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Thread: The last and final argument about reality.

  1. #8431
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    Quote Originally Posted by tashirosgt View Post
    I'm serious. If I think of a "model" as having explicit content and think of a "model or reality" as explicit content that governs all a Minds thinking about reality, then there is no evidence that such a model exists. People do think and act, but that doesn't show that that they are doing so according a "model".


    Well, that's your viewpoint. From the viewpoint of evolution, things that promote the survival of individuals can take a back seat to things that promote the survival of the species.



    The fact that interpretations occur doesn't show that there is a specific "model" that is used to create the interpretations. If you want to define "model" loosely as "whatever causes us to make the interpretations of our sensory input that we make" then such a "model" need not be a set of statements. From that definition of model, a amoeba has a "model" of reality.



    Yes, I doubt the existence of any comprehensive list of statements or collection of thoughts that govern our interpretation of sensory input. From an MIR perspective, what governs our sensory input is the physical state of the material things that implement our Mind. The MDR perspective is unclear. On one hand "models" are spoken of in the sense of explicitly stated scientific models. On the other hand, they are also spoken of as "meanings" associated with words for common objects, such as "coffee cup".

    Furthermore, if we take the claims about "Scientific thinking" to be part of the MDR idea, then we have gone beyond introspection and beyond what occurs in actual Minds because "scientific thinking" is an abstraction of certain features how Minds actually think. So the claim that "Science" uses models is a different claim than the assertion that individual Minds use that same type of model.
    Yes I think an amoeba has a model but a human has a predictive model. Theory of mind is about predicting the behaviour of others. Do you doubt that too?
    This is pretty basic. The purpose of the large brain is mainly to run this model. This is not my idea! We could not discuss the mind as the home of our reality without a base idea of the mind being a model running an interpretation of the sensory input. The evidence that his model exists is each of our personal experience. The only alternative idea is a soul living in us. I cannot show that view is wrong but mainstream view is that the model is a brain function.
    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

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    This is the core circularity of MIR belief. If you already believe in MIR, of course you think nature is the same thing as MIR. But if you think like me, that "mind independent reality" involves internally contradictory terms, then you don't think "nature" means that at all, because you think "nature" is a useful scientific model, whereas the words "mind independent reality" make an unsupported claim that is not necessary in the model. In short, the difference is the meaning of the words, and meaning is mind dependent!
    You say that "mind independent reality" involves internally contradictory terms. Whether this is true, depends on how "mind independent reality" is defined. If you'd spell out for me your definition of MIR, maybe then I would agree with you that MIR in that sense is contradictory.

    However, that would not prove that there is anything internally contradictory about mind-independence in the sense that realists use the term.

    (Yes, Ken, I know. You think that the very fact that people use terms in different ways shows that the terms are "mind-dependent". See also idiolect.)
    Last edited by Colin Robinson; 2015-Nov-05 at 10:05 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Warren Platts View Post
    instrumentalism is the closest "ism" to the MDR hypothesis. But as I said in that context above, the MDR hypothesis isn't an "ism", just like the theory of quantum mechanics isn't "quantum mechanicsism." It's just a testable hypothesis, nothing more or less.
    You've said that MDRism is a tautology and that you're proud of that fact. Therefore, it is analytically true, and cannot be empirically falsified.
    Important point! The claim that MDR is "a testable hypothesis" falls to the ground.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kevin1981 View Post
    Hi, i have a quick question about quantum physics and did not think it would be worth starting a new thread so thought i would ask here..

    I have seen a lot of people suggest that before we make a measurement in QM that there is no reality. I have read physicists using those words..
    People who say that sort of thing are referring to the Copenhagen interpretation of QM, which isn't the only interpretation.

    But isn't it best to say, before we make a measurement, reality is is some sort of state that deals with probability and potential. It makes no sense to us but nevertheless, it is still in
    some sort of physical state ? Or, is it not ?
    That would be similar to an argument about QM mentioned in the Wikipedia page Principle of Locality.

    "A property can be dispositional (or potential), i.e., it can be a tendency: in the way that glass objects tend to break, or are disposed to break, even if they do not actually break. Likewise, the mind-independent properties of quantum systems could consist of a tendency to respond to particular measurements with particular values with ascertainable probability."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    Yes, I've heard similar beliefs about a supreme being. What amazes me is that you don't see you are stating a belief about "mind independent" birds.
    I have no objection to calling the concept of mind independent birds a "belief". I do object to a vocabulary that claims "scientific thinking" does not involve "beliefs". As far as I can see, you are characterizing the outlook of uncertainty expressed by "this is just a model" as a mental condition that is distinct from the state of "making an assumption" or "believing something". So when your version of a scientist makes an "objective observation", your vocabulary says he is "employing models" to interpret the data instead of "making assumptions" or "believing" his laboratory equipment works.



    As far as anything practical goes, I'm no more stating a "belief" in mind independent birds than scientists who study birds exhibit "operationally" when they try to observe birds flying in the sky instead of trying to observe them flying inside books or inside books about the sky. I can agree with vocabulary that admits that making scientific observations does involve "beliefs".


    It is certainly a fact that you did not offer any objective tests of this belief. The way the situation can be framed by someone who does not insert the belief that birds are "mind independent" is simple enough: the model we call "birds" borrows from the model that we call "flying around outside" to achieve successful tests involving what we see when we look into what we regard as the sky (another model, of course).
    As I remarked to profloater, there is no evidence that anyone's Mind has a model for "birds" that consists of a set of specific language about birds. The correct description, based on introspection, is that a person's Mind can respond to various questions posed about birds and if the topic of birds "comes to Mind" then the Mind can make various assertions about birds. I agree that a Mind can have a "model" of a bird in the sense that the Mind has some properties that influence how it thinks in various contexts and some of those properties could be called a "model of birds". However, that sort of "model" is not a collection of language.

    You see how these words say all the same things that can be tested, without infusing the language with any beliefs beyond what can be tested.
    You can't test a model of a bird that says birds often fly unless you have a concept of making observations of bird where "bird" means something other than the model. If your only concept of "bird" is the model and the model says that birds often fly then if you observe something that doesn't often fly, you aren't observing a "bird" as defined by the model.

    Incidentally, we have someone on the thread who is unsure how you would answer these yes/no questions, so would you clarify the situation by answering them? As part of the ongoing effort to understand each person's views on the topic of the mind independence of reality, please just say whether the answer is more a yes or more a no, in your own opinion, to each of these:

    Q1) Is this a testable assertion: My own mind-dependent concepts can refer to something mind independent.
    Q2) Would you say that it is a mind dependent issue, in the sense of depending an certain assumptions that you can choose to make or not make, as to whether or not it can be proven that a model can model something other than another model?
    As I've said before, I have no certainty about whether Realism or Idealism is the correct description of the world - and I regard "MDR" as a viewpoint and viewpoints, to me, are things that one may take or leave at various time of the day without following a consistent policy. So I'll answer the questions as I usually behave in daily life.

    Q1) Yes (Because, to me, it is sufficient to test a model that explicitly represents people and their Minds and an object, like my coffee cup. )

    Q2) No (The question is hard to intepret. I interpret "it" not to refer to Q1, but to refer to the task of "proving" a model can represent something other than a model. To me, you must assume that a model of X may represent something other than a model of X in order to test that model vs X. So that's a "proof" by the definition of what doing a test means. An alternative interpretation of the question is "Does testing a model of X involve assuming the correctness of our concepts (models) of other things Y,Z,W etc. To that, I say Yes.

