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Frank

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  1. Yeah, after reading some more replies, I realized my position is too influenced by Theravada Buddhism, which, opposite of Mahayana, is strictly realist, and denies any and all agent in being. There is no experiencer in this understanding, hence, indirect realism is impossible. I understand, now, that this view is incompatible with Objectivism, which seems to hold consciousness a lot higher than Theravada Buddhism (not saying much, since Theravada breaks it down entirely to entirely empty phenomena with no doer even involved [Visuddhimagga XIX.20]), but a lot less than your average eternal soul believing religion. I need to read more about Objectivism. I realize now, that I was unconsciously, and wrongly, equating atheism with reductionism/mechanism thusly: If there is no soul, then there is no such thing as an experiencer. Thank you for your mature, well written, and polite critique.
  2. I Studied Buddhism for 20 years lol! That's probably why I sound the way I do. Traditional Theravada Buddhism (what I preferred, Mahayana, which I studied but then rejected entirely, is almost entirely subjective idealism, extreme nihilism, or relativism, or all three mixed up) teaches that we are utterly devoid of anything even resembling a soul, even going so far as to say humans are no different than marionettes, and that there is no doer (see Visuddhimagga, VIII.31, XIX.20). It is vehemently atheistic, and opposed to all possible versions of anything even resembling a soul. It even rejects the use of the phrase "I am" as a conceit to be eliminated (Visuddhimagga III.122). In such a world, the very idea of indirect realism is nonsense, as every formulation involves someone seeing a representation of reality, but from this perspective, there is no one to see this representation, but rather there are just inanimate objects interacting with each other. Hence, you wouldn't say a rock that rolls down a hill didn't really experience the hill directly, because what in the world would that even mean? Likewise, if we are merely meat animated by electricity, it is nonsense to say we experience things indirectly. There are meaty blobs of matter animated by electricity who have sensors that are affected by other matter. Ditto for cameras, and any and everything else. From this perspective, talking about indirect realism is completely irrational, as we would be ultimately inanimate objects. That said, I am realizing this is not the Objectivist way, and that this philosophy involves a very different understanding of consciousness. My mistake! I guess I need to read more about it! I really wasn't trying to say that my understanding was right. I was actually hoping for exactly what Boydstun provided: lots of quotes and references defending direct realism! I only submitted my own ideas as a side note, and merely as musings, in order to contribute, even in a small way, to the defense of direct realism generally. I seem to have failed, and have zero problem with this. I don't see myself as an expert on these matters. I'm responding to you because your critique was respectful, mature, and politely written, and I sincerely thank you for that.
  3. Thank you so much for all the info! A work I'm considering buying that defends direct realism: Skepticism and the Veil of Perception, by Michael Huemer.
  4. Not at all. We are conscious, as in an electrical process. There is no ghost sitting inside watching a screen of the outside, though. Since we are simply conscious, but there is no ghost, there is no reason to delineate about direct or indirect realism. Light bounces off of objects, hits our eyes, triggers things in our brains and we become conscious of them, in the same way an electronic camera picks up images and so on. We don't debate whether an electronic camera really experiences the outside world, because we don't think cameras have ghosts inside them. Cameras are accepted as having light sensors and so on which are triggered by the world and which directly take in the light from the outside world and make an image. We don't make up a story and say that the camera must be watching the images inside of itself and never actually experiences the objects themselves, that would be nonsense. Likewise, If we are conscious, but there's no delineation between a ghost mind and the physical body, then there is no ghost mind to watch the representational reality. There's just a consciousness directly perceiving the world. Thus, I believe that if religion, and other hocus pocus ideas about ghosts and souls and such, had never been developed, there would never have been this debate about whether or not we perceive things directly, since the presumed "we" in this sentence is a ghost, spirit, magical entity that doesn't exist. Without this false dichotomy, it doesn't even make any sense to say "we never experience the outside world". Who doesn't experience it? The material body and its dependent consciousness certainly experience it. If they didn't, then there is no separate entity to have that represented version of reality. There's just the material body and mind, that's it.
