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Everything posted by ReasonFirst

  1. I have a hypothetical question that I am thinking about and I wanted to see what other people think about it. We know that human beings are not omniscient AND that human beings are fallible. With regard to fallibility I think Objectivism’s position is that there exists a general possibility of error that can impede the human ability to acquire knowledge that is certain. I think I read somewhere that Objectivism holds that the possibility of error is abstract and metaphysical and specific errors are more concrete and epistemological. Is this correct? Skeptics exploit the metaphysical possibility of error to claim that humans can never know anything for certain. And I think Objectivism’s answer to that claim is that we can’t get rid of the general metaphysical possibility of error but we don’t have to because we can apply objectivist epistemology to acquire knowledge with epistemological certainty in a specific context. So the metaphysical possibility of error is very abstract and it applies to ALL ERRORS that humans can possibly commit. And the certainty that Objectivism claims we can obtain is an epistemological certainty that exists in specific situations. So my hypothetical what-if question about fallibiity is what would the consequences be to our ability to obtain certainty if the general metaphysical possibility of error wasn’t so general and it only applied to certain specific mistakes but not other mistakes? For example, let’s consider three specific activities humans do in normal life: Driving a car Tying Shoes Playing chess Each one of these activities has its own specific, concrete errors associated with it which can be committed. What if, for example, there was something specific about the activity of driving that makes you commit driving errors, and you are infallible when you are doing everything else like tying shoes, playing chess, etc. Let’s say you are capable of making some mistakes, like driving errors, but not other mistakes. If this scenario was real, could you ever know with certainty that you are driving a car properly without committing any traffic infractions or other driving errors? In such a scenario, even if you would apply Objectivist epistemology to determine that you are driving correctly, just knowing that the activity of driving itself causes you to commit errors would qualify as at least one specific piece of evidence that you are doing something wrong. Am I right about this? So now the claim that you are making a mistake would not be arbitrary, since the activity of driving itself would give you reason to suspect that you are committing a driving error. I think the philosophic significance of this scenario is that it extends the possibility of error from the metaphysical layer of your worldview into the epistemological layer of your worldview and thereby destroys your ability to obtain certainty. So I am wondering does fallibility have to be so general? What would the philosophic consequences be if it only applied to cerain errors but not other errors?
  2. @Boydstun I think I'm inclined to agree with what you stated about fallibility/infallibility. Thanks for those links too. I'm still thinking about it though so I welcome any other thoughts on the matter. I also wanted to pose a couple of additional scenarios that are more closely related to my OP regarding testing the validity of certainty. Let's say that someone dares me to playfully point a real gun at myself and pull the trigger in a situation in which I am certain the gun is not loaded. Gun safety laws state that we are ALWAYS supposed to treat a gun as if it is loaded. But is that rational according to Objectivist epistemology? If I refuse to take the dare because I'm worried something may go wrong, does that make me guilty of possessing arbitrary doubt or arbitrary uncertainty since I am supposedly certain the gun is safe? If I am certain the gun is safe, I should have no problem taking the dare right? Or let's say I see a package on the road and it looks harmless. But I refuse to go near it because I think it could be a bomb planted by a Unabomber copycat or something. Let's say I acknowledge I have no evidence that the package is actually harmful but because of the metaphysical possibility of it being harmful, I choose not to go near it. Am I in that situation guilty of possessing arbitrary doubt or arbitrary uncertainty? I'd like to think that in both of the foregoing situations there is a sufficient rational basis to avoid engaging in risky behavior, but I don't know. Objectivist epistemology takes a very hard line position against arbitrary ideas having any legitimate cognitive status and it seems like in the situations I described any idea that would steer someone toward a safe behavior would be arbitrary? Does Objectivist epistemology require clear evidence of danger to be present prior to the rational exercise of caution?
  3. Ok, yeah I'm pretty much in agreement with what David stated about omniscience, except I would also add that omniscient knowledge of the present is also impossible (not just the future and the past), because you would have to be able to observe the entire universe to have access to it (which is impossible). Regarding infallibility, I'm not really sure. David mentioned some examples of the limits of human perception but I don't think they precisely fall under the topic of infallibility. Infallibility is the incapacity to make mistakes or to err even with conceptual knowledge, am I right about this? I'm just wondering if some conscious being can be so epistemologically skilled that he can't make a mistake? But I also think that Ayn Rand's idea of all consciousnesses being born "tabula rasa" or "blank slates" would imply that infallibility is equally as impossible as omniscience. My thinking is that when a being is born, he doesn't know anything at all since he just started existing and therefore had no prior opportunity to acquire knowledge. That means that he also doesn't know Objectivist epistemology. Therefore, he is very vulnerable to erring or making mistakes in his thinking. We can observe this with kids as their minds develop. If someone doesn't have a proper epistemology, we can observe him making a ton of mistakes. Once someone learns a proper epistemology, he minimizes the amount of mistakes he makes but he is still vulnerable to making mistakes. I just want to make sure I am keeping straight what we know in principle and what applies just to human consciousnesses. I think I remember a lecture in which LP mentioned that Ayn Rand's Theory of Concepts applies to human minds when he said that he had a discussion with Ayn Rand about some other way to form concepts, and she responded that if some other way comes up it can be explored then. So it seems like at least the Theory of Concepts is something that is not true in principle, just true for human beings.
  4. @DavidOdden Interesting point. This is making me wonder about omniscience and infallibility. Would this apply to a person if they possess omniscience and infallibility? Although this question may not be valid because I think omniscience and infallibility is impossible for a human being. Could you guys tell me is omniscience impossible only for a human being or is it impossible period? What about infallibility, is it impossible only for a human being or impossible period?
  5. I have some questions about a situation that can arise in every day normal life. People commonly "bet" or "gamble" with each other about a variety of propositions they have to show their certainty about those propositions. They may say "I'll bet you a million dollars that X is true" or "I would bet my life that Y is true." The idea behind this is that someone telling someone else that someone would enter a high-stakes "bet" (in which the stake is someone's life which is the highest possible stake) that someone's proposition is true shows that someone is certain about his proposition. I would argue that entering into a real high-stakes "bet" or a "gamble" (like one in which the stake is a life) about a proposition that is certainly true (like for example that a cup is on a table) should rationally never be done for the following reasons: 1) A "bet" is by definition is an uncertain game which has not concluded when it is entered into, so "betting" about a proposition that is already certainly true implies a contradiction at the outset of the "bet" (it's like playing a dice game and then "betting" after a dice has already been rolled and a number has already been revealed). 2) If a proposition is already certainly true based on evidence and a counter-party is willing to enter a high-stakes "bet" against that proposition, I think that opens the situation up to arbitrary uncertainty, which is something that should not rationally be involved. What I mean by this is that if I have conclusive evidence that a proposition is true, and a counter-party is willing to "bet" against that proposition, it's reasonable to think that that counter-party is at least to some extent disconnected from reality, which means it's possible that that counter-party may not be in his right mind and is putting forth an arbitrary argument against that proposition. And that's a situation that should be avoided. I know it could be possible that the counter-party in this hypothetical situation may simply be mistaken or that he may not have evidence that someone else does have, but I would say it's still irrational to enter into a high-stakes bet (like one in which the stake is a life) with that counter-party even if someone is certain their proposition is true because the stakes are too high. Does anyone have a reaction they'd be willing share to my two thoughts I described above? And more concretely, would you enter a real high-stakes "bet" (in which the stake is your life) about a proposition which is clearly certainly true? What about a low-stakes "bet," does that change your answer?