    It is certainly a hypothesis about language, one can see that by looking at it. Is it "only" a hypothesis about language? I can't really answer that, because I don't see that the word "only" is doing anything in that sentence.
    "Only" has the usual meaning of "only". Is the MDR hypothesis a hypothesis about language and not a hypothesis about something that is not language?

    The hypothesis that the universe has been expanding for some 13.8 billion years is a hypothesis about the history of the universe, but is it "only a hypothesis about the history of the universe"? It depends on what your mind intends by inserting the word "only", my mind finds that word insertion quite ambiguous. Can you give me an example of a hypothesis about something that is only a hypothesis about something?
    The hypothesis that the universe has been expanding for some 13.8 billion years is only a hypothesis about the universe expanding. For example it is not a hypothesis about bread dough expanding.

    It doesn't matter much to me how you want to parse the activities between things like "doing observations", "thinking about observations", and "saying things about observations." Those are all the mind-dependent activities I'm talking about when I talk about "building a scientific MDR", and they are all mind dependent
    I'm glad to see an explicit statement that (in your Mind), observations are Mind Dependent.



    So I do not say I can only form guesses about what gravity is, I do say what I mean by the existence of gravity comes from my successful models, and my mind-dependent efforts (including whatever activities I include in that effort, not "only language") to make sense of my perceptions. That's MDR thinking.
    As I've said, your MDR viewpoint is one possible viewpoint and you admit it uses circular definitions. For example if we test your "model of gravity" against "observations of gravity" we must actually regard "observations of gravity" as "observations of a model of gravity". So you test one model of gravity against observations of a possibly different model of gravity and as you do various tests, you may change the "model of gravity" being tested and the "model of gravity" being observed. ( It's interesting to ask how we do the first ever test of a model of gravity since we wouldn't have a second model to use in interpreting our observations of "gravity".)

  6. #8436
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    Yes I think an amoeba has a model but a human has a predictive model. Theory of mind is about predicting the behaviour of others. Do you doubt that too?
    I doubt I know what "Theory of mind" means.

    Explaining the behavior of a Mind requires more than saying it has the goal of predicting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tashirosgt View Post
    The fact that interpretations occur doesn't show that there is a specific "model" that is used to create the interpretations. If you want to define "model" loosely as "whatever causes us to make the interpretations of our sensory input that we make" then such a "model" need not be a set of statements. From that definition of model, a amoeba has a "model" of reality.

    Yes, I doubt the existence of any comprehensive list of statements or collection of thoughts that govern our interpretation of sensory input. From an MIR perspective, what governs our sensory input is the physical state of the material things that implement our Mind. The MDR perspective is unclear. On one hand "models" are spoken of in the sense of explicitly stated scientific models. On the other hand, they are also spoken of as "meanings" associated with words for common objects, such as "coffee cup".

    Furthermore, if we take the claims about "Scientific thinking" to be part of the MDR idea, then we have gone beyond introspection and beyond what occurs in actual Minds because "scientific thinking" is an abstraction of certain features how Minds actually think. So the claim that "Science" uses models is a different claim than the assertion that individual Minds use that same type of model.
    Thank you. I wanted to say the same thing, but you put it in better words.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tashirosgt View Post
    If we think of a Mind as device that is implemented by some non-Mind stuff....
    You just described a model.
    However, just from introspection, it isn't clear that our "model of reality" exists.
    It exists if you have a model for reality, and it doesn't if you don't. But how can you tell if you are talking about what you mean by reality, if you have no model of what you are talking about?

    For example, if we have definite thoughts about the general topic of "satisfaction" then this isn't specific enough to say which brand of beer or vintage of wine we enjoy.
    So when you talk about "reality", that feels to you like talking about "satisfaction"?
    Likewise, our response to the question "What do you mean by the word 'reality'? " doesn't specify how we respond to other questions about the world or how we behave in a given situation.
    Reality is a concept designed to organize many other concepts. If you want to have an in-depth discussion of the differences between a "model" and a "concept", go right ahead, but it won't matter much to me-- they are both so clearly mind dependent that the distinction is of no particular importance to this thread.

  9. #8439
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warren Platts View Post
    You've already been told: look up phenomenalism, positivism, instrumentalism.
    You think I'm going to find scientific tests there? I doubt it. You think I'm going to see the hypothesis that "scientific thinkers only use a demonstrably mind-dependent version of the reality concept whenever they use that concept in the process of scientific thinking?" Again, I doubt it. You think differently? I guess your expectations there just depend on your mind. Try testing it instead.


    You've said that MDRism is a tautology and that you're proud of that fact. Therefore, it is analytically true, and cannot be empirically falsified.
    I never said the MDR hypothesis is a tautology, I said it is a testable hypothesis. The tautology is only the syntactic logic the scientific thinker uses to manipulate ideas without changing them.
    Another Humpty Dumptyism.
    I'm not sure why you like to repeat that, it means absolutely nothing to me. It certainly isn't an argument, I can tell.
    Consider the following scientific "isms"

    geocentrism
    heliocentrism
    creationism
    vitalism
    Darwinism
    uniformitarianism
    catastrophism
    Here comes an actual argument. None of those are "scientific isms", not if you think about it scientifically. This is because there is no such thing as a "scientific ism." I realize that people use those phrases informally, but they also do lots of other informal things that are not very scientific (like believe in MIR). Isms are simply not the right way to frame a scientific theory, they are MIR language. If we just never used any of those words in science, we would all understand what we are doing so much better.

    Since I know you are not understanding what I mean here, let me explain: there is never any point in calling a scientist a "geocentrist" or a "heliocentrist", those are people who have chosen a belief system. A scientist just uses a geocentric model when he/she sees that as advantageous, and uses a heliocentric model when he/she sees that as advantageous. That's how science actually works, in science articles. You can tell this when you see words like "choosing the Earth as the origin" in actual articles, which you will, in fact, see all the time. The belief systems can easily be left at home, scientists put models in and out like putting hats on and off, all that matters is the evidence that they work in the contexts where that evidence applies.

    Heliocentrism vs. geocentrism is an absolutely classic example of this very point-- so much effort was wasted, and lives destroyed, over the silly argument of which is the "correct" coordinate system, and it took a more nuanced understanding, that of relativity, to realize that different coordinate systems are nothing but a different languages, different ways of looking at the problem. MIR belief, and all those "isms", are nothing but an obstacle for understanding this. MDR thinking is simply more effective scientific thinking.
    Last edited by Ken G; 2015-Nov-06 at 03:05 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kevin1981 View Post
    I have seen a lot of people suggest that before we make a measurement in QM that there is no reality. I have read physicists using those words..
    That's because the reality concept is mind dependent, so physicists are free to form their own opinions on it-- and they do. But there is no testable physics theory that says that-- all we can test is that physicists use their minds to form different ideas about what reality is, as you have just shown. You have provided yet another success for the MDR hypothesis. (What those physicists are talking about is their interpretation of quantum mechanics, along the lines of the Copenhagen interpretation, which says that quantum mechanics does not describe a reality separate from our observations, it is only a system for making predictions of our observations, and the observations become the reality only after they are registered on the macroscopic instruments.)
    But isn't it best to say, before we make a measurement, reality is is some sort of state that deals with probability and potential.
    What is "best to say" is mind dependent and personal-- unless you have a test to distinguish the possibilities you are talking about.
    It makes no sense to us but nevertheless, it is still in
    some sort of physical state ? Or, is it not ?
    If you are asking a science question, you have to frame it in terms of an objective outcome.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Robinson View Post
    You say that "mind independent reality" involves internally contradictory terms. Whether this is true, depends on how "mind independent reality" is defined.
    Define it in a way that is not internally inconsistent, and we'll see if it still relevant to the MDR hypothesis.
    If you'd spell out for me your definition of MIR, maybe then I would agree with you that MIR in that sense is contradictory.
    I use the same definition I've used throughout, the one that traces to this part of the Wiki definition of "reality":
    "Reality includes everything that is and has been, whether or not it is observable or comprehensible."
    That version of the "reality" notion is quite clearly intended to strip away all role for our minds, ergo, is "mind independent." As I've always said, "mind dependent" means there is a role for our minds, and different minds do it differently, so mind independent means no role for our minds, just as the Wiki definition bends over so far backward to try to achieve. At the cost of logical consistency if we ever try to actually talk about reality, or give it any attributes, heaven forbid.