  5. A lot of smart people feel that representational realism (indirect realism) is the correct view. I disagree, and would like to present my own argument in support of direct realism. I would also like to see any successful defenses of it. Here is my take: I believe the position that only indirect realism can be correct is based on soul theories, even if subconsciously. I'll try to demonstrate this simply, without being verbose. Take a small plant. It senses light, and this light, having been sensed by external cells, then has effects inside the plant. We don't bother discussing how the plant experiences the world because we don't see them as that type of entity. Now, imagine we believe that plants have souls, and do experience the world. Imagine we think there's a little consciousness inside the plant, looking out. Now we have to discuss whether the conscious soul inside actually experiences the light or not. Does the soul actually see, if it only gets information sent to it from cells on the outside, while it is inside? The same is true with humans. If we see the process of perceiving light as a process no different, though albeit more complex, but nonetheless ultimately the same, than a plant sensing light, there is no issue. But if we imagine that there is a soul piloting the human, now we have to consider if the soul inside really experiences the outside world or not. Hence, if we don't believe there is a ghost in the machine of the human body, there is no one to have a representation of the outside world, there are just light and other phenomena sensors that trigger certain things inside the body, and so on. In other words, if a suit of armor has a camera hooked up to it, we don't discuss whether or not it directly perceives the world. We take for granted that the camera has sensors that are picking up light and other information from the world. Put a person in the suit, now we have something to discuss. Likewise, if the human body is just a suit of meat armor with a camera, no need to discuss this, but if there's a soul inside, we have to discuss it. A special entity that is imaginary, and has no support in science, is required to have representational realism: a ghost. There must be a ghost to be seeing this "representation" of reality. If there is no ghost inside, who is watching? If there's no ghosts, then perception is just a process of sensors triggering chemical responses and synapses firing. There is no little man inside the skull watching a screen that represents the "outside world." Without ghosts the very idea of indirect or representational realism is superfluous at best, and completely irrational at worst.
  6. Thanks! I have been studying dead end, self defeating philosophy for 20 years, enough for a thousand lifetimes (as circular logic and meaningless ruminations get a lot of mileage), and am pleased to have found one that is productive and useful. I appreciate the clarification.
  7. Thank you. Does the book circle back around at some point and affirm what was left deliberately open in that line though? Because at this point, it sounds like the philosophy carefully, openly, and deliberately avoids this issue: "The concept does not specify that the physical world exists." So, does the author later explain a concept that does specify that the physical world exists?
  8. I have "Objectivism: the Philosophy of Ayn Rand" in my Amazon cart and am about to buy it. However, while reading the preview, I came across this statement, on page 5, after a discussion of foundational axioms: "The concept does not specify that the physical world exists." I've had my fill to sickness with philosophies that question the existence of the physical world, and ones that set up a great doubt about it, while neither confirming nor denying its existence. I am interested in Objectivism as a solution to doubting the external world, which I see as a serious flaw in many philosophies, as this doubt means that there is no reason to read the book in the first place, as the author is telling me I shouldn't be confident that it exists at all (ditto for every philosophy that plays this game). Forgive me for this being related to my other question! I just wanted to confirm before paying around 20 dollars for the book, and this very specific question about a specific book is not quite answered in that question.
  9. I appreciate your thoughts and I believe you're pretty spot on. There are some Buddhists out there who teach a pragmatic, down to earth, realist form of Buddhism based on the historical Buddha's teachings. However the vast majority seem to be in denial about reality and see Buddhism as a way to escape into fantasy where everything is imaginary or unreal, yet all the while eating three meals a day, paying bills, and generally constantly contradicting their own purported views and living as huge hypocrites. That said, yes, I have wasted enough time thinking exactly what you said about the question "would they understand if I said this or that." I have finally decided to be done with it. I've realized it's not that they don't understand, there's no confusion, rather it's that they are willfully ignorant. They don't even believe their own teachings, as is evident in what I said above about them living as huge hypocrites. So there's no reason to try to convince them of something they are lying about to begin with. If someone was refusing to drink water because they thought it was imaginary, they need help! And one may be able to convince them to drink and give up on believing everything is imaginary. But these charlatans don't believe for a second that everything is imaginary or unreal or whatever, they just benefit in some way by pretending to believe this, and self delusion is easier for them than facing reality I guess. I suppose a small subset is just plain dumb and don't see that they are self contradicting. But, if they are too stupid to see that claiming water is totally imaginary but also making sure to drink it every day all day to stay alive is a huge contradiction, then they're probably too dumb to understand this even if explained. So there's willful charlatans and idiots. Neither can likely be helped, and all may reject any help offered anyway.
  10. Ah. Apologies for my negative assumption. I've been out in the cold for 10, or more like 20 years if I count pre online forum era of discussion. I know very little of objectivism, and I don't know you people at all, and yet, I feel like I'm finally back home. This philosophical position matches exactly how I think on this particular issue. Namely, philosophy picks up after, and only after significant evidence for existence (realism) has already been accepted and is, indeed, undeniably self evident. I'd probably stray into strange walks beyond what you all might, and take these positions to the ends of all possible reasonings, to where self evident existence and realism is true in every conceivable scenario (and indeed I've done this above by demonstrating every other scenario as self refuting). But, nonetheless, I've finally found people who are practical, and not obsessed with playing word games to try to make it sound like bizarre ideas that exist strictly as quirks of language exist in actuality, and, better still, people who consider their philosophy to be past that rudimentary word game that belongs in a pre philosophy prep course before one learns real philosophy. Thank you all for this. 20 years arguing with idealists and anti realists really was enough. I'm thrilled to be poised for philosophical progress that is not at all mired by nonsensical hippy "what if it's all unreal dude?" quasi philosophical pop nonsense posing as deep wisdom. And, seriously, this is 90% of Buddhist and secular philosophical debate. I cannot even express the relief to have found a place where that position isn't even on the table! :)❤
  11. Ah, fresh air, thank you yes, those schools enter self referential nonsense. "All is unreal." Means "Unreal is unreal." Quite literally gibberish. Ditto for "All is mind." Means "Mind is mind." Asinine nonsense. Throw out all the evidence, call it all maya, your argument goes too. Bye and good riddance.
