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Harrison,

 

Have you read Harry Binswanger's Biological Basis of Teleological Concepts?

 

Many of the things he talks about are relevant to what's on your mind.

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What specifically is the question in this thread in one simple sentence? You are trying to categorize certain actions how? I just have a feeling that this might be one of those things where people are trying to make a simple question and answer way too difficult.

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Let me attempt to get underneath this by asking a simple question.

1). Is there more than one thing in the universe?

I'll pick this up and run with it.

 

I'd say that yes, there are, objectively, many different things in this Universe.  There are, in fact, as many different things in this Universe as their are particles - each particle is unique in that it can be said that "this" particle is not "that" particle - even if they are of the same type (example, photon-A is not photon-B ) .

But the perceptual forms, including boundaries, that they assume in Man's mind are unique to Man's specific cognitive nature - but this does not make them un-objective.  A different type of consciousness/mind will perceive "things" differently, including their boundaries, but they too, will be objective.

Edited by New Buddha

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Let me attempt to get underneath this by asking a simple question.

1). Is there more than one thing in the universe?

Ditto the precise thing Buddha said.

 

Have you read Harry Binswanger's Biological Basis of Teleological Concepts?

Unfortunately not.

My circumstances don't permit me to buy many books simultaneously; it's on my to-do list.  I'm presently working on Metaphors We Live By.  I digress.

 

What specifically is the question in this thread in one simple sentence? You are trying to categorize certain actions how? I just have a feeling that this might be one of those things where people are trying to make a simple question and answer way too difficult.

I am attempting to define a certain type of action (subsuming internal combustion, metabolism and consciousness) by identifying its genus and differentia, among all other types of action.

Provisionally "looping cascades"; read my final post on page 1 for further detail.

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I'll pick this up and run with it.

 

I'd say that yes, there are, objectively, many different things in this Universe.  There are, in fact, as many different things in this Universe as their are particles - each particle is unique in that it can be said that "this" particle is not "that" particle - even if they are of the same type (example, photon-A is not photon-B ) .

But the perceptual forms, including boundaries, that they assume in Man's mind are unique to Man's specific cognitive nature - but this does not make them un-objective.  A different type of consciousness/mind will perceive "things" differently, including their boundaries, but they too, will be objective.

I've been waiting to respond to other posts till I get access to my research CD. Ill answer this now.

 

You and Louie are making exactly the same error. There is nothing epistemological about what makes entities particular things . There is a reason why you keep putting the words that affirm this in scare quotes. Popper did the same thing because he had no valid claim to "Objective Knowledge". Given his Kantian premises on perception, he could never have a non contradictory claim to know anything. The same is true of this notion of boundaries, that which is fundamental to entities/particulars, as epistemological.

 

There is one simple test for this rationalistic confusion. Ms. Rand made a very clear statement about how to tell what makes something epistemological:

....to say it is epistemological rather than metaphysical is to say it exists only in relation to your grasp of it, or it requires your grasp of it in order to acquire existence...

 

 

For there to be more than one thing , things have to be bounded / particular. If you don't believe that multiplicity "requires your grasp of it in order to acquire existence" then you must mean something completely different than me by boundary ...

 

Now, there is an equivocation going on here between the material causation-process of our sensory apparatus and that of conceptual processing. There is NOTHING epistemological about the form of perception. Entities are perceptual concretes. They are presented in perception directly. The metaphysical and man made distinction, is an ontological distinction. The primacy of existence over consciousness is an ontological distinction.  "Primacy" here, in this context, is a term that has no meaning otherwise.

 

 

The first concepts man forms are concepts of entities—since entities are the only primary existents...... 

 

If you speak in the primary sense, “entity” has to be defined ostensively—that is to say, by pointing....

 

An entity means a self-sufficient form of existence—as against a quality, an action, a relationship, etc., which are simply aspects of an entity that we separate out by specialized focus. An entity is a thing.......

 

An entity, in the primary sense, is a solid thing with a definite boundary.......

 

An entity is perceptual in scale, in size. In other words it is a “this” which you can point to and grasp by human perception. In an extended sense you can call molecules—or the universe as a whole—“entities,” because they are self-sufficient things. But in the primary sense when we say that entities are what is given in sense perception, we mean solid things which we can directly perceive.

 

Can one point to a cognitive isolation or measurement? One can only point to primary existents, "there is nothing else to perceive". Why would the differentiation between cognitive isolation of aspects be contrasted from entities as "self sufficient, that is, independent, definitely bounded, primary particulars given in perception, be made otherwise?   

