Page 234 of 447 FirstFirst ... 134184224232233234235236244284334 ... LastLast
Results 6,991 to 7,020 of 13398

Thread: The last and final argument about reality.

  1. #6991
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    1,875
    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Robinson View Post
    Your God seems to be Mind — you think Mind has the power to create something out of nothing, in that it can make logical scientific models without a pre-existing logic in the universe.
    I'm sure KenG will give the MDR answer that question.

    I can't resist adding these historical observations. Many such dilemmas fall into the pattern of Aristotle's arguments. He asserted, contrary to some of his predecessors , that "change" and "motion" were not merely illusions. He said that all motion appeared to involve a "mover" and a "thing moved". As later interpreted by Aquinas, the concept of "X moves Y" not only refers to physical motion but actions such as "X justifies Y", "X creates Y", "X causes Y". "X explains Y". Aristotle pointed out that motion analyzed this way leads to chains of "movers" and "things moved". For example, in the crude motion-by-contact physics of Aristotle's day, we would analyze "A car moves" by the chain that begins: "The wheels move the car", "The drive axles move the wheels", "The transmission moves the axles", etc.

    Aristotle did not like the concept of infinitely long chains of movers that moved each other. From Aquinas' point of view, this would include explanatory chains involving other actions than physical motion - like " Y is justified. Y1 justifies Y. Y2 justifies Y1. Y3 justifies Y2. ... ad infinitum. (e.g. "Capital punishement is justified". "Deterrence of murder justifies Capital punishment", "Attaching value of life justifies deterrence of murder", "Attaching value to life is justified by attaching value to ..." etc.) Aristotle considered the idea of eliminating infinitely long chain of "movers" by having a circular chain. (e.g. "X moves" analyzed in a circular fashion as " X1 moves X, and X2 moves X1, and X moves X2"). He rejected this possibility. I don't recall why he rejected it, but clearly in some interpretations of "move" it leads to undesirable situations. For example, in logic, it would lead to "circular" arguments -. (e.g. Interpreting "moves" as "proves", we could have "X is proved" explained by: " X is proved by X1 and X1 is proved by X2 and X2 is proved by X".)

    Rejecting infinitely long chains and circular chains, Aristotle concluded that there must be "A mover unmoved", known as "The First Mover". ( I think the reason that First Mover must be "unmoved is that a self-moved thing would count as a circular chain.) It isn't clear to me whether he meant "First Mover" to be the same thing in all interpretations of motion. For example, is the "First Mover" for a car the same as the "First Mover" for justifying a law about capital punishment? I think Thomas Aquinas did interpret the First Mover as a single entity, and, of course, he said "God is the Mover Unmoved".

    Many contemporary discussions of what creates what or what justifies what etc. can be framed more clearly if we recognize that they amount to analyzing Aristotle's chains of movers. That is not to say that we would reach the same conclusion as Aristotle about these chains. We might reject a First Mover. In some cases we accept it. For example, the contemporary view of Mathematics is that it begins with assumptions and definitions which are not proven. So, identifying "moved by" with "proved by", the assumptions and definitions are "the First Mover". They are used to prove things, but they themselves are not proven. (There is no assertion in Mathematics that "the" First Mover is unique. Different fields of mathematics employ different sets of definitions and assumptions.)

    It seems to me that any argument that attempts to persuade us of assertion(s) X by justifying X with other assertions X1 enters the realm of chains of movers. So we can ask what kind of chain the argument employs. The natural tendency to associate Mathematics with "logical" arguments suggests that logical arguments must rely on "movers unmoved", i.e. Assertions asserted without proof, perhaps presented as "obvious fact ", "objective observations" or "things anybody can see". However, I suppose assertions about topics that exempt themselves from logic could use the pattern of infintely long chains or circular chains.
    Last edited by tashirosgt; 2015-Sep-16 at 09:43 PM.

  2. #6992
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    26,777
    Quote Originally Posted by tashirosgt View Post
    For example, in logic, it would lead to "circular" arguments -. (e.g. Interpreting "moves" as "proves", we could have "X is proved" explained by: " X is proved by X1 and X1 is proved by X2 and X2 is proved by X".)
    Actually, I can't see why that would be "undesirable", I would say that would be a splendid state of affairs, and perfectly common in many types of mathematical systems. Unfortunately, it does not always hold in complex proving systems, as one of the Godel-type proofs is that no suitably complicated proving system can prove that its own axioms are consistent. This is generally regarded as an unfortunate state of affairs-- if a system of axioms could prove their own consistency, and still be useful to use for things like arithmetic, that would have been the ideal situation! It just happens to not be the case-- logic doesn't have that desirable property.

    As mentioned quite a few pages back now, there is nothing wrong with a "circular" argument, when circularity just means X1-->X2-->X1. The reason we talk about "circular reasoning" as a logical fallacy is when people slip in a hidden axiom that has not been declared. The real fallacy of "circular reasoning" is to say that X1-->X2 when in fact it also requires X3, and indeed you can get X2 from X3 all by itself. Hence the claim X1-->X2 is not only formally wrong, it is quite misleading, because in fact it is X3 that is needed for X2, and X1 has nothing to do with it. That's "circular reasoning", that X2 has been already assumed when X3 was adopted, but hidden, so it only appears to come from X1. Circular reasoning is rather badly misunderstood, as X1-->X2-->X1 would be fine logic, it appears for example when X1 and X2 are two equivalent axiomatizations of the same proving system.
    Rejecting infinitely long chains and circular chains, Aristotle concluded that there must be "A mover unmoved", known as "The First Mover".
    Aristotle is probably not even correct in regard to the proving system that is basic arithmetic. We know, for example, that if arithmetic is consistent, then it would require a countably infinite set of axioms to prove all of its truisms (that's Godel's theorem). I would be very surprised if there are not (at least) two different such infinite chains of axioms, call them X1 and X2. Clearly, we can then use the infinite set X1 to prove the infinite set X2, and vice versa, so we have put the lie to Aristotle's idea that "there cannot be infinitely long circular chains." If arithmetic is consistent, it gives us an example of exactly that, and it's not an esoteric example-- it's arithmetic!
    So, identifying "moved by" with "proved by", the assumptions and definitions are "the First Mover". They are used to prove things, but they themselves are not proven.
    Yes, so we find another example of mind dependence: the choice of what to regard as the "first mover", or even if we will seek a "first mover" in any given situation, is up to our minds. There are no metaphysical postulates that we can prove, or even test, in any kind of absolute or mind independent way, the whole situation is contextual and provisional. That's why it is navigated so much more adeptly by MDR thinking. Even in mathematics-- where one mind can regard the "axiom of choice" as a valid means to obtain truths, while another chooses to reject truths that invoke that axiom. The minds are simply choosing to regard different sets of proofs as being "true" in some larger sense, that's one of the ways that mathematics is mind dependent. (Another being that some minds are better at it than others, so there is often a certain degree of "taking on faith" that something has in fact been proven.)
    The natural tendency to associate Mathematics with "logical" arguments suggests that logical arguments must rely on "movers unmoved", i.e. Assertions asserted without proof, perhaps presented as "obvious fact ", "objective observations" or "things anybody can see".
    You really think that? Seriously? You think that mathematical logic is based on "things anyone can see"? Do you have any background at all in mathematics education?
    Last edited by Ken G; 2015-Sep-16 at 10:15 PM.

  3. #6993
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    2,236
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    The question is important, so will take some time to answer.
    Glad you found my question relevant.

    I think we can all agree that the mind is aware of its own thoughts and perceptions, so the key word is "only." What is the intention of that word? Let's take a simpler example-- seeing light. I expect we can all agree that when we see light, what is happening is that our minds are interpreting various electrochemical processes that are going on in the optic nerve-- at least, that is clearly our working model of what is going on there. So would we then say we see "only" the electrochemical action of our optic nerve, and not the light? No, we would not say that, because that is simply not what we mean by "seeing". Our intention behind the word "seeing" goes well past the action of our optic nerve, it involves observed correlations between what our optic nerve is doing, and what other people's optic nerves are doing, and what other instruments are doing (like the instruments of our hands when we touch what we see, or feel the heat from a fire as we see the fire, etc.). So what we intend by the word "seeing" involves a vastly interconnected set of observed correlations, all organized and interpreted by our minds/brains, in ways that demonstrably depend on those minds/brains. That's what we mean by "seeing", so we would not say that we "only see the electrochemical actions of our optic nerves", but we would say that we "see light." This is the process by which words acquire meaning that I keep talking about.

    So now we are ready to see the difference between MDR thinking and epistemological idealism. The latter asserts that we are aware of only our thoughts and perceptions, so we must ask ourselves if this encompasses our intended meaning of "aware," and that is the problem. The hidden postulate that will invariably be invoked in epistemological idealism of all flavors, is that nothing outside the mind can be "known," if we are only aware of what is inside our minds. See the sleight of hand there? Somehow the ambiguities in the word "aware" have been conflated with the ambiguities in the word "known", such that we have the appearance of a logical connection, but the most important part of that connection has been swept completely under the rug.

    To see this more clearly, let us return to our example of seeing light. Shall we say that since we are only "aware" of what electrochemical processes are at play in our optic nerve, we can conclude "therefore" that all we can "know" is what our optic nerve is doing? No, that would be a silly intention for the meaning of the word "know," that's just not what we want that word to mean. What we actually want "know" to mean, especially in science, is "that which we have concluded to be true to a very high level of testable reliability." So by not playing the game of conflating ambiguities in the pretense of a logical equivalence, we easily see that it does not follow that "because all we are aware of is the electrochemical activity in our optic nerve, we cannot know that a car is speeding toward us just by looking at it." That is the logic used in that explanation of epistemlogical idealism, and it is quite silly, because that's just not at all what we mean by "knowing that a car is speeding toward us."

