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The DIM Hypothesis - by Leonard Peikoff

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What's worse is that Rand parallels Kant in the mathematization of philosophy, which necessarily removes the reality of forms that cannot be quantified. And yet reality is not merely objects that it contains. Reality is also the form, the context. I find that most people fail to grasp this, namely the fact that reality is more complex than reason itself. Reality is the potential, not necessarily the mentally actual.

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2 hours ago, Ilya Startsev said:

... the mathematization of philosophy, which necessarily removes the reality of forms that cannot be quantified.

Could you expand on this little? My understanding is that now that we moderns have atomic physics and even quantum mechanics to help understand the shapes of atoms and molecules that there is no real distinction to be made between form and matter unless you are describing a macroscopic object such as a sculpture of a something made of clay or plastic that is molded.   And what would be an example of a form that cannot be quantified?

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Well, the primary unquantifiable form is the form of the immediate reality in which something exists. For example, our form or reality is our environment, where you exist at the moment or can exist. It can be a room, including what you see out of the window or a car with the surroundings as far as you can see on the horizontal plane. If one ignores this form, then one necessarily doesn't follow a distinction between objects and their individual forms. A form of an object is not just its shape, outline, or surface, but it's the kind of energy that holds all of its matter together. To me forms of objects are represented by electromagnetic fields, but in philosophy this is merely a heuristic in order to understand where essences come from. In quantum physics, since we rejected the idea of a medium in which light travels (i.e. ether), we started thinking of particles such as photons as independent of context, and this thinking precipitated in the quantum/cosmic split. However, we all know that humans don't exist in a quantum reality nor in the cosmic one (idealists think otherwise, of course). Instead only quantum particles exist in the quantum reality. Matter and Energy equivalence makes physicists think that matter is its own context and thus its own form, but this is not the case. Quantum electrodynamics and interpretations of quantum theory such as the De Broglie–Bohm provide evidence and theorization of the energetic context of quantum particles, namely the vacuum energy that is not reducible to kinetic or potential energies but rather structures them (i.e. forms them). Vacuum energy is also called potential photons, as we know though the Casimir effect, which describes how photons actualize from this potential field. So this is what I mean that reality is the potential and every physical object comes from (or is actualized in our minds) this potency. This, of course, goes against the mainstream picture propagated by philosophers like Kant and physicists like Bohr that everything starts from matter and ends up in it too.

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4 hours ago, Ilya Startsev said:

the kind of energy that holds all of its matter together

I must qualify this statement: I connect it to my heuristic of electromagnetic fields. The issue here is that it is counterintuitive and hard to understand that, for example, H2O has less energy than the sum of energies of the individual atoms, and hence a question arises concerning the source of this "new" energy that supposedly "holds" these atoms together. Intuitively we know that something is gained by the atoms of hydrogen and oxygen when they form the molecule of water. What's really happening is that their atomic energy decreases is lower because of the stability of the molecular bond in which they've gotten themselves involved. Hence even though they lose use less energy, they actually gain stability from the bond. The strength of the bond is what keeps them together, not "energy" per se. However, it is easier to associate energy with stability than otherwise, so what these atoms gain is something they didn't have before, that is  -- the molecular form.

Edited by Ilya Startsev

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As another side note: What has been historically known as kinetic and potential energy (since Leibniz, iirc) is the same as matter and not the only energy known today. Hence I prefer to associate kinetic and potential energies with matter (as is done by physicists today), but associate the real energy (that isn't matter) with vacuum, binding, and dark energies. This way I think is more logical and better comprehended, since real energy isn't what we use for fuel (that's material particles like electrons) but the very form of nature, that which moves nature like its inner fire and keeps it together as well. Also this distinction between matter (kinetic and potential energy) and energy (vacuum, binding, and dark) supports the crucial distinction of man-made and natural that seems to have been erased in our highly technical and materialistic society.

