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Is time just an illusion? 
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#415
May807, 05:27 PM

P: 249

That is what we do because we hear so much silly stuff all the time. Say, when you hear that someone saw a ghost or whatever. That same thought kept many scientists on denial when they heard it doesn't look like planets go around the earth after all etc... Anyway, onto the topic again. Okay, if this is correct, I think I can go back to that earlier post (tomorrow, it's late :) And then you are faced with the problem that is; to discuss or to think about those problems you need to be thinking in terms of some "defined things" even when you understand these things are so merely because you have defined them so. (e.g. I am talking about the problem in terms of the cortex and other familiar naturalistic concepts) And even when this is understood, whenever you are trying to figure out what someone else is trying to say, and especially when they are proposing a new paradigm, you are trying to figure out how to understand the concepts they are using. Since trying to understand someone is a case of trying to define (or refine) an epistemological solution, it is kind of the same as "trying to exit the field of ontology". Since this is naturally what we do all the time, I guess it's to be expected it is an issue when trying to explain a method for keeping one foot "in the field" of ontology. Anssi 


#416
May807, 05:46 PM

P: n/a

Clearly above you say:
....there exists but one explanation which requires no epistemological structure: that is the "what is", is "what is" [A=A, Law of Identity] explanation.... Then you say: ....I am pointing out that every epistemological structure requires the Law of Identity [A=A] explanation.... So, you claim that while the [A=A, aka your "what is" is "what is"] explanation requires no epistemological structure (in fact, it is the only such explanation), all other possible explanations do have epistemological structure that require the [A=A] explanation...correct ? You also say this: Identity itself is the opening axiom to any epistemological structure. I do not agree. EXISTENCE ITSELF is the opening axiom to any epistemological structure. Identity comes latter in the presentation. A nonexistent cannot have Identity. 


#417
May907, 03:09 PM

P: 625




#418
May907, 04:35 PM

P: 249

Okay, back to that earlier post.
So first of all I understood we have established that "x, tau, t"structure so to be able to represent reality. And had we made an attempt to define ontological elements, we could lay down some "presents" on that table accordingly. "All real presents consists of specific changes in my knowledge of valid ontological elements", what does this mean? I thought we represented presents in terms of "what exists in each present", as oppose to what has changed (since previous present?). Or are you just saying that because we can see what has changed between presents if we have information about what existed at each moment? And so does this function return "1" if the specific set is found in any "present" in the past? I'm getting really confused when reading the rest of the post... I'm trying to proceed through your post without understanding the reason for almost any manipulation of those ontological elements, hoping things would clear up, but my head is filled with questions. What I'm wondering now is; if we first have some kind of partially filled "x, tau, t"table, how could it contain knowledge about the unfilled parts? I must be too far off the mark again to be able to make any sense out of this... I figured you said there exists a function that would yield the complete table, if we just give it... what? Partial table? Anssi 


#419
May1107, 05:34 AM

P: n/a

And Super Man is of course nothing more than the imagination of the human mind forming union of two concepts "man", (the reality that humans do exist) and "super" (implied as supernatural which may exist somewhere but by definition is outside science). It seems clear Dr.D., when you claim ... Ah then, you must hold that Super Man exists !...that you do not agree with logical conclusion that man's imagination is nothing more than the ability to rearrange the things (your valid ontological elements) he has observed in reality. If this claim is false, then provide examples of things you imagine that are not a rearrangement of some aspect of reality. There are no epistemological structures that do not require first some existence that you wish to acquire knowledge ofto claim as you do is the same as saying you have the ability to acquire knowledge of no"thing". When your imagine Super Man, you "know" he does not exist, imagination is a sense of the "what if ?"speculation, not a road to knowledge. 


#420
May1107, 02:20 PM

P: n/a

a = b b = c c = d That is an epistemological structure, on which we can even do "science" to discover that a = d. 