    What we actually mean by "knowing" that is, we have drawn a highly reliable conclusion that what we mean by a car (which is quite demonstrably a mental model we have), is doing what we mean by speeding toward us (another mental model we have), based on our seeing the light from that car (again a mental model), especially when our mental reasoning gives us no reason to doubt that perception (i.e., we are not watching a 3D movie, etc.). That's the way MDR thinking frames the situation, and note the opposite conclusion-- MDR thinking concludes that we do "know" that a car is speeding toward us (in a contextual and provisional way, never 100% certainty). Hence it makes perfect sense that we should get out of the way, a conclusion that epistemological idealism seems challenged to come to.
    You are saying that the difference between MDR thinking and epistemological idealism is that MDR thinking can provisionally accept items of knowledge gained through sense-perception, whereas epistemological idealism would not.

    You began your discussion of this question by saying "I think we can all agree that the mind is aware of its own thoughts and perceptions"... In this context, you do not use words like "contextual and provisional", which you use in relation to an item of knowledge from the senses.

    Say I saw a car (a yellow Toyota) a few minutes ago, and now I am thinking about another car (a white VW). Is the white VW in my mind any more or less "contextual and provisional" than the yellow Toyota I saw?

  4. #6994
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    3,317
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by profloater
    But of course we add assumptions. We do the Turing test all the time. We as well as personal MDR add theory of mind. We assume everybody has a mind but at base that is in the end, untestable.
    We do this in practice, yes. It is a kind of convenience. But we don't need to take these conveniences seriously, at least not in science. It is like what we were talking about above, there are several different meanings to an "assumption." For some, an "assumption" means "that which they take to be true", period. But in science, an "assumption" just means "that which we are pretending we regard as true for some practical purpose," like to achieve a useful approximation or idealization. We usually expect to relax our assumptions at some future time, and see how that complicates the picture. That's the MDR way of thinking about "assumptions," but philosophers tend to take their assumptions more seriously, which is why it is so important not to let any slip under the rug.
    And, somewhere in this, there's an empirical relationship between just how long we can run with pretending some assumption as being 'true', and it becoming true, (in the MDR sense of 'true'). In this relationship, there is another variable accounting for the numbers of philosophers doing science, who tightly hold 'belief' itself as being 'true', without being cogniscent of it being an unevidenced, temporary assumption.

    Interestingly, MDR also seems to have the unfortunate weakness of forgetting the unreality of its initial assumptions, which serves to emphasize the purpose of the scientific process in MDR .. ie: to expose and summarily eject those beliefs. (Nonetheless, science is not the cause of the ensuing outrage and mayhem .. its just scientific MDR, going about doing its usual 'business').

    Starting out with an untestable belief in MIR, has to be the worst possible posture to take, because it readily admits even more beliefs. Perhaps there comes a time (a prediction) when beliefs outweigh the objectively evidenced postulates, which then serves to defeat the whole purpose of creating useful knowledge on behalf of the minds which ultimately conceived all of it, in order to make sense of themselves.

  5. #6995
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    2,236
    Quote Originally Posted by tashirosgt View Post
    I'm sure KenG will give the MDR answer that question.

    I can't resist adding these historical observations. Many such dilemmas fall into the pattern of Aristotle's arguments. He asserted, contrary to some of his predecessors , that "change" and "motion" were not merely illusions. He said that all motion appeared to involve a "mover" and a "thing moved". As later interpreted by Aquinas, the concept of "X moves Y" not only refers to physical motion but actions such as "X justifies Y", "X creates Y", "X causes Y". "X explains Y". Aristotle pointed out that motion analyzed this way leads to chains of "movers" and "things moved". For example, in the crude motion-by-contact physics of Aristotle's day, we would analyze "A car moves" by the chain that begins: "The wheels move the car", "The drive axles move the wheels", "The transmission moves the axles", etc.

    Aristotle did not like the concept of infinitely long chains of movers that moved each other. From Aquinas' point of view, this would include explanatory chains involving other actions than physical motion - like " Y is justified. Y1 justifies Y. Y2 justifies Y1. Y3 justifies Y2. ... ad infinitum. (e.g. "Capital punishement is justified". "Deterrence of murder justifies Capital punishment", "Attaching value of life justifies deterrence of murder", "Attaching value to life is justified by attaching value to ..." etc.) Aristotle considered the idea of eliminating infinitely long chain of "movers" by having a circular chain. (e.g. "X moves" analyzed in a circular fashion as " X1 moves X, and X2 moves X1, and X moves X2"). He rejected this possibility. I don't recall why he rejected it, but clearly in some interpretations of "move" it leads to undesirable situations. For example, in logic, it would lead to "circular" arguments -. (e.g. Interpreting "moves" as "proves", we could have "X is proved" explained by: " X is proved by X1 and X1 is proved by X2 and X2 is proved by X".)

    Rejecting infinitely long chains and circular chains, Aristotle concluded that there must be "A mover unmoved", known as "The First Mover". ( I think the reason that First Mover must be "unmoved is that a self-moved thing would count as a circular chain.) It isn't clear to me whether he meant "First Mover" to be the same thing in all interpretations of motion. For example, is the "First Mover" for a car the same as the "First Mover" for justifying a law about capital punishment? I think Thomas Aquinas did interpret the First Mover as a single entity, and, of course, he said "God is the Mover Unmoved".

    Many contemporary discussions of what creates what or what justifies what etc. can be framed more clearly if we recognize that they amount to analyzing Aristotle's chains of movers. That is not to say that we would reach the same conclusion as Aristotle about these chains. We might reject a First Mover. In some cases we accept it. For example, the contemporary view of Mathematics is that it begins with assumptions and definitions which are not proven. So, identifying "moved by" with "proved by", the assumptions and definitions are "the First Mover". They are used to prove things, but they themselves are not proven. (There is no assertion in Mathematics that "the" First Mover is unique. Different fields of mathematics employ different sets of definitions and assumptions.)

    It seems to me that any argument that attempts to persuade us of assertion(s) X by justifying X with other assertions X1 enters the realm of chains of movers. So we can ask what kind of chain the argument employs. The natural tendency to associate Mathematics with "logical" arguments suggests that logical arguments must rely on "movers unmoved", i.e. Assertions asserted without proof, perhaps presented as "obvious fact ", "objective observations" or "things anybody can see". However, I suppose assertions about topics that exempt themselves from logic could use the pattern of infintely long chains or circular chains.
    A starting point for MDR seems to be the obvious (?) fact of the mind's self-awareness. Which of course was Descartes' starting point...

  6. #6996
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    2,236
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    Actually, I can't see why that would be "undesirable", I would say that would be a splendid state of affairs, and perfectly common in many types of mathematical systems. Unfortunately, it does not always hold in complex proving systems, as one of the Godel-type proofs is that no suitably complicated proving system can prove that its own axioms are consistent. This is generally regarded as an unfortunate state of affairs-- if a system of axioms could prove their own consistency, and still be useful to use for things like arithmetic, that would have been the ideal situation! It just happens to not be the case-- logic doesn't have that desirable property.

    As mentioned quite a few pages back now, there is nothing wrong with a "circular" argument, when circularity just means X1-->X2-->X1. The reason we talk about "circular reasoning" as a logical fallacy is when people slip in a hidden axiom that has not been declared.
    If it is established that X1 --> X2 and that X2 --> X1, then it is valid to conclude that IF either X1 or X2 is true, then both are true. The fallacy is to deny the possibility that neither X1 nor X2 is true.

  7. #6997
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    2,236
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    You really think that? Seriously? You think that mathematical logic is based on "things anyone can see"? Do you have any background at all in mathematics education?
    I think "things anyone can see" is a pretty good gloss of the Greek word ἀξίωμα (axiom) as used by Euclid...

  8. #6998
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    26,777
    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Robinson View Post
    You are saying that the difference between MDR thinking and epistemological idealism is that MDR thinking can provisionally accept items of knowledge gained through sense-perception, whereas epistemological idealism would not.
    I'm saying more generally that MDR thinking only pertains to scientific thinking, and scientific "knowing", whereas epistemological idealism makes claims about what knowing is and what is possible to know, in ways that do not reference science at all. Scientific knowing is a very agnostic type of knowing, it makes no claims on "what is" other than "what works." Science is all about making correct predictions in relation to objective outcomes, what I called above "winning the bet". But epistemological idealism doesn't even mention that notion, there is no standard of objective testing implied at all. In short, it just isn't the same kind of "knowing" at all, as either science, or the closely related MDR thinking this thread is about.
    You began your discussion of this question by saying "I think we can all agree that the mind is aware of its own thoughts and perceptions"... In this context, you do not use words like "contextual and provisional", which you use in relation to an item of knowledge from the senses.
    That's because all these concepts are interrelated by what we mean by the words. By "awareness", and "mind", we mean the contexts and provisions under which those words make sense. It's all implied under the "agreement" to which I refer. Clearly, that agreement does not preclude the possibility that one of us might be unconscious, or delirious, in which case we might not regard that person as having a mind that is aware of its own thoughts and perceptions. Since all truths are contextual and provisional when scientific thinking is being used, the scientist does not need to include that proviso every time he/she talks about some "agreed upon truth"-- it is implied, in the same way that the scientific method is implied, and the mind dependence it engenders.
    Say I saw a car (a yellow Toyota) a few minutes ago, and now I am thinking about another car (a white VW). Is the white VW in my mind any more or less "contextual and provisional" than the yellow Toyota I saw?
    That depends on the intention that you have for the models in your mind that you are calling a yellow Toyota and a white VW. We can see this easily. You say you saw a car. How do you know it was a car, and not a giraffe? Further, you say it was a yellow Toyota. How do you know it was not a green Subaru? There is a simple answer to that: you compare what you saw to a mental model. That mental model is just what you are conjuring when you say you are thinking of a white VW. So you see-- the model you are invoking is coming from the same process in both cases-- the way you think about cars, the mental pictures you have in that "box." So it is you who must answer your own question here-- how was the process by which you identified what you saw as a yellow Toyota different from your process of thinking of a white VW? Did the yellow Toyota come with a sign that said "I am a yellow Toyota", and what difference would it have made if it did, since we can put a sign like that on a blue Ford? To understand what your mind intends by your models, you have to look at what you are doing with those models, and how you generated them in the first place.