  12. I love this forum so much. I expected a counter, assumed you were going to be arguing that everything is imaginary or some other hogwash. However, unless I'm much mistaken, it seems you're so in agreement that you see my arguments as excessive and the matter as solved wordlessly and without debate nor argument as the issue is self evident and automatic, irrefutable proof of the objective? A bit like if I was going on and on arguing that water is wet. You'd be like, "Obviously, why all this discussion when that is self evident?" Am I reading you right? Or am I about to be schooled on why everything is imaginary and such is a perfectly intelligent conclusion? Please forgive my caution, I've dealt with Buddhist forums and philosophy forums for 10 years and 90% of replies to questions like this either argue for "All is mind" or seem to agree, kind of, but are ultimately trolling in favor of "All is mind." 7% are on the fence and may lean toward "Some things are real." But while strongly cautioning against realism. And about 3% are actually realists.
  13. Thanks. I'm confused, though. Are you implying I need to be taught a lesson on this topic because I am ridiculing when I should be arguing? Or what are you meaning with this suggestion?
  14. Finally, I was doubting myself, so I looked it up, and, indeed, "All is mind." is a problem of absolute generality and leads inevitably to a liar's paradox. It's similar to saying "All is true." Or "All is false." And nearly identical to saying "Nothing is real." Etc. It is the rambling of a charlatan or a lunatic and not something to be bothered with by reasonable people. If nothing else, we need point out that all who preach this tripe eat and drink, pay their bills, and in every respect live as if they are staunch realists, yet lie through their teeth to others and maybe even themselves when they proselytize on this topic. The only ones who preach it and believe it are running wild in the streets and probably near death, as people who truly don't believe things exist/are real/etc. Wouldn't eat or drink or avoid danger, etc. and would starve to death very quickly or otherwise self destruct due to delusion caused accident. Hence, 99.99999% of those who preach it are dishonest, whether they realize it or not. Please forgive my verbose writing, and repetition. I should also say, as a side note, that traditional orthodox Theravada Buddhism is actually a realist school. All this anti realism and idealism stuff was developed centuries after the Buddha's death. Not relevant to objectivism, just food for thought and to clarify.
  15. A perhaps more elegant solution than what I wrote above: To think "All is in my mind, there is no objective, no real." Means to conclude that the statement just made is merely subjective, unreal, not true, and thus unreliable and conclusively false. "All is in my mind." Is a self refuting statement. To prove that there is no real, objective reality is always, without exception, to disprove your own proof, and thus the argument can never succeed. Such is impossible.
  16. I agree and thank you. I'd like to add my own argument: I think we can agree that the burden of proof of ownership, for proving to all parties, including the claimant, falls on the claimant. If I claim I own your house or car or something, I have to demonstrate this to be true. Otherwise, I have no basis for this claim, and no one will recognize that I own them, including me. The same logic applies if I said I own Jupiter, or the milky way galaxy, etc. No one would take me seriously, and I'd have to admit to myself that I'm incorrect without significant proof. That said, the only being who could demonstrate ownership over ALL to the extent needed to make the statement, and mean it literally, "All is my mind." Would be a god. They would have to demonstrate that they control literally everything. Assuming they're not omnipotent, they will fail to demonstrate that everything is in their mind. And anyone would fail to demonstrate to anyone else that everything is in their mind, the other person's mind, either, as they'd have to prove to the other person that they, the other person, are omnipotent. Thus, barring a god entering the mix, it is impossible for anyone to say "All is your mind" or "All is my mind" and be correct. And, so, this argument is destroyed. There are a lot of things to be debate, but it is not up for debate as to whether or not all is in someone's mind. That is a ridiculous position that is immediately disproven. In other words, only a fool runs into a wall that they didn't create and that neither they, nor anyone else can breach, and declares "This wall exists strictly as MY mind." Even a god who came up against such a wall would have to admit that, while everything in the universe is their mind alone, this wall is something other, as they didn't create it, and have no control over it, and thus have no right to say the wall is strictly their mind. Thus, there's a subjective and an objective, always, a self and an other. That is, unless one is omnipotent and can thus demonstrate that they everything is strictly theirs, they must always admit an other, and if there's an other, and a not self, then it is more reasonable to call it objective, than to illogically call it subjective.
