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Any Foo philosophers?

Old 01-19-18, 02:06 PM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
We're using physical systems (neurons, electrons, cellulose and pigment, etc.) to describe metaphysics. There is no metaphysics without physics. Information is physical. We can imagine information without matter, but that imagining is a physical process.
I agree, which is what makes ascribing reality to a proof, or a number, or something like that, problematic. (I don't know any way out of this.)
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Old 01-19-18, 02:10 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by DiabloScott View Post
Trolley problem is more about ethics than philosophy; you've probably heard it before, it's famous and googleable.

Anyway, the stated fact that the bridge fell down is consequence enough for your existence argument, even if no one was killed - so I wondered if there were a hidden meaning in presenting it.
OK: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trolley_problem

I had never heard of it. I never learned anything about moral philosophy. But it is an interesting problem. I guess in some sense this formulation has a thread of similarity: If you want to argue that the proof (and the mistake) are not real, an opponent could claim that as a moral abdication from the consequences.
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Old 01-19-18, 03:16 PM
  #28  
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The trolley problem has become a popular topic with the rise of self driving cars.
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Old 01-19-18, 04:14 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
...There is no metaphysics without physics...
I would have said that exactly the opposite is true. If metaphysics is the study of what existence is and physics is the study of how existence bounces around.

Jim
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Old 01-19-18, 04:50 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by no motor? View Post
I'm in before both the lock and the fire.
What about the name-calling?
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Old 01-19-18, 05:04 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
The trolley problem has become a popular topic with the rise of self driving cars.
They actually addressed this on an episode of The Good Place not too long ago.
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Old 01-19-18, 05:26 PM
  #32  
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I'm in....

terested.

I'm no philosopher, but I can give opinions, and (I think) I can avoid being a d1ck.

Seems like everybody's jumping the gun on their pet topics already!

Maybe we could give a try to self-policing, maybe a standard disclaimer on every post like

"We're here to discuss philosophy in a thoughtful, respectful way. If you can't do that, go away. Don't ruin this for the rest of us"

and regulars can tell people when they're over the line
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Old 01-19-18, 05:57 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by jgedwa View Post
I would have said that exactly the opposite is true. If metaphysics is the study of what existence is and physics is the study of how existence bounces around.

Jim
By "physics" I mean the material world itself, not the study of it. Information processing, be it metaphysics or accounting, requires material (e.g. electrons).

I guess I am a metaphysics skeptic.
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Old 01-19-18, 06:35 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
I'm in....

terested.

I'm no philosopher, but I can give opinions, and (I think) I can avoid being a d1ck.

Seems like everybody's jumping the gun on their pet topics already!

Maybe we could give a try to self-policing, maybe a standard disclaimer on every post like

"We're here to discuss philosophy in a thoughtful, respectful way. If you can't do that, go away. Don't ruin this for the rest of us"

and regulars can tell people when they're over the line
If we can get a dozen people with a similar attitude, it could work. To quote my favorite philosopher:

"If a person gave your body to any stranger he met on his way, you would certainly be angry. And do you feel no shame in handing over your own mind to be confused and mystified by anyone who happens to verbally attack you?"

The first step in philosophy, according to Descartes, is to reject anything which can be doubted, and not accept it until we can prove it to our own satisfaction. Nobody has completed that journey, and we are all at a different place on the road. We should respect anyone who wants to learn, or to teach, and we all need to stay humble because there is so much we don't know.

A real philosopher would neither engage in or tolerate the conduct that could get us locked out or moved. (Have you been to P+R? It's intolerable! You can't have a useful discussion with people in that mindset. They are generally bumper bowling within the confines of their chosen ideology, immune to learning much of anything.
Apologies to the small percentage of thoughtful people there...).

It doesn't matter much if people want to color outside the lines and discuss other subjects. But, I'd like to see an in-depth discussion of a topic each week that one of us thinks worthy of our attention. Hopefully, everyone will get their turn to lead the discussion.

