What is Truth made of?

Get Email Updates Email this Topic Print this Page

kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 13 Dec, 2009 04:29 pm
@prothero,
prothero;111014 wrote:
I thought the classical definition of idealism in epistomology was the idea that reality has no existence independent of our mental perception of it. No one in this discussion seems to hold that view.

Berkeley interestingly thought objects did exist independently of human sense perception because they were continously being perceived by god. Reality was a construct of the divine mind or perception.

Correct me if I am wrong. I am just an arm chair philosopher. No formal training in this area.


The idea of reality exists. It is just that commonsense reality does not, according to the Idealist. That is, there is no material reality. The Idealist is an immaterialist. And you are right. B. believed that objects existed independently of any particular mind (except God's mind). But there were no material objects. But the idea of reality is the idea of immaterial reality. The "stuff" of which reality is composed is spirit, not matter.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sun 13 Dec, 2009 04:36 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;111024 wrote:
The idea of reality exists. It is just that commonsense reality does not, according to the Idealist. That is, there is no material reality. The Idealist is an immaterialist. And you are right. B. believed that objects existed independently of any particular mind (except God's mind). But there were no material objects. But the idea of reality is the idea of immaterial reality. The "stuff" of which reality is composed is spirit, not matter.



I just want to add that although I don't subscribe to B's view, I do think "spirit" and "matter" performed a similar task. I'm going to use the metaphor "dream." I like it. It's as if the lives of men are dreams that meet in the all inclusive dream of God. But this puts God's dream on another level, equivalent as far as I can see with matter. The difference of course being that B offers a cause (God) of this spirit that functions as matter, allowing him to offer the public a sophisticated view that is still religious.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 13 Dec, 2009 04:38 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;111027 wrote:
I just want to add that although I don't subscribe to B's view, I do think "spirit" and "matter" performed a similar task. I'm going to use the metaphor "dream." I like it. It's as if the lives of men are dreams that meet in the all inclusive dream of God. But this puts God's dream on another level, equivalent as far as I can see with matter. The difference of course being that B offers a cause of this spirit that functions as matter, allowing him to offer the public a sophisticated view that is still religious.


I find B. expression of his view much clearer. What can you mean by, ""spirit" and "matter" performed a similar task". What task is that?
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sun 13 Dec, 2009 04:47 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;111024 wrote:
B. believed that objects existed independently of any particular mind (except God's mind). But there were no material objects. But the idea of reality is the idea of immaterial reality. The "stuff" of which reality is composed is spirit, not matter.


Over a century later Berkeley's thought experiment was summarized in a limerick by Ronald Knox and an anonymous reply:
There was a young man who said
"God

Must find it exceedingly odd

To think that the tree

Should continue to be

When there's no one about in the quad."

"Dear Sir: Your astonishment's odd;
I am always about in the quad.
And that's why the tree
Will continue to be

Since observed by, Yours faithfully, God."

Theologically, one consequence of Berkeley's views is that they require God to be present as an immediate cause of all our experiences. God is not the distant engineer of Newtonian machinery that in the fullness of time led to the growth of a tree in the university quadrangle. Rather, my perception of the tree is an idea that God's mind has produced in mine, and the tree continues to exist in the quadrangle when "nobody" is there, simply because God is an infinite mind that perceives all.
George Berkeley - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
mickalos
 
Reply Sun 13 Dec, 2009 07:15 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;111033 wrote:
Over a century later Berkeley's thought experiment was summarized in a limerick by Ronald Knox and an anonymous reply:
There was a young man who said
"God

Must find it exceedingly odd

To think that the tree

Should continue to be

When there's no one about in the quad."

"Dear Sir: Your astonishment's odd;
I am always about in the quad.
And that's why the tree
Will continue to be

Since observed by, Yours faithfully, God."