  9. #6999
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Earth
    Posts
    10,261
    Quote Originally Posted by tashirosgt View Post
    The main dispute about the concept of MIR in the current posts is not whether it provides a good answer (model) for something. It's the question of whether such a model is "scientific", according to various people's definition of that word.
    I think that, at its core, the basic philosophy of science must assume that a mind-independent reality exists1; to do otherwise would be to consider the entire basis of scientific enquiry, that there is an objective reality independent of "mind" exists. It is, by the very nature of the mind-independent/mind-dependent reality dichotomy impossible to empirically demonstrate either one. It's rather similar to to the question "is the Universe a simulation?"



    ------------------------

    1 I happen to believe that there is an objective reality, but I think it is absolutely impossible to even conceive of an actual scientific process by which this can be demonstrated or denied.
    Information about American English usage here and here. Floating point issues? Please read this before posting.

    How do things fly? This explains it all.

    Actually they can't: "Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." - Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895.



  10. #7000
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    26,777
    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Robinson View Post
    If it is established that X1 --> X2 and that X2 --> X1, then it is valid to conclude that IF either X1 or X2 is true, then both are true. The fallacy is to deny the possibility that neither X1 nor X2 is true.
    Yes. But no one would call that argument circular reasoning, because it isn't the kind of argument that requires identifying a fallacy. For example, if I said "2+2 = 5 implies that 2+3 = 6, because I can add 1 to both sides. Also, 2+3 = 6 implies that 2+2 = 5, by subtracting 1 from both sides. Therefore, both must be right." That's just not what anyone means by "circular reasoning," it's not what happens in practice because it's just too blatantly obviously not a valid reasoning process.

    What actually happens in practice when people say there is "circular reasoning" going on, is that something that is true, say X1, is claimed to lead to X2, and therefore X2 is true, but actually X1 does not lead to X2 unless something very akin to X2 has also already been assumed, and the truth of that other thing has not been established. That's how you actually see it. I've never seen anyone say that "because X1 leads to X2, and X2 leads to X1, therefore both must be true." No one thinks that. Futhermore, there have been claims of "circular reasoning" in this very thread, and they were not of the first type above, they were of the second type. What is "circular" is deceptively assuming what is claimed to be shown as a theorem, i.e., masquerading a trivial identity as a profound conclusion, when the identity is a logical equivalence of things that might not themselves be true. But the key point is, to seem logical, that kind of reasoning has to be disguised, like a magician's sleight of hand. (Magicians know that if they can get you to believe true something that is not in fact true, they can leverage that to make you believe almost anything that is not true, and that is how circular reasoning works in practice.)

    So yes, formally if X1-->X2, and X2-->X1, all this means is that X1 and X2 are equivalent, it does not mean they are true. But enough people know that such that it is not a relevant fallacy in that form. Where circular reasoning really gets applied is in slipping in a hidden assumption, that magician's sleight of hand-- something that has not been established as true or admitted is required, but which is in fact required (and may not be true). Call it subtle circular reasoning, if you like, of the form (X1)-->X2-->X1, leading to the conclusion that X1 must be true, rather than merely that X1 follows from (X1), where (X1) is the ghost assumption that is concealed in the argument. There is nothing fallacious about the argument itself, since X1 does indeed imply X1; it is only the disguising of (X1) that is the fallacy there.
    Last edited by Ken G; 2015-Sep-17 at 01:57 AM.

  11. #7001
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    26,777
    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    I think that, at its core, the basic philosophy of science must assume that a mind-independent reality exists1; to do otherwise would be to consider the entire basis of scientific enquiry, that there is an objective reality independent of "mind" exists.
    But if we subject your claim to a test, it fails. You assert that the scientist "must" assume that. So your claim can be refuted by a single scientist that can do science just fine, without assuming that! Do you really think it would be impossible to find a single scientist that could successfully do science without assuming that mind-independent reality exists? Like me, for example? Likewise, we can find scientists who do believe it exists, indeed we can find scientists who believe almost anything you can name (I know one who believes airplanes are way more dangerous than anyone lets on, and another who believes that quantum mechanics is a complete hoax), yet do very good science simply because they follow the scientific method, which has nothing to do with their beliefs.
    It is, by the very nature of the mind-independent/mind-dependent reality dichotomy impossible to empirically demonstrate either one.
    It is empirically impossible to demonstrate which version of reality is "actually true" in some mind independent sense, but that's of little consequence because MDR thinking doesn't even maintain that there is any such thing in the first place. But what we can test is whether or not the way the reality concept is being used in science is a mind independent, or a mind dependent, version of the reality concept. To test that, you can give me an example of a situation where you invoked the reality concept in some scientific setting, and we'll go from there.
    It's rather similar to to the question "is the Universe a simulation?"
    Yes it is. But notice that this question has not been framed scientifically, so science has nothing to do with answering it. The way to frame it scientifically, and thus give science a way to approach it, is to ask "what conceptual or predictive power over our circumstances do we achieve by modeling the universe as a simulation?" Notice the explicit role played by the mind in almost every word in that framing of the question, and notice how it is now a question for scientific investigation.


    I happen to believe that there is an objective reality, but I think it is absolutely impossible to even conceive of an actual scientific process by which this can be demonstrated or denied.
    Yes, that is the key point-- the recognition of the difference between a belief and a scientific demonstration.
    Last edited by Ken G; 2015-Sep-17 at 02:10 AM.

  12. #7002
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    26,777
    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Robinson View Post
    I think "things anyone can see" is a pretty good gloss of the Greek word ἀξίωμα (axiom) as used by Euclid...
    But that wasn't the question-- the question was, do you really think anyone can see that, or don't you? Simple question, yes?

  13. #7003
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    2,236
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    I'm saying more generally that MDR thinking only pertains to scientific thinking, and scientific "knowing", whereas epistemological idealism makes claims about what knowing is and what is possible to know, in ways that do not reference science at all. Scientific knowing is a very agnostic type of knowing, it makes no claims on "what is" other than "what works." Science is all about making correct predictions in relation to objective outcomes, what I called above "winning the bet".
    That is the instrumentalist view of science.

    But epistemological idealism doesn't even mention that notion, there is no standard of objective testing implied at all. In short, it just isn't the same kind of "knowing" at all, as either science, or the closely related MDR thinking this thread is about.
    So your MDR is instrumentalism rather than epistemological idealism?

    That's because all these concepts are interrelated by what we mean by the words. By "awareness", and "mind", we mean the contexts and provisions under which those words make sense. It's all implied under the "agreement" to which I refer. Clearly, that agreement does not preclude the possibility that one of us might be unconscious, or delirious, in which case we might not regard that person as having a mind that is aware of its own thoughts and perceptions.
    Quite apart from the question of unconsciousness or delirium... The question I wanted to raise was... What was it now? Ah yes...

    Do we have a direct, immediate knowledge of the contents of our own minds, which we don't have of objects of sense perception, such as cars? (If we do, how could I have forgotten, even for a moment, the question I wanted to raise?)

    Is the mind a single entity, which (at least when not delirious or in a coma) has immediate and complete self-knowledge? Or is a network with multiple subsystems receiving and sending information to each other as well as to the sense organs? When one part of the brain receives a signal from another part, it says: "That's me thinking." When it received a signal from the eyes, via the optic nerve, it says "That's a car."

    Consider the phenomenon known as cryptomnesia, when an old memory is mistaken for a brand new thought. When this happens to a writer, it can result in accidental plagiarism, e.g. Robert Louis Stevenson's use of plotting from Washington Irving's Tales of a Traveller in early chapters of Treasure Island, which Stevenson became ruefully aware of only later.

    Cryptomnesia can also result in "self-plagiarism", where one thinks one is saying something brand new, but in fact merely repeating a long-past statement of one's own. B.F.Skinner described making this error (and later becoming aware of it) as "one of the most disheartening experiences of old age".

    Crypomnesia is an error in the self-knowledge of the mind, comparable to errors in sense perception, like seeing a rope in an area of shadow and mistaking it for a snake.

    Existence of such errors implies that human mental self-knowledge is not direct and complete, but rather is incomplete and provisional, in the same way that our knowledge of our environment is incomplete and provisional...
    Last edited by Colin Robinson; 2015-Sep-17 at 02:34 AM.

  14. #7004
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    26,777
    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Robinson View Post
    That is the instrumentalist view of science.
    No, that is what science demonstrably does. Simply inspect the scientific method-- it is quite clearly about "what works", and not "what is." Now one can add beliefs to the scientific method if one wants, but it ain't the scientific method any more, because it no longer deals with objective tests of models.
    So your MDR is instrumentalism rather than epistemological idealism?
    No, MDR thinking is not instrumentalism, it is defined by the MDR hypothesis that when a concept of reality is used in scientific thinking, it is observed to be a version of reality that depends on the mind in demonstrable ways. That's not instrumentalism. The two main philosophers of instrumentalism were Dewey and Popper, and the fact that they differed markedly on the issue of whether science is fundamentally motivated by induction or not made it unclear that instrumentalism is even a single thing. But there's no need to get into such details, for Popper summarizes quite well the reason that MDR thinking is not instrumentalism in this quote: "A representation of instrumentalism can be obtained … by omitting … the universe of the realities behind the various appearances."
    Hence we see the key tenet of instrumentalism-- there does not exist a universe of reality "behind" what the instruments detect, there is only what the instruments detect.

