samedi 1 septembre 2012

Two slits on my head

Err... Did I mention I underwent surgery last year? Oh no, not the time when my right forearm was on fire, that was in December. In November I also entered the operating theater and it was my eyelids that were very much on the forefront of my concerns.

Like everybody when our eyes are going to experiment some treatment, I assume we all have some qualms and concerns. Won't the surgeon sneeze at an untimely moment?

So when they woke me up I was relieved to perceive the white gleam of... but of what exactly? All - and not everything - was immerged in an indiscernible white fog and a voice told me (probably, I don't exactly remember) not to worry, I just had been blindfolded and it will last until tomorrow. I hadn't been forewarned.

So the funniest part of the intervention was over and I was brought back to my room where I stayed stuck in my bed with a perf on my left forearm for the next 24 hours.

Oh boy, let me tell you that was like a life changing experience. Being blind isn't precisely like closing one's eyes for a few seconds or even a few minutes just to "see" how it feels to walk in one's apartment without seeing anything.

Lying on a bed on which you are blind and tied, you are then not much more than a mere living object relying 100% on others. Of course forget about Sudoku, cross words, Rubik's cube and their likes. Why didn't you listen to the radio some may ask? Just, try to use any smart phone when you can't see the keyboard, the touches and you don't even know whether you're holding it in the right position...

And one has to be very careful with where the few objects you need are positioned since if you let them drop... well you simply can't retrieve them, they're gone and you're more alone that you previously were.

So basically, you're confronted with your inner thoughts and you discover that isn't much really to keep you busy. 

Since I always have tablets of Lexomil with me I took what it takes to sleep as much as I could. Yet, I felt twice like bouts of anxiety which were quickly overcome since I knew I will be freed at 4 pm the day after. It is possible that I asked the nurses three times which time it was

And also, I shouted in the middle of the night because I needed some bodily fluids to be evacuated and I couldn’t reach the alarm device which was gone somewhere along the bed. That is when the nurse, who was just a voice to me, said: “Look, I put it here” (verbatim).  And it was a reminder of how different it is when one is still present to the world whereas the other isn’t. A world of difference indeed, unless it is a different world... 

Speaking of world... This experience led me once again to the conclusion that the world and the universe too only exist as long as they are perceived by a reflecting consciousness. A process that can happen only with light reaching my brain through these two slits on my head. Behind and covered by said slits, are two drops of water which permit opsins to be kept alive and allow light to activate the cells which in the end create in my mind a representation of the world, and not the world itself of course.

The proposition seems paradoxical I know but yet, there's no mountain and no trees to the blind, no Moon and no planets and no galaxies and no black holes, save metaphorically speaking. The very existence of the world depends on the possibility that it may be perceived with light as the ultimate medium that enables the formation of images upon which we accommodate our skills in order to survive.

And every morning when we wake up, we thoughtlessly rub our two drops of water like they weren’t the very condition that permits the world to exist. The universe is so fragile indeed and it is at our command and most of us don’t realize.

…what he knows is not a sun and an earth, but only an eye that sees a sun, a hand that feels an earth; that the world which surrounds him is there only as representation, i.e., only in relation to something else, the consciousness… 

(to be followed here)

143 commentaires:

Flocon a dit…

Je lève un peu le pied, j'écris le billet début septembre.

Anijo a dit…

Empty head?

Anijo a dit…

Dark soul?

Flocon a dit…

Empty head? Very much so...
Dark soul? Could have been, fortunately is not.

Hint nut this is a bit of a red herring since the post has nothing to do with the U.S, Iran, war and also there's no sex involved, no French politics nor Zionism but we're all affected and the universe too...

Ned Ludd a dit…

So, it is about Black Holes. There is scientific debate about their number and sizes. There may be big ones and small ones. There may be ones nearby around us, or not. They may appear and disappear, or not. All that is a current subject of study.

Flocon a dit…

So, it is about Black Holes.

Metaphorically speaking, I can say you're spot on. Just retrospectively will you see how right you were.

I am currently working on this which is in German and I can tell you it does take time and dedication. Two solid weeks probably won't suffice for this 40,000 Ko article (nearly twice as many as the English page).

And also the Danka system but since it is in English it should be finished by tomorrow. Then I will switch to the Two slits on my head post.

Have I mentioned my brain is on the verge of over heating? ô_Ô

Ned Ludd a dit…

Good Luck on the Danka system text. It is a bit esoteric for me. One example:

"The chasm between allowed and forbidden sects became much deeper than it had been[4]. If on the one hand Buddhism allowed a diversification of its authorized sects, on the other it punished tendencies that put into question the political status quo[4]. A danka was registered at the closest temple regardless of its religious affiliations, so these became gradually less important[4]. As a consequence of all these factors, differences among sects allowed by the government got watered down and Buddhism became more uniform, not least because the Shogunate had a say in matters of religious orthodoxy[4]."

I don't follow the entire reasoning here, in particular, "A danka was registered at the closest temple regardless of its religious affiliations, so these became gradually less important[4]." I also don't why as a consequence of two things mentioned why the differences got watered down.

The paragraph doesn't make sense to me. The logic, or at least its expression, seems weak to me.

Anijo a dit…


Alas, your erudite esoteric knowledge and interest leaves me at a loss for words, and leaves me with a sense of admiration for said esoteric erudition.

Flocon a dit…

ok, here is le système danka in French. As expected, it didn't take too long since it is in English but I fear the German article...

Note how in Japanese, the article is so ridiculously short for such an important feature of the Japanese society since the XVIIth century. The Finnish article is a translation of the English one.

I've probably missed something because the passage that Ned earmarked didn't pose any problem to understand and translate. Something must have eluded me.

Cette histoire des relations entre le Bouddhisme et le Shintoïsme au Japon est tout-à-fait intéressante d'un point de vue historique. This article shows how Buddhism has played an important political role in ancient Japan as compared to Shintoism.

But it is worth considering that on a strictly religious point of view, the two were very much associated for over 1.200 years (no less) as you can read on the Jingū-ji page, another translation from English.

Things began turning sour in the XIXth century with the Haibutsu kishaku movement which eventually led to the Shinbutsu bunri.

Jusqu'au XIXè siècle tout allait bien et c'est l'objet de l'article Shinbutsu-Shūgō auquel je vais travailler quoi qu'il m'effraie un peu I must admit. Mais bon, a little bit everyday.

To be sure, the memorisation of Japanese (or Chinese) names is next to impossible to Westerners save for people like her or her, courtesy your obedient servant ;-)

Seriously, with first names counting four syllables and last names counting four or even five syllables going like Kobayakawa Takakage that is like endless onomatopées, I don't even try to memorise them.

But I'm having a lot of fun though...

Ned Ludd a dit…

Flocon, I don't think that the paragraph is hard to translate, I just think the reasoning is not clear and I don't see the causes cited and the effect. Why did the registration of a Danka at its closest temple cause them to become less important?

There are other problems with the paragraph, but it would be long to go into them. Maybe it is simpler than I think and I am seeing things in a too complicated manner.

Flocon a dit…


it says "Comme un danka est enregistré au temple le plus proche indépendamment de ses appartenances religieuses, la nature de celles-ci devient alors progressivement moins importante

je ne vois pas de difficulté de signification.

One prefers pastries perfumed with vanilla, or strawberry or chocolate and h/h is compelled to buy h/h delicacy in bakeries which don't necessarily provide one's favorite perfume. In the end the sale of cookies (say) continues no matter the respective perfums and the difference between said perfums waters down since it is eventually of no importance for the whole bussiness.

Why insist on vanilla since at the end of the day one won't get it? Originally it may have been important but gradually it isn't such an important factor and even isn't a factor at all after years?

There's a watering down process at work here and it is a reason why differences among sects allowed by the government got watered down and Buddhism became more uniform.

Ned Ludd a dit…

But wasn't there differences among the temples: some served vanilla, others chocolate, and others strawberry? So even if a danka was geographical restricted in its choice, there would still seem to exist differences in other geographical areas. I agree that to a certain extent that could lead to somewhat less diversity, but by how much? Were the temples diverse in the first place, or were they somehow connected to one or a limited number of beliefs?

Flocon a dit…

"Were the temples diverse in the first place, or were they somehow connected to one or a limited number of beliefs"

Another indication of how overheating my brain currently is: to me your question contains its own solution...

Yes the temples were diverse since they all were representatives of different sects and branches of Buddhism. And yes, they somehow were connected to one or a limited number of beliefs since they were bodies of different sects of Buddhism.

As you can see here, there existed 13 main sects with 56 branches, all of them with temples all over Japan. Je crois qu'il y a plus de 120.000 temples au Japon (notwithstanding the Shinto shrines).

"there would still seem to exist differences in other geographical areas."

I'm not sure to understand your interrogation here. D'après ce que je comprends, la situation était la même dans toutes les régions du Japon.

The important and mandatory thing to do for a Japanese was to be registered by a temple, whatever its affiliation. So since it was "whatever", said whatever in the end didn't play much of a role and therefore lost of its importance (was watered down).

But your questioning sheds light on one of the problems with Wikipedia (and all encyclopaedias for that matter): If the formulation isn't as precise, unambiguous as can be, questions may arise which can't find their answer in the corpus of the article.

Il m'arrive d'aller voir ce que dit une autre langue (allemand, espagnol ou italien) quand j'ai un doute sur le sens d'un passage. Mais ici le seul texte disponible est en anglais (ou en japonais...) Il faut faire avec ou aller dans une bibliothèque chercher de la documentation.

Unless you read this text on line (in English and probably the source for the article I translated) which is indicated in the bibliography section of the Danka system article.

De toute façon j'ai repéré une erreur dans le texte en anglais que j'ai donc modifié accordingly.

Il est question de "citizen"

("...the affiliation with a Buddhist temple compulsory to all citizens.") Les Japonais étaient tout sauf "citizen" avant la WWII. Comme les Britanniques contemporains qui sont encore "sujets" of the Queen (and they seem to be satisfied with this state of affair...)

Même s'il y a des imperfections bien sûr, ce sujet est très intéressant pour comprendre l'histoire de la religion in Japan, qui est surtout d'ailleurs ue partie de l'histoire du Japon.

La théologie japonaise est quasi inexistante, à l'image de la philosophie.

Ned Ludd a dit…

Flocon, thanks for taking the time to try to clue me in. My head is frazzled and aches.

Other parts of the article puzzle me too, for example, "...and the birth of the so-called "New Religions" produced interesting ideas[4]. Now that is vague for me. What kind of ideas? Just religious or also political and how did they cause change.

What I mean by geographical differences is that there probably different modes in the 56 branches that remained. A danka in a vanilla temple area would get that, and one in a strawberry one would get that, etc.

Anyway, thanks again for trying to get my brain around this.

Flocon a dit…

and the birth of the so-called "New Religions" produced interesting ideas

Il est vrai que c'est bien vague mais un article de Wiki ne peut répondre à toutes les questions possibles sur tel ou tel sujet. C'est pour cela que la bibliographie est essentielle.

En la circonstance, cette phrase renvoie à la note 4 qui cite un livre (en allemand) que voici que voilà.

But if like me you're not entirely fluent in German, you still can rely on another book in English that the German page links to.

Japanese Journal of Religious Studies. It definitely will be easier for you than for me to read, d'autant plus que je n'ai pas fermé l'oeil de la nuit...

And thanks to you for paying attention to these little hobbies of mine... ;-)

Mais cet article est très bien conçu, it has obviously been written by a scholar (who else d'ailleurs?)

J'ai lu la page en allemand, elle est plus détaillée que l'article puisque l'article s'en est inspiré mais elle n'est pas plus précise sur les "idées nouvelles" des nouvelles religions.

( however, the development of the Japanese Confucianism, Shinto, and the emergence of the "new religions" in the Bakumatsu period (ie, in the last decades before 1868) are attractive.)