  6. @Doug Morris I think, under certain circumstances, that reason would qualify as evidence that something potentially dangerous is going on. I mean as long as you weren't on any drugs or hallucinating and you have every reason to believe that you should have seen it because you looked for it again very quickly and you didn't see it, then yes I would think that would count as evidence. @MisterSwig That is very interesting. I guess I was not distinguishing between knowledge itself and the study or theory of knowledge in my arguments. I agree with your statement about what epistemology is. But I was working off the assumption that epistemology ONLY involves using your five senses and rational inference therefrom. I was not including any element of "faith" or "revelation" in my argument. I guess I might have presumed that everyone else on this forum thought that way as well about epistemology. @Easy Truth Thanks for that link, I'll definitely check it out. I know I keep hammering at this but I was hoping you would help me understand specifically what you meant when you presented those two matrix claims and you placed the first one in a "permanently arbitrary" subcategory and the second one (which you mentioned was a variation of the first) in a "tentatively arbitrary" subcategory? I'm hoping to understand what your thought process was when you presented that second claim and what you meant by that second claim: "Everything we know COULD SIMPLY BE a simulation." What would you say is the difference between your second matrix claim and your first matrix claim? I know you placed that second claim together with other claims for which there is no evidence like the one about 9/11 being caused by the US. So in trying to understand what your thought process was, I was thinking about that 9/11 claim and I came up with this: Right now we have NO EVIDENCE that 9/11 was caused by the US but IF one day evidence for that emerges, we can rightfully entertain that possibility. And so, returning attention to your second matrix claim, following the same thought format, "Right now we have NO EVIDENCE that everything we know could simply be a simulation but IF one day evidence for that emerges, we can rightfully entertain that possibility." It seems like that second matrix claim leaves open the scenario of us one day obtaining evidence that we could be living in a simulation and then we would have to accept something like this: "we can no longer be certain that we live in the real world because NOW we have evidence that we could be in a simulation." But accepting that would put us in the same epistemological position as the first matrix claim you mentioned, which is a position that in your words is "unverifiable" and "to be permanently ignored" instead of in your words "Imaginable with no indication but verifiable (to be true or false) (given time)." In the 9/11 scenario, you could follow whatever evidence emerged and look for more evidence to verify it to be true or false. But how would the second matrix claim that you presented be verified to be true or false?
  7. @MisterSwig You could be a sort of deist of the simulated world. You would believe that if the world's simulated, then the Programmer created it but leaves it alone, so no changes to the simulated laws of nature. He doesn't interfere with anything. Once you accept the arbitrary, you might as well make the most of it. The Programmer also has a backup generator in case the power goes off and he has to keep the computers running. Agreed. Just wanna say a couple things about that. 1) Even if the Programmer or the creator of the simulation doesn't interfere after he creates the simulation, he still might have created it in the first place in some way that would eventually lead to the inhabitants of the simulation obtaining contradictory knowledge. What I mean is, even from the beginning, he could have defined humanoid inhabitants that possess all the abilities that we do and ONLY the abilities we do but he could have defined one humanoid inhabitant who could walk on water or walk through walls or fly. So he doesn't have to interfere after the simulation's creation to destroy our epistemology, because we know simulations are programs and at any time even before a program is run, all of the natural or physical rules are set by the Programmer's choices or whims, i.e no generalizations that we can make can be valid. 2) If you're a deist in the simulation and you believe that the Programmer leaves it alone and doesn't interfere, you are still injecting belief without evidence into your epistemology, so your epistemology is still destroyed, i.e. what you have is not epistemology at all, it's a belief system. I agree that this is arbitrary and this leads us to an infinitely regressive back and forth argument about us existing or not existing in a matrix/simulation. And I agree it should be rejected as arbitrary. My biggest question though is can the simulation/matrix claim be something that belongs to a "tentatively arbitrary" subcategory or should it be something that forever belongs to the "permanently arbitrary" subcategory?
  8. @Doug Morris Pardon my ignorance, but why is this a claim about "epistemological possibility" and not simply a claim about the future? How is it different from "That plane must have crashed."? Well the claim “That plane must have crashed” is just a past tense claim instead of a claim about the future. And I would say that both of those claims are claims of “epistemological possibility.” The reason I brought up the two senses of possibility is because it is relevant when you’re trying to make a determination about where on the epistemological spectrum a claim belongs: arbitrary, possible, probable, certain. If you claim for example, “The plane can crash,” you can validly make that claim without having to provide any specific evidence of your own because that claim does not make any assertions about a particular plane in a particular set of circumstances. That claim only asserts that an entity has a potentiality. And we already have all the evidence we need to know that airplanes have the potential to crash. So claiming that an airplane has the capability to crash is the metaphysical sense of possibility. But this is very different from the epistemological sense of possibility in which you’re trying to advance a hypothesis about a particular situation. So your claim “That plane must have crashed” is an assertion about a PARTICULAR plane in a PARTICULAR SITUATION. And so are my examples “This plane is going to crash” or “This plane will crash.” Both of those claims are advancing a hypothesis about a particular airplane under a particular set of circumstances (in a particular situation). And these claims CANNOT be validly made if the person who makes the claims doesn’t present specific evidence for them. You would have to present something specific about the plane that you are making a claim about that would cause or contribute to a crash, like that the specific plane in question was damaged or that the specific plane in question encountered bad weather or something else that is specific to the airplane in question. Otherwise, in the absence of specific evidence, those kinds of claims about specific entities have to be classified as arbitrary and thrown out. I was contemplating the two matrix claims that Easy Truth made and why he put each one into different subcategories of “arbitrary.” I couldn’t understand why the second claim belongs in his “tentative” category of arbitrary. He placed his first claim “Everything we know is simply a simulation” into a category of arbitrary that he stated is “unverifiable” and that should “be permanently ignored.” And I completely agree with this. But I don’t understand what makes it appropriate to place the second claim “Everything we know COULD SIMPLY BE a simulation” into a “tentative” subcategory of arbitrary. And that’s when I started asking myself “What does Easy Truth mean by this second matrix claim? Is he expressing a claim about metaphysical possibility? Is he saying that we CAN create simulations of reality in general? I was thinking if that’s what he is saying, we already know at this point that that claim is true because we know we can create simulations of reality as I’ve already mentioned. But if his second claim is claiming “The specific reality that we exist in COULD ITSELF be a simulation,” I just don’t see how that differs at all from his first matrix claim and I would say that both of the claims should both be placed into his first subcategory of arbitrary: “Unverifiable” and “To be permanently ignored.” If we assume a simulation that perfectly fakes vision for us, why not assume that it perfectly fakes all of our other senses, including our sense of touch and our kinesthetic sense? That seemed to be the case in The Matrix. Rather than go down a rabbit hole debating what the simulation does or does not do, we should just reject the whole idea as arbitrary. Yes, we can go ahead and assume that for the purposes of being clear about what exactly the simulation claims are claiming. But I would say that it is a mistake on our part or anybody's part to make an assumption like that, not just because that assumption is arbitrary, but also because it implies that the senses or our perceptions are not good enough to differentiate between the "fake vision" and "real vision" along with all of our other senses. And I would base my argument on a course lectured by Binswanger called "The Foundations of Knowledge." But I agree with you that debating against an arbitrary claim does make us go down into a rabbit hole and I would agree that we should reject the whole idea as arbitrary. You are correct that they have been spotted in Australia but I think that that example still does have some value because it lends itself well to understanding Easy Truth's two subcategories of "arbitrary." Permanently arbitrary and tentatively arbitrary (i'm paraphrasing his categories a little). He distinguished some arbitrary claims that would become true if sufficient evidence in favor of them ever emerged from arbitrary claims that would remain arbitrary forever. I think the "black swan" example is a good example for a claim that in a past context of knowledge had no evidence and then in a future context did have evidence and so it's a great example of an arbitrary claim that became true over time.