    This is not at all MDR thinking. The whole point of MDR thinking is to recognize what the scientist does with the instrument readings, and that is make sense of a concept of reality. That is, after all, the "R" in MDR. Far from "denying the existence of a reality behind the instruments", the whole point of MDR thinking, and indeed science, is to make sense of the instrument reading, and this is almost always done using a model that the scientist calls reality. However, when they do this, we observe that this reality is mind dependent-- it depends on our process of making sense. So no, that's not instrumentalism, in fact it's not an "ism" at all, because it does not invoke any postulates from which it reasons. Instead, it picks out people using the scientific method, and observes what they do. Period. And what it observes that they do is, they build a concept of reality, in a way that depends on their minds. That's just exactly what they can be seen to do, pick up a science book and check this.
    Do we have a direct, immediate knowledge of the contents of our own minds, which we don't have of objects of sense perception, such as cars?
    That's a very difficult question, because it speaks to the details of how we think. I have not tried to enter into speculation about that, because we know quite little about the mind. MDR is merely the statement that whatever is the answer to your question, it does indeed depend on how our minds work, and could be a different answer for a different kind of mind, or perhaps even a different mind in a different person. What I stress is that you cannot even begin to answer that question until you have done a lot of work in two areas:
    1) work on figuring out what your mind means by those words, including what constitutes "direct knowledge", and what constitutes "objects of sense perception", that differentiates the sense perception, from a model of what a sense perception is "of", from an object that is not intended to be regarded as any kind of model at all (good luck with that last one). As you try to figure out what your intention is for those words, you will answer your own question. But what I'm saying is, if you want to use scientific meanings for those words, you are constrained to use operational meanings, i.e., you must connect to objective observables and actual tests that can be performed. In that sense, you must connect with scientific behavior, not a personal belief system. The mind dependence here appears in how the minds behave in the process of giving words meanings.
    2) A profound study of how the mind works, that is able to include the mind in the models that the mind is creating to talk about things like "perceptions" and "objects of perceptions." In short, you could never answer that question without significant knowledge of the mind/brain that you are referring to! The mind dependence here appears in how the mind functions-- the mind must study itself. Yes that's the tiger-and-tail again, but you cannot answer that question any other way, as it will require using your mind to study your mind, or at least minds you have evidence function like yours does.
    Is the mind a single entity, which (at least when not delirious or in a coma) has immediate and complete self-knowledge?
    Why do you think we need to answer these questions, to be able to say that our answers will depend on our minds? We don't know enough about minds to answer how these things depend on our minds, but we can still easily observe that they do. This is hardly anything new in scientific thinking! I could give hundreds of examples, but let's just pick one: anaesthesia. Scientists have essentially no idea how some of our best anaesthesias work, yet we can observe that they do work. In other words, we observe that a patient's state of consciousness depends on how much anaesthesia they have had, but we have very little idea why, or what the anaesthesia is doing to the mental state, or how the brain interacts with the anaesthesia to produce that mental state. It almost seems like your argument here is, "we cannot tell if anaesthesia works or not, because you cannot tell me how it works." That would be a very unfortunate position for someone treating a real patient to take!
    When one part of the brain receives a signal from another part, it says: "That's me thinking." When it received a signal from the eyes, via the optic nerve, it says "That's a car."
    Yes, that is what we observe, so those are facts that our models of the mind must take into account. This is also how we can notice mind dependence of various types. However, we have very little idea exactly how that works, or even approximately how that works!
    Consider the phenomenon known as cryptomnesia, when an old memory is mistaken for a brand new thought. When this happens to a writer, it can result in accidental plagiarism, e.g. Robert Louis Stevenson's use of plotting from Washington Irving's Tales of a Traveller in early chapters of Treasure Island, which Stevenson became ruefully aware of only later.
    Sure, the mind does many surprising things, we have much to learn about where mind dependence comes from. This is all part of embracing mind dependence-- if one does only MIR thinking, one doesn't even see any need to wonder about the mind at all! After all, if a car is a car and that's it, who cares how the mind comes to that conclusion anyway? (See gzhpcu's realist posts-- zero interest in what the mind is doing, any such consideration he regards as "overthinking.")
    Cryptomnesia can also result in "self-plagiarism", where one thinks one is saying something brand new, but in fact merely repeating a long-past statement of one's own. B.F.Skinner described making this error (and later becoming aware of it) as "one of the most disheartening experiences of old age".
    And likely there is also the opposite effect, where a new idea is interpreted as an old one, the likely cause of the sensation of "deja vu."
    Crypomnesia is an error in the self-knowledge of the mind, comparable to errors in sense perception, like seeing a rope in an area of shadow and mistaking it for a snake.
    But the question is, why do you think errors in self-knowledge are any problem for MDR thinking? Far from it, they are one of the many motivations for recognizing the mind dependences of our concepts of reality-- and the limitations we face as we embark on that course. Errors in self-knowledge are simply things that both MIR thinking and MDR thinking must cope with, but they do so in importantly different ways. MDR thinking says "this is the best our minds can do, now let's look at the limitations we face and not lose focus of the role our minds are playing." MIR thinking says "true reality is the source of our perceptions, so our goal should be to ignore our minds, to get them out of the way as much as possible. Yes we face limitations, but our focus is on what is true independent of our minds." Now which of those perspectives is better positioned to address errors in self-knowledge?
    Existence of such errors implies that human mental self-knowledge is not direct and complete, but rather is incomplete and provisional, in the same way that our knowledge of our environment is incomplete and provisional...
    Knowledge of anything is contextual and provisional-- if it is scientific knowledge, because that's just the kind of knowledge the scientific method produces. MDR thinking is well suited to the task of coping with the provisional aspects of self-knowledge, by maintaining an interest in the role our minds are playing at every turn.
    Last edited by Ken G; 2015-Sep-17 at 04:35 AM.

  15. #7005
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    3,317
    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Robinson View Post
    That is the instrumentalist view of science.
    ...
    So your MDR is instrumentalism rather than epistemological idealism?
    I think the "ism" suffix is an inappropriate one for applying to the MDR concept. Where there is a demonstrated absence of a 'true' (absolute) postulate, from which all else is deduced, how can the "ism" be justified? Particularly so, when the MDR hypothesis' observations does not attempt to rule out some believed MIR? No ... it is clear that the MDR hypothesis, when coupled with its inductive process, is to provide an alternative perspective to all those deduced from the other "isms".

    PS: Sorry for almost duplicating what Ken just posted ... the content of this post took me somewhat longer to figure out .. and co-incientally(?) overlapped with Ken's.
    Last edited by Selfsim; 2015-Sep-17 at 05:08 AM. Reason: Added "PS"

  16. #7006
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    1,875
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    Actually, I can't see why that would be "undesirable", I would say that would be a splendid state of affairs, and perfectly common in many types of mathematical systems.
    I don't know of any mathematical systems that rely on circular reasoning. Any set of 2 things that have been proven true by some other statements can be shown to imply each other, but that isn't how they are proven true in the first place.

    This is generally regarded as an unfortunate state of affairs-- if a system of axioms could prove their own consistency, and still be useful to use for things like arithmetic, that would have been the ideal situation! It just happens to not be the case-- logic doesn't have that desirable property.
    I don't know any cases in Mathematics where one expects to prove axioms from the axioms themselves. You are talking about proving a statement different than the axioms.

    As mentioned quite a few pages back now, there is nothing wrong with a "circular" argument, when circularity just means X1-->X2-->X1. The reason we talk about "circular reasoning" as a logical fallacy is when people slip in a hidden axiom that has not been declared.
    A circular argument has a pattern like: X1 is true because: X1 implies X2 and X2 implies X1. So its not just the pattern X1-->X2-->X1. It's includes the assertion of X1 by itself.


    Aristotle is probably not even correct in regard to the proving system that is basic arithmetic. We know, for example, that if arithmetic is consistent, then it would require a countably infinite set of axioms to prove all of its truisms (that's Godel's theorem).
    A countable set of independent axioms wouldn't be an example of a chain of movers (where "moves" is "implies") and if something is implied by an axiom then it isn't required as an axiom. If a countable set of independent axioms is required then one can consider each axiom to be an unmoved mover, or one can consider the set of axioms to be an unmoved mover. So that situation would illustrate a countable infinity of umoved movers or a countably infinite set as an unmoved mover. There might be advantages or disadvantages to that situation. I'm merely saying it isn't a example of a countably infinite chain of implications.


    Yes, so we find another example of mind dependence: the choice of what to regard as the "first mover", or even if we will seek a "first mover" in any given situation, is up to our minds.
    My point wasn't that one particular solution must chosen to deal with the chain of movers. I'm merely saying if people realize their discussion is falling into the pattern of such a chain (e.g. "X is created by X1, X1 is created by X2. What created X2? Did it come from "nothing"?) then they can ask which particular pattern of the chain is appropriate ( - which is not to say that they can answer that question).

    You really think that? Seriously? You think that mathematical logic is based on "things anyone can see"? Do you have any background at all in mathematics education?
    I did not say that mathematical logic is based on things that anyone can see. I said that many people (yourself included) introduce assertions in philosophical discussions by saying that they are facts that anyone can see.

  17. #7007
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    1,875
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    So you choose to believe the mathematical concept of "falsity" is independent of minds? How do you then attribute the fact that many mathematical "falsities" can only be identified as such by some minds, but not all?
    I do it the same way that you do, I just ignore it!

    You make pronouncements about "scientific thinking" etc. I (and Mathematics) just ignore the opinions of mathematically incompetent minds, just as your "scientific thinking" ignores an insane person who disagrees with scientists' conclusions about whether of the predictions of a model match the observed data.

  18. #7008
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    438
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    When you set up the new system, everyone involved, being MIR believers as most people are, thought there was an MIR in place of a system that would work. Later, they interpreted it as an MIR that would not work. So as always, if they believed in MIR to begin with, they maintained that belief, because the belief is never tested. They all just concluded they were wrong about the MIR that existed at that time.
    Ken G, did you actually read my post?

    Quote Originally Posted by LaurieAG View Post
    If anything, at that point in time, the belief of all the people involved, designers, developers and testers was that a MIR DID NOT EXIST.
    Flip things 180 degrees and answer your own question, works every time but not very scientific.

  19. #7009
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    3,317
    Quote Originally Posted by LaurieAG View Post
    Ken G, did you actually read my post?
    Hmm .. I think Ken's point, (ascertained from his observation of what you wrote), was that it doesn't matter whether;
    Quote Originally Posted by LaurieAG
    the belief of all the people involved, designers, developers and testers was that a MIR DID NOT EXIST.
    .. or not ...
    The outcome is the same for both cases because holding either belief, (as either existing or non-existing), played no role other than to prevent the better scientific course of action:
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G
    Now, looking at these different scenarios, we should notice three things that are of scientific significance:
    1) The actions that the MIR believers took, and the MIR non-believers took, were exactly the same. MIR belief played no role at all, other than leading to a kind of mental convenience that would preclude against the need to bring in additional minds-- for better or for worse.
    ...
    This is a valid observational test applied to what you wrote, and it generates evidence supporting the objectively stated MDR hypothesis.
    Quote Originally Posted by LaurieAG
    Flip things 180 degrees and answer your own question, works every time but not very scientific.
    It was a valid test of the hypothesis ... and you don't necessarily have to like it ...