Flocon a dit…

De toutes façons, les "idées nouvelles" produites par les "nouvelles religions" (Which nouvelles religions by the way?) ne devaient pas être révolutionnaires et débordent le cadre du système danka qui est tout le même le sujet principal de l'article.

Comme écrit Hegel :

L'érudition, toujours, s'étend le plus là où il y a le moins à prendre.

(Leçons sur la Philo. de l'Histoire, Le monde romain)

ZapPow a dit…

"The proposition seems paradoxical I know but yet, there's no mountain and no trees to the blind, no Moon and no planets and no galaxies and no black holes, save metaphorically speaking."

Yep ! But there is an infinity of elephants.

Flocon a dit…


Si tu te souviens bien, ton lien est à l'origine de l'illustration d'un billet annoncé il y a quelques mois et qui ne s'est concrétisé qu'aujourd'hui...

Avec Cellequilit en invitée surprise. Maybe has Anijo some information about "the one who reads"?

Anijo a dit…


The one who reads is around, but she is dealing with some stuff right now I believe. I do hope that she'll offer up some of her lovely prose and poetry.

Anijo a dit…

If a tree falls in a forest..

Flocon a dit…


Je reviens sur le Anekantavada, another name with six syllables that I shall never memorize.

Cette doctrine ne doute pas de la réalité, elle l'a tient pour acquise et ne s'interroge donc pas sur son existence mais sur les conditions de sa perception et leur multiplicité.

Cela dit je n'en sais pas plus et ce n'est pas grâce au Wiki français que j'apprendrai.

Il se trouve que je "connais" le gars qui a créé la page et qui est un des 195 administrateurs (ils ne sont pas tous actifs très loin de là). C'est le genre de branleur qui fait tout à minima, qui créé des pages de trois lignes là où il existe des pages entières en anglais ou dans d'autres langues.

Cet "article" est typiquement de ceux qui me font fulminer par leur quasi inutilité (encore, on peut admettre que sur ce coup il s'est un peu plus fendu que d'habitude)

Bon, ce n'est pas le sujet du billet non plus...

Flocon a dit…


If a tree falls in a forest, oui c'est tout-à-fait ce dont il s'agit.

As the article says, the question arose with G. Berkely and it belongs to the realm of absolute idealism.

At the end of the post, there's a quote from the World as Will and Representation with a link to its English translation on Wikisource. If one reads the second paragraph from which I took the quote one reads this:

Berkeley, however, was the first who distinctly enunciated it, and by this he has rendered a permanent service to philosophy, even though the rest of his teaching should not endure.

La question du son que génère un arbre qui tombe sans témoin n'est pas neutre cependant puisqu'elle suppose qu'un arbre existe, c'est-à-dire que quelque chose existe, qu'il y ait ou non une conscience pour en être témoin.

La question telle qu'elle est formulée a déjà répondu à l'interrogation première: Does the Moon exist if we don't see it?

In my opinion, no it doesn't.

Curiosity is currently roaming on Mars. What will be known about Mars that we didn't know up to now depends entirely of the data the robot will transmit us. Is there water on Mars if Curiosity can't find traces of water where it currently is?

S'il trouve de l'eau, l'eau existe sur Mars.
S'il n'en trouve pas là où il se trouve, il n'y a pas d'eau sur Mars, period. Le reste c'est du guessing game genre "il n'y a pas d'eau mais il pourrait y en avoir".

C'est possible mais tant que l'on n'en trouve pas il n'y en a pas.

This article may well soon have its counterpart in French...

Anijo a dit…


Your link to Shoperhaurer's philosophy re reality had me considering these ideas. The tree exists, and the vibrations exist, and yet, yes, we as perceivers do perceive them in a way that one might say the distorts reality. And yet, engines and science use said "perceptions", which demonstrates that our perceptions are not mere illusions.

Anonyme a dit…

// Won't the surgeon sneeze at an untimely moment?//

Your fears are groundless.

//Does the Moon exist if we don't see it?

In my opinion, no it doesn't.//

Likewise the surgeon. You are unconscious and do not perceive him. Therefor he does not exist. It follows that, if he does not exist, he cannot be the author of any harm.

On the other hand, the improvement in your circumstances is a mystery that bears explaining.

Creatio ex nihilo?


Ned Ludd a dit…

Even if we don't see the moon, it exists because its gravitational field affects us. We don't feel it, but we can notice some effects like the tides. Some theorists think that the moon has a stabilizing effect on the earth's rotation without which life would not be possible or at least not very developed.

If true, that fact that we are here means the moon exists, even when we can't see it when it is on the other side of the earth from us or in a dark phase.

Other animals can hear ultra-sounds and see infrared and ultraviolet light that we can't without special instruments. Even though we can't sense them, we can experience their effects. For example, we can get a tan in the summer from UV's and even occasional cancers. So they must exist, even if escaping our senses, except for the skin which notices them.

Flocon a dit…

I'll return to the three comments later, each one being very interesting in the sense that the three objections that are presented are all different and open three different perspectives (although they're all wrong and don't adress nor resist the inner logic of the problematics, if you permit me).

D'un point de vue didactique, it's a bit similar (although the subject is entirely different) to the paradoxes by Zeno.

Excerpt: one needs to show what is wrong with the argument, not just the conclusions which is the way SemperFidelis has engaged into.

Encore qu'en la circonstance il ne s'agit pas d'un paradoxe mais bel et bien d'une très simple vérité universelle in the full sense of the word universel.

Anijo the artist's argument is off marks like was the Anekantavada qui parle pas du même aspect des choses, c'est le cas de le dire.

And Ned, with whom the same discussion took place last year, as the Marxist (materialist as opposed to idealist) I understand she is, forgets herself in her calculations.

The issue is so simple to understand that we cannot see it nor accept it, e pur si muove.

Back later, must go

Anijo a dit…

Okay, Flocon. To begin with, the paradox of the tree falling in the forest. Although there may be no ear, and thus no sound, there is nonetheless, vibrations..

Flocon a dit…

Tel qu'il est exposé, l'exemple de l'arbre qui tombe etc. approche la question de l'existence du réel d'une façon qui ne facilite pas la compréhension du problème car il se présente comme un paradoxe qu'il conviendrait de résoudre, ce qui n'est pas le cas.

C'est une question philosophique basique et qui ne fait d'ailleurs pas débat parce qu'elle est évidente.

Cela relève de ce qui s'appelle l'ontologie [for those who are
interested with these words that aren't used on an everyday basis ;-)]

En fait, la mise en cause de la réalité de l'existence du monde est difficile à admettre parce que nous vivons dans le monde qui est là comme un donné dont la réalité nous semble indiscutable puisque nous mêmes sommes là et nous n'en pouvons douter (cogito ergo sum). Les deux nous sont inséparables, à très juste titre d'ailleurs. Nier l'existence du monbde serait comme nier notre propre existence alors que nous sommes bel et bien là hic et nunc. And yet...

The starting point is George Berkeley who famously stated: "esse est percipi" (to be is to be perceived)

Tout est dit avec ces trois mots; Le monde n'existe qu'en tant qu'il est perçu.

C'est avec cette évidence que commence le fameux World as Will etc.:""The world is my idea":— this is a truth which holds good for everything that lives and knows, though man alone can bring it into reflective and abstract consciousness"

I now realise the example of Curiosity on Mars not only was very badly exposed but also misleading.

Autre façon de présenter le problème : La Lune sait-elle qui elle est? Un caillou sur Mars a-t-il conscience de ce qu'il est, d'où il est et que l'univers existe? Does the Milky Way know what it is and where it stands in the Universe and for how long it has been around?

If someone answers yes to these question then h/s believes in God in the sense that h/s identifies the Moon and the rock and the Milky Way to God in a Spinozist way ("Deus sive Natura". Then we're no longer in philosophy but in the fairy kingdom of theology, ite missa est

Plus proche de nous : Un peuplier a-t-il conscience du vent qui le fait osciller? Le vent sait-il d'où il vient et pourquoi il dispose de cette puissance? La baleine sait-elle qu'elle est dans l'eau, le chien sait-il ce qu'est le Soleil et la taupe ce qu'est un trou noir (both meanings of course)?

Et pourtant, les plantes comme les animaux perçoivent les sons, les vibrations et tous les phénomènes physiques de leur environnement

Flocon a dit…

Le monde n’existe qu’en tant que je le perçois et le représente.

When someone dies, who doubts the world disappears to h/h (and not with h/H)? With every single person who dies the whole universe disappears and not only h/h personal universe made of souvenirs and personal experience but the universe itself disappears entirely like in a black hole. Just, there are other human beings who carry on with them the representation of the world ad infinitum, hence the world is in a permanent process of continuation through death and birth.

Of course the rock on Mars doesn’t know what it is but we know for him, we with our reflective and abstract consciousness. We know for the poplar that it perceives the wind as we know for the whale that it is in the ocean and that it gives birth to living creatures, like we know for the spider that it produces nets like the bees produce honey.

Before reflective and abstract consciousness appeared on earth the world didn’t exist. Since rocks, plants, animals, planets, volcanoes on Jupiter, black holes or Solar dust weren’t conscious (and still aren’t), where was the world represented?

The immediate reaction is to affirm the Sun has been burning for 14,7 billion years, the earth was formed 4,5 billion years ago, we have bones of dinosaurs as evidence the world existed before homo sapiens appeared, and we receive light that has been emitted millions and billions years ago by such and such star.

Oh yes, now we have these evidence there’s no denying, like there’s no denying that we reconstruct a posteriori what happened before we existed. Retrospectively, we certainly can affirm the world existed before we arrive. Because now we are here and the existence of the world depends on out ability to reconstruct it, that is to represent to ourselves what it was like before.

The existence of the world depends on our reflective and abstract consciousness. If we humans weren’t here, plants and rocks and animals still would be (can I state because I’m here to imagine the situation which in reality cannot exist per se) but they still would be in their present condition of perceiving but not knowing. The world wouldn’t be because there would exist no reflective and abstract consciousness to make it appear.

Un peu comme une lumière qui ne rencontrerait pas d’obstacle pour la révéler à elle-même.

Cette évidence est tellement simple que Nietzsche, que la lecture du Monde avait tellement impressioné quand il avait 16 ans, tout en ne la contestant pas puisque c'est impossible, la qualifiait de "triviale" ce qui est finalement assez juste (il faut s'entendre sur ce qu'il veut dire par trivial though)

Flocon a dit…


As you can see, it's not a matter of distorsion of reality with our finite senses, the question adresses the very existence of reality. Our brains are devices wired in order to perceive signals like the robots you refer to. But where is the world if there are no sensors to perceive it?

When I write above that we can't doubt the existence of the world because it is here and we are here all the same and we're inseparable, it is precisely because the world exists only in our heads in an object/subject relationship*. l'un ne va pas sans l'autre et c'est pour cela qu'il est difficile d'accepter ce que je présente (of course it's not my idea, it's just one that is now immediate to my understanding).

The world doesn't exist per se independantly from us.

* Consciousness is a state of cognition that includes the subject, which can never be doubted as only it can be the one who doubts, and some object or objects that may or may not have real existence without reference to the subject

Flocon a dit…


I didn't write the surgeon never existed, only that he and the world had ceased to exist to me while I was asleep. I have experienced the consequence of his fine work so retrospectively can I affirm he did exist when I was asleep.

It's like the dinausor's bones: They're here so we can deduct and reconstruct a posterioritheir past existence although nobody was there when they made the surface of the Earth tremble.

When you sleep (even Marines sleep I know), the world and the Moon and China and your own feet don't exist to you.

Flocon a dit…


All your points are valid of course but if you've read my long tirades above you realize they don't adress the same issue.

The examples you give (the tides, the Moon when it is out of our sight, the U.V etc.) all refer to perception one way or another, mais le sujet est celui de l'existence du "réel" which in fact doesn't exist per se.

Now, as I've written above, the only possibility to (falsely) believe the world exists independantly of our existence is to believe in an allmighty God (of course they're all mightier than the neighbour's ones) who knows Itself because It is the whole Universe which is conscious of Itself.