I guess another way to distinguish the energies is by calling them material (kinetic and potential) and real (vacuum, binding, dark). Therefore my use of the term "potential" is more fundamental than what's called "potential" energy that should be called material one.

Edited by Ilya Startsev
grammar

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Perhaps this is an even better demarcation of the term energy:

  1. Material energy
    1. Kinetic energy
    2. Potential energy
  2. Real energy
    1. Vacuum energy
    2. Binding energy
  3. Ideal energy
    1. Dark matter
    2. Dark energy

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On 7/17/2017 at 6:57 PM, Boydstun said:

A. D. Smith’s The Problem of Perception [2002]

I've just started reading this excellent, excellent book, so I am already very impressed, thank you very much for the recommendation! The only issue I have so far is with his first passage on Kant:

Quote

Kant's argument about the ideality of space, and of the entire empirical realm that it somehow "contains," has little directly to do with perception ... (p. 5)

There are two issues actually. First, from the quote, he seems to think that Kant somehow defended Newton's conception of objective space in KrV, which is false, as you've shown in your article.

The second issue is that there is not little but no perception in Kant's latest edition of KrV, as I've shown previously.

Edited by Ilya Startsev

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There are too many good points in that book, so I cannot share all of them, but here are two salient ones that at least relate, through criticism, to naive realism, which is how Oism is usually portrayed by its opponents:

Quote

[A] peripheral change in a sensory system [such as when optic channels are rewired] ... changes the character of the sensing. ... llusory perceptions are a species of sensory perception. (p. 44-5)

The idea here that the author is trying to communicate is that illusory sensation is a replacement of real sensation characterized by its conflict with perception itself, although it is contained in it because it affects perception, even though our brains modify the input as well. In other words, the difference is that integration of all sense data is not achieved when perception is "infected" (author's word) by illusion. Rather, what you get is the same as in popular illusions: there is a mix of sense data that correspond to "normal" (another author's word) perception and ones that do not, regardless of whether they are modified by our subjects or not.

Edited by Ilya Startsev

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An explanation of the cause of an illusion, from my point of view, is that a contrast causes sense data integrated into perception to disintegrate or break apart, dividing them into ones that remain unaffected because of their closeness to some features of perception and those that have changed through the contrast.

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A. D. Smith's biggest failure that I've noticed so far is that he thinks of Maurice Merleau-Ponty as an idealist based on this quote:

Quote

As Berkeley says, even a desert that has never been visited has at least one spectator, and that is we ourselves when we think of it . . . The thing can never be separated from someone who may perceive it, it can never be effectively in itself. (qtd. on pp. 273-4)

And then states that Thomas Reid is a realist and quotes him thus:

Quote

For anything we know, we might perhaps have been so made as to perceive external objects, without any . . . of those sensations which invariably accompany perception in our present frame. (qtd. on p. 71)

 

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Since the above quotes may be difficult to understand, I will interpret them in order to explain why I consider this a failure on Smith's part. In the quote Merleau-Ponty meant that a thing that caused no sensations cannot exist, and Reid meant that a thing that caused no sensations can exist. To be fair Merleua-Ponty should be considered a realist and Reid an idealist, the opposite of Smith's evaluations of them.

On a related note, Smith believes that insects (and presumably other animals, except humans) don't feel sensations. This is absurd.

Edited by Ilya Startsev

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The second and even bigger failure of Smith is his confusion of Anstoss, or "sheer force, or renitency" (p. 165), which he takes from Fichte's Not-I, with mere air (friction, resistance, pressure). Or really his confusion that he doesn't view it as such and yet takes it as the ultimate solution.

Edited by Ilya Startsev

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Smith's third failure is his misunderstanding of hallucination. He writes:

Quote

[T]he proximate causes of a hallucination suffice for the generation of a sensory state, a state whose sensuous character is internal to that state ... (p. 208, his italics)

I've taken hallucinogenic mushrooms and can tell from experience that a hallucination necessarily involves actual sense-data in order to occur, so the external sense-data are "integrated" into a "percept" of an object that doesn't exist.

