Existential Time

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prothero
 
Reply Thu 6 May, 2010 10:18 pm
@jeeprs,
Im not trying to win an argument either;. Just to represent a point of view and to clarify my own thinking and to understand yours better. Our points of view our quite similar in many ways but we do have some important and significant differences.

[QUOTE=jeeprs;161086] But isn't the way reality becomes 'perceptive to its core' is via human beings? Isn't this why humans are able to come up with a theory of the Universe and calculate its age, dimensions, constitution, etc, etc. Humans are the universe's way of coming to know itself. Have a look at The Anthropic Cosomological Principle by Barrow and Tipler (confession: have not read it myself, but am acquainted with some of the ideas in it.) [/QUOTE] I understand the anthropic principle. I just do not interpret it to mean that the purpose of the universe was to bring about human consciousness. I suppose the traditional view is so anthropomorphic (earth center of the universe, man the crown of creation only creature with a soul or a mind or reason, the entire universe as a stage for the human drama of sin and salvation) that I object to anything that sounds like that. Man is part of creation, not the purpose of creation. The abilities of man are derived from the nature of the universe itself, experiential, responsive, degrees of freedom, and perceptive. Mind and reason, the ability to experience, the creation of value; are not rare, emergent, properties possessed only by humans but are present from the beginning. [QUOTE=jeeprs;161086] We seem to take comfort in the idea of being an infinitesmal speck in a vast ocean of time and space. But I think this is really 'the flight into insentience'. Weinberg says the more the universe is comprehensible, the more it seems pointless. It suits many people for it to be pointless. That's the point. [/QUOTE] Of course I do not think the universe is pointless. I also do not think the human existence is pointless in transcendental terms. My notion is that the purpose of the universe is creativity, novelty and experience; of which humans represent a high level of actualization. Although in our corner of the universe, humans represent the highest level of "consciousness", I think this level of "consciousness" developed slowly over time from more primitive properties of mind and perception which are inherent, intrinsic and ubiquitous throughout nature. So there are many other creatures who perceive, albeit at a lower level, but the break between humans and the rest of the universe is a matter of degree not a matter of kind. I would not regard the development of humans (as we know and use the term) to be an inevitable result of the laws of nature or the anthropic values of cosmological constants. I would think that striving for higher levels of order, complexity, life, mind, experience and consciousness is built into the universe. This striving and the rational intelligibility of the nature of reality expressed as mathematical models with high predictive ability are "god". Man thus is not the crown of creation or the purpose of the universe, not separate from the universe, but a part of nature and creation and the result of the fact that the universe strives to create value and experience and is itself based on the inherent reason (logos). All of nature is striving, perceptive, responsive and experiential to greater or lesser degrees.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Thu 6 May, 2010 11:12 pm
@prothero,
kennethamy;161100 wrote:
In the meantime, most scientists believe, dead or alive (whatever that means) things existed when consciousness did not exist. .


It depends on what is designated by the term "consciousness". The way you use the term here, it is one thing among many; the attribute of thinking beings or conscious entities. This is one definition. But there are other terms in various philosophical and theosophical traditions which denote 'consciousness' in a more universal sense, also known as 'spirit'. I have quoted Plotinus before in this context but I don't suppose there is much point doing so again, nobody seems to get it.


prothero;161108 wrote:
Im not trying to win an argument either;. Just to represent a point of view and to clarify my own thinking and to understand yours better. Our points of view our quite similar in many ways but we do have some important and significant differences.

I understand the anthropic principle. I just do not interpret it to mean that the purpose of the universe was to bring about human consciousness. I suppose the traditional view is so anthropomorphic (earth center of the universe, man the crown of creation only creature with a soul or a mind or reason, the entire universe as a stage for the human drama of sin and salvation) that I object to anything that sounds like that. Man is part of creation, not the purpose of creation.


Sorry I didn't want to sound defensive, specially not in relation to you. But I have run into strife before around this point.

I don't think I am saying the humans are the purpose of creation. However I am very attracted to the idea that humans are the universe coming to know itself. It strikes me as a philosophical viewpoint which accomodates both the scientific and (some) religious perspectives. It makes sense out of evolution also. I don't think man is at the top of the heirarchy; (actually in the traditional philosophies, he is midway, above animals and below celestial beings. Of course nobody believes in them any more.) But just as you object to the orthodox drama of sin and salvation, I object to the scientific postulate of fortuitous evolution. But I need, like you, a philosophy which accomodates scientific and spiritual attitudes.