Now, tell me you're not a born again Xtian Ned, are you?

Ned Ludd a dit…

Flocon, if you get skin cancer even though you can't perceive the cause, it is real, at least as long as you live.

"The existence of the world depends on our reflective and abstract consciousness." How do we know that exists? Maybe we live in a state of permanent hallucination.

As to whales, their ancestors were first in the water, and then moved to the land. These ancestors then moved back to the water. So how do we know that whales don't understand that they are living in the water as opposed to land.

They must certainly know it when for one reason or another they get trapped on land. Maybe ancestral experiences come back to them.

"as I've written above, the only possibility to (falsely) believe the world exists independantly of our existence is to believe in an allmighty God" That is not a logical conclusion. To believe in a god is also to rely on our "reflective and abstract consciousness". There is nothing more abstract than not only the idea of god, but that it, but not we, has consciousness.

It is a circular argument.

Flocon a dit…

Tu lis trop vite Ned, though I'm glad you're not a new born Xtian...

"It is a circular argument. Totally agree with you here, all religions have this circular argument at their basis: God is all and everywhere. C'est le type de pensée globalisante des enfants qui ont besoin d'avoir une représentation simple et unifiée du monde qui soit à leur portée.

- Firstly, because they're created by individuals whose mental development was that of children and therefore are incapable to escape falling in the trap of the circular argument.

- Secondly, because as output of childish brains, religions are meant to be taught to children whose brain is still ready to absorb the silliest insanities.

Just, why do you think I added this little word into brackets (falsely) Ned? ;-)

re your other arguments...

How can you possibly believe I could be as lost in my mind as to believe and affirm the world doesn't exist or it is an hallucination?

Of course the world exists since I'm here and suffer and perceive all that I am capable to perceive (save ultra sounds, UV etc. nut I perceive their effects)

Ton exemple du cancer falls flat. Even if I don't perceive its potential causes, I certainly do perceive the consequences.

"How do we know that exists? Maybe we live in a state of permanent hallucination."

"Cogito ergo sum" could be an answer but it has been criticised.

L'argument est très pauvre et je suis obligé de reprendre une image aussi simple pour y répondre: I know I'm not in a state of permanent hallucination as soon as I wake up or even simpler: When a bee stitches me I know for sure (if ever I had any illusions) that the bee is real and so is my suffering too.

As to whales... I certainly do not want to be offensive with you Ned but really that one... ô-Ô

Just pursue your reasoning with the other examples I have suggested and see where you land.

I'll do it for you.
"how do we know that volcanoes don't understand that they are living on a certain planet called Jupiter as opposed to Venus?".

"how do we know that poplars don't understand that they are living on a certain side of the valley which is exposed to winds as opposed to the one which is sheltered by a range of hills?".

Bon, tout cela est absurde évidemment, la conscience abstraite réfléchissante est le propre de l'homme ou alors ce serait les araignées, les peupliers ou les déserts de sable qui seraient les maîtres du monde.

Flocon a dit…

Tu compliques inutilement des choses très simples à comprendre Ned encore qu'il soit difficile de les accepter je le reconnais.

Le monde n'existe qu'en tant que je le perçois (peu importe les causes lointaines dans le temps qui est ici un paramètre qui joue un role mineur même s'il peut servir éventuellement d'outil (mais pas comme les baleines et leur histoire et leur généalogie).

Je peux continuer sans fin à démontrer la vérité de ce que Berkeley a avancé mais ta résistance n'est pas tant de l'ordre du rationel (car elle ne peut aboutir, c'est ainsi) que de l'ordre de l'irrationnel précisément.

Autant cette vérité m'a été tout de suite accessible et compréhensible autant je suis bloqué et refuse d'accepter d'autres semblables évidences. À un moment ou à un autre, nous sommes tous des prisonniers de la caverne.

But one day you'll see the light sista!

(I chose the example of sight to introduce this theme just because of my personal experience of course and also if we were deprived of sight we wouldn't know much about the world with our smell or our taste would we? En fait, sans la vue nous ne serions pas là.)

Other than that, I read on Wiki source the very firt five words of the English translation of the World as Will etc. and it goes "The world is my idea". Arggghhh. Unless this is a good English rendition of "the worls is my representation" (Die Welt ist meine Vorstellung), I very much fear for the rest of the translation.

Une idée n'est pas une représentation. À partir de là, bonjour les contresens et misunderstandings.

Flocon a dit…


ok, I've just understood where your resistance comes from.

It's called solipsism and it is indeed an untenable position that Berkeley (who was a bishop and therefore was trying to prove the existence of his illusion) put forth and which leads to dead ends.

So I can see you're battling against this ultimate form of idealism thinking it is the one I defend which of course is not the case.

In the quote I gave somewhere above, Shopenhauer writes on the very first page of his 1000 + pages opus magnum: the rest of his teaching should not endure. à propos Berkeley errings.

You probably are justly fighting this position which actually nobody seriously believes in.

I hope I haven't ruined your day not your sleep with these exchanges and many links mais c'est intéressant non seulement en soi mais cela donne un regard différent sur le monde.

Ned Ludd a dit…

Two things. Comparing volcanoes to poplars is not a very good argument. One is a living being and may well be sentient. I don't know if a poplar knows what is happening on the other side or the mountain or if it receives chemical messages from its congeners there. Maybe it just perceives or "knows" about its immediate environment of dozens of meters or more, including other species of plants and animals: insects or beavers or others that may attack it, or others that may benefit it. Is there a plant equivalent of the animals' sense of sight?

The Science of Plants - Natalie Angier

With the hundreds of billions of galaxies and their numerous stars, I would say it is probable that there are other species, maybe similar to us, that have consciousness and are capable reflection. When in a few hundreds of millions of years, if not much sooner, when our species disappears, there will be others in the universe that will perceive it, and there will be ones that don't exist now but will exist will evolve and exist in the future.

Lawrence Krauss explains than in a few billion years we will lose all contact other galaxies and if we were there then, we would only know our galaxy. We could do all the correct science and come to the wrong conclusion, notably not seeing any evidence of the Big Bang. So we would believe our senses and all their extensions through instruments and be wrong about our understanding of our universe.

So whether its my solipsism or your "Le monde n'existe qu'en tant que je le perçois", we would both be wrong.

I think I had more to say, but it escapes me now and there was so much in your posts that I'm sure I haven't given full agruments.

Flocon a dit…

Again I agree with your three examples but they're all peripherical to the core of the matter, that's the problem. What's more, all of them contain the acceptance of Berkeley's Esse est percipi.

So whether its my solipsism or your "Le monde n'existe qu'en tant que je le perçois", we would both be wrong.

Je me suis mal exprimé sans doute. it cannot be your solipsism since nobody seriously holds such views, but solipsism is an easy trap in which one risks falling into à partir du théorème de départ de Berkeley. That is the reason why Schopen wrote that the rest of Berkeley's teaching should not endure.

No offence intended of course Ned but the way you argue with this problem makes me think of someone launching rockets to the East and being always surprised to see the rockets always coming back from the West because said someone would still be thinking and believing the earth is flat.

Il faut changer de paradigme ;-)

Je reviens aux peupliers et aux volcans.

Of course I was sure you would object to the comparison because we all tend to think in terms of life and death, the living and the inert (to our senses), animal and vegetal worlds as opposed to the mineral world.

Just, we're speaking of the world here in terms of metaphysics (even if it is in its simplest form) and the world isn't just composed of biological living objects.

Penser au sein de ce cadre restreint (biologique) est évidemment une contrainte qui enferme la pensée et l'empêche d'embrasser le monde dans sa globalité.

The brook which flows down the Organ Mountains, the rocks in the brook which compels the water to dance in innumerable and always different ways from all eternity, the winds which sweep the dust off the bushes in the mountains, the clouds which darken the light on the surface of the water, the rain which suddenly makes the brook overflow its bed, the cold which freezes the water of the brook or the heat which causes the brook to dry up, in all these images there isn't a single drop (well, next to none) of what we would qualify as biologically living elements.

And yet, aren't these elements the very manifestation of Nature as a living body just like volcanoes, tsunami or earthquakes?

Flocon a dit…

Thinking in terms of life/death is a limitation of our intellectual possibilities.

For all the marvels it has produced and enriched us, modern science is yet one among other ways of comprehending the world.

Petit passage par Spinoza et sa substance aux infinis attributs dont deux seulement nous sont accessibles :thought and extension. Ce sont précisément par ces deux seuls attributs que la science peut connaître (to a certain extent) Nature.

Tout ce long exposé pour en revenir aux volcans qui sont aussi bien une expression de la Nature que le sont les peupliers, bien que ceux-ci disposent d'une sensibilité supérieure au monde minéral.

Tout objet de ce monde est muni de capteurs qui lui permettent de percevoir le monde (se le représenter est une autre affaire évidement).

The rock is sensitive to temperature, humidity, pressure, gravitation inter alia, the poplar similarly is sensitive to the same conditions + acidity and all biological agents which are less powerful on minerals (but not entirely though).

The scale of sensitivity is very large indeed from amoebas to galaxies. All things in the universe exist because they have means to perceive and be perceived.

Esse est percipi but only human beings possess the reflective and abstract consciousness which has permitted us to become master of the world (to a certain extent of course but nonetheless on an incomparable scale as compared to whales, poplars and volcanoes.)

My comparison may have seemed inappropriate and irrelevent but on second thought, well maybe is it not so.

L'argument des new species in a few hundreds of millions of years on billions of galaxies etc., j'accepte sans problem puisque tu pose qu'il y aura de nouvelles espèces avec leurs consciences etc. Peu importe que ce soit dans des milliards de galaxies et dans des centaines de millions d'années, puisqu'il y aura une conscience dans laquelle se réfléchira l'univers, I'm ok with this.

C'est un peu aussi ce que je ne cesse de répéter : le monde est ma représentation.

Comme il n'est as possible de répondre à tout ce que je propose, limitons-nous si tu veux à deux questions.

1° Does the world disappear for ever to the one who dies?

2° Where will the world be represented when there will be no humans left in the universe as well as no other species with consciousness and capable of reflection?

Juste deux questions. Also, we're not taking an examination and I note that when you write word for word:

it is probable that there are other species, maybe similar to us, that have consciousness and are capable reflection you are just writing the obvious that I haven't stop trying to say from the beginning: The World is my representation that I get from my reflecting consciousness.

(there's no loss of ego for humans to admit that very simple and universal truth

Anonyme a dit…

Flocon: The question you put is the nature of reality.

My French, never good, and becoming less good with time, does not permit me to understand your position.

Are you arguing that, since we can only perceive reality through the media of our senses, we cannot be certain that our subjective experience of reality is in accord with objective reality? So we cannot know the objective reality.

Or are you arguing that there is no objective reality independent of our subjective experience?


Flocon a dit…


I'm glad you're interested in this little lively conversation, isn't the issue fascinating?

Your two propositions are correct indeed although I am defending the second one which you perfectly summarize.

The first proposition refers to the Kantian teaching. Before answering your comment, I looked up and found this article which very clearly exposes the issues at stake in an article whose goal it is to explain what the thing in itself is. A very worth reading piece and one which addresses your first proposition.

The second one is indeed the position I defend: there is no objective reality independent of our subjective experience, that is of our own existence, to be sure.

That is the notion of object/subject relationship.
No object -> no subject and conversely.

Ned Ludd a dit…

Je ai moins(beaucoup)de la connaissance de la philosophie et des philosophes que toi, donc j'ai du mal à donner des réfèrences dan ce domaine. Tu connais mieux les philosphes qui s'opposent à ta thèse.

Je connais mieux les textes et les theories scientifiques. Je crois que dans mon lien à Lawrence Krauss qu'il dise qu'il aime penser que la réalité existe. Il ne dit pas qu'il est certain, mais disons que c'est sa préfèrence(il n'utilise pas ce mot).

Comme je l'ai compris, il veut dire le contraire de la theorie que tu epouses.