 

First-level concepts are all metaphysical primaries.

 

This has to be wrestled with when trying to make sense of what it means for hierarchy to be epistemological.

 

I repeat, there is NO sense in which entities-bounded, in the primary sense, is epistemological. They are metaphysical primaries!

 

Louie's statement:

 

 

Still, entities are epistemological to the extent that a mental process is used to allow you to see anything as an entity in the first place.

 

Is an incredible error that makes ALL cognition conceptual. This is the Kantian equivocation of the form of perception with conceptual-abstraction. This makes "things in themselves" unknowable and the perception-conception distinction meaningless.

Edited by Plasmatic

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First are we sure the characteristics of these different concepts aren't completely incommensurable? For what it's worth I think consciousness only emerges from processes of the brain quantum mechanically.

Edited by EC

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from ec #35

 For what it's worth I think consciousness only emerges from processes of the brain quantum mechanically.

 

 

Would proof of this be philosophic or scientific? It seems if the answer is a scientific explanantion then the philo behind 'emergence' and its referents would need to be settled, no?

 

And if such a proposition would prove to be correct, or valid, would that change anything about the nature of consciousness?

Edited by tadmjones

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You and Louie are making exactly the same error. There is nothing epistemological about what makes entities particular things . There is a reason why you keep putting the words that affirm this in scare quotes. Popper did the same thing because he had no valid claim to "Objective Knowledge". Given his Kantian premises on perception, he could never have a non contradictory claim to know anything. The same is true of this notion of boundaries, that which is fundamental to entities/particulars, as epistemological.

The "error" is just difficulty finding the words I want. Note that I didn't say "entities are epistemological", I specifically described how they are metaphysical. I shouldn't have implied that cognition is what defines boundaries in all cases, I only mean that boundaries selected are not metaphysically defined - your perceptual organs do that for any first-level entities, which is not a conceptual process because it is automatic.

 

By metaphysical, I only mean aspects of reality that exist even if you never existed. All entities exist at once, it's just that it is like a giant blob and it "melds" together until you make fine distinctions - reality is continuous. I'm using metaphor because I'm lacking the words to communicate my idea.

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@ tadmjones: I can't prove that statement but everything I've encountered strongly points my intuition in that direction. But it would be proven or not scientifically.  Consciousness would work as a specific instance of a quantum computer. But a unique version of it that operates via it's own volition. First a theory of quantum gravity would have to be accepted that contains at least elements of the "Many Worlds" interpretation (which most Objectivists find questionable but I don't) and probably involves M-theory and *then* that theory advanced enough that it can be applied to everything including theories of the brain and mind.

 

Finally, philosophically the definition of consciousness would be tweaked to be the entity that chooses between all the possible possiblilities that are available to it given it's nature, or something very similar. 

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ec#38

Finally, philosophically the definition of consciousness would be tweaked to be the entity that chooses between all the possible possiblilities that are available to it given it's nature, or something very similar.

 

 

So if any or all those theories prove true, consciousness would not be (become something other than?) an attribute of an entity?  

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First are we sure the characteristics of these different concepts aren't completely incommensurable?

Yes, although thank you for asking; I think I may need to clarify.

 

A piston is an entity.

The firing of a single piston, in an engine, is an action which consistently accomplishes something specific; it converts fuel into kinetic energy (among other things).  But not only does each explosion of each piston accomplish that- as a whole, all of the pistons are arranged such that some of the force produced by one will prime the next to fire, which primes the next, which primes the next.

Hence the action of any given piston is caused by its relation to the entire engine.

Now, in biochemistry, the analogues are things called "metabolic pathways" which are abstract and idealized representations of all of the chemical reactions necessary for any given organism.  Any given chemical reaction is caused by the interactions between various molecules and catalysts- which are present at any given location by virtue of its relation to the whole.

And in cognition, the analogous action is a train of thought.

 

Now whether or not cognition is caused by quantum phenomena is beside the point; either way it would still be the sort of action which it is and hence this question would remain valid.

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ec#38

 

 

So if any or all those theories prove true, consciousness would not be (become something other than?) an attribute of an entity?  

 

My first answer was just "no" but I realized that could be ambiguous. It would still be an attribute of an entity in other words.

Edited by EC

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At Harrison post # 40. Okay figured it was all similar to that just wanted it defined so I was sure. The only point in stating consciousness might ultimately be a quantum phenomena is that I believe the mechanisms that cause these different actions are all different. But now I understand fully that it's the action that you want to define that are similar between all three. That helps a lot. Give me some time to think on this and I'll have an answer.

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