Existential Time

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Reconstructo
 
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 01:03 am
@prothero,
prothero;162771 wrote:
Well perhaps just a difference in terminology. For events are all three, monistic with an experiential (mental) pole and a physical (material,substance) pole. These aspects of events are not separable they are unity. Dualism is false, monism (oneness) is true.

I agree that the duality of mind/matter is false, or at least logically inferior to the monistic view.

---------- Post added 05-11-2010 at 02:06 AM ----------

prothero;162771 wrote:

It takes some getting used to this process view.


Well, I have actually moved from that view to this one, which is not radically different, I admit. I liked to call it the "dynamic" theory of truth. Or ironism. Or Hamlet the self-eating Hole. I don't mind the thought. It's just that I've been persuaded of some stability in human experience. If indeed there were no stability, would that not make the truth of your viewpoint impossible? Does not truth as opposed to opinion rely on some sort of eternity or timelessness? It was Kojeve that brought this point home for me. Eternity, time, and the concept. If the truth changes, it's just opinion. Or not?

---------- Post added 05-11-2010 at 02:13 AM ----------

prothero;162771 wrote:
Fundamentally however reality is composed of events not substances. Enduring static substances are an illusion a perceptive creation. Substances are merely stable enduring events


I can dig it. But note that you say "fundamentally." It seems to me that it's almost impossible to escape thinking in terms of essence. Now I think "events" are some of the most sophisticated atoms available. I like the process philosophy view. It's one of the best. It's just that when I hear "stable enduring events" (emphasis mine, obviously) I feel that the word "event" is being stretched a little. I won't deny that "this too shall pass away," but there is enough conceptual stability for intelligent communication. So within the human experience of time, there is change that is slow enough to serve as a lingual bedrock.

In my opinion, I take a more radical view than Kant. I don't think causality is transcendental. I think the transcendental is more narrow than that. For me, it's the discrete issue, our tendency to think in terms of the continuous. Note how we quantify time. And any measurement of this quantified time must be rounded off, must be rational, must be discrete. Because we have no honest way to write down a real number. We can't sincerely allow pi minutes for something. And then one might mention our 24 frames per second cinema. Or the finite number of rods and cones in our eyes.
 
MMP2506
 
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 02:15 am
@prothero,
prothero;162771 wrote:
Well perhaps just a difference in terminology. For events are all three, monistic with an experiential (mental) pole and a physical (material,substance) pole. These aspects of events are not separable they are unity. Dualism is false, monism (oneness) is true.


It takes some getting used to this process view. Elements of the past are always incorporated into the present moment of experience. Some events appear as relatively stable "objects". Fundamentally however reality is composed of events not substances. Enduring static substances are an illusion a perceptive creation. Substances are merely stable enduring events. Now if you want to talk about eternal objects (essentially forms or ideals, subjective aims) that is a different topic. Reality as we directly measure and experience though is composed fundamentally of events. Objects are merely enduring events (events which incorporate most of the elements of the event which previously occupied that position in space time)

Tired now, going to bed. I will be back.


I have studied Whitehead and I see his views of reality quite parallel with that of Heidegger and other existentialists.

The only place I am a bit weary is how you describe reality as events, as if they can be categorized into separate instances. Reality, to me, is a constant flux that can only be reduced to experience, and I do not experience a reality consisting of many different instances of time.

This is, I think, the essence of existential time. Time is how I experience reality. If my time was different, so would be my reality, and essentially me.
 
prothero
 
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 12:56 pm
@MMP2506,
MMP2506;162819 wrote:
The only place I am a bit weary is how you describe reality as events, as if they can be categorized into separate instances. Reality, to me, is a constant flux that can only be reduced to experience, and I do not experience a reality consisting of many different instances of time.
You probably experience reality as a continuous flow. Change is certainly part of your reality. Every time you watch TV or a movie you experience continous flow of what are actually discrete images and fragments of sound. The way we experience reality and the fundamental nature of reality may not be the same. In simulating human mind with neural networks, I believe, that they introduce both latency and oscillation.
In describing 3 of the 4 fundamental forces of nature, the mathematics is discrete (quanta) and stocahstic probability not deterministic so the notion that space time is discrete (quanta, events) and thus reality is composed of discrete events (even gravity and space time itself) which have some degree of freedom (indeterminism)is not too hard to entertain and certainly not excluded by modern science.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 01:52 pm
@qualia,
The notion that substance is an illusion is a potent and valuable metaphor. I suppose my measured objection to is that it introduces a dualism. I agree that we visually and sonically experience continuity all the time. But it does seem to me that we think in terms of the discrete. I argue that the world is experience intellectually in a discrete way. But perhaps my notion of the discrete is idiosyncratic. I would argue that the notion of continuity is itself discrete, and also that the notion of infinity is itself finite. I say this because I think of language as a system of differences. Words have a meaning for us because this meaning is delimited. We do have words like "everything" or "totality" or "Being" or "God" but these words are more difficult than others. And perhaps for this reason more fascinating.
 
