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9 hours ago, Eiuol said:

I don't understand why you don't understand that the idea of Logos doesn't imply theism. You just gave an explanation of how your premises lead to theism. To say reality has a metaphysical aspect that is essentially mental in nature is to claim that God is real. Because that's what people mean by God for the most part. This would be a logical implication. It seems to me you weaken your arguments and positions by not making the theistic part of your beliefs explicit.

Did you see my previous explanation of why I don't go there? I don't see how it follows. You're saying it's a logical implication, but I have some specific objections to that:

On 1/21/2019 at 10:08 PM, intrinsicist said:

So the Logos is essentially like a system of concepts, or a body of knowledge. But God is a mind, and a mind is more than just a body of knowledge.

So for any kind of belief in God, whether it's deism or theism, I expect to find all the normal characteristics of a mind, like thinking, remembering, imagining, planning, and so on. And with such a person, you would expect the capacity to communicate with language. They would have emotions and goals, and if they have any relationship with normal people like me with free will, they would be trying to persuade or perhaps bargain, to get us to do the right thing in order to serve their ends.

But I don't see any explanation for any of these attributes, let alone an explanation that's just implied from the basic idea of the Logos.

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9 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

You have not established any reason to think that universals or concepts exist outside the mind

that's #1 in my list, which is primarily what this thread is about, the metaphysical reality of universals as opposed to being purely human epistemological constructs.

I don't equate the metaphysical with exclusively the mental or non-mental; rather the root metaphysical substance has both mental and non-mental aspects. So universals exist independently of your own concept-formation process as a person, but they can also exist within your mind (insofar as your mind is capable of grasping a concept, the mental aspect of a universal).

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14 hours ago, intrinsicist said:

I don't equate the metaphysical with exclusively the mental or non-mental; rather the root metaphysical substance has both mental and non-mental aspects. So universals exist independently of your own concept-formation process as a person, but they can also exist within your mind (insofar as your mind is capable of grasping a concept, the mental aspect of a universal).

It sounds like this root substance is very much like yourself, having both a physical and mental aspect. The universe must be absolutely jam-packed with these tiny people. I'll call this the Micropeople Theory. And these micropeople all form a grand social system called Logos, which is everywhere.

I say "micropeople" because to have a mental aspect there first needs to be a mind capable of producing that mental aspect--and not just any old aspect, but a concept! So I think it's fair to say that this root substance should be like a human being, which is the greatest concept-making thing known to science.

Perhaps you have a definition for "mental" that does not logically depend on the mind or brain of a living animal. If so, please provide it. Then we might get around this confusion.

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19 hours ago, intrinsicist said:

Did you see my previous explanation of why I don't go there? I don't see how it follows. You're saying it's a logical implication, but I have some specific objections to that:

I read it, but it wasn't quite good enough.

Here are some of your statements that caught my attention the most

"So the Logos is essentially like a system of concepts, or a body of knowledge. But God is a mind, and a mind is more than just a body of knowledge.

"3. these two metaphysical necessities - these universals/forms/essences and the logic that they have to them, we can identify as having the same nature and function both in reality and in our mind. therefore we say that reality has a metaphysical aspect that is essentially mental in nature.

"I don't equate the metaphysical with exclusively the mental or non-mental; rather the root metaphysical substance has both mental and non-mental aspects. So universals exist independently of your own concept-formation process as a person, but they can also exist within your mind (insofar as your mind is capable of grasping a concept, the mental aspect of a universal)."

Logos is a system of concepts. God is not a system of concepts. Okay, they aren't identical. I agree. We can leave aside for now whether Logos must imply God (I'm leaning towards it not implying God now). But if there is such a thing as Logos, and you are universalist, and reality has a metaphysical aspect that is mental, and universals exist independently of your mind... I think this implies that Logos is an organization of universals by virtue of being a system of concepts. There would also be mental aspects of these things that are independent of your mind. In the end, this means that Logos is really just a mapping of God's mental aspects. 

The only other thing I can imagine is that you mean there can be mental aspects that exist independently of minds. So, if they are independent of minds, they must also be independent of God's mind. Thus, the organization of concepts established by Logos doesn't depend on God existing. But that makes even less sense to me. After all, don't we call something mental because it is about or pertains to some mind?

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On 1/22/2019 at 10:54 PM, intrinsicist said:

I believe (like Aristotle) in an eternal universe with an eternal Logos

Yes, the universe as a whole is eternal but the universe literally does not contain floating abstractions. People are going to keep arguing with you because that's what they do, but eternal products of minds existing without minds do not exist. This whole discussion is actually stupid because you are positing the existence of something without definition, location, or identity. My guess is that you are subtly writing off what I'm saying as simplistic when really you can't obstensively point to something that you are claiming is metaphysical, i.e., something that exists in reality. 

