Doomstead Diner Menu => Doom Psychology & Philosophy => Topic started by: knarf on May 13, 2017, 04:43:50 AM

Title: Extreme examples, eternalism and nihilism
Post by: knarf on May 13, 2017, 04:43:50 AM
(https://meaningness.com/images/mn/iStock_000001836286XSmall.jpg)


Why would anyone want to claim that everything is meaningful, or that everything is meaningless, defying our everyday experience that some things are meaningful and some not?

Here I’ll give an example of extreme meaninglessness, and one of extreme meaningfulness. Because it is difficult to deny their meaninglessness and meaningfulness, these help uncover the reasons people might want to do that.
Fear of meaninglessness motivates eternalism

A tiny gray pebble slides half an inch down a slope on a lifeless planet a million light-years from the nearest star. No being ever knows about this, and nothing happens as a result of it.

If anything is meaningless, this is it. So why on earth would you claim this must be meaningful? Only if it is important that absolutely everything is meaningful. And why would that be?

This insistence is motivated by fear: the fear that perhaps everything is meaningless.

If we could definitely say which things are meaningful and which are meaningless, there would be no problem. The meaninglessness of the pebble’s slide would not threaten the meaningfulness of our own lives.

But we cannot always say what has meaning and what does not. We have no hard-line test. Meaningfulness is frustratingly unreliable; transient, uncertain.

There are clues. In everyday experience, it seems that things are meaningful only if they are meaningful to someone. And, mostly things are meaningful only if they have some effect, positive or negative, on someone. The pebble’s slide is meaningless because it fails those tests.

But what about your own life? Things happen that seem meaningful to you. But often they do not seem meaningful to other people—especially if they affect only you. And it is certainly possible to be mistaken about meaningfulness—to suppose things have meanings that they don’t. So isn’t it possible that you are entirely mistaken about meaningfulness? Isn’t it possible that life itself is completely meaningless? That is a profoundly depressing idea.

“Nonsense,” you think. “I know that my life is meaningful to me.” But what good is that? No one else cares about your life the way you do. Maybe your supposed “meaningfulness” is a delusion. Maybe it is purely subjective, and exists only in your own mind. And then, so what? That seems like a meaningless kind of “meaning.”

This is a slippery slope you don’t want to slide down. Since there seem to be no definite criteria for meaningfulness, you cannot rely on anything to have meaning. There is no solid ground under foot, once you admit the nebulosity of meaningness.

Better to stick a stake in the ground at the top of the hill. If everything is meaningful, then there is no need to sort out what is or isn’t. There is no need to grapple with ambiguity and uncertainty. There is a reliable foundation on which you can build a meaningful life.

This is the stance of eternalism. Eternalism provides a reassuring firmness, certainty, definiteness to meaning. It says: you are right to care about what you do, because it is truly meaningful.

But what makes everything meaningful? What could give meaning to the pebble?

Here, you must invoke a Cosmic Plan. There has to be a universe-spanning intelligence that knows everything, and that gives everything meaning. (What meaning? That is not always for humans to know.)

The supposed meaningfulness of the pebble and the Cosmic Plan are mutually reinforcing. The pebble couldn’t be meaningful without the Cosmic Plan. If seemingly meaningless things were not really meaningful, the Cosmic Plan would have no work to do, and we would have no reason to imagine it.

Since usually things are meaningful only to someone, who likes or dislikes them, you might personalize the Cosmic Plan. God is the “someone” to whom all things are meaningful, and whose preferences gives positive or negative value to all things.
Fear of excessive meaning motivates nihilism

A gigantic spaceship arrives. Astonishingly beautiful aliens emerge, and announce that they are on a diplomatic mission from the Universal Federation of a billion planets.

Humankind, they explain, has reached the point of sophistication where we can join the Federation. We will not, however, join as junior partners. Human beings have a unique spiritual ability not found anywhere else in the universe. This ability is latent in us now, but can easily be developed with tools the aliens will provide.

Unfortunately, the entire universe, with its billions of inhabited planets, will be destroyed just a few years from now. A tiny flaw in the fabric of reality is about to spread across the universe in an instant, like a pin-prick in a balloon, and the whole of space-time will evaporate.

Only the specially-developed spiritual abilities of human beings can prevent this.

The aliens will make us immortal and vastly more intelligent than any human has ever been—a necessary prerequisite to this spiritual development. Naturally, this will make us radically different from the way we were; we will no longer be human.

Having saved the universe, humanity will lead all other intelligent species to a triumphant destiny, a culmination of the ultimate purpose of existence that is now utterly inconceivable.

However, since the aliens do not wish to force anyone to do anything, it is up to us to decide whether to undergo the transformation.

This is a meaningful choice. The fate of the universe, and billions of billions of beings, hangs in the balance.

Suddenly, your nagging back ache, your promotion review at work, and the credit card company’s screw-up that is causing all kinds of havoc—all highly meaningful yesterday—seem totally meaningless. Political parties, religious differences, wars, economics, favorite songs—even these become meaningless by comparison.

The only way to say “this choice would not really be meaningful” is to insist that, no matter how many beings are affected, the apparent meaning is still just subjective. It’s only in the minds of a bunch of random life-forms, who are (after all) just blobs of matter; swirls of subatomic particles. Therefore, it is illusory.

Implicit here again is the view that real meaningfulness could only be objective, and could only be provided by something external to the universe. There is no Cosmic Plan, so nothing is truly meaningful.

This is the stance of nihilism. Nihilism’s improbable insistence on meaninglessness is also motivated by fear. It is the mirror-image fear of eternalism.

The fear is that, if you admit anything is meaningful, then perhaps everything has a fixed meaning—or at least everything in your life.

You don’t want the responsibility of dealing with the intricacies, implications, and imperatives of all that meaningfulness. And if everything had a specific meaning, there would be no room for creativity. You would have no freedom.

Perhaps worst of all, you might have to accept a lot of sentimental claptrap—the nonsense eternalists spout in a desperate attempt to justify their delusions.
Meaningness without a Cosmic Plan

Eternalism and nihilism exist only out of fear of each other. There is a better alternative—what I call the complete stance.

I suggest that meaningfulness is not provided by a Cosmic Plan. There is no Cosmic Plan; but that does not mean that nothing is meaningful.

I suggest that some things are meaningful, and some things are not. That is true even though we have no definite criteria to decide which is which.

I suggest that meaningness is neither objective, nor subjective.

Accepting these suggestions allows you to let go of the unrealistic fears that motivate both eternalism and nihilism.

This complete view of meaningness has its own implications. They may seem to make life more complicated. However, the complete stance also eliminates the many troubles eternalism and nihilism cause.

https://meaningness.com/extreme-examples-eternalism-and-nihilism (https://meaningness.com/extreme-examples-eternalism-and-nihilism)
Title: Re: Extreme examples, eternalism and nihilism
Post by: RE on May 13, 2017, 05:00:14 AM
Extreme examples sometimes can demonstrate dichotomies well, but it's a big leap to say this is neither subjective or objective.

There are no aliens currently offering eternal life to Homo Saps, any more than there are Ferengi with Starships loaded with Gold Pressed Latinum and Dilithium Crystals to solve our monetary and energy problems.  So you can nix out this entire aspect of this argument, it's just fantasy.

Are pebbles rolling down a hill on some far off planet with no sapient life form around to appreciate that meaningful?  That is just another version of "If a tree falls in the forest with nobody around to hear it, does it make a sound?".  Or "What is the sound of one hand clapping?".  And so forth.  These type of illustrations confound people in general.

In order to get beyond the confounding, you need to understand yourself and what meaning really is, which is the totality of the universe and beyond, and how God permeates that existence.  It takes time to work through it though, and most people do not take the time to do it, or just don't have the time.  Too bizzy getting enough food to eat.

RE
Title: Re: Extreme examples, eternalism and nihilism
Post by: knarf on May 13, 2017, 05:40:15 AM
Extreme examples sometimes can demonstrate dichotomies well, but it's a big leap to say this is neither subjective or objective.

There are no aliens currently offering eternal life to Homo Saps, any more than there are Ferengi with Starships loaded with Gold Pressed Latinum and Dilithium Crystals to solve our monetary and energy problems.  So you can nix out this entire aspect of this argument, it's just fantasy.

Are pebbles rolling down a hill on some far off planet with no sapient life form around to appreciate that meaningful?  That is just another version of "If a tree falls in the forest with nobody around to hear it, does it make a sound?".  Or "What is the sound of one hand clapping?".  And so forth.  These type of illustrations confound people in general.

In order to get beyond the confounding, you need to understand yourself and what meaning really is, which is the totality of the universe and beyond, and how God permeates that existence.  It takes time to work through it though, and most people do not take the time to do it, or just don't have the time.  Too bizzy getting enough food to eat.

RE

I agree. What I do is not wander to either extreme. I accept my physical responsibilities, and find meaning in them, and people i know. I know that in 10,000 years in all is just dust in the wind, so while I have this body, I am gonna kick up a little dust!  ;D
Title: Re: Extreme examples, eternalism and nihilism
Post by: RE on May 13, 2017, 07:07:32 AM
Extreme examples sometimes can demonstrate dichotomies well, but it's a big leap to say this is neither subjective or objective.

There are no aliens currently offering eternal life to Homo Saps, any more than there are Ferengi with Starships loaded with Gold Pressed Latinum and Dilithium Crystals to solve our monetary and energy problems.  So you can nix out this entire aspect of this argument, it's just fantasy.