    However, that would not prove that there is anything internally contradictory about mind-independence in the sense that realists use the term.
    This is not at a thread about realist beliefs, it is a thread about what concept of reality science uses. That's why it's in "science and technology." Realists don't even need logical consistency, they can just believe whatever they want. The logical inconsistency appears the instant they say anything about reality, because we agreed that meanings depend on our minds. But you are more than welcome to try to define "realism" in a way that escapes this logical inconsistency, and we can see if you succeeded, or if what you end up with has anything to do with rejecting the MDR hypothesis. If you end up with something completely consistent with the MDR hypothesis, then it won't matter to me what definition that is.
    (Yes, Ken, I know. You think that the very fact that people use terms in different ways shows that the terms are "mind-dependent". See also idiolect.)
    Yes, the concept of an "idiolect" is quite relevant indeed. And in that article, we find this interesting quote:"All human beings seem to produce language in essentially the same way.[3] This has led to searches for universal grammar, as well as attempts to further define the nature of particular languages." One should notice the two key elements I bolded. I think we would not be out on a limb if we expected neurologists to say that all human beings have "essentially" similar brains, so we should not be so surprised their languages are also similar. If you found very different brains that use language, you should also not be surprised to find they do not "produce language in essentially the same way." To study that, we would need a concept of language among animals, which is not so much of a stretch for the more intelligent species. Also, it is common to find linguists talking about universal grammar, but I've never seen a corresponding concept of universal meaning. Why do you think that is? Could it be that meaning is just clearly way more mind dependent than grammar?

    (If you ask me, even the hubbub over universal grammar is merely the standard way science looks for universalities and simplifications. We always seek that which is unified, and it tends to occupy our attention, so we get excited when we find universalities. But it is often not so hard to find the exceptions too-- it's all a question of our chosen focus, the type of model we are looking for, and that search limits what attracts our attention. So in physics, for example, we have a "theory of universal gravitation", but we have no "theory of universal cookie crumbling." )
    Last edited by Ken G; 2015-Nov-06 at 03:49 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Robinson View Post
    Important point! The claim that MDR is "a testable hypothesis" falls to the ground.
    You think the MDR hypothesis falls to the ground because Warren Platts does not understand the way I use tautologies in my arguments? I cannot follow that logic. You should really never use anything Warren Platts says about my argument as representative of my argument, if you want to use sound logic, because those summaries are simply not reliable-- you should instead look at my actual quotes.

    Let me explain the actual way I use tautologies, so you can understand why it only means that the MDR hypothesis is internally logically consistent (which is not what makes it well tested, the tests do that), not that the MDR hypothesis is itself a tautology. A tautology is a logical ramification that always holds, that's all it is. Here is an example of a tautology: "If A implies B, and B implies C, then A implies C." That's a tautology, because it is always true, it requires no predicates like "If 1 does not equal 2, then it holds that....". Also, everything you have ever seen that was a mathematical proof, like a proof of the Pythagorean theorem, is a tautology-- that is the purpose of proofs, to always be true, to be tautological.

    The problem with the "tautology" concept is quite similar to the "circular logic" concept. People think either of those are some kind of fallacy, when in fact they are just good logic. Just as any general proof is an example of a tautology within the proving system in which it appears, any such proof can also be turned into an example of "circular logic" by making a trivial change to the axioms of the proving system. If T is theorem of proving system P, then adding T to the axioms of P will not change the proving system P in any nontrivial way. Call that new proving system P', and note it is the same proving system as P, in the sense that it can prove all the same things and nothing more. But in P', T can prove itself, so T represents "circular logic" in proving system P'. So we have tautologies and circular logic in proving system P', and it is still an equivalent proving system to P, so none of these things are problems or fallacies.

    So what, then, are the actual fallacies people call "tautologies" and "circular logic"? They are both the same problem-- the problem of hiding your postulates. It is only a problem if theorem T can prove itself if you try to append it as an axiom to P without first proving it in P. If you do that, then P' is not the same proving system as P, and that is the fallacy. But if you have shown that T does indeed follow from P, then you are just doing tautologies and circular logic-- without any problems at all. That's what I am doing with MDR thinking.

    So first it is important to realize that I never said the MDR hypothesis itself is a tautology, that is merely the incorrect way Warren Platts attempted to summarize what I said (without quoting me, of course). What I said was the the logical manipulations used in analyzing the testable evidence for MDR are tautologies. Warren doesn't understand the difference.

    But the actual point that matters in all this is that the MDR hypothesis is not only testable, it tests out quite well. We have seen tests being passed even in just the last few pages of this very thread. Here are a few examples:

    1) We saw Warren Platts claiming that people who believe in "mind independent reality" all mean the same thing by that phrase, to the point that he predicted they would all have similar answers to 20 questions designed to get at those meanings. I immediately put that prediction to the test, and it was immediately refuted, and then all kinds of backpedaling occurred where it was claimed my questions were invalid or I was being dishonest. The usual stuff when people's predictions fail them. But the MDR hypothesis prediction worked fine-- it says that people mean different things by their concept of "reality" when thinking scientifically (they mean different things when not thinking scientifically also, but I only care about when they are thinking scientifically). So it expected different answers to the questions, and that's what we saw. Everyone who could look, that is, some found their beliefs made it impossible to see anything but invalid questions and dishonesty.

    2) Seeing invalid questions and dishonesty, where I see none of any of that, is also a prediction of the MDR hypothesis. The MDR hypothesis says that we can be observed to use our minds to make sense, in ways that depend on our minds, so it predicts that people should not even be able to agree on what is a valid question for probing beliefs about reality. If their ways of understanding reality are deeply committed to MIR belief, then they will object to questions that are not framed in the language of MIR belief, they will see those questions as invalid. But MIR nonbelievers will see questions infused with MIR belief-based language as the invalid questions, because those questions have no meaning to an MIR nonbeliever.

    3) We heard someone say they have seen physicists claim that reality is only brought into being when observations occur. This is a confirming instance of the MDR hypothesis, because physicists talking about reality in the context of actual physics theories are quite clearly people using the reality concept in the course of scientific thinking. Their outcomes are also quite clearly mind dependent, because not all minds agree that reality is brought into being when observations occur. I would say those physicists have left scientific thinking behind to say that, but they might not agree-- more mind dependence.

    The list just goes on and on. There are dozens of examples from this thread of tests passed by the MDR hypothesis that it could have failed, and which we would not expect to work if the MDR hypothesis was rejected. It is a scientifically testable hypothesis, it just tests out quite well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tashirosgt
    The fact that interpretations occur doesn't show that there is a specific "model" that is used to create the interpretations.
    Who said it did? (No one.) None of my tests of the MDR hypothesis looked like me using the fact that interpretations occur as evidence that models are being used. Instead, I point out the models that are being used. I much prefer directly observable evidence. A novel approach, apparently.
    If you want to define "model" loosely as "whatever causes us to make the interpretations of our sensory input that we make" then such a "model" need not be a set of statements.
    Did you see anyone define "model" that way? I didn't, you must be reading a different thread than I am.