What do you mean by a metaphysical substance btw? 

Edited by EC

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On 1/27/2019 at 1:40 PM, MisterSwig said:

I say "micropeople" because to have a mental aspect there first needs to be a mind capable of producing that mental aspect--and not just any old aspect, but a concept! So I think it's fair to say that this root substance should be like a human being, which is the greatest concept-making thing known to science.

Perhaps you have a definition for "mental" that does not logically depend on the mind or brain of a living animal. If so, please provide it. Then we might get around this confusion.

No, for something to have a mental aspect it merely needs to have Form (or "essence", whatever you want to call it), it doesn't need to have any mental capacity for sensation, perception, or concept-formation. You can think about this in the sense of Aristotle's hylomorphic compounds; everything that exists is composed of both Form and matter (the Form being the mental aspect, the matter being the physical aspect).

This doesn't mean everything has a mind, just that an aspect of its nature is mental.

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23 hours ago, Eiuol said:

After all, don't we call something mental because it is about or pertains to some mind?

I don't see that that's necessary. There is an aspect of everything which exists that is Form (or essence), and this aspect is inherently mental. A mind is also something that is mental, and it has the special capacity to grasp the mental aspect of things (in the form of concepts especially, and perhaps in other respects as well). A mind implies the existence of the mental, but I don't see that the mental necessarily implies the existence of any mind in particular.

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1 hour ago, intrinsicist said:

No, for something to have a mental aspect it merely needs to have Form

Is this some kind of universal hylomorphism minus the part where God creates everything? Are you relying also on Neoplatonist Solomon Ibn Gabirol? Because a quick Google search shows that he applied Aristotelian hylomorphism to the intellect back in the medieval times. I think you really do need to posit the existence of God in order to make this work, as Ibn Gabirol did.

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On 1/28/2019 at 6:13 PM, intrinsicist said:

A mind implies the existence of the mental, but I don't see that the mental necessarily implies the existence of any mind in particular.

I don't know what to say besides this is incoherent. It's like saying physical doesn't imply the existence of a body (body in the sense of the meaning in physics). If you mean something nonphysical, fine, just call it a Form. Don't call it mental, because you aren't even trying to describe a mental substance. If you use different words, people would have an easier time understanding what you're getting at I think.

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18 hours ago, Eiuol said:

I don't know what to say besides this is incoherent. It's like saying physical doesn't imply the existence of a body (body in the sense of the meaning in physics).

I don't think that analogy quite works. The basic element of the physical is a body, but the basic element of the mental is not a mind. For example, you can refer to specific mental entities like a concept, a percept, a memory, a thought, or what have you, and these elements are not in themselves a mind. But no matter how elemental you look at the physical, whether it's an object or an atom, you are still dealing with a "body".

18 hours ago, Eiuol said:

If you mean something nonphysical, fine, just call it a Form. Don't call it mental, because you aren't even trying to describe a mental substance. If you use different words, people would have an easier time understanding what you're getting at I think.

I'm not describing a mental substance, no. The basic substance has both a physical and a mental aspect. You could instead say it has both a material and formal aspect, that the mind deals with "forms" and the "formal aspect", but "formal" and "mental" are equivalent here, so it's all saying the same thing. 

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6 hours ago, intrinsicist said:

I don't think that analogy quite works. The basic element of the physical is a body, but the basic element of the mental is not a mind. For example, you can refer to specific mental entities like a concept, a percept, a memory, a thought, or what have you, and these elements are not in themselves a mind. But no matter how elemental you look at the physical, whether it's an object or an atom, you are still dealing with a "body".

I'm not using it as an analogy. I'm saying the form of the argument or claim resembles other claims about characteristics of things. I know that percepts are not themselves minds; they don't exist without minds. Or if they can exist without minds, then percepts aren't mental.

But this dispute is far more elementary than that... When people say mental, they mean of or pertaining to the mind. That's just the English language. It's not some nuanced meaning. So if you tell someone you think universes are mental, but then say that they are not of the mind or pertaining to the mind, you won't make any sense.

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@Eiuol the question isn't whether universals are of the mind, but whether they necessarily imply the existence of a mind. The existence of the physical implies the existence of a body, because "a body" is the most elemental kind of physical thing. But "a mind" is not the most elemental kind of mental thing, hence the existence of the mental does not necessarily imply the existence of a mind. Hence the analogy fails.