Are pebbles rolling down a hill on some far off planet with no sapient life form around to appreciate that meaningful?  That is just another version of "If a tree falls in the forest with nobody around to hear it, does it make a sound?".  Or "What is the sound of one hand clapping?".  And so forth.  These type of illustrations confound people in general.

In order to get beyond the confounding, you need to understand yourself and what meaning really is, which is the totality of the universe and beyond, and how God permeates that existence.  It takes time to work through it though, and most people do not take the time to do it, or just don't have the time.  Too bizzy getting enough food to eat.

RE

I agree. What I do is not wander to either extreme. I accept my physical responsibilities, and find meaning in them, and people i know. I know that in 10,000 years in all is just dust in the wind, so while I have this body, I am gonna kick up a little dust!  ;D

Dust is good.  It's meaningful.  :icon_sunny:

RE
Title: Re: Extreme examples, eternalism and nihilism
Post by: Eddie on May 13, 2017, 09:51:44 AM
Nice article. Good work there Knarf.

Brings up some good questions.

What's the best way for someone to know whether something is meaningful?

Intuition, that's my answer. You just know. Whatever criteria I may have been born with or learned, it doesn't matter. The answer lies very early, one way or another. Does that mean "meaningfulness" is a completely subjective term. Maybe....maybe not.

Just like all the little anecdotal bits of life that suggest that there is more to consciousness than something constructed in the human mind, we have clues that can guide us. Objective? Not exactly, but just like we humans can largely agree on what constitutes our reality (Gravity keeps us from flying off the planet. Sun comes up in the East.) we can agree on certain behaviors, as to whether they are positive or negative.

Think of the unfolding universe as a larger, more complicated version of an ocean wave. You can behave in a way that is congruent with the force of the wave, like a surfer taking a free ride on a beautiful curl. Effortless, beautiful. Using the power of the ocean to propel us along.

Or we can walk  headfirst into a big breaker, get smacked headfirst into the sand, and get a mouthful of dirty saltwater.

Is one of those better than the other?  My intuition says yes. I think most people would agree. No?

So put me down as an eternalist. Not because I am eternal. I came from dust and will soon return to dust. But the wave, the unfolding universe, is eternal, and I am and always will be a part of that, in ways that I don't fully understand.

Take the ride, I say. Don't fight the ocean.

What that means to me is this:

Kindness is the height of human behavior.

Sustainable living that considers the entire ecosystem and other species and the planet as a whole, is better behavior than strip mining and industrial agriculture.

Peace is better than war.

Living in an imperfect world is superior to suicide.

Nihilism sucks.



Title: Re: Extreme examples, eternalism and nihilism
Post by: luciddreams on May 13, 2017, 10:05:43 AM
Nice article. Good work there Knarf.

Brings up some good questions.

What's the best way for someone to know whether something is meaningful?

Intuition, that's my answer. You just know. Whatever criteria I may have been born with or learned, it doesn't matter. The answer lies very early, one way or another. Does that mean "meaningfulness" is a completely subjective term. Maybe....maybe not.

Just like all the little anecdotal bits of life that suggest that there is more to consciousness than something constructed in the human mind, we have clues that can guide us. Objective? Not exactly, but just like we humans can largely agree on what constitutes our reality (Gravity keeps us from flying off the planet. Sun comes up in the East.) we can agree on certain behaviors, as to whether they are positive or negative.

Think of the unfolding universe as a larger, more complicated version of an ocean wave. You can behave in a way that is congruent with the force of the wave, like a surfer taking a free ride on a beautiful curl. Effortless, beautiful. Using the power of the ocean to propel us along.

Or we can walk  headfirst into a big breaker, get smacked headfirst into the sand, and get a mouthful of dirty saltwater.

Is one of those better than the other?  My intuition says yes. I think most people would agree. No?

So put me down as an eternalist. Not because I am eternal. I came from dust and will soon return to dust. But the wave, the unfolding universe, is eternal, and I am and always will be a part of that, in ways that I don't fully understand.

Take the ride, I say. Don't fight the ocean.

What that means to me is this:

Kindness is the height of human behavior.

Sustainable living that considers the entire ecosystem and other species and the planet as a whole, is better behavior than strip mining and industrial agriculture.

Peace is better than war.

Living in an imperfect world is superior to suicide.

Nihilism sucks.

That was beautiful, thanks for it Eddie😊

I was ruminating on this article a few moments ago.  I was playing Shakuhachi, and I thought it was a beautiful thing to do, and to hear, and I thought that process had some kind of meaning.  I thought it could really be as simple as that.  The point to it all could just be to create beauty in spite of Samsara...just because beauty is beautiful and that is the reason.  I suppose it's the same with love.
Title: Re: Extreme examples, eternalism and nihilism
Post by: RE on May 13, 2017, 12:23:44 PM
Think of the unfolding universe as a larger, more complicated version of an ocean wave. You can behave in a way that is congruent with the force of the wave, like a surfer taking a free ride on a beautiful curl. Effortless, beautiful. Using the power of the ocean to propel us along.

http://www.youtube.com/v/3KM5Vnnog5w

RE
Title: Kelly Slater on the Wipeout that nearly killed him
Post by: RE on May 13, 2017, 12:43:49 PM
http://www.youtube.com/v/_wimsBlgnQw

RE
Title: Re: Extreme examples, eternalism and nihilism
Post by: Ka on May 13, 2017, 04:42:41 PM
"Eternalism and nihilism exist only out of fear of each other."

An ad hominem argument. If, instead, one employs reason...

If one assumes there are events that happen outside any experience then one is faced with either the hard problem of consciousness (for the materialist) or the interaction problem (for the dualist). These problems are intractable, in that no one, after centuries pondering them, has a hint of a clue how they can be solved. On the other hand, denying that assumption, and saying instead that only experience is real, removes those problems without adding anything intractable. If that makes one an "eternalist", so be it. At least it is coherent.
Title: Re: Extreme examples, eternalism and nihilism
Post by: RE on May 13, 2017, 06:37:55 PM
"Eternalism and nihilism exist only out of fear of each other."

An ad hominem argument. If, instead, one employs reason...

Who's the hom in the argument?

Ad Hom is an argument made to undermine the person you are arguing with rather than addressing the topic.  Irv isn't arguing with anyone here, he's just stating his POV.

RE
Title: Re: Extreme examples, eternalism and nihilism
Post by: Ka on May 13, 2017, 10:03:00 PM
"Eternalism and nihilism exist only out of fear of each other."

An ad hominem argument. If, instead, one employs reason...

Who's the hom in the argument?

Ad Hom is an argument made to undermine the person you are arguing with rather than addressing the topic.  Irv isn't arguing with anyone here, he's just stating his POV.

RE

The hom is whoever holds an eternalist or nihilist point of view. We are being accused of holding the position out of fear, not careful thought. (BTW, this is from someone named David Chapman, not Irv.)
Title: Re: Extreme examples, eternalism and nihilism
Post by: RE on May 14, 2017, 12:40:33 AM
"Eternalism and nihilism exist only out of fear of each other."

An ad hominem argument. If, instead, one employs reason...

Who's the hom in the argument?

Ad Hom is an argument made to undermine the person you are arguing with rather than addressing the topic.  Irv isn't arguing with anyone here, he's just stating his POV.

RE

The hom is whoever holds an eternalist or nihilist point of view. We are being accused of holding the position out of fear, not careful thought. (BTW, this is from someone named David Chapman, not Irv.)

I don't think that counts as Ad Hom.  If he was arguing with you and said you were motivated out of fear, that could be considered Ad Hom.

This is more like making a diagnosis of a general class of people.  Like saying "schizophrenics behave the way they do because of a biochemical imbalance in the brain".  Or, "Pigmen act the way they do because they are greedy scumbags with empathy deficit disorder".

You are free of course to argue with the diagnosis and show why it is incorrect, at least in some cases.

RE
Title: Re: Extreme examples, eternalism and nihilism
Post by: Ka on May 14, 2017, 03:07:35 PM

The hom is whoever holds an eternalist or nihilist point of view. We are being accused of holding the position out of fear, not careful thought. (BTW, this is from someone named David Chapman, not Irv.)

I don't think that counts as Ad Hom.  If he was arguing with you and said you were motivated out of fear, that could be considered Ad Hom.

From wikipedia:

"Ad hominem (Latin for "to the man" or "to the person"[1]), short for argumentum ad hominem, is now usually understood as a logical fallacy in which an argument is rebutted by attacking the character, motive, or other attribute of the person making the argument, or persons associated with the argument, rather than attacking the substance of the argument itself."

To say that eternalism and nihilism exist solely out of fear is attacking the motive and character of the eternalist or nihilist, rather than attacking the substance of eternalism or nihilism. Sure looks like an ad hominem to me, that is, is logically fallacious.
Title: Re: Extreme examples, eternalism and nihilism
Post by: RE on May 14, 2017, 04:05:40 PM

The hom is whoever holds an eternalist or nihilist point of view. We are being accused of holding the position out of fear, not careful thought. (BTW, this is from someone named David Chapman, not Irv.)

I don't think that counts as Ad Hom.  If he was arguing with you and said you were motivated out of fear, that could be considered Ad Hom.

