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Existence and Similarity

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MisterSwig
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15 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

How do you define space? I don't think of space as an abstraction. The abstraction is a section of space relative to objects. Space, however, is real but not an object.

If space is not concrete, then it is an aspect of a concrete or a mental entity. For clarity: space is an aspect shared by 2 or more objects that describes the distance between those objects. Recognizing this requires abstracting away the objects themselves so you only think about distances. 

You can't see pure space unrelated to concretes just as you can't see pure red unrelated to concretes. Nor is there a substance from which pure space is made so that it adheres to a concrete. 

30 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

I don't think the concept "whole" applies to space.   

I don't think it does either, or at least the concept becomes incoherent when applied to the whole, everything that exists. You would have nothing to find the distance between. As soon as you start talking about space, you already started talking about divisions of reality. The concept space presupposes that you divide, or differentiate.

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On 11/30/2020 at 6:17 PM, Eiuol said:

It just goes weird when you say that space has to be a medium, a substance of some kind is the implication.

That might be an implication, except I've explicitly excluded a material substance from my application of the idea in this case. "Medium" has many definitions. I like this one:

760160825_Screenshot_2020-12-03-07-45-572.png.1c295b8e194fbab5006a9bca8643215c.png

"A condition or environment in which something may function or flourish" seems broad enough to include my view. Though I'm sure we could quibble with even that description.

For comparison, my example sentence would be: Physical objects exist in a medium of space.

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The term substance doesn't refer to a physical material either, at least not necessarily. Descartes believed in some kind of mental substance that isn't physical. Or maybe what Aristotle meant by substance.

Look at this essay that Boydstun wrote.

I don't have a disagreement though if by medium you mean something like an abstract environment, rather than something about what the universe is made up of.

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On 12/5/2020 at 7:46 AM, Eiuol said:

I don't have a disagreement though if by medium you mean something like an abstract environment, rather than something about what the universe is made up of.

Then we disagree. Space is not abstract. We occupy space and we move through it. We also see through space since light must travel through it to our eyes.

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  • 10 months later...
On 11/21/2020 at 12:16 PM, MisterSwig said:

Space is inside and outside all material things, providing an unbounded place for matter to exist.

Okay, so one premise is that space is indivisible. It has no parts. Anything inside something indivisible is just more of the same. There is nothing that distinguishes or makes a line between one area of water and another area of water. The same for space by your explanation. Anything indivisible like this can be within something else. Water can be within a jar. But how could it at the same time be outside all material things? Maybe you are saying it permeates everything, like submerging that same jar in the water. That's simply a medium. But if the water and the jar overlap, then you would be saying that water is made of parts.

 

 

 

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17 hours ago, Eiuol said:

Anything inside something indivisible is just more of the same. There is nothing that distinguishes or makes a line between one area of water and another area of water. The same for space by your explanation.

I'm not sure I follow you. Water is divisible. With a cup you can scoop some out of a pool or ocean and divide it very easily. As far as I know, you can't scoop up some space and set it apart from the rest of space. Also, you cannot displace space, as you can water by dropping a rock into it. All material objects pass right through space, without affecting the rest of space. (I know there is a theory of gravity that involves "curving" spacetime, but I don't subscribe to that theory and I frankly don't see or understand the evidence for it.)

In my view, there is no way to divide space, unless by "divide" you simply mean designating different sections relative to material objects, such as the section of space inside my house versus the section inside your house. But as both houses are traveling through space while on a planet traveling through space, the walls of each house are also passing through space, which means these sections of space are relative to the houses, but the space itself is not relative to anything. The space itself does not travel with the house. Rather the house travels through the space.

I don't think anything can technically be inside space. In my view space is unbounded. There is no inside or outside space. We take up space. We occupy space. But we don't divide or displace it.

 

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2 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

With a cup you can scoop some out of a pool or ocean and divide it very easily.

By divisible I mean having parts. Water is not made up of parts. Parts would be distinct things that the whole is composed of. You seem to mean infinitely indivisible, where you can't even section off itself. That's even less reasonable. 

2 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

All material objects pass right through space, without affecting the rest of space.