  9. @Easy Truth I was considering the some of the other claims that you placed in your "tentative" category of arbitrary: I can see why you place these claims in your "tentative" category of arbitrary but I don't see how the matrix claim belongs in the same subcategory with the rest of these examples. I would place both of the matrix claims in your first subcategory of arbitrary, the first one which you mentioned should be permanently ignored. I would say the difference between both of your matrix claims and the examples quoted above is that there seems to be an implication with your matrix claims that our senses are not good enough to tell the difference between a simulation and reality but the claims above make no such implication. The claims like the "black swan" or "9-11 was caused by the United States" and the others are arbitrary solely because of a lack of evidence and if evidence turns up in the future, these claims would no longer be arbitrary. But the implication in both of your matrix claims is that any future evidence in favor of us living in reality won't be good enough, because "what if" the matrix can just "simulate" that evidence too? So we are forever cut off from any solid evidence that we are living in reality. But again, I would say that both of your matrix claims are saying this and they belong in the same subcategory, the first one you mentioned.
  10. @Easy Truth I think if you mean "might be" or "may be" without evidence, that is still a claim of something being "possible" when it's actually arbitrary. And I think that you agree with this as well, that's why you placed it into a subcategory of "arbitrary." I'm just trying to understand the difference between the two subcategories, and I think, in general, I do understand. One subcategory is "tentative" and the other will always remain arbitrary. But as to the two specific simulation claims you presented as belonging to those subcategories, I don't know. I also agree with you about this: I just want expound on this a little bit. I remember hearing a Peikoff lecture in which he stated that "can be" is an expression of "metaphysical possibility" and that is not exactly the same as an expression of "epistemological possibility." When somebody tries to make a claim about "metaphysical possibility" they often use words like "can" or "could." Like when someone claims "This plane can crash" that is perfectly valid and certain because under some circumstances, it can in fact crash, it is metaphysically possible for it to crash. But when someone claims "This plane is going to crash," that is a claim about "epistemological possibility" and that has to be supported by evidence or it is arbitrary. This is partly what I was thinking about when I was trying to understand the difference between the two simulation claims you mentioned and which subcategory they belonged to. Regarding the differences between a simulation and reality (by the way, I am using "simulation" and "matrix" interchangeably in my argument, for me they mean the exact same thing) Ok here is what some differences would be. If we're talking about a simulation inside a computer than one difference would be that all the "entities" within it are not real entities in the sense that they are not 3-D objects. Computers show you projections of 3-D objects on a 2-D screen but those objects are not really 3-D. All of those objects are really just bits of information that are inscribed in computer chips. So I argue that if we were in a simulation (matrix), we would not have the spatial awareness that we do. We would not be able to touch rocks or chairs or cars or anything and sense that those objects have spatial extent in 3 dimensions. Additionally, we would not have the self-awareness that we do. You have a self-awareness of your entire mind and body as unified whole. If we were living in a matrix and our senses were valid, we would feel like computer microchips, because we would only be occupying that space. And I already noticed that someone else in this thread already responded to this by saying (and I'm paraphrasing their argument) "what if the simulation is so technologically advanced that you just can't tell the difference?" I argue that NO AMOUNT of technological advancement CAN EVER INVALIDATE THE SENSES. Technological advancement is achieved STARTING with the usage of our VALID SENSES. The argument about there being no difference ASSUMES UNJUSTIFIABLY that there would be no difference while ignoring the fact that the "objects" inside a simulation are just bits of information in a microchip and real objects have properties like mass and volume which are knowable with our valid senses. Also, assuming we were human beings in a simulation, epistemology could not be different in a matrix. We would still rely on our senses and concepts that we would form according to Ayn Rand's Theory of Concepts. And if it is "possible" that we are living in a simulation right now, that does imply that our senses are not good enough to tell the difference. And I argue that does lead us to an epistemological state in which we could never be certain about anything because nothing is set in stone in a simulation. Every physical law you ever discover in a simulation has been programmed to be there by a programmer like with the examples I gave of humans flying like birds or walking through walls that look the same as walls you can't walk through. So how could your generalizations in a simulation ever be valid, i.e how could you ever know anything in a simulation when everything in it is subject to the whim of a programmer?
  11. @Grames I have question about what exactly you mean when you state "hierarchically prior?" If you vertically integrate the concept "cat" to the concept "animal" and the concept "dog" to the concept "animal," is this an example of horizontally integrating the concept "cat" with the concept "dog?" I wasn't sure if the term "hierarchically prior" is interchangeable with "higher level." In the example I just gave, the concept "animal" is a higher level concept than "dog" or "cat" but I don't know if it is "hierarchically prior." I think if "animal" was a "hierarchically prior" concept to "dog" and "cat," the mental process I verbally described above would be an example of horizontal integration, but I just wanted to ask you be sure?