From wikipedia:

"Ad hominem (Latin for "to the man" or "to the person"[1]), short for argumentum ad hominem, is now usually understood as a logical fallacy in which an argument is rebutted by attacking the character, motive, or other attribute of the person making the argument, or persons associated with the argument, rather than attacking the substance of the argument itself."

To say that eternalism and nihilism exist solely out of fear is attacking the motive and character of the eternalist or nihilist, rather than attacking the substance of eternalism or nihilism. Sure looks like an ad hominem to me, that is, is logically fallacious.
Bold mine.

Except he's not attacking the person or character of the person making the argument, because there is no person making the argument!  He's not debating with you Ka.  He's just stating his perception.  He hasn't targeted you for attack.  Ad hom is when two (or more) people are debating and then one person call the other person stupid, or some other derogatory adjective rather than address the topic.  The topic here is what moticates eternalists and nihilists, and he posits that the motivator is fear.  That's not ad hom, sorry.

RE
Title: Re: Extreme examples, eternalism and nihilism
Post by: agelbert on May 14, 2017, 04:24:10 PM

The hom is whoever holds an eternalist or nihilist point of view. We are being accused of holding the position out of fear, not careful thought. (BTW, this is from someone named David Chapman, not Irv.)

I don't think that counts as Ad Hom.  If he was arguing with you and said you were motivated out of fear, that could be considered Ad Hom.

From wikipedia:

"Ad hominem (Latin for "to the man" or "to the person"[1]), short for argumentum ad hominem, is now usually understood as a logical fallacy in which an argument is rebutted by attacking the character, motive, or other attribute of the person making the argument, or persons associated with the argument, rather than attacking the substance of the argument itself."

To say that eternalism and nihilism exist solely out of fear is attacking the motive and character of the eternalist or nihilist, rather than attacking the substance of eternalism or nihilism. Sure looks like an ad hominem to me, that is, is logically fallacious.
Bold mine.

Except he's not attacking the person or character of the person making the argument, because there is no person making the argument!  He's not debating with you Ka.  He's just stating his perception.  He hasn't targeted you for attack.  Ad hom is when two (or more) people are debating and then one person call the other person stupid, or some other derogatory adjective rather than address the topic.  The topic here is what moticates eternalists and nihilists, and he posits that the motivator is fear.  That's not ad hom, sorry.

RE

Good points, RE.  :emthup:

Ka,
why do you think being motivated by fear is a negative concept? I agree that being motivated by GROUNDLESS fear is certainly to be disdained, but LOGIC based fear (e.g. some thing, being or event is to be feared because it has been conclusively proven to be deleterious to your continued biochemical activity.), IMHO, is, well, prudent, as well as logical. 
Title: Re: Extreme examples, eternalism and nihilism
Post by: agelbert on May 14, 2017, 04:37:05 PM
Ka,
We can all agree that individual freedom is something we all wish to have, if we don't happen to have it, or if we do not have it to a sufficient degree to avoid being coerced by the herd.

Consequently, I would claim that I FEAR the temptation accumulate a lot of material goods because of the thoroughly proven wisdom of this statement you made over a year ago.

  (http://www.createaforum.com/gallery/renewablerevolution/3-210315154750.jpeg)

I AM AFRAID of being materially wealthy BECAUSE I am convinced that it would severely limit my individual freedom. AND, that FEAR is based on the fact that my biochemical processes are not prudent in knowing when enough is enough. You could say, I am AFARID of "myself" so to speak. But it's a bit more complicated than that.

Nevertheless, if I am told that I worship the creator because I am scared shitless of what He might do to me, then I have to admit that the person telling me that is correct. Again, it's a bit more complicated than that, but as far as believing there is no purpose to life and everything is a sort of waste of time, I genuinely am terrified of that concept and will admit it.


Title: Re: Extreme examples, eternalism and nihilism
Post by: Ka on May 14, 2017, 05:38:00 PM

Except he's not attacking the person or character of the person making the argument, because there is no person making the argument!  He's not debating with you Ka.  He's just stating his perception.  He hasn't targeted you for attack.  Ad hom is when two (or more) people are debating and then one person call the other person stupid, or some other derogatory adjective rather than address the topic.  The topic here is what moticates eternalists and nihilists, and he posits that the motivator is fear.  That's not ad hom, sorry.

RE

So you are saying that if someone says

"RE, you are a doomer because you are a social misfit."

that that is an ad hominem, while saying

"All doomers are motivated by being social misfits."

is not? Seems to me they are equally fallacious with respect to the question of the likelihood of doom.
Title: Re: Extreme examples, eternalism and nihilism
Post by: RE on May 14, 2017, 05:46:05 PM

Except he's not attacking the person or character of the person making the argument, because there is no person making the argument!  He's not debating with you Ka.  He's just stating his perception.  He hasn't targeted you for attack.  Ad hom is when two (or more) people are debating and then one person call the other person stupid, or some other derogatory adjective rather than address the topic.  The topic here is what moticates eternalists and nihilists, and he posits that the motivator is fear.  That's not ad hom, sorry.

RE

So you are saying that if someone says

"RE, you are a doomer because you are a social misfit."

that that is an ad hominem, while saying

"All doomers are motivated by being social misfits."

is not? Seems to me they are equally fallacious with respect to the question of the likelihood of doom.

Yes, that is basically it.

In the first statement, it is directed specifically AT THE MAN (me), aka AD HOM.

The second statement is looking at all Doomers as a class, and making a blanket generalization, which also is a logical fallacy and I would argue with whoever made the statement on that basis.  Then I would go ahead and demonstrate why it was incorrect as a blanket generalization.  Then after that I would go and call whoever made such a ridiculous statement a fucking idiot.  :icon_mrgreen:

RE
Title: Re: Extreme examples, eternalism and nihilism
Post by: Ka on May 14, 2017, 05:56:30 PM
Ka,
why do you think being motivated by fear is a negative concept? I agree that being motivated by GROUNDLESS fear is certainly to be disdained, but LOGIC based fear (e.g. some thing, being or event is to be feared because it has been conclusively proven to be deleterious to your continued biochemical activity.), IMHO, is, well, prudent, as well as logical.

Yes, but the question is, is eternalism true or not. To say that eternalists are eternalists only out of fear does not say anything about whether or not eternalism is true. Chapman wouldn't have put that statement in there except to cast doubt on eternalism. just as atheists bring up wish-fulfillment and such to question theism. Even if it were true that all eternalists are fearful of nihilism, that would not in itself make eternalism false. Hence his statement is a logical fallacy. And that kind of fallacy is called an ad hominem, because it refers to the character of the eternalist, and not eternalism itself.
Title: Re: Extreme examples, eternalism and nihilism
Post by: RE on May 14, 2017, 06:08:00 PM
Ka,
why do you think being motivated by fear is a negative concept? I agree that being motivated by GROUNDLESS fear is certainly to be disdained, but LOGIC based fear (e.g. some thing, being or event is to be feared because it has been conclusively proven to be deleterious to your continued biochemical activity.), IMHO, is, well, prudent, as well as logical.

Yes, but the question is, is eternalism true or not. To say that eternalists are eternalists only out of fear does not say anything about whether or not eternalism is true. Chapman wouldn't have put that statement in there except to cast doubt on eternalism. just as atheists bring up wish-fulfillment and such to question theism. Even if it were true that all eternalists are fearful of nihilism, that would not in itself make eternalism false. Hence his statement is a logical fallacy. And that kind of fallacy is called an ad hominem, because it refers to the character of the eternalist, and not eternalism itself.

No, that doesn't make it Ad Hom.  It makes it a Straw Man argument.

Quote
A straw man is a common form of argument and is an informal fallacy based on giving the impression of refuting an opponent's argument, while refuting an argument that was not advanced by that opponent. One who engages in this fallacy is said to be "attacking a straw man".

It's a form of misdirection, which takes the debate off the actual topic by presenting an entirely new and most likely irrelevant postulate, but it APPEARS to address the issue.

RE
Title: Re: Extreme examples, eternalism and nihilism
Post by: Ka on May 14, 2017, 06:24:48 PM

So you are saying that if someone says

"RE, you are a doomer because you are a social misfit."

that that is an ad hominem, while saying

"All doomers are motivated by being social misfits."

is not? Seems to me they are equally fallacious with respect to the question of the likelihood of doom.

Yes, that is basically it.

In the first statement, it is directed specifically AT THE MAN (me), aka AD HOM.

The second statement is looking at all Doomers as a class, and making a blanket generalization, which also is a logical fallacy and I would argue with whoever made the statement on that basis.  Then I would go ahead and demonstrate why it was incorrect as a blanket generalization.  Then after that I would go and call whoever made such a ridiculous statement a fucking idiot.  :icon_mrgreen:

RE

Ok, then if someone says "all doomers who live in Palmer, AK and write blog posts on Endless Salad are doomers because they are social misfits" is not an ad hominem, since it is directed at a class, not you specifically. True, there is (I assume) only one individual in that class, but how would that be different if there were two, or a thousand? By attacking the class one is attacking every member of that class. What makes an ad hominem a logical fallacy is not whether it is addressed specifically or generally, but that it attacks the character or motivation of those who hold the position one is arguing against, rather than whether or not what one is arguing about is true. What would you call the fallacy of the second (general) statement, if not ad hominem?
Title: Re: Extreme examples, eternalism and nihilism
Post by: RE on May 14, 2017, 06:32:12 PM

So you are saying that if someone says

"RE, you are a doomer because you are a social misfit."

that that is an ad hominem, while saying

"All doomers are motivated by being social misfits."

is not? Seems to me they are equally fallacious with respect to the question of the likelihood of doom.

