The Most Fundamental Question of Existence

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The Most Fundamental Question of Existence

Why is there something rather than nothing?


latincanuck
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Paisley wrote:If you believe

Paisley wrote:

If you believe the question I posed in the OP is irrelevant, then you should not participate in this thread. I suggest you start your own thread and ask a question that you deem to be relevant. Either that, or find another thread to hijack.

Paisley part of debating is actually responding properly not just dismissing criticism like you are doing here, you make a statement someone points a counter-argument to your point in this debate, you simply ignore it? Come on paisley actually learn to debate. I think the reality it at this point, you can't debate, you can't actually use your own ideas as others have pointed out. You never actually debate, you argue and ignore all counter arguments. Part of debating is actually responding properly against those counter arguments/points, not dismiss them or ignore them completely, You sir are not debating, you sir are ignoring people and simply sticking your fingers in your ears and screaming la la la la.


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Paisley wrote:kidvelvet

Paisley wrote:

kidvelvet wrote:

Paisley wrote:

Yeah, others like yourself have expressed the sentiment that philosophical/metaphysical debating is a waste of time (e.g. Bob and Nigel): and yet, they (like yourself) have failed to provide me with a reason why they are debating on this forum.

That was my counterargument. And the fact that you have responded only serves to make my point.

I noticed that you only responded to the second part of the conjunction (the part that you underlined).

I noticed that you are still failing to respond to my counterargument: "This is a debate forum. If you feel so strongly that that philosophical debate is a complete waste of your precious time, then why are you participating on this forum?"

kidvelvet wrote:

The first part is that I argued why I believe the question is irrelevant (or at the very least, has lost its relevancy).

If you believe the question I posed in the OP is irrelevant, then you should not participate in this thread. I suggest you start your own thread and ask a question that you deem to be relevant. Either that, or find another thread to hijack.

Clearly you are unfamiliar with the terms "debate" and "thread hijack".  You posted the question.  I posted that the question is irrelevant, which is my philosophical point of view.  I argued my points on why the question was irrelevant.  You responded with a link to one person who thought it was.  Many of us here debated our reasons to why it was not (part of what many people call a philosophical debate).  You respond by saying that this is a debate forum.  No kidding.  That is why I was debating the relevancy of the question.  You then claim that is a thread hijack.  No, that is not a thread hijack.  A thread hijack is something that doesn't apply at all to the question.  So if I answered you with "The Blazers are going to upset the Lakers in the playoffs!  Woohoo!", THAT would be a thread hijack.  This is a term that comes from the old usenet newsfeeds...but I digress.

A philosophical debate is NOT a waste of my time.  In fact, I would welcome it, if you would ever be so inclined to actually have one.

So, why do YOU think this question is relevant?  What are your reasons?

Dolt:"Evolution is just a theory."
Me:"Yes, so is light and gravity. Pardon me while I flash this strobe while dropping a bowling ball on your head. This shouldn't bother you; after all, these are just theories."


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nigelTheBold wrote:Paisley

nigelTheBold wrote:

Paisley wrote:

Yeah, others like yourself have expressed the sentiment that philosophical/metaphysical debating is a waste of time (e.g. Bob and Nigel): and yet, they (like yourself) have failed to provide me with a reason why they are debating on this forum.

That was my counterargument. And the fact that you have responded only serves to make my point.

Tell you what, Paisley. You start debating, and I'll debate with you. So far, you haven't "debated" a damned thing. (Oh, you argue a lot, but that's not debate.) You stated an easily-disproven assertion: The question, "Why is there something instead of nothing?" is the most fundamental question of existence.

Then your only defense was, "Heidegger said so."

That's not debate.

There is no debate here. You conceded the debate when you failed to provide some kind of answer to the question I posed in the OP.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Paisley wrote:nigelTheBold

Paisley wrote:

nigelTheBold wrote:

Paisley wrote:

Yeah, others like yourself have expressed the sentiment that philosophical/metaphysical debating is a waste of time (e.g. Bob and Nigel): and yet, they (like yourself) have failed to provide me with a reason why they are debating on this forum.

That was my counterargument. And the fact that you have responded only serves to make my point.

Tell you what, Paisley. You start debating, and I'll debate with you. So far, you haven't "debated" a damned thing. (Oh, you argue a lot, but that's not debate.) You stated an easily-disproven assertion: The question, "Why is there something instead of nothing?" is the most fundamental question of existence.

Then your only defense was, "Heidegger said so."

That's not debate.

There is no debate here. You conceded the debate when you failed to provide some kind of answer to the question I posed in the OP.

You posed a question.  The answer to your question by many of us is "the question is irrelevant".  THAT is the answer that we provide.  You have not provided your own answer or an answer to our response, other than "This other guy disagrees" or "you aren't answering the question".  We DID answer the question.  The answer is "The question is moot".

You conceded the debate when you failed to, well...debate. 

Dolt:"Evolution is just a theory."
Me:"Yes, so is light and gravity. Pardon me while I flash this strobe while dropping a bowling ball on your head. This shouldn't bother you; after all, these are just theories."


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Paisley wrote:There is no

Paisley wrote:
There is no debate here. You conceded the debate when you failed to provide some kind of answer to the question I posed in the OP.

You stated the "The Most Fundamental Question of Existence" (the title of the thread), is, "Why is there something rather than nothing?" You have done nothing to support that claim, other than refer to Heidegger. "Influential" does not mean "correct." A. J. Ayer demonstrates that Heidegger was vague, and his grand propositions cannot be analyzed either empirically or logically. As Heidegger's philosophy lacks the rigor of logic, I'm not surprised you use him as your proxy in this debate.

Bertrand Russel wrote:

Highly eccentric in its terminology, his philosophy is extremely obscure. One cannot help suspecting that language is here running riot. An interesting point in his speculations is the insistence that nothingness is something positive. As with much else in Existentialism, this is a psychological observation made to pass for logic.

Rudolph Carnap pointed out Heidegger commits the fallacy of reification (a fallacy you are quite fond of, as well).

I already knew about A. J. Ayer's criticisms of Heidegger, but the rest of this is from the Wikipedia article.

So here, Paisley, is a motley assortment of philosophers who, while not as influential as Heidegger, certainly have proven philosophical chops.

As for your question, you might say "Why is there something rather than nothing?" a fundamental question of your existence. That might be true. As stated, though, "existence" would tend to mean "everything," and for that, the question is meaningless. "Nothingness" is the opposite of existence. They are mutually exclusive. It's like positing an invisible pink unicorn -- it's impossible, because two of the terms contradict each other.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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Paisley wrote:You have

Paisley wrote:
You have already made the argument on this thread that Dennett compares "qualia" to the "life force" of vitalism. Now, either Dennett is denying the existence of subjective experiences or he is affirming the existence of the life force.

*sigh*

Y'know, who am I going to believe concerning what Daniel Dennett believes, you or Daniel Dennett? He said he dismisses the idea of qualia. He also says he firmly believes subjective experience exists. Why would he do that, Paisley? Can you think of a logical reason he might do that?

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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nigelTheBold wrote:Paisley

nigelTheBold wrote:

Paisley wrote:

There is no debate here. You conceded the debate when you failed to provide some kind of answer to the question I posed in the OP.

You stated the "The Most Fundamental Question of Existence" (the title of the thread), is, "Why is there something rather than nothing?"

Yes, I did.

Paisley wrote:

You have done nothing to support that claim, other than refer to Heidegger. "Influential" does not mean "correct." A. J. Ayer demonstrates that Heidegger was vague, and his grand propositions cannot be analyzed either empirically or logically. As Heidegger's philosophy lacks the rigor of logic, I'm not surprised you use him as your proxy in this debate.

The question here is not whether the question I posed in the OP is the most fundamental question of existence, which it is. The question is "Why is there something rather than nothing?"

By way, A.J. Ayer (chief exponent of the philosophy of logical positivism) had a NDE (near death experience) where apparently he thought he encountered God. I would say that completely undermines his philosophy. 

http://www.near-death.com/experiences/atheists01.html

Also, Bertrand Russell apparently subscribe to neutral monism, not materialism. But now I am digressing.