If you can't take sections of space, then objects passing through space can't pass through sections of space. They would either instantly pass through any distance, or never make it through.

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7 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

Water is not made up of parts. Parts would be distinct things that the whole is composed of.

Water is made of water molecules. Molecules are made of atoms. Atoms are particles of matter. I don't think there is an equivalent composition to space.

17 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

If you can't take sections of space, then objects passing through space can't pass through sections of space. They would either instantly pass through any distance, or never make it through.

What do you mean by "take sections of space"? When you designate a section of space, you must do so relative to material objects. So there is no such thing as a nonrelative section of space. This is what I mean by sections of space are relative, but space itself cannot be. A section of space is not an actual part or parcel of space. It's whatever space happens to be relative to an object at any particular moment, as that object moves through space.

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2 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

Water is made of water molecules.

It was more so an analogy, but on the other hand, it is fine because those are not parts as entities, it is primarily indivisible.

13 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

When you designate a section of space, you must do so relative to material objects.

This would be fine, because then you would not be saying that it is an immaterial medium anymore. It would be a kind of measurement. By take sections of space, I mean to place a boundary around an area. If space itself cannot be sectioned off in this way, that I don't see how anything can pass through. As you said, a section of space is not an actual part in this sense. In other words, I'm saying that unless the sections are also just as real as the space they are sections of, as a medium, then nothing would end up anywhere.

 Really my only disagreement is that you call space something immaterial and also a medium at the same time.

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11 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

In other words, I'm saying that unless the sections are also just as real as the space they are sections of, as a medium, then nothing would end up anywhere.

Now this would depend on what you mean by "real." A section of space is real in the sense that relationships between existents are real. A section of space is essentially one relationship between space and a material object(s). However, if by "real" you mean that a section of space is material in nature, then, no, it wouldn't be real, but then neither would space itself be real in my view.

24 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

Really my only disagreement is that you call space something immaterial and also a medium at the same time.

I can't think of better words to describe what I mean. I'm open to suggestions, but I've probably considered most of the alternatives already. Are you primarily bothered by "immaterial" or "medium"? 

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1 hour ago, MisterSwig said:

A section of space is real in the sense that relationships between existents are real.

I said before that this is a measurement. But does space exist as a medium? If it does, I'm saying that even though those sections have a relational aspects to them, those sections have to be an actual part of space.

1 hour ago, MisterSwig said:

Are you primarily bothered by "immaterial" or "medium"? 

Well, immaterial is vague. If you simply mean not tangible, that could be okay, in the way you can't touch electricity even though you can clearly see it. Medium is fine, no issue with that. My issue is your reasoning about the nature of what space would be like. It seems to lead to more problems. If anything, spacetime is exactly the medium you are thinking about, even with the questions of relativity.

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8 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

I said before that this is a measurement. But does space exist as a medium? If it does, I'm saying that even though those sections have a relational aspects to them, those sections have to be an actual part of space.

What is it about space qua medium that necessitates space having parts?

13 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

Well, immaterial is vague. If you simply mean not tangible, that could be okay, in the way you can't touch electricity even though you can clearly see it.

But people touch electricity and get shocked, so I'm not sure what you mean by "not tangible." By "immaterial" I mean that space is simply not material, it's space. If there's something about space which you think qualifies it as material, then we should discuss that aspect. Is it something to do with your idea of a medium?

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6 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

What is it about space qua medium that necessitates space having parts?

Let me start by fixing what I already said. If something can be sectioned off, it should be called divisible.

I'm saying that if something passes through a medium that cannot be sectioned off would have to traverse the medium instantaneously or never finish passing through. To cross something, you need to cross some division of it, some section of it. But you said such sections are not even part of space.

6 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

By "immaterial" I mean that space is simply not material, it's space.

Then what is it, is it literally nothing? If it's nothing at all, it has no identity. I take material to mean something perceivable by some means, even if that means with a telescope or microscope. If something is not at all perceivable, in any way, then it is an attribute of something at best.

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On 11/21/2020 at 12:16 PM, MisterSwig said:

The only commonality between space and matter is the fact of their existence.