    The fact is, no definition of "model" has been offered, just like I didn't offer a definition of "offer" in that last sentence. Some words we just take for granted that others understand what we mean. Making that choice is a key element of any effort to use language, obviously. But if I am mistaken that most people have a reasonably similar understanding of what a "model" is, I can try to elaborate. Needless to say, the resulting meaning will be such that whether or not amoebas use models will depend on how we model amoebas.

    So can we be more specific about what a model is? It will not be easy, any more than it would be easy to say what "love" is, or what "happy" is, though we all use those words all the time also. The hardest work of any scientific thinker is to provide operational definitions for their words, which is the means by which words acquire a scientific meaning (that's science 101). So what is an operational definition of a "model"? Often a good way to see what a word means is to connect it with our common experiences by citing examples. So here are examples of what I mean by a "model":
    That the Earth is at the center of the universe, and everything else goes around it every day.
    That the Earth is rotating, and this creates the illusion that everything else goes around it every day
    That the Earth has a surface
    That the Earth is a sphere
    That the Earth is made of atoms
    That the Earth creates gravity that pulls objects toward it
    And so on. Of course this is a minute subset of all the examples of models I could give that involve the Earth, i.e., that are models related to the "Earth" concept (also a model). We could also have quantitative models, which are mathematical structures like Newton's laws. But the key question is, what do all these things have in common? Well, they are operational models, meaning that they provide us with expectations about testable outcomes. This is the crucial thing that distinguishes a model from other things:

    Scientific models are instructions for making predictions that can be tested.

    The instructions are intended to be as simple as possible, often quite modular in form (in the sense that they neglect a vast number of factors that could alter the predictions, so the predictions are only tailored to some particular accuracy target, central to the choice of model and the criteria for judging its success). Does an amoeba do any of those things? Only if we model it in an unusually anthropocentric way.
    From an MIR perspective, what governs our sensory input is the physical state of the material things that implement our Mind.
    And here we have the core flaw in what you are calling the MIR perspective-- it has nothing at all to do with this thread, if you mean something in that first four words that connects to the rest of that sentence! Because all I have to do is ask you: why do you think what you just said is "from the MIR perspective"? What's mind independent about it? This is what I keep saying, you can define "mind independent reality" to be whatever you like, you can define it to be a concept that reality is what a little who is saying to Horton if you like, it's your word. I don't care at all how you define "mind independent reality", I only care if you are demonstrably talking about things that depend on the mind or not. Any definition of that phrase that you use that has nothing to do with things that have a role for our minds, is irrelevant to the MDR hypothesis, and so I don't care about it at all. In particular, if you were to say "from the MIR perspective, everything we think about reality depends on our minds", do you think I would see that as some kind of problem for the MDR hypothesis, if you took that meaning for your words "from the MIR perspective"? What would actually mean something if what followed your words "from the MIR perspective" was something that actually did not demonstrably depend on our minds. But you failed to do that.

    This is quite clear, because you followed the words "From the MIR perspective" with "what governs our sensory input is the physical state of the material things that implement our Mind." You didn't mention anything that even hints at mind independence! Because what you said is just an absolutely standard version of the MDR our minds have created, by making and testing models, and following the scientific method, in ways that are easily demonstrated to depend on our minds. Indeed, I have spent much of this thread showing, in some detail, the mind dependence of concepts like "governs" (it's an anthropomorphism, for crying out loud, how could it possibly be more obvious that it depends on how we think about things like governments?), and concepts like "sensory input" (which obviously have a huge role for how our minds work, that's one of the things neuroscientists study, the specific and mind-dependent ways we analyze sensory input and how that depends on our minds/brains), and concepts like "physical states of material" (what about the physical states of fields like the electromagnetic field or the gravity field, is that "material" or not-- these are all models!). Your own statement is a wonderfully successful test of the MDR hypothesis-- you just used the reality concept in a scientific way, and even though you mysteriously prefaced your remarks with "from the MIR perspective" (just can't resist tacking on those MIR beliefs, can you?), everything you then followed with presents us with clear evidence that you are talking about models that depend on your mind. The MDR hypothesis succeeds yet again.

    Pay close attention here, because this is the entire thread, right here. What you need to realize, to understand this thread, is that your preface "from the MIR perspective" added absolutely nothing scientific to everything you said in the rest of that sentence. It didn't make anything that follows more testable, it made no predictions, and did not explain any observations that the rest of the sentence alludes to. It was completely scientifically sterile, a clear example of the exact place where you tacked on your belief system onto a perfectly functioning autonomous scientific model. All you have to do, to understand this thread, is realize that if you simply replaced your words "from the MIR perspective" with the words "from the MDR perspective", the rest of the sentence follows perfectly well, with one very important difference: now it is logically consistent as a scientific statement. It is logically consistent as an evidence-based scientific statement because now all the demonstrably apparent mind dependence in the rest of that sentence, the evidence for which I just described, actually fits with the idea that it is from the MDR perspective. The new form of the sentence now affirms, rather than denies, the clear evidence of the mind dependence in the meaning of everything that follows (remember what you all regard as a tautology, i.e., a logical consistency, that meaning is mind dependent).

    But refusing to affirm evidence, and instead choosing to deny it in order to be allowed to hold a belief, is the calling card of a faith-based belief system. You can always just choose to believe something is mind independent even in the face of the evidence that you are using your mind to talk about the situation in ways that different minds would do differently. But it sure isn't science.
    Last edited by Ken G; 2015-Nov-06 at 05:19 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Warren
    Another Humpty Dumptyism.
    I'm not sure why you like to repeat that, it means absolutely nothing to me. It certainly isn't an argument, I can tell.
    I think Warren is referring to Lewis Carroll's book Through the Looking Glass, in which Humpty Dumpty says: "When I use a word... it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less." ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    Define it in a way that is not internally inconsistent, and we'll see if it still relevant to the MDR hypothesis.
    deep breath... The question isn't whether the serious, published discussion about realism in science is relevant to the bunch of opinions you call your "MDR hypothesis". It is whether there is anything in your opinions relevant to the published discussion?

    I use the same definition I've used throughout, the one that traces to this part of the Wiki definition of "reality":
    "Reality includes everything that is and has been, whether or not it is observable or comprehensible."
    That version of the "reality" notion is quite clearly intended to strip away all role for our minds, ergo, is "mind independent." As I've always said, "mind dependent" means there is a role for our minds, and different minds do it differently, so mind independent means no role for our minds, just as the Wiki definition bends over so far backward to try to achieve. At the cost of logical consistency if we ever try to actually talk about reality, or give it any attributes, heaven forbid.
    You are saying that anything we talk about is mind-dependent, in the sense that it is something about which we talk? How is that not a tautology?

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    Quote Originally Posted by tashirosgt View Post
    You can't test a model of a bird that says birds often fly unless you have a concept of making observations of bird where "bird" means something other than the model. If your only concept of "bird" is the model and the model says that birds often fly then if you observe something that doesn't often fly, you aren't observing a "bird" as defined by the model.
    No, that really doesn't make any sense at all, sorry. I can disprove this completely easily. All I have to do is describe to someone who has never seen a bird, what a bird is. That means, I tell them my model of a bird. I might say a bird is a living creature (assuming the person has experience with living creatures, so I wouldn't need to explain that model, I could defer to theirs) with feathers and wings (if they've never seen a bird, I might need to go into more detail about my models of feathers and wings rather than deferring to theirs), that can fly through the air (deferring to their model for those words would probably be fine). You can refuse to accept that what I would be doing there is describing a model, but I find that to just be intentional obfuscation, I think it is just perfectly obvious that what I'm talking about now rises to the level of a model designed to organize and unify a wide variety of perceptions for the purpose of providing instructions for creating testable expectations (which as I said, is close to what most people who know what models are mean by a model).

