Is a dream a object?

  • Thread starter yinyinwang
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  • #1
Or is the meaning of a word a object?
What is the definition of object.
 

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  • #2
Turtle
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A object is physical, and a dream is non-physical, therefore, Dream is not an object. The meaning of a word is not an object, meaning is non-physical.
 
  • #3
then concepts are not objects to your definition of object.
 
  • #4
Eh
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Dreams are a process. A specific type of activity in the visual cortex and other parts of the brain, to be precise.
 
  • #5
Then a process is a object or not
 
  • #6
Eh
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No, a process is an evolving relationship among things.

Think of it this way. Is a picture an object? Sure. If we have a large number of these photos, and move them fast enough in sequence to give the illusion of a motion picture, is the animation a thing? By definition, it would seem not.
 
  • #7
Sikz
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But if a process is an evolving relationship among things, things can be defined as objects, correct? In which case in order for a dream to be a process it must be an evolving relationship among objects. So does a dream CONTAIN objects, then?
 
  • #8
Eh
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If an image is an object, yes.
 
  • #9
Sikz
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Therefore a dream consists of objects going through a process- just as wind, fire, and frogs (among other things) do. Wind would not be wind if it were still, fire would not be fire without the chemical reactions that make it up, and frogs would not be frogs without the chemical/mental processes going on within them. If a frog, then, is an object (and if wind and fire are objects) then a dream would appear to be just as validly an object.
 
  • #10
Les Sleeth
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Originally posted by Sikz
Therefore a dream consists of objects going through a process- just as wind, fire, and frogs (among other things) do. Wind would not be wind if it were still, fire would not be fire without the chemical reactions that make it up, and frogs would not be frogs without the chemical/mental processes going on within them. If a frog, then, is an object (and if wind and fire are objects) then a dream would appear to be just as validly an object.

The problem I think is not defining "object" first. My unabridged dictionary defines it as a "discrete, tangible thing." So did my MS Word dictionary.

By that definition, I don't think a dream qualifies as an object. We normally interpret a "thing" to be something that exists with constancy over a period of time. But a dream is a projection, similar to how a movie is a projection. The film being projected through to create a movie is a thing, but the projected image itself is not considered a thing because it doesn't have sufficient substance. Likewise, a dream is not substantial enough to be considered an object.
 
  • #11
Sikz
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But would we really not consider the projection an object? We would consider a hologram an object, would we not? Likewise a hallucination might be considered an object.

Also, how do you know that a dream IS a projection after all?
 
  • #12
Eh
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Originally posted by Sikz
Therefore a dream consists of objects going through a process- just as wind, fire, and frogs (among other things) do. Wind would not be wind if it were still, fire would not be fire without the chemical reactions that make it up, and frogs would not be frogs without the chemical/mental processes going on within them. If a frog, then, is an object (and if wind and fire are objects) then a dream would appear to be just as validly an object.

Not if you define an object to be a still frame image. Of course, in reality everything in the universe is a process, so nothing would ever fit that definition. It's all about what definitions are acceptable.
 
  • #13
Les Sleeth
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Originally posted by Sikz
But would we really not consider the projection an object? We would consider a hologram an object, would we not? Likewise a hallucination might be considered an object.

Also, how do you know that a dream IS a projection after all?

The purpose of language is to be able to communicate, and part of that activity is being able to distinguish between things. So the word "object" was originated for a reason . . . it was to be able to describe, in communication, things with substance. Therefore, when you blur the distinction between substance and non-substance, all it does it create confusion for the sake of having a philosophical discussion. I don't see a real issue here . . . a dream is not an object based on the definition of an object.
 
  • #14
Sikz
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Part of our original inquery is "what is the definition of an object", so we can't say "A dream is not an object based on the definition of an object" without first finding the definition of an object.

Simply saying "things with substance" is not enough. The definition must be discovered through a logical train of thought if it is to be discovered at all.
 
  • #15
Les Sleeth
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Originally posted by Sikz
Part of our original inquery is "what is the definition of an object", so we can't say "A dream is not an object based on the definition of an object" without first finding the definition of an object.

Simply saying "things with substance" is not enough. The definition must be discovered through a logical train of thought if it is to be discovered at all.

What's the matter . . . don't you have a dictionary? Why do we have to question the meaning of a word that's been around for centuries?