  20. #7010
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    26,777
    Quote Originally Posted by tashirosgt View Post
    I don't know of any mathematical systems that rely on circular reasoning.
    But you have moved the goalposts to "reliance" on circular reasoning, whereas what you said before was:
    Quote Originally Posted by tashirosgt
    I don't recall why he rejected it, but clearly in some interpretations of "move" it leads to undesirable situations. For example, in logic, it would lead to "circular" arguments -. (e.g. Interpreting "moves" as "proves", we could have "X is proved" explained by: " X is proved by X1 and X1 is proved by X2 and X2 is proved by X".)
    So what you said before is that it would be undesirable to have a situation that "would lead to circular arguments". But the situation you describe does not lead to circular arguments, it merely implies that X, X1, and X2 are all logically equivalent, and if they are sources of proofs, then they are logically equivalent sets of axioms. So there is nothing "undesirable" about that situation, nor does it lead to "circular reasoning", since that is the situation in many actual mathematical systems. What leads to circular reasoning is just one thing: hiding some of the postulates being used in a proof. This is not any kind of argument against the existence of a circular chain of implications, if Aristotle thought it was then he was engaging in circular reasoning himself.

    Let me expound. It's not undesirable to be able to prove a circle of logical equivalences. In short, if we interpret "prove" as "move", then we have no trouble at all saying that X moves X1 which moves X2 which moves X, as long as we have some other way of knowing that any of those do in fact move (say, an observation that it does). What's more, this situation happens in physics all the time, simply consider the three nuclei in an ozone molecule, where one of the nuclei has been observed to be zooming across the room. We should not say the one we observed is the "mover" of the other two, simply on the grounds that it is the one we happened to observe!

    Thus, Aristotle's argument, if it is as you framed it, is already an example of circular reasoning! He is trying to show that it doesn't make sense to say that X moves X1 which moves X2 which moves X, but it makes perfect sense to say that, unless you slip in the assumption that movement must have a "first cause." In short, he "proves" that movement must have a first cause by slipping in a hidden assumption that it must-- classic circular reasoning.
    I don't know any cases in Mathematics where one expects to prove axioms from the axioms themselves.
    You mean that no one expects such proofs to be anything but trivially obvious. Such proofs would indeed be trivial, but the longstanding hope was that such proofs would be meaningful all the same, i.e., not the kind of proofs you get from a set of inconsistent axioms (which can be shown to be able to prove anything). So it was hoped that a set of axioms, say those of arithmetic, could be proven to be consistent, by using those same axioms. As you know, consistent means they could not prove both a theorem, and its inverse. However, we now know (in the logical sense) that complex sets of axioms (say, those of arithmetic) cannot prove that they are consistent. Ergo, we never know that any proof that stems from these axioms is actually a meaningful proof, and not just the kind of proof-of-anything that you can do with inconsistent axioms. So much for mathematical "knowing", we actually do find ourselves in the position of not knowing that any arithemetical proof is not the kind of proof you get from a set of axioms that can prove anything!
    A circular argument has a pattern like: X1 is true because: X1 implies X2 and X2 implies X1.
    Yet that is not the interesting case, because we don't see proofs like that, they are too obviously wrong. The actual way circular arguments come into play is this: X1 is true because X2 implies it, and X2 is taken to be true because X1 implies it-- but this latter part is not included explicitly in the proof, it is a hidden sleight of hand. That hidden sleight of hand is crucial, it's the whole game of circular reasoning.
    If a countable set of independent axioms is required then one can consider each axiom to be an unmoved mover, or one can consider the set of axioms to be an unmoved mover.
    Or none of those. There is no requirement to take axioms as unmoved movers, that is the crux of Aristotle's circularity, his hidden sleight of hand. Obviously, if we take axioms to be unmoved movers, then we are taking any logical structure they induce to be a structure that requires unmoved movers. But if we don't, then it isn't. So once again, we see that pure personal belief underpins the logic, as always in metaphysics.
    My point wasn't that one particular solution must chosen to deal with the chain of movers.
    Then I agree-- the "solutions" are just beliefs, this is the point.

    I'm merely saying if people realize their discussion is falling into the pattern of such a chain (e.g. "X is created by X1, X1 is created by X2. What created X2? Did it come from "nothing"?) then they can ask which particular pattern of the chain is appropriate ( - which is not to say that they can answer that question).
    Exactly-- they can always believe it is perfectly appropriate, or they can believe there is some problem with it. No logic will tell you, only belief can. This is not a hypothetical issue-- witness how clearly we see this very principle in gzhpcu's stance!
    I did not say that mathematical logic is based on things that anyone can see. I said that many people (yourself included) introduce assertions in philosophical discussions by saying that they are facts that anyone can see.
    Ah, but notice the key difference-- I'm the one who never claimed I was talking about something mind independent! So when I say "anyone can see it", I can mean "anyone selected from a set of minds capable of doing scientific thinking," such as those on this thread. They can do scientific thinking, but they don't always choose to! So it is not important to my argument that the "anyone" be interpreted literally, it's just a common idiom. But that certainly is important to the argument of those who claim they are talking about something mind independent, as you claimed about mathematical truths, and as so many claim about the tenets of realism. If someone, anyone, cannot see it, then it is not mind independent.

    Now, there is no problem with saying that minds that are unable to participate in some process "don't count" when using that process (be it mathematics or science) to establish truth, simply because they have shown themselves unable to participate in that process (creationists and pseudoscientists, I'm talking to you). Indeed, it is necessary to say exactly that, or progress cannot occur. But when we don't count the minds that can't do the process, we should not engage in the hypocrisy of claiming the subject of the process is "mind independent" simply because our own minds can engage in that process. That is self deception.
    Last edited by Ken G; 2015-Sep-17 at 08:32 AM.

  21. #7011
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    26,777
    Quote Originally Posted by LaurieAG View Post
    Ken G, did you actually read my post?
    Yes, that's why I commented in detail on it, and argued, as Selfsim pointed out, that MIR belief seemed to play no role at all in anything that happened. However, I cannot understand why you claimed the thing you bolded-- that everyone involved in your software project thought there was not an MIR involved when they thought it would work, but somehow discovered there was an MIR when it turned out that it didn't. I'm afraid I have no idea how you are using the MIR concept, it does not appear to be the way anyone else is using that phrase. How ironic-- we find the whole concept of what is a "mind independent reality" is already a mind dependent issue!
    Last edited by Ken G; 2015-Sep-17 at 08:36 AM.

  22. #7012
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    1,875
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    But you have moved the goalposts to "reliance" on circular reasoning, whereas what you said before was:
    Originally Posted by tashirosgt
    I don't recall why he rejected it, but clearly in some interpretations of "move" it leads to undesirable situations. For example, in logic, it would lead to "circular" arguments -. (e.g. Interpreting "moves" as "proves", we could have "X is proved" explained by: " X is proved by X1 and X1 is proved by X2 and X2 is proved by X".)
    So what you said before is that it would be undesirable to have a situation that "would lead to circular arguments". But the situation you describe does not lead to circular arguments, it merely implies that X, X1, and X2 are all logically equivalent, and if they are sources of proofs, then they are logically equivalent sets of axioms.
    No, the quotation says "we could have "X is proved explained by ..." It refers to the statement X standing alone.


    Let me expound. It's not undesirable to be able to prove a circle of logical equivalences. In short, if we interpret "prove" as "move", then we have no trouble at all saying that X moves X1 which moves X2 which moves X, as long as we have some other way of knowing that any of those do in fact move (say, an observation that it does). What's more, this situation happens in physics all the time, simply consider the three nuclei in an ozone molecule, where one of the nuclei has been observed to be zooming across the room. We should not say the one we observed is the "mover" of the other two, simply on the grounds that it is the one we happened to observe!
    I agree that a circular chain of movers can exist. I'm merely pointing out the historical fact that Aristotle rejected circular chains and the contemporary fact that circular reasoning is invalid in mathematics.

    Thus, Aristotle's argument, if it is as you framed it, is already an example of circular reasoning! He is trying to show that it doesn't make sense to say that X moves X1 which moves X2 which moves X, but it makes perfect sense to say that, unless you slip in the assumption that movement must have a "first cause." In short, he "proves" that movement must have a first cause by slipping in a hidden assumption that it must-- classic circular reasoning.
    I didn't present Aristotle's argument. It might be what you describe.

    You mean that no one expects such proofs to be anything but trivially obvious.
    No. I'm saying that things used as axioms are not proven. If something can be proven from axioms, then it is a theorem, not an axiom. If establishing the consistency of arithmetic requires a countable infinity of assumptions then no one of these assumptions can be proven from the others (If it could, it would be a theorem). It is correct to say that a mathematician might invent a structure by making more assumptions that he needs to make and later discover that some of the assumptions are theorems and should be deleted from the list of assumptions. Anyway, a list of assumptions is not relevant to a chain of things that prove each other.

    Perhaps you mean that a mathematical system defined by a set of axioms also understood to assert the assumption of its own consistency. Technically it cannot unless it can refer to itself. (e.g. Group theory doesn't have an axiom or theory that says the axioms of group theory are consistent.) I agree that if a set of axioms is discovered to be inconsistent then it is discarded as a set of axioms. So active investigation of a mathematical system implies that the investigator believes it is consistent. However his belief need not be in the list of assumptions of the mathematical system. Employing a set of axioms to prove that same set of axioms is consistent isn't an example of circular reasoning unless set of axioms explicitly contains the axiom "This set of axioms is consistent". The fact you can formulate the statement "This set of axioms is consistent" within the system itself does indicate that this assertion is one of the assumptions used in the system.