prothero
 
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 01:54 pm
@Reconstructo,
[QUOTE=Reconstructo;162777] I agree that the duality of mind/matter is false, or at least logically inferior to the monistic view. [/QUOTE]Well it was Descartes who split the world of human experience in two (mind and matter) and Newton who described the world as inert point particles interacting according to fixed deterministic laws. I think these viewpoints still dominate in the worldview of most ordinary people and even many with a philosophical bent. In the world of everyday ordinary experience they suffice. In the effort to develop a systematic philosophy which unifies mind and matter and the realm of human experience to include aesthetics, ethics and values they represent a problem. Monistic worlviews are inherently more able to create unified systematic speculative philosophies which are adequate to the realm of human experience.

[QUOTE=Reconstructo;162777] Well, I have actually moved from that view to this one, which is not radically different, I admit. I liked to call it the "dynamic" theory of truth. Or ironism. Or Hamlet the self-eating Hole. I don't mind the thought. It's just that I've been persuaded of some stability in human experience. If indeed there were no stability, would that not make the truth of your viewpoint impossible? Does not truth as opposed to opinion rely on some sort of eternity or timelessness? It was Kojeve that brought this point home for me. Eternity, time, and the concept. If the truth changes, it's just opinion. Or not? [/QUOTE]I think even in process there is the introduction of timeless transcendent eternal values. The ultimate in process is generally taken to be creativity itself, the creation of value and of beauty and of aesthetic appreciation (experience). Whitehead reintroduces the concept of God (not the supernatural interventionist deity of classical theology) as the reservoir of possibility and of eternal aims for the world.

At each moment of experience, an opportunity for creative advance (the subjective aim, the divine persuasion, the primordial ideal) is offered up by the divine. The divine though is not coercive but persuasive and so there is freedom in the world to deny the subjective aim to turn away from the ideal. The divine persuasion, patiently, persistently, lovingly, guides the world forward (the divine lure, the inherent striving) in a never-ending process of creative advance (complexity, life, mind, experience, beauty, truth, value).

Without the primordial ideal of beauty, creativity and truth (the process notion of god) the world loses both its purpose and its meaning. The world that we experience is not the result; as materialist and Darwinians would lead you to believe of blind, purposeless, pitiless indifference and of accident and chance. In fact most people reject these tenets of materialism and of atheism. To avoid nihilism, moral relativism, and to preserve transcendent value or truth it is necessary to invoke some vision of an eternal enduring actuality in which these possibilities of values reside (i.e. God).


[QUOTE=Reconstructo;162777] I can dig it. But note that you say "fundamentally." It seems to me that it's almost impossible to escape thinking in terms of essence. Now I think "events" are some of the most sophisticated atoms available. I like the process philosophy view. It's one of the best. It's just that when I hear "stable enduring events" (emphasis mine, obviously) I feel that the word "event" is being stretched a little. I won't deny that "this too shall pass away," but there is enough conceptual stability for intelligent communication. So within the human experience of time, there is change that is slow enough to serve as a lingual bedrock. [/QUOTE] In the realm of ordinary human experience, objects have sufficient duration and stability to serve as the focus of language and action. What the fundamental underlying unity or ontology of objects is, may be a different matter. The process view is that objects are repetitive events, incorporating sufficient elements of the past in successive moments of experience to be perceived as solid, stable having essence.