Quant à moi, je suis plutôt d'accord avec lui. Je pense que le monde continue d'exister quand je dors, et je veut dire vraiment dormir profondement, sans rêves(au moins sans ceux qui arrivent au conscience) ni agitation. Je m'endors et huit heures après je me reveille sans aucun souvenir de cette période. Je ne crois pas que le monde ait disparu pendant mon sommeil.

Ned Ludd a dit…

A humorous comment. You had me in stitches with your sentence, "When a bee stitches me I know for sure (if ever I had any illusions) that the bee is real and so is my suffering too."

That bee must be some nurse. You know it should be "stings".:) You might not get the meaning of my second sentence using "stitches".;)

Back to another, "The proposition seems paradoxical I know but yet, there's no mountain and no trees to the blind, no Moon and no planets and no galaxies and no black holes, save metaphorically speaking."

Maybe no planets or galaxies or black holes for the blind, but they do know mountains when they hike up one and a tree when they touch or smell one. They might even hear one fall in the forest.

Other scientists, whose names I forget, think that the universe is mathematics and can only be described by it. If they are right, we can only perceive the "real" universe through math.

Flocon a dit…

What a fool I am! I've just understood you've decided to drive me nut Ned :-)

It - is - not - my - these.

Like if I were to expose to someone who didn't know that the earth is round or that the sun is at the center of our system and he would reply: I don't know the scientists who oppose your these.

re. L. Krauss. of course reality exists. As long as he is here to experience it, think of it and testify of it (him or somebody else).

Je pense que le monde continue d'exister quand je dors, et je veut dire vraiment dormir profondement, sans rêves(au moins sans ceux qui arrivent au conscience) ni agitation. Je m'endors et huit heures après je me reveille sans aucun souvenir de cette période. Je ne crois pas que le monde ait disparu pendant mon sommeil.

Of course the world continues to exist when you sleep. Save it exists for others who don't sleep but not for you who have temporarily left the world, so to say. Then you wake up and the word reappears to you and to you only. And you can retrospectively reconstruct what happened during your absence.

Has there been a boat which has sank in the Nile with 300 casualties and you don't know because it has not been reported to you. It simply doesn't exist for you although it exist for those who know.

I asked two precise and simple questions that you skipped. Too bad! It was not about everyday sleeps but about eternal sleep. Is it because you unconsciously knew that you couldn't avoid to finally get the whole thing right?

Nobody opposes what you term my these because it is so obvious and trivial as Nietzsche wrote that it would be as futile as arguing that the Moon revolves around the earth or that 7 + 5 = 12. (these figures aren't taken haphazardly).

Since everybody takes for granted that 2+2=4, the point is absolutely moot and scientists and astronomers carry on their research.

As seen from the outside, someone faced with this issue and not accepting it would look like a person in a closed room being indicated there's a door to get out of the room and where it is and maintenaing the door is a fake one.

Probably someday will you have an intuitive flash and will you see the light (c'est approprié) mais à présent c'est impossible évidemment, il y a un blocage insurmontable.

SemperFidelis a parfaitement identifié la question, that he agrees with what I expose is another matter though.

Flocon a dit…

Yes of course, it should have been "to sting" instead of "to stitch" but I've met so many nurses in my miserable life...

Also, you got me in stitches is an expression that I learned from Adrienne, the American teacher you certainly have heard of and whose books I was selling 35 years ago.


I used the sense sight as a mean to introduce the theme because of my personal experience of course but again you circle around the same examples that I knock down time and again...

I didn't say the blind don't perceive the world with his other senses, of course he does but smelling roses and hikking up mountains (or 250 storeys staircases) won't tell him much about the world.

Also, if there is no seeing person to help him, he won't see nothing and won't feel nor taste anything, he/she will be dead within hours after h/s's born.
Two questions were probably too demanding so I reducez the number to one:

Does the world exist if there is no consciencious to represent it? (a subsidiary question but it is implicitly contained in the main one: if it it yes, the world exists without any consciencious on which it could represent itself, how it that possible?)


re the mathematicians you evoke, it's just another form of solipsism.

Note that said scientists, (according to what you write), pretend to describe the world not that it is only a mathematical object which, nevertheless, would require a brain to be be thought.

But I understand you've got tired with this topic... ;-)

Anonyme a dit…

Flocon: // isn't the issue fascinating?//

It is an issue ripe for speculation. But I am not a good abstract thinker. I need examples to help me understand. I have a grip on the examples you and Ned have discussed. What about this one:

Jones and Smith enter a room. Jones perceives a ferocious tiger and is afraid. Smith perceives a chair upholstered in orange and black stripes. He is calm.

What is reality?


Ned Ludd a dit…

Don't worry SemperFidelis, I was asleep on the couch so neither existed for me.

Flocon, I am reminded of your Hegel quote: "The learner[me] always begins by finding fault, but the scholar[you] sees the positive merit in everything." N'est-ce pas?

Flocon a dit…


Ok, I get the picture...

I ask two questions which of course are left unanswered, then one last question just for the practical purpose of trying to make the case as clear as possible and it is left unanswered as was expected and now it is me who's being asked a question, as usual.

Your first comment on this post was an ironic one, as usual, the sort of which that is addressed to someone one deems to be an imbecile. Your second comment showed you perfectly understand the nature of the issue. And now comes a ferocious tiger and a drunk man suffering from hallucinations. What would have been next? A spook riding a red dragon through stars and galaxies?

I've had my fill now and I can tell when I'm taken for a ride and made a fool of.

Nonetheless I must most sincerely thank you for having reminded me not to waste my time and my good will in undue places with undeserving people.

Flocon a dit…


This other ironic mockery is the last straw on the camel's back.

Had you been more attentive you would have noticed that the quote by Hegel was on place before the real conversation started on this topic.

I do believe in signs and retrospectively this quote appears to have gained a new signification in a context that didn't exist at the time when I picked it up. Which again shows synchronicity isn't a concept devoid of any pertinence.

It also shows that you believe I could be so rude and uneducated as to deliberately and blatantly display such a gross manifestation of arrogance and contempt for you.

I sincerely thank you for having very actively taken part and animated the blog.

Ned Ludd a dit…

Question 1: I think so. If we all died at once though, we would disappear to the world. As we see persons die around us sequentially, they don't disappear from the world because we the living keep a representation of them and we don't always have the same good one or bad one. It is odd really because we know they have just returned to dust and that we can't sense them. Somehow we keep a memory of them alive.

Question 2: The world, or the universe, won't be represented, but it doesn't have to be and will continue to physically exist. The World as Will and Representation causes me a problem, because I can understand representation but I have trouble with "will". I don't know exactly what that is.

Sorry if I my jokes fall flat. I just like to try to lighten things up once in a while. It is my upbringing. My closest friends, family, and I have a habit of being ironic and mocking one another. It is almost a contest as to who has the best comeback. In an email exchange, I told my brother that I was the brains of the family. He replied, yeah, but I am the class of the family.

In this case, I wasn't mocking, or even being ironic, just joking.

Anonyme a dit…

Flocon: You overestimate my ability to follow the French portions of this discussion. I thought your two questions were directed at Ned.

I called on Jones and Smith to help me understand the implications of your argument. I will bring them up later.

Addressing your questions:

//1° Does the world disappear for ever to the one who dies?//

Assuming that death of the body is the end of perception for that person, then there is no subjective reality after death.//

//2° Where will the world be represented when there will be no humans left in the universe as well as no other species with consciousness and capable of reflection?//

Assuming the facts in the question, if there are no persons capable of perception, then there will be no subjective reality.

But Ned and I hold that there is an objective reality independent of subjective perceptions. In both the cases above, this objective reality is not destroyed by the end of an individual subjective reality in #1 or a collection of subjective realities in #2.

You did not include the third natural question:

#3 Assuming there was a time before any person had the ability to perceive a subjective knowledge of the world (and this is a problematic assumption, given your view), did it exist?

Now I will call on Jones and Smith. I had hoped that they would flesh out your view on a related question. So far, all the examples are of situations in which we are comparing a time when there is perception, and a time when there is not. But what about a situation wherein at the same time, there are two different perceptions. Are there two different realities?

I think that the answers to all these questions are strange indeed if we accept that there is no objective reality independent of our subjective perceptions.


Anijo a dit…

Flocon, thank you for bringing up this topic. Ned and Semperfi, thanks for your participation. I'm dealing with a lot right now as a landlady. (I turned my house into a duplex and rent out one half). Anyway, I've been dealing with so much, that I can't concentrate that clearly these days. Things have improved now, the weather is cooler, and we're getting a lot of refreshing cool rainfall.

Anyway, thanks everyone.

Anijo a dit…

Ouch, I think that Flocon is done with the two Americans, SemperFi and Anijo.

Flocon a dit…


I think I've finally identified the origin of why you apparently can't get over what appears to be un blocage and why, in my eyes, you're constantly circling around the core of the issue.

En fait, tu raisonnes apparemment dans le cadre du dualisme cartésien qui est mort depuis quatre siècles (Descartes as well as his dualism).

René posites that there is my body on the one hand and my mind on the other and both of them are independant from the other. Spinoza a mis fin à cette notion religieuse et le monisme n'est plus vraiment discuté (il y aura toujours des originaux pour se faire remarquer comme il y a des créationnistes par exemple ou des hurluberlus pour soutenir des paradoxes).

Raisonner dans le cadre du dualisme cartésien ne mène à rien, c'est une impasse stérile qui empêche en plus d'avoir l'esprit ouvert à d'autres possibilités d'appréhension du monde.

Le dualisme cartésien correspond aux besoins des églises (depuis saint Augustin et sa cité de Dieu.

Le seul "mérite" historique du dualisme cartésien est d'avoir fait apparaître dans la philosophie occidentale le problème sujet/objet qui est une donnée essentielle de la pensée contemporaine. (je donne le lien que personne ne lira mais je fais le job).

L'article est en anglais seulement et ce n'est pas moi qui l'ai écrit. It quotes Kant, Schopenhauer and Schrödinger. The citation that is given is the very one by Schopenhauer that I used at the end of the post.

Quantum mechanics also is related to the subject/object issue mais je ne m'aventure pas sur ce terrain que j'ignore complètement

If one isn't aware of this dual absolute interdependence of the object and the subject there's no way h/s can grasp the issue at stake since it is the missing link between Descartes and Berkeley.

I may explain as many times as needed, il y aura toujours le même blocage.

Il faut changer de paradigme si l'on veut passer à l'age supérieur.


Par ailleurs, just in case, j'ai répondu à ta question sur qui est le musicien font parle un commentaire sur YouTube à la fin de ce billet.

Flocon a dit…

La question a déjà été abordée il y a 48 mois dans ce billet où je disais les mêmes choses d'ailleurs.

Bon, tes réponses aux questions.

Question 1 -"If we all died at once though, we would disappear to the world. Correct of course and also the world would disappear to us in accordance with the subject/object relationship. Can this point be seriously argued?

" they don't disappear from the world because we the living keep a representation of them". Correct too, just they no longer are subjects but mere objects that you perceive in the subject/object relationship.

And here is a point which, later, is the basis of a contradiction in your position.

"The world, or the universe, won't be represented, but it doesn't have to be and will continue to physically exist."

it doesn't have to be is an absolute impossibility. It is like writing "A consequence doesn't need a cause" or "Time is limited and immobile"

The apparent contradiction is when on the one hand you write "we the living keep a representation of them".

So representation or no representation? Also, what about the billion dead who have been forgotten by the other billion dead who themselves have been forgotten etc. since homosapiens has started to remember such things as the dead?

Well, they're all dead, they have slipped and disappeared into nothingness while even dead they still existed as long as someone would remember them and had a representation of them. Even in the past, after their death, they existed only because a living subject had a living representation of them, objects. Therefore, their existence depended for some decades on the existence of some consciousness to remember them. No consciousness any longer, no memory, no existence any longer.