Yes.

Space is a relationship between things, defined thereby and it is relative. Those things exist in space and at points in space.  Space cannot exist "in space" or "at points in space" it IS the space.

Anything whatever that can exist at or in space or exhibit any property, attribute, is something other than space. 

Particles, fields, potentials, probabilities, are all things or aspects of things at or in space, not properties OF space, on the contrary... the positional parameters of those things, i.e. the spatial coordinates or those things, are properties or attributes of those things, in relation to other things.

 

No thing is a property or attribute of space. Space, position, location, extension, area, volume... these are all properties of things in relation to themselves and each other.

 

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On 10/20/2021 at 8:47 PM, Eiuol said:

Let me start by fixing what I already said. If something can be sectioned off, it should be called divisible.

I see. I think we're using two different senses of the concept "divisible." I'm talking about dividing into pieces, where you go from having one whole to having two or more wholes. For example, suppose I have one whole carrot. I then chop it up with a knife. Now I have many whole pieces of the original carrot, and the whole carrot no longer exists. It has been changed into many pieces of a carrot.  But suppose, instead of chopping up the carrot, I take a marker and draw several black lines on the whole carrot. I now have many sections of the carrot, while still maintaining the whole carrot itself. So I'm saying space cannot be chopped up into pieces like the carrot, but it can be sectioned like marking up the carrot.

On 10/20/2021 at 8:47 PM, Eiuol said:

But you said such sections are not even part of space.

Yes, because I'm thinking of "part" in the physical sense of a piece of something, like an arm is a part of a body, or a piston is a part of an engine. But if you mean "part" in some abstract sense, like a section of skin, or a section of sky, then we probably agree more than disagree.

On 10/20/2021 at 8:47 PM, Eiuol said:

Then what is it, is it literally nothing?

It's as close to nothing as something can get without being literally nothing. It's the medium for all material things.

On 10/20/2021 at 8:47 PM, Eiuol said:

I take material to mean something perceivable by some means, even if that means with a telescope or microscope. If something is not at all perceivable, in any way, then it is an attribute of something at best.

If something isn't perceivable in any way, why would it concern you? You couldn't know about it. The challenge is to differentiate the things you do perceive. If you define everything you perceive as "material," then you still need to tell me what distinguishes material space from material matter. Or are you saying that space is matter?

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3 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

But if you mean "part" in some abstract sense, like a section of skin,

How is that abstract?

3 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

If something isn't perceivable in any way, why would it concern you? You couldn't know about it.

Because it wouldn't exist in that case. It would have no mark upon reality, it would be beyond perception.

3 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

If you define everything you perceive as "material," then you still need to tell me what distinguishes material space from material matter.

I don't know, that's a scientific question. Perhaps something like a field as compared to a particle, but I can't give a more technical answer than that.

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9 hours ago, Eiuol said:
12 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

But if you mean "part" in some abstract sense, like a section of skin,

How is that abstract?

The section doesn't exist outside your mind. You imagine that it exists. What exists is the skin, the whole thing (as a part of a body), but you abstract a portion of it in your mind and dismiss the rest in order to conceive of a section of it.

9 hours ago, Eiuol said:
12 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

If something isn't perceivable in any way, why would it concern you? You couldn't know about it.

Because it wouldn't exist in that case. It would have no mark upon reality, it would be beyond perception.

Are you saying that if a thing is beyond human perception then it does not exist? I don't know how you would know such a thing, unless it contradicts some law of nature.

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On 10/22/2021 at 9:42 AM, MisterSwig said:

So I'm saying space cannot be chopped up into pieces like the carrot, but it can be sectioned like marking up the carrot.

What kind of thing exists that can only be divided by your mind? That's an attribute. We are talking about the same division, the same concept, but applied to different things.

On 10/22/2021 at 10:34 PM, MisterSwig said:

You imagine that it exists.

Skin biopsies.

On 10/22/2021 at 10:34 PM, MisterSwig said:

Are you saying that if a thing is beyond human perception then it does not exist?

I said perceivable, not human perceivable. There must be some means to perceive the thing in question. Otherwise it is at best an attribute.

