What is Existence?

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androidbleepboop
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Re: What is Existence?

Postby androidbleepboop » Fri Sep 19, 2014 6:01 pm UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:First of all, idealism is a metaphysical position, not an epistemological position.


Metaphysical positions are, by definition, simultaneously comprised of both ontological positions and epistemological positions (in that metaphysics is the branch of philosophy devoted to both ontology and epistemology). The proposition in question, "Truth in general can only have reality through being Known to be true," is an instance of epistemological idealism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epistemological_idealism

Note that just because I'm linking to a wiki article for convenience doesn't indicate my only experience with these ideas is from wikipedia- same goes for your comment "because your understanding of Kant is based on Wikipedia rather than on actually reading Kant"-- I have read quite a bit of the Critique of Pure Reason, and I'm not at all alone in my interpretation of his stance.

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:Kant in fact includes a section, the "Refutation of Idealism," in the B edition of the first Critique, and regards the whole of the Transcendental Aesthetic and Transcendental Analytic as a sustained refutation of Berkeley's "dogmatic idealism," which corresponds roughly to the view that you espouse here. Also, because your understanding of Kant is based on Wikipedia rather than on actually reading Kant, you mistakenly attribute to him the view that "the reality of external objects does not admit of strict proof," when in fact this is a view that he attributes to previous thinkers as an error (see Critique of Pure Reason, A edition p. 38).


Here the epistemological/ontological distinction is crucial, because Kant's refutation that you speak of regards the ontological side of the idealist coin: (from Stanford.edu, regarding) "Kant intends to refute what he calls problematic idealism, according to which the existence of objects outside us in space is 'doubtful and indemonstrable.'"

It's a stance regarding the ontological status of "things in themselves", unrelated to the epistemological viewpoint in question.

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:Second, regarding Berkeley, it is true that Berkeley believes that objects only exist insofar as they are within minds. However, it does not follow from this that truths are only true insofar as they are known. In particular, it is possible (as Berkeley himself agrees) for people to be mistaken about counterfactuals concerning mental objects. For example: a reed dipped in the water exists because the reed is a bundle of ideas, which a person viewing it has in mind. But a person who sees the optical illusion of the reed "bending" in the water is mistaken because, if the reed were removed from the water, it would become clear that it is straight. It would be true that the reed is straight, even though it is neither known that the reed is straight nor known that the reed would appear straight if removed from the water.


The question is not whether perceptions as gathered by human senses correspond accurately to the true nature of the things perceived. That a human perceives the reed to be bent is certainly true, and the truth of this is contained in the reality of that perception. The question is what does it take for the reed's true, unbent state to exist, independent of human or animal perception?

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TheGrammarBolshevik
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Re: What is Existence?

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Fri Sep 19, 2014 6:24 pm UTC

androidbleepboop wrote:Metaphysical positions are, by definition, simultaneously comprised of both ontological positions and epistemological positions (in that metaphysics is the branch of philosophy devoted to both ontology and epistemology). The proposition in question, "Truth in general can only have reality through being Known to be true," is an instance of epistemological idealism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epistemological_idealism

I don't care what taxonomy you use, but it's very common to distinguish metaphysics and epistemology as separate fields, and my post should be interpreted in that light. Regardless of terminology, the point is that when you say "Truth in general can only have reality through being Known to be true," or "The absolute basis of reality is a fundamental subjectivity," you are making claims that go beyond epistemology: you are talking about what the world is like, not (just) what our knowledge is like. So quoting a bunch of people talking about epistemology does not show that they agree with your claims.

androidbleepboop wrote:Here the epistemological/ontological distinction is crucial, because Kant's refutation that you speak of regards the ontological side of the idealist coin: (from Stanford.edu, regarding) "Kant intends to refute what he calls problematic idealism, according to which the existence of objects outside us in space is 'doubtful and indemonstrable.'"

...yes. That is an epistemological position, regarding what we can demonstrate and what we should doubt.

androidbleepboop wrote:The question is not whether perceptions as gathered by human senses correspond accurately to the true nature of the things perceived. That a human perceives the reed to be bent is certainly true, and the truth of this is contained in the reality of that perception. The question is what does it take for the reed's true, unbent state to exist, independent of human or animal perception?

No, the question is what it takes for the reed to be truly unbent independently of our knowledge. At the very least, what it takes is that things can be true even if they are not known.
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addams
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Re: What is Existence?

Postby addams » Sun Sep 21, 2014 11:43 pm UTC

androidbleepboop wrote:
TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:First of all, idealism is a metaphysical position, not an epistemological position.


Metaphysical positions are, by definition, simultaneously comprised of both ontological positions and epistemological positions (in that metaphysics is the branch of philosophy devoted to both ontology and epistemology). The proposition in question, "Truth in general can only have reality through being Known to be true," is an instance of epistemological idealism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epistemological_idealism

Note that just because I'm linking to a wiki article for convenience doesn't indicate my only experience with these ideas is from wikipedia- same goes for your comment "because your understanding of Kant is based on Wikipedia rather than on actually reading Kant"-- I have read quite a bit of the Critique of Pure Reason, and I'm not at all alone in my interpretation of his stance.

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:Kant in fact includes a section, the "Refutation of Idealism," in the B edition of the first Critique, and regards the whole of the Transcendental Aesthetic and Transcendental Analytic as a sustained refutation of Berkeley's "dogmatic idealism," which corresponds roughly to the view that you espouse here. Also, because your understanding of Kant is based on Wikipedia rather than on actually reading Kant, you mistakenly attribute to him the view that "the reality of external objects does not admit of strict proof," when in fact this is a view that he attributes to previous thinkers as an error (see Critique of Pure Reason, A edition p. 38).


Here the epistemological/ontological distinction is crucial, because Kant's refutation that you speak of regards the ontological side of the idealist coin: (from Stanford.edu, regarding) "Kant intends to refute what he calls problematic idealism, according to which the existence of objects outside us in space is 'doubtful and indemonstrable.'"

It's a stance regarding the ontological status of "things in themselves", unrelated to the epistemological viewpoint in question.

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:Second, regarding Berkeley, it is true that Berkeley believes that objects only exist insofar as they are within minds. However, it does not follow from this that truths are only true insofar as they are known. In particular, it is possible (as Berkeley himself agrees) for people to be mistaken about counterfactuals concerning mental objects. For example: a reed dipped in the water exists because the reed is a bundle of ideas, which a person viewing it has in mind. But a person who sees the optical illusion of the reed "bending" in the water is mistaken because, if the reed were removed from the water, it would become clear that it is straight. It would be true that the reed is straight, even though it is neither known that the reed is straight nor known that the reed would appear straight if removed from the water.


The question is not whether perceptions as gathered by human senses correspond accurately to the true nature of the things perceived. That a human perceives the reed to be bent is certainly true, and the truth of this is contained in the reality of that perception. The question is what does it take for the reed's true, unbent state to exist, independent of human or animal perception?

ooooh. That was good.
The question is not whether perceptions as gathered by human senses correspond accurately to the true nature of the things perceived. That a human perceives the reed to be bent is certainly true, and the truth of this is contained in the reality of that perception. The question is what does it take for the reed's true, unbent state to exist, independent of human or animal perception?

You are stumbling into Zen. (right?)
I don't know how to answer the question.

...I.. just...like the question.
Keep your sense of humor handy.

Neither bent nor unbent imaginary reeds are very good for real people to eat.
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Some of us see The Gutter.
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Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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setzer777
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Re: What is Existence?

Postby setzer777 » Tue Sep 23, 2014 3:14 pm UTC

What's your argument in favor of experience being a prerequisite for existence? It's the only way we gather knowledge about anything, but why can't there be things no mind has knowledge about?

Your description of perception is oddly dualistic. Why assume that experience can exist absent the physical mechanism of a brain?
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