  12. @Easy Truth What I was asking about was your position on the validity of the claims “Everything we know is simply a simulation” and “Everything we know could simply be a simulation.” I was asking about your position about where on the epistemological spectrum each claim belongs: Arbitrary, Possible, Probable, Certain. My understanding is that “certain” claims are claims which qualify as real knowledge. They are claims which are supported by a wide body of objective evidence which integrates without contradiction to point to a single conclusion. Probable means that a majority or a preponderance of evidence points to a single conclusion while some evidence points to another. Possible means you have some but not much evidence that allows you to hypothesize a claim. And arbitrary claims are claims which are completely wanton, they have no evidence or basis in reality whatsoever to support them. It looks like this matrix possibility topic has been extensively and heavily discussed and it has led up to discussion about precisely what “arbitrary” means. It looks like you have come up with a couple of subcategories of “arbitrary” and then you have attached the two claims I mentioned to those subcategories. One subcategory you mentioned was: And you attached the former simulation claim to it. And the other subcategory you mentioned: And you attached the latter simulation claim to it. This is why I asked about why you thought the latter claim was “tentatively arbitrary” because “tentative” means “subject to change.” It seems to me that you are saying that the latter claim is “verifiable” to be or true or false GIVEN TIME but the former claim is “unverifiable” and I am wondering why the latter claim is “verifiable” but the former claim is not? When I was wondering this, I was thinking about what the essential difference was between the two claims. I have an idea about what you might have meant (please tell me if I’m wrong). So, regarding the former claim, “Everything we know is simply a simulation,” that claim means that right now we are inside something like a computer program, that all the objects, living or non-living, that we’ve ever encountered are not spatially extended entities, they’re just bits of information, that are being processed by a computer in some “real” reality in which real entities exist. And therefore all of the knowledge that we have that is based on the objects we have encountered is only valid in the simulation and not valid in the “higher” reality outside of the simulation we live in. Is that what you meant by the first claim? And regarding the latter claim, “Everything we know COULD SIMPLY BE a simulation” means that all encountered objects and the knowledge we have that is based on them CAN BE simulated. One meaning that I can think of that you are referring to is that ALL OF THE OBJECTS we have ever encountered can be simulated in a computer. If that is what you mean then we already know that that is true, not merely possible. We already have simulations like flight simulators, we have video games, we have computerized 3-D drawing programs, we know that we can simulate reality, but it’s still a simulation which is different from reality. You wouldn’t be able to form the concept “simulation” unless you had valid senses with which you could observe reality. In order to form the concept “simulation,” you have to observe reality and simulations and differentiate “simulation” from reality. So what I think you meant by the latter claim is already “verifiable” and it has been verified to be true. But you may be meaning something else with this latter claim so I was just trying to understand what you meant because I don’t see any difference between the two claims otherwise. I wouldn’t put them in separate subcategories of “arbitrary.” The more I think about this topic, the more I find that this unavoidably leads to Cartesian doubt. I am interested in what everybody’s position is on this. My thought is that if it is “possible” that we are living in a simulation, then that completely destroys the field of epistemology itself? Why? Because in order for us to possess knowledge about anything which is certain there cannot be any “possibility” that points to an alternative or conflicting idea. We know in the case of video games which are basically simulations, that they are made by programmers and programmers are volitional beings who can program the simulations to run any way they choose. For example, they can program some objects like walls to be solid which forbids a character in the simulation from being able to walk through the wall. But if the programmers want, they can choose to define another wall which characters can simply walk through under the same circumstances, and the walls can look exactly the same. The programmer can choose to define a humanoid character which cannot fly and then just because the programmer feels like it, they can define one human which can fly under the same circumstances in which all the other humanoid characters cannot. And those characters can look and function exactly the same. And I’m sure that anybody can think of numerous other concrete examples of this so the concrete examples are not important but the deeper point is that a real possibility of us all being in a simulation destroys the validity of our generalizations. If living in a simulation is a real possibility, then it follows that we can no longer form generalizations which are certain because whoever created the simulation can set and violate any physical rules that they want. Any time that we would ever form a generalization about anything, we would be condemned to entertaining the possibility that we could encounter a violation of that generalization in the future just because whoever created the simulation felt like making that happen.
  13. @Easy Truth I was hoping ask you a couple questions about the following two example claims that you gave. I was hoping you could first state what the difference is between these two claims. You mentioned that the latter claim belongs in a category of arbitrary that “is the hardest – it seems tentatively arbitrary?” So what makes you think that the latter claim belongs in a “tentatively arbitrary” category? What is “tentative” about it or what makes it more “tentative” than the former claim?
  14. @Eiuol I mean, if you don't think the mind is or has fundamental constituent(s), there's no reason to bring it up. I am not sure what I am “bringing up?” I mentioned that your body has fundamental constituents, not your mind. All these points that you have made about continuity being “wildly disrupted” have all referred to higher-level mental faculties. The absence of those faculties does not imply that the continuity of the individual has been “disrupted.” As long as you exist, your body undergoes a basic process (a continuous self-sustained, self-generated action) that continues to exist until you don’t exist anymore. Whether you have a split-brain or not, whether you get injured or not, whether you’re in a coma or not, whether you are sleeping or not, as long as you are alive (i.e. as long you exist), that basic function of your body still exists and that is why you still exist in all of those scenarios. What that basic function is is up to scientists to show. I guarantee you that no one in the scientific community is interpreting your ability to go to sleep and wake up as evidence for your ability to die and come back. It’s not evidence for your ability to die and come back. And that’s because you going to sleep is not the same as you dying. And that’s because your continuity goes on during sleep, regardless of the fact that your higher-level mental faculties may be absent. And this equally applies to brain injuries or comas or whatever. I think that current scientific knowledge states that oxygen respiration done by the lungs and the consumption of oxygen done by the brain are examples of bodily functions that are always present as long as the individual is alive (i.e. as long as the individual exists). The higher-level functions you mentioned might not be required to occur to keep your existence going. It would be no different than you choosing to raise one of your hands. The EXACT bodily function that happens when you raise your hand is not going to be the same as the function of your body when you are sitting or relaxing at rest. But that doesn’t mean that your continuity gets disrupted when you choose to stop raising your hand. Your circulatory/nervous system was functioning the same on some level before, during, and after you raised your hand. It’s that function, that most basic function, that must continue. And “basic function” does not mean that your functions have “fundamental constituents.” Your body has fundamental constituents and the processes that your body goes through can be impaired or they can intensify or they can become more or less complex and they can still remain the same process without the continuity of the process being disrupted. The mind doesn't exist as an entity either (which you agreed with earlier). Yes, but the argument I made was this: Ultimately, regardless of the mind-related complications introduced into these debates, if an individual is an entity that undergoes continuous, self-generated action, then it follows that he is not any other entity, living or non-living, currently existing or yet to be constructed by a “transporter,” etc. And I agree with your definition of entity, a “physically bounded object, usually on the perceptual level.” By forming this first-level concept of what an entity is, you should be able to grasp that it has to be a “*specific body*” which has to continue to undergo a continuous, self-generated action. You can use the definition you mentioned to always keep track of an entity so you can differentiate it from all other entities, i.e, all other individuals. If you ever encounter two functioning entities that are equal copies you can know that one is not the other because of the spatial relationship between their physical boundaries at any particular time. If you damage one entity, you can tell that the other is undamaged. If you destroy one, you can still see the pieces that it used to be made out of while seeing that the other entity is unharmed. Like the car example, you know that one functioning car is not the other despite the fact that you can’t tell the difference between them because they have a different spatial relationship with respect to you and with respect to each other, just like two functioning human bodies that are equal copies. Having a mind only means that each functioning human body can perceive that which exists, it's not a magical pass that gives a functioning human body an ability to be another functioning human body or as many functioning human bodies as the "transporter" constructs. That is what is inconsistent and that is what you are arguing in favor of when you mention the alpha, beta, etc multiple Eiuols. Their physical boundaries are one way that you can always differentiate them. You can at least know that there is a difference between them.