That said, I believe humans are spiritual beings, not material beings. I guess people will say that is a matter of faith, but there is a lot of evidence for it, if one is actually prepared to consider it.

Getting back to time and the role of the observer - objectively, the Universe precedes H Sapiens and is vast, etc etc. I don't dispute the scientific account of the universe. But to quote Schopenhaur again
Quote:
materialism is the philosophy of the subject who forgets to take account of himself."[3] He claimed that an observing subject can only know material objects through the mediation of the brain and its particular organization.
. This does not mean that in the absence of a perceiving subject, nothing exists. What it means is that things exist from a viewpoint. Whether they exist or not from no viewpoint is a completely hypothetical question to which no answer is possible.

---------- Post added 05-07-2010 at 03:14 PM ----------

incidentally it might be recalled that Schopenhaur is and was regarded as an atheist philosopher. So I am not really advancing a theistic argument. However I would like to accomodate the theistic viewpoint and am not hostile to it.
 
prothero
 
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 12:08 am
@qualia,
qualia;161033 wrote:
Pretty much working on what jeeprs has already said, I would argue the following. I think it is silly to say that things exist (chairs, ducks, black holes) only as long as we exist, for that amounts to claiming that when we are absent a thing would vanish or that reality is dependent upon it being encountered by a human.

But...if we were to vanish, then what would vanish from the world would be the ability to understand these things as we happen to understand them. Ideas such as 'chair', 'history', 'processes of radioactive decay, the orbit of the planets and formation and death of stars', would disappear to the extent that we have understood these things in these terms.

Under such circumstances, it could not be asserted that entities exist or that they do not, because quite simply there could be no assertion about such things. The only correct thing to say is that entities may exist as the entities they are, but it would not be possible to state anything, and so it could not be said that entities continue to be or not :shocked:
I suppose it depends on where you think this reason and experience that humans use to understand things comes from. For me it comes from within the universe itself and is not nearly the unique and mysterious thing that we attribute it to be, for mind and rationality are present throughout and within nature.

As for the time argument. I think process is fundamental reality. I think that time is basically the perception of change or process. Both mind and matter are manifestations of process. If process is fundamental reality, and time is change, then time is fundamental to reality. To conceive of a universe whithout change, a static universe, is to conceive of a universe that does not and never has, in fact, could not exist. A static universe is the ultimate experession of "being" not "becoming" as primary reality. None of the fundamental laws of physics imply that the universe ever was or even could be static, without change. When the universe reaches a static state it would truely be dead, cold and lifeless. Of course some think the universe is predominantely dead cold and lifeless already but I think the universe is perceptive, responsive, experiential and enchanted.
But then I am a panpsychist and a panentheist.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 12:11 am
@prothero,
prothero;161128 wrote:
for mind and rationality are present throughout and within nature.


But how do you demonstrate that except for with regards to human beings? Someone commented recently, the universe is regular, but not necessarily rational. It is an idea I like, mind you, and I think many philosophers have proposed it, but in what way is it true?

---------- Post added 05-07-2010 at 04:17 PM ----------

the other rather elusive thought that keeps coming up for me is the idea of 'the eternal'. As Bertrand Russell puts it in his essay Mysticism and Logic, the eternal is not conceived to be of infinite duration, but outside of time. Now it has long been understood that for the divine intelligence, there is no time - that the past, present and future are all immediately present to Him. I think Augustine, to whom Qualia referred, believes this is true also. So in the perennial philosophy, our consciousness of time is co-incident with 'the fall', with our being enmeshed in the material world. But the spiritual teachers will generally say
Quote:
There exists only the present instant... a Now which always and without end is itself new. There is no yesterday nor any tomorrow, but only Now, as it was a thousand years ago and as it will be a thousand years hence.
Meister Eckhardt
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 02:54 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;159902 wrote:
This supports the idea that time itself is actually a function of consciousness. As Kant said.


kennethamy;161080 wrote:
What a peculiar thing to say! And before there was consciousness, how much time elapsed before there was consciousness?


Still thinking about this. I still believe that whatever kind of thing we consider, it exists in relation to a perspective. It is not possible that it exists from no perspective. I don't mean that if you close your eyes, or die, the universe ceases to exist. What I mean is that reality itself is our experience of the universe. It is true to say it is an experience of something. But what it is an experience of cannot be disclosed because we cannot get outside our experience of it.