    Obviously, if we take axioms to be unmoved movers, then we are taking any logical structure they induce to be a structure that requires unmoved movers. But if we don't, then it isn't.
    In mathematics, if don't assume any assumptions or definitions then you have no statements to use in proving anything and nothing to use in defining anything. Perhaps you are talking about a logical structure that is different from mathematics or a motion that is different than "proves".

  23. #7013
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Norfolk UK and some of me is in Northern France
    Posts
    8,714
    Quote Originally Posted by tashirosgt View Post
    No, the quotation says "we could have "X is proved explained by ..." It refers to the statement X standing alone.




    I agree that a circular chain of movers can exist. I'm merely pointing out the historical fact that Aristotle rejected circular chains and the contemporary fact that circular reasoning is invalid in mathematics.


    I didn't present Aristotle's argument. It might be what you describe.



    No. I'm saying that things used as axioms are not proven. If something can be proven from axioms, then it is a theorem, not an axiom. If establishing the consistency of arithmetic requires a countable infinity of assumptions then no one of these assumptions can be proven from the others (If it could, it would be a theorem). It is correct to say that a mathematician might invent a structure by making more assumptions that he needs to make and later discover that some of the assumptions are theorems and should be deleted from the list of assumptions. Anyway, a list of assumptions is not relevant to a chain of things that prove each other.

    Perhaps you mean that a mathematical system defined by a set of axioms also understood to assert the assumption of its own consistency. Technically it cannot unless it can refer to itself. (e.g. Group theory doesn't have an axiom or theory that says the axioms of group theory are consistent.) I agree that if a set of axioms is discovered to be inconsistent then it is discarded as a set of axioms. So active investigation of a mathematical system implies that the investigator believes it is consistent. However his belief need not be in the list of assumptions of the mathematical system. Employing a set of axioms to prove that same set of axioms is consistent isn't an example of circular reasoning unless set of axioms explicitly contains the axiom "This set of axioms is consistent". The fact you can formulate the statement "This set of axioms is consistent" within the system itself does indicate that this assertion is one of the assumptions used in the system.




    In mathematics, if don't assume any assumptions or definitions then you have no statements to use in proving anything and nothing to use in defining anything. Perhaps you are talking about a logical structure that is different from mathematics or a motion that is different than "proves".
    I am confused by your argument in relation to reality, do you believe that any aspect of mathematics is to be found in the universe other than as a result of mind modelling?
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  24. #7014
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    26,777
    Quote Originally Posted by tashirosgt View Post
    No, the quotation says "we could have "X is proved explained by ..." It refers to the statement X standing alone.
    My point is that there is no problem with logical structures that admit circular chains like X1-->X2-->X3-->X1, those don't lead to circular arguments unless there is sleight of hand going on. This is because a chain like that is perfectly good logic, but one has to understand that all it says is "X1, X2, and X3 all have the same truth value." Circular reasoning is failing to mention that X1 is being regarded as true at the beginning, leaving it out of the chain, and claiming the truth of X1 follows as a theorem-- which has nothing to do with the existence of that logical circular chain. Similarly, there is no problem with a circular chain of "movers", indeed we encounter that in physics all the time. I've no idea what Aristotle is on about there, but he seems all wet, which was not so unusual in those early days of trying to figure out what logic was.
    No. I'm saying that things used as axioms are not proven.
    Axioms can always be proven by themselves. It is a trivial proof, but a proof nevertheless. So it is untrue that axioms are unproven-- indeed "proven by" means nothing other than "inherits the logical truth value of." It is clear that axioms inherit their own truth values. What you really mean is that axioms are not elevated to axioms by the fact that they can prove themselves once so elevated-- the elevation must happen first, and is external to the logical structure-- it is in the definition of the logical structure.

    If something can be proven from axioms, then it is a theorem, not an axiom.
    Again, axioms can be proven from the axioms. There is no requirement in mathematics that X must not prove X, if X is an axiom set. What you cannot prove about an axiom set (if it is rich enough) is that it is consistent, but you can certainly prove that it is true, by what "proving true" means in mathematics-- it means "follows from the axioms."
    If establishing the consistency of arithmetic requires a countable infinity of assumptions then no one of these assumptions can be proven from the others (If it could, it would be a theorem).
    There is no requirement to prove anything in a logical system from a set of axioms "minus one." That would be a totally different proving system. The logical system is defined by what is being regarded as axioms, and everything they prove, using any and all of them. The axioms are the "provers" if you will, and if one of them can be proven from the others, that's not any kind of problem for that system, it's just not as parsimoniously expressed as possible.
    It is correct to say that a mathematician might invent a structure by making more assumptions that he needs to make and later discover that some of the assumptions are theorems and should be deleted from the list of assumptions.
    Yes, that would be the case if any of the axioms could be proven from the rest, so the logically equivalent axiom set that spawns the same proving system could have a smaller set of axioms. That situation is of no fundamental importance, as it is still exactly the same proving system.
    Perhaps you mean that a mathematical system defined by a set of axioms also understood to assert the assumption of its own consistency.
    No, that would be a disastrous idea, say for arithmetic. It has been proven that arithmetic cannot prove its own consistency, so if we take arithmetic and add the axiom "the axioms of arithmetic are consistent", we would know we have an inconsistent system that could prove anything. This was my point above-- we certainly are not safe to assume that arithmetic is consistent, it is essential to the functioning of that proving system that we not know its proofs are valid, in the sense of not being capable of supplying a valid proof of any arbitrary proposition.
    So active investigation of a mathematical system implies that the investigator believes it is consistent.
    Not at all-- no such belief is necessary, because it doesn't appear anywhere in any of the proofs! I can be completely convinced by my own belief that the axioms are inconsistent, and still make all the same proofs that a true believer can. The situation is entirely analogous to MIR belief in science! Which is the whole point.

    Now, you might ask, if I did not believe the axioms of arithmetic were consistent, why would I bother to use them to make proofs? That would be an entirely personal choice, I could have a thousand reasons for doing proofs using those axioms, even though I believe they are not consistent. For example, I could believe that the axioms are useful, despite being inconsistent, simply because I believe that it is only very esoteric proofs that I am unlikely to ever think of that would encounter the inconsistency.

    However his belief need not be in the list of assumptions of the mathematical system.
    That's exactly why it needn't be there at all. Now you are ready to understand what this thread is about-- simply take your statement, and apply it to the scientific method. It now becomes, "belief in MIR need not appear in the list of rules of the scientific method." Yes, that's one of the key points of the thread! The other is that when we use the scientific method to form a concept of reality, and we do, the result is demonstrably mind dependent. So the thrust of the thread is twofold: MIR belief is not used in science, and using science is seen to produce an MDR.

    Employing a set of axioms to prove that same set of axioms is consistent isn't an example of circular reasoning unless set of axioms explicitly contains the axiom "This set of axioms is consistent".
    No, it's not circular reasoning then either. Had it been possible to prove that the axioms of arithmetic are consistent, using the axioms of arithmetic, then it would still be completely consistent to add the (unnecessary) axiom that the axioms of arithmetic are consistent. That axiom would not be doing anything, but it would certainly not be creating any problems either-- that is the bogus interpretation of the "circular reasoning fallacy" that I described above. The real problem with adding to arithmetic the axiom "the axioms of arithmetic are consistent" is what I said above-- as it happens, given the richness of arithmetic, that axiom would force the whole system to be inconsistent.
    The fact you can formulate the statement "This set of axioms is consistent" within the system itself does indicate that this assertion is one of the assumptions used in the system.
    The situation is way worse than that in arithmetic-- not only is it not one of the assumptions, it cannot be.
    In mathematics, if don't assume any assumptions or definitions then you have no statements to use in proving anything and nothing to use in defining anything.
    I'd say that's pretty obvious, and is not relevant to anything I said.
    Perhaps you are talking about a logical structure that is different from mathematics or a motion that is different than "proves".
    Certainly not, I am talking about mathematics, but also following the analogy you drew between how we can regard "provers" in mathematics as "movers" in other areas of thought. Perhaps you did not understand what I said. Your remarks follow my statement that "Obviously, if we take axioms to be unmoved movers, then we are taking any logical structure they induce to be a structure that requires unmoved movers. But if we don't, then it isn't." The point being, none of the things we need these "movers" for, i.e., to "make move", require that we regard the "movers" as unmoving. This is entirely analogous to the fact that none of the things we need the axioms of arithmetic to prove require that we regard the axioms as themselves "unproven." Instead, the key attribute of arithmetic is just one thing: proofs can occur. That's it, that's all we do with it-- no requirements for anything else, and indeed anything else is just a belief. There is no requirement to regard the axioms as true, unless we wish to hold that the theorems are also true. There is also no requirement to regard the axioms as consistent, and there is no requirement to regard the axioms as unproven. If you doubt that, simply look up any proof that uses those axioms, and notice something quite important about that proof: all it does is show that it logically follows from those axioms. Notice what is missing from the proof: all that stuff I just listed! Ergo, all that stuff is pure belief, and no mathematician needs to adopt any of those beliefs in order to prove anything in arithmetic.
    Last edited by Ken G; 2015-Sep-17 at 06:07 PM.

  25. #7015
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    1,875
    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    I am confused by your argument in relation to reality, do you believe that any aspect of mathematics is to be found in the universe other than as a result of mind modelling?
    That's a hard question to interpret. I don't have a particular belief about whether mathematical "objects" exist outside Minds. The observation I'm making is not very abstract. The observation does refer to how human minds create mathematical systems. They do so by first stipulating assumptions and definitions. If that step is omitted, you don't have any mathematics. In applications of mathematics, people may make a mathematical assumption and also have some argument that the assumption is true in the problem they are applying math to. That sort of argument isn't part of mathematics per se .

  26. #7016
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    1,875
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    My point is that there is no problem with logical structures that admit circular chains like X1-->X2-->X3-->X1, those don't lead to circular arguments unless there is sleight of hand going on.
    We're having another vocabulary disagreement. There is no problem with a circular chain of implications. The term "circular reasoning" refers to the assertion that one member of the chain, standing alone, is proven true because of the existence of such a chain.