"I can understand representation but I have trouble with "will". I don't know exactly what that is."

Let's say "cosmic energy" for the sake of this discussion even if it is not exactly that but yet that should suffice here, all the more that it is unimportant at this stage.

The first sentence of the book reads : The world is my representation and ends 800 pages later with the sentence: to those in whom the will has turned and has denied itself, this our world, which is so real, with all its suns and milky-ways is nothing.


Anyway, I'm not trying to convinve anyone of anything, it's just that I have understood something 15 years ago and that I experienced blindness for 24 hours stuck in a bed which was an opportunity to consider how actual physical reality corresponded with what I previously was aware of.

Correction:"Il faut changer de paradigme si l'on veut passer à l'age supérieur. " should have read à l'étage supérieur selbstverständlich.

Flocon a dit…


Your answers to the questions are half correct since you too reason in the Cartesian frame of thoughts, that is keeping subjectivity and objectivity strictly apart one from another.

This is a religious view of the world which permits to affirm the existence of a god independent of the existence of men, a god that has existed from all eternity and who will exist totally independantly on the temporary existence of men.

Who would have thought Ned, not ackowledging the absolute interdependence between the subject and the object, was reading the same book as you? I know allmighty God will have mercy on her though...

As pertains your third question, there is a near impossibility for the mind to accept this idea that what we now know has existed didn't exist at the time that we currently represent to ourselves.

We can retrospectively reconstruct the past like we can imagine the future, althought it hasn't occured yet hence doesn't exist at all. It is our imagination which is at work here that is a matter of faith.

Regarding Jones and Smith, "what about a situation wherein at the same time, there are two different perceptions. Are there two different realities?

This is not a question of metaphysics but again a matter of pluralism and multiplicity of viewpoints.

Ned Ludd a dit…

"there is my body on the one hand and my mind on the other and both of them are independant from the other." Of course the body has an interaction with the mind, which can be said to control the action of the body parts, when we are conscious. But not entirely as the mind responds to effects of the body, as when we get injured.

In brain dead people, some organs may continue to function by themselves. The brain is just another organ. I looked up your link about the philosophy of the mind again found that I am a physicalist monist, particularly a behaviorist. You may remember the times I have referred to B.F. Skinner.

You seem to have moved to a harder position, because in your post on monism, you ended, "Ce thème classique de la philosophie, monisme/dualisme, est loin d'avoir perdu toute actualité comme en témoignent les recherches contemporaines, particulièrement aux États-Unis, sur les relations du corps et de l'esprit." Now you disregard dualism completely.

As a behaviorist, I think, like Skinner, that one day, if our species exists long enough, we will be able to explain the brains functioning physically. Then we would have done away the "spirit". We would have unity with the rest of the physical world. You may still argue that we are representing it, but it may be harder.

In the monism thread, Anijo wrote, " Le monisme est une notion philosophique Métaphysique. Il est la doctrine fondée sur la thèse selon laquelle tout ce qui existe - l'univers, le cosmos, le monde - est essentiellement Un, sans second, et donc, notamment, qu'il est constitué d'une seule substance (réalité fondamentale qui n'a besoin que d'elle-même pour exister). Le monisme s'oppose à toutes les philosophies dualistes, qui séparent le monde matériel et le monde spirituel (l'au-delà)." So that accords with my point of view which rejects the spiritual.

As I quoted Stephen J. Gould in the same thread, "Nature is not intrinsically anything that can offer comfort or solace in human terms – if only because our species is such an insignificant latecomer in a world not constructed for us" Yes, we are insignificant so it is hard for me to think that something didn't exist until we evolved in a world not constructed for us.

If all conscious life disappeared from the universe, in some billions of years it would probably reappear in some star system. So during that time did the universe not exist?

There is a difference between my representation of the world which is based on what we call evidence, and Augustine's City of God representation which is based on what we call revelation. Augustine even argued against studying the natural sciences and mathematics as it could lead to the rejection of his City and personal salvation.

It looks like we are going over old ground, but in a more confusing way.

Anijo a dit…

You know Flocon, there is something that I've been wanting to say, but have resisted saying it.

SemperFi is a Christian Republican. His view of life is again and again discussed here as being inferior. It takes a lot of guts and self confidence on his part to participate in these conversations. I believe that is attempting to really understand how people of such differing views actually reach their conclusions.

And when you came down really hard on Semper with your comment, he replied in a measured and mature manner. SemperFi has a lot of class. I don't share his political/cultural/religious views, but I have a lot of respect for him. Yes, he responds with questions... but those questions are a way of responding. And again, he's all alone with his views on this blog and it takes courage for him to participate on this blog.

I've noticed other Republicans/conservatives/Christians on other blogs, and they don't come close to being as tolerant and respectful as SemperFi.

Flocon a dit…


I respond first to your latest and freshest comment since I've just arrived and read it.

I absolutely agree with what you say about SemperFidelis being a very polite and educated person whose contributions are a definitive plus on this blog, all the most so that - as you rightly remark- he's being a regular in a place where he meets no one sharing his Weltanschauung.

His opinions and world views aren't deemed "inferior", just that it happens they are globally 180° different from those that are expressed here and my style - I know and you know too since the years at SF's - isn't exactly that of a diplomat.

Please, will you also note that about all the posts that I have been writing for the twelve months at least are in English and you know the reason why.

You may also have noticed most of the topics of the threads I chose in ordre to (possibly) be of some interest to everyone (hence French politics being avoided)

I make a point to take and answer all questions that are addressed to me, even the ironic ones, and I try to be as polite as can be when answering each and everyone of you [Ned included... :-) ]

As pertains my (over) reaction the other day, it's just that after hours of discussing the issue at stake (mostly in English), writing long and documented answers with links to pages and articles I have read in order to help others to understand the point being discussed, I wake up (I sleep on average 4 to 5 hours per night (or day for that matter) only to read what I mistook for a mockery with Ned seemingly piling up in the same vein.
Holly shit! the last portion of my answer has just disappeared and I don't feel like writing it again.

Basically, I was saying that as a fragile Parisian Trotskyte, I blew a fuse for the reasons that have just been lost. Too bad, je n'ai pas le temps, I must answer Ned's comment above yours.

As I wrote last year, SemperFidelis is my guest on my blog and being deliberately unpleasant with guests is the last thing I would indulge into.

The malentendu has evaporated days ago and, beside, didn't exit at all, we all know that :-)

Anonyme a dit…

Flocon: An occasional loss of temper between colleagues is meaningless (and I am not speaking ironically). I would be suspicious of any long-term exchange that was absolutely untroubled. Someone is not being genuine in that case.

Regarding my affection for questions: At a point in my service, the Marine Corps sent me to law school (and at government expense, quelle horreur!). You should know that the traditional training for common law lawyers is by the Socratic method. The ideal professor never tells you a thing. He just asks questions. I was trained at a very traditional Catholic law school of good reputation. And this method was rigorously applied. It was a very demanding experience that could not fail to make an impression on anyone. It certainly did make an impression on me. I approach problems in that way by training, habit and preference.

Clearly this approach is annoying to those not familiar with it. I recall that, long ago, Ned (in another avatar) lost her temper with me on several occasions.

I will try to change my approach, but I cannot promise much. Old dogs seldom learn new tricks.

Regarding insomnia. I have experience with it. You ;have my sympathy. It is an agony.

Before you get too well-disposed to me, know that I have several most annoying questions about your position on my mind. I will work to change the interrogatories to declarative statements.

Sincerely, sleep well,

Flocon a dit…


First, let it be said that the exchange is not on the basis who's being right, who's being wrong, and no ego is supposed to be involved (You/I win/lose, your theory/my theory bla bla bla)


As you know, there's not this distinction in French between mind and spirit therefore I prefer not to engage in this direction which anyway would again lead us away from the main issue which seems to be (in it current form): does the world exist independently of any existing consciousness in which it can be represented?

Your answer is yes, and for what I have understood it is also SemperFidelis' position.

This implies that both of you believe there can be an object (objective reality) separated from any subject (subjective reality) which also means that the world continues to exist even when there isn't one single consciouness alive left in the universe or when there still was no consciouness some billion years ago for example, or some million years ago.

An object independent of any subject, that is Cartesian dualism and of course I do refuse this theory that nobody no longer believes in.

Also, an object with the extraordinary attribute of being capable to exist independently of a subject implies there can be a subject equally independent of an object. This is of course absolutely impossible.

The subject/object relationship seems not to have been taken into consideration here. There cannot be one without the other as simple as that.

They are inseparable like are matter (la matière) and form.

Just try to imagine floating matter in the universe without any form that could enclose it. It simply is not possible: matter needs a form to encompass and represent it like an object needs a subject to exist.


Now, the opposition objective/subjective reality that Semperfidelis has mentioned above is indeed a religious construction that permits to posit that there exists an objective God (objective reality) whose existence is totally independent of any subjective consciousness (subjective reality), a god that exists from all eternity to an infinite eternity and further more, a god which exists without any time limitation the way humans conceive time and without any sort of limitations for that matter.

Time doesn't exist for god which means god is independent of the arrow of time.

At this point I am in a predicament because on the one hand I am told this is a circular argument, an opinion I agree with but on the other hand, I am under pressure with someone who's told me to watch my steps when I am dealing with SemperFidelis Weltanschauung...

If I were allowed by la demoiselle du Nouveau-Mexique, I would be forced to say this position is completely false as well as indefensible but I am not allowed so... Let it be.

Flocon a dit…


I forgot to finish the previous comment.

If you believe, like does SemperFidelis, that the world can exist independently of any consciousness, that is it existed 5 billions years ago or it will physically exist during the gap that will exist between two series of species being capable to perceive and represent it, you unwillingly adopt a religious point of view since this is the only possibility to maintain the world exists without a consciousness to perceive and represent it.

I suggest we pursue the exchanges on the new thread where (possibly) you will see the light and your soul will be salvaged.

In the meantime, what do you know of the Critique of Pure reason which contains the explanation why your mind cannot accept the idea that the world needs you in order to exist?

(hint: think transcendental aesthetic and particularly the space and time part of it.

Ned Ludd a dit…

I long ago read parts of the Critique and when I feel up to it, I check it out more.

There are things I would like to discuss about matter and form, but while my thoughts are clear on the subject, it will take me some time to put them down in writing. I don't know if I should do it here or in your new thread.

The Anthropic Principle is another subject to delve into, but later in depth. To my understanding, if this is true, you have reversed the subject/object pair. This principle seems to make our universe and its laws of physics the subject and our consciousness the object.

"Some proponents of the anthropic principle reason that it explains why the Universe has the age and the fundamental physical constants necessary to accommodate conscious life. As a result, they believe it is unremarkable the universe's fundamental constants happen to fall within the narrow range thought to be compatible with life. [1]" More later while I assemble my thoughts.

Flocon a dit…


Regarding insomnia, I too experienced it three years ago for several months and it is indeed an agony. But if I now sleep 5 hours per night it simply is because I have much to do and I realise at my age (I turned 60 last July but am still about 35 in my head) that there's not much time to lose being kept out of the real world that I am (nearly) sure to find again when I wake up.

Before I was impeded with insomnia I would have tended to think people then have plenty of time to play sudokus, cross words, watch TV, browse through the Internet or read the Marine corps gazette (a widely read magazine here in France).

Just, as you know, when it's 4 am and one hasn't slept for over 24 hours or even 30 hours (my record was 34) one has no envy (and is incapable) to play any game or read or whatever: one wants to leave the world where it is and let it disappear for a staunch good 10 hours relief.


Your remark about the socratic teaching method reminds me of a teacher of German who practised it with the ultimate result that I am now a miserable German speaker.

In mathematics as well as in languages, chemistry or history of Chinese cutlery during the three kingdoms, there's nothing to be guessed. The teacher isn't paid to play guessing games with the students but to let them go with a higher level of knowledge that they were at the start of the year.

Mission unaccomplished.