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21 hours ago, Eiuol said:

Skin biopsies.

That's a piece of skin, not a section.

21 hours ago, Eiuol said:

I said perceivable, not human perceivable. There must be some means to perceive the thing in question. Otherwise it is at best an attribute.

Aren't you making a positive claim about something you can't perceive? You're saying it's at best an attribute. How do you know that? Take me through the logic. Why can't it be at best an entity?

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17 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

Aren't you making a positive claim about something you can't perceive?

What is by nature perceivable. I mean, it's just a foundational premise about Oist everything. 

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10 hours ago, Eiuol said:

What is by nature perceivable. I mean, it's just a foundational premise about Oist everything. 

Which "foundational premise" are you referencing? What's the quote?

I asked how do you know that an imperceivable thing is at best an attribute? Why can't it be an entity?

Rand argued for the primacy of existence, which means that "the universe exists independent of consciousness." Things in the universe exist whether we perceive them or not. But I don't see where Rand argued that imperceivable things are at best attributes. I don't believe she placed such a limit on imperceivable things. Actually, I'm not sure she addressed this issue. She wasn't too concerned about the realm of imperceivable things.

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5 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

But I don't see where Rand argued that imperceivable things are at best attributes.

"Actually, I was speaking here in the Aristotelian sense of the primary “substance”—which is a very misleading term, but what he meant was that the primary existent is an entity. And then aspects of an entity can be identified mentally, but only in relation to the entity. There are no attributes without entities, there are no actions without entities.

"An entity is that which you perceive and which can exist by itself. Characteristics, qualities, attributes, actions, relationships do not exist by themselves."

Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology (p. 264). 

This is in reference to Rand saying that the only metaphysically primary things are entities. It isn't that we incidentally perceive these things that exist by themselves, but that their very nature is to have some mark on reality such that they can be detected somehow

So clearly things that cannot be detected in any way can't be primary things. You might say that you can detect color, but what you are detecting primarily is the entity, color being necessarily a feature of the entity.

This is why it is fine to say that space is relational, or an attribute, because that's simply abstraction. As a measurement, that's fine. The problem comes in when you say that space is a medium. If it is real in a metaphysical sense, it has to at least be composed of entities. If it is a medium, you need some way to explain what it is. Something perceivable about it even indirectly.

 

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The ITOE workshops do not represent any "foundational premise" of Objectivism. Not even Peikoff considers them "official Objectivist doctrine," as he makes clear in the Forward to the Second Edition. Rand's extemporaneous answers were edited by Binswanger after her death. So we can't even say that those are her exact thoughts.

That said, the quote doesn't address imperceivable things. It addresses that which you can perceive in the context of entities and their aspects.

8 hours ago, Eiuol said:

The problem comes in when you say that space is a medium. If it is real in a metaphysical sense, it has to at least be composed of entities. If it is a medium, you need some way to explain what it is. Something perceivable about it even indirectly.

I've already explained what I mean by space as a medium, so I won't go over it all again. But I want to make clear that space is directly perceivable. It is not my position that space is imperceivable. With the naked eye you see space everywhere you look, whether it's occupied space or empty space. Also, space is immaterial, which means it's not composed of matter (or material entities). It is up to those who assert material space to provide evidence of the material entities which comprise it. I make no such assertion. Based on my own observation and logic I conclude that space itself has no material aspect or attribute. It is existence minus matter.

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12 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

That said, the quote doesn't address imperceivable things. It addresses that which you can perceive in the context of entities and their aspects.

Such things are not primary. Nonprimary things are characteristics. Nonprimary things are not entities.

The quote was only intended as an example. It's basic enough I didn't want to go over it in a thread not devoted to that topic.

18 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

It is not my position that space is imperceivable.

Then what is perceivable about it? I'm just trying to figure out what you think it is. I guess I'm saying if you have no science to add to this, you aren't saying anything interesting. In a way, saying that space exists everywhere you look and it is perceivable, it isn't really "space" precisely because it is a medium, and a medium itself occupies. Otherwise it isn't a medium, it would be nothing at all. 

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