    Axioms can always be proven by themselves. It is a trivial proof, but a proof nevertheless. So it is untrue that axioms are unproven
    The proof would rely on the assumption of the axiom itself. An implication such as "If the commutative law is true then the commutative law is true" is a true statement. But it is not a proof of the commutative law unless you also know the truth of the statement "The commutative law is true" by itself. My point is that the truth of axioms is assumed. I agree you can draw a chain of implications that contain an axiom. But it isn't this chain by itself that establishes the truth of the axiom by itself.




    There is no requirement to prove anything in a logical system from a set of axioms "minus one." That would be a totally different proving system.
    If you want to investigate the "independence" of axioms you must conduct such an investigation.


    The logical system is defined by what is being regarded as axioms, and everything they prove, using any and all of them. The axioms are the "provers" if you will, and if one of them can be proven from the others, that's not any kind of problem for that system, it's just not as parsimoniously expressed as possible.
    However the usual convention in mathematics is that if it is discovered that an axiom can be proven from the other axioms, it isn't classified as an axiom any more. It's true that this convention can be violated in textbooks. There are situations where an author avoids presenting a complicated proof of a useful result and states the result as an assumption instead.

    No, that would be a disastrous idea, say for arithmetic. It has been proven that arithmetic cannot prove its own consistency
    , so if we take arithmetic and add the axiom "the axioms of arithmetic are consistent", we would know we have an inconsistent system that could prove anything.
    I agree. Yet I don't see what that has to do with chains of movers.


    Not at all-- no such belief is necessary, because it doesn't appear anywhere in any of the proofs! I can be completely convinced by my own belief that the axioms are inconsistent, and still make all the same proofs that a true believer can. The situation is entirely analogous to MIR belief in science! Which is the whole point.
    I agree that a person can pursue a unprofitable task. I'm making a practical observation about human mathematicians. A mathematician wouldt know that investigating an inconsistent set of axioms is not a good career move.

    Now, you might ask, if I did not believe the axioms of arithmetic were consistent, why would I bother to use them to make proofs? That would be an entirely personal choice, I could have a thousand reasons for doing proofs using those axioms, even though I believe they are not consistent. For example, I could believe that the axioms are useful, despite being inconsistent, simply because I believe that it is only very esoteric proofs that I am unlikely to ever think of that would encounter the inconsistency.
    Well, you speak for yourself. I don't think we have a consensus of scientific minds on that one.

    That's exactly why it needn't be there at all. Now you are ready to understand what this thread is about-- simply take your statement, and apply it to the scientific method. It now becomes, "belief in MIR need not appear in the list of rules of the scientific method."
    No list of rules has been given. I thought we were relying on an unstated consensus about content of "the scientific method".

    Yes, that's one of the key points of the thread!
    As I mentioned earlier, most scientific models are "mind exclusive", using the terminology of thread participant malaidas. I think it is correct to say that if X is some object mentioned in a mind exclusive model M then the predictions of the model M aren't changed by adding a statement to the content of the model that asserts "X is mind independent". However, I don't see that the predictions of the model M are changed by adding a statement to the content of the model M that asserts "X is mind dependent". The alleged "sterility" of an assertion of MIR isn't any worse than the "sterility" of an assertion of MDR in that case. To extol the virtues of MDR, we need consider models whose predictions are affected by having assertions of MDR within the model itself.

  27. #7017
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    26,777
    Quote Originally Posted by tashirosgt View Post
    We're having another vocabulary disagreement. There is no problem with a circular chain of implications. The term "circular reasoning" refers to the assertion that one member of the chain, standing alone, is proven true because of the existence of such a chain.
    But nobody of consequence thinks that is a proof. There is zero reason for Aristotle to worry about that situation, it is a total non-issue. That is simply not what is happening when people cite circular reasoning-- it is always the sleight of hand of leaving out part of the circle. Pick any example of something that someone claimed was "circular reasoning" on this forum, and I will show you the hidden axiom that created the problem. Circles of logical connections are perfectly standard, and create no problems-- until an axiom is concealed within the circle. Hence, the problem should really be called the problem of the hidden axiom, a problem that can happen with or without circles.
    The proof would rely on the assumption of the axiom itself.
    Like all proofs, yes.

    An implication such as "If the commutative law is true then the commutative law is true" is a true statement. But it is not a proof of the commutative law unless you also know the truth of the statement "The commutative law is true" by itself.
    You do, it's an axiom. If you are taking that view of axioms-- I prefer not to label anything true, but simply say "this is a logical ramification of the axioms." So much less unnecessary baggage.
    My point is that the truth of axioms is assumed.
    If you choose to, yes. But that is never a necessary component of any proof, as I said. Proofs are purely structural, and have nothing to do with "truth" unless you adopt that voluntary convention, or choose to believe in its "truth."
    I agree you can draw a chain of implications that contain an axiom. But it isn't this chain by itself that establishes the truth of the axiom by itself.
    One certainly has to say what one means by what can "establish a truth." Again, I prefer to avoid the phrase altogether, it plays no role in mathematical structure. But if one wants to go beyond mathematical formalism, and engender a non-mathematical concept of "truth", then one does have to say that that is going to mean. That would certainly be outside of mathematics. Normally, when one goes outside formal reasoning to say that, one asserts that "this set of axioms are being regarded as true." Once one says that, one can trivially prove the axioms are true, using the axioms. However, the structure of the proving system doesn't need any of that baggage, it is only a list of things that share the truth value of the axioms, including the axioms themselves. Those are all the "proofs" in the structure, and that's all the structure is about. The reasons we are interested in the structure, like arithmetic, is something different, and is never formalized by mathematical logic.
    If you want to investigate the "independence" of axioms you must conduct such an investigation.
    Sure, but their independence has no effect on the proving system. It is essentially aesthetic.
    However the usual convention in mathematics is that if it is discovered that an axiom can be proven from the other axioms, it isn't classified as an axiom any more.
    So now we are talking about conventions? That's my point-- a mathematical convention is a human consensus, that has nothing to do with mathematical logic or the structure of any proving system. This is my point. It is analogous to our choices of what to believe, but it's not mathematics. Call it philosophy of mathematics.
    I agree. Yet I don't see what that has to do with chains of movers.
    It didn't, it was in response to your question if I was saying we should add an axiom to arithmetic that would make it inconsistent. I wasn't.
    I agree that a person can pursue a unprofitable task.
    Oh, that's not it at all. If I believed arithmetic was inconsistent, but that the inconsistencies are very unlikely to be encountered (based on all the proofs that have been done without encountering it), I could still believe that arithmetical proofs were highly profitable. In fact, there is lots of evidence that they are highly profitable, but there is no evidence that they are not inconsistent, in some very esoteric and unlikely to encounter way. So I'm completely agnostic about the consistency of arithmetic, but I'm happy to use it to do proofs, and I expect them to be profitable all the same.
    I'm making a practical observation about human mathematicians. A mathematician would know that investigating an inconsistent set of axioms is not a good career move.
    Correction, they would know that investigating a set of axioms that is known to be inconsistent would not be a good career move. It would be a perfectly good career move to investigate the axioms of arithmetic, however, even though no mathematician knows those are consistent.
    Well, you speak for yourself. I don't think we have a consensus of scientific minds on that one.
    I was speaking for myself. You can tell when I said "that would be an entirely personal choice." When someone says that, you can immediately tell that "scientific consensus" doesn't matter a whit. That's just not the kind of thing that scientific consensus applies to, it is a personal belief. Like MIR.
    No list of rules has been given. I thought we were relying on an unstated consensus about content of "the scientific method".
    Those are two quite different claims. It does not follow, logically, that if "no list has been given", it implies we are relying on an unstated consensus. The consensus has been clearly stated, just not here, because there has been no need. Almost everyone who has ever had a science class is taught that consensus, it is quite clearly stated. For example, we have talked about the axioms of arithmetic, without listing them here. Does your logic tell you this means the axioms of arithmetic are therefore an "unstated consensus"?

    (I suppose I could have shortened that answer by, instead of pointing out the faulty logic, simply citing the list of rules. See http://www.sciencebuddies.org/scienc...c_method.shtml for an informal introduction. For a little more detail, see http://www.livescience.com/20896-sci...ic-method.html or https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method.)

    I think it is correct to say that if X is some object mentioned in a mind exclusive model M then the predictions of the model M aren't changed by adding a statement to the content of the model that asserts "X is mind independent".
    This thread is not about whether or not models are mind independent, for it is quite obvious they are not. Nor is the thread about whether or not models are mind "exclusive", that can be seen very easily by whether or not the model mentions a mind or brain. The thread is about the fact that the reality concept that is used in science can be seen to depend on the mind of the scientist using it, despite the widespread tendency to ignore that particular "moon of Jupiter."
    However, I don't see that the predictions of the model M are changed by adding a statement to the content of the model M that asserts "X is mind dependent".
    Why should you see that-- no one has claimed any such thing, though it has been pointed out that in many cases it can help correctly apply the model to make predictions that you understand. But it would indeed be useful to add that statement, for many reasons. One of which is how much it would surprise most people-- they would need to become aware of something that had previously simply ignored. That's always of value in scientific thinking. The added statement won't change the predictions of the model, of course, because the model was already clearly mind dependent, so making explicit what is already clearly true won't affect the predictions of that particular model. The importance of recognizing the mind dependence is not in the predictions the model generates, it is in understanding the model, what it does and what lessons it is giving us, and how to use it correctly without confusing oneself with paradoxes that stem from MIR thinking. I gave countless specific examples of exactly that, I'll recall just one in which I said that people who don't understand this ask nonscientific questions like "is the universe deterministic or not". They are misled by the fact that our models don't come with exactly that statement you could not see the value in.