Flocon a dit…

And also, there are some promotions available on the site of the Gazette. Would you recommand this outlet as a reliable, professional one and one I should seriously consider joining?

This looks as promising at it seems interesting. Too bad I can't hear it properly :-(

Flocon a dit…


I haven't had the courage to read the entire Anthropic principle article.

Some proponents of the anthropic principle ...and some others think differently.

Also, further down the article, it lists the following responses to that debate:

1- The absurd universe

Our universe just happens to be the way it is.

2- The unique universe

There is a deep underlying unity in physics which necessitates the Universe being the way it is. Some Theory of Everything will explain why the various features of the Universe must have exactly the values that we see.

3- The multiverse

Multiple universes exist, having all possible combinations of characteristics, and we inevitably find ourselves within a universe that allows us to exist.

4- Intelligent Design

A creator designed the Universe with the purpose of supporting complexity and the emergence of intelligence.

5- The life principle

There is an underlying principle that constrains the Universe to evolve towards life and mind.

6- The self-explaining universe

A closed explanatory or causal loop: "perhaps only universes with a capacity for consciousness can exist." This is Wheeler's Participatory Anthropic Principle (PAP).

7- The fake universe

Aucune "théorie" b'explique quoi que ce soit d'ailleurs. Which one would you pick then? ;-)

Also, I've found this piece about a book by Krauss in the NYT.

Je l'ai juste parcouru rapidement, so you may tell me if it is a positive recension or on the contrary a strong condemnation of Krauss view (c'est ce que j'ai cru comprendre).

Tout ce qui précède n'est pas à prendre comme un argument dans un sens ou dans l'autre, juste des remarques.

Flocon a dit…

”you have reversed the subject/object pair”

Help! Police! Murder! I have reversed the subject/object pair?

Inverser l'ordre sujet-objet équivaut à inverser l'ordre cause-effet. This is of course totally impossible. That would be tantamount to state that tides cause the Moon to revolve around the Earth or that it is because I (as an object) have read your comment (the subject then) that you have written after I've read it...

There have been the Copernican revolution, the Newtonian revolution and thirdly the Kantian revolution. These aren't empty words, they changed forever the way human beings looked at Nature and then at their place in the universe as you know.

During the first years after these revolutions, they may have not affected the daily life of about 100% of humanity minus some sailor's and astronomer's ones.

Particularly Kant's teachings which are overall totally ignored by about 100% of humanity minus a few thousands educated people.

The answer that space and time are real existences belongs to Newton. The answer that space and time are merely relations or determinations of things even when they are not being sensed belongs to Leibniz. Both answers maintain that space and time exist independently of the subject's awareness. This is exactly what Kant denies in his answer that space and time belong to the subjective constitution of the mind.

Time and space cannot thus be regarded as existing in themselves. They are a priori forms of sensible intuition.

I hope these quotes permits to understand what the problem exactly is and where I stand about this issue. (notwithstanding all the explanations that I have provided for the last 8 days :)

Utilising Leibnitz as an argument from authority would be a risky move since it is the same man (who was nonetheless a genius) who first asked the question "Why is there something instead of nothing" so that it will enable him to affirm the existence of God (hence the religious argument I have referred to at several occasions as being indeed the only possibility which would permit to posit the existence of a world without consciousness, god being self sufficient on this regard)

I think I've understood this is not your position, is it?

Leibnitz's circular argument belongs to theology not philosophy.

Anijo a dit…

Alors la demoiselle de Nouveau-Mexique enjoys playing these two youtube pieces simulataneously:

this one, and this one.

Said demoiselle also realizes that she is not keeping up with the intellectual abilities of her compatriots.

Flocon a dit…


It is very simple when clearly exposed.

The Kantian revolution for which Kant is credited is to have discovered that Space and Time aren't gigantic aquariums in which we live but, quite the opposite, they are a priori forms of our sensitivity.

Time and Space don't exist per se, they are inside our brains.

This have been established in 1783 with the Critique of Pure Reason and has never been revoked since.

The earth orbits around the Sun and the Earth also is flat. These are truths that cannot be revoked but for centuries, even the brightest minds on earth were incapable to conceive there could be another way of seeing the world.

The few who presented another understanding of the world were sent to the scaffold or burnt alive like Giordano Bruno had been.

Even Ned will acknowledge this is not my theory, it's the universal truth Kant has found which makes him one of the very, very few genius in the History of Humanity.

Since our natural and spontaneous way of perceiving the world makes us believe hard as rock that Time is some kind of "we don't know what it is" which encloses us and Space is an outside dimension, it is absolutely contra natural to represent to ourselves that as a matter of fact, Time and Space are innate abilities of the human brain.

(this is what is called the Transcendental Aesthetic).

We are the subjects and the world is the object (always different to each of us and it is the problem of perception and distortion of reality that ZapPow and SemperFidelis referred to at one moment).

That is the only thing you have to remember about Kant's 1st Critique: Time and Space (and also causality) lie within us, they don't exist in the outer world which, in turn, exists because we're here with our inner tools to perceive it and make some order as to what we perceive.

So, when I state that the world doesn't exist when there's no reflective consciousness to perceive it, it's not that I'm under some kind of influence, it's a simple fact but of the kind that the multitude cannot apprehend, even less comprehend.

The Copernican and Newtonian revolutions didn't change much of the lives of Humanity at the time when they occured but they have permitted said Humanity to send men on the Moon (the iconic example of spatial achievement).

In contrast, Kant's finding, as I've written above, hasn't changed much thing in the course of Humanity.

Astronomers and astro-physicisians, aviators and everybody indeed may know or ignore Kant's findings, it doesn't change anything in their work.

There's no outside Time and no outside Space, that's a fact and now it is 4:55 am and I'm going to bed mademoiselle!

Ned Ludd a dit…

I am still working on my main explanation, but I want to point out a historical error in yours.

"The earth orbits around the Sun and the Earth also is flat. These are truths that cannot be revoked but for centuries, even the brightest minds on earth were incapable to conceive there could be another way of seeing the world."

The Ancient Greeks theorized in the 6th century BCE, that the earth was a sphere and later proved it. Around 240BCE Erasthenes even measured it circumference. Seleucus of Seleucia posited that the earth revolved around the sun.T

This view held sway for centuries until it was mostly swept away by Christian theology and dogma. The period known as The Dark Ages.

Ned Ludd a dit…

Flocon, you keep distracting me. As I have mentioned Krauss before, I will respond to the non-complementary book review you link.

First, it is written by a philosopher and not a physicist/cosmologist. Second it is poorly written, especially for a professor. He jumps around a lot and uses vocabulary beneath his learning(maybe trying to appeal to his idea of a general audience), even using cheap shots. He doesn't seem aware of or at least understand explanations that have been around years before his recent article.

Krauss is not a super-hero cosmologist who discovered or theorized these things all alone. He is just summarizing where scientific theory and evidence is at the moment. Many physicists have been developing the ideas he exposes. I use him, because he gives clearer explanations to the not specialist.

Had the author, David Albert, read the article by physicist Victor Stenger, "Why is there
Something rather than nothing ", among others, he may not have ventured there.

Someone(whom I tried to find but failed), posed the inverse, why not nothing rather than something?

Flocon a dit…


Like I haven't known ever since I was 12 about the Greeks' finding and Erasthenes and his stick in the shade of the Great pyramid...

Like my answers weren't long enough and I should expose all that I know on about every topic I address...

There is no historical error as you write, notwithstanding the Greek and the history of their découverte, for centuries (four for example makes centuries) the brightest minds believed etc.

And the same goes for geocentrism which has reigned sovereign (even if a very few individuals demonstrated it was false) until Copernicus who was threatened with a single ticket to the gallows. E pur si muove.

What's more, it took 4 more centuries for your friends in the Vatican to acknowledge he was right but people at that time didn't possess the data to accept Copernicus's findings whereas he was precisely providing them the required data!!!

- Does what I wrote about the Will as being some sort of cosmic energy answer your question?

- Are you ok with the exposition I've made of Kant's transcendental aesthetic to Anijo?

- Have you renewed your subscription to the Marine Corps Gazette?

Ned Ludd a dit…

1- Cosmic energy doesn't answer my question, Stenger and Krauss do. My further response is still in preparation.

1a- It was not four centuries, but closer to 100. 6+4 = 10

1b- Greek ideas where well spread to India and adopted by thinkers in the Muslim world, that makes more than 10.

2- Sorry I haven't had the time regard it.

3- Interesting, but maybe.

4- What brightest minds believed it? As I said it was called the Dark Ages. Even in the Wiki link it mentions Christian theologians who believed in the sphere.

5- No response to my post that David Albert is an ignorant hack.

So, this time I answered your questions immediately, even ones you didn't ask.

Flocon a dit…

1- Cosmic energy doesn't answer my question, Stenger and Krauss do

You said you didn't know what Will was in Schopenhauer's system and I tell you it's something akin to Cosmic energy.

And now you come and tell me it doesn't answer your question ô-Ô like Krauss and Stenger do. What was the question again?

1a- Tu me reprends sur des peccadilles sans importance en la circonstance (Erasthenes, le temps en termes de siècles pendant lequel l'Occident est resté figé dans l'appréhension Ptolémaïque de l'univers), je prends la précaution d'indiquer qu'il suffit de quatre siècles (par exemple ai-je écrit) pour que cela fasse des siècles mais je n'écris pas que cela a duré quatre siècles précisément mais des siècles.

1b- Mais je sais bien tout ça Ned, et c'est hors de propos ici.

2- Là c'est dommage parce que les formes a priori de l'entendement constituent le fondement de "ma" position.

3- Je ne sais pas à quoi tu te réfères.

4- These are truths that cannot be revoked but for centuries, even the brightest minds on earth were incapable to conceive there could be another way of seeing the world.

is what I wrote in the comment to Anijo. Comme si je pouvais croire que les brightest minds believed in the heliocentrism system.

Indeed, quand j'ai repris la formulation plus tard, je l'ai reprise en oubliant le "didn't". Please, give me credit for not being completely ignorant of the history of sciences...

5- No response to my post that David Albert is an ignorant hack

Celle-là aussi est assez poivrée... I wasn't aware a question had been asked.

Là encore, j'ai pris la précaution d'écrire : Tout ce qui précède n'est pas à prendre comme un argument dans un sens ou dans l'autre, juste des remarques.

J'étais on ne peut plus modeste puisque j'écris que je n'ai que survolé la recension et je te demande ce que tu en penses. Et maintenant on me reproche de ne pas avoir répondu à une question qui ne m'a pas été posée ô-Ô...


Since I don't know whether it is a question I should give an answer to, quand Leibnitz pose sa célèbre question, il la construit de telle sorte qu'on se sent obligé d'y répondre, c'est un truc de rhétorique. "Pourquoi" naturally calls for an anwer.

And also he has an agenda, like Descartes and his ontological argument.

Kant (again) a déjà répondu il y a 230 ans dans la préface de la critique:

Human reason, in one sphere of its cognition, is called upon to consider questions, which it cannot decline, as they are presented by its own nature, but which it cannot answer, as they transcend every faculty of the mind.

To give a (too) easy example of such questions: Why didn't you dream of me last time?


Dans cet échange qui je crois n'intéresse plus personne, SemperFidelis (and he corrects me when I am wrong) does believe there exits something which is independant of any perceiving consciousness and it is god which has always existed ans always will.

We both share the view that this is a circular argument but you nonetheless keep sharing SemperFidelis'view while trying to distance yourself with the religious nature of his conviction.

Anonyme a dit…

I asserted in an earlier post that our discussion was about the nature of reality.

I propose that, at a date and time set by Flocon, we all set out our definitions of reality.

Just like High Noon.

"Do not forsake me oh my darlin'..."


Ned Ludd a dit…

I have so split up my responses, that I have difficulty putting them all together like I wanted, so a will just add to what I have written.

The Stenger article ends with "As Nobel Laureate physicist Frank Wilczek has put it, “The answer to the ancient question ‘Why is there something rather than nothing?’ would then be that ‘nothing’ is unstable.”