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/neutral-monism/

nigelTheBold wrote:

So here, Paisley, is a motley assortment of philosophers who, while not as influential as Heidegger, certainly have proven philosophical chops.

The comment I previously made was that Heidegger was probably the most influential philosopher in the last century. Arguing that the "Beatles" were probably the most influential rock band in the history of rock music  does not imply other rock bands were not influential. IOW, your point is pointless.

nigelTheBold wrote:

As for your question, you might say "Why is there something rather than nothing?" a fundamental question of your existence. That might be true. As stated, though, "existence" would tend to mean "everything," and for that, the question is meaningless. "Nothingness" is the opposite of existence. They are mutually exclusive. It's like positing an invisible pink unicorn -- it's impossible, because two of the terms contradict each other.

Saying the question is meaningless is simply an evasive tactic. That there is something requires an explanation.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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nigelTheBold wrote:Paisley

nigelTheBold wrote:

Paisley wrote:

You have already made the argument on this thread that Dennett compares "qualia" to the "life force" of vitalism. Now, either Dennett is denying the existence of subjective experiences or he is affirming the existence of the life force.

*sigh*

Y'know, who am I going to believe concerning what Daniel Dennett believes, you or Daniel Dennett? He said he dismisses the idea of qualia. He also says he firmly believes subjective experience exists. Why would he do that, Paisley? Can you think of a logical reason he might do that?

Yes. Dennett's duplicity is due to denial. He does not have the intellectual honesty to admit that consciousness is not reducible to information processing. To admit this is to acknowledge that the better part of his life's work was an exercise in futility.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Does anyone have the cliff

Does anyone have the cliff notes on this thread? I think I got lost back on page 3............


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Paisley wrote:Yes. Dennett's

Paisley wrote:
Yes. Dennett's duplicity is due to denial. He does not have the intellectual honesty to admit that consciousness is not reducible to information processing. To admit this is to acknowledge that the better part of his life's work was an exercise in futility.

Then you, Sir, are a liar.

Your inability to understand Dennett, or your disagreement with him over the nature of subjective experience, is not the same as what you claim.

The reason I've been harping on this is not because I give a fuck about what Dennett does or does not claim. The point is how you warp what other people claim. In this case, you are directly contradicting what Dennett claims -- he does indeed believe subjective experience exists. He just isn't a dualist. He's also managed to back up his beliefs with these things we call facts. These are observations that logically support a claim. You might look into them some day.

You do this all the time, Paisley. It's the only way you can "win" these discussions -- by pretending your opponent said something entirely different from what they said.

That's really, really sad.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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Paisley wrote:Saying the

Paisley wrote:

Saying the question is meaningless is simply an evasive tactic. That there is something requires an explanation.

Why? You haven't explained why it requires an explanation. And since it doesn't matter that this question is not the most fundamental question of existence, I'll even give you an answer.

There's "something" because it's a lot more fun than "nothing."

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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nigelTheBold wrote:Paisley

nigelTheBold wrote:

Paisley wrote:

Yes. Dennett's duplicity is due to denial. He does not have the intellectual honesty to admit that consciousness is not reducible to information processing. To admit this is to acknowledge that the better part of his life's work was an exercise in futility.

Then you, Sir, are a liar.

Your inability to understand Dennett, or your disagreement with him over the nature of subjective experience, is not the same as what you claim.

The reason I've been harping on this is not because I give a fuck about what Dennett does or does not claim. The point is how you warp what other people claim. In this case, you are directly contradicting what Dennett claims -- he does indeed believe subjective experience exists. He just isn't a dualist. He's also managed to back up his beliefs with these things we call facts. These are observations that logically support a claim. You might look into them some day.

You do this all the time, Paisley. It's the only way you can "win" these discussions -- by pretending your opponent said something entirely different from what they said.

That's really, really sad.

I win these debates because I back up my claims. Dennett denies the existence of qualia (i.e. subjective experiences) in his book "Consciousness Explained" (which, by the way, I have read and you have not).

Quote:

One of the book's more controversial claims is that qualia do not (and cannot) exist.

(source: Wikipedia: Consciousness Explained)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consciousness_Explained

Apparently the foremost philosophers of mind in academia are also incapable of understanding Dennett because they share the same interpretation of CE that I do. Moreover, I don't know of any prominent philosophers of mind (this would include materialists) in the academic community who support Dennett's eliminative materialism.

Quote:

Critics of Dennett's approach, such as David Chalmers and Thomas Nagel, argue that Dennett's argument misses the point of the inquiry by merely re-defining consciousness as an external property and ignoring the subjective aspect completely. This has led detractors to nickname the book Consciousness Ignored and Consciousness Explained Away.[3][4]

(source: Wikipedia: Consciousness Explained)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consciousness_Explained

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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nigelTheBold wrote:Paisley

nigelTheBold wrote:

Paisley wrote:

Saying the question is meaningless is simply an evasive tactic. That there is something requires an explanation.

Why? You haven't explained why it requires an explanation.

Unless you can provide some kind of explanation, then your materialist worldview leaves something very much to be desired.

nigelTheBold wrote:

And since it doesn't matter that this question is not the most fundamental question of existence, I'll even give you an answer. There's "something" because it's a lot more fun than "nothing."

So, the purpose for existence is to have more fun? Interesting. However, I must inform you that the materialist worldview precludes teleological explanations.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Paisley wrote:nigelTheBold

Paisley wrote:

nigelTheBold wrote:

Paisley wrote:

Saying the question is meaningless is simply an evasive tactic. That there is something requires an explanation.

Why? You haven't explained why it requires an explanation.

Unless you can provide some kind of explanation, then your materialist worldview leaves something very much to be desired.

nigelTheBold wrote:

And since it doesn't matter that this question is not the most fundamental question of existence, I'll even give you an answer. There's "something" because it's a lot more fun than "nothing."

So, the purpose for existence is to have more fun? Interesting. However, I must inform you that the materialist worldview precludes teleological explanations.

Paisley yet you haven't shown why it's a relevant question at all, you just say, hey this guy says it's relevant therefore it is, you never actually explain in your own terms why it is, everyone else has at least attempted to explain why it is irrelevant.


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D33PPURPLE wrote:Paisley

D33PPURPLE wrote:

Paisley wrote:

And there are many philosophers who would disagree with you as well. Newsflash: "Philosophers have disagreed with each other in the past. They continue to  disagree with each other in the present. And they will disagree in the future. That's philosophy."

Gee sir, the way you're talking, you'd think Heidegger had settled the matter; your question is of the utmost relevance. kidvelvet has explained how the matter is far from settled. All you're left with is an argument from authority.

While logical positivists may hold the question I posed in the OP to be meaningless, many other philosophers from time immemorial to the present have not.

D33PPURPLE wrote:

Paisley wrote:

This is a debate forum. If you feel so strongly that that philosophical debate is a complete waste of your precious time, then why are you participating on this forum?

You missed his point. He's pointing out not only how your understanding of philosophy is horrendous by a scholarly standard, but expressing why the other philosophies, like "atheistic existentialism" exist today. Perhaps if you'd read his comments with a more open mind, you'd realize that he is explaining quite a bit to you.

The primary influence of "atheistic existentialism" is the thought of Jean-Paul Sartre whose primary influence was the thought of Martin Heidegger. Heidegger considered the question I posed in the OP of this thread to be the most fundamental question of philosophy. The primary reason why the typical atheist on RSS believes he "creates his own purpose and values" can be directly traced to existential thought, which ultimately is related to the question I posed in the OP of this thread - the question that ignorant atheists on this forum are now arguing is irrelevant and meaningless.

D33PPURPLE wrote:

Also, I'm no philosopher. But as a person more immediately influenced by Pragmatic philosophy than from abstract metaphysics, I can't help but agree that before we start daydreaming about the "ivory tower academics", philosophy should be more focused on improving the lives of other human beings than anything else.