Theologically, one consequence of Berkeley's views is that they require God to be present as an immediate cause of all our experiences. God is not the distant engineer of Newtonian machinery that in the fullness of time led to the growth of a tree in the university quadrangle. Rather, my perception of the tree is an idea that God's mind has produced in mine, and the tree continues to exist in the quadrangle when "nobody" is there, simply because God is an infinite mind that perceives all.
George Berkeley - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

If God went to Oxford, which I imagine he did, he did not go to Knox's College.
 
Fido
 
Reply Sun 13 Dec, 2009 09:22 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;111016 wrote:
Use it however you like. It's Wiki. Epistemological idealism seems quite close to indirect realism. Is there a substantial difference?


Idealism is the philosophical theory that maintains that the ultimate nature of reality is based on mind or ideas. It holds that the so-called external or "real world" is inseparable from mind, consciousness, or perception. In the philosophy of perception, idealism is contrasted with realism in which the external world is said to have a so-called absolute existence prior to, and independent of, knowledge and consciousness. Epistemological idealists (such as Kant), it is claimed, might insist that the only things which can be directly known for certain are just ideas (abstraction).

Radical empiricism is a pragmatist doctrine put forth by William James. It asserts that experience includes both particulars and relations between those particulars, and that therefore both deserve a place in our explanations. In concrete terms: any philosophical worldview is flawed if it stops at the physical level and fails to explain how meaning, values and intentionality can arise from that.[1]

I don't see the fine line between my rough definition and theirs...Even if the external world does have an absolute existence we would never know it except by way of our ideas... The world has to be real to some one to be real, and even reality is an idea...The proof for this is simple... For the last person in the world, unable to express and share the ideas he holds of his reality, nothing, not his ideas, and not even his own life would have meaning, and meaning is the essence of being...Everything, even the ideas by which he expresses ideas would be nothing, and his nothingness be complete...Having no means to express reality has the same result as no one to express it too, and it is death...It is not just reality that is made real through the medium of ideas, but ourselves...The spiritual conception of man is as old as mankind...It is not only as Schopenhaur said, that the world is my idea; but he too, was his idea, and his entire exitence was dependent upon ideas... We can no more cut man from his ideas than we can cut ultimate reality from our idea of it...Mankind is idea... We can deny every common bond and not defeat our common ideas...

But the real import of ideas is that we take natural ideas and make the social... We recreate our reality through a medium of ideas, and so we often suffer a tyranny of ideas like the medieval church, or communism or fascism, or capitalism... We relate through our ideas, and idealistic people in possession of the perfect idea trample on justice and virtue generally...
 
prothero
 
Reply Sun 13 Dec, 2009 11:23 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;111016 wrote:
Use it however you like. It's Wiki. Epistemological idealism seems quite close to indirect realism. Is there a substantial difference?


Idealism is the philosophical theory that maintains that the ultimate nature of reality is based on mind or ideas. It holds that the so-called external or "real world" is inseparable from mind, consciousness, or perception. In the philosophy of perception, idealism is contrasted with realism in which the external world is said to have a so-called absolute existence prior to, and independent of, knowledge and consciousness. Epistemological idealists (such as Kant), it is claimed, might insist that the only things which can be directly known for certain are just ideas (abstraction).

Radical empiricism is a pragmatist doctrine put forth by William James. It asserts that experience includes both particulars and relations between those particulars, and that therefore both deserve a place in our explanations. In concrete terms: any philosophical worldview is flawed if it stops at the physical level and fails to explain how meaning, values and intentionality can arise from that.[1]


Well it looks like James "radical empiricism" is much more demanding: an explanation for "meaning values and intentionality"?

Kant did not demand anything like that? just an acknowledgement that our sense perceptions of an "acutuality" was different than "the thing itself". Im not sure "epistomolgical idealism" is a good name for that.

Im just reading the thread trying to learn something.
There does not seem to be a consistent use of terminlogy or definitions here. Kant did not deny an external reality he just thought it was not directly an object of "knowledge" more representationalism than idealism?

Is it wrong to think that anyone who believes there is an independent external reality of some type is some form of "realist"? Now what we can "know" about that reality determines what type of "realist" you are?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 13 Dec, 2009 11:31 pm
@prothero,
prothero;111114 wrote:

There does not seem to be a consistent use of terminlogy or definitions here. Kant did not deny an external reality he just thought it was not directly an object of "knowledge" more representationalism than idealism?


As I said before, Idealism with just a courteous tip of the hat to realism, so, at least, he would have some kind of answer to the question, where do those percepts come from. Not much of an answer. But better than nothing. Or God.
 
prothero
 
Reply Sun 13 Dec, 2009 11:37 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;111118 wrote:
As I said before, Idealism with just a courteous tip of the hat to realism, so, at least, he would have some kind of answer to the question, where do those percepts come from. Not much of an answer. But better than nothing. Or God.
Is that just your take on it or is that the standard classification for Kant (idealism)?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 13 Dec, 2009 11:48 pm
@prothero,
prothero;111121 wrote:
Is that just your take on it or is that the standard classification for Kant (idealism)?


I don't know. I haven't read it. But I am not a Kant scholar. But it seems true to me. So, I really don't care. If anyone has an objection to my "take" I'd like to hear it. Kant called himself a "transcendental idealist". But denied he was an Idealist in the way Berkeley was. Kant was certainly an epistemological idealist because he held all we could have knowledge about was the phenomenon. But he denied that he was a metaphysical Idealist because of the existence of the noumenon.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Mon 14 Dec, 2009 01:18 am
@Reconstructo,
"The noumenon (from Greek νοούμενoν, present participle of νοέω "I think, I mean"; plural: νοούμενα - noumena) is a posited object or event as it is in itself, independent of the senses.[1] It classically refers to an object of human inquiry, understanding or cognition. As a concept it has much in common with objectivity. That which is tangible but not perceivable, the reflection of phenomenon."
Noumenon - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Pretty much just sounds like mind-independent reality to me. It's a concept for "unprocessed" reality. I don't think Kant is an idealist in the sense of denying an objective reality. He did have some strange views on time and space that I cannot agree with him on. Kant's idealism seems like a form of indirect realism.

I doubt that any of us denies objective reality. I suspect that we are all indirect realists and/or epistemological idealists. It's about the same thing. There is a reality outside of us but we only get it processed. And consciousness is the processed perception of this reality.
 
mickalos
 
Reply Mon 14 Dec, 2009 03:38 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;111133 wrote:
I suspect that we are all indirect realists and/or epistemological idealists. It's about the same thing. There is a reality outside of us but we only get it processed. And consciousness is the processed perception of this reality.


Why should I be an indirect realist? In my visual field I see a number of coloured shapes, and it seems very unnatural to me to say that one of these coloured shapes is 'something that is not a laptop', and another is 'something that is not a chair', and so on. There would have to be a very convincing argument to force me, or most people I would hope, to admit sense data, and I've yet to hear one that isn't riddled with holes. In fact, I find the whole introduction of a dichotomy between 'material objects' and entities of some other kind when it comes to perception to be wholly unhelpful, and just plain wrong. Is an after image supposed to be a 'material object'? How about a refracted stick in water, or a rainbow? We perceive lots of different kinds of things, not merely 'material things' or sense data; in many ways, but not all, pens are unlike rainbows, similarly, in many ways, but not all, an after image is unlike images on a TV screen.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Mon 14 Dec, 2009 04:38 am
@mickalos,
Make what you will of it. From Wiki.....


"The direct realist view (Gibson, 1972) is incredible because it suggests that we can have experience of objects out in the world directly, beyond the sensory surface, as if bypassing the chain of sensory processing. For example if light from [your computer screen] is transduced by your retina into a neural signal which is transmitted from your eye to your brain, then the very first aspect of the [computer screen] that you can possibly experience is the information at the retinal surface, or the perceptual representation that it stimulates in your brain. The physical [screen] itself lies beyond the sensory surface and therefore must be beyond your direct experience. But the perceptual experience of the [screen] stubbornly appears out in the world itself instead of in your brain, in apparent violation of everything we know about the causal chain of vision. The difficulty with the concept of direct perception is most clearly seen when considering how an artificial vision system could be endowed with such external perception. Although a sensor may record an external quantity in an internal register or variable in a computer, from the internal perspective of the software running on that computer, only the internal value of that variable can be "seen", or can possibly influence the operation of that software. In exactly analogous manner the pattern of electrochemical activity that corresponds to our conscious experience can take a form that reflects the properties of external objects, but our consciousness is necessarily confined to the experience of those internal effigies of external objects, rather than of external objects themselves. Unless the principle of direct perception can be demonstrated in a simple artificial sensory system, this explanation remains as mysterious as the property of consciousness it is supposed to explain."[4
 
mickalos
 
Reply Mon 14 Dec, 2009 05:45 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;111155 wrote:
Make what you will of it. From Wiki.....


"The direct realist view (Gibson, 1972) is incredible because it suggests that we can have experience of objects out in the world directly, beyond the sensory surface, as if bypassing the chain of sensory processing. For example if light from [your computer screen] is transduced by your retina into a neural signal which is transmitted from your eye to your brain, then the very first aspect of the [computer screen] that you can possibly experience is the information at the retinal surface, or the perceptual representation that it stimulates in your brain. The physical [screen] itself lies beyond the sensory surface and therefore must be beyond your direct experience. But the perceptual experience of the [screen] stubbornly appears out in the world itself instead of in your brain, in apparent violation of everything we know about the causal chain of vision. The difficulty with the concept of direct perception is most clearly seen when considering how an artificial vision system could be endowed with such external perception. Although a sensor may record an external quantity in an internal register or variable in a computer, from the internal perspective of the software running on that computer, only the internal value of that variable can be "seen", or can possibly influence the operation of that software. In exactly analogous manner the pattern of electrochemical activity that corresponds to our conscious experience can take a form that reflects the properties of external objects, but our consciousness is necessarily confined to the experience of those internal effigies of external objects, rather than of external objects themselves. Unless the principle of direct perception can be demonstrated in a simple artificial sensory system, this explanation remains as mysterious as the property of consciousness it is supposed to explain."[4


Well I suppose you might call me a direct realist, I wouldn't apply the label to myself, but it's closer to my view than indirect realism. Though, in rejecting the dichotomy in the language of perception between material objects and sense data, notions of indirect and direct perception become a bit nonsensical, and these notions seem pretty essential for direct realism.

Your argument in favour of indirect realism, or rather Wikipedia's argument, seems to be pretty straight forward. When I look at a chair light is reflected off it and into my retina, which then sends signals to my brain; this process means that I do not 'directly' see the chair, it is not in contact with my 'sensory surface'. This might prompt us to ask the question, what is it to 'directly perceive' the chair? Apparently, according to you/wikipedia, direct visual perception of a chain would involve a chair, a physical chair, sitting on my retina. Personally, I would not call a chair sitting on my retina any kind of perception at all; in fact, I would go so far as to say that it would be quite the hindrance to visual perception.

Rather than having the above view, all I can gather from your post is that you prefer notion that when we look at a chair, rather than it being on our retina, waves of light are reflected off of it into our eyes which then send a signal to our brains. Well, this is simply what we call seeing a chair, there's nothing indirect or direct about it.

To put the case more clearly, indirect realists are usually content to speak about the object 'in itself': What we see is sense data, and this data may be veridical or it may be non-veridical, but either way we know nothing of the object 'in itself'. My reply to this is, what do you mean by "what does the object in itself look like?" All that can possibly be meant is "What happens when you look at an object, and waves of light are reflected from it into your eyes?" A question that usually has easy answers.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Mon 14 Dec, 2009 05:57 am
@mickalos,
Kant on things-in-themselves.

"...though we cannot know these objects as things in themselves, we must yet be in a position at least to think them as things in themselves; otherwise we should be landed in the absurd conclusion that there can be appearance without anything that appears."