The example he mentions is impossible for a genuine hallucination:

Quote

If the [pink] rat seems to jump through the air, across an open window, what can we say it is that you are misperceiving? (p. 193)

It seems that the author has watched too many movies about pseudo-hallucinations and believed them too well.

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Based on my personal experience of hallucination, I would say that the cause of hallucination is misintegration of sense data through association with a percept of an object that doesn’t exist anywhere other than in the head of the hallucinator.

Edited by Ilya Startsev

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5 hours ago, Ilya Startsev said:

Based on my personal experience of hallucination, I would say that the cause of hallucination is misintegration of sense data through association with a percept of an object that doesn’t exist anywhere other than in the head of the hallucinator.

If you consider Dr. Binswanger's explanation he provided in either Perception, or the Metaphysics of Consciousness, paraphrased here:

a hallucination is the conscious experience of the entity (drug in this case), on lsd, a man may experience ants crawling on his skin, but a looker on would see no ants, the man on lsd is experiencing the effects of the lsd on his nervous system, he is experiencing the lsd.

To put it slightly differently, the individual is still conscious of reality, albeit the form of awareness is influenced by the hallucinogen. This would still be the case of someone that has an illness that symptom of hallucinating, although the cause of the altered form would not be an ingested hallucinogen.

Edited by dream_weaver

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10 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

To put it slightly differently, the individual is still conscious of reality, albeit the form of awareness is influenced by the hallucinogen. This would still be the case of someone that has an illness . . .

I've noticed that hallucinations are not limited to their creation by brain states under hallucinogenic drugs or in schizophrenia but in us normal human beings as well. For example, I was watching a walk-through of a video game called >observer_ and I noticed a man standing on the balcony there. Then I rewound the video and noticed him again and yet realized that it was not a man, as he wasn't moving, and it was probably just light effects (which are everywhere in the game).

There are two ideas here. First, Smith's (visual) kinestetic basic perceptual state, which allows us to experience perception in the first place by virtue of movement of objects in respect to us. Since this failed, I realized that the man wasn't real in the game. The second idea is that we need appropriate conditions, as well as for the place where you experience the effect of drugs (usually at night or in a specially lighted place), and in this game psychological and hallucinogenic factors are significant. I made myself believe there was a man but partially I was also convinced by the presence of a particular cluster of sense data there which I could associate with the figure of a man.

Of course it would be easier to experience a hallucination under drugs, but my point is that you don't have to, and thus there is no necessary influence by a hallucinogen or a mental illness for such an experience to occur. Although hallucinations are much more rare than illusions in the normal state, they are certainly possible and occur with everyone.

Concerning the discussion by Binswanger in Perception about a pencil being viewed as bent in the water: whenever we say or think that there is something wrong with the pencil and that it doesn't look like a normal pencil, it's a case of misjudgment rather than merely an illusion or a hallucination. I differentiate all three and think that all three are significant when it comes to problems of acquiring knowledge. Another, similar example is an ancient one from India: are we seeing a snake or a rope in front of us? If we look closer we notice that it's a rope and not a snake. So seeing the snake in place of the rope was an instance of a misjudgment, which is similar to hallucination in that it is also a misintegration of sense data, but it's also different from a hallucination in that a hallucinated object doesn't actually exist there, whereas for a misjudgment a rope or a pencil does, in place of what you saw. So a hallucination is a more significant misintegration of sense data because it actually "creates" rather than simply erroneously transforms an object, but such a creation still has conditions, even though these conditions are not limited to the presence of an object. Misjudgment requires an object, whereas a hallucination requires specifically colored or sensed sense data.