[QUOTE=Reconstructo;162777] In my opinion, I take a more radical view than Kant. I don't think causality is transcendental. I think the transcendental is more narrow than that. For me, it's the discrete issue, our tendency to think in terms of the continuous. Note how we quantify time. And any measurement of this quantified time must be rounded off, must be rational, must be discrete. Because we have no honest way to write down a real number. We can't sincerely allow pi minutes for something. And then one might mention our 24 frames per second cinema. Or the finite number of rods and cones in our eyes. [/QUOTE] The divine in its primordial nature is held to be the realm of transcendent forms (after Plato), values and ideals (eternal objects). The world that we directly experience (the "real" world) only imperfectly represents the primordial ideal. Man in his seeking after meaning, after perfection, after the continuous in the world of the discrete, after the eternal in the realm of the temporal, after essence in the world of flux, is "made in the image". These things only exist in the primordial divine (the realm of the eternal and the possible) not in the consequent world (real world, actual world, the realm of actuality as opposed to possibility).
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 02:44 pm
@prothero,
prothero;163062 wrote:
Monistic worlviews are inherently more able to create unified systematic speculative philosophies which are adequate to the realm of human experience.


I agree, friend. Smile

---------- Post added 05-11-2010 at 03:47 PM ----------

prothero;163062 wrote:
The divine persuasion, patiently, persistently, lovingly, guides the world forward (the divine lure, the inherent striving) in a never-ending process of creative advance (complexity, life, mind, experience, beauty, truth, value).

I can relate to this, and this ties in to my notion of existential time as the Project, the Child, the Future. We are purpose driven, and I know it's not just hunger and lust that drives us on. Or lures us up in an ascending spiral.

---------- Post added 05-11-2010 at 03:48 PM ----------

prothero;163062 wrote:

In the realm of ordinary human experience, objects have sufficient duration and stability to serve as the focus of language and action. What the fundamental underlying unity or ontology of objects is, may be a different matter. The process view is that objects are repetitive events, incorporating sufficient elements of the past in successive moments of experience to be perceived as solid, stable having essence.

I agree with this. I suppose I have tended to stress perhaps a different aspect.

---------- Post added 05-11-2010 at 03:53 PM ----------

prothero;163062 wrote:

The divine in its primordial nature is held to be the realm of transcendent forms (after Plato), values and ideals (eternal objects). The world that we directly experience (the "real" world) only imperfectly represents the primordial ideal. Man in his seeking after meaning, after perfection, after the continuous in the world of the discrete, after the eternal in the realm of the temporal, after essence in the world of flux, is "made in the image". These things only exist in the primordial divine (the realm of the eternal and the possible) not in the consequent world (real world, actual world, the realm of actuality as opposed to possibility).


I agree with this, too. This is basically Blake's view. I'm also reminded of Euclidean geometry, perfectly straight lines. And mathematics of course. The precision of integers. Measurement in the real world must always be imperfect, precisely because we can conceive of perfect measurement. Some have used the word "nonbeing" for concepts such as these, but of course they obviously have some kind of being, just not a spatial being. I theorize that man is essential essentialization, or the "mother" of concept. Or the creation of concept. I won't say that he is concept, because this doesn't stress his creativity. I agree that a dynamic conception of humanity is in order.
 
MMP2506
 
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 03:17 pm
@prothero,
prothero;163062 wrote:


Without the primordial ideal of beauty, creativity and truth (the process notion of god) the world loses both its purpose and its meaning. The world that we experience is not the result; as materialist and Darwinians would lead you to believe of blind, purposeless, pitiless indifference and of accident and chance. In fact most people reject these tenets of materialism and of atheism. To avoid nihilism, moral relativism, and to preserve transcendent value or truth it is necessary to invoke some vision of an eternal enduring actuality in which these possibilities of values reside (i.e. God).





The more I learn about Whitehead the more I see the phenomenologist in him. I guess it makes sense as both he and the phenomenology movement are reacting to the same problems.

I would be careful about judging Darwin though, as I feel his ideas may not have been as completely deterministic as many take them to be. He did speak of the purpose of things, and if you think about it, the teleology of the world is essential to the concept of evolution. I don't think he ever ascribed blind change to his theory of evolution, and I think he actually may have saved Aristotle's idea of final causation.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 04:23 pm
@MMP2506,
MMP2506;163105 wrote:
He did speak of the purpose of things, and if you think about it, the teleology of the world is essential to the concept of evolution. I don't think he ever ascribed blind change to his theory of evolution, and I think he actually may have saved Aristotle's idea of final causation.