#421
May1107, 10:34 PM

P: 625

Anssi, it is certainly possible that you understand what I have presented but I get the strong feeling that your understanding is just a little askew; just enough to lead to bothersome complications. I think one of the problems here is that your expectations are more complex than what I am presenting: i.e., you reading things in there which are not there. This leads to subtle misinterpretations of what I say which may tend to lead you astray. Perhaps a quick and dirty presentation of the central issues would be helpful.
As I said above, the "what is", is "what is" explanation is the only explanation which does not require an epistemological construct. When I defined an explanation as a method of generating your expectations, I had in mind the concept of yielding the probability which would describe your expectations that a particular state was to be expected. Of course, the "what is", is "what is" explanation yields only zero for any state not actually in the basis of that explanation (i.e., what is known or thought to be known). Thus it is that "the method" is, "look at the table of 'what is' which you have to work with. (Again, I am working in the abstract so that the great extent of that table is not an issue.) I think you understand that the symbols used to refer to the ontological elements of the "what is", is "what is" explanation are immaterial so that I can use numerical reference labels. Since the explanation yields a number (the probability of a specific state) and the specific state is described by a set of numbers, it follows that, from this perspective, any explanation is fundamentally a mathematical function. The "what is", is "what is" table is a representation of that function for those specific instances which are known. Any flawfree explanation must also yield exactly those points (they represent the information the explanation is to explain). Thus it is that the only difference between the desired explanation and the "what is", is "what is" explanation is that the desired explanation yields expectations for states not in the known set (i.e., it is capable of making predictions for the future). Thus it is that any explanation constitutes a mathematical function which fits the points established by the "what is", is "what is" explanation and, in addition, yields values for points not in that set. What all scientists are looking for, are the simplest relationships which fulfill that requirement. This is a point fitting problem: i.e., one is looking for a mathematical function which fits the entire collection of points displayed in that table. As anyone who has studied mathematics understands, there exist an infinite number of algorithms which will fit any finite set of numbers. That is why the issue of "simplest" arises. Now one man's "simple" is often another's "complex" so we should leave the issue open and consider only the consequences of fundamental constraints on the possibilities. There is also a second issue which must be kept in mind: the (x, tau, t) representation is being designed to represent the "valid ontological elements" we know and, as such, the difference between valid and invalid elements must be kept in mind during the analysis of that design. Note that I earlier commented that we can ignore the existence of invalid elements within the actual data being represented as any acceptable explanation must explain all the data which certainly must include the valid components (we are, after all, looking for a mathematical function which fits "all" the known points). I might comment that, as the future is fundamentally unknown, "the rest of the elements are known" is the assumption that they either won't be different or the difference is predicted. Another way to see this is to realize that the behavior of the significant element is based on the presumption that the behavior of the associated criteria is correctly understood. All this is just buried in assumptions too voluminous to even discuss. If we are going to be "exact" we need to avoid all these assumptions. Or, to put it a little simpler, we would like a rule which would give us the appropriate (x, tau) indices as a function of time given that all the other points in that B(t) are known (or unimportant, which is really the same thing). This is essentially what any rule discovered by science tells us about the behavior of things. It is presumed that the rest of the universe is either unimportant or has its impact embedded in the rule: the rules of science talk about the behavior of objects (how specific identified entities behave). Now, an acceptable scientifically usable explanation has to go a bit further. If it makes no predictions, it is a pretty worthless explanation. What that is essentially saying is that the scientifically usable explanation must yield the probability that a specific "present" ;not in that "what is", is "what is" table of what you think you know; will turn up as an acceptable entry via a change in your past (what you know or what you think you know): i.e., the future. Fundamentally, this is a point fitting problem and it is well known that there are an infinite number of functions which will fit a finite number of points. Which function you choose to "believe" valid (your epistemological theory) must satisfy two very important constraints: first, it must agree with your knowledge of the past and second, it needs to be simple enough to mentally comprehend. Those two constraints are the cause of the underlying need for compartmentalization. Since this presentation is an abstract analysis of ontological constraints and not concerned with the complexity of epistemological solutions, compartmentalization is not a pertinent factor. I hope I have not confused any of you further  Dick 


#422
May1407, 09:26 AM

P: 249

The "explanation" can be seen as a mathematical function that could be used to transform one x,taupresent to another present? I've also been wondering how should one express something like, say, a definition for "space" in the "x, tau, t"table? Is it about identifying space in different manners? Hmmm... I'm being pressed for time, so I'll continue from here soon... Anssi 


#423
May1407, 03:33 PM

P: 249

With a small extra assumption one can assume it also predicts the future, much like newtonian mechanics can be used to make predictions? Anssi 