In the video of Krauss that I linked at minute 20 gives a picture of the form of space at the quantum level. He shows the form or non-form of empty space which occupies 90% of the mass of protons. As he explains "nothing" isn't "nothing" anymore.

70% of the universe is dark energy in "empty" space and almost 30% is dark matter. What we observe as galaxy and nebulas are about one percent. Krauss also speaks of symmetry. Ian Stewart explains the importance of symmetry in his co-written book Fearful Symmetry

Krauss speaks of three possible universes: open, flat, and closed. With our universe and the fact that we exist means we are in a flat universe. So there is at least one universe. There may be multiverses, but they wouldn't produce the conditions for life and conscious life. Well, if multiverses exist, some of them may be flat with the right conditions for conscious life.

After 39 minutes, Krauss shows other "forms" that he calls "lumps" that exist since the Big Bang. His answer to "Why is there something rather than nothing? The answer is because there had to be. If you have nothing in quantum mechanics you will always get something."

So reality is that we are in a flat universe which makes us possible. Then we get the consciousness to represent it. But physical reality preceded us.

For further information on related issues, you can read John Casti's Complexification

Back to Krauss, he quotes Einstein using a metaphore--god--"What really interests me is whether God[sic] had any choice in the creation of the universe." He ends with the statement that if the laws of physics were any different, we wouldn't be here.

If there are other universes where the amount of "empty" space is far different than ours, life would not develop.

Anijo a dit…

Okay, Flocon, I know where you're coming from now.

Here's a quote that might help:

“If you want to see fear in a quantum physicist’s eyes, just mention the words, ‘the measurement problem.’ The measurement problem is this: an atom only appears in a particular place if you measure it. In other words, an atom is spread out all over the place until a conscious observer decides to look at it. So the act of measurement or observation creates the entire universe.”
-Jim Al-Khalili, Nuclear Physicist

Anijo a dit…

And then there's the double-slit experiment not only for photons, but also other particles/waves such as electrons.

Flocon a dit…


All your arguments dodge the core of the matter. All that you say I agree with until I have to remind you that it needs a reflective self-consciousness to know and retrospectively reconstruct what happened or imagine what will happen ("imaginer" au sens classique, non pas romanesque like the "three must get there" but according to our human ability to create concepts which unable us to make order in the flow of perceptions we continually receive).

"physical reality preceded us".

Of course it did. Just you can state and affirm that because you're here, now and retrospectively you can reconstruct a past that exists only in your head (unless you're in a position to affirm the past is still present ô-Ô ...).

And the same goes for the future which of course doesn't exist .

You mentioned the UV or ultra sounds some days ago.

Did these physical features exist during the Egyptian 7th dynasty or in the year 5,598,574 (Tuesday, the 14th of May to be sure?)

Of course it did can we now affirm because we've learned about them because we're subjects apprehending objects once again.

You've disregarded the fundamental subject/object relationship as well as Kant's teaching regarding time and space.

It's all in our brains as long as we're here and as long as there exist other brains to perceive and represent to themselves the world we're part of.

And when there no longer exist brains, the world will disappear like it does with every single person who dies, who can deny that so simple point?

You can send me an encyclopaedia of cosmology plus another encyclopaedia dedicated to astrophysics and the quantum theory altogether, it won't change the very simple fact that these encyclopaedias have been conceived and written by reflective and self-consciousness and it will need other brains to read them.

You cannot do without the subject/object relationship, nor can you ignore the Kantian teaching and our a priori forms of sensibility and nobody can for that matter.

I've browsed again your former comments and my answers to them and I notice that time and again you change your examples which all come down to the same refusal to admit the necessary existence of the subject/object relationship.

If one of your arguments had really been a cogent one we still would be debating it which isn't the case.

It is all so simple to the point it is indeed trivial: We are the world which considers itself through us which are a billion(s) facets mirror.

It is in our brains that dinosaurs have existed and nowhere else.

It is because we are here and now that the past can be reconstructed by our faculty of imagination unless you can tell me where is the past and that with which it was filled?

This interrogation is even more evident with the future which is nothing more but a product of our imagination (even if it is rationaly based) : Where is the future and its inhabitants save in your head?

Flocon a dit…

And again, as I've written above, the so simple truth that I expose doesn't change one iota in the research and findings of astrophysicians: we're here and the world is here.

There is a temporary coincidence which permits the subject/object relationship to exist, so let's deal with the cards that are currently at our disposal.

The metaphysician says it is a temporary coincidence, the astronomer doesn't care that much to know whether it is a coincidence or not and how long it may possibly last.

However, the astrophysician knows for certain that some day h/s will die and h/s hopes h/s will live long enough to learn about the mysteries h/s's has been dedicating h/h life because when h/s dies, everything that h/s had been looking after for decades will vanish in nothingness.

Flocon a dit…

Hello Anijo,

Glad to see you're interested with this fascinating issue and also, I hope the little exposition about Kant's Critique of Pure Reason wasn't a waste of time.

Thank you very much for the quote you provide [how did you know the quote existed before you found it ;-)] I dared not mention the measurement problem though it was real tempting because I know I know nothing about quantum physics save precisely this particularity which, of course, fits exactly my views (talk of a subject/object relationship!).

But I also know there exists another sharp customer on this blog and it would have been all too easy for said customer to destroy my position so I kept a low profile with the measurement problem...

Flocon a dit…

The quote by Jim Al-Khalili also is of the same nature than that of Max Planck which I used in the Monisme thread:

I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.

Ned Ludd a dit…

Sorry Flocon, I went too fast or was too summary in my last post. I meant to tie in matter and form. "Just try to imagine floating matter in the universe without any form that could enclose it. It simply is not possible: matter needs a form to encompass and represent it like an object needs a subject to exist."

The video references I gave were meant to question that premise, but I forgot to included your position, so I was explaining something without the proper reference.

For one of your more recent responses, "The metaphysician says it is a temporary coincidence" I reviewed my understanding of metaphysics and found that I did indeed know something about it, but it was more complicated than I remembered and I don't think you can sum it up as nicely as you did.

There are many different opinions of the nature of metaphysics, just as there are physicists have differing opinions of the nature of physics. I have referred to some who seem to have ideas about that which seem to be quite different from those you and Anijo mention. You bias the argument a bit by "we're here and the world is here" making an implicit claim about the subject. Whereas I might have written "the world is here and we're here".

As I have said, according to the definitions I have read, I am in the category of physicalists, a subset of materialists. At Wiki I even found there is "metaphysical naturalism (i.e. "philosophy and science should operate according to the physical world, and that's all that exists")."

In reading about metaphysics, I encountered the Greek idea of Arche which has several different interpretations too, but has to do with a single first cause.

To go back to my previous post, I see our perception and representation as a result of our universe. Maybe I am repetitive, but I see the circumstances of the appearance of our universe and its particular conditions that make life possible determines that conscious, let's say, animals would necessarily develop somewhere. They most likely exist elsewhere than in our little planet.

Because in this universe they are necessary, our perception and representation are just part of the original conditions. That we can doubt their capability to interpret the real world accurately and imagine that the things are only there when we observe them, also results from the original conditions. If these conditions were a little different, we wouldn't exist. Maybe other living things would exist in a different, or not exist at all.

We know that we have at least one universe, ours. There may also be multiverses, but we are not sure. Perhaps, for example, there was a Big Bang before ours that resulted in a closed universe. That one would eventually collapse(or have collapsed)in a Big Crunch. Maybe it was only after the disappearance of that universe that the conditions for ours came about.

There are so many details to debate in the stuff I having been reading about metaphysics(which I still don't know well), materialism, and arche, that I can't deal with them all. Great Zeus, I hope I have made some sense.

In addition, it is taking time from my science reading.

Anijo a dit…

I see that Ned has not addressed the measurement problem.. i wonder why not???

Anijo a dit…

Flocon, you did ask me somewhere if i appreciated your reference re Kant. I don't know enough about this philosopher to address the issue at this moment. I shall have to study this in the future in order to satisfy your curiosity. Do understand that your knowledge of philosophy is so significantly above mine that your humble servant will require some time to digest this information.

Flocon a dit…


I'll return later to your last comment (and I understand you feel like movin'on to another thread) I just have to take some rest now...

Flocon a dit…


You provocative agent re the question about the measurement problem!

I don't know enough ... to address the issue at this moment.

Easy on the beverage so...

Ned Ludd a dit…

Anijo, there are many aspects to the problems of measurement. Some of them are addressed in the Krauss video link that I gave and explains some aspects of quantum theory.

With the two slit experiment, which everyone who is interested in science knows well, what exactly is the point you are trying to make? I don't see how it poses a problem for what I have written about the origin and constitution of our universe.

Everyone admits that quantum mechanics is strange. As Richard Feynman, probably the foremost expert on the subject at his time, said: if anyone says they understand quantum mechanics, they don't understand quantum mechanics.

There are other difficult problems for mathematicians and physicists such as infinity and chaos. The best I can do is suggest reading Ian Stewart, From Here to Infinity One quote: Joseph Ford who countered Einstein with "God plays dice with the universe. But they're loaded dice."

Also James Gleick's Chaos: Making or a New Science and The New Scientist's Guide to Chaos(seems to be out of print)with some pretty pictures. You can get some nice screensavers using fractals.

But here still, I don't see a conflict with my discourse.

Ned Ludd a dit…

Anijo, your link to the two-slit experiment is well done. I think it shows that Flocon's position on form of matter is incorrect as it shows that matter might be "a little marble" but it can also be a wave, and what kind of wave? So can we say that matter must have a certain form?

Your quote by Al-Khalili seems at first to support Flocon's position about observation, but if the atom is spread out all over the place, then that also denies form for matter. If it becomes "real" only when we observe or measure it, that certainly creates a universe for the observer and gives him or her a representation of it, but it is still a result of the quantum effects that created the physical universe.

Another question is about physics and multiverses. Are the physics we know only applicable to our known universe or also to other possible universes, or do other universes have different physics?

If we don't measure the atom, or the particle in the two-slit experiment, the formless atom still exists as does the electron(particle)which becomes a wave.

Anonyme a dit…

All our examples support this conclusion:

-Since we can only perceive the objective reality via the media of our senses, we cannot be certain that our subjective perception of reality is in accord with the objective reality.

Not this one:

There is no objective reality independent of our subjective perceptions.

Flocon's link to the Wiki article on "pluralism and the multiplicity of viewpoints" supports the proposition that truth and reality are perceived differently from diverse points of view. Not the proposition that there is no reality independent of our point of view. This is summarized perfectly by the fable of "The Blind Men and the Elephant" featured up front in the article. Five blind men are confronted with an elephant. One feels his trunk and declares that the elephant is a snake. Another feels his leg and declares that the elephant is a tree. Another feels his side and declares the elephant is a wall. The fable teaches that how we perceive the elephant depends on our point of view. But it also teaches that there is an objective elephant. Not five different elephants, each equally valid.

Likewise the two-slit experiment. The problem of measurement was revealed by Heisenberg's work, proposing what we refer to in English as the "uncertainty principle." This principle holds that we cannot measure simultaneously all the physical properties of the sub-atomic reality. As an example, the more precisely you know where a particle is, the less precisely you can possibly know its speed. Similarly, the more precisely you know how fast a particle is moving, the less you can possibly know about where it is. The reason this is true is a subject for another day. The point for today is that the quantum mechanics insists that, under some circumstances, we cannot know the position of a particle. It does not argue that the particle does not exist during the time we cannot measure its position.

Max Plank's quotation is given in the context of this sub-atomic uncertainty. For additional context on Plank's view, note the following quotation from Plank's speech "Das Wesen der Materie"

"All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute "solar system" of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter."

The purpose of the scientific enterprise is to obtain an accurate account of reality. This enterprise assumes that there are valid perceptions of reality (i.e. more or less accurate perceptions of objective reality) and invalid perceptions of reality (i.e. more or less inaccurate perceptions of objective reality).