Reality itself is the reality of experience. Our brain itself combines all of the sensory input and weaves it into the coherent whole which it calls 'universe'. This does not mean it is unreal or phantasmagorical or a figment of our imagination. But it does mean that it is not completely objective. It does not have inherent reality or inherent existence. It is objective in relation to a subject. There is no such thing as absolute objectivity.

This philosophical attitude is not my invention, incidentally.

---------- Post added 05-07-2010 at 08:27 PM ----------

and also, experience is not ours alone. There is a level of experience which is specific to the individual, but the deeper you go into the nature of experience, the less individuated it is. So it is not a matter of solipsism.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 07:15 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;161157 wrote:
Still thinking about this. I still believe that whatever kind of thing we consider, it exists in relation to a perspective. It is not possible that it exists from no perspective. I don't mean that if you close your eyes, or die, the universe ceases to exist. What I mean is that reality itself is our experience of the universe. It is true to say it is an experience of something. But what it is an experience of cannot be disclosed because we cannot get outside our experience of it.

Reality itself is the reality of experience. Our brain itself combines all of the sensory input and weaves it into the coherent whole which it calls 'universe'. This does not mean it is unreal or phantasmagorical or a figment of our imagination. But it does mean that it is not completely objective. It does not have inherent reality or inherent existence. It is objective in relation to a subject. There is no such thing as absolute objectivity.

This philosophical attitude is not my invention, incidentally.

---------- Post added 05-07-2010 at 08:27 PM ----------

and also, experience is not ours alone. There is a level of experience which is specific to the individual, but the deeper you go into the nature of experience, the less individuated it is. So it is not a matter of solipsism.


But how could it be that reality is (only) the reality of experience? Unless you believe that the experience is the experience of nothing. And what would be the justification of that belief. Seems highly implausible to me. Doesn't it to you?

I never thought that subjective Idealism was your invention. People who fail to distinguish between knowing, and what we know, are all infected with it. The term, "subjective" has two quite different meaning. 1. restricted to an individual, and 2. mental (in the mind). I agree they are not the same thing. Experience may be shared by many. But, that does not mean that experience is a "stand-alone" phenomenon, save when the experience is an hallucination.
 
Dasein
 
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 09:45 am
@qualia,
[QUOTE=qualia;161033]Pretty much working on what jeeprs has already said, I would argue the following. I think it is silly to say that things exist (chairs, ducks, black holes) only as long as we exist, for that amounts to claiming that when we are absent a thing would vanish or that reality is dependent upon it being encountered by a human.[/QUOTE]
qualia;161033 wrote:


But...if we were to vanish, then what would vanish from the world would be the ability to understand these things as we happen to understand them. Ideas such as 'chair', 'history', 'processes of radioactive decay, the orbit of the planets and formation and death of stars', would disappear to the extent that we have understood these things in these terms.

Under such circumstances, it could not be asserted that entities exist or that they do not, because quite simply there could be no assertion about such things. The only correct thing to say is that entities may exist as the entities they are, but it would not be possible to state anything, and so it could not be said that entities continue to be or not.


Qualia;

Exactly!!

What you are addressing here is not what we call 'chairs', 'ducks', and 'black holes'. What you are addressing here is 'distinction'.

What we call 'chairs', 'ducks', and 'black holes' would not 'vanish' if we suddenly disappeared. However, 'chairs', 'ducks', and 'black holes' would disappear.

Let me explain.

Lions, cheetahs, and tigers don't know they are lions, cheetahs, and tigers. (BTW, we don't know what they 'know' or 'don't know'). Lion, cheetah, and tiger are constructs, they are concepts. ('Con' is the 'argument against' and 'Cept' comes from 'perception', so, 'Concept" is the 'argument against what you perceive', the argument against the way it is). Lions, cheetahs, and tigers are a "combination of characteristics" that 'we' make. We use size, shape, patterns, habits, habitat, etc. to 'distinguish' lion from cheetah and cheetah from tiger. Our 'distinctions' don't matter to or affect lions, cheetahs, and tigers; they are just 'be-ing', they don't have the 'concepts' of lion, cheetah, and tiger to 'hold on' to.