The founder of philosophical pragmatism was Charles Sanders Peirce - a believer who definitely engaged in religious metaphysics.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Paisley wrote:I win these

Paisley wrote:
I win these debates because I back up my claims. Dennett denies the existence of qualia (i.e. subjective experiences) in his book "Consciousness Explained" (which, by the way, I have read and you have not).

Actually, Paisley, as I have informed you several times, I have read "Consciousness Explained." So again, you are a liar. Not that I'm surprised.

Have you ever considered, my simple little friend, that other philosophers use "qualia" to mean, "that which causes consciousness," which is a dualist position, with which Dennett disagrees? Because he actually explains that in the book. If you are incapable of realizing that he is not a dualist, yet "qualia" is a specifically dualist concept, I can break it down into simpler terms for you. Since the plain writing in "Consciousness Explained" is too complicated for you.

Quote:

Apparently the foremost philosophers of mind in academia are also incapable of understanding Dennett because they share the same interpretation of CE that I do. Moreover, I don't know of any prominent philosophers of mind (this would include materialists) in the academic community who support Dennett's eliminative materialism.

"Foremost minds." That's funny. They are dualists, like you, Paisley. No wonder they disagree with Dennett. Unfortunately for you and them, he actually argues from scientific evidence, rather than wishful thinking.

In any case, it doesn't matter -- my point is, you misrepresent Dennett. I believe you do this intentionally. I have read "Consciousness Explained," and other Dennett writings. He is explicit in his acceptance of subjective experience. He just claims the physical systems that result from the brain are sufficient to explain "subjective experience."

That makes you a liar, as you obviously knew he claimed he believed subjective experience exists. You just disagree on the definition of "qualia."

But then, it seems you like to misrepresent people.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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Paisley wrote:nigelTheBold

Paisley wrote:

nigelTheBold wrote:

Paisley wrote:

Saying the question is meaningless is simply an evasive tactic. That there is something requires an explanation.

Why? You haven't explained why it requires an explanation.

Unless you can provide some kind of explanation, then your materialist worldview leaves something very much to be desired.

What, Paisley? What is left to be desired? You haven't made this clear, yet I've asked several times.

Quote:

nigelTheBold wrote:

And since it doesn't matter that this question is not the most fundamental question of existence, I'll even give you an answer. There's "something" because it's a lot more fun than "nothing."

So, the purpose for existence is to have more fun? Interesting. However, I must inform you that the materialist worldview precludes teleological explanations.

The question is teleological. That's why it's nonsense. That was my point. You are begging the question, which is a logical fallacy.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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Paisley wrote:The primary

Paisley wrote:
The primary influence of "atheistic existentialism" is the thought of Jean-Paul Sartre whose primary influence was the thought of Martin Heidegger. Heidegger considered the question I posed in the OP of this thread to be the most fundamental question of philosophy. The primary reason why the typical atheist on RSS believes he "creates his own purpose and values" can be directly traced to existential thought, which ultimately is related to the question I posed in the OP of this thread - the question that ignorant atheists on this forum are now arguing is irrelevant and meaningless.

Oh my non-existent god. Paisley, you just made an intelligent argument. Why did it take you this long to express this idea?

The distinction between "existence" (that is, the fact that reality exists) and our own personal existence (our experiences as we are alive) are quite huge. Here you are conflating "Why is there something rather than nothing?" with, "Why am I here rather than not here?"

The universe exists. You may ask how the universe came to exist, and that may lead you to some interesting knowledge. Or you can ask, "Why does the universe exist, rather than not exist?" in which case, you are asking a nonsense question. Really, the second question is a very bad form of the first question. They are the same, but one is expressed in a way that can lead to knowledge, and the second leads to almost nothing.

The question, "Why am I here, rather than not here?" is a different question altogether. It assumes that someone is going to be here. The real question is, "Why is it me?" And so that leads us (those atheists who express it this way) to say, "I am here because someone had to be here. It might as well be us." This is not derived from existentialism, which posits "nothingness" as an actuality (which is absurd), rather than the opposite of actuality. Rather, it's derived simply from naturalism.

As for purpose: there is no teleology. That's why, "Why is there something rather than nothing?" is a nonsense question. That question presupposes purpose. There is no purpose -- that which is, is. That which is not, is not. It's really as simple as that. So when it comes to individual purpose, those of use who see no overall purpose realize, for our personal selves, there's only the purpose we create for ourselves.

You may be so impoverished you cannot see this point of view. (Whether or not you subscribe to it.) But it is how I see the universe: that which is, is. There's no purpose. There's only that which is. I'm here because I would've been asking that question no matter who I am. Since there is no outside-imposed purpose, I can only create my own meaning in life. Otherwise, my life is meaningless. (And my purpose is to have fun and enjoy my life, as long as I don't hurt others.)

This might be a little subtle for you. I understand. It's not easy to realize there's no overarching purpose in life.

In any case, Paisley, I do wish you well. Whatever purpose you choose, I hope it serves you (and the rest of humanity) well.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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Paisley wrote:nigelTheBold

Paisley wrote:

nigelTheBold wrote:

Paisley wrote:

Yes. Dennett's duplicity is due to denial. He does not have the intellectual honesty to admit that consciousness is not reducible to information processing. To admit this is to acknowledge that the better part of his life's work was an exercise in futility.

Then you, Sir, are a liar.

Your inability to understand Dennett, or your disagreement with him over the nature of subjective experience, is not the same as what you claim.

The reason I've been harping on this is not because I give a fuck about what Dennett does or does not claim. The point is how you warp what other people claim. In this case, you are directly contradicting what Dennett claims -- he does indeed believe subjective experience exists. He just isn't a dualist. He's also managed to back up his beliefs with these things we call facts. These are observations that logically support a claim. You might look into them some day.

You do this all the time, Paisley. It's the only way you can "win" these discussions -- by pretending your opponent said something entirely different from what they said.

That's really, really sad.

I win these debates because I back up my claims. Dennett denies the existence of qualia (i.e. subjective experiences) in his book "Consciousness Explained" (which, by the way, I have read and you have not).

Just the arrogant belief that you can "win" a philosophical debate by providing links to people who agree with you tells me all I need to know.

"The Chaplain had mastered, in a moment of divine intuition, the handy technique of protective rationalization and he was exhilarated by his discovery. It was miraculous. It was almost no trick at all, he saw, to turn vice into virtue and slander into truth, impotence into abstinence, arrogance into humility, plunder into philanthropy, thievery into honor, blasphemy into wisdom, brutality into patriotism, and sadism into justice. Anybody could do it; it required no brains at all. Just no Character."

"He...had gone down in flames...on the seventh day, while God was resting"

"You have no respect for excessive authority or obsolete traditions. You should be taken outside and shot!"


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Paisley wrote:D33PPURPLE

Paisley wrote:

D33PPURPLE wrote:

Paisley wrote:

And there are many philosophers who would disagree with you as well. Newsflash: "Philosophers have disagreed with each other in the past. They continue to  disagree with each other in the present. And they will disagree in the future. That's philosophy."

Gee sir, the way you're talking, you'd think Heidegger had settled the matter; your question is of the utmost relevance. kidvelvet has explained how the matter is far from settled. All you're left with is an argument from authority.

While logical positivists may hold the question I posed in the OP to be meaningless, many other philosophers from time immemorial to the present have not.

Your point being?

D33PPURPLE wrote:

Paisley wrote:

This is a debate forum. If you feel so strongly that that philosophical debate is a complete waste of your precious time, then why are you participating on this forum?

You missed his point. He's pointing out not only how your understanding of philosophy is horrendous by a scholarly standard, but expressing why the other philosophies, like "atheistic existentialism" exist today. Perhaps if you'd read his comments with a more open mind, you'd realize that he is explaining quite a bit to you.

The primary influence of "atheistic existentialism" is the thought of Jean-Paul Sartre whose primary influence was the thought of Martin Heidegger. Heidegger considered the question I posed in the OP of this thread to be the most fundamental question of philosophy. The primary reason why the typical atheist on RSS believes he "creates his own purpose and values" can be directly traced to existential thought, which ultimately is related to the question I posed in the OP of this thread - the question that ignorant atheists on this forum are now arguing is irrelevant and meaningless.