  15. @Eiuol That's fine, but this is exactly why the whole bit about fundamental constituents doesn't make sense. It's not consistent, it doesn't fit in with the argument you're going for What is not consistent about it? What does not fit in with the argument that I am going for? You've probably described it accurately enough. It's not a separate experience. This is probably best left to scientists to explain rather than me but I'll try to explain it like this. What this shows is that when it comes to actions that an entity can do but doesn't have to do (such as tell you what it sees or demonstrate how to use what it sees), certain portions of the one whole integrated individual entity undergoing continuous self-generated, self-sustained action contribute to the abilities to execute certain actions but not others. There is no more a violation in this case than the fact that my stomach stores the food that I eat but not my brain (in a simple sense, of course). My legs are used for walking but my hands are not. I use my hand to write but not my hips. This is just a case of certain pieces of a human all contributing their part to the overall integration and the integration has been damaged, but it's not gone. And this is the difference that I'm identifying as something that should be considered when considering whether or not the individual exiting the transporter is the individual who entered. We should. And I don't know much about intellectual property. I do have some doubts about whether it is valid or not. And there may be some parallels between the transporter topic and the intellectual property topic. However, I think even if it is valid, that its validity would be consistent with my argument, especially because it has to do with a lot of stuff that doesn't exist as an entity, such as laws or ideas. I remember I read once what I believe is an Ayn Rand quote in which she states that the mind and body are one and that we distinguish them only conceptually. I was trying to look up that quote but I can't find it anywhere now. I can't state for sure that was what her statement was because I don't remember. Have you ever read or heard a quote like the one I've described about the body and mind of an individual being one?
  16. @Eiuol The statement from me that you've quoted from me doesn't imply that the mind and thinking are made up of fundamental constituents. They're not. I have tried to explain this before. I have not been defining "you" as a particular body. I have repeatedly stated that I am defining "you" as an entity that undergoes continuous, self-generated, self-sustained action. This is a definition of your identity and it encompasses BOTH the mind and body of you as an individual. Not partially, completely. There's no "you" without your functioning body. I don't think you understood what I was arguing for the continuity of. I was not arguing for the required continuity of your body, I was arguing for the required continuity of your mind AND your body. And what that means is, I was arguing for the necessary continuity of your functioning body. And this doesn't mean that I'm arguing that your body's functions or actions are fundamental constituents. And it doesn't mean that I'm saying that "you" are your body. If either your body's functioning or your body ceases to exist, there won't be a "you" anymore, certainly not if you construct another functioning body somewhere away from where the individual entity in question was. I think Ayn Rand would agree as well because she argued that man is an "integration of mind AND body," with the two being metaphysically inseparable, just like you can't separate a functioning entity from its function or its body without killing the individual entity in question. That's why "your first person awareness" won't just be "interrupted," it will permanently disappear. And more often than not, the issue of whether the continuity of a particular entity undergoing continuous self-generated, self-sustained action is satisfied or not is a scientific one, like the prosthetics example you brought up. But what I can say is that the preservation of a particular functioning entity's structural integrity (body) AND overall functioning (mind) is going to be the key. You have to preserve both if you want that entity (that individual) to keep existing. Additionally, the split-brain example you've brought up is another bad example. You are implying a contradiction here. If they "basically act independently," then how can the brain "naturally figure out how to adapt?" I'll tell you how. Split-brain illnesses are not evidence or examples for "multiple first person experiences." And the explanation for why not is more a scientific one than a philosophical one but it ultimately reduces to philosophy (as pretty much everything does). The primary link, and the keyword is "primary," that links the left and right hemispheres of the brain is severed in split-brain patients. But there are still other links (I think 4 others if I'm not mistaken) that are intact and ARE ACTIVELY PARTICIPATING in the split-brain patient's overall first person awareness. The split-brain example is no more meaningful than if I closed one of my eyes and claimed that since I closed one of my eyes, only one of my two brain hemispheres is involved in generating/sustaining my first person awareness and the other half now has its own first person awareness. That would be a false claim. There aren't two separate brains, which is what you are implying. Instead what's happening is there is still one brain but the continuous self-generated, self-sustained action has been harmed, but it is not gone, and that's what makes it possible for the brain to learn "how to adapt." As long as you are alive, you have your first person experience as one whole integrated individual entity that continuously undergoes self-sustained, self-generated action. Since everyone is proposing some examples to support their arguments let me propose one. If you and I were to independently buy a car of the same make, model, color, everything the same but two separate cars, let's say for example two blue 2019 Toyota Camrys. I'm arguing that my car is one individual car and your car is another individual car despite the fact that they are perfect copies of each other. They are perfect copies and that's it, not one individual car. And if you turned your car on, it would function JUST LIKE mine, the functioning would be the same. This is just like the functioning body that enters the transporter and the OTHER functioning body that exits the transporter. Even though the cars look and function the same, I don't own your car, you own your car. Your car is another car, a separate existent that is not my car. If what you're arguing is true, then I can take you to an objective court of law and tell a judge that I should own your car because your car is my car. As you put it, it "walks like a duck, talks like a duck..." so your car must be my car. So, according to you, if our cars are both on and functioning, I have a right to take your car because I own it. This is what I've been arguing against. That's right, the "certain intensity" portion of my definition is what I think is necessary but not sufficient and that's the part I had a problem with if that's all there was to it. But the "healthy biological processes" portion of my definition is what I was hoping would have been elaborated on in terms of the "specific actions" that "are done to generate/sustain consciousness." All I was trying to say here is that I am ok with complexity and intensity being a part of it, but I was expecting some discussion of what specifically the functioning body does to generate/sustain consciousness, which "healthy biological processes" is a placeholder for in my definition that you quoted. So in my definition I have included both what specifically is done and the intensity/complexity.