Since the interest seems to be there, let's give it a shot next Friday. I'll start a new thread on the 26th with some boundaries that can hopefully keep us from getting bumped to the vast wasteland of P+R.

I'll be trying to discuss the key concept of my favorite work from my favorite philosopher, quoted above (that was not the key concept in the quote, just a quote from the same guy). He considered himself free when he was still a slave, and if you follow the key concept to its logical conclusion, you may agree with him. I'm assuming we will be waiting each week until the following Friday to introduce the new topic, so I won't spill this one, unless some of you have already figured it out (keep your guesses to yourself, please).

Thanks for the positive responses and thanks in advance to everyone who can keep the right attitude, displayed above by Rube.

Friday Foolosophy starting next week!
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Old 01-19-18, 06:38 PM
  #35  
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Well, maybe we should take a moment and try to work out what metaphysics might be.

I would rather use that word to describe the study of something, but that's not what you meant by it. So, then how about this:

A thing's physics is a matter of what kind of thing it is and a thing's metaphysics is a matter of whether or not it is a thing. Its existence. So the difference between a rabbit and a badger is a matter of physics. And the difference between a unicorn and a rabbit is a matter of metaphysics.

If this is right, then it strikes me that information does not require material. Consider that I can have rational thoughts about non-existent things: "The present king of France is bald." That sentence seems true, and yet it is not "about" any material thing.
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Old 01-19-18, 06:45 PM
  #36  
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Karl Popper proposed a demarcation between metaphysics and physics/science, suggesting that line is defined by whether or not a proposition can be experimentally tested empirically.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demarcation_problem

I doubt it is universally accepted, but is the basis for how I use the term.
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Old 01-19-18, 06:51 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by chewybrian View Post
Friday Foolosophy starting next week!
Love the title! Hopefully will help remind everyone to keep it lighthearted
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Old 01-19-18, 07:04 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
Karl Popper proposed a demarcation between metaphysics and physics/science, suggesting that line is defined by whether or not a proposition can be experimentally tested empirically.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demarcation_problem

I doubt it is universally accepted, but is the basis for how I use the term.
Yeah, that is one way to understand metaphysics. But that then makes metaphysics into nonsense. Maybe that is true, but I think that not all talk of nothing (and something, for that matter) is nonsense. The empirical positivism of Popper has a certain clear-eyed appeal to it that I that pulls on me sometimes, but I think it comes at the cost of being able to say sensible things about the past, the future, what could have happened but did not, and math. There are plenty of sensible things to be said about both what we see and also about what we do not see.

Given all that blather, how about this for another way to cleave physics from metaphysics: physics is about the world as it is, metaphysics is about the world as it could be. Or, physics is about the actual world, whereas metaphysics is about possible worlds.

If so, then I would still argue that metaphysics comes first. We first need to work out why the world is as it is and then can try to work out the world around us.

Jim
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Old 01-19-18, 07:19 PM
  #39  
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I never studied philosophy. I apparently sounded like an existentialist in college, but I didn't find an adequate definition of existentialism. That sounds like an existentialist problem.
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Old 01-19-18, 07:22 PM
  #40  
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That division would allow you to separate a science (astronomy) from nonsense (astrology), but doesn't allow you to separate astrology from other metaphysical topics that aren't typically regarded as nonsense.

Maybe a different way to look at it is that the natural sciences are the subset of human ideas (all of which have their origin in metaphysics) that can be formulated in a way that can eventually be experimentally tested (and potentially refuted -- Popper wasn't a positivist). So in that sense it would agree with you that you need metaphysics in order to have physics.
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Old 01-19-18, 08:50 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
That division would allow you to separate a science (astronomy) from nonsense (astrology), but doesn't allow you to separate astrology from other metaphysical topics that aren't typically regarded as nonsense.

Maybe a different way to look at it is that the natural sciences are the subset of human ideas (all of which have their origin in metaphysics) that can be formulated in a way that can eventually be experimentally tested (and potentially refuted -- Popper wasn't a positivist). So in that sense it would agree with you that you need metaphysics in order to have physics.
Ah, I thought this might be lurking in there somewhere. The street understanding of metaphysics as astrology and ghosts and things like that is really nothing like what academic philosophers mean by the word metaphysics.