People who disagree are ignorant? As if you were intellectually defending your points rather than throwing ad hominems and arguments from authority.

D33PPURPLE wrote:

Also, I'm no philosopher. But as a person more immediately influenced by Pragmatic philosophy than from abstract metaphysics, I can't help but agree that before we start daydreaming about the "ivory tower academics", philosophy should be more focused on improving the lives of other human beings than anything else.

The founder of philosophical pragmatism was Charles Sanders Peirce - a believer who definitely engaged in religious metaphysics.

1.What does that have to do with anything?

2.I'm well aware of Peirce's views, but as a whole, pragmatism saw no use for faith, the foundation of many religions. As a whole, I'd say it rejected traditional religion and it's purpose.

"The Chaplain had mastered, in a moment of divine intuition, the handy technique of protective rationalization and he was exhilarated by his discovery. It was miraculous. It was almost no trick at all, he saw, to turn vice into virtue and slander into truth, impotence into abstinence, arrogance into humility, plunder into philanthropy, thievery into honor, blasphemy into wisdom, brutality into patriotism, and sadism into justice. Anybody could do it; it required no brains at all. Just no Character."

"He...had gone down in flames...on the seventh day, while God was resting"

"You have no respect for excessive authority or obsolete traditions. You should be taken outside and shot!"


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nigelTheBold wrote:Paisley

nigelTheBold wrote:

Paisley wrote:

I win these debates because I back up my claims. Dennett denies the existence of qualia (i.e. subjective experiences) in his book "Consciousness Explained" (which, by the way, I have read and you have not).

Actually, Paisley, as I have informed you several times, I have read "Consciousness Explained." So again, you are a liar. Not that I'm surprised.

I am fully aware that you have made this claim before. But I simply don't believe you because your ignorance of its content is quite apparent to me.

nigelTheBold wrote:

Have you ever considered, my simple little friend, that other philosophers use "qualia" to mean, "that which causes consciousness," which is a dualist position, with which Dennett disagrees? Because he actually explains that in the book. If you are incapable of realizing that he is not a dualist, yet "qualia" is a specifically dualist concept, I can break it down into simpler terms for you. Since the plain writing in "Consciousness Explained" is too complicated for you.

I have already provided you with the definition of "qualia." The term comes from the Latin and is the root for the word "quality.' Qualia is not "that which causes consciousness." It is the "subjective quality of conscious experience" itself.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qualia

If the term "subjective" presupposes dualism (which you seem to be arguing), then you have first-person evidence for dualism. I know that Dennett is not a dualist. He is an "eliminative materialist" because he is denying the reality of our subjectivity. He denies the reality of our subjectivity because it is not objective. That kind of intellectual dishonesty qualifies as complete and utter stupidity. 

nigelTheBold wrote:

Paisley wrote:

Apparently the foremost philosophers of mind in academia are also incapable of understanding Dennett because they share the same interpretation of CE that I do. Moreover, I don't know of any prominent philosophers of mind (this would include materialists) in the academic community who support Dennett's eliminative materialism.

"Foremost minds." That's funny. They are dualists, like you, Paisley. No wonder they disagree with Dennett. Unfortunately for you and them, he actually argues from scientific evidence, rather than wishful thinking.

Well, I will agree with you in one respect. There is no scientific evidence for consciousness (i.e. subjective awareness). But if you believe that constitutes rational grounds for dismissing the reality of subjectivity, then you are seriously flirting with insanity. What is wishful thinking is the belief that consciousness will magically arise from computers if software engineers could only create a more complex application. 

nigelTheBold wrote:

In any case, it doesn't matter -- my point is, you misrepresent Dennett.

It matters because you have already committed yourself to upholding Dennett's view on the non-existence of qualia. Therefore, you are implicitly denying the reality of subjective experiences.

nigelTheBold wrote:

I believe you do this intentionally. I have read "Consciousness Explained," and other Dennett writings. He is explicit in his acceptance of subjective experience. He just claims the physical systems that result from the brain are sufficient to explain "subjective experience."

That makes you a liar, as you obviously knew he claimed he believed subjective experience exists. You just disagree on the definition of "qualia."

But then, it seems you like to misrepresent people.

Well, the only problem with your analysis (and it is clear that you never read CE...perusing does not count) is that John Searle (a committed materialist philosopher of mind) shares my analysis.

Quote:

John Searle argues [5] that Dennett, who insists that discussing subjectivity is nonsense because it is unscientific and science presupposes objectivity, is making a category error.

(source: Wikipedia: Consciousness Explained)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consciousness_explained

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Paisley wrote:I win these

Paisley wrote:
I win these debates because I back up my claims.

Good. This is one debate I don't care to win any time soon... in fact, my minuscule intellect is already hurting trying to understand page 5.

Paisley wrote:

There is no debate here. You conceded the debate when you failed to provide some kind of answer to the question I posed in the OP.

Whoa... this is a mindtrip here. I made both direct and indirect answers to your question, using a great deal of sarcasm aimed at the Roman Catholic Church, and pointed out how incredibly fickle the constructs of the mind can be... and I'm still in the debate?

Nah... can't be.

nigel wrote:
The question is teleological.

Teleological... the study of... great distances? No... the study of final destinations! Let's see... big rip, big crunch... big bounce, multiverse, cosmic uncertainty... I'm going to go with "unlimited entropy", or the slow change of the current forms of energy into more complex ones. Head... hurting... need aspirin!

paisley wrote:
While logical positivists may hold the question I posed in the OP to be meaningless, many other philosophers from time immemorial to the present have not.

No, not meaningless... simply false during the moment of being conceived. It is an unintentional trick question. Feeling a little woozy here, folks. I think I burst a cerebral capillary just now!

paisley wrote:
Unless you can provide some kind of explanation, then your materialist worldview leaves something very much to be desired.

Right now my worldview leaves a much desired "quit while you're still ahead" ringing inside my skull. I choose to ignore it. Also; now my eyes and shoulders hurt.

On a more serious note... yes, in an ideal worldm there should be reasons for everything. However, our tangible world exists only on particulate and/or string momentum. It has no ideals inherent to it.

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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nigelTheBold wrote:Paisley

nigelTheBold wrote:

Paisley wrote:

Unless you can provide some kind of explanation, then your materialist worldview leaves something very much to be desired.

What, Paisley? What is left to be desired? You haven't made this clear, yet I've asked several times.

The physical world, whether infinite or finite in time, is not self-explanatory. If the materialist cannot proffer some kind of explanation, then his worldview is lacking. What exactly are you not understanding here?

nigelTheBold wrote:

Paisley wrote:

So, the purpose for existence is to have more fun? Interesting. However, I must inform you that the materialist worldview precludes teleological explanations.

The question is teleological. That's why it's nonsense. That was my point. You are begging the question, which is a logical fallacy.

This is typically the tactic the atheist employs in order to evade the question. Asking "why" does not necessarily imply that one is presupposing a teleological explanation. I certainly was not presupposing that when I posed the question. In fact, I was assuming the materialist worldview for the sake of argument. That is the context in which the question was asked.

Richard Dawkins took the same approach that you are taking here. But he finally realized that he must craft some kind of response and not simply write the question off. Below is a link to a YouTube video presented by "RichardDawkins.Net"  Here physicist Lawrence Krauss responds to the question. His answer starts at approxiamately time 40:50. Of course, his answer qualifies as no explanation at all. It simply begs the question again.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ImvlS8PLIo

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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nigelTheBold wrote:Paisley

nigelTheBold wrote:

Paisley wrote:

The primary influence of "atheistic existentialism" is the thought of Jean-Paul Sartre whose primary influence was the thought of Martin Heidegger. Heidegger considered the question I posed in the OP of this thread to be the most fundamental question of philosophy. The primary reason why the typical atheist on RSS believes he "creates his own purpose and values" can be directly traced to existential thought, which ultimately is related to the question I posed in the OP of this thread - the question that ignorant atheists on this forum are now arguing is irrelevant and meaningless.