#424
May1507, 10:07 PM

P: 625

Anssi,
I don't know that it is beneficial to try to understand my previous posts as they are cast in what I thought you knew at the time. Since this could be in error, trying to understand those posts could be counter productive. Perhaps you should first read the following carefully. I am beginning to suspect that your major problem is that you are trying to figure out how this attack is going to help you construct valid epistemological solutions to understanding the universe. It isn't (or at least is not designed to do such a thing); as I have tried to make clear, any useful solution is "is just buried in assumptions too voluminous to even discuss". The issue is, "If we are going to be "exact" we need to avoid all these assumptions". On the other hand, if we avoid these assumptions, the correct solution is going to be so out of reach as it is guaranteed unachievable (beyond our ability to comprehend). That is why I keep harping on the issue of not trying to find a valid epistemological solution: it is fundamentally an unachievable goal. What I am trying to do is to present to you an abstract "exact" representation of the problem; which is an achievable goal (i.e., the representation is achievable, not the solution). I have laid out the representation as a "what is", is "what is" explanation because that structure is easily understood (as a representation, not as a real usable entity). All I am doing is representing "what we know" (or think we know) as points in a (x, tau, t) space. A table of those points is capable of representing any knowledge of any kind. That is all there is to it! In doing so I defined two very important indices: "x" and "t". The index "x" is there to express "difference" (different "x" means "different ontological element") and the index "t" is there to express "difference in what we know" (different "t" means "a change in our knowledge"). The index "tau" is only there because representation as points in an index space is incapable of specifying multiple occurrences of the same ontological element (an essential part of any "usable" explanation). You must be careful to understand that the function is to produce "your expectations" and, "your expectations" are not necessarily what actually happened. For example, the "what is", is "what is" explanation yields the expectation for a specific B(t) (given that all B(t) for lesser values of t are known) is simply, "any B is equally possible" (and the probably of "one of any" is zero since the number of possibilities for "any" is infinite). So, the "what is", is "what is" explanation yields exactly the correct answer for the past (it is flaw free) but fails as a "useful" explanation as it tells you utterly nothing about the future (or, for that matter, any B(t) not in the table of what you know). For the moment, I think your real difficulty is that you are trying to read more into what I have said than I have said. Looking to hear from you  Dick 


#425
May1607, 03:24 AM

P: 249

What you are saying above, I reckon, is the same thing. Any valid solution hinges on a some set of undefendable assumptions, and staying on the objective ground is achieved only by not doing those assumptions, and to achieve this you are expressing this "x, tau, t"table. And I've gathered that any specific (filled) "x, tau, t"table is a epistemological solution (valid or invalid), since some assumptions have been made so to be able to fill it. I didn't assume  while writing the previous post  that this sort of framework is meant to be something that could tell us what ontological elements really exist (since I find the whole question meaningless and confused one), but I did assume it is good for finding internally coherent solutions (keeping in mind each is only a solution, not the solution). Are these false assumptions? One thing I've been wondering though, perhaps you can try and explain the role of symmetry again. Was the point of that simply that it is "differences" that give us any ground for our attempts to classify ontological elements? Basically it seems to make sense to me. As long as we cannot say in any objective sense there exists some thing X, we are merely conceptualizing reality into some set of components, and what allows us to do that, can be in my opinion expressed equally well as "surrounding circumstances", or "stable patterns", as long as one understands the necessary weaknesses of these descriptions... (surrounding circumistances of "what"? or "stable in what sense?") Damn it's tricky to use natural language to discuss these issues :) But in order to fill any table, you must have made some assumptions regarding the identity of those elements, right? (Even though you have made these assumptions knowing well that they are undefendable) Hmmm, or is it possible to mark down mere differences? Hmmmm Anssi 