  17. @Eiuol My point about the statement that you quoted was that the body of an entity is ultimately made out of fundamental constituents (whatever they may be) that cannot be broken down and that are separate from all other existents in the universe. The integrated actions performed by those fundamental constituents or macroscopically that specific body corresponds to a particular individual's mind. It was meant to refute your claim that a "branched" version of "you" would exist if someone used the transporter on you but without deconstructing you. I am saying that that "branched" version of "you" you mentioned would be another entity, made out of separate fundamental constituents that may or may not be doing the same actions as the original fundamental constituents that comprise the real one and only "you." Because it would be a separate entity made out of separate fundamental constituents even if they are doing the same actions as the real one and only "you," it would not be you. And by the way, that would also serve as evidence for why the individual who gets constructed and exits the transporter is not the individual who was deconstructed after he entered the transporter. The entity who exits the transporter is made out of separate fundamental constituents that happen to be doing the same actions as the entity who entered. The actions may be the same, but the fundamental constituents doing the actions are separate from the original fundamental constituents that are who-knows-where. Remember, when the transporter deconstructs the individual who enters, what it does is pull the individual's body apart into fundamental pieces (rendering them unable to function to generate/sustain a mind). But what happens to those fundamental constituents after separate ones are used to construct the body of the individual who exits? They certainly have not been destroyed because they cannot be destroyed. They are the fundamental constituents that comprised the body of the individual who entered the transporter and they are in disarray located at the transporter's entrance. Those are the fundamental constituents you would have to use to reconstruct the macroscopic body of the individual who entered the transporter if you want to claim that that individual was brought back into existence. Because "you" are not "your consciousness." "You" are an entity that undergoes continuous, self-generated, self-sustained action. Your consciousness is a state of awareness you can achieve by undergoing that continuous, self-generated, self-sustained action. You can differentiate yourself from all other existents by identifying yourself as your definition of what an entity is, "some sort of physically bounded object, usually on the perceptual level." But of course, not just any object, an object or entity that continuously undergoes self-generated, self-sustained action. So your specific body would not be "you," your specific body which continuously undergoes self-generated, self-sustained action would be "you." Not some other body exiting the transporter that continuously undergoes its own continuous self-generated, self-sustained action. And yes I had a problem with intensity and complexity being "all the definition is," as you put it. Keyword "all." I was interested more in what specific actions are done to generate/sustain consciousness not just the complexity and intensity, but I think the answer to what I was interested in is a more scientific issue, that's all. I have no problem with consciousness having complex and intense characteristics as long as that is not everything that is necessary. Why are you not concerned about the specific body? I am arguing that you should be if you are claiming that the individual who exited the transporter IS the individual who entered. The "specific material parts accomplishing the process" constitute one individual's body. Other "specific material parts accomplishing the process" constitute another individual's body. If you are claiming that the individual exiting the transporter is the individual who entered, then you are in effect claiming that the body and mind exiting the transporter (the body undergoing continuous self-generated, self-sustained action exiting the transporter) IS the body and mind that entered the transporter (the body undergoing continuous self-generated, self-sustained action that entered the transporter). And I am arguing that it is not. That is why it is not the only question whether this process can restart if it stops (it is a question but not the only question). Let us assume that it can restart. As I have been arguing, if you successfully construct another entity that is separate from an individual (meaning an entity whose body is ultimately comprised of fundamental constituents which are separate from an the body of the individual in question) and that other entity's body is undergoing the same continuous self-generated, self-sustained action, then, despite the other entity undergoing the same continuous self-generated, self-sustained action, that other entity is not the individual in question. You have not "restarted" that process, you have started that process on another entity. You mentioned being in agreement about what SL stated. It is my understanding that SL, Don Athos, and me are arguing that the individual who gets reconstructed is not the individual who got destroyed. I think we might have our own different reasons for why we are arguing what we are arguing. I don't want to speak for Don Athos and SL too much. You and Devil's Advocate are arguing that it is the individual who got destroyed and he comes back into existence. Correct me if I'm wrong about any of this.
  18. @Eiuol I am not arguing for panpsychism. I am not insisting that the mind is a fundamental constituent. I have stated before that it is not an entity and not a thing. When I was describing fundamental constituents, I meant fundamental constituents that constitute the body, i.e microscopic entities that cannot be broken down into sub-parts and that are separate from all other existents in the universe. The integrated macroscopic interactions (actions) of those fundamental constituents correspond to the mind. And that doesn't imply that actions are reified as "things." It just means a particular macroscopic entity is doing those actions. That "there is something remaining when you physically pull everything apart" is not what I meant. There isn't. My point is not that ""you" is a fundamental, material soul." It's not. Your body is always in a state to support "you" as long as you are biologically functioning, which doesn't have to include higher level of functioning. When I say "higher level," all that I meant by that was a healthy and intensified version of the biological processes that are happening in a person who is in a coma, for example. What you call the "psychological processes" are just healthy biological processes of a certain intensity. That's why I stated before that it's really the biological processes that must exist in order for "you" to exist. And they still do exist for a person in a coma, they're just severely impaired but they are still happening, and that is why you would still exist if you would be in a coma and that is also why you have a chance of recovering while you are in a coma. When those biological processes cease to exist, then you would really stop existing and you would never be able to come back. And you wouldn't be anywhere else (heaven or hell) because like I stated before, "you" are not a material soul. You just wouldn't exist anymore. But "you" are there when you are in a coma or when you sleep because in all of those cases your biology is still functional. And I define "you" as an entity that undergoes continuous, self-generated, self-sustained action. The "self-generated, self-sustained action" is your biological processes. The actions are not entities or things. A particular entity is doing the action. If those self-generated, self-sustained actions should stop (no mind) or if your body is blown up let's say (no body and no mind), "you" won't exist anymore. And those self-generated, self-sustained actions are being done by your body while "you" are in a coma or sleeping and while you are awake. But those actions are not being done by your body when "you" are dead and no longer in existence. That's my position.
  19. @Eiuol No, I would say the same thing about identical twins and two separate human beings even if they were perfect copies of each other. One reduces down to fundamental constituents that are separate from all other existents and the other reduces down to other fundamental constituents that are separate from all other existents, in accordance with what I have stated before. They each perform their own actions that are metaphysically inseparable from them, i.e. they each have their own inseparable mind. There is a meaningful way to say that it is "you." A low-level continuation of the essential processes your body must go through is still in existence, and that's why you still do exist, as long as those are occurring. So even if you are "psychologically dead" as you mention, the required foundation (your biology) is still operative, so you're still alive. You may not be self-aware, I'll grant you that. Your higher level functions (beliefs, thoughts, awareness) might not be happening but your low-level functions (which are complementary to your higher-level functions and are also a part of what makes you an individual) are still working, so you still exist.
  20. @Eiuol I apologize for using distracting text. You wrote, "All you argued here is that a mind can't be disembodied. I don't disagree. This doesn't say how a conscious mind can or cannot be transferred to another entity." I would say that it does because by virtue of the mind being (at a basic level) a process that is done by a particular entity, that makes it inseparable from that particular entity and makes it a particular mind. It is not a process done by another entity, it is a process done by "this and not that" entity in accordance with the law of identity (whatever the thing is, dog, cat, elephant, human, whatever). And this is where the word "transferred" is inappropriate. That word "transfer" implies movement from one place to another, which is a concept applicable only to entities, which the mind is not, as you and I agree on. You also wrote, "If you want to define "you" as also the physical body you have, that doesn't make sense to me. As long as there is a body it doesn't matter. The question is if you have a psychological death, not just a biological death. It isn't enough to say "the light went out". Another way to phrase the question: if you die biologically, does this mean you always die psychologically?" Well I would say yes you do die psychologically if you die biologically. Because your psychology is ultimately based on your biology. If the required foundation stops existing, then anything that follows from it can't exist either. It would be like saying that a treehouse can exist without a tree. And I meant to define "you" as a physical body that continuously undergoes essential physical processes. That latter portion of the definition "that continuously undergoes essential physical processes" is an essential part of the definition. Furthermore, I would be careful about making claims that a FPE before a coma is distinct from after a coma and that a consciousness "completely halts" and comes back. Doctors say that "someone who is in a coma is unconscious and will not respond to voices, other sounds, or any sort of activity going on nearby. The person is still alive, but the brain is functioning at its lowest stage of alertness." That part, the "lowest stage of alertness" part is an indication that even in a coma your consciousness is still operative at a basic level. And a much stronger argument can be made for going to sleep and waking up, your consciousness is still there, it is only its strength that has changed. Even bacteria that is supposedly "frozen" and then "brought back to life" has never died. There are organisms on this world that have metabolisms that can continue to function in what is called "cryobiostasis." Their identities allow their organs to function at such a minimal level that we call "frozen" but they are not truly frozen or static like what you might think.