Oh my non-existent god. Paisley, you just made an intelligent argument. Why did it take you this long to express this idea?

I always make intelligent arguments because I affirm (not deny) the source of all intelligence.

nigelTheBold wrote:

The distinction between "existence" (that is, the fact that reality exists) and our own personal existence (our experiences as we are alive) are quite huge. Here you are conflating "Why is there something rather than nothing?" with, "Why am I here rather than not here?"

The universe exists. You may ask how the universe came to exist, and that may lead you to some interesting knowledge. Or you can ask, "Why does the universe exist, rather than not exist?" in which case, you are asking a nonsense question. Really, the second question is a very bad form of the first question. They are the same, but one is expressed in a way that can lead to knowledge, and the second leads to almost nothing.

The question, "Why am I here, rather than not here?" is a different question altogether. It assumes that someone is going to be here. The real question is, "Why is it me?" And so that leads us (those atheists who express it this way) to say, "I am here because someone had to be here. It might as well be us." This is not derived from existentialism, which posits "nothingness" as an actuality (which is absurd), rather than the opposite of actuality. Rather, it's derived simply from naturalism.

As for purpose: there is no teleology. That's why, "Why is there something rather than nothing?" is a nonsense question. That question presupposes purpose. There is no purpose -- that which is, is. That which is not, is not. It's really as simple as that.

I have already discussed this in a previous post. There is no need to rehash it now. Suffice it to say that asking "why" does not necessarily imply one is searching for a teleological explanation.

nigelTheBold wrote:

So when it comes to individual purpose, those of use who see no overall purpose realize, for our personal selves, there's only the purpose we create for ourselves.

Correction. You do not create your own purpose. You can only "make believe" that you create your own purpose. Why? Because the materialist worldview precludes teleological explanations. There are no purposeful intentions whatsoever. The bottom line is that your so-called purposive life is only an illusion - an illusion that is constructed by you to divert your attention away from the fact that your life is ultimately meaningless and absurd.

nigelTheBold wrote:

You may be so impoverished you cannot see this point of view. (Whether or not you subscribe to it.) But it is how I see the universe: that which is, is. There's no purpose.

I am not the one here who is spiritually-impoverished, you are. Your materialist worldview ultimately renders life meaningless and absurd.

nigelTheBold wrote:

There's only that which is. I'm here because I would've been asking that question no matter who I am. Since there is no outside-imposed purpose, I can only create my own meaning in life. Otherwise, my life is meaningless. (And my purpose is to have fun and enjoy my life, as long as I don't hurt others.)

This might be a little subtle for you. I understand. It's not easy to realize there's no overarching purpose in life.

I believe I have a fairly good grasp on the finer subtleties of atheistic materialism. All your experiences (whether for good or ill) will ultimately mean nothing in the vast scheme of things. Such are the implications of a Godless existence.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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latincanuck wrote:Paisley

latincanuck wrote:

Paisley wrote:

If you believe the question I posed in the OP is irrelevant, then you should not participate in this thread. I suggest you start your own thread and ask a question that you deem to be relevant. Either that, or find another thread to hijack.

Paisley part of debating is actually responding properly not just dismissing criticism like you are doing here, you make a statement someone points a counter-argument to your point in this debate, you simply ignore it? Come on paisley actually learn to debate. I think the reality it at this point, you can't debate, you can't actually use your own ideas as others have pointed out. You never actually debate, you argue and ignore all counter arguments. Part of debating is actually responding properly against those counter arguments/points, not dismiss them or ignore them completely, You sir are not debating, you sir are ignoring people and simply sticking your fingers in your ears and screaming la la la la.

Evading the question I posed in the OP will not help your cause.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Paisley

Paisley wrote:

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:

No one knows the awnser to that at the moment, including you!

I can hazard to guess.

I'm sure you can, but what would be the use of that ?


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Paisley wrote:latincanuck

Paisley wrote:

latincanuck wrote:

Paisley wrote:

If you believe the question I posed in the OP is irrelevant, then you should not participate in this thread. I suggest you start your own thread and ask a question that you deem to be relevant. Either that, or find another thread to hijack.

Paisley part of debating is actually responding properly not just dismissing criticism like you are doing here, you make a statement someone points a counter-argument to your point in this debate, you simply ignore it? Come on paisley actually learn to debate. I think the reality it at this point, you can't debate, you can't actually use your own ideas as others have pointed out. You never actually debate, you argue and ignore all counter arguments. Part of debating is actually responding properly against those counter arguments/points, not dismiss them or ignore them completely, You sir are not debating, you sir are ignoring people and simply sticking your fingers in your ears and screaming la la la la.

Evading the question I posed in the OP will not help your cause.

I am not evading the question, I am making a comment about the whole debate, I am not even debating you on this, as I am not really one to deal with philosophy, especially one that I personally find irrelevant. The site you posted I tend to agree with Leibniz when he says that the actual world must have something rather than nothing because the actual world must be the best of all possible worlds, and something is better than nothing. But then again I am just making a comment about your debating skills, which at this point, you are not debating, you are avoid, ignoring and simply arguing, you are not actually debating.


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Paisley wrote:latincanuck

Paisley wrote:

latincanuck wrote:

Paisley wrote:

If you believe the question I posed in the OP is irrelevant, then you should not participate in this thread. I suggest you start your own thread and ask a question that you deem to be relevant. Either that, or find another thread to hijack.

Paisley part of debating is actually responding properly not just dismissing criticism like you are doing here, you make a statement someone points a counter-argument to your point in this debate, you simply ignore it? Come on paisley actually learn to debate. I think the reality it at this point, you can't debate, you can't actually use your own ideas as others have pointed out. You never actually debate, you argue and ignore all counter arguments. Part of debating is actually responding properly against those counter arguments/points, not dismiss them or ignore them completely, You sir are not debating, you sir are ignoring people and simply sticking your fingers in your ears and screaming la la la la.

Evading the question I posed in the OP will not help your cause.

I'm still waiting on you to respond to those who did answer the question, preacher.

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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latincanuck wrote:Paisley

latincanuck wrote:

Paisley wrote:

Evading the question I posed in the OP will not help your cause.

I am not evading the question, I am making a comment about the whole debate, I am not even debating you on this, as I am not really one to deal with philosophy, especially one that I personally find irrelevant.

You are evading the question. And if you find the question to be truly irrelevant, then you should not be participating in this thread

latincanuck wrote:

The site you posted I tend to agree with Leibniz when he says that the actual world must have something rather than nothing because the actual world must be the best of all possible worlds, and something is better than nothing.

That you believe that something is better than nothing is a value-judgment. And if you believe that a value-judgment is the reason why there is something rather than nothing, than you are actually presupposing something (actually, I should say some being) - namely, an evaluator (i.e. one who determines values). 

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Paisley wrote:nigelTheBold

Paisley wrote:

nigelTheBold wrote:

Actually, Paisley, as I have informed you several times, I have read "Consciousness Explained." So again, you are a liar. Not that I'm surprised.

I am fully aware that you have made this claim before. But I simply don't believe you because your ignorance of its content is quite apparent to me.

Oh, really? I have made only one claim: that is, when dismissing qualia, he did so in a context. This context is not one you have represented truthfully. Now, that can only be for one of two reasons: either you didn't understand what he wrote, or you are intentionally misrepresenting him.

Whether or not you believe me is of no consequence. The fact that you misrepresent Dennett is. Not for the sake of qualia. The point is the way you twist what he says until it does not represent the original intent.

Quote:

I have already provided you with the definition of "qualia." The term comes from the Latin and is the root for the word "quality.' Qualia is not "that which causes consciousness." It is the "subjective quality of conscious experience" itself.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qualia

If the term "subjective" presupposes dualism (which you seem to be arguing), then you have first-person evidence for dualism. I know that Dennett is not a dualist. He is an "eliminative materialist" because he is denying the reality of our subjectivity. He denies the reality of our subjectivity because it is not objective. That kind of intellectual dishonesty qualifies as complete and utter stupidity. 