"It is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing in the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each orther, and dependent upon each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us. These laws, taken in the largest sense, being Growth with reproduction, Inheritance which is almost implied by reproduction; Variability from the indirect and direct actions of the conditions of life, and from use and disuse; a Ratio of Increase so high as to lead to a Struggle for Life, and as a consequence to Natural Selection, entailing Divergence of Character and the Extinction of less improved forms. Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone circling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved." Origin of Species. My bolds.

Lets not get into Darwinism here - this should suffice to demonstrate that he explicitly rejects teleology. For an interesting discussion of teleology and the related idea of entelechy, check out Hans Driesch, and also see Etienne Gilson, from Aristotle to Darwin and Back Again.
 
MMP2506
 
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 04:33 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;163128 wrote:

Lets not get into Darwinism here - this should suffice to demonstrate that he explicitly rejects teleology. For an interesting discussion of teleology and the related idea of entelechy, check out Hans Driesch, and also see Etienne Gilson, from Aristotle to Darwin and Back Again.


I just want to add that flexibility is part of the nature of teleology. An acorn has the potential to become a tree, but becoming a tree is also dependent on many other factors that are beyond the acorns control. This is where I believe that freedom and determinism are two aspects present in the same reality.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 05:03 pm
@qualia,
Hey you're preaching to the choir. For some time my 'status indicator' was 'teleologist' following a debate in January about the very same topic (but of course nobody knew what it was). Entelechy is a related - and fascinating - topic. I am currently reading Rupert Sheldrake's The Presence of the Past which has a lot to say about these things.
 
prothero
 
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 06:48 pm
@jeeprs,
All right, let us go back.
What is time if it is not the perception of change in the world?
How can we develop a notion of casuality which does not entail temporality?
If the process view is correct, reality is composed of events, is a timeless universe intelligible?
 
MMP2506
 
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 06:57 pm
@prothero,
prothero;163170 wrote:
All right, let us go back.
What is time if it is not the perception of change in the world?
How can we develop a notion of casuality which does not entail temporality?
If the process view is correct, reality is composed of events, is a timeless universe intelligible?


I would say a timeless universe is not intelligible because things become intelligible by manifesting within a reality bound by time. Finite beings cannot fully comprehend the infinite, all though they can come closer to understanding its nature through time.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 10:27 pm
@qualia,
I agree that time is a crucial ingredient. I've said it before, but I would argue that man is time, as man has both the memory and projects that make time possible, and these projects composed from memory direct his action upon the present, which as far as it transcends mere concept is spatial. I'm not saying that change requires this (man's "concepts"), but that "time" requires this. Take from us all memory and all conception of the future, and we are immersed completely in the spatial present. It's only time, based on concept, that makes the "self" and other such abstractions possible. We can present man as time that penetrates space..man as the imposition of desired form (concept /"non-"being) upon spatial being. <--opinion.
 
MMP2506
 
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 10:59 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;163227 wrote:
I agree that time is a crucial ingredient. I've said it before, but I would argue that man is time, as man has both the memory and projects that make time possible, and these projects composed from memory direct his action upon the present, which as far as it transcends mere concept is spatial. I'm not saying that change requires this (man's "concepts"), but that "time" requires this. Take from us all memory and all conception of the future, and we are immersed completely in the spatial present. It's only time, based on concept, that makes the "self" and other such abstractions possible. We can present man as time that penetrates space..man as the imposition of desired form (concept /"non-"being) upon spatial being. <--opinion.


What do you consider to be the distinction between change and "time?"

I find it hard to distinguish the two because I understand the awareness of time to be the way changes are sorted within our perspectival being.
 
Fil Albuquerque
 
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 10:59 pm
@MMP2506,
MMP2506;163173 wrote:
I would say a timeless universe is not intelligible because things become intelligible by manifesting within a reality bound by time. Finite beings cannot fully comprehend the infinite, all though they can come closer to understanding its nature through time.


There are things to the Infinity that are in need of clarity, being the first, that infinity is made of finity...what other Infinity could there be, beyond Truth ?
...to were I stand, its all about repeating patterns and not bringing to existence new ones, as Truth cannot apart itself, thus making infinity conception redundant. What do you think ?

---------- Post added 05-12-2010 at 12:04 AM ----------

Its all to easy to dismiss Truth as a myth, nevertheless the difference between Being and non-Being resides with Truth being True...
What there is, if it is, it must be defined, circumscribed, and complete !
Do you agree ?
 
MMP2506
 
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 11:06 pm
@Fil Albuquerque,
Fil. Albuquerque;163237 wrote:
There are things to the Infinity that are in need of clarity, being the first, that infinity is made of finity...what other Infinity could there be, beyond Truth ?
...to were I stand, its all about repeating patterns and not bringing to existence new ones, as Truth cannot apart itself, thus making infinity conception redundant. What do you think ?


I see where you are going, and again I feel it returns to the relationship between the One and the many.

I am under the impression that 2+2=4 will be true regardless of whether or not there exists any things for those numbers to represent. With that in mind, I don't feel any universal truths are dependent upon how they are manifested, although it is only after the fact that finite beings as ourselves are able to realize them.

Truth can't exist apart from itself, but I feel truth will be true no matter how it is manifested, even if it isn't manifesting at all. Which is how we come to know "new" truths. They are just new to us.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 11:07 pm
@MMP2506,
MMP2506;163236 wrote:
What do you consider to be the distinction between change and "time?"

I find it hard to distinguish the two because I understand the awareness of time to be the way changes are sorted within our perspectival being.


I think that change alone, devoid of a being that could remember a prior state and compare it to a current state, cannot really be time, not in any human sense of the word.

It's true that we can imagine change occurring without us, but this imagination of such is not occurring without us. I think that time is a byproduct of conceptualization. But so is an abstraction like "conceptualization." I admit it gets tricky. I was won over to this general view in Kojeve's exploration of "time, eternity, and the concept" in his lectures on Hegel. But he starts with Paremenides, goes thru Plato, Aristotle, Spinoza, Kant, and Hegel, looking at how they relate these issues.

He argues that unless truth is connected somehow to eternity, it can only be opinion. So a philosopher is almost bound to find a way to do so, or become a sort of pragmatist. Of course I like pragmatism, but I also like the alternative.
 
MMP2506
 
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 11:11 pm
@Fil Albuquerque,
Fil. Albuquerque;163237 wrote:

[/COLOR]Its all to easy to dismiss Truth as a myth, nevertheless the difference between Being and non-Being resides with Truth being True...
What there is, if it is, it must be defined, circumscribed, and complete !
Do you agree ?


I feel the awesome thing about truth, is that it is already complete. What we encounter is never the full definition of truth, but I feel it still exists in some form.

If you read Plato as a two-world model, then it is easy to make your point, and it seems that is close to where Aristotle took Plato, as he proposed no form can exist apart from its manifestation. I read Plato as a bit more one-world, and I feel with our ability to reason, Plato rightly understood that these truths can be understood to be self-sufficient even if they are only existing that way in theory.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 11:14 pm
@MMP2506,
MMP2506;163240 wrote:
I am under the impression that 2+2=4 will be true regardless of whether or not there exists any things for those numbers to represent.


This is a great issue, and one I have been reading about. Are numbers transcendentally intuited? Or are they really there, outside us? Another thread perhaps...

---------- Post added 05-12-2010 at 12:16 AM ----------

Fil. Albuquerque;163237 wrote:

What there is, if it is, it must be defined, circumscribed, and complete !

For me, this makes sense. But I'm a finitist. It seems to me that thoughts themselves are circumscriptions. But it also seems to me that our system of thought is always changing, even if particular circumscriptions remain intact.
 
Fil Albuquerque
 
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 11:17 pm
@MMP2506,
MMP2506;163240 wrote:
I see where you are going, and again I feel it returns to the relationship between the One and the many.

I am under the impression that 2+2=4 will be true regardless of whether or not there exists any things for those numbers to represent. With that in mind, I don't feel any universal truths are dependent upon how they are manifested, although it is only after the fact that finite beings as ourselves are able to realize them.

Truth can't exist apart from itself, but I feel truth will be true no matter how it is manifested.
 
 

 
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