Yes, that is basically it.

In the first statement, it is directed specifically AT THE MAN (me), aka AD HOM.

The second statement is looking at all Doomers as a class, and making a blanket generalization, which also is a logical fallacy and I would argue with whoever made the statement on that basis.  Then I would go ahead and demonstrate why it was incorrect as a blanket generalization.  Then after that I would go and call whoever made such a ridiculous statement a fucking idiot.  :icon_mrgreen:

RE

Ok, then if someone says "all doomers who live in Palmer, AK and write blog posts on Endless Salad are doomers because they are social misfits" is not an ad hominem

No, that IS Ad Hom, because all the person is doing there is substituting a detailed descriptor for my name.  There is ONLY ONE Doomer in Palmer, Alaska who writes blog posts on Endless Salads!  :icon_sunny:

http://www.youtube.com/v/_J3VeogFUOs

Ka, you are the greatest Straight Man EVAH!  That was a fabulous set-up.   :icon_mrgreen:

RE
Title: Re: Extreme examples, eternalism and nihilism
Post by: Ka on May 14, 2017, 07:20:20 PM

Ok, then if someone says "all doomers who live in Palmer, AK and write blog posts on Endless Salad are doomers because they are social misfits" is not an ad hominem

No, that IS Ad Hom, because all the person is doing there is substituting a detailed descriptor for my name.  There is ONLY ONE Doomer in Palmer, Alaska who writes blog posts on Endless Salads!  :icon_sunny:


Ah, you appear to not be aware of the difference between X and {X} (the set that contains X). What if there were only one eternalist in the world? Would that make a difference as to whether or not

"Eternalism and nihilism exist only out of fear of each other."

is an ad hominem? I don't see how.

As to calling it a strawman, if Chapman were attacking a straw man, it would be attacking something that sounds like eternalism (or nihilism), but isn't. Like an atheist attacking theism by treating God as a magnified Zeus. That is not the same as attacking the character or motivation of a theist.
Title: Re: Extreme examples, eternalism and nihilism
Post by: RE on May 14, 2017, 07:34:07 PM

Ok, then if someone says "all doomers who live in Palmer, AK and write blog posts on Endless Salad are doomers because they are social misfits" is not an ad hominem

No, that IS Ad Hom, because all the person is doing there is substituting a detailed descriptor for my name.  There is ONLY ONE Doomer in Palmer, Alaska who writes blog posts on Endless Salads!  :icon_sunny:


Ah, you appear to not be aware of the difference between X and {X} (the set that contains X). What if there were only one eternalist in the world? Would that make a difference as to whether or not

"Eternalism and nihilism exist only out of fear of each other."

Yes it would.  If there is only one person around with that set of beliefs, then the attack could be construed as Ad Hom.  But there is not only one eternalist or nihilist walking the earth at the moment, so you can't finger the attack on a specific person.  It's an attack on a set of beliefs a class of people have.

Quote
As to calling it a strawman, if Chapman were attacking a straw man, it would be attacking something that sounds like eternalism (or nihilism), but isn't. Like an atheist attacking theism by treating God as a magnified Zeus. That is not the same as attacking the character or motivation of a theist.

No, it doesn't have to be attacking something that sounds like eternalism or nihilism.  It merely has to present another argument that is related, in this case what the motivations are for people who believe in nihilism or eternalism.  Then the argument drifts of onto that subject, if the debater on the other side isn't aware enough to see what is being done and point it out.  This is how I drive people nuts in arguments, I am very good at picking these things out and then pointing them out.  It frustrates the hell out of people used to being able to fling all sorts of nonsense into an argument.  I tripped Surly up this way recently, which led to him calling me a "fucking idiot". lol.

RE
Title: Re: Extreme examples, eternalism and nihilism
Post by: Ka on May 14, 2017, 09:45:19 PM

Yes it would.  If there is only one person around with that set of beliefs, then the attack could be construed as Ad Hom.  But there is not only one eternalist or nihilist walking the earth at the moment, so you can't finger the attack on a specific person.  It's an attack on a set of beliefs a class of people have.

What if there are exactly two eternalists? No longer an ad hominem? To question the character or motivation of a class of people is the same logical fallacy as questioning each of the members of the class one by one.

Quote
No, it doesn't have to be attacking something that sounds like eternalism or nihilism.  It merely has to present another argument that is related, in this case what the motivations are for people who believe in nihilism or eternalism.  Then the argument drifts of onto that subject, if the debater on the other side isn't aware enough to see what is being done and point it out.

That's way too general. If any case of misdirection is a strawman, then what distinguishes strawman arguments from any bad argument?
Title: Re: Extreme examples, eternalism and nihilism
Post by: RE on May 14, 2017, 10:03:47 PM

Yes it would.  If there is only one person around with that set of beliefs, then the attack could be construed as Ad Hom.  But there is not only one eternalist or nihilist walking the earth at the moment, so you can't finger the attack on a specific person.  It's an attack on a set of beliefs a class of people have.

What if there are exactly two eternalists? No longer an ad hominem? To question the character or motivation of a class of people is the same logical fallacy as questioning each of the members of the class one by one.

Once past one, it's no longer Ad Hom because you have a class of 2 people.  It's not the same to question class belief as it is to impugn the motives of an individual in making an argument.

Quote
Quote
No, it doesn't have to be attacking something that sounds like eternalism or nihilism.  It merely has to present another argument that is related, in this case what the motivations are for people who believe in nihilism or eternalism.  Then the argument drifts of onto that subject, if the debater on the other side isn't aware enough to see what is being done and point it out.

That's way too general. If any case of misdirection is a strawman, then what distinguishes strawman arguments from any bad argument?

First off, I didn't say "any case of misdirection is a strawman", I gave a specific example of why this one is a strawman.  Second, bad arguments come in a HUGE variety of forms, they're not just misdirections.  I mentioned Gross Generalizations as one type of bad argument.  Others are just flat out illogical.  Some plainly contradict facts.  Some are based on Appeal to Authority, such as making an argument based on BARField's take on life.  This particular argument is a Straw Man, not an Ad Hom.  It's still not a real good argument of course, but it's not Ad Hom.

RE
Title: Re: Extreme examples, eternalism and nihilism
Post by: Ka on May 14, 2017, 11:25:21 PM

Once past one, it's no longer Ad Hom because you have a class of 2 people.  It's not the same to question class belief as it is to impugn the motives of an individual in making an argument.

So "You believe in God, but anyone who believes in God is an idiot" is not an ad hominem.



Quote
Some are based on Appeal to Authority, such as making an argument based on BARField's take on life.

It is true that I have not given every reason to accept Barfield's take on life -- to do so would pretty much require typing in all of Saving the Appearances -- but I have given some of the reasoning. Since no one has rebutted even that some, I think I'm in the clear on this one.

Quote
This particular argument is a Straw Man, not an Ad Hom.  It's still not a real good argument of course, but it's not Ad Hom.

Is so. (argumentum ad obstinatum)
Title: Re: Extreme examples, eternalism and nihilism
Post by: RE on May 15, 2017, 01:15:32 AM

Once past one, it's no longer Ad Hom because you have a class of 2 people.  It's not the same to question class belief as it is to impugn the motives of an individual in making an argument.

So "You believe in God, but anyone who believes in God is an idiot" is not an ad hominem.

Correct.  That is a Gross Generalization, not an Ad Hom.


Quote
Some are based on Appeal to Authority, such as making an argument based on BARField's take on life.

It is true that I have not given every reason to accept Barfield's take on life -- to do so would pretty much require typing in all of Saving the Appearances -- but I have given some of the reasoning. Since no one has rebutted even that some, I think I'm in the clear on this one.

It's been rebutted on many occasions in different ways by different Diners.  You just never listen to the rebuttals.

Quote
This particular argument is a Straw Man, not an Ad Hom.  It's still not a real good argument of course, but it's not Ad Hom.

Is so. (argumentum ad obstinatum)

That is a mirror of your ability to ignore anyone who rebuts BARField. :P

Title: Re: Extreme examples, eternalism and nihilism
Post by: luciddreams on May 15, 2017, 05:52:46 AM
I was reading this thread and my phone rang.  It was a credit card collection call.  I spilled my entire freshly made french pressed coffee all over the white carpet somehow while answering the call.  Indian voice "this call may be recorded..." I hung up.

God did it to me.   ;D

The dog also took one of my flip flops and hid it beneath the bed.  Harper was eating toothpaste this morning.  I'm supposed to go cut a tree down today.  Think I might stay home instead. 
Title: Re: Extreme examples, eternalism and nihilism
Post by: RE on May 15, 2017, 10:17:15 AM
I was reading this thread and my phone rang.  It was a credit card collection call.  I spilled my entire freshly made french pressed coffee all over the white carpet somehow while answering the call.  Indian voice "this call may be recorded..." I hung up.

God did it to me.   ;D

The dog also took one of my flip flops and hid it beneath the bed.  Harper was eating toothpaste this morning.  I'm supposed to go cut a tree down today.  Think I might stay home instead.

http://www.youtube.com/v/7WAwuSK36Gw

RE
Title: Re: Extreme examples, eternalism and nihilism
Post by: agelbert on May 15, 2017, 11:23:09 AM
Ka,
why do you think being motivated by fear is a negative concept? I agree that being motivated by GROUNDLESS fear is certainly to be disdained, but LOGIC based fear (e.g. some thing, being or event is to be feared because it has been conclusively proven to be deleterious to your continued biochemical activity.), IMHO, is, well, prudent, as well as logical.


Yes, but the question is, is eternalism true or not. To say that eternalists are eternalists only out of fear does not say anything about whether or not eternalism is true. Chapman wouldn't have put that statement in there except to cast doubt on eternalism. just as atheists bring up wish-fulfillment and such to question theism. Even if it were true that all eternalists are fearful of nihilism, that would not in itself make eternalism false. Hence his statement is a logical fallacy. And that kind of fallacy is called an ad hominem, because it refers to the character of the eternalist, and not eternalism itself.

Hmmmm. After all the polite debate between Ka and RE  (http://www.pic4ever.com/images/3ztzsjm.gif), I feel the need to expose a fundamental intransigence on the party of the first, second and third (etc.  :icon_mrgreen:) parts in this eruption of erudite debating activity.


So,
It appears that Ka has attempted to dance around the FACT that it offends him for anyone to NOT question the validity of externalism.  ;D

RE is correct  :o  ;D that questioning Externalism to the point of saying it is totally invalid, useless, counterproductive and possibly destructive to human society (paraphrased  ;)) is certainly NOT Ad Hom to Ka, just because Ka thinks our plebian perception of reality is some sort of illusion that we cause and effect types are being fooled into believing. RE and I are on different sides of the universe in regard to SPIRITUAL cause and effect, but that's not relevant to this particular effort by da godfader, so I won't get caught up in that bag of worms here.

RE gets it about the connection between reality and what is external to us and what ain't. Ka not only doesn't get it, he is pissed at anyone who says Ka doesn't get it.

A few years ago I went through excruciating detail explaining the human sensory apparatus. The very ability of Ka to question our assumed cause and effect "externalism" is impossible without that sensory apparatus.

But Ka, even though he is a man I respect immensely, just don't wanna go there.

So, as Comey would say:

(https://c1cleantechnicacom-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/files/2017/05/Jim-Comey.jpg)
Title: Re: Extreme examples, eternalism and nihilism
Post by: RE on May 15, 2017, 11:38:31 AM
RE and I are on different sides of the universe in regard to SPIRITUAL cause and effect

I'll dispute that conclusion.

We're in entirely DIFFERENT Universes!  :icon_mrgreen:

RE
Title: Re: Extreme examples, eternalism and nihilism
Post by: agelbert on May 15, 2017, 12:03:43 PM
RE and I are on different sides of the universe in regard to SPIRITUAL cause and effect

I'll dispute that conclusion.

We're in entirely DIFFERENT Universes!  :icon_mrgreen:

RE


Yup.   (http://www.pic4ever.com/images/155fs853955.gif)
Title: Re: Extreme examples, eternalism and nihilism
Post by: Ka on May 15, 2017, 03:09:50 PM


So "You believe in God, but anyone who believes in God is an idiot" is not an ad hominem.

Correct.  That is a Gross Generalization, not an Ad Hom.

I suggest that we both just use "ad hom", and take it as, for you, being an abbreviation of "ad hominem", while for me it is an abbreviation for either "ad hominem" or "ad homines". Just curious, but would you have objected to my first post if I had said it was an ad homines fallacy?



Quote
Quote

It is true that I have not given every reason to accept Barfield's take on life -- to do so would pretty much require typing in all of Saving the Appearances -- but I have given some of the reasoning. Since no one has rebutted even that some, I think I'm in the clear on this one.

It's been rebutted on many occasions in different ways by different Diners.  You just never listen to the rebuttals.

Ashvin, I recall, did not agree with Barfield's conclusions, but he did not actually rebut the arguments for those conclusions. Nor, that I can recall, has anyone else. There has been rebuttal (and counter-rebuttal) about my arguments for idealism, but that is not directly what Barfield is about -- he's the evolution of consciousness guy, and though evidence for the evolution of consciousness is supportive of idealism, one can argue for one independently of the other.

Quote
Quote


Is so. (argumentum ad obstinatum)

That is a mirror of your ability to ignore anyone who rebuts BARField. :P


And here I thought I was just humorously pointing out that our "debate" has just been of a "'tis/'taint" sort.  Meanwhile, can you give an instance of where I have ignored anyone who rebuts Barfield? Because I am pretty sure I haven't.

Title: Re: Extreme examples, eternalism and nihilism
Post by: Ka on May 15, 2017, 03:22:34 PM

So,
It appears that Ka has attempted to dance around the FACT that it offends him for anyone to NOT question the validity of externalism.  ;D

?? In this thread there has been no debate concerning the validity of externalism. I did state my position on the matter in my first post in this thread, but the only thing objected to in that post was my use of the term "ad hominem". Since then, that is all that RE and I have been debating. So I don't understand how you get to "Ka has attempted to dance around the FACT that it offends him for anyone to NOT question the validity of externalism."

Quote
RE is correct  :o  ;D that questioning Externalism to the point of saying it is totally invalid, useless, counterproductive and possibly destructive to human society (paraphrased  ;)) is certainly NOT Ad Hom to Ka,

I agree. It would not be an ad hom. Only he hasn't said anything of that nature in this thread.

Quote
... just because Ka thinks our plebian perception of reality is some sort of illusion that we cause and effect types are being fooled into believing.

Our perception is not an illusion. It is an inference we make concerning the nature of what we perceive that I consider to be false, namely that what we perceive exists on its own in the way we perceive it. Just clarifying.

Quote
RE gets it about the connection between reality and what is external to us and what ain't.

Then how does he (or you) solve the interaction problem?

Quote
Ka not only doesn't get it, he is pissed at anyone who says Ka doesn't get it.

 I'm just waiting to hear of a solution to the interaction problem (not really, since I don't think there is a solution). Anyway, I don't see how that counts as being "pissed" or not "getting it".


Quote
A few years ago I went through excruciating detail explaining the human sensory apparatus. The very ability of Ka to question our assumed cause and effect "externalism" is impossible without that sensory apparatus.

I don't ever recall saying that we don't have a sensory apparatus. Whether it does what you think it does, versus what I think it does, is what we debated. And the answer to that cannot be provided by the sensory apparatus alone, which just gets perceptions. It is the concepts we add to those perceptions that are in dispute.

Quote
But Ka, even though he is a man I respect immensely, just don't wanna go there.

Well, here I am, going there.
Title: Re: Extreme examples, eternalism and nihilism
Post by: RE on May 15, 2017, 03:32:07 PM

I suggest that we both just use "ad hom", and take it as, for you, being an abbreviation of "ad hominem", while for me it is an abbreviation for either "ad hominem" or "ad homines". Just curious, but would you have objected to my first post if I had said it was an ad homines fallacy?

I'm not going to use Ad Hom for something which is clearly NOT Ad Hom, there is no plural to this in the debating sense.  You can't make an argument directed "at the men", once you do that it's a gross generalization fallacy.  So yea, I would have objected to Ad Homines.

Quote
Ashvin, I recall, did not agree with Barfield's conclusions, but he did not actually rebut the arguments for those conclusions. Nor, that I can recall, has anyone else. There has been rebuttal (and counter-rebuttal) about my arguments for idealism, but that is not directly what Barfield is about -- he's the evolution of consciousness guy, and though evidence for the evolution of consciousness is supportive of idealism, one can argue for one independently of the other.

Maybe he didn't rebut them because you never actually presented them?  As I recall in our repartee, your general dodge was to tell me to go read the book.  That's not how a debate works.  You get little index cards you drop in a file box, so when you want to make a point, you pull out the index card to illustrate the point.  Then if the opposition is well prepared, they pull out an index card with a citation or argument to rebut it.  I do realize BARField's arguments are likely very long and very dense, but as his debating surrogate here on the Diner, you gotta be able to defend the positions he takes, as you interpret them.

Quote
And here I thought I was just humorously pointing out that our "debate" has just been of a "'tis/'taint" sort.  Meanwhile, can you give an instance of where I have ignored anyone who rebuts Barfield? Because I am pretty sure I haven't.

Leave the humor to me.  It's not your strong point. lol.

RE
Title: Re: Extreme examples, eternalism and nihilism
Post by: agelbert on May 15, 2017, 04:39:55 PM

So,
It appears that Ka has attempted to dance around the FACT that it offends him for anyone to NOT question the validity of externalism.  ;D

?? In this thread there has been no debate concerning the validity of externalism. I did state my position on the matter in my first post in this thread, but the only thing objected to in that post was my use of the term "ad hominem". Since then, that is all that RE and I have been debating. So I don't understand how you get to "Ka has attempted to dance around the FACT that it offends him for anyone to NOT question the validity of externalism."

Quote
RE is correct  :o  ;D that questioning Externalism to the point of saying it is totally invalid, useless, counterproductive and possibly destructive to human society (paraphrased  ;)) is certainly NOT Ad Hom to Ka,

I agree. It would not be an ad hom. Only he hasn't said anything of that nature in this thread.

Quote
... just because Ka thinks our plebian perception of reality is some sort of illusion that we cause and effect types are being fooled into believing.

Our perception is not an illusion. It is an inference we make concerning the nature of what we perceive that I consider to be false, namely that what we perceive exists on its own in the way we perceive it. Just clarifying.

Quote
RE gets it about the connection between reality and what is external to us and what ain't.

Then how does he (or you) solve the interaction problem?

Quote
Ka not only doesn't get it, he is pissed at anyone who says Ka doesn't get it.

 I'm just waiting to hear of a solution to the interaction problem (not really, since I don't think there is a solution). Anyway, I don't see how that counts as being "pissed" or not "getting it".


Quote
A few years ago I went through excruciating detail explaining the human sensory apparatus. The very ability of Ka to question our assumed cause and effect "externalism" is impossible without that sensory apparatus.

I don't ever recall saying that we don't have a sensory apparatus. Whether it does what you think it does, versus what I think it does, is what we debated. And the answer to that cannot be provided by the sensory apparatus alone, which just gets perceptions. It is the concepts we add to those perceptions that are in dispute.

Quote
But Ka, even though he is a man I respect immensely, just don't wanna go there.

Well, here I am, going there.

Ka,
Your vocabulary lends itself to some fascinating interpretations of what "IS" is. THAT is why any debate with you ends up in a hair splitting exercise. What you DO with words is, as RE has pointed out repeatedly, move the definition goal posts around so that you can say, uh, NO "I didn't say that" or "No, this thread has no relevance to eXternalism", etc. FOLLOWED by your apparent willingness to discuss an issue, that by your own words, is rather fruitless to discuss (i.e. the interaction).  ::)

Here's the deal, Ka. EVERYTHING about your outlook on what you consider WHATEVER is impossible to argue against BECAUSE you DO NOT REALLY BELIEVE (yeah - I know you'll claim that about you is incorrect as well) WE are talking to each other here.

Sure, you can come up with all sorts of erudite labels with "justification" for your claim that you believe we do have sensory apparatus and that you do actually engage in debate with other humans and recognize that we talk to each other, but it is NOT SO, according to your concept of reality.   

This then taints absolutely every subject on the issue (i.e. cause and effect related) about integrating, analyzing and taking appropriate action on, INFORMATION about the OUTSIDE world that our sensory apparatus MUST have for us to remain as viable homeostatic biological entities. 

There is just NO WAY for you to look at your belief system and seriously consider the possibility that you are a space cadet living in a totally erroneous private world. The biosphere is NOT accessible through a meditation chamber, and never will be, IMHO. You have provided zero evidence that it is.

Furthermore, you may even claim that "looking for evidence" is evidence ;) of an incorrect approach to "perceiving" the biosphere or anything else.  :laugh:  It's kind of like saying that jumping out of a window of a multistory building is not dangerous; it's the concrete that kills you. And even that was a mere perception of smacking the concrete. (http://www.pic4ever.com/images/ugly004.gif)

When I question your ability to perceive without accepting the fact that perceiving IS a sensory EVENT that INCLUDES integrating outside information, you DANCE by saying the, uh, "interaction is not explained".

I'll tell you what. When you agree that it is possible that you are a space cadet and do not have a clue of what you speak, then I will admit that SAME possibility is present in my worldview as well. But until you, a separate and distinct entity from me, are actually willing to GO THERE, you are fibbin' when you claim you ARE willing to "go there" on the issue of eXternalism.

I challenge your claim that eXternalism is not related to, or relevant to, this thread. It is. People who BELIEVE that there is ZERO meaning in anything and everything they "do" OFTEN end up committing suicide (e.g. Buddhists). THIS SENSELESS ACT is born of nihilism. ANYONE that teaches others that there is NOTHING because there is NO THING is nurturing a potential nihilist who may end up committing suicide.

DON'T hair split with me about the importance of MEANING and PURPOSE in human lives. Your worldview EXCLUDES BOTH MEANING AND PURPOSE. But of, course, you will claim that you never said any of that or represent any of that. Well, I think you do. And I think you should take responsibility for telling people there is NOTHING to FEAR out there because there is NO THING, or even an "out there".

The following is an example of REALITY of the planet Earth, irrespective of anything we humans have THOUGHT since we could THINK. There is NO WAY to dance around THAT REALITY (yes you DO try to dance around it!).
(http://www.createaforum.com/gallery/renewablerevolution/3-171015000317.png)
Title: Re: Extreme examples, eternalism and nihilism
Post by: Ka on May 16, 2017, 12:48:25 PM

Your vocabulary lends itself to some fascinating interpretations of what "IS" is. THAT is why any debate with you ends up in a hair splitting exercise. What you DO with words is, as RE has pointed out repeatedly, move the definition goal posts around so that you can say, uh, NO "I didn't say that" or "No, this thread has no relevance to eXternalism", etc.

Instead of just accusing me of moving the goalposts, show me where I have.


Quote
FOLLOWED by your apparent willingness to discuss an issue, that by your own words, is rather fruitless to discuss (i.e. the interaction).  ::)

It is not fruitless to discuss it, and in fact I welcome discussion of it, since I am pretty sure that the more people think about it, the more people will realize that the interaction problem has no solution, and so take a look at the alternative -- idealism. Of course they might also fall into the error of materialism, in which case I would welcome discussion of the hard problem of consciousness, which they can't solve.

Quote
Here's the deal, Ka. EVERYTHING about your outlook on what you consider WHATEVER is impossible to argue against BECAUSE you DO NOT REALLY BELIEVE (yeah - I know you'll claim that about you is incorrect as well) WE are talking to each other here.

Yup, incorrect. See below.

Quote
Sure, you can come up with all sorts of erudite labels with "justification" for your claim that you believe we do have sensory apparatus and that you do actually engage in debate with other humans and recognize that we talk to each other, but it is NOT SO, according to your concept of reality. 

My concept of reality is that there is nothingness (no-thingness) AND there is thingness, and each depends on the other, making them a unity. So it does not follow from my concept of reality that there is no sensory apparatus, or other humans, or biosphere.

Quote
This then taints absolutely every subject on the issue (i.e. cause and effect related) about integrating, analyzing and taking appropriate action on, INFORMATION about the OUTSIDE world that our sensory apparatus MUST have for us to remain as viable homeostatic biological entities. 

There is just NO WAY for you to look at your belief system and seriously consider the possibility that you are a space cadet living in a totally erroneous private world. The biosphere is NOT accessible through a meditation chamber, and never will be, IMHO. You have provided zero evidence that it is.

?? What does meditation have to do with the existence of anything?

Quote
Furthermore, you may even claim that "looking for evidence" is evidence ;) of an incorrect approach to "perceiving" the biosphere or anything else.  :laugh:

The only (non)-thing for which one cannot look for evidence is no-thingness. The biosphere is a thing, so there is no problem perceiving it, or studying it scientifically.

Quote
It's kind of like saying that jumping out of a window of a multistory building is not dangerous; it's the concrete that kills you. And even that was a mere perception of smacking the concrete. (http://www.pic4ever.com/images/ugly004.gif)

Ah, now here there is something to say. Yes, smacking the concrete is just perceptions, very painful ones, resulting in death, which is to say the scrunched up body is no longer able to perceive physical reality (its sensory apparatus has been destroyed). After which (I think) one perceives non-physical reality, but I can't prove that. In any case, physical reality continues to exist as long as there are people or bacteria perceiving it. The problem I suspect you have with this is the word "just" as in "just perceptions". My task, if we are to actually debate this, is to show that saying that physical reality is "just perceptions" does not detract an iota from science, or how we should engage with physical reality, for example, it remains the case that jumping out of high windows results in death.

Quote
When I question your ability to perceive without accepting the fact that perceiving IS a sensory EVENT that INCLUDES integrating outside information, you DANCE by saying the, uh, "interaction is not explained".

As I said, I accept that perceiving is a sensory event, and have no idea why you think I would think otherwise. And it does integrate outside information, that is, information that was outside my ego consciousness, and moves inside it. However, I would also say that "inside" and "outside" are spatial metaphors, and that space has no independent existence, that we create space, time, and mass in the act of perceiving. And this, of course, is where discussion gets tricky, and calls for "hair-splitting", though I would call it precision. The moon really exists, but only exists located in spacetime when it is looked at.

Quote
I'll tell you what. When you agree that it is possible that you are a space cadet and do not have a clue of what you speak, then I will admit that SAME possibility is present in my worldview as well. But until you, a separate and distinct entity from me, are actually willing to GO THERE, you are fibbin' when you claim you ARE willing to "go there" on the issue of eXternalism.

I agree that it is possible that I am wrong. There is no certainty in metaphysics. All one can do is argue over what is most plausible. But then I have never claimed otherwise, so I really don't understand this talk about being unwilling to "go there". After all, until I was 37 I was just as much an externalist as you are now. So I've been there.

Quote
I challenge your claim that eXternalism is not related to, or relevant to, this thread. It is.

Of course it is highly relevant to this thread, which is why I made my first post in this thread attacking externalism. However, it is not relevant to the debate I had with RE over the usage of 'ad hominem', which is all I claimed.

Quote
People who BELIEVE that there is ZERO meaning in anything and everything they "do" OFTEN end up committing suicide (e.g. Buddhists). THIS SENSELESS ACT is born of nihilism. ANYONE that teaches others that there is NOTHING because there is NO THING is nurturing a potential nihilist who may end up committing suicide.

Then I'm off the hook, because I definitely believe there are things, such as you, me, and the biosphere, and that real people are doing real harm to it. What I do not believe is that there are any mindless things existing on their own.