Actually, no, you miss the point entirely. "Subjective experience" is a common term that has been around for a long time. It does not imply dualism at all. That's my point. It is philosophically-neutral. All it means is, "Our internal perception of our senses and our thinking process."

I am arguing that "qualia," however it is defined, is used in a why that is clearly dualistic. It is not philosophically neutral. Dennett also argues it is incoherent. This is why Dennett dismisses it as an incoherent, inconsistently-used word for something we all consider intuitively obvious. The other side of the argument is that, while the existence of subjective experience is obvious, the nature of it is not.

Dennett has said, "I believe subjective experience exists." He believes our subjective experience is one aspect of an objective process -- one that can be observed.

And you know what, Paisley? This is already paying of in a practical way. One company recently demonstrated a device that allows you to type just by thinking about it. It objectively measures electrical fields produced by the brain, and as you think, it types letters on the screen. This would not be possible if Dennett wasn't correct. If there was some mystical currently-undetected force that made up our consciousness, this would be impossible.

So claim whatever you want. While you are off traipsing after mystical philosophical will'o'wisps, those who accept the results of science shall be back here actually doing things.

Quote:

Well, I will agree with you in one respect. There is no scientific evidence for consciousness (i.e. subjective awareness). But if you believe that constitutes rational grounds for dismissing the reality of subjectivity, then you are seriously flirting with insanity. What is wishful thinking is the belief that consciousness will magically arise from computers if software engineers could only create a more complex application.

 

Uhm, as I have explained, I do not dismiss subjective awareness. I dismiss the fantasy that there's something other than our natural world. As you say, subjective awareness is self-evident. It's one of the few self-evident truths out there. Where we differ, my little ragamuffin, is in our explanations. You say you have one that involves magic pixie dust. I say we don't yet have one, but all evidence points to the physical brain.

The difference is, I will admit my ignorance.

As for the "magical" thinking, I believe it is you who proffers an explanation of consciousness by invoking magical properties. Me, I don't believe we have sufficient understanding of the algorithms that underlie consciousness to be able to construct an AI. Perhaps sometime in the future we may be able to construct such an AI.

If you are obliquely referring to Searle's Chinese Room, that has been shown to suffer from many fallacies, not the least of which is the fallacy of division.

Quote:

nigelTheBold wrote:

In any case, it doesn't matter -- my point is, you misrepresent Dennett.

It matters because you have already committed yourself to upholding Dennett's view on the non-existence of qualia. Therefore, you are implicitly denying the reality of subjective experiences.

Uhm, no. As I explained many times, I accept subjective experience. My quibble is with the word "qualia," which is too often used in a fashion that assumes dualism. Our disagreement isn't about the existence of subjective experience. Our disagreement is about the nature of subjective experience. Your attempt to avoid the fact that you have no evidence supporting dualism other than your own intuition causes you to claim otherwise. This is, however, simple sophistry.

Quote:

Well, the only problem with your analysis (and it is clear that you never read CE...perusing does not count) is that John Searle (a committed materialist philosopher of mind) shares my analysis.

Quote:

John Searle argues [5] that Dennett, who insists that discussing subjectivity is nonsense because it is unscientific and science presupposes objectivity, is making a category error.

(source: Wikipedia: Consciousness Explained)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consciousness_explained

Oh noes! Two philosophers disagree over something! The world is coming to an end!

So Searle believes qualia exist as a coherent philosophical concept. Dennett believes qualia are incoherent, and ultimately useless.[Quining Qualia, 1998] (Me, I'm starting to reconsider my position on qualia, in light of Gerald Edelman's work to create a functional, rather than intrinsic, concept of qualia. While I still dislike the baggage the word brings with it, perhaps the core of the concept can be salvaged from the philosophical mess it is in currently.)

In any case, Searle is essentially a dualist. He claims there is "something" that makes up consciousness. The only difference between him and a standard general-issue dualist is he believes that "something" is material in nature. It's just not the neurons forming an emergent system via an algorithmic system.

In any case, this is an unproductive discussion. You can now claim that I'm trying to backtrack, and that qualia is defined as "subjective experience" and so Daniel Dennett is insane. Carry on.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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Paisley wrote:I believe I

Paisley wrote:

I believe I have a fairly good grasp on the finer subtleties of atheistic materialism. All your experiences (whether for good or ill) will ultimately mean nothing in the vast scheme of things. Such are the implications of a Godless existence.

That's hardly one of the finer subtleties of atheistic materialism, so I still doubt your grasp of those. However, with this observation, you are spot-on.

The funny thing is, you and I are consigned to the same fate. If a god exists, our lives will be just as meaningful. If god does not exist, your life too means nothing in the long run, in spite of your beliefs.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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Paisley wrote:The physical

Paisley wrote:
The physical world, whether infinite or finite in time, is not self-explanatory. If the materialist cannot proffer some kind of explanation, then his worldview is lacking. What exactly are you not understanding here?

But the materialist does offer an explanation of the origins of the universe. Have you not been paying attention? We don't know everything about the origins yet, but we're getting more an more information. That's part of the purpose of the Large Hadron Collider.

And we're getting this very meaningful understanding by asking the question, "How did the universe come to exist?" rather than the degenerate form, "Why is there something rather than nothing?"

What exactly are you not understanding here?

Paisley wrote:
This is typically the tactic the atheist employs in order to evade the question. Asking "why" does not necessarily imply that one is presupposing a teleological explanation. I certainly was not presupposing that when I posed the question. In fact, I was assuming the materialist worldview for the sake of argument. That is the context in which the question was asked.

Richard Dawkins took the same approach that you are taking here. But he finally realized that he must craft some kind of response and not simply write the question off. Below is a link to a YouTube video presented by "RichardDawkins.Net"  Here physicist Lawrence Krauss responds to the question. His answer starts at approxiamately time 40:50. Of course, his answer qualifies as no explanation at all. It simply begs the question again.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ImvlS8PLIo

I've seen this video. I found it interesting. Lawrence Krauss is one of the many people actually answering the question. In what way is he begging the question?

Do you have a response that does not beg the question?

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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Paisley wrote:You are

Paisley wrote:

You are evading the question. And if you find the question to be truly irrelevant, then you should not be participating in this thread

I see your reading comprehension is still sub-par, well let me tell you again, I am not evading the question, I am not participating in the debate, I am making an observation of the debate itself, which in reality you are not debating at all, your just arguing and posting it's relevant because Heidegger asks the question, even though I believe you are misconstruing what Heidegger is trying to get at with the question he poses. However now here is my little part of this debate.

 

Quote:

That you believe that something is better than nothing is a value-judgment. And if you believe that a value-judgment is the reason why there is something rather than nothing, than you are actually presupposing something (actually, I should say some being) - namely, an evaluator (i.e. one who determines values). 

Just like your statement about this being the most fundamental question of existence is a value-judgment call, for me it's not why there is something instead of nothing, but instead how it all came to be, how explains the process, the why question presupposes a purpose, they may not be a purpose, but once you figure out the how then the why question could be potentially asked.

However with Heideggar, many believe as I have seem to interpret what Heideggar is asking is more on the lines in regards to "being". Trying to get people to think more about being than avoiding the thought about being, however it doesn't solve anything really, there is no real answer to the question as posed and Heidegger never really answers that question either, as such it becomes irrelevant as science and philosophy progress throughout the 20th and now into the 21 century, our discoveries and the new questions that arise make this philosophical question, irrelevant. So can you tell us why it's relevant using your own words? Or are you going to avoid this now? Although the truth be told I don't expect you to actually answer any relevant questions or actually debate any of the relevant counter points everyone else has brought up, and as for Heidegger's question it really goes into the category of Metaphysics.


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nigelTheBold wrote:Paisley

nigelTheBold wrote:

Paisley wrote:

I am fully aware that you have made this claim before. But I simply don't believe you because your ignorance of its content is quite apparent to me.

Oh, really? I have made only one claim: that is, when dismissing qualia, he did so in a context. This context is not one you have represented truthfully. Now, that can only be for one of two reasons: either you didn't understand what he wrote, or you are intentionally misrepresenting him.