So, I suspect we both agree that astrology is silly and not worth working out in any kind of careful way. Lets set that kind of thing aside then.



On my way home today I did not stop at the store and pick up a gallon of milk. I believe I could have. But I did not.



Now, I am of the opinion that all of the above sentences are meaningful. I am of the opinion that they are all true. But what are they about? In virtue of what are they true? I did not go the store, so there is not some event that any of the sentences above could map onto. When I say that "I could have gone to the store but did not", I would argue that there is no structure in the world that makes the sentence true. And yet the sentence could still be true. I would say that it is true. In any case, the sentence is not nonsense. In my view it is quite sensible. But not empirical.

That presents a complicated position, I think. Is a sentence true when there is the correct connection between a sentence and some chunk of the real world? The above sentences seem to not fit that mold. So, is the truth of a sentence a connection between a sentence and something else? Perhaps a thought in a mind? I don't really know how to answer a question like that. But, I think that is a central question of metaphysics. And it may not be nonsense. But it certainly is not something silly like astrology.

And still there is the matter of mathematics. Generally the claims of mathematics are neither empirical nor falsifiable.

Jim
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Old 01-19-18, 09:09 PM
  #42  
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Old 01-19-18, 09:40 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
Love the title! Hopefully will help remind everyone to keep it lighthearted
hear! hear!
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Old 01-20-18, 12:25 AM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by jgedwa View Post

Now, I am of the opinion that all of the above sentences are meaningful. I am of the opinion that they are all true. But what are they about? In virtue of what are they true? I did not go the store, so there is not some event that any of the sentences above could map onto. When I say that "I could have gone to the store but did not", I would argue that there is no structure in the world that makes the sentence true. And yet the sentence could still be true. I would say that it is true. In any case, the sentence is not nonsense. In my view it is quite sensible. But not empirical. ...

And still there is the matter of mathematics. Generally the claims of mathematics are neither empirical nor falsifiable.

Jim
I think we are in agreement, unless I am misunderstanding. By that I mean we can't use the idea of a sentence being meaningful as a criterion for what is metaphysical.

Let's take a simple example. Someone might have an elaborate, well-thought-out and internally consistent explanation of the design and origin of life that involves a deity that is a creator. The deity is not something whose presence we can ever hope to test for experimentally. That doesn't make it nonsense. It may be false, or it may be true. The one thing that makes this a metaphysical explanation is our inability to test the proposition.

That is also why I think the existence of proofs, numbers, Platonic geometric forms, etc. is so problematic. I want to argue that these things are in some sense objectively real (despite being metaphysical entities), but I am also not a believer in non-physical deities and so forth.

Last edited by wgscott; 01-20-18 at 12:29 AM.
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Old 01-20-18, 10:21 AM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by no motor? View Post
Eventually we will realize the answer is 42.
But, then, we will have to figure out what the question was.



^They got the petunias up there; still working on the sperm whale...

Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
Love the title!
Credit to leob1 on that.

Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
Hopefully will help remind everyone to keep it lighthearted
Lighthearted is always good. It can be serious, too, as long as it is respectful, and not religious or political.

We are here to learn first and teach second, but never to "win".
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Old 01-21-18, 12:16 AM
  #46  
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Sorry, I'm a philosophomore.
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Old 01-21-18, 12:17 AM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
I agree, which is what makes ascribing reality to a proof, or a number, or something like that, problematic. (I don't know any way out of this.)

Everybody else is all in your head.
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Old 01-21-18, 11:22 AM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by Rollfast View Post
Everybody else is all in your head.
Hence the congestion.
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Old 01-21-18, 07:51 PM
  #49  
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Old 01-21-18, 08:02 PM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by pesty View Post
They actually addressed this on an episode of The Good Place not too long ago.

Trolley has never killed anyone in the history of the Make-Believe Neighborhood.
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