "rationalism" to extrapolate that the rectangle is there. The rectangle could exist in a rational sense. This is contrary to the opposite view, that the rectangle is actually there, that empirically we can see the rectangle without issue and we do not need to rationalize that there is a rectangular shape in the picture. The rectangle is there because of our sensory perception (in the classical Lockean sense).

So the question is whether the rectangle is there in a rational sense, where we have to extrapolate that the orange shape is indeed a rectangle, or whether the rectangle is there in an empirical
 
Theages
 
Reply Wed 10 Jun, 2009 08:09 pm
@VideCorSpoon,
Suppose I needed to cut several pieces of lumber down to a particular size. I discover that I can use those "8 individual circles"* to give me the appropriate rectangle dimensions consistently. I could use that picture as a guide to cutting my lumber.

In that sense, the rectangle is there. It looks like a rectangle, and it acts like a rectangle.

*If you want to look at this in a strictly geometrical sense, there is only one circle and several fragments of circles.
 
VideCorSpoon
 
Reply Thu 11 Jun, 2009 06:02 am
@VideCorSpoon,
But even if you did use those "8 individual circles," you are supposing that the shape is contiguous. There is a point where one could suppose that there could possibly be two or more squares in the same picture.

http://i39.tinypic.com/hx3y2d.jpg

The white areas of the picture are the problematic point. What we perceive to be there could in fact be different even though we are looking at it with our own two eyes. We are rationalizing that the rectangle we are seeing is contiguous because for some reason or another, we fill in those blank areas with the rest of the shape.

So you could very well use the rectangular shape to cut pieces of wood. The only problem is that you are only inferring that the rectangle is there. You are inductively concluding about something which for all intents and purposes may be drastically different. You are assuming something that may not be there, creating the shape in your mind. But a problem always follows with the assumption that if "it looks like a rectangle, and it acts like a rectangle" it is a rectangle. What about fools gold? It looks like gold and it acts like gold, but it is is not gold. And yet we may assume (falsely) that the subjective surface of that nugget of fools gold is gold.

Geometrically, there are still 8 circles in the picture. The only thing now is that we are assuming all of the shape's subjective surfaces with various angles of colors on top.
 
de Silentio
 
Reply Thu 18 Jun, 2009 09:14 am
@VideCorSpoon,
I assume that you made this photo in some sort of photo editing software on a computer. My guess is that you drew the circles then made a rectangle shape that has some fancy feature that only fills in green, or something like that. I also guess that you did not color each circle to make it look like there is a rectangle in the picture. So, if we look at the 'object', there was a rectangle drawn on it. Assuming that I am correct, I see a rectangle in the picture as being part of the object because I know that you drew a rectangle. So it seems to me that the rectangle is in fact inherent in the object.

So, my experience of the picture is built in such a way that I use knowledge that I gained prior to experiencing the picture to shape the way I understand the picture. That knowledge is a priori in the sense that I have it before my experience of the picture, but not necessarily a priori in the classical sense (meaning I'm using knowledge that CANNOT come from experience (I think)).

Here is how I see the situation: The fact that the picture is more than just circles and colors means that I have a different relationship with the picture than I would if I just see the picture as circles and colors.

In other words, I cannot help but apply certain 'categories' to this picture, like "computer", "photoshop", "rectangle tool". The picture is given to me in such a way that I can
 
Holiday20310401
 
Reply Thu 18 Jun, 2009 09:49 am
@de Silentio,
I think the rectangle is there because it is defined by the white border. Take that out and then ok. But even so, I'd still be an empiricist.

One question. You've equated subjective with rational. Why? I'd be thinking the other way around, so I'm confused.
 
LWSleeth
 
Reply Thu 18 Jun, 2009 01:49 pm
@VideCorSpoon,
VideCorSpoon;68153 wrote:
So the question is whether the rectangle is there in a rational sense, where we have to extrapolate that the orange shape is indeed a rectangle, or whether the rectangle is there in an empirical sense, where it is taken to be there and that we do not need to rationalize the fact that the rectangle is not a contiguous shape. Do we need to rationalize that the rectangle is there or is it obvious that there is a rectangle sitting on top of the circles. Is the rectangle a subjective surface or an objective surface? That's probably the issue.


[SIZE="3"]I don't see how it is either a rationalistic issue, or much of an empirical one (except that we can get very precise about what's actually observable and so empirically state there are 8 circles, two colors used, etc.).

I think the real issue is how the brain works, as Daniel Dennett discusses in this video (about half way into it):

YouTube - Dan Dennett: Can we know our own minds?

It seems an expansion of the same capacity that happens with an after image (like staring at an object, and then looking at a white wall). The amind grows familiar with various shapes, and then the brain automatically infers (not rationally, but more of a memory function). It's like how a cat freezes at a shape that resembles a rival cat; the cat isn't being rational or exactly empirical (even though she is observing), but rather she is reacting to a bank of memory kept ready for interpretation.