No English-speaking and/or educated person is confused about the meaning of "object." Now, if you have reason to suggest that there is more substance to dreams than is currently known, then please cite the evidence. That at least would make this discussion more than semantic sophistry.
 
  • #16
Sikz
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We are not questioning the meaning of the WORD object, but of the concept. A little harder to grasp, but still...

In any case I do not have reason to suggest that dreams have more "substance" than you are implying. However, I have no reason to believe that they only have that amount of "substance" either. Depending upon your views of reality, human imagination, and consciousness (among other things), you might view dreams as more than simply an illusion caused by the brain of a sleeping person. It is entirely possible, for example, that dreams are just as "real" as waking experiences, especially if reality is subjective. If concepts exist somehow, then dreams, as concepts, exist in that same way. I could go on and on down the list of possibilities. The point is that no definitions should be taken for granted in this (or nearly any) philosophical enquiry.
 
  • #17
Les Sleeth
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Originally posted by Sikz
. . . I do not have reason to suggest that dreams have more "substance" than you are implying. However, I have no reason to believe that they only have that amount of "substance" either. Depending upon your views of reality, human imagination, and consciousness (among other things), you might view dreams as more than simply an illusion caused by the brain of a sleeping person. It is entirely possible, for example, that dreams are just as "real" as waking experiences, especially if reality is subjective. If concepts exist somehow, then dreams, as concepts, exist in that same way. I could go on and on down the list of possibilities. The point is that no definitions should be taken for granted in this (or nearly any) philosophical enquiry.

The subject here is not whether dreams are real! No one (except hard core materialists) is suggesting that something has to be substantial to be real. This is a sematic question . . . what is it that characterizes an "object"?

And regarding definitions being taken for granted, well, that is exactly the purpose of a definition -- to solidify meanings so people can communicate without confusion. But you seem to want to confuse the meaning of an object to create a reason for a philosophical discussion. I don't see the value in it unless you hve reason to claim a dream is more substantial than we now believe.

I say, this subject has no philosophical implications unless you know dreams have more substance than we suspect.
 
  • #18
hypnagogue
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Can we agree that an 'object,' whatever it might be, must be objective in nature? (That doesn't seem like too much of a stretch, does it? :wink:) If so, the question of dreams being objects becomes rather trivial.
 
  • #19
Sikz
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Ingenious... I agree completely.
 
  • #20
selfAdjoint
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Originally posted by hypnagogue
Can we agree that an 'object,' whatever it might be, must be objective in nature? (That doesn't seem like too much of a stretch, does it? :wink:) If so, the question of dreams being objects becomes rather trivial.

But there are things that wiggle out of that definition. Take blue. You see blue and don't have to think about it. Likewise I see blue and don't have to think about it. And we agree on the things we see as blue.

But what you see as blue and what I see as blue have no relationship to each other at all.
 
  • #21
Les Sleeth
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Originally posted by hypnagogue
Can we agree that an 'object,' whatever it might be, must be objective in nature? (That doesn't seem like too much of a stretch, does it? :wink:) If so, the question of dreams being objects becomes rather trivial.

Now it's time for me to nitpick :wink: .

You are probably right to imply this question is trivial, but it is interesting to me as an opportunity to explore what a philosophical problem is versus simply understanding the use of language.

First, the word "object" precedes in meaning the word "objective," and each have several meanings. For example, besides something that is perceived as an entity and referred to by a name, an object can be the focus of someone's attention, an aim or purpose, grammer meanings, computer program meanings, optic meanings, and verb forms (as in "to object).

"Objective" likewise is used many ways, and just saying something is objective doesn't necessarily mean it is an "object." In fact, I could find no dictionary definition that exactly stated that, with the closest being "existing independently of mind or perception." If, Hypnagogue, you meant that because a dream is subjective to the person dreaming, it isn't an object, that overlooks the fact that with the definitions there are, a dream can be an object (or objective) in several ways (an object of study, for instance).

But I believe yinyinwang was specifically asking about whether a dream is an object in the sense of how we define a thing of substance. My answer to that is, in the English language a dream is not substantial enough to be considered an "object" in that regard. Assuming I've understood yinyinwang's question correctly, my point to Sikz has been that blurring distinctions between multiple definitions of a word doesn't make it a philosophical issue ( though it could be a science issue if one were suggesting there is more substance to a dream than we believe).
 