    What's more, and this may be the most important reason, there are models that we have not yet made, that might not be mind exclusive, because they might wish to incorporate the mind dependence explicitly in the model, so it helps with those as well as being the process of recognizing that mind exclusive does not mean mind independent.
    The alleged "sterility" of an assertion of MIR isn't any worse than the "sterility" of an assertion of MDR in that case.
    Except for all the evidence I gave that MIR thinking is indeed scientifically sterile, and all the evidence I gave that MDR thinking is not. I realize you prefer to ignore evidence, but I feel compelled to remind you of it.
    To extol the virtues of MDR, we need consider models whose predictions are affected by having assertions of MDR within the model itself.
    That is poor logic, it is the fallacy of the false dichotomy. Your argument here seems to be that either MDR thinking is virtueless, or there needs to be presently existing models whose predictions are affected. That's obviously a false dichotomy, as I have already extolled many virtues of MDR thinking that are neither of those options, including:
    1) there is evidence that it is true, and the scientist always looks to the truth, even when he/she does not yet know how to model it
    2) knowing the truth behind MDR thinking motivates the future generation of models that do not yet exist
    3) MDR thinking allows us to escape confusing paradoxes I've mentioned above, that we fall into with MIR thinking and can interfere with our ability to correctly apply the models
    4) MDR thinking allows us to better understand theories that are indeed mind dependent, yet mind exclusive, as in the many examples I gave
    5) ...and then there's that "top ten list."

    None of these were just stated, considerable evidence was brought to bear for each point. So here we see the classic difference between an evidence-based argument, and just stating stuff that cannot even be trusted to be free of fallacy.
    Last edited by Ken G; 2015-Sep-17 at 09:44 PM.

  28. #7018
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    1,875
    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Robinson View Post
    So your MDR is instrumentalism rather than epistemological idealism?
    As a bystander to the conversation, I'll give Colin a heads-up about MDR. The purist presentation of MDR amounts to large set of (supposedly) empirical observations. The appearance of any general principles in MDR is either an illusion created by the large number of similar empirical claims or an application of scientific induction to a set of similar empirical claims to support a generality. Furthermore, MDR does not pretend to be a logically consistent structure, not does it claim to be an unambiguous structure.

    If we think of the history of the content of science, we see that conceptions of things like "atoms" have changed. We see that in different situations, contradictory models are sometimes used. We expect a particular scientific model to be logically consistent and unambiguous within itself, but the history of science is not the history of a single coherent structure. Definitions are not constant. Parts of it contradict each other. Since MDR's claims are all empirical and all to be based on "scientific evidence", MDR inherits the inconsistencies and ambiguities of "science" itself.

    Not all the thead participants are MDR purists. Some attempt to view MDR as a consistent set of statements that are sufficiently unambiguous. However, when one attempts to apply deductive reasoning to the MDR point of view, the troubles began. A demand for logical consistency arises, terms need to be defined unambiguously, assumptions need to be stated. The purist view of MDR claims to make no assumptions and not to rely on deductive logic, so projects in deductive logic don't get very far.

    Consider the statement: "Different Minds make sense of their perceptions in different ways". A Idealist's approach might present it as an assumption - or an Idealist might appeal to self-observation and assert the generality that "All thoughts are mental operations" and deduce mind dependence from that generality.

    By contrast, the purist approach to MDR appeals only to empirical testing. So if you want to demonstrate the mind dependence of the concept of "Democracy", you ask different people about their concept of "Democracy" and observe their answers are different. If you want to demonstrate the mind dependence of the concept of "Science" you don't refer to you findings about "Democracy". Instead you do an independent test that asks people what they mean by "Science". To an Idealist, this appears to be comical. An Idealist doesn't confirm the generality of mind dependence by empirically testing each individual example of that generality. Of course, MDR cannot actually test each possible individual case. However, It can assert the generality on the basis of "scientific induction" (i.e. The confirmation of many particular cases suggests that the generality is correct.)

    The empirical approach is more laborious than Idealism, but it exempts MDR from answering questions about generalities. For example, if we have the question "Do you mean to say that what Minds think about exists outside the Mind?" or "Are you advocating Instrumentalism?" then MDR can say "My statement about Minds making sense of their perceptions refers to a specific set of particular experiments that were performed and the results of those experiments. If your questions can be scientifically investigated then please describe what experiment you want me to do." Essentially the experiments define the meaning of the statement they affirm. No interpretation of the concepts employed in the statement is offered except as it is manifested in the experiments.
    Last edited by tashirosgt; 2015-Sep-17 at 11:24 PM.

  29. #7019
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    3,317
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    Why should you see that-- no one has claimed any such thing, though it has been pointed out that in many cases it can help correctly apply the model to make predictions that you understand. But it would indeed be useful to add that statement, for many reasons. One of which is how much it would surprise most people-- they would need to become aware of something that had previously simply ignored. That's always of value in scientific thinking. The added statement won't change the predictions of the model, of course, because the model was already clearly mind dependent, so making explicit what is already clearly true won't affect the predictions of that particular model.
    Hmm ... I'm not quite so convinced about that just yet(?) If the predictions of a model are a function of that model, then surely adding recognition of the mind's influences over that model, will also influence its predictions(?) This would be especially so, because the mind dependency is also evidenced-based. (MIR thinking won't affect the predictions on the other hand, (other than by adding noise and errors), because it is not evidenced-based).

    For example:

    i) does the inclusion of the role of perception in observations affect the predictions of SR and GR?
    ii) does the inclusion of the role of perception in observations affect the predictions of the Standard Model (of Particle Physics)? (Ie: as per the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle)?

    I think if the inclusion of the mind realises, (or even quantifies), errors in measurements due to its influence, then it must influence (at least), the constraints over the prediction, no? Perhaps this is just another way of identifying the boudaries of 'contextual and provisional', maybe(?)
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G
    The importance of recognizing the mind dependence is not in the predictions the model generates, it is in understanding the model,
    Perhaps this is the same thing as I mentioned above, just expressed in a different way(?)
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G
    .. what it does and what lessons it is giving us, and how to use it correctly without confusing oneself with paradoxes that stem from MIR thinking. I gave countless specific examples of exactly that, I'll recall just one in which I said that people who don't understand this ask nonscientific questions like "is the universe deterministic or not". They are misled by the fact that our models don't come with exactly that statement you could not see the value in.
    Completely agree. The inclusion of MIR things results in obfuscation. It can require a great deal of knowledge and skill to identify it as unevidenced superfluous added 'truths'. As science's models become more intricate and elaborate, they also become more difficult to understand. If the inclusion of the influence of the mind, simplifies the understanding of these models, then that would be a tremendous leap forward for Science in general, I would think(?)

    I'll admit that I'm quite 'rattled' by the thought that 'time' may be entirely an MDR model invented by the mind for its own purposes. The inclusion of that has vast ramifications over the way we regard all 'predictions' and I find, that is quite a scary thought, and perhaps for that reason, its inclusion may actually invalidate its own utility value in certain models. It may also unleash tremendous leaps forward in others, though ... don't know ...

  30. #7020
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    1,875
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    But nobody of consequence thinks that is a proof.
    You, I, and Aristotle agree on that. I speculated that this might have motivated Aristotle to reject circular chains of movers as an explanatory analysis.


    One certainly has to say what one means by what can "establish a truth." Again, I prefer to avoid the phrase altogether, it plays no role in mathematical structure.
    Ok, that's your MDR. Academic mathematicians disagree with you. Textbooks on mathematical logic employ the concept of "truth" as opposed to avoiding it.

    However, the structure of the proving system doesn't need any of that baggage, it is only a list of things that share the truth value of the axioms, including the axioms themselves. Those are all the "proofs" in the structure, and that's all the structure is about.
    We are just having a vocabulary discussion of "Assuming the axioms are true" vs "Share the truth values of the axioms". The mathematical structure does deal with things that share the truth value of axioms when that truth value is "True". I don't think it deals with things that share the truth value of the axioms when that value is "False".


    That's my point-- a mathematical convention is a human consensus, that has nothing to do with mathematical logic or the structure of any proving system.
    - nothing to do with them if you assume they exist as things outside the human consensus.


    Those are two quite different claims. It does not follow, logically, that if "no list has been given".
    I didn't state it as a deduction. I have not observed any list given in this thread.




    (I suppose I could have shortened that answer by, instead of pointing out the faulty logic, simply citing the list of rules. See http://www.sciencebuddies.org/scienc...c_method.shtml for an informal introduction. For a little more detail, see http://www.livescience.com/20896-sci...ic-method.html or https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method.)
    I didn't see any mention of "mind dependent reality" in those sources (nor was there an explicit list of rules). Would we change or improve the scientific method by adding statements about "mind dependent reality" to the description of the scientific method?

    The thread is about the fact that the reality concept that is used in science can be seen to depend on the mind of the scientist using it, despite the widespread tendency to ignore that particular "moon of Jupiter."
    Some quibbles: You used the passive voice. And I don't think "moon of Jupiter" is a good metaphor - it suggests something mind independent.

    The added statement won't change the predictions of the model, of course, because the model was already clearly mind dependent, so making explicit what is already clearly true won't affect the predictions of that particular model.
    I agree that the predictions won't change. Whether they don't change because the model is mind dependent is not clear. If the model doesn't mention Minds or Mind dependence, how are those properties employed in making its predictions?

    You aren't consistent in your views on the properties of things in models. Are they determined by the statements about the things within the model? Or are they determined by taking a view from outside the model and perhaps acknowledging that other models exist?

    For example, you said the earth has "a unique past history" because each different model of its history is a story and within that story, a unique past history is described. If we consider a set of different models, there are different past histories. If we don't stand outside the models, this allows us to assert that in one particular model the earth has a unique past history.

    You say that scientific models can represent things "outside the mind" because the model can be story about minds and something outside them. Yet the model is not "outside" a Mind. So how can things mentioned by the model be "outside the Mind"? If we don't stand outside the model, we can say that the model represents something 'outside" of a Mind.

    Yet when a model mentions something and does not assert it to be "mind dependent" or even mention Minds, you say that the thing is mind dependent. Standing outside the model, we can assert the thing is mind dependent by seeing that the model is mind dependent. But why take that "standing outside" viewpoint in this case and not in the previous two?

    (I anticipate another vocabulary discussion.)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •