Retail and Global Skepticism

  • #126
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confutatis said:
What caught my attention on this thread was this comment, way back close to the beginning:

Even hypnagogue would have to admit that we could never describe “what it is like” to see the color blue. He believes that seeing blue is intrinsic and ineffable. This is why we holists view hypnagogue and those who side with him as mystics tilting at windmills.

When I read that I couldn't make much sense of it; now it makes perfect sense, and it was quite a thrill to discover why. And it's not difficult at all, it's almost trivial. Anyone who wants can easily understand it, but those who don't want to understand can't be forced to see it. They have to see it for themselves.
You realize that you can say this about anything don't you? I hope you aren't implying that anyone here doesn't want to understand. Because I think there has certainly been an effort to. It could be that what you are talking about is indeed so trivial, as you say, that not only do I understand it but I don't see it as the impacting revelation that you do. I won't have a chance to prove that to anyone because I can't be certain I understand the position. There are too many disconnected dots and, as you noted, remarks that are off topic. But I can't be certain what exactly is and what isn't on topic.

I actually do understand the quote you pulled out. I just don't think it's all that relevant to the philosphical issues of consciousness. The only thing mysterious about that quote is when he calls himself a holist. Now there's some semantic confusion!
 
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  • #127
confutatis
Fliption said:
You realize that you can say this about anything don't you? I hope you aren't implying that anyone here doesn't want to understand.
No, I think it's rather that some people can't see any relevance to it. You even stated that in your reply.

It could be that what you are talking about is indeed so trivial, as you say, that not only do I understand it but I don't see it as the impacting revelation that you do.
That is because we have different interests. You seem to be trying to understand consciousness; I'm just trying to understand what the word 'consciousness' means. I can't understand a thing before I understand what the word used to represent the thing means, and I haven't reached that stage yet.

I actually do understand the quote you pulled out. I just don't think it's all that relevant to the philosphical issues of consciousness.
I consider it extremely relevant, since I can't understand what the philosophical issues of consciousness are before I understand what the word 'consciousness' means. But if you already know what the word means, then you really have nothing to learn.

However, I have a strong suspicion that nobody really understands what the word means. That would explain my difficulty figuring it out for myself.

The only thing mysterious about that quote is when he calls himself a holist. Now there's some semantic confusion!
I suppose he doesn't fully understand what 'consciousness' means. I can sympathize with that.
 
  • #128
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“The fish trap exists because of the fish; once you've gotten the fish, you can forget the trap. The rabbit snare exists because of the rabbit; once you've gotten the rabbit, you can forget the snare. Words exist because of meaning; once you've gotten the meaning, you can forget the words. When can I find a man who has forgotten words so I can have a word with him? “

Chuang Tsu.
 
  • #129
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confutatis said:
But if you already know what the word means, then you really have nothing to learn.
As I said before. I don't care what anyone else means by the word consciousness. All that matters is that I know I have a very specific trait that I am calling consciousness. In my attempt to understand how such a feature can come from a box full of rocks, I have stumbled on all the philosophical evidence that suggest it indeed does not originate from a box full of rocks. The box needs more ingredients. It is not necessary for me to communicate with anyone to go through this process.

I just don't understand it when someone claims that they don't know what consciousness is. All you're saying is that you don't know what other people mean when they use the word. But I can't believe that you have no problem explaining every feature of your existence with known scientific principles. Forget about calling it consciousness. Forget about attaching any word to it. Can you scientifically explain every feature of your existence? To say you don't know which feature of your own existence we are referring to when we talk of all the philosophical issues, leads me to believe you are either being difficult or you are a zombie.

Read Canute's last post carefully. It is a very important message. So many people get lost in their egocentric, linguistic world that they need to hear that quote over and over. People participating in philosophy especially are at risk of losing the forest for all the trees.
 
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  • #130
confutatis
Fliption said:
As I said before. I don't care what anyone else means by the word consciousness.
So many people get lost in their egocentric, linguistic world ...
Wait a minute! Who's being egocentric here? How can I decide to attach some private meaning to a word, disregard what other people think of my decision, and then not see myself as egocentric?

We are really looking at the same problem from opposite angles.