Quote
DON'T hair split with me about the importance of MEANING and PURPOSE in human lives. Your worldview EXCLUDES BOTH MEANING AND PURPOSE. But of, course, you will claim that you never said any of that or represent any of that. Well, I think you do. And I think you should take responsibility for telling people there is NOTHING to FEAR out there because there is NO THING, or even an "out there".

I am afraid of disease, poisonous critters, of losing my savings to some bankster, etc. etc., since I consider viruses, critters, and banksters to all be real. I also think that MEANING and PURPOSE are names of God, and that things exist to express that Meaning and fulfill divine Purpose.

You say I am moving goalposts. Show me where I have. Show me where I have ever said or implied that "nothing is real" or anything like that. Some Buddhists say that, but I am not one of them.
Title: Re: Extreme examples, eternalism and nihilism
Post by: agelbert on May 16, 2017, 06:22:38 PM

Your vocabulary lends itself to some fascinating interpretations of what "IS" is. THAT is why any debate with you ends up in a hair splitting exercise. What you DO with words is, as RE has pointed out repeatedly, move the definition goal posts around so that you can say, uh, NO "I didn't say that" or "No, this thread has no relevance to eXternalism", etc.

Instead of just accusing me of moving the goalposts, show me where I have.


Quote
FOLLOWED by your apparent willingness to discuss an issue, that by your own words, is rather fruitless to discuss (i.e. the interaction).  ::)

It is not fruitless to discuss it, and in fact I welcome discussion of it, since I am pretty sure that the more people think about it, the more people will realize that the interaction problem has no solution, and so take a look at the alternative -- idealism. Of course they might also fall into the error of materialism, in which case I would welcome discussion of the hard problem of consciousness, which they can't solve.

Quote
Here's the deal, Ka. EVERYTHING about your outlook on what you consider WHATEVER is impossible to argue against BECAUSE you DO NOT REALLY BELIEVE (yeah - I know you'll claim that about you is incorrect as well) WE are talking to each other here.

Yup, incorrect. See below.

Quote
Sure, you can come up with all sorts of erudite labels with "justification" for your claim that you believe we do have sensory apparatus and that you do actually engage in debate with other humans and recognize that we talk to each other, but it is NOT SO, according to your concept of reality. 

My concept of reality is that there is nothingness (no-thingness) AND there is thingness, and each depends on the other, making them a unity. So it does not follow from my concept of reality that there is no sensory apparatus, or other humans, or biosphere.

Quote
This then taints absolutely every subject on the issue (i.e. cause and effect related) about integrating, analyzing and taking appropriate action on, INFORMATION about the OUTSIDE world that our sensory apparatus MUST have for us to remain as viable homeostatic biological entities. 

There is just NO WAY for you to look at your belief system and seriously consider the possibility that you are a space cadet living in a totally erroneous private world. The biosphere is NOT accessible through a meditation chamber, and never will be, IMHO. You have provided zero evidence that it is.

?? What does meditation have to do with the existence of anything?

Quote
Furthermore, you may even claim that "looking for evidence" is evidence ;) of an incorrect approach to "perceiving" the biosphere or anything else.  :laugh:

The only (non)-thing for which one cannot look for evidence is no-thingness. The biosphere is a thing, so there is no problem perceiving it, or studying it scientifically.

Quote
It's kind of like saying that jumping out of a window of a multistory building is not dangerous; it's the concrete that kills you. And even that was a mere perception of smacking the concrete. (http://www.pic4ever.com/images/ugly004.gif)

Ah, now here there is something to say. Yes, smacking the concrete is just perceptions, very painful ones, resulting in death, which is to say the scrunched up body is no longer able to perceive physical reality (its sensory apparatus has been destroyed). After which (I think) one perceives non-physical reality, but I can't prove that. In any case, physical reality continues to exist as long as there are people or bacteria perceiving it. The problem I suspect you have with this is the word "just" as in "just perceptions". My task, if we are to actually debate this, is to show that saying that physical reality is "just perceptions" does not detract an iota from science, or how we should engage with physical reality, for example, it remains the case that jumping out of high windows results in death.

Quote
When I question your ability to perceive without accepting the fact that perceiving IS a sensory EVENT that INCLUDES integrating outside information, you DANCE by saying the, uh, "interaction is not explained".

As I said, I accept that perceiving is a sensory event, and have no idea why you think I would think otherwise. And it does integrate outside information, that is, information that was outside my ego consciousness, and moves inside it. However, I would also say that "inside" and "outside" are spatial metaphors, and that space has no independent existence, that we create space, time, and mass in the act of perceiving. And this, of course, is where discussion gets tricky, and calls for "hair-splitting", though I would call it precision. The moon really exists, but only exists located in spacetime when it is looked at.

Quote
I'll tell you what. When you agree that it is possible that you are a space cadet and do not have a clue of what you speak, then I will admit that SAME possibility is present in my worldview as well. But until you, a separate and distinct entity from me, are actually willing to GO THERE, you are fibbin' when you claim you ARE willing to "go there" on the issue of eXternalism.

I agree that it is possible that I am wrong. There is no certainty in metaphysics. All one can do is argue over what is most plausible. But then I have never claimed otherwise, so I really don't understand this talk about being unwilling to "go there". After all, until I was 37 I was just as much an externalist as you are now. So I've been there.

Quote
I challenge your claim that eXternalism is not related to, or relevant to, this thread. It is.

Of course it is highly relevant to this thread, which is why I made my first post in this thread attacking externalism. However, it is not relevant to the debate I had with RE over the usage of 'ad hominem', which is all I claimed.

Quote
People who BELIEVE that there is ZERO meaning in anything and everything they "do" OFTEN end up committing suicide (e.g. Buddhists). THIS SENSELESS ACT is born of nihilism. ANYONE that teaches others that there is NOTHING because there is NO THING is nurturing a potential nihilist who may end up committing suicide.

Then I'm off the hook, because I definitely believe there are things, such as you, me, and the biosphere, and that real people are doing real harm to it. What I do not believe is that there are any mindless things existing on their own.

Quote
DON'T hair split with me about the importance of MEANING and PURPOSE in human lives. Your worldview EXCLUDES BOTH MEANING AND PURPOSE. But of, course, you will claim that you never said any of that or represent any of that. Well, I think you do. And I think you should take responsibility for telling people there is NOTHING to FEAR out there because there is NO THING, or even an "out there".

I am afraid of disease, poisonous critters, of losing my savings to some bankster, etc. etc., since I consider viruses, critters, and banksters to all be real. I also think that MEANING and PURPOSE are names of God, and that things exist to express that Meaning and fulfill divine Purpose.

You say I am moving goalposts. Show me where I have. Show me where I have ever said or implied that "nothing is real" or anything like that. Some Buddhists say that, but I am not one of them.

Well, how can I show you that you have said it?  (http://www.desismileys.com/smileys/desismileys_6656.gif) The only way, I suppose, which I am sure you will take issue with, is the "spatial metaphors" term and the alleged conditional "existence" of the moon (or any thing -atoms, molecules, people, etc.- else, for that matter).

Ka said (smileys are sins of Agelbert - Ka is innocent!):
Quote
I would also say that "inside" and "outside" are spatial metaphors, and that space has no independent existence, that we create space, time, and mass in the act of perceiving. And this, of course, is where discussion gets tricky  ;), and calls for "hair-splitting"  ;D, though I would call it precision.(http://www.desismileys.com/smileys/desismileys_2932.gif) The moon really exists, but only exists located in spacetime when it is looked at.
(emphasis mine  (http://www.createaforum.com/gallery/renewablerevolution/3-200714191258.bmp))

I don't like to use labels, but aren't you a type of monist?
Quote

Monism is the view that attributes oneness or singleness (Greek: μόνος) to a concept (e.g., existence). Substance monism is the philosophical view that a variety of existing things can be explained in terms of a single reality or substance.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monism (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monism)
(emphasis mine  ;D)

The issue of names for God is not something I ever associated MEANING and PURPOSE with. I agree that God has a lot to do with that in our lives, but I wasn't talking about God; I was talking about humans. You know, like Maslow's hierarchy and things like that. When you do that sort of subject classification rearrangement, it appears to me that you just moved a goal post. Can we stick to human meaning and purpose for a while? You are the scholar, but I know a thing or two about language as well. The word "vocation" is one I would associate with God as linked to meaning and purpose in our lives simply because I believe that we all have a mission. But that's at a level of mind far beyond avoiding pain, breathing, getting enough to eat, maintaining homeostasis, etc.

Quote
vo·ca·tion noun: vocation; plural noun: vocations

late Middle English: from Old French, or from Latin vocatio(n-), from vocare ‘to call.’

a strong feeling of suitability for a particular career or occupation.
"not all of us have a vocation to be nurses or doctors"

synonyms: calling, life's work, mission, purpose, function; More
profession, occupation, career, job, employment, trade, craft, business, line, line of work, métier

"forestry is my vocation"

•a person's employment or main occupation, especially regarded as particularly worthy and requiring great dedication.

Back to the window jump to concrete splat experience, to you, the concrete is only "there" because the jumper thought it would be there PRIOR to jumping out of the window. If, for example, the jumper firmly THOUGHT that a 12 ft deep swimming pool was down there prior to jumping, he would just splash into the pool and swim to the edge unharmed.