I had already read Dennett's essay on "qualia vs. the life force" before you raised the subject. Qualia is simply the  technical term for "subjective experience." I have already established this. Dennett is attempting to explain consciousness by explaining it away. There is no question about that. CE is nothing more than a conglomeration of deliberately deceptive metaphors employed by Dennett  in order to conceal his ridiculous argument that subjective experience does not exist because it is not objective.

nigelTheBold wrote:

Paisley wrote:

If the term "subjective" presupposes dualism (which you seem to be arguing), then you have first-person evidence for dualism. I know that Dennett is not a dualist. He is an "eliminative materialist" because he is denying the reality of our subjectivity. He denies the reality of our subjectivity because it is not objective. That kind of intellectual dishonesty qualifies as complete and utter stupidity. 

Actually, no, you miss the point entirely. "Subjective experience" is a common term that has been around for a long time. It does not imply dualism at all. That's my point. It is philosophically-neutral. All it means is, "Our internal perception of our senses and our thinking process."

I am arguing that "qualia," however it is defined, is used in a why that is clearly dualistic. It is not philosophically neutral. Dennett also argues it is incoherent. This is why Dennett dismisses it as an incoherent, inconsistently-used word for something we all consider intuitively obvious. The other side of the argument is that, while the existence of subjective experience is obvious, the nature of it is not.

The term "qualia" is a red herring. The fact is that Dennett has not explained subjective awareness. He has simply explained it away by completely reducing consciousness to information processing. If you actually believe this qualifies as an adequate explanation of consciousness, then you should infer that consciousness is magically emerging from your computer the next time your anti-virus software scans the files on your hard drive for viruses.  

nigelTheBold wrote:

Dennett has said, "I believe subjective experience exists." He believes our subjective experience is one aspect of an objective process -- one that can be observed.

The subjective is not objective by definition. Redefining the term "subjective" to be compatible with "objective" is a semantical ploy to make the specious argument that subjectivity really doesn't exist.

nigelTheBold wrote:

And you know what, Paisley? This is already paying of in a practical way. One company recently demonstrated a device that allows you to type just by thinking about it. It objectively measures electrical fields produced by the brain, and as you think, it types letters on the screen. This would not be possible if Dennett wasn't correct. If there was some mystical currently-undetected force that made up our consciousness, this would be impossible.

Please cite the source. I would be interested in reading the article because this would appear to provide evidence for telekinesis.

nigelTheBold wrote:

Paisley wrote:

Well, I will agree with you in one respect. There is no scientific evidence for consciousness (i.e. subjective awareness). But if you believe that constitutes rational grounds for dismissing the reality of subjectivity, then you are seriously flirting with insanity. What is wishful thinking is the belief that consciousness will magically arise from computers if software engineers could only create a more complex application.

Uhm, as I have explained, I do not dismiss subjective awareness. I dismiss the fantasy that there's something other than our natural world. As you say, subjective awareness is self-evident. It's one of the few self-evident truths out there. Where we differ, my little ragamuffin, is in our explanations. You say you have one that involves magic pixie dust. I say we don't yet have one, but all evidence points to the physical brain.

The difference is, I will admit my ignorance.

It is willful ignorance based on intellectual dishonesty. The problem is that you do not have the intellectual honesty to admit that subjective awareness is not objective. 

nigelTheBold wrote:

As for the "magical" thinking, I believe it is you who proffers an explanation of consciousness by invoking magical properties.

I am simply pointing out what is clearly obvious to anyone who has given this subject matter a modicum of intellectual consideration. Consciousness (i.e. subjective awareness) has no physical properties - none, nada, ZILCH! The burden of proof is upon those who assume that consciousness is physical, not on those who question the assumption.

nigelTheBold wrote:

Me, I don't believe we have sufficient understanding of the algorithms that underlie consciousness to be able to construct an AI. Perhaps sometime in the future we may be able to construct such an AI.

Translation: "The problem is that we have yet to identify the magical strange loop that defies logic."

nigelTheBold wrote:

If you are obliquely referring to Searle's Chinese Room, that has been shown to suffer from many fallacies, not the least of which is the fallacy of division.

No, I am not. I am simply citing Searle to demonstrate that Dennett really has made the argument that subjective experiences do not actually exist. If Dennett had not, then Searle's would not have made the argument that Dennett is making an category mistake.

nigelTheBold wrote:

Paisley wrote:

It matters because you have already committed yourself to upholding Dennett's view on the non-existence of qualia. Therefore, you are implicitly denying the reality of subjective experiences.

Uhm, no. As I explained many times, I accept subjective experience. My quibble is with the word "qualia," which is too often used in a fashion that assumes dualism. Our disagreement isn't about the existence of subjective experience. Our disagreement is about the nature of subjective experience. Your attempt to avoid the fact that you have no evidence supporting dualism other than your own intuition causes you to claim otherwise. This is, however, simple sophistry.

My first-person experience of my own subjectivity presents me with evidence that consciousness is not physical. If you believe that it is, then provide me with one physical property of consciousness.

nigelTheBold wrote:

Oh noes! Two philosophers disagree over something! The world is coming to an end!

So Searle believes qualia exist as a coherent philosophical concept. Dennett believes qualia are incoherent, and ultimately useless.[Quining Qualia, 1998] (Me, I'm starting to reconsider my position on qualia, in light of Gerald Edelman's work to create a functional, rather than intrinsic, concept of qualia. While I still dislike the baggage the word brings with it, perhaps the core of the concept can be salvaged from the philosophical mess it is in currently.)

This is why I suspect that you really never read Dennett's book. The functional definition of consciousness was the one that Dennett employed in CE.

nigelTheBold wrote:

In any case, Searle is essentially a dualist. He claims there is "something" that makes up consciousness. The only difference between him and a standard general-issue dualist is he believes that "something" is material in nature. It's just not the neurons forming an emergent system via an algorithmic system.

In any case, this is an unproductive discussion. You can now claim that I'm trying to backtrack, and that qualia is defined as "subjective experience" and so Daniel Dennett is insane. Carry on.

What kind of stupidity is this? If you believe that consciousness is physical, then you are a physicalist.

I will grant you that Searle's position of "biological naturalism" qualifies as some form of "non-reductive physicalism." As such, it probably does qualify as a form of dualism.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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nigelTheBold wrote:Paisley

nigelTheBold wrote:

Paisley wrote:

I believe I have a fairly good grasp on the finer subtleties of atheistic materialism. All your experiences (whether for good or ill) will ultimately mean nothing in the vast scheme of things. Such are the implications of a Godless existence.

That's hardly one of the finer subtleties of atheistic materialism, so I still doubt your grasp of those. However, with this observation, you are spot-on.

The funny thing is, you and I are consigned to the same fate. If a god exists, our lives will be just as meaningful. If god does not exist, your life too means nothing in the long run, in spite of your beliefs.

No, I disagree. Beliefs have implications. You have a pessimistic outlook which is made evident by your word-choice here - namely, "fate." I have an optimistic outlook on life. Therefore, I do not believe we are consigned to the same fate. There is a difference between "fate" and "destiny." The former has a negative connotation, the latter a positive one.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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nigelTheBold wrote:I've seen

nigelTheBold wrote:

I've seen this video. I found it interesting. Lawrence Krauss is one of the many people actually answering the question. In what way is he begging the question?

Because Krauss really believes the "nothing" (i.e. the singularity) in this scenario is actually a "something." Therefore, his response begs the question: Why is there something rather than nothing

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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jcgadfly wrote:I'm still

jcgadfly wrote:

I'm still waiting on you to respond to those who did answer the question, preacher.

Who actually answered the question?

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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latincanuck wrote:Paisley

latincanuck wrote:

Paisley wrote:

That you believe that something is

better

than nothing is a value-judgment. And if you believe that a value-judgment is the reason why there is something rather than nothing, than you are actually presupposing something (actually, I should say some being) - namely, an evaluator (i.e. one who determines values). 