#426
May1607, 10:33 PM

P: 625

Hi again Anssi,
I have been trying to sculpt with "Poser" and, so far, not being very successful; but I am learning things. I was surprised to find your post so soon when I looked this evening. And I agree with you whole heartedly; it is quite easy to become confounded by the complications introduced by natural language. That is exactly why I continue to insist that you make no attempts to find epistemological solutions consistent with my representation. What I am saying is that my representation is universal in that absolutely any explanation can be cast in exactly the form of that "what is", is "what is" table. Essentially, if there exists a workable explanation of anything, any attempt to understand that explanation amounts to exactly the same problem as understanding anything else: i.e., all of the knowledge required to understand that explanation can be expressed in exactly the same model (as points in a (x, tau, t) space). There are essentially three things I want to do with that "what is", is "what is" table before I get into the issue of symmetry. All three of these steps involve adding "invalid ontological elements". I claim this as a reasonable thing to do because all epistemological solutions do this kind of thing: i.e., they invent reasons for things to be the way they are and, if that invention allows them to explain things and, all results are consistent with the existence of those invented things, then there exists no reason to deny that invention. In particular, we have the fact that there exists no way to tell the difference between an invented ontological element and a valid ontological element. This is a freedom available in ontological constructs not available in epistemological constructs and I will eventually show you that it is exactly this freedom which allows one create a solution to the problem. But that will come later; for the moment, all I want is for you to allow these three steps and understand exactly what the three steps provide. The first step involves the issue of "expectations" being a mathematical function of "what we think is known": i.e., P(B(t)), the probability of having the set B(t), is a function of that B(t) where B is a set of number pairs (x and tau indices). At the moment, this is a very strange mathematical function as the number of arguments changes with the index "t". I am afraid I have never heard of such a function from the mathematical community. However, in this case, the problem is easily eliminated; all one need do is propose a collection of "invalid ontological elements" to fill in the gap. So our "what is", is "what is" table now has the same number of entries for every "t" (we just don't know what they are). You must understand that their existence is now a presumed fact and that our past includes not knowing exactly what references should be attached to them (other than the fact that they are seen occasionally at other times: i.e., they are members of some supposedly known B(t). If you happened to know a flaw free epistemological solution, you would know which occurrences went with that solution. But, as far as we are concerned, they are still undefined as we have no epistemological solutions; but at least the mathematical function which yields our expectations has the same number of arguments in every case. The second set I wish to add has to do with the "t" index. If time is to be a communicable element of an epistemological solution then the value of that index must be deducible from the "what is", is "what is" table. That means that, given a particular set of (x, tau) indices supposedly defining a particular B in the table, it must be possible to deduce the appropriate index "t" to be attached to that set. Again, this is easily solved by adding "invalid ontological elements" (i.e., fictitious entries in the table which will establish every entry B as different from every other such entry). If you need a procedure for developing these entries, I will give you a specific procedure; however, there are clearly a number of different procedures which will accomplish this goal. The end product is a table where, given a specific B (a specific collection of (x, tau) indices) one can examine the table and, by elimination, discover what the t index had to be. Analysis of this second set leads to the development of the third set. If I can make the index "t" recoverable from the "what is", is "what is" table then it is clear that the same procedure can make other indices recoverable. In particular, I am interested in recovering a specific "x" index, given that all the other indices defining a particular B(t) are known. Once again, it is easily shown that addition of fictitious entries in that table can make every B(t) different even if any specific "x" index is missing. This means that, given (n1) of the n indices (remember, our first step was to make the number of indices in every B the same: i.e., after that is accomplished, n has a specific value and the second step merely increments that value whatever that value happens to be. But the net result is that, given those (n1) indices, we can consult our table and immediately declare what the missing index had to be. This means that the missing index can be seen as is a function of the other indices. Again, we may not know what that function is but we do know that the function must agree with our table. What this says is that there exists a mathematical function which will yield [tex](x,\tau)_n(t) = f((x,\tau)_1, (x,\tau)_2, \cdots, (x.\tau)_{n1},t)[/tex] It follows that the function F defined by [tex]F((x,\tau)_1,(x,\tau)_2, \cdots, (x,\tau)_n) = (x(t),\tau(t))_n  f((x,\tau)_1, (x,\tau)_2, \cdots, (x.\tau)_{n1},t) = 0 [/tex] is a statement of the general constraint which guarantees that the entries conform to the given table. That is to say, this procedure yields a result which guarantees that there exists a mathematical function, the roots of which are exactly the entries to our "what is", is "what is" table. Clearly, it would be nice to know the structure of that function. If you understand what I have just written (which is somewhat of a restatement of an earlier post) then, I will proceed to the issue of symmetry and how that concept further constrains the nature of the function which is to yield the probability of our expectations. As you have said, "Damn it's tricky to use natural language to discuss these issues :) ." Let us go on; things will become clearer later. Thanks for your attention  Dick 


#427
May1907, 09:09 AM

P: n/a

Dr.D.a question. When you made this statement above



#428
May1907, 10:29 AM

P: 249

http://www.pixologic.com/home.php Thank you for restating the issues regarding the useful mathematical functions for "x,tau,t"table. Now I don't have to keep jumping back to that old post that much :) It is possible I am getting something topsy turvy, but it is very difficult to think of meaningful questions since my idea about this is still rather shaky... Perhaps partially because I am not sure where this is heading. You said earlier this is somewhat similar to newtonian mechanics, so I must assume that once we have built an "x,tay,t"table, we have not only assumed what ontological elements existed at given moments, but also how they behave? I understand you end up adding invalid (arbitrary?) elements on purpose so to make the mathematical functions easier to handle, but I don't understand why their existence is a presumed fact after you have specifically said they are invalid elements? Since this is so blatantly odd, I don't think you have made an error, but I must be getting some idea rather topsy turvy... :I I'm wondering what does it mean that there is an "appropriate index t" to be attached to some set. The t is just an arbitrary number isn't, it, since t was introduced just to be able to express a set of presents. I do understand the need to add invalid elements so to make sure no two presents are identical, I just don't get what relevance the "t" value is going to have... This seemed to make more sense to me in the earlier post where you explained that there's a way to first find if a present (minus 1 element) exists on the "augmented table #2", and if it does, check what the missing element was from table #1 (just check the same t). Anssi 