    OK, so that's step 1, tell them my model of a "bird." Then I take them outside where I expect they will have perceptions that will allow them to invoke this model (my model is good at allowing me to have these kinds of testable expectations). Now we test your claim: "You can't test a model of a bird that says birds often fly unless you have a concept of making observations of bird where "bird" means something other than the model." How well will this claim test out?

    Horrendously. Because here we have a person who has nothing to go on at all but the model I just gave them, and they will have no difficulty at all "testing my model of a bird." They will look up, see things they will regard as satisfying the attributes of my model, and say, "oh, so that's what you mean by a bird." It's just completely obvious this will happen, it's not even hypothetical-- this kind of thing happens all the time, say with a particular rare species of bird (maybe I can describe a model with attributes of a red spot on the throat and yellow stripes on the wings, or some such thing). But it certainly puts the lie to your claim that "bird" has to mean something "other than the model" for this test to work, it's just wrong. What we are really seeing here is exactly the problem of infusing language with extraneous, unnecessary, and downright obfuscating MIR belief. All you need to do is strike the unscientific MIR belief part, where you say "where "bird" means something other than the model," and suddenly the test actually works, instead of failing completely! Consider this all carefully, because it is a crystal clear explanation of the fallacy of mistaking MIR belief for testable science, and how it takes a perfectly well-tested statement and turns it into scientific garbage.
    Another way MIR belief generates scientific garbage can be seen by noting the awkward backflips people need to do to answer a simple question such that they can continue to hold their MIR belief. Here we ask a simple question, (Q1) Is this a testable assertion: My own mind-dependent concepts can refer to something mind independent.

    Now this is pretty obviously not a testable assertion, so let's look at the kind of contortions an MIR believer has to go through to convince themselves it is true:

    Q1) Yes (Because, to me, it is sufficient to test a model that explicitly represents people and their Minds and an object, like my coffee cup. )
    Notice the equivocation here. By saying "it is sufficient to test a model", tashirosgt is only on record saying that the model can be tested! How convenient, but the assertion was not about if the model could be tested (obviously a model can be tested!), the assertion was about if it could be tested that the model referred to something mind independent. There's no mention of that at all in your answer, instead, you say that if the model tests out, and if you went into the model choosing to believe that the model represents mind independent things, then by testing the model, you have tested that the model represents mind independent things! Goodness, could there possibly be a more obvious example of tacking a sterile belief onto a test? Just look at your own words here, you only apply the word "test" to the model, so what role in the test is your belief that it represents something mind independent? None, obviously. Ergo, that is no kind of test. By forcing yourself to answer "yes" to the question, you have sacrificed all semblance of logical consistency in your answer. Pity, because you did have logical consistency before, when you said:
    An assertion to the contrary [i.e., an assertion that your words cannot refer to something mind independent] is also [my bold] an untestable belief
    When were you right? Were you right when you say that "to you", a model that claims to refer to something mind independent, and the model is shown to work well, that is a test that it really does refer to something mind independent? Or were you right when you said that it is an untestable belief to assert that your words can refer to something mind independent? To get the answer you like to the question you had to flatly contradict something you said earlier. Are you saying you were mistaken when you said what I just quoted, or have you abandoned logical consistency to be able to hold your beliefs?

    More backflips: Before, you said:
    Whether a thought in a particular Mind can represent something that also exists in some sense other than as a thought in that Mind is the crux of the matter. This can't be proven or disproven [my bold] without stating some further assumptions.
    So that's pretty clear, and quite defensible-- it indeed cannot be proven or disproven without making assumptions which could be made differently, and what can make different assumptions? Different minds, that's mind dependence if you are free to make various different assumptions and it can negate a proof. But logical consistency does not gibe well with your MIR belief, because when faced with this question,
    Q2) Would you say that it is a mind dependent issue, in the sense of depending an certain assumptions [my bold] that you can choose to make or not make, as to whether or not it can be proven that a model can model something other than another model? You now answer:
    Q2) No (The question is hard to intepret. I interpret "it" not to refer to Q1, but to refer to the task of "proving" a model can represent something other than a model. To me, you must assume that a model of X may represent something other than a model of X in order to test that model vs X. So that's a "proof" by the definition of what doing a test means.
    You have the correct interpretation of the question, but let's look at how you again need to abandon logical consistency to arrive at an answer of "no," when (Q2) specifically said that if it depends on the assumptions you make it is mind dependent! Now you say it does not depend on the assumptions you make, because you must assume a given thing, only that's only true "for you", so that means others do not have to make that assumption, so it does depend on the assumptions you make! Talk about backflips, I never thought I would see a mathematician abandon logic just to get the answer they want.
    I'm glad to see an explicit statement that (in your Mind), observations are Mind Dependent.
    I'm glad you're glad, but it's hardly a secret I've been keeping. It is central to what I'm saying that we can observe that everything we do in our process of making sense depends on our minds.


    As I've said, your MDR viewpoint is one possible viewpoint and you admit it uses circular definitions.
    No, it uses operational definitions. It uses circular logic, in the sense that we can sometimes find that A --> B, and we can other times find that B --> A, and this gives us a very satisfied feeling that the models are internally consistent, a feeling that MIR requires a considerable degree of denial to achieve (as I just showed yet again above).
    For example if we test your "model of gravity" against "observations of gravity" we must actually regard "observations of gravity" as "observations of a model of gravity".
    No, you messed that up badly. The observations are a model too, but this is the correct way to say it: to test a model of gravity, what we test it against is a model we call objective observations. The job of the model of gravity is to make predictions of the outcomes we will get when we model our perceptions. We can see all this very easily if we simply look. Let's say our model of gravity tells us an object will take 5 seconds to fall from the top of a building. We drop the object, and model the passage of time by connecting it with counting the swings of a pendulum that our model says swings once per second. We then confront the two models, one which says the object will take 5 seconds to fall, and the other which says 5 seconds corresponds to 5 swings of a pendulum. If the two models agree, we claim success in the test. This is exactly how science is done.

    So you test one model of gravity against observations of a possibly different model of gravity and as you do various tests, you may change the "model of gravity" being tested and the "model of gravity" being observed. ( It's interesting to ask how we do the first ever test of a model of gravity since we wouldn't have a second model to use in interpreting our observations of "gravity".)
    Your account is very confused. There is not a model of gravity being observed, the model is of the observation itself. The model of gravity is the other thing involved in the comparison. But what should be very clear is that all it is possible to do is to compare two models. There is no scientific result that is not quite clearly a comparison of two models, I can show you if you give me any example you like.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Robinson View Post
    I think Warren is referring to Lewis Carroll's book Through the Looking Glass, in which Humpty Dumpty says: "When I use a word... it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less." ...
    And I'm to regard that as some kind of dig? Sorry, I regard it as a deep insight indeed. Carroll was a clever guy, but I guess it's not for everyone. More mind dependence, apparently!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Robinson View Post
    deep breath... The question isn't whether the serious, published discussion about realism in science is relevant to the bunch of opinions you call your "MDR hypothesis". It is whether there is anything in your opinions relevant to the published discussion?
    Deep breath. You really think this thread is about citing philosophical literature on realism? Look, you can do that all you like, and interpret this thread as a generic investigation of philosophy 101. But that is not why I am posting to this thread, nor why I've had a lively discussion with both people who understand MDR thinking, and those who do not. I have posted a very large number of arguments about a very specific issue, the MDR hypothesis, which you have contested. These arguments were not about what you mean by realism, they were not about what some other philosopher meant by realism, so if you contested them, you needed to be talking about what I'm talking about. Remember, I have told you many times that your objections are based on the fact that you don't understand what I'm talking about, so saying that what other philosophers are saying is not what I'm talking about is hardly a refutation of my claim!