Just like your statement about this being the most fundamental question of existence is a value-judgment call, for me it's not why there is something instead of nothing, but instead how it all came to be, how explains the process, the why question presupposes a purpose, they may not be a purpose, but once you figure out the how then the why question could be potentially asked.

Asking "why" does not necessarily presuppose purpose. Be that as it may, the fact is that you did presuppose a purposeful reason - a teleological explanation that belies your atheistic worldview. (Leibniz's "best possible worlds" argument presupposes God.)

latincanuck wrote:

Paisley wrote:

You are evading the question. And if you find the question to be truly irrelevant, then you should not be participating in this thread

I see your reading comprehension is still sub-par, well let me tell you again, I am not evading the question, I am not participating in the debate.

Okay. End of discussion.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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I did

Paisley wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

I'm still waiting on you to respond to those who did answer the question, preacher.

Who actually answered the question?

I answered the question in my post about finches.  Evidently only answers expressed in appropriate philosophical jargon, making appropriate references to philosophers, are acceptable. 

The point I made, summed up, is this: The question may or may not have meaning because we can't even tell whether or not the concepts we use in the question are all the concepts available to us.  Prove to me we're not cavemen operating on a limited conceptual basis.

Nothing I've read in this long LONG thread addresses my point.  You guys just keep on using philosophical jargon to one up each other. 


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Kane Jeeves wrote:Paisley

Kane Jeeves wrote:

Paisley wrote:

Who actually answered the question?

I answered the question in my post about finches.  Evidently only answers expressed in appropriate philosophical jargon, making appropriate references to philosophers, are acceptable. 

The point I made, summed up, is this: The question may or may not have meaning because we can't even tell whether or not the concepts we use in the question are all the concepts available to us.  Prove to me we're not cavemen operating on a limited conceptual basis.

Nothing I've read in this long LONG thread addresses my point.  You guys just keep on using philosophical jargon to one up each other. 

You call that a point? I thought it was some kind of parody on the GEICO commercials - "fifteen minutes can save you fifteen percent or more on your sanity...so easy...even a caveman can do it."

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Paisley wrote:BobSpence1

Paisley wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

You refuse to see that these ideas of random vs determined are just as applicable to the mental world as the 'physical', at least partly because the mental world is ultimately dependent of the physical.

No. This is not true. I have already stated that I believe mentality or consciousness involves both components (i.e. determinism and spontaneity). What I will argue is that "indeterminism" poses a larger obstacle for a strictly material worldview rather than for a spiritual one. As a believer, I fully embrace the "indeterminate." That's something that will always remain mysterious. It can never be explained.

Indeterminism is not in any way a problem for 'materialism' - chaos theory describes mechanisms by which physical processes can be fully indeterminate, contradicting the old intuitive assumption which you appear to still hold to that 'material' => 'mechanical' => 'strictly determined'. The essential difference which earlier thinkers did not grasp is the implication of recursive processes, involving feedback, where the output of a process is also one of its inputs. It is only a problem for those who haven't fully taken such concepts on board.

Quantum theory takes indeterminism a step further. In one sense, quantum random events, such as radioactive decay are caused, in that the various energy states of the unstable nucleus determine the probability of decay in any given time interval. What is random is the timing of the actual decay event. It is either some intrinsically statistically random property of reality, or the result of some 'lower level' process not currently observable - a version of the 'hidden variable' interpretation.

'Random' does not really mean 'uncaused'. Random behaviour can be approximated by purely deterministic mechanisms, such as 'pseudo-random' number generators, or the movements of individual molecules of a gas in a container as they bounce off each other. As the number of states being processed in a PRNG gets larger, and the number of feedback connections gets larger, the 'prediction' of its state at some future time grows rapidly more difficult. Similarly, the greater the number of gas molecules, and the greater the time interval since they were in some known configuration, the ability to predict their current state becomes. With each time interval, the precision of knowledge of the initial state required to predict, even in principle, the current state grows exponentially.

I think of the ideal 'pure' random variable representing the output of some such approximation to randomness as some important dimension of it approaches infinity.

Random may just mean that it is the net effect of a large number of finely balanced 'causes', as that number approaches infinity, or at least sufficiently large to make it effectively random in the given context.

Indeterminate means unpredictable, an event whose outcome is "not wholly determined by antecedent causes." This is fully consistent with 'material mechanisms''. For' example consider a perfectly rigid sphere falling onto an infinitely sharp knife edge, perfectly aligned. Which side will it fall on? In one interpretation it will remain balanced on the edge. But to 'know' that it will actually balance or fall to one side or the other would require knowing its alignment with literally infinite accuracy. The difference between such a situation and 'true' indeterminacy is, to me, a purely philosophical, ie meaningless, question, just like that in the OP.

At the very least, it shows that 'indeterminism' is in no way a truly fundamental problem for 'materialism', however much it may have been for earlier versions of 'materialism', before we grasped the implications of recursion and feedback and limit processes.

QM means that that it becomes indeterminate at finite precision, namely once we reach the Planck scale.

Quote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

We don't deny that awareness etc, 'exists', in some sense, just that it is not some non-physical 'substance' or 'essence'. It is what a particular, and subtle, physical/chemical process 'feels' like from the 'inside'. 

Well, you have been tap dancing around this one for sometime. You profess to be a "non-reductive physicalist." As I see it, there are basically two options here: Supervenient theory or epiphenomenalism. "Supervenient theory" holds that  mental states are physical but cannot be reduced to physical properties. (IOW, mental states supervene on brain states.) But if they can't be reduced to physical properties, then why call them physical? "Epiphenomenalism" is actually a form of dualism. The bottom line is that both hold that mental states are causally inefficacious. And if both are causally inert, then you have no explanation for why consciousness was naturally selected since it could not have possibly conferred any survival benefit. IOW, why aren't organic "robots without consciousness" roaming the earth?

What you see as my 'dancing around' the issue is really me trying to find some way to describe, in terms that you may finally 'get', a complex and subtle set of concepts that I personally feel I have a fairly useful grasp of.

I don't accept the idea of 'reducibility'. I do not believe that descriptions of mental processes can be 'reduced' to a description in terms of low-level events, such as chemistry, particle physics, or even simple neuronal activity, even those processes are all involved, and are essential under-pinnings of mental events. But not unique prerequisites - alternative chemistries or atomic structures could also, in principle, support the same high-level processes.

Just as I don't think atomic/particle physics can capture the essence of biological evolution.

Evolution could occur in any system of competing entities that reproduce and are subject to random variation, regardless of their chemical composition or the type of atoms they were composed of.

This does not require that any kind of dualism apply, just that the 'physical', or what I prefer the 'natural', encompasses not just the fundamental bits that physical entities are composed of, but the principles and emergent effects of complex structures composed of such bits. A bit like how the complex theorems of higher mathematics are totally emergent from the basic axioms, are somehow implied by those axioms, while not actually contained within them in any meaningful, ie non-metaphorical, sense.

How would you tell the difference between conscious and non-conscious entities or robots, both capable of highly complex behaviour and responses?? This is the old 'zombie' question.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


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Paisley wrote:jcgadfly

Paisley wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

I'm still waiting on you to respond to those who did answer the question, preacher.

Who actually answered the question?

I guess you think no one has since you are only wanting answers that agree with you.

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
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Paisley wrote:Okay. End of

Paisley wrote:

Okay. End of discussion.

Ok I will take this as a I win this debate as you don't even bother to respond to the points being brought up, thanks Paisley I never won a debate so easily.

 


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Pais

 

I don't believe there ever was nothing. We have no proof of such a thing. And creationists all agree with me. In insisting there is an eternal creator, they don't believe there ever was 'nothing' either.

 

 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Atheistextremist wrote: I

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

I don't believe there ever was nothing. We have no proof of such a thing. And creationists all agree with me. In insisting there is an eternal creator, they don't believe there ever was 'nothing' either.

 

 

 

 

 

Nothing is, as nothing does?

Faith is the word but next to that snugged up closely "lie's" the want.
"By simple common sense I don't believe in god, in none."-Charlie Chaplin


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I'd still like to know what

I'd still like to know what the use is of "hazarding a guess", as you put it.