#429
May1907, 10:41 AM

P: 249

So even when we say "I exist" or "this apple exists", it isn't meant to be an assertion about the ontological nature of those things. How they exist ontologically is a question about "what am I made of" (with obvious complications) or "what is the apple made of" (which is essentially what physics is attempting to answer... by defining ontological elements and their behaviour in such a sense that they explain the existence of that apple as we have observed it) I hope this clarifies the issue. The wikipedia page about "ontology" seems like an okay overview as well. Anssi 


#430
May1907, 05:29 PM

P: n/a




#431
May2007, 01:13 AM

P: 6

Wholly smokes!
Lots of replies, answers, theories, thoughts on this one! “Is Time Just an Illusion?” Is enduring something within you, an illusion? Have you spent any time in pain, emotional or likewise? I realize words like “Real”, and “Illusion” can be used to fit our own purpose. Just surfing the educated crowd here… toying with the idea of where all the 21st Century Philosophers are hanging out. (I'm sure they're here somewhere.) John 


#432
May2007, 07:34 AM

P: 249

Rade, I think I understand what you are trying to say, but it appears to me that the way you have defined "ontology" to yourself could little bit nonstandard (and kind of meaningless too). This could be a source of great confusion. Let's see if I can give you a meaningful reply...
That my subjective experience exists doesn't lead me to believe that I am a metaphysical entity. That would be so only in dualism and in idealism. In materialism the subjective experience is thought to be caused by the interaction of smaller entities that are thought to be "metaphysical" or "ontological" elements. > It is not given that "Anssi" is a valid ontological element. If on the other hand you regard any thing we have defined, as something that exists ontologically, this kind of defeats the purpose of the concept "ontology", because the whole reason why there is such a field as ontology is to ask what are things that exist even when we are not there to define them as such. We need to make a distinction between something that exists in an everyday sense, and something that exists ontologically. When I say that a star constellation is not an ontological element, I am not suggesting I am a brain in a vat and the star constellation is only in my mind. I am suggesting it is completely arbitrary accident that we have given names to some groups of stars and call them constellations; that we define them as constellations does not change the nature of reality. Fairly obvious when I am talking about constellations, but now you have to extrapolate that idea to other things we have names for. Apple, sand, your ankle, electrons. This is ontology. "Whatever you say a thing is, it isn't" = our words may represent reality, but they are not the reality itself, they are only referring to whatever entities we have classified reality into (and how we happen to understand those entities). In the words of Alan Watts; "What we call things, facts, or events are after all no more than convenient units of perception, recognisable pegs for names, selected from the infinite multitude of lines and surfaces, colours and textures, spaces and densities which surround us. There is no more a fixed and final way of dividing these variations into things than of grouping the stars in constellations" Note though that the brain does not do its model of reality based on "lines, surfaces, colours, textures, spaces and densities", but these in themselves are "concepts" that have been formed as part of that mental model of reality; they are not ontological elements either. That inlcudes what we call our "self"! The ontological question about the existence of "self" is IMO best understood when you turn the question into one about identity. What is your identity? In a materialistic sense, while you say you exist, the whole content of your experience is still just a certain physical state of the brain, and the state you were in yesterday is not with you anymore. There is no metaphysical identity to yourself that persists, and that poses no problems to the existence of subjective experience. Perhaps using Eprime would help here. It's english but all references to "being" removed > instead of saying "electron is a particle and a wave", we'd say "Electrons behave partially like a wave and partially like a particle". (And when you explain what are "waves" and "particles" in Eprime, you see you can again only refer they are "like" some conception that you hope other people understand like you do) This stuff gets really hairy when you get deeper into it, mainly because classifying reality (or any system) into things remains to be your only way to comprehend anything at all. That's the way we work. Hmmm, looks I write too much :P Well hopefully it was helpful. Anssi 


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