    So let me repeat what I am talking about, and what I'm not talking about. I am talking about the scientific evidence that whenever any scientific thinker uses the concept of reality in support of scientific thinking (i.e., the making and testing of models, like you'll find in science books, trust me on this), they are talking about a version of reality that depends quite demonstrably on their mind. By that I mean, the mind plays a clear role in the process, and a different mind could do it very differently. What all this means is, the goal of science is to use our minds to make sense, in ways that depend on our minds. That also means that "mind independent reality" is not science, it is belief.

    I am not talking about what any individual thinks reality is, in the comfort and privacy of their own personal beliefs, be they a philosopher or not. And by "mind dependent", I do not mean that their minds change the reality, even though obviously this is something we model ourselves as being able to do in some situations (making that a very poor version of "mind independent reality", I'm glad that has mercifully died out). I mean the minds give meaning to their word reality, and that is what reality is supposed to mean in science.
    You are saying that anything we talk about is mind-dependent, in the sense that it is something about which we talk? How is that not a tautology?
    Why is it a tautology that things we talk about depend on our minds? Had you never tested anything, and never observed anything, how could you tell by pure logic that the things you talk about depend on your mind? You could not-- this does not follow from a metaphysical postulate, and it is not a mathematical structure, it is exactly one thing: the sense we make of our perceptions. It is something we can observe-- but you do have to look. If you do look, you should see that it is a well-tested model, as good as any in science, that the meanings we give to our words depend on our minds, and that is even true, nay especially true, of the word reality.
    Last edited by Ken G; 2015-Nov-06 at 07:21 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    And I'm to regard that as some kind of dig? Sorry, I regard it as a deep insight indeed. Carroll was a clever guy, but I guess it's not for everyone. More mind dependence, apparently!
    Not a dig, but a serious request to think more seriously about how you are using words, and about your attitude to the way others use words... You insist on your right to use words your own way, and to get impatient when you think other people don't understand what you mean by a word... However, it seems other people do not have the same right, to use words their way. James Ladyman, for example...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    Deep breath. You really think this thread is about citing philosophical literature on realism? Look, you can do that all you like, and interpret this thread as a generic investigation of philosophy 101. But that is not why I am posting to this thread, nor why I've had a lively discussion with both people who understand MDR thinking, and those who do not.
    You think all that matters in this thread is your motives, your agenda?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Robinson View Post
    Not a dig, but a serious request to think more seriously about how you are using words, and about your attitude to the way others use words...
    Well that's a strange request, since I think it is eminently clear that MDR thinking already involves serious thinking about the meaning of words, while MIR belief is simplistic, naive, un-nuanced black-and-white thinking that spends no time at all pondering the meaning of words. So I would actually ask you to think more seriously about your words. In particular, I would suggest you ponder what aspect of what you mean by "mind independent reality" that you think does not depend on your mind, in the sense that I mean those words: does not have a role for your mind, and could not be done differently by a different mind. Because if what you mean by "mind independent reality" does have a role for your mind, and could be thought about differently by a different mind, then is it quite clear that your meaning of "mind independent reality" is not the meaning of something that is independent of your mind. You might believe your meaning refers to that nebulous something that has no role for your mind, but it isn't your meaning. After all, you and I have already established that all meaning requires a role for the mind that means it.

    But more than just that, what I would like you to do is look beyond the meanings chosen for the words, and actually look at observational evidence. But to do that, you have to frame the questions in a testable way-- hence the need to use meanings of words that connect with objective observables, i.e., scientific operational meanings, like meanings we find in models in science books. We can observe the action of a mind, the role a mind is playing, the differences between different minds. We can see the artist's conception of artistic reality, the mathematician's concept of mathematical reality, the physicists concept of physical reality, the observer's concept of empirical reality. These are connections we can actually see, they are right before our eyes, unlike Ladyman's meanings, which do not make direct connection with observables. That doesn't mean you can't use Ladyman's meanings if you personally like them, it means you can't do science on them. The simple fact is, and this is indeed a fact, I have given everyone ample opportunity to show you can do science on those meanings-- and they have never succeeded, in 282 pages, if they even bothered to try at all.
    You insist on your right to use words your own way, and to get impatient when you think other people don't understand what you mean by a word...
    I'm sorry, but your position is way off target. I have set forth a testable scientific hypothesis. That sets apart what I've done-- mostly we've just seen people tweeting beliefs, and cited isms that stem from untestable metaphysical postulates that never achieve consensus. And in the process of describing that testable scientific hypothesis, I have done what scientific thinking always requires: give suitably precise meanings of the words I'm using that allow them to involve operational definitions that connect to observables.

    Then, when you attempt to dispute that hypothesis (and I've heard arguments ranging from it being insane, through misguided, all the way to tautological, for crying out loud), and in the process replace these careful testable meanings with meanings that do not connect to the MDR hypothesis at all, I try to get you back on track with the intended meanings. Then you object that I am trying to force everyone to take my meanings! That makes no sense at all. I may as well be saying, here's my model of an electron, see how well this model tests out, and you say, that's not what I mean by an electron, and although I don't subject my meaning to any objective tests like you are doing, I like it anyway, and I don't appreciate your forcing me to take your meaning. To that all I can say is, science does not tell you that you cannot mean anything you like by the word "electron", or "mind independent reality", but the models that are tested by the observable evidence are the scientific ones.
    However, it seems other people do not have the same right, to use words their way. James Ladyman, for example...
    Like I said, Ladyman was not talking about the MDR hypothesis. I am. If you don't want to understand that hypothesis, you can hardly reject it. Isn't that true?
    You think all that matters in this thread is your motives, your agenda?
    I think if people won't make the effort to understand the MDR hypothesis, they cannot say it doesn't test out well. I have taken that time, and I do say it tests out well. No one else seems interested in using any scientific meanings, any operational definitions, or participating in any tests. The one "test" that saw some participation in was the test of the mind dependence of what different people mean by "mind independent reality", but there we saw tashirosgt willing to contradict his own statements, as well as basic logic, just to create the illusion that MIR belief-based answers are consistent. So what we have all kinds of evidence in this very thread is:
    1) people mean different things by the same words, so we conclude that meaning is mind dependent.
    2) people try to mean something by "mind independent reality", but they do not mean the same things without mangling their own stated views to cram them into the pigeonholes of black-and-white thinking
    3) logic goes out the window when it conflicts with deeply held beliefs
    4) no one has been able to test that any concept of reality "refers to" something mind independent, they have only been able to choose to believe that is true
    5) the MDR hypothesis, if you take the meanings of the words intended in that hypothesis, has shown over and over, even in this very thread, and in a host of real science applications, to test out extremely well.

    Now I can say all that based on evidence that is right here in this thread. I don't need an "agenda", I don't need to make anyone think like I do or mean the things I mean, I only need them to understand what the hypothesis says, and look at easily observable evidence.
    Last edited by Ken G; 2015-Nov-06 at 09:00 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    If you don't want to understand that hypothesis, you can hardly reject it. Isn't that true?
    If you don't want to understand how other people use terms like mind-independence, you can hardly reject their arguments. Isn't that true?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    But how can you tell if you are talking about what you mean by reality, if you have no model of what you are talking about?

