What is Existence?

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Re: What is Existence?

Postby PeteP » Wed Feb 05, 2014 8:33 pm UTC

Doubting it and being aware of the philosophical arguments regarding our ability to prove anything are two different things. I don't particularly doubt it, since I have no reason to doubt it. And I don't see much point in speculating about it. However I'm just aware that it isn't inarguable, so I object against using that term.



Btw there actually was argument I read a while ago regarding that topic which I found interesting: http://www.simulation-argument.com/matrix.html It's a probability based argument. Basically it's argues that
at least one of these three things is true:
(1) The chances that a species at our current level of development can avoid going extinct before becoming technologically mature is negligibly small

(2) Almost no technologically mature civilisations are interested in running computer simulations of minds like ours

(3) You are almost certainly in a simulation.

The argument is basically that if 1 and 2 are wrong an advanced civilisation would use part of it's huge computational power to simulate minds and that there would be more simulated minds than biological ones making it more likely that a random mind like ours is one of the simulated ones. Read the text for the details.
Anyway I hadn't seen that variant before and found it interesting.

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Re: What is Existence?

Postby SecondTalon » Wed Feb 05, 2014 8:53 pm UTC

androidbleepboop wrote:
Deva wrote:
Jorpho wrote:
Deva wrote:Granted. Prefers text also.
Good heavens! Did you manually transcribe all that yourself!?

Yes. Hates geometric relationships now.


Haha wow, good work. I'm surprised you finished, if you found it totally boring! Or did you enjoy it and can't admit it, due to the bandwagon effect on this forum, wherein members adopt the attitude of the group to fit in?
Were that the case, Deva would use personal pronouns.

Or pronouns at all, come to think of it. Does Deva use pronouns? I'll have to check.

At any rate, everything in here sounds like woo. My only question then becomes - what is it you're selling?

... and now, of course, I want to run through the crackpot index with it.

I mean, let's just look at your closing statement

All physical objects occupy space and change over time, yet these physical characteristics arise out of the logic of geometry and the laws of physics. The laws themselves must be non-physical because they do not take up space, nor do they change over time.


Assuming it's transcribed correctly, and I've no reason to doubt RoboDeva in this, you're making a statement followed by a statement phrased in such a way as to call question to the first statement, but these statements are in no way disagreeing with each other. Physical objects occupy space and time, and due to entropy change over time. Their characteristscs can indeed be described with geometry and their forms follow the laws of physics, those we know and those we've yet to discover.

You then go on to talk about the laws like they HAVE to be a physical thing. Which is moronic, as the laws of physics are concepts. Concepts don't exist in a physical form. They're simply ways of comprehending things. The laws of physics (as we currently understand them, accurate or not) aren't a physical thing. They're a way for us to describe how things interact with one another. That's it. It's not like the universe is chugging along, going "doop-de-de-doo-doo" and deciding that it wants to freeze water but WAIT! Universe has to stop and check and verify that the temperature where it wants to freeze water is below 0 degrees C.

No! Water just freezes. Objects are pulled towards more massive objects. Light emits due to fission or whatever the hell it is stars do, fuck if I know. Point being, there's nothing watching a scorecard or even a scorecard to verify that everything is following along these neat little rules and it's up to us to figure out the scorecard. There is no scorecard. Shit just happens due to matter acting like matter, and all we can do is try and figure it out as best we can.

Because fucking yes, the laws of physics aren't things you can hold in your hand or even as real as the biochemical reaction a person gets looking at someone they're sexually attracted to that we associate with that sensation known as lust. They're just our best guesses at what makes things tick. And we don't even know if we're right. And we'll never know if we're right. Best we can do is "That's how it works in the lab, at least"
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Re: What is Existence?

Postby speising » Wed Feb 05, 2014 9:38 pm UTC

deva's transcript is awesome, but i couldn't believe computers can't help with this and so i searched for and found this: Yt subs download tool

my what is existence that is what is reality what
does it take for something to exist in this video series the word existence
explicitly refers to absolutely everything at once it's something exists has ever existed
or can possibly exist that thing is part of existence also use
...


could use a bit of editing, but it's a start.

now if i could only do this to podcasts...

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Re: What is Existence?

Postby The Mighty Thesaurus » Thu Feb 06, 2014 2:24 am UTC

SecondTalon wrote:Or pronouns at all, come to think of it. Does Deva use pronouns?

Yes.
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Re: What is Existence?

Postby androidbleepboop » Thu Feb 06, 2014 8:07 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:I mean, let's just look at your closing statement

All physical objects occupy space and change over time, yet these physical characteristics arise out of the logic of geometry and the laws of physics. The laws themselves must be non-physical because they do not take up space, nor do they change over time.


Assuming it's transcribed correctly, and I've no reason to doubt RoboDeva in this, you're making a statement followed by a statement phrased in such a way as to call question to the first statement, but these statements are in no way disagreeing with each other. Physical objects occupy space and time, and due to entropy change over time. Their characteristscs can indeed be described with geometry and their forms follow the laws of physics, those we know and those we've yet to discover.

You then go on to talk about the laws like they HAVE to be a physical thing.


I don't at all go on to talk about the laws like they have to be a physical thing- I go on to say (in the very next sentence) "Have we stumbled upon something that is not real, since it doesn’t fit the template outlined in the nature of things we can touch, see, and physically manipulate? I’ll leave it to you to contemplate this question until the next video in the series."

In fact, I agree with the rest of your post. My conclusion is simply setting up a challenge to the materialist view, wherein Existence is fundamentally physical. I do feel like I am slightly leaving the viewer hanging, because I'm not going into the meat of the argument (for the idealist hypothesis) until the next video. I can sympathize with the people here posting variations of "But what are you actually arguing?"- In this video, essentially just that- materialist ontology is hopelessly flawed, lacking the key component of existence: abstract, nonphysical logic.
Last edited by androidbleepboop on Thu Feb 06, 2014 8:26 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: What is Existence?

Postby androidbleepboop » Thu Feb 06, 2014 8:23 pm UTC

theGrammarBolshevik wrote:Why would you think of our lives as such an experiment? Which observations would tend to show that the physical universe exists, and which would tend to show that it does not exist? What sort of experimental result would show that I am not a brain in a vat, or a hallucinating immaterial soul?


I think of our lives as such an experiment because in interacting with the world, we are implicitly experimenting whether or not the physical world behaves in the way that we've learned it does. If, one out of a thousand times, I dropped a ball and it fell upwards into the sky, I would have to question the consistency of physical reality. Or, for a more consequential example, if one out of a thousand times, turning a car on resulted in the car morphing into a ball of lava, we would have some serious problems surviving and understanding the rules governing reality. We have no such difficulties, because through a civilization-long experiment, we have determined that reality behaves predictably and intelligibly.

It is true that if you were a brain in a vat, in a seamless simulation, you would be unable to ascertain the fact that you were merely a brain in a vat. But that does not mean your existence is not real, just that your perception of it is illusory. You still exist in "real reality", where the vat physically exists. In the case of a hallucinating immaterial soul, the interesting question remains- what does it take for reality to appear to exist the way that it is?

In essence, if there are some facts which are impossible for us to know, that does not keep us from examining and interpreting the facts which are possible to know. This runs into the problem of what it means to "know" something, of course, but when I say I know something, I don't mean that I'm absolutely certain that it's impossible that I'm wrong (because there may be facts which are impossible to know which disprove my "knowledge"). I simply mean that in the context of things I can be aware of, my understanding stands correct.


PeteP wrote:Btw there actually was argument I read a while ago regarding that topic which I found interesting: http://www.simulation-argument.com/matrix.html It's a probability based argument. Basically it's argues that
at least one of these three things is true:
(1) The chances that a species at our current level of development can avoid going extinct before becoming technologically mature is negligibly small

(2) Almost no technologically mature civilisations are interested in running computer simulations of minds like ours

(3) You are almost certainly in a simulation.

The argument is basically that if 1 and 2 are wrong an advanced civilisation would use part of it's huge computational power to simulate minds and that there would be more simulated minds than biological ones making it more likely that a random mind like ours is one of the simulated ones. Read the text for the details.
Anyway I hadn't seen that variant before and found it interesting.

I find that a strange setup for an argument. If the first two are correct, then the conclusion doesn't follow (usually arguments are set up such that the conclusion is true if the premises are true). If 1 is wrong, and 2 correct, 3 doesn't follow. If 2 is wrong, and 1 correct, then 3 doesn't follow.

In any case, the "simulation theory" does not offer a skeptical argument against the existence of reality, because even if our experiences are simulations, the "real reality" where the simulation is run has to be real. If you follow the same reasoning and say "But no, what if the reality simulating our reality is itself a simulation?" you run into an infinite regress- these simulations have to be finally rooted in real reality, where the existence of those simulations is real.
Last edited by androidbleepboop on Thu Feb 06, 2014 8:31 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: What is Existence?

Postby Angua » Thu Feb 06, 2014 8:29 pm UTC

This is your second warning on the double posting/triple posting rule. Don't do it again.
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Re: What is Existence?

Postby SecondTalon » Thu Feb 06, 2014 8:39 pm UTC

A lot of this seems to be "I want to tell people what I believe about Physics, but I don't know enough about actual Physics, so Imma disguise it all as Philosophy as that's just people talkin' 'bout stuff, right?"

Which... y'know.. it's not. Mostly as Materialism fully includes such things as Gravity and Justice and Love and other abstract concepts. Sure, it's all from "It comes from minds and minds are just bits of thinky-meat that run on chemical and electrical reactions, but all that thinky-meat can be messed with via proper (or improper) applications of chemistry and Electrician Joe's Zappy Stick"
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Re: What is Existence?

Postby PeteP » Thu Feb 06, 2014 8:53 pm UTC

androidbleepboop wrote:

PeteP wrote:Btw there actually was argument I read a while ago regarding that topic which I found interesting: http://www.simulation-argument.com/matrix.html It's a probability based argument. Basically it's argues that
at least one of these three things is true:
(1) The chances that a species at our current level of development can avoid going extinct before becoming technologically mature is negligibly small

(2) Almost no technologically mature civilisations are interested in running computer simulations of minds like ours

(3) You are almost certainly in a simulation.

The argument is basically that if 1 and 2 are wrong an advanced civilisation would use part of it's huge computational power to simulate minds and that there would be more simulated minds than biological ones making it more likely that a random mind like ours is one of the simulated ones. Read the text for the details.
Anyway I hadn't seen that variant before and found it interesting.

I find that a strange setup for an argument. If the first two are correct, then the conclusion doesn't follow (usually arguments are set up such that the conclusion is true if the premises are true). If 1 is wrong, and 2 correct, 3 doesn't follow. If 2 is wrong, and 1 correct, then 3 doesn't follow.


O_o I refer you to the lines I wrote surrounding the quote. It doesn't work that way because it's not an argument of that type, it's a list. That there are three numerated points doesn't mean that it's a deductive argument with two premises and a conclusion.

In any case, the "simulation theory" does not offer a skeptical argument against the existence of reality, because even if our experiences are simulations, the "real reality" where the simulation is run has to be real. If you follow the same reasoning and say "But no, what if the reality simulating our reality is itself a simulation?" you run into an infinite regress- these simulations have to be finally rooted in real reality, where the existence of those simulations is real.

Your real reality argument doesn't give you more information than "something experiences something" which would only matter if somebody said absolutely nothing exists. So yes it doesn't offer an argument against the existence of a reality.

Anyway it doesn't really matter. I didn't post that link as an argument in your direction. I just remembered it and posted it in case someone else also finds it interesting. Normally I might consider that a bit of an off-topic tangent, but the thread doesn't really seem to have a discussion topic at the moment.

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Re: What is Existence?

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Thu Feb 06, 2014 9:05 pm UTC

androidbleepboop wrote:I think of our lives as such an experiment because in interacting with the world, we are implicitly experimenting whether or not the physical world behaves in the way that we've learned it does. If, one out of a thousand times, I dropped a ball and it fell upwards into the sky, I would have to question the consistency of physical reality. Or, for a more consequential example, if one out of a thousand times, turning a car on resulted in the car morphing into a ball of lava, we would have some serious problems surviving and understanding the rules governing reality. We have no such difficulties, because through a civilization-long experiment, we have determined that reality behaves predictably and intelligibly.

Wait, what does this have to do with whether physical reality exists? That's what you said the experiment shows.

It is true that if you were a brain in a vat, in a seamless simulation, you would be unable to ascertain the fact that you were merely a brain in a vat. But that does not mean your existence is not real, just that your perception of it is illusory. You still exist in "real reality", where the vat physically exists. In the case of a hallucinating immaterial soul, the interesting question remains- what does it take for reality to appear to exist the way that it is?

In that case it sounds like you don't have experimental evidence for the existence of reality, since any evidence you gather is taken as consistent with the same conclusion: there is such a thing as reality.
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Re: What is Existence?

Postby Magnanimous » Thu Feb 06, 2014 9:32 pm UTC

androidbleepboop wrote:In any case, the "simulation theory" does not offer a skeptical argument against the existence of reality, because even if our experiences are simulations, the "real reality" where the simulation is run has to be real. If you follow the same reasoning and say "But no, what if the reality simulating our reality is itself a simulation?" you run into an infinite regress- these simulations have to be finally rooted in real reality, where the existence of those simulations is real.

Says who?

I read a sci-fi short story in which Universe A had a supercomputer simulating Universe B, which had a supercomputer simulating Universe C, and so on, progressing infinitely in both directions. You could ask how the multiverse was created and which was the original universe, but that's sort of a loaded question.

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Re: What is Existence?

Postby AMarquez » Thu Feb 06, 2014 9:47 pm UTC

I liked it, somewhat. I find, however, that the presentation is going to be very unwelcoming to people who arent already interested in the subject. I think it has been clear by the response you have got here; Most xkcd users are more scientifically oriented (xkcd is a scientifically oriented strip after all), and to sell them on the relevance of philosophy just for philosophy's sake seems hard, harder even that what I tought it would be. (seriously, I'm new to the community, but I imagined xkcd users not throwing swear in relation to other people's work just for the sake of it).

I think that if you rework it a bit, having some analogies in (funny ones), pacing it slower, not throwing every copyrighted video to ever exist in a collage, you might have something really worthy. You already cracked the explanation for "newcomers" to philosophy for them to get materialims, now you need to make it enjoyable to watch.

Excuse my bad English, not native speaker.

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Re: What is Existence?

Postby poxic » Thu Feb 06, 2014 10:11 pm UTC

You're very understandable, AMarquez, and I didn't see many mistakes. (Welcome to the forums.)
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Re: What is Existence?

Postby PeteP » Thu Feb 06, 2014 10:30 pm UTC

AMarquez wrote:I liked it, somewhat. I find, however, that the presentation is going to be very unwelcoming to people who arent already interested in the subject. I think it has been clear by the response you have got here; Most xkcd users are more scientifically oriented (xkcd is a scientifically oriented strip after all), and to sell them on the relevance of philosophy just for philosophy's sake seems hard, harder even that what I tought it would be. (seriously, I'm new to the community, but I imagined xkcd users not throwing swear in relation to other people's work just for the sake of it).

I think that if you rework it a bit, having some analogies in (funny ones), pacing it slower, not throwing every copyrighted video to ever exist in a collage, you might have something really worthy. You already cracked the explanation for "newcomers" to philosophy for them to get materialims, now you need to make it enjoyable to watch.

Excuse my bad English, not native speaker.

As someone who likes the video, would you mind naming something from the video you found especially interesting? Some specific statement or explanation?

Also, why would you consider it a good explanation of materialism for a newcomer? Did the deva's transcript miss some important part of the video? Because otherwise it never mentions the term materialism, and I would consider naming the concept as an important step when explaining it to a newcomer.

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Re: What is Existence?

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Fri Feb 07, 2014 12:06 am UTC

Uhh, I would hardly consider myself a newcomer to philosophy, let alone someone who's unreceptive to it. To the contrary, I'm a college senior (i.e. my fourth year) studying philosophy and planning to pursue a PhD in the same subject. The video's problem is not that it contains philosophy, but that the philosophy that it contains is either trivial or not supported by argument.
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Re: What is Existence?

Postby AMarquez » Fri Feb 07, 2014 12:53 am UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:Uhh, I would hardly consider myself a newcomer to philosophy, let alone someone who's unreceptive to it. To the contrary, I'm a college senior (i.e. my fourth year) studying philosophy and planning to pursue a PhD in the same subject. The video's problem is not that it contains philosophy, but that the philosophy that it contains is either trivial or not supported by argument.



I never implied that you were a newcomer to pholosphy, in fact, I never addressed you, I don't know why you would clarify otherwise. You don't require to state your qualifications for me to take you seriously and I don't see how they add context to your post.

I stated that the video is good for newcomers, if you are studying philosophy on a college, why would you be trying to expose a youtube video as "very basic" when it is clearly aimed for newcomes? The title of the video is about existence, it doesn't go into the complicaded terrain of say; human nature, or morals, it is about defining what is (sorry there, in Spanish we use the word "ser" and "no ser" to define, in philosophy, what is and is not, and I struggle to put the same concepts in English. "Being" and "Not being", maybe?). I just see argument for argument's sake, activelly trying to avoid the sight of any value for the material provided.

It is not for you, but you can help improving it, you can even ignore it, and it'll be better, but you aren't doing either, you aren't criticizing the video, you are criticizing what the video is not. Now I'm personally addressing you.

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Re: What is Existence?

Postby AMarquez » Fri Feb 07, 2014 12:54 am UTC

poxic wrote:You're very understandable, AMarquez, and I didn't see many mistakes. (Welcome to the forums.)



Thanks a bunch, I try hard.

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Re: What is Existence?

Postby AMarquez » Fri Feb 07, 2014 1:08 am UTC

PeteP wrote:
AMarquez wrote:I liked it, somewhat. I find, however, that the presentation is going to be very unwelcoming to people who arent already interested in the subject. I think it has been clear by the response you have got here; Most xkcd users are more scientifically oriented (xkcd is a scientifically oriented strip after all), and to sell them on the relevance of philosophy just for philosophy's sake seems hard, harder even that what I tought it would be. (seriously, I'm new to the community, but I imagined xkcd users not throwing swear in relation to other people's work just for the sake of it).

I think that if you rework it a bit, having some analogies in (funny ones), pacing it slower, not throwing every copyrighted video to ever exist in a collage, you might have something really worthy. You already cracked the explanation for "newcomers" to philosophy for them to get materialims, now you need to make it enjoyable to watch.

Excuse my bad English, not native speaker.

As someone who likes the video, would you mind naming something from the video you found especially interesting? Some specific statement or explanation?

Also, why would you consider it a good explanation of materialism for a newcomer? Did the deva's transcript miss some important part of the video? Because otherwise it never mentions the term materialism, and I would consider naming the concept as an important step when explaining it to a newcomer.



I think I failed to put my thoughts on text; I meant to write that I found it a good introduction to materialism, not a good explanation all encopassing materialism, sorry about that.

If I remember correctly, he does fail to mention materialism, which is a very good criticism, the video is still about what is tangible in the world. He didn't touch non-physical concepts as existing things and as such it kinda encopasses that half of thought currents (shcools of thought?) as divided by their oldest clasification, so I think is a good angle to introduce people to philosophy, I was myself introduced to philosophy by such matter, in a proffesional publication.

I didn't read the transcript. I do prefeer written content but it is really, really rude when, if a person comes and asks you his opinion on the video they made, you answer, and I cite textually "I have not watched it. Why the fuck is it not text on a fucking page?" and "It would be nice if you summarized the video, because judging from the first minutes, the rest doesn't seems very interesting." (Please note I'm not addressing you personally, I meant the forum peoples in general).

I liked his visual presentation of space and his explanation on how points are relative to each other in a way that defines the geometry of phisical objects. Note, I already knew this stuff, that doesn't mean I cant see a younger me discovering it and finding it interesting.

"Are you going to give arguments for any of this crap?" This is clearly a worthy tought on the video.

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Re: What is Existence?

Postby SecondTalon » Fri Feb 07, 2014 2:07 am UTC

I was actually expecting an answer to the question of "Why is this not just fucking text on a fucking page?"

Because text on a page is easier to understand, easier to refute, easier to re-examine when you don't quite catch it the first time around, and basically what a person should use if they're trying to present an argument or idea, as it allows the recipient to digest it at whatever rate they are comfortable with.

Video is for when you want to use flashy graphics to disguise the fact that your argument or idea has more holes in it than a sieve.
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Re: What is Existence?

Postby Angua » Fri Feb 07, 2014 2:35 am UTC

AMarquez, I know you're new here, but please don't triple/double post. This rule has already been mentioned in this thread.
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Re: What is Existence?

Postby AMarquez » Fri Feb 07, 2014 2:39 am UTC

SecondTalon wrote:I was actually expecting an answer to the question of "Why is this not just fucking text on a fucking page?"

Because text on a page is easier to understand, easier to refute, easier to re-examine when you don't quite catch it the first time around, and basically what a person should use if they're trying to present an argument or idea, as it allows the recipient to digest it at whatever rate they are comfortable with.

Video is for when you want to use flashy graphics to disguise the fact that your argument or idea has more holes in it than a sieve.



Go tell that to VSauce.

There is an audience for it, you are not on it, your opinion is not a fact. It is not text on a page because the creator in not trying for you to like it, is trying for people on youtube to like it. He's just asking your opinion on the video, not your opinion on video format as mean of content delivery, just your opinion on the video. People on youtube usually like their content in video form, and despite what te general asumption might be, channels like Smarter Every Day, CrashCourse, Veritasium, etc, do spawn good conversation.

@Angua: Got it, I'll not do it anymore.

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Re: What is Existence?

Postby SecondTalon » Fri Feb 07, 2014 3:18 am UTC

Man, I knew Google had changed how youtube looked, but I don't even recognize it anymore. URL's all wrong too. Conversation's better, at least. Wonder how they got the forums.xkcd.com url?
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Re: What is Existence?

Postby Jorpho » Fri Feb 07, 2014 4:04 am UTC

SecondTalon wrote:A lot of this seems to be "I want to tell people what I believe about Physics, but I don't know enough about actual Physics, so Imma disguise it all as Philosophy as that's just people talkin' 'bout stuff, right?"
Abstruse Goose did a clever bit on that just recently.
http://abstrusegoose.com/511

Am I the only one who finds some of all this more than a little reminiscent of Plato's Theory of Forms ?

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Re: What is Existence?

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Fri Feb 07, 2014 4:42 am UTC

AMarquez wrote:I never implied that you were a newcomer to pholosphy, in fact, I never addressed you, I don't know why you would clarify otherwise.

Well, no, and that's part of the point. Because instead of addressing anyone specifically, what you did was generalize that "most xkcd users" aren't going to be receptive to philosophy. Further, by taking people's reactions to this video as evidence of their attitudes towards "the relevance of philosophy just for philosophy's sake," you suggested that hostility to this video is coming from unfamiliarity with philosophy in general. I presented my own background because (a) I can only speak for myself and (b) what I can speak for shows that hostility to the video doesn't have anything to do with a general hostility toward philosophy.

On second thought, though, at least one other person who has reacted negatively to the video in this thread has a philosophy degree, and many other people regularly engage in debates on ethical theory and political philosophy in the News & Articles and Serious Business subforums. So I think your suggestion that people here aren't open to talking about philosophy is unfounded and, frankly, a bit insulting.

I stated that the video is good for newcomers, if you are studying philosophy on a college, why would you be trying to expose a youtube video as "very basic" when it is clearly aimed for newcomes?

By "trivial," I don't mean that it's very basic. A "very basic" video would presumably look like an excerpt from a lecture in an introductory philosophy course. For example, a Descartes-style argument for external world skepticism would be "very basic": it's a simple argument invoking premises that are at once easy to understand and easy to see the appeal of, it leads to a readily-understandable conclusion, and it invites discussion on a number of fronts (e.g. the strength of the premises). It's basic because it requires no technical background or argumentative sophistication in order to appreciate and engage with, and there's nothing wrong with being basic in this sense; I would not have accused a well-made video about a Descartes-style argument of being "trivial."

When I say that many of the claims in the video are trivial, I mean that they just aren't interesting at all. They may not require any background, but they also don't provoke any significant insight. For example:
The video wrote:This general pattern of an object’s form representing the geometric relationships between every point on that object applies to any physical object. Without these relationships to make up the information pertaining to the object’s exact form, the object would not embody that form.

What is the significance of this? "Spatial form" was stipulatively defined, at the start of the section on spatiality, as being "comprised of the geometric relationships that every point on that object has to every other." So what is the point of saying essentially the same thing in reverse: that an object's geometric relationships make up its form?
The video wrote:Holding all of this in mind, see if you can appreciate the fact if you remove any link in the chain of causality which brought the past to the present, the present could not possibly exist in its current form.

Granted, this is true in some sense, but so what? What is the significance of this statement to philosophy? Is there a philosophical problem that it raises, or a philosophical problem that it helps to address? Why dose saying this matter at all?

However, I think the far greater problem with the video is that, when it does make controversial claims, it doesn't try to defend them or even give a sense of why someone might find them plausible. Or sometimes, it does try to defend a claim, but the connection between the conclusion and whatever is supposed to support it is incredibly unclear. To call upon one of many examples:
The video wrote:Holding all of this in mind, see if you can appreciate the fact if you remove any link in the chain of causality which brought the past to the present, the present could not possibly exist in its current form. From this perspective, it should be clear that every effect we observe is the embodiment of a staggeringly uncountable set of causes. Through examining this, the essential nature of causality, we find that the present is the sum effect of all past causes. The present contains the entirety of the past in its logical structure because the circumstances making up the present are directly dependent on the logical progression of causality woven through cause and effect in the past.

Grant that the present state of the world depends on the past workings of cause and effect. How does it follow that the present "contains the entirety of the past in its logical structure"?

AMarquez wrote:It is not for you, but you can help improving it, you can even ignore it, and it'll be better, but you aren't doing either, you aren't criticizing the video, you are criticizing what the video is not. Now I'm personally addressing you.

I am criticizing the video for not living up to some very basic expectations that we should have for any work that advances philosophical claims. You are correct that I am, in some sense, largely criticizing the video for what it fails to do: for failing to substantiate its claims, or to show why they are philosophically significant. However, that has nothing to do with whether the video is sufficiently advanced, and everything to do with whether it lives up to the standards of philosophical exposition, standards that a piece on philosophy should meet no matter its target audience. To reiterate, I have no problem with the video being simple, basic, beginner-oriented, etc. I am certainly not saying that the video is bad because it leaves out my favorite topics in contemporary formal epistemology or anything like that.
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Re: What is Existence?

Postby The Mighty Thesaurus » Fri Feb 07, 2014 5:50 am UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:Grant that the present state of the world depends on the past workings of cause and effect. How does it follow that the present "contains the entirety of the past in its logical structure"?

androidbleepboop appears to be affirming the consequent.
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Re: What is Existence?

Postby Magnanimous » Fri Feb 07, 2014 7:31 am UTC

SecondTalon wrote:I was actually expecting an answer to the question of "Why is this not just fucking text on a fucking page?"

Because text on a page is easier to understand, easier to refute, easier to re-examine when you don't quite catch it the first time around, and basically what a person should use if they're trying to present an argument or idea, as it allows the recipient to digest it at whatever rate they are comfortable with.

Video is for when you want to use flashy graphics to disguise the fact that your argument or idea has more holes in it than a sieve.
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Re: What is Existence?

Postby Jave D » Sat Feb 08, 2014 4:32 am UTC

Existence is a book by David Brin. I haven't read it yet, but I quite like Brin's other works and believe it to be of high quality.

Probably, it also deals with a number of philosophical and social or psychological issues too, and I didn't just mention it to be cute. Although probably mostly to be cute. I'm adorable. Hug me.

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Re: What is Existence?

Postby ahammel » Sat Feb 08, 2014 4:35 am UTC

Jave D wrote:Existence is a book by David Brin. I haven't read it yet, but I quite like Brin's other works and believe it to be of high quality.

Probably, it also deals with a number of philosophical and social or psychological issues too, and I didn't just mention it to be cute. Although probably mostly to be cute. I'm adorable. Hug me.


It's quite good, but shows its origins in places (it's a fix-up novel; a bunch of short stories stitched together).

I can think of any number of objections to the assertion that the past can be precisely deduced given the state of the present, but I don't know if any of them apply to the physical universe. Physicists?
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Re: What is Existence?

Postby Jorpho » Sat Feb 08, 2014 4:02 pm UTC

I'm actually reading Existence right now, and didn't even think of its applicability to this thread. It's quite nice; kind of like Earth updated for the current decade. (I thought the only short story involved was Aficionado – are there others? EDIT: Oh, right, Lungfish.)

ahammel wrote:I can think of any number of objections to the assertion that the past can be precisely deduced given the state of the present, but I don't know if any of them apply to the physical universe. Physicists?
Would this not be the thought problem known as Laplace's Demon ?

It seems to me like every time someone comes forward saying he has a Wild Brand New Philosophical Theory, it is inevitably something that someone else came up with centuries ago and already has vast volumes of scholarly work devoted to its discussion.
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Re: What is Existence?

Postby androidbleepboop » Sat Feb 08, 2014 6:38 pm UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:When I say that many of the claims in the video are trivial, I mean that they just aren't interesting at all. They may not require any background, but they also don't provoke any significant insight. For example:
The video wrote:This general pattern of an object’s form representing the geometric relationships between every point on that object applies to any physical object. Without these relationships to make up the information pertaining to the object’s exact form, the object would not embody that form.

What is the significance of this? "Spatial form" was stipulatively defined, at the start of the section on spatiality, as being "comprised of the geometric relationships that every point on that object has to every other." So what is the point of saying essentially the same thing in reverse: that an object's geometric relationships make up its form?

You know, from hearing similar responses from a bunch of different people, I've come to realize that you have a good point here. I agree that much of the content of this video is trivially true, but I find these observations interesting, and that they serve to frame an intriguing perspective on this fundamental aspect of reality we take for granted. Really, the main function of this video is to set up the tension between the materialist ontology which seems to me culturally predominant, but which in my view cannot account for the existence of abstract (non-physical) logic, and an idealist ontology which can. The next video will go into the idealist ontology, where the philosophical meat of the argument is. I originally was going to make just one video on ontology, but it was getting to be far too long.

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:However, I think the far greater problem with the video is that, when it does make controversial claims, it doesn't try to defend them or even give a sense of why someone might find them plausible. Or sometimes, it does try to defend a claim, but the connection between the conclusion and whatever is supposed to support it is incredibly unclear. To call upon one of many examples:
The video wrote:Holding all of this in mind, see if you can appreciate the fact if you remove any link in the chain of causality which brought the past to the present, the present could not possibly exist in its current form. From this perspective, it should be clear that every effect we observe is the embodiment of a staggeringly uncountable set of causes. Through examining this, the essential nature of causality, we find that the present is the sum effect of all past causes. The present contains the entirety of the past in its logical structure because the circumstances making up the present are directly dependent on the logical progression of causality woven through cause and effect in the past.

Grant that the present state of the world depends on the past workings of cause and effect. How does it follow that the present "contains the entirety of the past in its logical structure"?

To me the connection is not terribly unclear. For example, the argument in favor of this point includes the section from 5:58 all the way up to when those sentences are put forward at 8:50 (especially, at 7:19 "Third, every effect is inextricably logically bound to its cause. Further, every effect's cause is the effect of a prior cause, and therefore every effect is inextricably bound to its cause's cause, and to that cause's cause, and so on back and back"). The reason the conclusion you take issue with appears at the end of that long sequence of assertions is because that long sequence of assertions constitutes the argument in favor of that conclusion. If I'm not mistaken, that's the way that arguments work, even (or especially) in an academic philosophy department. I can put it in a formal structure, if that'll help:


P1. Every effect is the logical consequence of its cause. In the absence of the cause, there would not be that effect, because there would be no logical reason for that effect to occur.

P2. (due to P1) Every effect is inextricably logically bound to its cause. Further, every effect's cause is the effect of a prior cause, and therefore every effect is inextricably bound to its cause's cause, and to that cause's cause, and so on back and back through the chain of causality representing the logical workings of cause and effect in the past.

P3. The moment when causes provoke effects in a physical system is the present moment for that system.

P4. (due to P1, P2, and P3) Concerning the present moment in any physical system, if any cause were removed from the chain of causality comprising the workings of cause and effect in that system's past, the logical progression of effects which led to the present moment could not have existed, because the logical reason for that chain of effects to occur has been removed, and therefore the present moment could not exist in its present form. This shows that the chain of causality leading to the existence of that present moment is unbroken, a logical sequence with the present moment as its natural endpoint.


C. Therefore, the present for any physical system contains the entirety of the logic of its causal chain. Or, to generalize that for all physical systems, the present contains the entirety of the past in its logical structure. In other words, the way the present is is the result of the way effects have followed causes in the past. If a cause/effect sequence had occurred last night such that I was run over by a cement truck and killed, the present moment would not contain me writing this sentence.


Jorpho wrote:Am I the only one who finds some of all this more than a little reminiscent of Plato's Theory of Forms ?

It is extremely reminiscent of Plato's Theory of Forms, but of course it is not entirely derivative.
Jorpho wrote:It seems to me like every time someone comes forward saying he has a Wild Brand New Philosophical Theory, it is inevitably something that someone else came up with centuries ago and already has vast volumes of scholarly work devoted to its discussion.

I'm not coming forward saying I have a Wild Brand New Philosophical Theory. I'm interested in exploring ideas that date back to the earliest traces of recorded human history, and likely before that, and determining whether or not I agree with them, and furthermore what thoughts they stimulate in me. You'll notice my video is not a reiteration of Plato's Theory of Forms, but a unique discussion of similar ideas. Just because others have thought and talked about these ideas before doesn't render them off limits to further exploration.
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Re: What is Existence?

Postby Jorpho » Sat Feb 08, 2014 7:04 pm UTC

androidbleepboop wrote:I'm interested in exploring ideas that date back to the earliest traces of recorded human history, and likely before that, and determining whether or not I agree with them, and furthermore what thoughts they stimulate in me. You'll notice my video is not a reiteration of Plato's Theory of Forms, but a unique discussion of similar ideas. Just because others have thought and talked about these ideas before doesn't render them off limits to further exploration.
Perhaps. It's just that there have been many, many thousands of litres of ink spilled about these ideas already, many of them by people who are likely far more educated on the subject than anyone you are likely to find on this message board, or at least people who are sufficiently well-versed in the concepts that they can probably articulate the relevant points far more effectively. Almost everything that can be said has already been said many times over. So why come here?

But then, I don't really understand why people insist on bringing up such fresh topics as gun control or abortion for the umpteenth dozen time either.

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Re: What is Existence?

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Fri Feb 14, 2014 1:25 am UTC

androidbleepboop wrote:I can put it in a formal structure, if that'll help:


P1. Every effect is the logical consequence of its cause. In the absence of the cause, there would not be that effect, because there would be no logical reason for that effect to occur.

P2. (due to P1) Every effect is inextricably logically bound to its cause. Further, every effect's cause is the effect of a prior cause, and therefore every effect is inextricably bound to its cause's cause, and to that cause's cause, and so on back and back through the chain of causality representing the logical workings of cause and effect in the past.

Ok, hold on. There are a number of problems with this.

First, what does "Every effect is inextricably logically bound to its cause" mean? What is "inextricable" about the connection? What does it mean for one thing to be "logically bound" to another?

Second, how does any of this follow from the first claim? Seems to me I could accept, for the sake of argument, that every effect is the logical consequence of its cause and that the effect couldn't happen without the cause (i.e., P1) even without accepting that they're "inextricably logically bound" together. And P1 certainly doesn't establish that "every effect's cause is the effect of a prior cause." Or that the "inextricably logically bound" relation is transitive.

Part of what it means to put an argument in premise-conclusion form is to organize it so that the logical relations between the premises and conclusion can be easily seen. Ideally, things should be set up so that we can easily see how they would translate into first-order logic or another suitable logic. In contrast, all you've really done here is stick some labels at the front of different paragraphs. No clarity is gained from this "formal" presentation.

androidbleepboop wrote:P3. The moment when causes provoke effects in a physical system is the present moment for that system.

Wtf does this mean? Most systems will be affected by various causes at different points in time, so it makes little sense to talk about the moment when this happens.

androidbleepboop wrote:P4. (due to P1, P2, and P3) Concerning the present moment in any physical system, if any cause were removed from the chain of causality comprising the workings of cause and effect in that system's past, the logical progression of effects which led to the present moment could not have existed, because the logical reason for that chain of effects to occur has been removed, and therefore the present moment could not exist in its present form.

How does that follow? Perhaps there are multiple possible cause/effect chains that lead to the same present configuration of the universe.

Additionally, it's entirely unclear what it would mean to "remove" a cause/effect from the chain. Suppose I hit one billiard ball into another, which then collides with and moves a third ball. What would it mean to "remove" the cause/effect interaction between the first and second ball? Would it mean "pinning" the second ball in place so that it didn't move? Making the universe "jump" from the moment before the collision to the moment after?

androidbleepboop wrote:C. Therefore, the present for any physical system contains the entirety of the logic of its causal chain. Or, to generalize that for all physical systems, the present contains the entirety of the past in its logical structure. In other words, the way the present is is the result of the way effects have followed causes in the past. If a cause/effect sequence had occurred last night such that I was run over by a cement truck and killed, the present moment would not contain me writing this sentence.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. I take it the bolded claim is obviously true. However, what does it have to do with the previous claims in this paragraph? How is saying that the present is the result of the causal chain the same as saying that the present contains the logical chain?

Further, how does this claim about containment follow from the preceding premises? None of your earlier premises even use the word "contain," so how do they support what you claim in the conclusion?
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Re: What is Existence?

Postby androidbleepboop » Wed Feb 19, 2014 3:57 am UTC

GrammarBolshevik- Essentially, your argument here boils down to "I can't understand what you mean, nothing you are saying makes sense." In my mind it is all quite straightforward, so I'm not sure how I can explain any of this to you. I could take each of your points in turn, and say for example, "Two things are inextricably logically bound if the logical state of one depends on the logical state of the other", but that is already obviously the case, and I can hardly imagine anyone sincerely having difficulty understanding that concept. I get the feeling that in order to come up with a dissenting position, you are taking pains to fabricate misunderstandings where none should be, but perhaps there is just an impassable gulf between our respective styles of thinking.

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Re: What is Existence?

Postby SecondTalon » Wed Feb 19, 2014 5:16 am UTC

TGB isn't saying "I can't understand it, so it doesn't make sense"

TGB is saying "Your logic is flawed, your verbage is sloppy, and overall it isn't coherent and as such, I cannot understand it."

It makes sense to you because you thought it. Restate it. Pretend you are someone else and explain it. Pretend there is an individual with a limited grasp of English but a keen logical mind who is trying to understand it.

Simplify your language if you have to.

Hell, just star with "logically bound". Explain what that precisely means and how it functions in the cause-effect relationship.
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Re: What is Existence?

Postby Magnanimous » Wed Feb 19, 2014 6:36 am UTC

PeteP wrote:Also, why would you consider it a good explanation of materialism for a newcomer? Did the deva's transcript miss some important part of the video? Because otherwise it never mentions the term materialism, and I would consider naming the concept as an important step when explaining it to a newcomer.

This is a little off topic, but I don't necessarily agree. I've tutored students for a few years, and people can get bogged down when they're introduced to a lot of new words. In topics like math, understanding concepts is more important than knowing their names. Vocabulary comes second.

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Re: What is Existence?

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Wed Feb 19, 2014 3:51 pm UTC

androidbleepboop wrote:GrammarBolshevik- Essentially, your argument here boils down to "I can't understand what you mean, nothing you are saying makes sense."

There's also the part where, to the extent that things make sense, they're obviously false or don't follow at all from the previous premises. Maybe the clearest example of this is the objection I raise in the final paragraph of my previous post: your conclusion starts talking about containment, even though you don't have any premises about containment.

androidbleepboop wrote:In my mind it is all quite straightforward, so I'm not sure how I can explain any of this to you. I could take each of your points in turn, and say for example, "Two things are inextricably logically bound if the logical state of one depends on the logical state of the other", but that is already obviously the case, and I can hardly imagine anyone sincerely having difficulty understanding that concept.

One way we could have difficulty with it is that you're using "logical" in a nonstandard way, one that isn't just about correct standards of inference and the like, but also things like the spatial and causal relations between physical systems.

Another way we could difficulty with it is that you never actually gave this definition of "logically bound" until now so how would we be able to understand it without even seeing it?

Apart from that, what SecondTalon said. "Two things are inextricably logically bound if the logical state of one depends on the logical state of the other" is actually pretty good in terms of the form of a good explanation. Given the unfamiliar term "logically bound," you explain it in terms of more basic concepts. Granted, the term "logical state" is somewhat unclear, for the reason I mentioned above, but it gives us an idea of what it means for two states to be bound together: some of their states depend on some of the states of the other. If you did more of this, I think your argument would be a lot more clear.
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Re: What is Existence?

Postby Sheikh al-Majaneen » Wed Feb 19, 2014 4:27 pm UTC

Magnanimous wrote:
androidbleepboop wrote:^Inarguably typed on a physically existent keyboard.

The Mighty Thesaurus is one of our forum's bots. It's hard to tell sometimes.


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Re: What is Existence?

Postby addams » Sun Apr 13, 2014 10:55 pm UTC

WibblyWobbly wrote:"Time is just a concept," says Einstein's kid, the dunce
"People's way of keeping everything from happening at once
Overtake the light and time is in your sight
And black holes bend the beams so nothing's where it seems
And finding out the truth could take you months"

That is so funny.
How did you remember all of that?
Did you copy it from a standard Internet Rant?

About the YouTube clip.
The internet is the best education some people are going to get.

Teenagers and people working though teenage issues often need to exercise their minds.
That clip might do that. I can't tell. ((sheepishly) i did not watch it all the way through.)

Some people both Atheists and Monotheists think being an Atheist is all Hedonistic Pleasure.
Good little Atheists are working at understanding their Faith. Faith in things seen and unseen.

They will follow any glimmer of light in the dark.
Logic? That makes sense. Follow That!
PsudoScience?? That makes sense. Follow That!

This way and that way they run, stumble and fall.
If each and every one has a core value or two,
most things will work out, just fine.

OK! OK!
No core values.
May we have critical thinking?

A mantra, maybe?
What do you know?
*******dum-dum*********
How do you know it?

Let the Children Play.
Who knows?

They may discover or describe Reality in a Fashionable and Interesting New Way.

Or; Using tools that have never been available to humans in the past,
The young will discover the age old Truths, again.

ho-hum. Like young people from before Time began.

Navel Gazing?
Is that what it is called?

Same thing as star gazing?
sort of?
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

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Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
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Re: What is Existence?

Postby FierceContinent » Mon Apr 14, 2014 8:48 pm UTC

Existence?

leesee- wildly speculating here
With the whole -something has to come from something-thing(causality) and the whole -something cannot come from nothing- thing(the origin of matter) together suggests that at some point Reason (the thing that makes things make sense) itself does not exist.
(There's the infinite loop theory, but that just gives us the question- Why is there an infinite loop?)

I suggest that nothingness that doesn't have reason- call it Chaos- (for want of a better word) exists and because it has no Reason to make it behave like normal nothing it brings universes and an infinite variety of other things into being.

...

If you have a better idea I'd like to hear it. :shock:
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Re: What is Existence?

Postby untitled » Thu Apr 17, 2014 11:48 pm UTC

What do I know about God and the purpose of life?
I know that this world exists.
That I am placed in it like my eye in its visual field.
That something about it is problematic, which we call its meaning.
This meaning does not lie in it but outside of it.
That life is the world.
That my will penetrates the world.
That my will is good or evil.
Therefore that good and evil are somehow connected with the meaning of the world.
The meaning of life, i.e. the meaning of the world, we can call God.
And connect with this the comparison of God to a father.
To pray is to think about the meaning of life.

(Ludwig Wittgenstein)

so yeah, everybody in this topic QUICK, GO AND TAKE A COURSE IN THEOLOGY!!


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