  17. Thank you for this, very helpful. I thought more about your previous reply, and realized it really is perfect for one of the two issues and completely buttons it up. To circle back around, from the very useful text you so kindly quoted above: "The world may not exist" includes the possibility that the text does not exist, that its originator does not exist..." Essentially, proving that the external world does not exist is impossible, as you'd end up disproving all of your data, proofs, evidence, even yourself. So this is perfect, exactly what I was looking for. So, when I see some article purporting to provide some kind of scientific proof that the objective doesn't exist, I just need remember that the article is necessarily self-refuting. Now, forgive me for asking the same question again, but you touched on a few points that were very helpful on this topic before, but not as beautifully destructive as the argument against other people trying to prove it (or I just failed to apprehend it properly, if so, apologies). I think it is pretty apparent you've the mind to come up with such a thing, or you already have, or know of someone else who has, and it would be wonderful if you could share. What kind of logic could we apply to the same issue, but from the perspective of the individual asking, privately, "What if literally everything is in my head?" In what way could we make such a question invalid? There must be some reason that asking if literally everything is in your head is a ridiculous question that is self defeating, just as trying to prove to someone else, or accept someone else's arguments that the objective doesn't exist is irrevocably flawed.
  18. This has been my experience as well. Nonetheless though, it bears consideration, until one comes to some kind of conclusion that it need not be considered at all. Like, for example, if someone told you they were going to demonstrate to their imaginary friend that they, the imaginary person, are imaginary, you'd likely not find that to be a good use of time.
  19. Thank you. That is very helpful. I was formally trained in the tradition of mind only Buddhist idealism. As a young man I thought it sounded neat. But as I learned more and took it more seriously, I realized that to take such teaching literally was, quite precisely, asinine, and taking the philosophy literally, and going "all in" so to speak, while having "great faith" is certainly the promoted goal. I started to realize my family, professional and social life were suffering as I spent so much time pondering these absurd philosophical positions and weekend meditation (or brainwashing, the meditation was to keep one phrase in mind for three 12 hour meditation sessions, three days in a row). I finally had my fill, and it kind if clicked that I was part of something ridiculous. Now I'm looking for a philosophy that has its feet on the ground, and which is diametrically opposed to such silliness to the point that its very foundational formulations rule out such a view point. One issue is that many will claim that quantum mechanics or other sciences support the mind only idealism position and that this can supposedly be proven (though one proving to someone else that they don't exist, and neither does the proof that they don't exist exist, is the height of absurdity). This has been the only sticking point for me shaking off this religion entirely; some have made the case that the religion is supported by science. Typically I find people disproving these scientific points, using science, but I was hoping this proving is itself unnecessary, and that there must be someone who has defeated the idea from the start, rather than always playing defense. Hence, I'm looking for help.
  20. Thanks! Does it cover the question both from the perspective of one person purporting to another and also from the perspective of one person thinking privately?
  21. Thank you so much. This made my day. So, essentially, no one could possibly make the argument that nothing exists, etc. because such a thing becomes illogical the second it is said, as it is already against the evidence necessarily allowed by the very making of the statement. Completely agree. People who write papers attempting to demonstrate that the external world doesn't exist or that all is imaginary, etc. or otherwise try to convince others of these things, belong in the dictionary alongside the word "asinine." If they are correct, and truly believed it, then proselytizing about it is utterly, laughably absurd. Hence, they do not believe even their own words, let alone believe anyone else should believe them. That said, what about from strictly one individuals perspective, when pondering "What if it's all in my head?" How might this be countered?
  22. There are always people, from physics enthusiasts to philosophers, writing articles ostensibly proving that nothing is real, there is no such thing as the objective, everything is imaginary, etc. etc. I usually look for physicists or philosophers who conclusively demonstrate that realism is the correct position, and who refute these opposed ideas. But, these people always pop up, and critical theory seems to be the main ideology driving culture and politics today, and it rejects science and objectivity entirely as tools of the oppressor. So a huge movement is forcing itself onto the world and seeking to refute realism, presumably because throwing out truth makes it really easy to manipulate people. I'm starting to think a better approach is needed apart from opposing idealists/antirealists/etc one by one, point by point. It seems there is a fundamental flaw in the very premise of even stating that nothing is real/the objective doesn't exist/everything is imaginary/etc. That such a purport is self-refuting, or otherwise inherently flawed and invalid. Thus, one need not engage someone in discussion nor debate if their initial point is self-refuting and irrevocably flawed. Does objectivism offer this kind of refutation? A way to demonstrate that even the purport that nothing is real is self refuting and fundamentally flawed from the start? Might we get on with our lives and blow off these pop philosophers by coming to an understanding that their premise need not be refuted in the first place, as it self-refutes or is otherwise invalid?
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