This "ability" you believe we conscious entiti(es  ;)) possess to sort of create our physical universe on the fly as a function of perception (which vanishes from existence just as quickly with our Trump like "attention" to perception) is a bit difficult to accept from the point of view of thermodynamics, if nothing else is at issue (although there certainly ARE a lot of other controversial considerations to be explained).

Once I had appendicitis. I didn't know I had it. I just knew I had an upset stomach after eating at around 6:00 PM, which turned into a stomach ache that would not go away, but was not localized on my right side near the appendix. I went to the ER at around 9:00 PM. The doctor diagnosed my ache as gastritis and prescribed some shots I could give myself in the thigh (two shots).

Now why did he make that mistake? BECAUSE of the power of suggestion of my mind (at least partly - the doctor that operated on me later on told me it's real hard to diagnose appendicitis when the pain isn't localized, and even then they can only confirm SOMETHING is wrong in one or more of your organs because of the high white blood cell count).

You see, when I arrived at the ER with that gut pain, the young doctor, after examining a 24 year old healthy male with a stomach ache, gave me a shot of something. The pain in my stomach vanished like it had never been there. This convinced the  doctor that his gastritis initial diagnosis was correct, so no blood tests were ordered and I was sent home.

I got up at midnight with renewed pain in my stomach. I gave myself the shot. Within an hour it was worse. I gave myself the second shot. By two AM, I am pounding on the headboard to avoid dealing with the severe stomach pain and cramping.

WHY? Because I was poor, newly married, had been fired from an air taxi for organizing a union, was out of a job, and living in my parent's house. I DID NOT WANT to rack up some hospital expenses, comprende, amigo?

BUT, I had GREAT FAITH in doctors. But that "faith" didn't last too long as the organs did a duty dance in there. I finally went back to the hospital at around 4:00 AM and, within another 12 hours, and a LOT of pain, I had my appendix, which had ruptured, making it life threatening peritonitis, removed.

The doctor that operated on me later explained that some people, like me, never get a pain in their SIDE that helps doctors diagnose appendicitis. Gastritis is more common so that's the way young doctors frequently go when faced with patients like me. The shots for gastritis actually exacerbate the swelling of the infected appendix.  :P

As the appendix swells, the other organs begin to swell as a defense mechanism. After the appendix ruptures, the other organs quickly sense this and try to limit the damage from toxins that will certainly damage them (and kill you) from septic conditions.

These other organs isolate the appendix as best they can by expanding through inflammation. It works for a while. THAT is when the pain becomes localized on your side. But if you are not operated on within a certain time period, the toxins and bacteria from the ruptured appendix attack the walls of the organs pushing against the appendix and THEY get severely infected too. Then the patient dies.

So, you can see why I have some issues with believing that my (allegedly instant matter creating thought processes) had BEANS to do with anything but making a situation WORSE BECAUSE of the power of my mind to incorrectly, but due to my faith in doctors, believe the doctor who diagnosed me with gastritis and gave me a shot had fixed everything.

From the "perception is creation of cause and effect on the fly" view you claim is logical and reasonable, it makes no sense whatsoever. Ka, I was NOT in the conscious sensory loop. Everything that happened in my appendix and surrounding organs was an involuntary response that I knew nothing about until the doctor explained it to me AFTER THE FACT. It all happened, regardless of what I THOUGHT and the events were totally adverse to my perceived economic needs at the time.

You believe our minds are a creative force, with few limits. I am convinced that our bodies and minds are, in the scientific sense of the word, "irritable". That is a term, in this case, NOT related to "being in a bad mood or feeling bothered", as it is commonly used in the vernacular. I am referring to the ability to sense defined as "irritability". I learned that term in a mainframe computer class. The Sperry Univac missile tracker converted to an air traffic tracker was "irritable" because it had sensory response connections (IO - input output) from radar sites through PAMS (peripheral adapter modules).

My organs operate on a level that my thought processes rarely sense, yet they DO have a purpose and a meaning to their primitive but absolutely vital functions within me. I cannot accept your claim that, somehow,  these irritability based cause and effect processes do not exist when I do not have them in my perception.

We have argued this stuff before. You have said, if I remember correctly, that my constructed universe is real for me so, even if I "created" all that cause and effect AFTER it happened, that's okay too because thought is not "limited" by time.

I disagree. And it is you that needs to do a bit of convincing here that you aren't making a circular argument. Think about it, Ka. Nobody can pin you down to flawed logic because your cause and effect creative horizons aren't even limited by time!

Now IF you accept that ignorance of a form of cause and effect such as my appendicitis/peritonitis on my part is inexplicable from the monist point of view, I would consider that a rational position. But that is "rational" from your point of view, ONLY if our creative modus operandi is time limited. But that would mean that reality exists independent of thought perceptions. And that is why I believe the "unlimited time for creative tought cause and effect" thing is sine qua non to your belief system.  :(

Now, if you say you agree that our instant creative processes ARE time limited, as you imply when you say the moon no longer exists right after you stop thinking about the moon, then you should NOT keep denying, what I believe is a corollary, i.e. that, if I am in a space ship, I won't hit the moon, even if I'm flying at it in ignorance, because I don't THINK it's there. :P  Sorry Ka, it's THERE, whether I am thinking about it or not.

My appendix ruptured when it was the very last thing I wanted or was thinking about because the poison was THERE.   
Title: Re: Extreme examples, eternalism and nihilism
Post by: Ka on May 16, 2017, 11:24:18 PM
AG,

Yes, I am a monist, in that I think that only mentality exists, no mindless matter. And so, the burden of argumentation is on me to show why it is that it seems to us that there is mindless matter, like rocks. This can be done in various ways, but it will take some time, and some back and forth to clarify things. Here is the beginning of a clarification.

The first thing to note in the passage you quoted from me is that I said it is space that has no independent existence, and that the moon is only located in space when it is looked at. In your comments you indicate that I say it (or concrete, or an appendix) only exists when someone thinks about it. Not the same thing, though as we shall see, it is thought that creates it, just not human thought.

So what is its existence when not being looked at? Well, I can't really say, but there are hints from quantum physics that may apply. All the weirdness of quantum physics (uncertainty, wave/particle duality, superposition of states, non-locality) can be understood if one assumes that quantum reality is not spatial. But quantum reality includes our bodies, with their sensory apparatus, concrete, and the moon. Cause and effect is operating there. So when a non-spatial eye and the non-spatial moon interact, a spatial moon appears in a mind.

So it is macrophysical reality that is "just perception". Microphysical (quantum) reality is not perceived, but that is where all the cause and effect takes place. That is where your unobserved, un-thought-about appendix ruptured. But, you may ask, how might one think of microphysical reality as mind, and not mindless matter? To suggest an answer I will borrow the main idea of a materialist physicist -- Max Tegmark (see his Our Mathematical Universe) but give it a twist. Tegmark's thesis is that all there "really is" are mathematical objects, that an electron "just is" its six (or whatever) numerical descriptors existing in a mathematical structure called an atom, etc. But how can a mathematical object move another? Tegmark's answer is that nothing "really moves", that time is just a fourth dimension of what is called the block universe, that is, all we call past, present, and future already exists, while our consciousness is just following a path in this block universe.

Of course, as a materialist, Tegmark cannot explain consciousness. But by dropping the block universe idea and adding a Mathematician, we have something that, to me at least, makes some sense. A mathematical object is a thought, and what we call physical reality is being thought by the Divine Mind (an age-old theistic idea, by the way), or perhaps by a community of supernatural beings, or perhaps the Greater Selves of all of us, plus of animals and plants. As to why it is being thought, and what we are doing within this thought, well, that takes us to the question of purpose, also the Problem of Evil, and other religious questions. But I'm going to stop here, for now at least, as it is plenty to chew on.

All this is speculative, to be sure, but at least it is feasible, and shows that -- unlike dualism with its interaction problem or materialism with its hard problem of consciousness, we can imagine a way that monist idealism can work.
Title: Re: Extreme examples, eternalism and nihilism
Post by: luciddreams on May 21, 2017, 08:44:34 AM
I get the problem materialism faces with consciousness, since consciousness is not a material thing.  However, I don't understand what you mean by dualisms interaction problem.  I did some internet research in an attempt to isolate what you are referencing, but I have been unable to figure it out.  Would you please elaborate on the problem of interaction with dualism? 

As far as your explanation of monism goes...that seems plausible to me.  When thinking about other dimensions of existence it seems to me that monism would provide an explanation.  You can perceive one thing on other dimensions.  Or one thing will appear differently based on the dimension it's perceived from. 

Not sure where I stand with philosophical labels, but I believe the mind exists independently from the body, and can exist without this temporal body.  I believe the mind will always possess some form of body until it no longer does, and at that point it is God.  God would be the one thing that is capable of perceiving a self without a body, or self, to perceive from...or pure thingness or isness. 
Title: Re: Extreme examples, eternalism and nihilism
Post by: Ka on May 21, 2017, 02:55:41 PM
I get the problem materialism faces with consciousness, since consciousness is not a material thing.  However, I don't understand what you mean by dualisms interaction problem.  I did some internet research in an attempt to isolate what you are referencing, but I have been unable to figure it out.  Would you please elaborate on the problem of interaction with dualism? 

The interaction problem is: if there is mind and there is body, how does mind interact with body? How does a thought cause muscles to move, or neurochemical activity in the brain affect the mind as mental images?