  21. @Eiuol you wrote, "That's the problem right there. I'm not treating consciousness as a constituent, fundamental or otherwise. I am treating it as irreducible, but I'm not also treating it as a fundamental "thing". That is, it isn't made out of parts to take apart and reassemble. Rather, consciousness and the mind is all or nothing. As I said earlier, the mind is a process. That's why it can go out of existence then return to existence. I described earlier that some things can go out of existence then return. I'd agree with you if consciousness or the mind were a type of particle, or fundamental constituent of reality. My whole point is that if a mind is continuous in all the ways I mentioned, that is the same "you". The mind is not an entity anyway, at least not by Objectivist standards. An entity would be some sort of physically bounded object, usually on the perceptual level." Ok, first I want to make sure that we are both thinking of the same definition of the word "fundamental." I would say that the word "fundamental" is synonymous with "irreducible." There are existents that can be broken down into simpler existents. Those existents are not fundamental. Those existents are not irreducible. If they are broken down, the simpler pieces that you can observe after the breakdown may or may not be "fundamental" or "irreducible." However, if you keep on progressively breaking something down into simpler and simpler constituents, EVENTUALLY you will get to a purely "fundamental" or "irreducible" constituent that cannot be broken down further. These fundamental constituents, whatever they may be, whether they are atoms, particles, waves, whatever, are irreducible primaries that cannot be destroyed and recreated and will always be separate from one another. I agree with you that the mind is not a "thing" and at this point I also want to make sure that we can distinguish between "consciousness" and the "mind." I am treating consciousness as a state of awareness that we can achieve only by having a mind. Consciousness is not an entity, it is a state of awareness. And the mind is a faculty for perceiving that which exists and I agree with you that is a process. But "awareness" and "process" are meaningless terms if we don't specify WHAT is BEING AWARE and WHAT is UNDERGOING THE PROCESS. Ultimately, both "awareness" and "process" are metaphysically based on what is being aware and what is undergoing a process. So what is being aware and what is undergoing a process? Well, the answer to this question first comes from you. It involves your self-identification. When you started existing, you went through the process of first identifying existents which are not you. You identified entities and then at some point you grasped that they each possess an identity. If you have ever seen two entities which are perfect copies of each other you can hold one in one hand and hold the other in another hand and you can grasp that entities, even if they are perfect copies of each other, are not one entity. You can destroy one and the other still exists. You can damage one and the other entity exists unharmed. So you used your mind to gain an awareness of the external world first and then as you got older your awareness ascended into a higher-level self awareness, which you achieved by using your mind to identify WHAT YOU ARE. And by using my perception and proprioception, what I have identified myself to be is entity, a "physically bounded object, usually on the perceptual level" as you put it. But of course, not just any "physically bounded object, usually on the perceptual level." A "physically bounded object, usually on the perceptual level" that CONTINUOUSLY undergoes self-generated, self-sustained ACTION. That ACTION is the foundation of your mind and subsequent state of awareness (consciousness) and the foundation of that ACTION is the ENTITY that is doing the ACTION, not SOME OTHER entity away from the entity that is doing the action. YOUR "mind" and consequently YOUR states of awareness (consciousness) are metaphysically grounded in the entities (your functioning organs) which you are made up of (which I have stated above are separate from all the other entities that exist in the universe when broken down enough). And if you are like me, whatever continuity of your mind exists ONLY EXISTS across the entities (your functioning organs) that are constituting you as one whole integrated macroscopic entity. That continuity DOES NOT and CANNOT extend beyond the entity that it is metaphysically grounded in, which is ultimately SEPARATE from all other fundamental constituents in the universe.
  22. @Eiuol you wrote "I think you're asking in the second question what would happen if I use a transporter that assembled another version of me at the other end of the transporter, while my current self stayed put. In a sense, that would only be one of me still. But this is where it would get weird. I would describe this as a "branched" version of me. It would be like having a parallel mind. I don't think in principle a mind must only have 1 first-person experience. Why not 5 distinct first-person experiences? Part for part, they are distinct, but they are still all me. " And you also wrote "I know my solution is very weird, but I don't think that violates the law of identity." This is where the law of identity is either misunderstood OR it is not being as clear as it should be. For EVERY existent that exists, there is a "this one and not that one" aspect of its existence that sets it apart from all other existents. This would be better understood if we consider lets say 5 fundamental constituents of reality and lets assume that they are all EXACT PERFECT copies of each other. They can be particles or atoms or "waves" or whatever fundamental "something" that cannot be destroyed or "reconstituted." Regardless of what these fundamental constituents may be, they would have an identity in accordance with the law of identity that we have validated through observation in everyday life. These 5 fundamental constituents are FOREVER (in ALL of the past and ALL of the future SEPARATE from one another no matter what may be done to them, keeping in mind that they cannot be destroyed and "reconstituted" because they are fundamental constituents). If a fundamental constituent was capable of having First Person Experiences, its first person experiences would be the first person experience of that particular fundamental constituent. In other words its cognition might go something like this, "I am a fundamental constituent that looks a certain way, thinks a certain way, and I see 4 OTHER fundamental constituents that are NOT ME but they look exactly like me and it looks like they think exactly like me. It looks like we are copies of each other." And macroscopic entities are just the integration of these fundamental constituents. If fundamental constituents 1 and 2 integrated to create a higher level entity, that higher level entity would be metaphysically inseparable from fundamental constituents 1 and 2 but it would be SEPARATE from whatever fundamental constituents 3, 4, and 5 could integrate to become. If the higher level entity made up of fundamental constituents 1 and 2 would have a first-person experience, that first person experience would be created by fundamental constituents 1 and 2 having a first person experience as the ONE higher-level entity that they have integrated THEMSELVES TO BE. The "branched" version of you that you mentioned is made up of separate entities that are NOT THE ENTITIES that constitute the real one and only you. They are as SEPARATE from you as fundamental constituents 3, 4, and 5 are from 1 and 2. They are not you.
  23. @Grames I'm sorry I have one more question related to misperception. Let's say for example that I misperceive a temperature, do I have a right to claim that a temperature exists in some quantity even though I haven't perceived it? Or if I misidentify a watercup as a ball, do I have a right to claim that something exists? This kind of relates to my thinking about "depth perception" and it being distorted. If your perception is distorted, you have misperceived something (some object) but I think you must have at least done something right if you were able to achieve the form of perception that you did. And I'm wondering are there any valid claims that you can make based on misperception like the examples I gave?