  • #22
Les Sleeth
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Originally posted by selfAdjoint
But there are things that wiggle out of that definition. Take blue. You see blue and don't have to think about it. Likewise I see blue and don't have to think about it. And we agree on the things we see as blue.

But what you see as blue and what I see as blue have no relationship to each other at all.

Right, but here is where we seem to be having several conversations going at once, each determined by which definition of object and objective we use.

"Blue" of course, can be quite easily objectified but measuring its frequency. But whether you experience that frequecy as I experience that frequency is a subjective matter.

Yet we still haven't decided if the frequency of blue is an "object," the way yinyinwang was asking. I think EH was on the right track to point out that processes, since they don't hold still long enough to have the nature of a "thing," are not objects (and frequency would be another of those). So I still see this question a language question.
 
  • #23
Is the magnet field an object? Is magnetic field a universal object? Is space an object? Is time an object? Is motion an object?
 
  • #24
Les Sleeth
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Originally posted by yinyinwang
Is the magnet field an object? Is magnetic field a universal object? Is space an object? Is time an object? Is motion an object?

Thank you for clarifying your question more . . . and I would say most of those, in the English language, would not be considered "objects." A chair is an object, as is a tree, a goose, a book, a printer . . . things you can stick the article "a" in front of mostly qualify because one is pointing to a distinct entity that can be given boundaries.
 
  • #25
Originally posted by Sikz
We are not questioning the meaning of the WORD object, but of the concept. A little harder to grasp, but still...


I wonder if the word is defined correctly or sufficiently. otherwise there may not be so much arguement.
 
  • #26
Originally posted by hypnagogue
Can we agree that an 'object,' whatever it might be, must be objective in nature? (That doesn't seem like too much of a stretch, does it? :wink:) If so, the question of dreams being objects becomes rather trivial.
This actually avoid the question, certainly no answer to this question will not affect the world much, but logically, we are expecting a yes/no answer, not big/small.
 
  • #27
hypnagogue
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Originally posted by LW Sleeth
Now it's time for me to nitpick :wink: .

You are probably right to imply this question is trivial, but it is interesting to me as an opportunity to explore what a philosophical problem is versus simply understanding the use of language.

First, the word "object" precedes in meaning the word "objective," and each have several meanings. For example, besides something that is perceived as an entity and referred to by a name, an object can be the focus of someone's attention, an aim or purpose, grammer meanings, computer program meanings, optic meanings, and verb forms (as in "to object).

"Objective" likewise is used many ways, and just saying something is objective doesn't necessarily mean it is an "object." In fact, I could find no dictionary definition that exactly stated that, with the closest being "existing independently of mind or perception." If, Hypnagogue, you meant that because a dream is subjective to the person dreaming, it isn't an object, that overlooks the fact that with the definitions there are, a dream can be an object (or objective) in several ways (an object of study, for instance).

But I believe yinyinwang was specifically asking about whether a dream is an object in the sense of how we define a thing of substance. My answer to that is, in the English language a dream is not substantial enough to be considered an "object" in that regard. Assuming I've understood yinyinwang's question correctly, my point to Sikz has been that blurring distinctions between multiple definitions of a word doesn't make it a philosophical issue ( though it could be a science issue if one were suggesting there is more substance to a dream than we believe).

You are correct to note that there is a lot of ambiguity in the term "object." I think the definition as supplied by the online Mirriam Webster Dictionary fully encompasses this ambiguity.

object
1 a : something material that may be perceived by the senses <I see an object in the distance> b : something that when viewed stirs a particular emotion (as pity) <look to the tragic loading of this bed... the object poisons sight; let it be hid -- Shakespeare>
2 : something mental or physical toward which thought, feeling, or action is directed <an object for study> <the object of my affection> <delicately carved art objects>
3 a : the goal or end of an effort or activity : PURPOSE, OBJECTIVE <their object is to investigate the matter thoroughly> b : a cause for attention or concern <money is no object>
4 : a thing that forms an element of or constitutes the subject matter of an investigation or science
5 a : a noun or noun equivalent (as a pronoun, gerund, or clause) denoting the goal or result of the action of a verb b : a noun or noun equivalent in a prepositional phrase

In the strictest sense, "object" is defined much as you indicated earlier in the thread: "a discrete, tangible thing." In the loosest sense, any noun can be an object, insofar as it can be the direct object of the action of a verb.