    If you want to have an in-depth discussion of the differences between a "model" and a "concept", go right ahead, but it won't matter much to me-- they are both so clearly mind dependent that the distinction is of no particular importance to this thread.
    It is your own use of the word "model" and your own emphasis on language that brings up the question of how your definition of a "model" involves language.

    It is impossible to produce language that specifies the entirety of what we mean by a word. People (myself included) cannot utter the entire list of properties that they attribute to 'reality' (or any other word) . They also can't list the entire set of properties that they don't attribute to it. As people are asked to consider more aspects of something, they generate more assertions about it. So when people talk about "reality" , do they have a "model" for it? They don't have a "model" for it in the sense of having a complete list of assertions that would cover everything they will ever say about "reality". If we consider that a Mind is analogous to a computer then it would have specific structure and specific internal states that implement data and algorithms. These would determine what output it would be produced by a given input. So if such structure and states is considered a "model" then a Mind could have a model of reality in that sense.
    Last edited by tashirosgt; 2015-Nov-06 at 09:29 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    No, those theories could not tell you what an ornithologist calls a bird, only an ornithologist could tell you that. The rest of us will just have to try to mean the same thing as ornithologists do, or the language will get hopelessly confused. What I was actually suggesting is that whatever the ornithologists call a bird is not going to be a "mind independent reality", it's just going to be what ornithologists call a bird. What else could it be? Oh yeah, I keep forgetting about that personal belief system of yours that wants to imagine that a bird is something different from a model described by an ornithologist. You can believe that, but if you open an ornithology book, you're going to find the model there, and you're going to find the observations that led to that model, but you are not going to find "the actual mind independent bird" that you believe in. That's why I included both limitations and illusions. Illusions are not the norm-- limitations are the norm. Are they not? I know realism pretty much relies on ignoring limitations, but it doesn't seem wise. Once again: when I say "believe", I do not mean "whatever I hold to be true for any reason whatsoever." That is a hopelessly vague meaning, and of no value for making the distinctions important to this thread. When I say "believe," I mean "choose to hold as true for personal reasons that cannot point to objective tests." So when Galileo looked into his telescope and saw what we call the moons of Jupiter, he did not need to "believe his eyes", he merely needed to notice there was a model there that was passing a test. That is not a "belief." This is also why I have stressed so often that realism does not pass any tests, which is exactly why it is a matter of philosophical debate rather than scientific inquiry. If you try the tests in an insane asylum, this is exactly the problem you will have. So our solution is not to do the tests in an insane asylum-- it is not to pretend that the test is "mind independent." This was covered very early in the thread, as one of the many failed efforts to try to argue that realism can point to evidence. But any such effort is worth attention, because it is very important to recognize that all efforts to argue that realism can point to evidence have proven to be fallacious. By "fallacious", I mean the tests only appear to succeed if you already believe in realism. If you do not, and rather take the MDR perspective, your account of the situation is perfectly satisfactory-- so there is no test of realism. So how does the MDR thinker account for the observed fact that sensory equipment evolved, and minds evolved to analyze that equipment? In the most straightforward way possible: because it was a survival advantage to be able to perceive, in ways that depend on the mind of the perceiver, and it was a survival model to use those minds to make successful models. That's it, that's exactly what we see. Just look at any experiment on animals, for example, this is simply a matter for scientific investigation. Look at a mouse solving a maze to get to some cheese. Does the mouse know it is a maze, or that there is a scientist setting up the maze to study that mouse? No, the mouse is simply using its mind to develop strategies to get the cheese. That's all it needs to know. We have no idea how a mouse thinks about the concept of "cheese", but you can be pretty sure it is a whole lot different from our concept of what cheese is! Or a maze, etc. You see, the key point here is that all the language I just used (maze, mouse, cheese, mind, etc.) are all references to how we understand that situation, the models we make. But chewbacca lives on the planet endor. That does not make sense. Think about it. Why would a wookie, an eight foot tall wookie want to live a planet with a bunch of two foot tall ewoks. That does not make sense. But you have to ask yourself, what does that have to do with this thread. Nothing. The mouse has its own understanding, its own models. That's all that is going on here that we can demonstrate-- it's models all the way down. Even "mind independent reality" is a model, even though MIR believers are very loathe to admit that because they have chosen to believe otherwise. Sure, all examples of mind dependence. Animals with the ability to analyze light in low brightness levels have different brains than we do, just as do rattlesnakes, who can analyze infrared light. These are all examples of how different minds make models of reality in different ways. We can build instruments that detect infrared light, but we don't see the infrared light, we convert it to what we can see. More models, more mind dependence. When we put on infrared goggles, we convert infrared light to visible light and we see that-- we are not seeing what the rattlesnake sees. And all this is just more evidence of the MDR hypothesis. We take the perceptions we actually get, not some mind independent versions of perceptions, and we make sense of our own reality concept based only on those perceptions-- not on "the reality." If we improve our perceptions, we can make better models, but at what point do you say you have "seen enough" to say "what the mind independent reality is"? That's the logical inconsistency again-- when all the evidence is that we change our ideas of the reality when our perceptions change, or when our minds work differently on those perceptions (perhaps we are seeing a rainbow after learning the physics of them, for example), why would we choose to ignore that and say that the rainbow you see is "mind independent", but the rainbow a deer sees is not? What view we prefer depends on the context, which is yet another example of mind dependence. It depends on the goals of our mind, whether we use Newtonian gravity, or general relativity. Occam's Razor does not mean we always prefer the simpler theory, it just says that we seek the greatest simplicity that achieves our goals (and the simple reason for this is, one of our goals is understanding, which requires simplicity, even though we are fairly clever-- for an ape). But there is no part of Occam's Razor that says "ignore that you are applying Occam's Razor", or "pretend that the simpler answer is the correct one." Those are all false applications of that razor, symptoms of rampant naive realism. How can that be "argued"? It sounds like that wrong application of that Razor I was just talking about. Can you test it? It's just a belief, like so many other things that people choose to accept is true, but never test. There's nothing wrong with that-- but it isn't science.
    Any chance you could tighten up your argument a little bit?

  25. #8455
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    How well will this claim test out?

    Horrendously. Because here we have a person who has nothing to go on at all but the model I just gave them, and they will have no difficulty at all "testing my model of a bird." .
    Testing what about your model of a bird? Are you considering the test to be whether the person recognizes something from a description of the thing? Is what the person recognizes a bird or a model of a bird? If you're willing to say the person recognizes a bird from a description of a bird then we have distinguished between the description and the thing described. That's the only distinction that I'm pointing out.

  26. #8456
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post

    So here are examples of what I mean by a "model":
    That the Earth is at the center of the universe, and everything else goes around it every day.
    That the Earth is rotating, and this creates the illusion that everything else goes around it every day
    That the Earth has a surface
    That the Earth is a sphere
    That the Earth is made of atoms
    That the Earth creates gravity that pulls objects toward it
    And so on. Of course this is a minute subset of all the examples of models I could give that involve the Earth, i.e., that are models related to the "Earth" concept (also a model).
    I don't know what, if any, distinction you are making between "the 'Earth' concept" and "model of the Earth".

    Scientific models are instructions for making predictions that can be tested.
    The point that others have made is that you must distinguish between the model and the thing the model refers to. You can't test a model scientifically by using that same model to select what is tested. For example to test "The Earth is a sphere" you presumably have to identify something as "the Earth" and then test if it is a sphere. To identify a possibly non-spherical thing as "the Earth" , you need a procedure that tells you how to identify "the Earth" without requiring that the object you identify be a sphere. If the model "The Earth is a sphere" is used to identify the Earth you measure in the experiment then it is a foregone conclusion that the Earth you measure would be a sphere.