However, we do have to be 'present' for our distinctions to exist. So, if we have to be 'present' for our distinctions to exist, then the only thing that 'makes a difference' on this planet is our 'presence'. Right?

If you could live your life as a 'concept' called lion, cheetah, or tiger you would 'be' the argument against who you really are.

When you live your life as a 'concept' (lion, black, white, Jew, cheetah, Muslim, Cartesian, 'animal rationale', Catholic, Russian, tiger, Australian, American, etc.) you are 'be-ing' the argument against who you really are.

When you are 'be-ing' the 'argument against who you really are', 'you' are no longer 'be-ing present'. Since your 'presence' is the "only thing that 'makes a difference' on this planet" and you are no longer present, your life becomes a never-ending quest for 'concepts' which will never satisfy you.

'Faith' is letting go of all the 'concepts' and 'be-ing' you.

Dasein (be-ing there)
 
prothero
 
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 01:30 pm
@Dasein,
[QUOTE=Dasein;161256]What we call 'chairs', 'ducks', and 'black holes' would not 'vanish' if we suddenly disappeared. However, 'chairs', 'ducks', and 'black holes' would disappear. [/QUOTE]
Dasein;161256 wrote:

However, we do have to be 'present' for our distinctions to exist. So, if we have to be 'present' for our distinctions to exist, then the only thing that 'makes a difference' on this planet is our 'presence'. Right?
'Faith' is letting go of all the 'concepts' and 'be-ing' you.Dasein (be-ing there)
I do not think anyone would argue against the notion, that should humans vanish from the universe that human ways of perceiving and organizing experience would vanish with them.

The real question is would it make much difference to the universe at large?

Those with a more scientific view of things, probably in the main, feel the universe would just give a yawn and carry on pretty much as it always has.

Those with a more religious or spiritual view of things (which tends to be more anthropomorphic or anthropocentric) somehow wish to maintain, a wider or more significant impact, not just on humans but on the universe at large.

The problem for those of us with both scientific and spiritual inclinations is to meld the two into some kind of coherent, consistent framework or worldview.
There are various proposals set forth for doing this. My particular offering is that of taking a process view of reality, divine action and nature, and a panpsychic view of mind and experience.

For many mind and life are rare, insignificant, and largely accidental occurrences in a universe that is largely cold, dead, inert, mechanical and deterministic.

For the more spiritual minded, life and mind are the culmination of a long process and an inherent striving resulting in a manifestation of the divine or an emanation of spirit as exemplified by (but not limited too) human reason, life and science.

This discussion is of course a diversion from the notion of time and its role in the universe; but the notion that time is a human invention, or that god is eternal (outside of time) are relevant to the entire notion of divine nature and divine action in the world as well as the nature of reality itself. Reality is process. Process is perceived as time.

---------- Post added 05-07-2010 at 01:04 PM ----------

[QUOTE=jeeprs;161129] But how do you demonstrate that except for with regards to human beings? Someone commented recently, the universe is regular, but not necessarily rational. It is an idea I like, mind you, and I think many philosophers have proposed it, but in what way is it true? [/QUOTE] Well one can certainly claim that the universe is ordered but that there is no reason and no intelligence behind it. I do not think that is what the Greek notion of "logos" was. I do not think that is what the spiritual view of nature is. It is the least we can say, that the universe is ordered. I guess for me the universe is more than just ordered, it is also rationally intelligible and striving; not just for order but for creative advance and higher experience.

[QUOTE=jeeprs;161129] the other rather elusive thought that keeps coming up for me is the idea of 'the eternal'. As Bertrand Russell puts it in his essay Mysticism and Logic, the eternal is not conceived to be of infinite duration, but outside of time. Now it has long been understood that for the divine intelligence, there is no time - that the past, present and future are all immediately present to Him. I think Augustine, to whom Qualia referred, believes this is true also. So in the perennial philosophy, our consciousness of time is co-incident with 'the fall', with our being enmeshed in the material world. [/QUOTE] It is hard to get beyond notions of eternal changeless perfection. These are ideas that are embedded in Western theology and Greek Philosophy;. ideas that are the touch stones of western thought.

There has always been a tension between, becoming and being, god as separate from nature and the world and god as dwelling within nature and the world.

A vision of the divine where the divine is eternal (outside of time) and of the divine as transcendent changeless perfection, is almost by definition a divine image which is both supernatural and interventionist in character.

On the other hand, god as dwelling within nature and working through natural process (the pantheist, panentheist or process theology vision) is more compatible with the vision of science and of cosmology, geology and evolutionary biology. By investigating nature and science you learn about god. The vision of God from nature is not eternal changeless perfection or omniscient omnipotent being but a struggle against chaos and the formless void to bring forth order, value and experience (life and consciousness).

So I maintain the vision of the divine which is most compatible with science, reason and experience is a divine influence which is persuasive not coercive; which dwells within nature and works through natural law; which takes in the experience of the world (both suffering and delights); a divine in time and in process with the world. This is not a god of timeless eternal impassive changeless perfection.

There is another aspect to this line of thought regarding the dipolar (mind, matter/ becoming , being/transcendent,immanent) nature of the world and the dipolar (primordial, ideal, realm of possibilities) and (consequent, experiential, actualization) nature of the divine. However eternal changeless perfection and being so dominate religious and philosophical thought that I tend to emphasize the consequent process view of both reality and the divine, for balance.

[QUOTE=jeeprs;161157]Still thinking about this. I still believe that whatever kind of thing we consider, it exists in relation to a perspective. It is not possible that it exists from no perspective. I don't mean that if you close your eyes, or die, the universe ceases to exist. What I mean is that reality itself is our experience of the universe. It is true to say it is an experience of something. But what it is an experience of cannot be disclosed because we cannot get outside our experience of it. [/QUOTE]Well to try to build a view of the world that does not include our experience of it, and our place in it, is surely a hopeless and thankless task. Surely such completely objective worldviews are in fact shallow, partial and incomplete (without values, without aesthetics). They are stories without story tellers.

[QUOTE=jeeprs;161129] and also, experience is not ours alone. There is a level of experience which is specific to the individual, but the deeper you go into the nature of experience, the less individuated it is. So it is not a matter of solipsism. [/QUOTE]Nor is experience limited to human beings or to human minds. All living things experience, in fact it is not hard to argue that the lowly "electron" has experience. True, there are different levels of experience and thus perhaps different values attached to experience.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 05:43 pm
@prothero,
prothero;161339 wrote:
The real question is would it make much difference to the universe at large?


Indulge me here while I engage in some radical philosophizing.

What 'universe at large'? The universe at large is a conceptual construction (or 'vikalpa'). Now of course this is a highly objectionable thing to say. First, because the Universe has now been transposed into the position previously occupied by God, and to question its reality is the same as to question of the existence of God in the 15th Century (i.e. unthinkable and scurrilous). Second, because you think that concepts are something that 'exist inside your head'. How could something so big (13 billion light years across) fit inside something so small (your head)?

(Go on, that is exactly what you're thinking, isn't it?)

But it is not what it means. We have to take a step back, but taking a step back is nearly impossible. Because we are enmeshed in a conceptual construction that has us as knowing subjects, forming pictures of the universe, in our brain. But this too is vikalpa, conceptual construction.

You can never actually escape from, or overcome, the realm of vikalpa by argumentation, discourse, discussion, or rational thought. Especially in a context such as this, where you enter words on a screen. The only way to get outside of them is through nirvikalpa, which is the negation of all such conceptions. That is a different mode of being.

I think, put in different way, this is similar to what Dasein is saying, but he and I have arrived at, or a working towards, a similar perspective, from different starting points.
 
prothero
 
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 05:53 pm
@qualia,
I feel like I am occupying the middle ground between science and spirituality which makes me popular with neither side. Sort of like a moderate attending a republican or democratic primary.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 8 May, 2010 01:33 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;161426 wrote:


What 'universe at large'? The universe at large is a conceptual construction (or 'vikalpa').


You must mean that the conceptual construction, the universe at large, is a conceptual construction. Not that the universe at large is a conceptual construction. At least I hope so. Otherwise, I could not understand what you mean. Or, perhaps what you mean is that the universe at large is only, or merely, a conceptual construction. In which case, I would, of course, understand you as saying that there is only the conceptual construction of the universe at large, but there is no such thing as the universe at large.

Could you please clear up which of these you do mean for me?
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Sat 8 May, 2010 02:15 am
@qualia,
I think I am back with Kant's 'noumenon'. I don't think the universe is 'something that exists in your mind'. Neither did Kant. He was not a subjective idealist, he was an empirical realist and a transcendental idealist. He believed that science provides a true account of the real world, as do I. But he said we cannot know this world as it is in itself. The act of knowledge relies on our primary intuitions of space and time, which we bring to the party, so to speak, and within which phenomena are encountered. Phenomena exist from a point of view. I suppose we can presume that they also exist outside a point of view. But the way in which they exist, independently of a point of view, is not known to us. That is why he said we cannot know the thing in itself.

It is in this sense that that I think that all we know is our experience of the universe (although even that is not right, because it is not as if 'knowledge' is one thing and 'experience' another). What we call the universe - or whatever else we are looking at, or talking about - is manifestly a combination of sensory inputs - seen, heard, felt - combined by the human intelligence into a whole. This is what I mean by 'conceptual construction'. It is something much more inclusive and deeper than 'a concept'. It is more like a gestalt.

Now at this point, you will say 'but you are talking about the representation of the reality, not the reality itself'. What I am saying is that the object is a representation. It is not ultimately possible to differentiate the thing known from the act of knowing it. We will then try and look at the representation, the act of cognition, to differentiate it from the object. But representation itself cannot be directly cognized. Everything is a representation, including one's attempt to conceptualise the act of representation. We are always, actually, in the relationship of knower-act of knowledge-object.

The reason this seems so counter-intuitive is because we have a kind of 'master concept' which is the idea of the individual in the world, within which we represent objects in the interior theatre of consciousness. I think this is a form of Cartesian dualism. But it is an abstraction from the real nature of experience.

Reality is the act of knowing, not simply the things which we see. That is why I have said, reality is not what you see when you look out the window. Reality is you looking out the window. When you do that, you do it with all kinds of presuppositions, expectations, understandings, and so on.

This is all provisional at this time. Obviously it has a lot on common with World as Will and Representation, but I haven't read that yet. Nevertheless I think Schopenhauer was really onto something. But it is just something I am still thinking through. Thanks.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 8 May, 2010 05:57 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;161613 wrote:
I think I am back with Kant's 'noumenon'. I don't think the universe is 'something that exists in your mind'. Neither did Kant. He was not a subjective idealist, he was an empirical realist and a transcendental idealist. He believed that science provides a true account of the real world, as do I. But he said we cannot know this world as it is in itself. The act of knowledge relies on our primary intuitions of space and time, which we bring to the party, so to speak, and within which phenomena are encountered. Phenomena exist from a point of view. I suppose we can presume that they also exist outside a point of view. But the way in which they exist, independently of a point of view, is not known to us. That is why he said we cannot know the thing in itself.

It is in this sense that that I think that all we know is our experience of the universe (although even that is not right, because it is not as if 'knowledge' is one thing and 'experience' another). What we call the universe - or whatever else we are looking at, or talking about - is manifestly a combination of sensory inputs - seen, heard, felt - combined by the human intelligence into a whole. This is what I mean by 'conceptual construction'. It is something much more inclusive and deeper than 'a concept'. It is more like a gestalt.

Now at this point, you will say 'but you are talking about the representation of the reality, not the reality itself'. What I am saying is that the object is a representation. It is not ultimately possible to differentiate the thing known from the act of knowing it. We will then try and look at the representation, the act of cognition, to differentiate it from the object. But representation itself cannot be directly cognized. Everything is a representation, including one's attempt to conceptualise the act of representation. We are always, actually, in the relationship of knower-act of knowledge-object.

The reason this seems so counter-intuitive is because we have a kind of 'master concept' which is the idea of the individual in the world, within which we represent objects in the interior theatre of consciousness. I think this is a form of Cartesian dualism. But it is an abstraction from the real nature of experience.

Reality is the act of knowing, not simply the things which we see. That is why I have said, reality is not what you see when you look out the window. Reality is you looking out the window. When you do that, you do it with all kinds of presuppositions, expectations, understandings, and so on.

This is all provisional at this time. Obviously it has a lot on common with World as Will and Representation, but I haven't read that yet. Nevertheless I think Schopenhauer was really onto something. But it is just something I am still thinking through. Thanks.