I agree with indirect realism, or it agrees with me. I do think the thing-in-itself is a fascinating concept. For me, it makes sense as part of the mental-model of the mind's relationship with the world.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 14 Dec, 2009 06:00 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;111171 wrote:
Kant on things-in-themselves.

"...though we cannot know these objects as things in themselves, we must yet be in a position at least to think them as things in themselves; otherwise we should be landed in the absurd conclusion that there can be appearance without anything that appears."


I agree with indirect realism, or it agrees with me. I do think the thing-in-itself is a fascinating concept. For me, it makes sense as part of the mental-model of the mind's relationship with the world.


The problem is that may be all the TII is; a fascinating concept. That "I agree with indirect realism" should be the end of an argument. It is not an argument.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Mon 14 Dec, 2009 06:02 am
@Reconstructo,
Ok, then, I'll provide an argument. THC. Drugs change perception. So do concussions. Reality is quite obviously mediated.

---------- Post added 12-14-2009 at 07:05 AM ----------

To me, the denial of things-in-themselves is about the same as idealism. To say that perception is all of reality is idealism. If we live in the same world, our perceptions must have an object in common. Do we think these objects are only what we perceive of them? Sounds like idealism. There's stuff outside our skulls that our brains have evolved to detect. But animals have different eyes, different ears, different noses. Their experience of these things is different.
 
Fido
 
Reply Mon 14 Dec, 2009 06:25 am
@Reconstructo,
What is reality and what are ideals are a dynamic...Life stands midway between these two, and we change these two, ideals, and reality, and are changed by them...It is one thing to talk about physical reality as having an existence apart from our ideas of it; but much of our reality is of ideas only...Not one single justice, or virtue has ever been laid upon an actual scale and weighed... We know of these qualities only by insight and intuition...We cannot prove them, and can only testify to their being...We need not prove reality real, because it is obvious...And we need not prove the value of ideas to comprehension since we cannot even dispute their value without resorting to ideas... What we really need to prove is our own lives... All else is given...
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Mon 14 Dec, 2009 06:30 am
@Fido,
Fido;111188 wrote:
..It is one thing to talk about physical reality as having an existence apart from our ideas of it; but much of our reality is of ideas only...Not one single justice, or virtue has ever been laid upon an actual scale and weighed... We know of these qualities only by insight and intuition...We cannot prove them, and can only testify to their being..


I totally agree with this. As Blake says "the questioner who sits so sly shall never know how to replay." More important than our academic doubt-games and dialectical tussles are these values which cannot be laid upon the scale. And this is where morality, law, art, ritual, music, poetry come in. The values we live for are certainly not buried in an epistemology textbook. And yet a little epistemology can save a person from fraud at times. So I don't regret the thought I've put into it.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 14 Dec, 2009 06:48 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;111175 wrote:
Ok, then, I'll provide an argument. THC. Drugs change perception. So do concussions. Reality is quite obviously mediated.

---------- Post added 12-14-2009 at 07:05 AM ----------

To me, the denial of things-in-themselves is about the same as idealism. To say that perception is all of reality is idealism. If we live in the same world, our perceptions must have an object in common. Do we think these objects are only what we perceive of them? Sounds like idealism. There's stuff outside our skulls that our brains have evolved to detect. But animals have different eyes, different ears, different noses. Their experience of these things is different.


If by "perception is all of reality" you mean that only what we can perceive exists, I don't believe that, since I believe that there are quanta, and that they are not perceivable. But I hope that does not imply that I have to believe that there is a TII. Of course, drugs change perception. But since we can see reality when we are not drugged (at least some of us can) it does not follow that reality is always mediated. The experience of animals is different from that of people. But why does that mean that what is being experienced is different? It doesn't. You really have to start to distinguish between the experience, and what is experienced. Otherwise you will keep making the same mistake of confusing them.
 
 

 
Copyright © 2022 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.02 seconds on 01/28/2022 at 03:59:03