The latter is not very useful for our purposes, and I don't think the spirit of the initial question was asking what can be classified as an object in a purely linguistic sense. I think it would be most useful at this point for yinyinwang to clarify what parts of the above definition correspond to the notion of "object" that s/he intended in the initial question. If there was no specific notion as to what an "object" is in the first place, then (as you have pointed out) the question is no longer philosophical but merely a matter of how we choose to define our terms.

Assuming we mean by object "a discrete, tangible, material thing that may be perceived by the senses," then I think my initial criterion holds up well, although is in need of some revision and clarification. First, let's clarify "a thing that may be perceived by the senses" to mean something that may be perceived by the senses, even if indirectly-- for instance, we cannot directly perceive atoms, but we can perceive measurements that indirectly "perceive," or assert the existence of, atoms. So we replace "something that may be perceived by the senses" with "something that is observable."

So an object must be something that is discrete, material, and observable. ("Tangible" I think can now be recognized as a redundant criterion, since "material" and "observable" together exhaust the meaning of "tangible.") The term "objective" encompasses "material" and (in the scientific sense of the word, at least) "observable," but not necessarily "discrete." So we are left with the following proposition:

An object is a discrete thing that is objective in nature.
 
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  • #28
Originally posted by hypnagogue

So an object must be something that is discrete, material, and observable. ("Tangible" I think can now be recognized as a redundant criterion, since "material" and "observable" together exhaust the meaning of "tangible.") The term "objective" encompasses "material" and (in the scientific sense of the word, at least) "observable," but not necessarily "discrete." So we are left with the following proposition:

An object is a discrete thing that is objective in nature. [/B]
you provide useful analysis and dictionary definition of object.thank you for that.
But the last definition is cyclic because using "objective" to define "object" is like saying chicken is something chichening.

the word "detectable" is btter than "observable".
 
  • #29
when i try to define the concept of object, i mean the philosophical sense of the word, not the general language usage, a very presise, clearly,logically defined, which means the clear connotation and extension.
 
  • #30
hypnagogue
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Originally posted by yinyinwang
you provide useful analysis and dictionary definition of object.thank you for that.
But the last definition is cyclic because using "objective" to define "object" is like saying chicken is something chichening.

It's not cyclic insofar as I have merely replaced "material" and "observable" with "objective." If you prefer you can think of it without using the word "objective"-- I just think that that particular phrase is useful in guiding our thought in questions such as "is a dream an object?"

the word "detectable" is btter than "observable".

What is the difference between "detectable" and "observable"?
 
  • #31
hypnagogue
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Originally posted by yinyinwang
when i try to define the concept of object, i mean the philosophical sense of the word, not the general language usage, a very presise, clearly,logically defined, which means the clear connotation and extension.

So, which of the terms in the above definition of object correspond to "the philosophical sense of the word"?
 
  • #32
Originally posted by hypnagogue


What is the difference between "detectable" and "observable"?
"observe" is more related to human behavior, "detect" can be an equipment or unhuman behavior, like a dog finds something.
 
  • #33
Originally posted by hypnagogue
So, which of the terms in the above definition of object correspond to "the philosophical sense of the word"?
i am still examing them, but do not feel promising.
 
  • #34
hypnagogue
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Originally posted by yinyinwang
"observe" is more related to human behavior, "detect" can be an equipment or unhuman behavior, like a dog finds something.

I think this distinction exists as a function of your personal connotations, not as a result of the definitions of the words themselves. For instance, there is nothing semantically wrong with saying "the dog observed a peculiar smell." If anything, I suppose you could make a case that "observing" entails "detecting" accompanied by "reflecting," though this is not the meaning of the word in scientific parlance. Either way, though, "detectable" works just as well as "observable."
 
  • #35
Jeebus
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Hypnagogue said:

I think this distinction exists as a function of your personal connotations, not as a result of the definitions of the words themselves. For instance, there is nothing semantically wrong with saying "the dog observed a peculiar smell." If anything, I suppose you could make a case that "observing" entails "detecting" accompanied by "reflecting," though this is not the meaning of the word in scientific parlance. Either way, though, "detectable" works just as well as "observable."

So I could say "the dog detected a peculiar smell" as well as "the dog observed a peculiar smell" and still come across to the 'reader' as the same meaning? I can buy that. But as you said the meaning in scientific purposes, it'd be a far cry short of a design.
 

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