  24. @Grames you mentioned “Your issue is very much similar to debating if a thing is truly red or merely painted red. The appearance of redness is genuine in either case, and so is the appearance of three dimensionality in your example where the 3-Dness is 'painted on'. That appearances can be deceiving is long known.” So here is what I find troubling about your statement. In your example, there is actually something about the paint that contains physical properties that I perceived as red. It EXISTS and is there for me to perceive it. And it was placed on the object which also EXISTS and is there for me to perceive it. I understand this situation. But I don’t think my example should be granted an equal status and I will try to argue why. In the case when you are focusing on a 2D screen, THERE IS NO THIRD dimension so therefore it follows THAT THERE SHOULD BE NO WAY TO PERCEIVE it. You can’t perceive something that doesn’t exist. You only may perceive something else and you might think that that something else is something, in which case you would be perceiving something but mistaking it for something else. Although this whole situation with 3D glasses is making me doubt what I wrote in my previous sentence so I am actually interested in what you think about being able to perceive something which does not exist. For example, if we did not live in 3D universe, only 2 dimensions, would it even be possible to perceive or even misperceive a third dimension if a third dimension didn’t even exist? I would assume that it would be impossible and I based some further thinking about this situation on this assumption and it gave me another idea. Even with 3D glasses, whatever object you are perceiving, even if it is a 2D screen, is still located a certain depth away from you. And it might be possible that you can misperceive that depth and misperceive it varyingly (by “varyingly” I mean certain parts of it appear closer than others) under the right circumstances. So I read a little bit about what those circumstances might be and I stumbled onto stereopsis. So it turns that there are multiple mechanisms by which we perceive depth, with a major one being by having two eyes spaced a certain distance apart. In normal vision, because the eyes are spaced a certain distance apart, your eyes get two slightly different images delivered to them by light and light is incident at slightly different angles. Your mind than takes those images and integrates them into sensations. Then it integrates those sensations into a perception. And it actually uses the two different images to perform the integration to perceive depth. And it is at this point that I have another doubt and it relates to what to DavidOdden stated about the “metaphysically given.” I find myself asking “Is depth metaphysically given?” If depth is perceptual, then it has to be “metaphysically given.” But it just might be so that only objects are metaphysically given. This is also why I titled my post the way I did. I am starting to suspect that “depth perception” might instead be a first-level concept and I would be very interested in your response to this thought. Besides the question about depth, another reason that I am thinking that “depth perception” could be a first-level concept is that we all make an implicit assumption (and no assumptions are supposed to be involved at the perceptual level of consciousness) that we do not think about when we look at any object. That implicit assumption is also how the makers of 3D glasses trick us into perceiving a 3rd dimension that IS NOT THERE. We assume that we are looking at the SAME OBJECT WITH BOTH EYES. This turns out to be an extremely significant and overlooked implicit assumption because passive 3D glasses actually filter two types of light that are coming from DIFFERENT LOCATIONS from a screen. One lens blocks out one type of light so your eye never sees it and the other lens blocks out the other type of light so your other eye never sees the light the former eye sees. THIS IS HOW YOU GET TWO DIFFERENT IMAGES DELIVERED to your eyeballs. You’re actually looking at two different pictures (objects) and you don’t know it. Active 3D glasses create an almost equivalent situation but not exactly the same. They either function as a screen or synchronize with a T.V screen to alternate back and forth between images that your right and left eyes would see if you were not being deceived. The TV shows an image intended for your right eye and your left lens darkens completely (so your left eye never sees the image intended for your right eye) and a split-second later the TV shows an image for your left eye and your right lens darkens completely (so your right eye never sees the image intended for your left eye) and this happens so fast and frequently that your brain can’t tell the difference. It’s a slightly different situation but it achieves the same end result, you get two slightly different images delivered to your eyeballs that your eyes would not see if they were both simultaneously looking at one image on a screen, but THAT THEY WOULD SEE if you were looking at the object in real life. It’s almost like your mind is performing a trigonometric triangulation calculation with an object being one vertex and your two eyes being the other two vertices… The bottom line is that those glasses deliver two slightly different images to your eyeballs and your brain integrates them into one whole 3D perception. The last question I am hoping to get your response on which is slightly tangent from this OP (but not too tangent) is the following: Is there a spatial relationship that exists between entities in reality independent of the mind? And if it does exist independent of the mind, is it “metaphysically given” (meaning can it be perceived?) or is it just metaphysically real and conceptually identified? I know Peikoff said that “Space is a concept” but he did mention that it refers to relationship between entities so I am thinking that the relationship it refers to has to exist in reality, right? The reason I ask this is because I think depth perception might be based on the conceptual identification of a spatial relationship between “metaphysically given” entities. I don’t know about depth, but I suspect that you can at least know based on observation that we live in at least a 2D universe because you can visually perceive at least in 2D (because the images you get even of the real world are in fact in 2D) and you can geometrically conceptualize that you can two perpendicular line segments between the entities you see that would also determine two axes (or two dimensions of space). I think connecting these line segments and understanding how they determine two axes of space could be the very act of conceptually identifying the spatial relationship between entities. And I think that the way that you know that there is a 3rd Dimension is by connecting line segments from the entities that you see in 2D TO YOURSELF (since you yourself are self-aware and are therefore also at least a “metaphysically given” entity). When you connect this line segment to yourself, I think you have conceptually correctly identified a 3rd dimension of the spatial relationship between you and every other entity that exists. I think by going through this geometric proof you can at least know that there are 3 dimensions and depth has to exist as a result of this conclusion being true and it may exist in any quantity, but it must exist in some quantity.
  25. Recently, I read a transcript taken from one of Binswanger's lectures in which he defends perception from certain skeptical attacks against it. He calls perception "inerrant" which means that the information that you do perceive cannot be wrong because it is silent and cannot play tricks on you because it does not tell you anything. The concepts that you form based on perception can be wrong, according to my understanding of Binswanger. At first, I was in complete agreement with this but then I thought of the example of depth perception. With modern 3D glasses (either passive or active), it seems to me that your eyes are truly deceived because they get sensory input that leads to you perceiving a 3D object that is not really a 3D object at all, just a projection on 2D screen. I see this as significant because if depth perception can be wrong, then so can all perception, which conflicts with Oist epistemology's teachings that humans are infallible at the perceptual level. The only way that I could think of this not invalidating the sense of sight is if depth is not something that is perceived, but instead is a concept formed based on perceiving entities that have a spatial relationship to you. I know that Peikoff did mention that Space is a relational concept and refers to a relationship between entities that exists in reality. And this reinforces my thinking that depth cannot be perceived because depth is like space and there is no such thing as the space between two entities to perceive in the first place. There is only a relationship between entities that exist in the universe. I'm not sure about this though and I hope to learn what anybody else's thoughts are on this.
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