It seems to be how the brain works, which is also why, IMO, we can drive somewhere lost in thought, and not even remember much of the actions we took to steer and otherwise operate the vehicle. If we didn't know how to drive or where we were headed, we couldn't do it; similarly, if we weren't already familiar with a rectangle, we likely wouldn't be able to infer the shape.[/SIZE]
 
VideCorSpoon
 
Reply Thu 18 Jun, 2009 03:07 pm
@LWSleeth,
De Silentio,Holiday20310401,a-priori
LWSleeth,
scientific
 
richrf
 
Reply Thu 18 Jun, 2009 04:01 pm
@VideCorSpoon,
Hi there,

Very nice.

The way I look at things, is that the rectangle is a confluence of your creation (your consciousness) and my mind (consciousness). Together, they come together to form an image of a rectangle as well as lots of other things including circles, etc. In my case, I see the rectangle. Others may not.

So it is not there or here. It is the the wave interaction of both.

Rich
 
de Silentio
 
Reply Thu 18 Jun, 2009 06:45 pm
@VideCorSpoon,
VideCorSpoon;70163 wrote:
It rings sorta like Aristotles conception of being in relation to ontological metaphysics.


I just started studying Phenemonology, which has a lot in common with Aristotles ontological metaphysics.

Quote:
But even if I told you it was made with photoshop or any other data pertaining to the picture, would that really make a difference in simpler terms?


The thing is, we don't think in simpler terms and as such don't experience the world in simple terms. In simple terms there is some circles with lines and color in them, that is what my perception tells me. However, I, as a rational being, am capable of adding more to my mere perceptions. In fact, I almost always add to my perceptions.

As to not accepting your theseis, the reason I cannot accept your thesis is because your thesis maintains that the rectangle isn't there to begin with, that it is only inferred. But you and I both know that the rectangle is there.

For exmaple, lets say I have some special ink that only shows under a black light. I draw a rectangle with the ink while you are watching and it fades away into the paper. You know the rectngle is there and I know the rectangle is there, however our perception tells us otherwise. Just because we don't directly percieve the rectangle that does not mean that it isn't there. This invisible rectangle is exactly simliar to your rectangle, you drew the rectangle even though we cannot see all the lines for it.

Now, that I apply certain qualities to this picture that are not perceived does not mean that "the world" has not given me these qualities. I'll say it again, I apply certain categories to the picture which tells me that the rectangle is there. I know it was drawn there with the rectangle tool using a photo editing program, as such, I experience it as being there.

Quote:
Berkeley said it himself that to be is to be perceived.


Berkeley was working with false premises. There is more to being that perception, in human rationality at least.

(Oh, and to answer your questions about MS Paint and saving as a JPEG, the problem is that your using a Microsoft program!)
 
Exebeche
 
Reply Sun 21 Jun, 2009 05:37 am
@LWSleeth,
What i find most important about this whole observation is that in fact our whole reality is created by imaginary rectangles.
For example our image of society consists of such.
Let's say you see a man a woman and a child walking in a forest. Typically you will assume they are a family. You may be right and you may be not.
You see a fence around a pasture and you assume you are not supposed to enter the inside.
You see people applauding and assume you are supposed to clap your hands.
You see everybody in a room get up from their seats on a particular persons arrival, and you assume he must have some kind of authority and you are expected to get up.
You see women being wrapped in veils and you wonder if the people who live there are moslems.
You may hear the signal of an ambulance and you will assume something happened but also that we have a functioning emergency system and lots more.
This kind of assumptions does not only take place in case of social conventions.
When i see the birds in Germany coming together and practising to fly in huge crowds i know that winter time is getting close.
This reminds me that birds DO fly back to their sleeping place when an eclipse of the sun appears.
Minutes later when the sun comes back they will be even more confused.
 
VideCorSpoon
 
Reply Sun 21 Jun, 2009 09:50 am
@Exebeche,
De Silentio,
de Silentio;70198 wrote:
The thing is, we don't think in simpler terms and as such don't experience the world in simple terms. In simple terms there is some circles with lines and color in them, that is what my perception tells me. However, I, as a rational being, am capable of adding more to my mere perceptions. In fact, I almost always add to my perceptions.


Doesn't the fact that you are adding a rational component to the equation make it a "subjective/rational surface?"

On Berkeley, he was an immaterialist, nominalist, idealist, etc. Berkeley was working with many things.


Exebeche,

So you are blending rationalism with society? Also, say no to acid. LOL! Just kidding. Any excuse to post a family guy clip.

ffwd - family guy| say no to acid | The Class Clown
 
Exebeche
 
Reply Sun 21 Jun, 2009 06:07 pm
@VideCorSpoon,
VideCorSpoon;70834 wrote:

Exebeche,

So you are blending rationalism with society? Also, say no to acid. LOL! Just kidding. Any excuse to post a family guy clip.

ffwd - family guy| say no to acid | The Class Clown


Sad
The clip you posted is not available in countries outside U.S. (damn globalization)
 
VideCorSpoon
 
Reply Wed 16 Sep, 2009 12:17 am
@Exebeche,
I thought this was pretty cool when I saw it. Its probably one of the best optical illusions I've come across yet. But its also great because it is an unconscious inference (arguably).