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1 hour ago, intrinsicist said:

But "a mind" is not the most elemental kind of mental thing

Then stop saying mental. Mental means of or pertaining to the mind. If they are of the mind, then they are of a mind. If some mental things are not part of a mind, then you are saying some mental things are of something mindless. If they are of something mindless, they are not of or pertaining to a mind.

You're just trying to defend a very bad use of English. This is not even a philosophical argument. 

I wasn't making an analogy before.

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On 1/28/2019 at 7:11 PM, intrinsicist said:
On 1/28/2019 at 4:48 PM, MisterSwig said:

I think you really do need to posit the existence of God in order to make this work

Why?

A miracle-working God could explain how your mental aspect exists independently of a mind, which is something reason and science cannot do. Everything we know about mental things proves that they depend on a living organism with a brain. Even artificial mental things, like AI, depend on some sort of artificial brain in robots or computers.

You know, Plato had to invent a whole other world in order to make sense of his magical Forms theory. Perhaps you could do that, if you really don't want God in your life.

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16 hours ago, intrinsicist said:

The existence of the physical implies the existence of a body, because "a body" is the most elemental kind of physical thing. But "a mind" is not the most elemental kind of mental thing, hence the existence of the mental does not necessarily imply the existence of a mind. Hence the analogy fails.

You are missing the whole point of differentiating the physical from the mental. The mental cannot be broken into smaller elements. It is not physical! We have states of mind. Not elements. Over time we experience different states. Right now I'm focusing on writing this reply. A few minutes ago I was recalling a camping trip. Before that I was asleep and dreaming about Katie Sackoff. Later today I need to think of a gift for my grandmother. Thinking, remembering, dreaming, imagining, these are all states of mind. The mind is the fundamental mental thing. That's why it's axiomatic in Objectivism. You can't get underneath it. What would you use to discover the elements of the mind? 

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9 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

Plato had to invent a whole other world in order to make sense of his magical Forms theory. Perhaps you could do that, if you really don't want God in your life.

Calm down there Wolowitz, I'm not emotionally invested in this, I'm just not convinced.

8 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

We have states of mind. Not elements.

That's an interesting position to take, but I'm on the side of mental reductionism here.

Some relevant quotes from Nagel:

Quote

the explanation has to be something more than physical all the way down.. the constitutive account will either be reductive or emergent. a reductive account will explain the mental character of complex organism entirely in terms of the properties of their elementary constituents, and if we stay with the assumption that the mental cannot be reduced to the physical, this will mean that the elementary constituents of which we are composed are not merely physical

 

Quote

The emergence of the mental at certain levels of biological complexity is..something completely new. That purely physical elements, when combined in a certain way, should necessarily produce a state of the whole that is not constituted out of the properties and relations of the physical parts still seems like magic...

Because such emergence, even if systematic, remains fundamentally inexplicable, the ideal of intelligibility demands that we take seriously the alternative of a reductive answer to the constitutive question--an answer that accounts for the relation between mind and brain in terms of something more basic about the natural order

 

Quote

the causal historical account based on a reductive rather than an emergent constitutive theory would in principle explain more. It might even be said that the least radical departure from materialist reductionism would be a monist reductive conception... this sort of monism attempts to recognize the mental as a physically irreducible part of reality while still clinging to the basic form of understanding that has proved so successful in physical theory

 

 

Edited by intrinsicist

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12 hours ago, intrinsicist said:

Because such emergence, even if systematic, remains fundamentally inexplicable,

How does Nagel, or do you, conclude that it is fundamentally inexplicable?  We don't have a full explanation yet, but that doesn't mean an explanation is fundamentally impossible.

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@intrinsicist So you are basically advocating panpsychism and would agree that everything from an electron, a stone, and a star all possess some level of consciousness based on their level of complexity (according to that view)?

I think if this discussion is to be productive, exactly what you believe to be true needs to be pinned down. Someone will say it seems like you are advocating X- idea and then you say, "no, I believe Y". And Y never seems to make any logical sense when looked at critically.

Edited by EC

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15 hours ago, Doug Morris said:

How does Nagel, or do you, conclude that it is fundamentally inexplicable?  We don't have a full explanation yet, but that doesn't mean an explanation is fundamentally impossible.

Like begets like. How can a combination of simple elements combine to form something which can't be explained by the nature and actions of its elements? Logically there would have to be some other element that comes into play, hence the conclusion that this idea of "emergence" is magical or superstitious.

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7 hours ago, EC said:

everything from an electron, a stone, and a star all possess some level of consciousness

No I wouldn't say that everything "possesses consciousness". These things all posses a nature or essence, which is part material and part formal (or mental). 

