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Abstract and Reality

  1. Feb 19, 2006 #1
    Taking a different spin on an old question I ask, is there color if no person is around to see the light?
    What I mean is that concepts we humans use are often taken for granted. A table is a table, no matter if it is used or not. However, the idea of a table is separate from the materiel reality. Anything you use as a table is one and so the definition is not in the object but in the purpose of the object. This would make it appear as if what makes something inherently a “table” is the intentions of humans. In this regard we define everything around us: a fork, a book, a painting, a clock, etc. Everything we come in contact with we define and specify, and in this specification we create our world. How then do we separate the materiel from the definition? If we live by our definitions then we live in a world we created. Without humans the world is a meaningless clockwork. Our consciousness gives meaning to matter, and this meaning is inherently bound up in itself.
    This makes it appear as if consciousness is separate from reality since it applies a nonphysical use to everything it comes in contact with. If consciousness is something physical then why does it do everything from a nonphysical perspective? If consciousness is nonphysical how can it be part of a physical universe? Where is there a balance between the abstract and real, if one even exists?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 19, 2006 #2


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    My take is that "color" happens in the human and other animals' visual systems. In non-living nature there is electromagnetic radiation of various frequencies but nothing to distinguish some band of frequencies as red or green.
  4. Feb 20, 2006 #3
    So then are you of the opinion that we create abstractions to everything we come across? If that is so and everything we use is defined by an abstract, how can we, i.e. our consious being, be a physical property? Are we not a self-conscious manifestion of abstraction living in a real world?
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