If this is a reply to my post, I cannot see how it is. Why don't you quote a bit from the posts to which you are replying so the reader can tell what you are replying to?
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Sat 8 May, 2010 06:20 am
@qualia,
sorry. It is a pretty difficult point to make. I won't try any more at the moment, it will probably just make it worse.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sat 8 May, 2010 03:37 pm
@prothero,
prothero;159963 wrote:
Frankly I have a lot of trouble with this concept. I guess my thinking is a little too concrete for it. For the universe has been plodding along engaging in process and change for 14 billion years or so and we have been around maybe the last 200,000 or so. So I fail to see how time conceived as process depends on human consciousness. If one thinks there is some universal mind that creates time (and Davies in some ways does) that would be a different question. To assert however that time (conceived of as change) does not exist without us to observe it reminds me of the eternal omniscient diety of religion and the 6.000 yr. old theory of creation and history.


I do see your point. However I also see why time is associated with human concept. For instance, those calculations you mention? Where are they from? Applied science. Concept applied to measurement...and measurement itself is unthinkable devoid of concept. And we cannot even discuss time except by means of concept, especially the concept of time.

I'll grant you that we have reason to see that change was here long before us. But should we equate time with change? I agree that change is an essential ingredient of time, but I personally see concept as equally essential. And speaking of "essential," is not "concept" just another word for essence?

w/respect

---------- Post added 05-08-2010 at 04:48 PM ----------

jeeprs;161613 wrote:

Now at this point, you will say 'but you are talking about the representation of the reality, not the reality itself'. What I am saying is that the object is a representation. It is not ultimately possible to differentiate the thing known from the act of knowing it. We will then try and look at the representation, the act of cognition, to differentiate it from the object. But representation itself cannot be directly cognized. Everything is a representation, including one's attempt to conceptualise the act of representation. We are always, actually, in the relationship of knower-act of knowledge-object.


All of this is great. And for me this sort of thing is the heart of philosophy. This ties in closely with my understanding of "metaphysics," that word so dreadful to Western ears. I agree that "everything is a representation" and I also thinks this realization, when thought through, negates the dichotomy of the represented and the representation.

That strange concept "noumena" is a representation of that which cannot be represented. It's as paradoxical as "infinity." And yet it is, in my opinion, quite justified pragmatically. We change our views, negate yesterdays' views as errors. When we revise our views of the world, we project this new view of reality backward onto the past. This creates a dichotomy. The "world as we then saw it" versus "the world as it really is" (or the world as currently understood...) And yet we are always negating/re-synthesizing our "current" view of the world. Before long, we find ourselves projecting truth into the future. We look forward to generations that come long after ours discovering that TOE.

My favorite part of your post was that last sentence. For me, this is equivalent to "self-conscious logos" or "man" becoming conscious of "his" "self" as the conceptual/lingual structure of "reality." It's "we" who impose distinctions, who quantize qualia...? Reality as evolving spirit. Spirit as being revealed by discourse, including mathematical discourse and obviously and more importantly "philosophical" discourse.

Smile
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Sat 8 May, 2010 04:51 pm
@qualia,
I did a search on 'knower and known' (Google epistemology, if you like) and the first thing that came up was from Aquinas.

Quote:
The perfection belonging to one thing is found in another. This is the perfection of a knower insofar as he knows; for something is known by a knower by reason of the fact that the thing known is, in some fashion, in the possession of the knower. Hence it is said in The Soul that the soul is "in some manner, all things," since its nature is such that it can know all things. In this way, it is possible for the perfection of the entire universe to exist in one thing.(De veritate 2, 2.)
Isn't that last sentence a beauty? Universe in a grain of sand, eh? I am growing to love Thomas.

He then adds
Quote:
Intelligent beings are distinguished from non-intelligent beings in that the latter possess only their own form; whereas the intelligent being is naturally adapted to have also the form of some other thing; for the idea of the thing known is in the knower


Among other things, he goes on to add:

Quote:
Form is made finite by matter, inasmuch as form, considered in itself, is common to many; but when received in matter, the form is determined to this one particular thing... Form is not made perfect by matter, but is rather contracted by matter.
Source. (Good concise resource on Thomism too.)
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sat 8 May, 2010 09:30 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;161868 wrote:

Isn't that last sentence a beauty? Universe in a grain of sand, eh? I am growing to love Thomas.


That was a great line! I completely agree with his point. For me, this is dissolution of the self/other dichotomy. We "are" what we know/perceive/experience. We are the set of all sets? A self-ordering collision ?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 8 May, 2010 09:41 pm
@qualia,
Flower in the crannied wall,
I pluck you out of the crannies,
I hold you here, root and all, in my hand,
Little flower -but if I could understand
What you are, root and all, and all in all,
I should know what God and man is.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson.


But, is it true?
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sat 8 May, 2010 10:23 pm
@qualia,
Quote:

Hence it is said in The Soul that the soul is "in some manner, all things," since its nature is such that it can know all things. In this way, it is possible for the perfection of the entire universe to exist in one thing.(De veritate 2, 2.)
The ONE. It won't change your flat tire, but it's worth thinking on. I can only interpret a rejection of the beauty in such a line as a sort of hatred of the poetic, a preference for the prosaic. The prosaic will always be with us, whether we will or no. The poetic, or inspired (in-spirited), makes the prosaic worth tolerating, or shall we say it leavens the prosaic. To reference another quote, if the salt has lost its flavor, switch to pepper, right?

I argue that all culture is in-spirited. But "spirit" can turn on itself. And we get paradoxes like the knowledge that knowledge is impossible. Or a fanatical reductiveness that questions everything but its own motives. Always, in any "cultural" conversation, the implication of value, and the concept of this value. For me, this is spirit. An anti-wizard is still a wizard.

Part 2:

I also think of "existential time" as man's experience of the notion of mortality. This is as big a part of life perhaps as physics time, or social time, which tends to be conceived spatially. We say things like backwards in time, etc. And this makes sense, as we are faced beings. We see and walk in one primary direction. Therefore that which is behind us, is also often behind us temporally. (Which can only be conceived spatially, perhaps, because time arguably exists only as "nonbeing" by which certain philosophers only mean concept. What is concept? Is it spatial? I don't think so, excepting that the spatial is experienced conceptually. But what can we make of memories? Of projects not yet realized? Etc. )
Smile
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Sun 9 May, 2010 04:07 am
@Reconstructo,
kennethamy;161958 wrote:
Flower in the crannied wall,
I pluck you out of the crannies,
I hold you here, root and all, in my hand,
Little flower -but if I could understand
What you are, root and all, and all in all,
I should know what God and man is.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson.


But, is it true?


Lovely poem, thank you. I am sure it is true - with the requisite poetic license. Think about this. If a sufficiently advanced alien species arrived here and were able to capture a single strand of human DNA, they would probably be able to infer from it the entire history of Planet Earth. So it ain't that far out, is it?

Reconstructo;161979 wrote:
The ONE. It won't change your flat tire, but it's worth thinking on. I can only interpret a rejection of the beauty in such a line as a sort of hatred of the poetic, a preference for the prosaic. The prosaic will always be with us, whether we will or no. The poetic, or inspired (in-spirited), makes the prosaic worth tolerating, or shall we say it leavens the prosaic. To reference another quote, if the salt has lost its flavor, switch to pepper, right?

I argue that all culture is in-spirited. But "spirit" can turn on itself. And we get paradoxes like the knowledge that knowledge is impossible. Or a fanatical reductiveness that questions everything but its own motives. Always, in any "cultural" conversation, the implication of value, and the concept of this value. For me, this is spirit. An anti-wizard is still a wizard.


Well, to respond to only one of the layers in your reply, perhaps we as a culture are dismissive of THE ONE because we generally have no clue as to what it means, in this tremendously complicated multiplex existence in which we now live. The perspective of THE ONE has only ever been available to those who are really able to simplify themselves and their life down to the bare physical basics. Granted, we can now contemplate it in a literary and philosophical kind of way. It has made its way back into the discourse of modernity mainly via the Sixties, Thomas Merton, Indian philosophy, and so on. But it remains a profoundly important idea and one that I think we should approach with great diffidence.


Reconstructo;161979 wrote:
Part 2:

I also think of "existential time" as man's experience of the notion of mortality. This is as big a part of life perhaps as physics time, or social time, which tends to be conceived spatially. We say things like backwards in time, etc. And this makes sense, as we are faced beings. We see and walk in one primary direction. Therefore that which is behind us, is also often behind us temporally. (Which can only be conceived spatially, perhaps, because time arguably exists only as "nonbeing" by which certain philosophers only mean concept. What is concept? Is it spatial? I don't think so, excepting that the spatial is experienced conceptually. But what can we make of memories? Of projects not yet realized? Etc. )
Smile


There is time as measured by the clock; and the psychological time that I make use of to house my memories and cultivate my expectations. I think this is the idea of 'existential time'. I think this is the time that the sages call us to snap out of.
 
 

 
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