All that matters is that I know I have a very specific trait that I am calling consciousness.
Whatever that specific trait is, nobody cares what you say about it if you don't care to express your ideas in terms that other people can understand. If you're just talking to yourself, why should anyone listen?

I just don't understand it when someone claims that they don't know what consciousness is. All you're saying is that you don't know what other people mean when they use the word.
What is the difference? Do you understand what supercalifragialisticexpialiadocious is? If you don't care what anyone else means by the word supercalifragialisticexpialiadocious how can you understand anything about it?

People participating in philosophy especially are at risk of losing the forest for all the trees.
Nobody can see a forest if they can't see the trees. First you must understand what a word means, then you can find out what is true about it. Canute's quote is right, once you grasp the meaning you can do away with words. But not before.

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

I will start another thread called The Problem of Other Minds. It will hopefully help elucidate my main point.
 
  • #131
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confutatis said:
Wait a minute! Who's being egocentric here? How can I decide to attach some private meaning to a word, disregard what other people think of my decision, and then not see myself as egocentric?
Egocentric does not mean "only concerning the self". It's meaning implies that you are leaving out relevant points because they aren't on your radar screen due to being self focused or dwelling only on you're own experiences. If there is nothing beyond yourself that is relevant then it isn't egocentric to only focus on those relevant things. This is my point. What someone else thinks a word means isn't relevant to establishe the existence of distinctions and issues about those distinctions.

But this view of yours I think is egocentric because language is the way you now distinguish your experiences. You cannot think about anything without thinking about words. But it could have been very different. An egocentric view naturally thinks it's own experience is the only possible way for things to be. Resulting in this view of semantic problems being the root of all evil.

Whatever that specific trait is, nobody cares what you say about it if you don't care to express your ideas in terms that other people can understand. If you're just talking to yourself, why should anyone listen?
You aren't following me. I'm not suggesting that communication isn't important. What I am trying to do is show that you don't need communication to establish the existence and issues of some feature of your existence. Call this feature whatever you want for now. Of course, if we then want to communicate about this thing, we now have all the semantic issues you are bringing up. But you can't then use these semantic issues to suggest that there is no philosophical problem to begin with other than the communication /semantic issues. I am trying to show that the problem is not semantic because you don't need anyone else to establish that you have features of your existence that you cannot find a scientific explanation for.

What is the difference? Do you understand what supercalifragialisticexpialiadocious is? If you don't care what anyone else means by the word supercalifragialisticexpialiadocious how can you understand anything about it?
You are really confusing yourself with words. There is way too much emphasis on them.

Nobody can see a forest if they can't see the trees. First you must understand what a word means, then you can find out what is true about it. Canute's quote is right, once you grasp the meaning you can do away with words. But not before.
It is true a forest is made up of trees. But concepts and problems are not made up of words. Words are labels we attach to distinctions that have developed through experience, for the purposes of communication. You have meaning first, THEN you attach a word to it.
 
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  • #132
confutatis
Fliption said:
Egocentric does not mean "only concerning the self". It's meaning implies that you are leaving out relevant points because they aren't on your radar screen due to being self focused or dwelling only on you're own experiences. If there is nothing beyond yourself that is relevant then it isn't egocentric to only focus on those relevant things. This is my point. What someone else thinks a word means isn't relevant to establishe the existence of distinctions and issues about those distinctions.
If definitions are not important, why are you trying to define "egocentric"? Why not accept that "you are egocentric" is true from my perspective, because I don't care what anyone else thinks "egocentric" means?

But this view of yours I think is egocentric because language is the way you now distinguish your experiences.
You may well be right, but I am not sure. Since I already understand this view of mine, I can only say for sure if it's egocentric if I understand what you mean by egocentric. Because, from my personal understanding, it's not egocentric at all.

You cannot think about anything without thinking about words.
I can think about a lot of things, but I can only understand relationships, between words or anything else. Something that does not relate to something else lies beyond my ability to understand. But I don't have words for those things, for if I did I would know a relationship. So I can't talk about them, and neither can anyone else.

But it could have been very different. An egocentric view naturally thinks it's own experience is the only possible way for things to be. Resulting in this view of semantic problems being the root of all evil.
I find it really amusing when people start seeing things in my statements which simply are not there. I'm not proposing a worldview, and I certainly don't understand what the root of all evil is. To the best of my knowledge, it all comes from the devil, who is an inferior being who considers himself the equal of God. But don't ask me to explain that.