    The instructions are intended to be as simple as possible, often quite modular in form (in the sense that they neglect a vast number of factors that could alter the predictions, so the predictions are only tailored to some particular accuracy target, central to the choice of model and the criteria for judging its success). Does an amoeba do any of those things?
    I agree that an amoeba does not do such things to create a scientific model of a coffee cup, but neither do human beings.



    Because what you said is just an absolutely standard version of the MDR our minds have created, by making and testing models, and following the scientific method, in ways that are easily demonstrated to depend on our minds.
    Ah, but according to MDR there is no absolutely standard version of MDR. Each mind interprets MDR differently. (This is particularly noticeable in aspects like the definition of "mind dependent".)


    You can always just choose to believe something is mind independent even in the face of the evidence that you are using your mind to talk about the situation in ways that different minds would do differently.
    That is another repetition of the claim "If you think about X then X is not mind independent". If we defined "Mind independent" to mean "not thought about by any Mind" then you'd have a good argument.

  27. #8457
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    I never said the MDR hypothesis is a tautology...
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    You think the MDR hypothesis falls to the ground because Warren Platts does not understand the way I use tautologies in my arguments? I cannot follow that logic. You should really never use anything Warren Platts says about my argument as representative of my argument, if you want to use sound logic, because those summaries are simply not reliable-- you should instead look at my actual quotes. So first it is important to realize that I never said the MDR hypothesis itself is a tautology, that is merely the incorrect way Warren Platts attempted to summarize what I said (without quoting me, of course).
    Here ya go.....

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken
    It is a tautology to say that our minds give meaning to our words because that's what we mean by the meaning of words, but it is not a criticism of my argument-- indeed, it is my argument.
    Last edited by Warren Platts; 2015-Nov-06 at 10:34 AM.

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    LMAO KEN!

    Here are your questions that are supposed to test our understanding of Ladyman's textbook statement of mind-independence:

    Q1) Is this a testable assertion or not: My own mind-dependent concepts can refer to something mind independent.

    Q2) Would you say that it is a mind dependent issue, in the sense of depending an certain assumptions that you can choose to make or not make, as to whether or not it can be proven that a model can model something other than another model?

    Never mind that the questions are poorly worded, designed to be confusing, and only elliptically related to Ladyman's textbook statement.

    Warren's Answer:
    1. Yes
    2. No

    You then imputed tash's answers (that is to say, you falsified the answers--even quoting them! -- since tash didn't actually answer your questionaire) to be the opposite:

    1. "no"
    2. "yes"

    Then you naturally crowed over the fudged results:
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken
    Well, I'm glad you were willing to participate in the test, that says something, but I'm afraid that it also means your prediction is 0/2 so far. Not only was your prediction wrong, but it fell apart at the very first instant of testing it.
    And

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken
    1) We saw Warren Platts claiming that people who believe in "mind independent reality" all mean the same thing by that phrase, to the point that he predicted they would all have similar answers to 20 questions designed to get at those meanings. I immediately put that prediction to the test, and it was immediately refuted, and then all kinds of backpedaling occurred where it was claimed my questions were invalid or I was being dishonest. The usual stuff when people's predictions fail them. But the MDR hypothesis prediction worked fine-- it says that people mean different things by their concept of "reality" when thinking scientifically (they mean different things when not thinking scientifically also, but I only care about when they are thinking scientifically). So it expected different answers to the questions, and that's what we saw. Everyone who could look, that is, some found their beliefs made it impossible to see anything but invalid questions and dishonesty.
    But when Tash actually got around to answering your questions, he agreed with me:

    1. Yes
    2. No

    Now, if you followed THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD ACCORDING TO KEN, you would admit your "hypothesis" is falsified: it is a logical implication of your MDR hypothesis that there is no standard understanding of "mind-independence". Therefore, you predicted that no two people who claimed to understand the standard meaning of "mind-independence" would be able to give the same answers to questions that test this understanding. You constructed a test consisting of two very difficult questions, and yet the people who claimed to have the same understanding of "mind-indepedence" gave the same answers--the same right answers according to the standard view of scientific realism.

    But of course you didn't do that. Instead you blindly plowed ahead about how we gave the wrong answers because MDR necessarily must be doubleplus good scientific inference--and this is your thread after all, so it's not allowed to be about anything else.

    But that is good, because it shows you're just as much a methodological anarchist as anyone else. So we've established either that there is no such thing as THE scientific method, or else that the Ken G refuses to follow it. Either way, that's progress....
    Last edited by Warren Platts; 2015-Nov-06 at 11:40 AM. Reason: add link

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    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Robinson View Post
    If you don't want to understand how other people use terms like mind-independence, you can hardly reject their arguments. Isn't that true?
    I understand quite well what you mean by mind independence, because I understand that what you mean depends on your mind. That's what I am trying to tell you.
    Last edited by Ken G; 2015-Nov-06 at 04:39 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Warren Platts View Post
    Here ya go.....
    Can you read? Try again:
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G
    I never said the MDR hypothesis is a tautology...
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G
    It is a tautology to say that our minds give meaning to our words because that's what we mean by the meaning of words
    Apparently, you think "the MDR hypothesis" is the statement that "our minds give meaning to our words because that's what we mean by the meaning of words." No. That statement is obviously a tautology, and it is equally obviously not the MDR hypothesis. It is exactly what I said it was: a logical manipulation of the evidence that favors the MDR hypothesis, without changing that evidence, because the manipulation is tautological. To spell it out:

    The MDR hypothesis says that when we observe people using the word "reality" in the process of scientific thinking, we will find that their meaning of "reality" depends on their mind. Now, by the tautology I just stated, this logically implies that if we observe something that involves meaning being given to words, then that will also qualify as evidence that a mind is being used to give that meaning, because that's what we mean by meaning being given to words. In other words, to help you see this, we are taking it as logically necessary that meaning be given to words by minds (as this is what we observe, and we take those observations of the process of minds giving meaning to words as our process for meaning something by the phrase "the meaning of words"), so if we see meaning being given to words in our observations, we will be able to conclude, by that tautology (which is a logical statement that always follows from another), that we are witnessing mind dependence.

    In short, the tautology allows us to test the MDR hypothesis by looking for words being given meaning when we see people talking about "reality" in a scientific way, but we still have to do the test-- we have to look at what words they are giving meaning to. This is precisely what I did every time I tested the MDR hypothesis-- if you need an example, just look at how I looked at tashirosgt's words in his statement above involving "governs", and "material" and so on. That was me, looking at evidence, of the form of words being given meaning, and applying the tautology that what I mean by the meaning of those words is that our minds have given them meaning. Get it now?

    You see, the logic requires the tautology because when I show all the evidence that I have shown that meaning is being given to the word reality, someone can object "but that meaning does not need to come from any minds." I have already staved off that objection, via the stated tautology-- meaning only comes from minds, because that's what we mean by meaning when we use that word.

    Yet somehow, in your own mysterious logic, that somehow meant that the MDR hypothesis is itself a tautology, because it used a tautology as part of the logical manipulation of the evidence that tests it. No, that's wrong, that does not make the MDR hypothesis a tautology, we could have seen people using the "reality" concept without giving any meaning to any words. But that's not what we see at all, we see mind dependence.

    And as for tashirosgt's answers to my questions, I mentioned when I first suggested it that the questionnaire was going to need to be "secret", because I anticipated getting "cooked" answers. I'm happy to provide such a secret questionnaire, to avoid what just happened, which is that tashirosgt flatly contradicted his own previous statements just to be able to give those two answers. Are you ready for 5 more questions about what you mean by "mind independent reality", but in secret this time?
    Last edited by Ken G; 2015-Nov-06 at 01:10 PM.

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