Another thing I thought about when I analyzed hallucination is whether it could be compared to lucid dreams. In movies like Waking Life (2001) it seems like the character experiences hallucinations, but he doesn't, if we believe the scenario. We know from cases of lucid dreams (which I never experienced myself), such as in the book I Am You: The Metaphysical Foundations for Global Ethics by Daniel Kolak (an expert on lucid dreams, among other things), that lucid dreaming is a conscious state in which we think we are experiencing something that seems very real but in fact, on closer observation, isn't so. The main difference between hallucinations and lucid dream states, then, is that in hallucination we are experiencing something real (the sense data are coming from outside of our brain), whereas in lucid dreams all experience is internal and there are no sense data that are genuinely real, only thought so. Perhaps a lucid dream state is a state when misjudgment is applied to internally existing objects, so it's more complex than a mere hallucination. But, honestly, I wouldn't know unless I experience such a state firsthand.

Edited by Ilya Startsev
effect of drugs, not affect

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In terms of increasing complexity that is given to the problem of perception, I would rate these in the following way:

  1. Illusion (partial misperception)
  2. Misjudgment (misperception of a real object)
  3. Hallucination (misperception of an unreal object)
  4. Lucid dream (misjudgment of an unreal object)

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Concerning Kant's epistemology, I've found this diagram on his page of German Wikipedia. Basically his theory goes through several confused and muddled stages, as far as I can understand it: first, our sense organs (Sinne) are affected, then we feel sensations (Empfindungen), then with help of imagination (Vostellungen) through time and space we experience phenomena (Erscheinungen), then with help of categories and rules of "productive imagination" (Produktive Einbildunsgkraft) we form concepts (Begriffe), and finally with help of "schemes" of the same "productive imagination" and our reason we form judgments (Urteile). Not only is imagination hereby confused with sensations, perceptions, and concepts (i.e., Vostellungen and Einbildunsgkraft), but the entire diagram doesn't follow the passage of pure reason to practical reason through the maxims and categorical imperative, the connection which would unite the thing-in-itself (Dinge an sich) with the postulates (Regulative Ideen).

Please correct me if I am wrong, but this seems to be Kant in a nutshell. If Peikoff was wrong about the disintegration of epistemology and philosophy in general by Kant, then I am a tram(p) who knows nothing. To those of you who think that Kant was anti-reason, think again. He was rather anti-philosophy. His reason is way beyond what Objectivists are generally accustomed to.

Erkenntnis.png

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On 10/9/2017 at 2:14 PM, Ilya Startsev said:

He [Kant] was rather anti-philosophy.

Let me rephrase that. Kant used scientific reason to oppose philosophy. Philosophy is not a science. Kant projected science on philosophy (and religion) and hence reduced philosophy to a scientific worldview, reflected in the third positivism of Frege, Russell, Carnap, and Wittgenstein, all of whom cherished Kant. Kant was a scientist and only thought of mathematics in the scientific sense as applied to matter.

In contrast to Kant, Plato was a philosopher and not a scientist. He projected philosophy on science (and mythology). Mathematicians and science-minded philosophers like Cantor, Whitehead, Quine, and Gödel are in this group along with Plato. Plato was a philosopher and only thought of mathematics in the philosophical sense as independent from matter.

Here is a way to connect them:

  1. Frege, Russell, Carnap, Wittgenstein
  2. Cantor, Whitehead, Quine, Gödel

Rand, on the other hand, was a philosopher who wanted to connect philosophy with science without projecting one on the other. We have yet to see a science based on Rand's foundational philosophy. My guess is that this kind of science has yet to be born out of philosophy and be separated from it to become a full-fledged science in its own right.

Edited by Ilya Startsev

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For my Master's thesis I may choose to work on the issue of integrating post-Kantian philosophy with modern, post-Einsteinian science. It is peculiar, however, to find that not only Kantian a priori are contradicted by empirically valid non-euclidean geometry at the foundation of the theory of relativity but that also Ayn Rand is similarly incompatible with the latter theory. Perhaps there could be something with the concept of the "relativized a priori" coined by Reichenbach and exhibited in Padovani's "Relativizing the relativized a priori: Reichenbach’s axioms of coordination divided".

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