What I am trying to do is show that you don't need communication to establish the existence and issues of some feature of your existence. Call this feature whatever you want for now. Of course, if we then want to communicate about this thing, we now have all the semantic issues you are bringing up. But you can't then use these semantic issues to suggest that there is no philosophical problem to begin with other than the communication /semantic issues. I am trying to show that the problem is not semantic because you don't need anyone else to establish that you have features of your existence that you cannot find a scientific explanation for.
I'm sorry, I don't know how to explain myself better. I have tried and failed. All I can say is that the comment above is a huge misinterpretation of what I said.

Hopefully the new thread will improve things.
 
  • #133
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confutatis said:
If definitions are not important, why are you trying to define "egocentric"? Why not accept that "you are egocentric" is true from my perspective, because I don't care what anyone else thinks "egocentric" means?
We have acknowledged and discussed all the problems with language. To follow this thinking to an extreme, we could say that language is pretty much useless. But in order for us to have this discussion we have to make an assumption not to go to that extreme. Otherwise there is no need for us to even have this discussion. You let me know what you want to do.

Because, from my personal understanding, it's not egocentric at all.
I'm pretty sure my cat would disagree. Because he doesn't know a single word and yet it is reasonable to assume that he isn't a zombie cat.

I can think about a lot of things, but I can only understand relationships, between words or anything else. Something that does not relate to something else lies beyond my ability to understand. But I don't have words for those things, for if I did I would know a relationship. So I can't talk about them, and neither can anyone else.
Not sure how this is relevant. All I'm saying is that you and I don't have to understand a word to be the same thing in order for us to legitimately experience the things we do.

I find it really amusing when people start seeing things in my statements which simply are not there. I'm not proposing a worldview, and I certainly don't understand what the root of all evil is. To the best of my knowledge, it all comes from the devil, who is an inferior being who considers himself the equal of God. But don't ask me to explain that.
Root of all evil is just an expression. In a previous thread, you clearly claimed that all the issues of consciousness were semantic. So my claim that you are blaming semantics for all the philsophical issues of consciousness is not so far off.

I'm sorry, I don't know how to explain myself better. I have tried and failed. All I can say is that the comment above is a huge misinterpretation of what I said.

Hopefully the new thread will improve things.
I will concede that I may not be clear on what your conclusion is. The reasons for that have already been stated. Also, I've read your new thread. I haven't responded because I don't know how to respond. I'm not sure how it relates to this.
 
  • #134
confutatis
Fliption said:
To follow this thinking to an extreme, we could say that language is pretty much useless.
Language is not useless! Whenever I go to McDonald's and ask for a Big Mac, small fries, and a Coke, I get exactly what I ask. Philosophical problems notwithstanding.

But in order for us to have this discussion we have to make an assumption not to go to that extreme. Otherwise there is no need for us to even have this discussion. You let me know what you want to do.
I want you to try to answer the challenge I posed on the other thread.

I've read your new thread. I haven't responded because I don't know how to respond. I'm not sure how it relates to this.
I've said too much on this thread and I'm not sure everything is true, but I'm sure a small portion of it is absolutely correct. If you understand that small portion then we can discusss what follows from it and what doesn't.

Do you at least understand the argument? I think it's pretty logical, and to me it implies that the position that it is not possible to know if other people have visual experiences cannot be defended. You may find that trivial, but I don't think so.
 
  • #135
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confutatis said:
Language is not useless! Whenever I go to McDonald's and ask for a Big Mac, small fries, and a Coke, I get exactly what I ask. Philosophical problems notwithstanding.
But we aren't ordering dinner here. We're talking philosophy. So either it is worth talking about or it isn't.

Do you at least understand the argument? I think it's pretty logical, and to me it implies that the position that it is not possible to know if other people have visual experiences cannot be defended. You may find that trivial, but I don't think so.
Yes, I understand it. But what does it have to do with language? I'm more interested in what your conclusion is. (I no longer think it resembles anything that this thread started out talking about, btw.) That other thread doesn't lay out the main point or conclusion. It's just asking a leading hypothetical question. I'm usually careful about jumping into things like that because I can't keep my answer from be used out of context to contnue the argument. But I will try to participate.
 
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