Click for the full view for best effect...

http://i26.tinypic.com/2djtpx.jpg

The interesting part about these optical illusions are the fact that as far as empirical sensory perception goes, its is strong evidence against the reliability of a-posteriori (knowledge gained from the senses) knowledge. Simply put, the fact that you are seeing a moving image even though it is a still image (note: its not a Gif... seriously.... print it out, works just the same) proves that what you see with your eyes is not entirely accurate knowledge (or perception, whatever have you).

Empiracle inferences can be wrong. Interesting, right? Especially considering the fact that the are many who are stead fast empiracle proponents out there.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Wed 16 Sep, 2009 12:43 am
@VideCorSpoon,
Hey VideCorSpoon - there were many examples of this kind of illusion in a favourite text of mind "Perceiving Ordinary Magic' by Jeremy Hayward. I personally do accept what roughly translates as a rationalist view, and I think it is well supported by these kinds of illusions. It seems to me that we are given sense data, but we immediately, and unconsciously 'construct' a world picture in each moment of experience. The way we construct it is very much the same on one level in that we all share a common core of visual and neural processes, but on higher levels - i.e. more conscious - is more differentiated. These higher levels represent the individuated aspect of self.

However, I am beginning to think that this was the same kind of principle that Kant turned on Locke and Hume, wasn't it? Wasn't he saying that nobody really is a 'tabula rasa' because we have these inherent constructs (starting with space and time) which structures our experience and without which nothing would be intelligible.

Personally I am with Kant in all of this. I am currently labouring through Merleau Ponty's Phenomonenology of Perception and if I can succeed in undestanding any of it, may have more to say from this angle as well.

However my view is already that the world is a collective contruction of consciousness and this is illustrated albeit in a fairly trivial way by these illusions.
 
salima
 
Reply Wed 16 Sep, 2009 02:03 am
@VideCorSpoon,
vide-
i dont see the illusion moving....maybe like the clips that are not available, that only happens in america?
 
VideCorSpoon
 
Reply Wed 16 Sep, 2009 08:23 am
@salima,
Jeeprs,

That's an interesting way of putting the rationalist perspective. I also take the rationalist a-priori notion with a great deal of credit, although there are the inevitable gaps in it (as well in any other system.) To a point though, it almost sounds like you are blending Berkeley's bundle theory of the self when you talk about individual moments of experience. An empirical notion in a rationalist camp? Blasphemy!!! LOL! It's amusing though to think about (on a side note) how (as you stated in your last sentence) that the world could be "collectively" inferred.

Salima,

The image is a jpeg, so you should be able to see it. There could be a few problems though. If you don't see it in full view, you may not get the full effect. Also, try printing it out, the effect does translate to paper. Otherwise, there may be issues with your computer screen or (no offense) your eyes. Seriously though, optical illusions may not work due to any number of ocular complaints. Funny though, your comment may be the best refutation for the argument. LOL!

But all I can say is it does work... trust me (said ironically within the context of this thread, LOL!)
 
salima
 
Reply Wed 16 Sep, 2009 09:00 am
@VideCorSpoon,
well i do have problems with my eyes, and i am having problems with my computer! those 360 3d things like google earth make my monitor go black and scare me to death thinking it will never come back. i am afraid to try and open those any more!

i take your word for it though...
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Wed 16 Sep, 2009 03:50 pm
@VideCorSpoon,
The thought often occurs to me that 'the world' is not satisfactorily described by rationalism, empiricism, idealism, or any other systematic philosophy exactly because they are all true in certain respects. It is obvious to me that we acquire knowledge by experience, as empiricists say, but it is also obvious that people are born with different aptitudes, traits and capabilities, which are not hard to construe as 'innate ideas'. In any case I am sure that John Locke's 'tabula rasa' idea is a complete nonsense as an analogy, because of the demonstrable requirement for the human mind, in particular, to assimilate and sythesise information according to its innate capabilities. The mind is no more a blank slate than this PC is a 'piece of plastic with a glass front'.

On the idealist side, I think that the modern schools of constructivist epistemology and phenomenological psychology acknowledge that the world is 'created in consciousness'. 'esse est percipi' is an important principle which I think contains an essential truth. The difficulty people have with it is in trying to imagine what it means. "If I close my eyes, does the world cease to exist?". The answer is "no, because the perception from which the world derives its existence is not yours alone". I think this was the view of Berkeley also. Consciousness in one sense is much larger than something which is created by your brain. I started to sketch out something about the collective nature of consciousness in this post.

A philosopher I am very interested in in this connection is Alva Noe, whose 'Out of Our Heads' supports the emerging idea of 'embodied consciousness' and criticizes the 'neuro-scientific/representationalist' model of the mind.

Finally the Buddhist Abhidhamma does contain a very persuasive model of consciousness which I am intending to document here on the forum somewhere soon (probably in the new Buddhist directory). In some areas Buddhist philosophical psychology resembles aspects of Western philosophy but it has a unique perspective which I think has a lot to offer. It actually is a form of phenomenological analysis which has been in existence for thousands of years in the East.
 
 

 
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