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7 hours ago, intrinsicist said:

Like begets like.

This is a bald assertion and in the sense it is proposed, incorrect.  A chunk of iron is not arranged nor functions anything like an iron steam engine.  Dull inert iron begets... steam locomotives and transportation.

7 hours ago, intrinsicist said:

How can a combination of simple elements combine to form something which can't be explained by the nature and actions of its elements?

You (or Nagel) are mixing WHAT things can combine to "form" with what things you can KNOW.  These are categorically incommensurable for the "logic" purportedly being applied. 

The fact is that the "simple" elements DO combine, and by virtue of their natures in the context of the particular combination and the nature of that combination, DO, as you put it "form something".

7 hours ago, intrinsicist said:

Logically there would have to be some other element that comes into play, hence the conclusion that this idea of "emergence" is magical or superstitious

The FACT that one presently lack understanding about the "something" formed, and lack understanding about how it is formed, or as of yet do not understand enough about the natures of the so-called simple elements and how they behave in combination, does not "logically" necessitate that there is, as you (or Nagel) put it, "some other element".

We know that people in the past invented Gods, Spirits, Ghosts, Spiritual Elemental forces and the like to try to explain why something occurred or behaved in ways we could not understand... so then was it was perfectly "logical"... that there must have been that "some other element"?  This implies. in fact requires, an assumption of scientific omniscience... WE ARE FAR FROM IT.

 

Here there is no "other element".  LOGICALLY, the only "other" element, i.e. the other factor which has not been raised, is the fact of our ignorance, sheer ignorance of the identities of the so called simple elements in the context of the combination.

Whether or not we CAN now know or CAN EVER know why or how the identities of the so called "simple elements" "form something" when in the context of a combination, that does not rebut the FACT that that it is the identity of those very elements, in the context of the combination, which "forms" the "something". 

 

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On 2/2/2019 at 6:28 PM, EC said:

So you are basically advocating panpsychism and would agree that everything from an electron, a stone, and a star all possess some level of consciousness based on their level of complexity (according to that view)?

I'm replying here since I know he won't respond in this way. It does seem like this is his view, but that's because he keeps using the word mental. He doesn't mean that everything has a mental characteristic. He means that everything has a Form of some sort, and this Form exists in a metaphysical sense, not an epistemological sense as we mean by the Objectivist position. It's Platonic realism we're talking about here. 

11 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

The fact is that the "simple" elements DO combine, and by virtue of their natures in the context of the particular combination and the nature of that combination, DO, as you put it "form something".

I think this is confirming the point actually. I don't agree with the conclusion from the statement, but the statement makes sense. If we assert that there must be some extra cause as to why things must combine in a certain way, or we expect there to be some specific law or rule of why things must combine in a certain way, it would seem that if you say "that's just how it is", you're basically saying "it's magic". But this is not true. Combining certain neurons doesn't "create" consciousness. It kind of just happens. Really, I think this is another way of thinking about the axiom that you're conscious. You might be able to explain how neurons work when you're conscious, or the neurotransmitters that move around, or the computational processes underlying perception, but you won't be explaining why it has to be this way. You won't be explaining why it emerges, only that it has emerged.

So, it is inexplicable, in the sense that there is no deeper meaning or explanation. For example, it's inexplicable why the law of identity is true - it just is. If there is something underlying it, you are saying it can be reduced. This would lead to being a reductionist in terms of consciousness, which is wrong. We can have an explanation in terms of metaphysics, sure, but as we know about anything truly axiomatic, you can't "prove" it is true.

I disagree though that this implies the existence of Forms in a metaphysical sense. Still, the point about "fundamentally inexplicable"  is rational and sensible.

Edited by Eiuol

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On 2/1/2019 at 7:03 PM, intrinsicist said:

[Nagel quote] "That purely physical elements, when combined in a certain way, should necessarily produce a state of the whole that is not constituted out of the properties and relations of the physical parts still seems like magic..."

That does not represent my position. I'm not saying the mind is a state of the physical system involved. Rather, it's a product. The moving physical parts produce different states of mind, but they themselves are not the states of mind.

My knowledge of quantum physics is limited, but the mind might be compared to the photon. Photons are products of electrons moving, but electrons can't be reduced to photons. There is some kind of reaction that produces the photon. Likewise there is some kind of reaction that produces the mind. However, there is no evidence for the notion that that reaction can take place independently of a living animal's brain. This would be the unscientific, magical position, because it follows fantasy, not facts.

Edited by MisterSwig

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