If it is true that there is no objective reality independent of our subjective perceptions, some other things must also be true.

There are no delusions. Without a fixed reference of objective reality, all subjective perceptions are equally valid representations of reality.

There is no distinction between our subjective perceptions of the past(via memory), the present (via senses, but our senses are themselves only perceived subjectively) and the future (via imagination). There can be no distinction between the validity of a representation of reality perceived via present sense impression and a representation of reality perceived via imagination.

And there are many other problematic consequences of Flocon's view.


Flocon a dit…


I see our perception and representation as a result of our universe

I can agree with this and common sens tells us it's the way things developped. But again, it is retrospectively that we can reconstruct the story. And again, the story belongs to the past which doesn't exist per se save in our minds.

There is one unique form of time to us and it is the present. Past and future are the product of our capability to form concepts.

The light we receive from the stars that emitted it million and billion years ago reaches us hic et nunc it is a present perception. It is also because we know a certain amount of things that we can say this light is a very ancient one but to the shepherds of ancient time the light was immediate like an electric bulb is to us.

It is out faculté d'imagination which expends the results of our perceptions beyond their actual time template by inventing the past and the future, that is a three dimensional framework comparable to that of space which also is the creation of out minds.

Both frameworks are the output of human brains, e.g. self consciousness, they don't exist per se. And we're back to the subject/object relationship, on n'en sort pas parce qu'il est évidemment impossible d'en sortir.


I might have written "the world is here and we're here".

The two cannot exist independently from one another. We're here now indeed after the world has appeared because we know it and can retrospectively etc. we've been here before.


If these conditions were a little different, we wouldn't exist. Maybe other living things would exist in a different, or not exist at all.

Agree (I next to always agree with you Ned, save for the little part related to the subject/object thingie). But now, if we wouldn't exist, who would know about the existence of a universe without us and how?

This questions naturally leads us to the possibility that parallel universes exist, There may also be multiverses, but we are not sure. I've just have a look at this theme just to find that it is indeed very controversial among cosmologists and astrophysicists so I didn't read any further.

Yet, I would have had to ask the same question: if there exists one single parallel universe, how do we know save by the virtue of our imagination? said parallel universe after all may exist but we can't perceive it because we're not part of a subject/object relationship which apparently seems to be indispensable to make this parallel universe appear.

And if it "really" exists, it needs some other form of self reflective consciousness to make it appear since it cannot exist per se ibn the void.

Flocon a dit…

There are so many details to debate in the stuff I having been reading about metaphysics(which I still don't know well), materialism, and arche.

This interrogation is the very basis of ontology and is common to all human beings by virtue of our innate sense of Causality, the one innate sense that makes all children in the world (past, present and future) to ask the question: Mommy, where do I come from?

This thread eventually deals with the same interrogation, just on the cosmic scale and not that of the individual person the child is.

Since the interrogation is universal, an answer had to be found and all human societies have resorted to the religious answer: God id all and everywhere, knows neither limits nor limitations, has been here before and will be after, because God is above any time limitations etc.

The object of ontology is Being, which also is an indication that the only reality is the present and not "what has been" or "what will be" which are products of the human brain.

Plato has a remarquable definition of time, not only a poetic one but an extraordinary accurate one also:

Time is the moving image of eternity. A short sentence at the present which disregards the concepts of past and future because they're enclosed in the present. That is a pre-Kantian (by 2,000 years no less) formulation of our innate sense of time.


As pertains matter and form.

matter might be "a little marble" but it can also be a wave, and what kind of wave? So can we say that matter must have a certain form?

Isn't there a linguistical confusion here between a certain form and a definite one?

if the atom is spread out all over the place, then that also denies form for matter.

Err... the atom, which is a tiny portion of matter, still has a form of its own, hasn't it? And the same goes for the wave. I perfectly can represent a wave in my mind. You apparently mistake the form of matter and the space that said matter occupies.


Flocon a dit…


The link to Anekantavada is ZapPow's, not mine and if it doesn't support that there is no reality independent of our point of view it simply because it is not its purpose.

The Anekantavada doesn't address metaphysics but what in French is called "théorie de la connaissance". The English name for this field of research, I don't know.

When comparing or referring to Indian schools of thought, it is necessary to make some accommodations in order to make the adjustment with Western philosophy.

For the sake of information, Schopenhauer was the very first Western philosopher to learn about Buddhism, Hinduism etc. and to integrate their lessons into his system.

Chinese "philosophy" is childish and the Japanese simply don't know what philosophy is (historically speaking of course).


re the quote by M. Planck, and particularly this passage:"a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute "solar system" of the atom together".

This is another phrasing for Aristotles' efficient cause and in fact is the basis for a religious conclusion, the force being god, which of course doesn't explain a thing. Which force drove god into motion? God himself. It is the circular argument again.

As regards your last paragraph, There is no distinction between our subjective perceptions of the past(via memory), the present (via senses, but our senses are themselves only perceived subjectively) and the future (via imagination). There can be no distinction between the validity of a representation of reality perceived via present sense impression and a representation of reality perceived via imagination.

there are numerous issues here and that will be a subject for another day as you say.

Ned Ludd a dit…

Maybe I expressed myself poorly. Matter supposedly has mass. If it can be a wave, does the wave have mass?

For the form of matter, I was referring to the quote from Anijo about the view of the physicist that she posted. He seems to argue that matter, an atom, doesn't have form and it is not clear from the quote if he thinks it occupies space. A wave has form, but again, does it have mass and also does it occupy space?

So blame Anijo about the atom thing. The linguistic quibble about "certain" and "definite" might be talking about different things. I said "certain" as applying to the particular experiment Anijo(her again)linked. So maybe I should have added "in this case". One thing I haven't looked into to is the frequency of that wave. We know that there are many different waves with different frequencies. Does this experiment always give the same wave frequency? I just realized that I have never looked into the frequency of light waves, something so obvious to ask, but silly me never thought of looking at it more in depth. Or maybe I did in university but forgot so I thought I knew what I knew.

After more study, I might tackle the question of "Time's arrow". But that involves several theories: chaos, multiverses, spacetime, the controversial superstring or M-theory and 11 dimensions. It might just be boring to others, and to me.

I would like to see your comments on Semper Fi's points, especially since he took some time and space to give his analysis. There are some things in his arguments that I have used in completely different contexts.

Flocon a dit…


So, I've been under pressure by Ned to answer your last comment and to do so politely and respectfully. How you manage to rally the girls to your cause is beyond me but anyway...

There is no distinction between our subjective perceptions of the past(via memory), the present (via senses, but our senses are themselves only perceived subjectively) and the future (via imagination). There can be no distinction between the validity of a representation of reality perceived via present sense impression and a representation of reality perceived via imagination.

If I correctly understand what you write, I agree with it. There is only one time and it is the eternal present, the one Plato refers to and the one Kant has determined is an a priori form of our sensitivity.

You rightly state that the past is an output of our memory and that the future is an output of our imagination. I agree with this of course.

Now, I previously asked another twofold question which as usual was left unanswered:

Where is the past and that with which it was filled?

Where is the future and its inhabitants save in your head?

Notwithstanding Ned's bad influence, can you help me understand how it is possible to posit that past and future are products of our minds on the one hand and that an object needs not be represented in order to exist on the other hand?

If you're successful with this mission, my little French blog will become world famous as the place where Plato, Spinoza, Berkeley, Kant and Schopenhauer will have been revoked.

(beware of Ned anyway)

Anonyme a dit…

// How you manage to rally the girls to your cause is beyond me but anyway...//

It is the uniform.

Ned Ludd a dit…

Flocon, back to the subject. On time, physicist John Cramer who studies quantum mechancis doesn't exclude what is called "retro-causality. "Other notable physicists, such as the famed cosmologist Stephen Hawking, believe that time can only move forward. Cramer responds to that objection quite simply—there is no proven reason why time can only move one way. Basically, until someone proves otherwise, there’s no good reason why time can’t move backwards."

Physicist Brian Greene works on string theory which would provide other theoretical possibilities on reverse time, but he is skeptical,
"No matter how hard you try to teach your cat general relativity, you're going to fail. There we have an example of an intelligent living being that will never know this kind of truth about the way the world is put together. Why in the world should we be any different? We can certainly go further than cats, but why should it be that our brains are somehow so suited to the universe that our brains will be able to understand the deepest workings?"

On a trivial level, we can know the future because we know what time the sun will rise and set tomorrow. The same for yesterday, the past. Of course we don't know if we are going to be thrown under a bus or win the lottery. Tomorrow Never Knows More simply, if we were able to travel near the speed of light for some time and then slow down to land, we would hardly have aged and we would land on the earth as it would be in hundreds or thousands of years. So we would discover the future and its inhabitants.

On the past, you already mentioned that the light(and other information)we receive from galaxies, supernovas, and other cosmic objects are showing us what happened in the past. On earth, we can't live the experience of the Roman Empire nor that of prehistory. But through archeology, anthropology, writing for the historical period, we know when things happened, or at least that things happened, though we can't experience them. Objects from the past do exist however. We can estimate at what time by using various scientific measurements.

Another look at the object, "Jesus man! You don't look for acid! Acid finds you when *it* thinks you're ready!" Hunter S. Thompson.

BTW, now you tend to overuse "save" now. "Except" or "but" could be used in most cases.

Ned Ludd a dit…

Brian Greene has written a book, The Fabric of the Cosmos. He discusses space and time and hypothetical time travel. It is basically an explanation of the history and current state of physics for the layman. Even my sister, who is not science inclined, read it and gave it to me.

The last couple of chapters go over some things he wrote in his previous book, The Elegant Universe. But the new one is perhaps easier to grasp. There is also a documentary based on his book which was broadcast on ARTE several years ago. NOVA

Flocon a dit…

Cramer responds to that objection quite simply—there is no proven reason why time can only move one way. Basically, until someone proves otherwise, there’s no good reason why time can’t move backwards."

This argument is totally specious. Anyone can invent any fallacy and claim that if said fallacy isn't proven wrong then it is right.

I'll have a try: "Basically, until someone proves otherwise, there’s no good reason why there can't be red cows orbiting Saturn."

Another one?: "Basically, until someone proves otherwise, there’s no good reason why God doesn't exist."

This kind of argument is a revised version of quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur.

On a trivial level, we can know the future because we know what time the sun will rise and set tomorrow

This is exactly the starting point which led Kant to write the Critique of Pure Reason, now uniformly recognized as one of the greatest works in the history of philosophy, thanking Hume for having woken him up from his dogmatic slumber.

Hume was sceptical where you are affirmative.

"if we were able to travel near the speed of light etc."
I have just reminded that there exists only one Time and that it is a permanent present, that past and future are only outputs of our brains and now you come with the conditional...

Your last paragraph makes me wonder if you really read my comments Ned, because all your objections I have answered to time and again for the last couple of weeks and you nonetheless keep on repeating them again and again.

But since I know you read them I just can observe there is an impossibility for you to acknowledge the simplest truth of all truth.

Since I do not want to be disparaging nor appear like an arrogant knows it all, je ne peux que penser qu'il est dommage pour toi que tu ne puisses apparemment pas sortir de ton cadre de pensée clos.

Now, of course, should I wear the uniform it would be like "How right you are Flocon", "thanks Flocon for having opened my eyes", "Flocon I didn't know the world could be thought and observed from another perspective not in the least in contradiction with science" etc. but not only am I not a marine but I'm not even a member of the Légion étrangère...

Ned Ludd a dit…

My last paragraph was the quotation from Hunter Thompson.:)

Also, I am not sure that there is just one Time, nor that it is a permanent present. The "if" I borrowed from Brian Greene, who doesn't exclude the technological possibility. Think of the useless program to send men to Mars. On return, these men will have aged less than the people they left behind, but only in an insignificant way, maybe a few minutes or hours.

Flocon a dit…

I am not sure that there is just one Time, nor that it is a permanent present.

There are several Times indeed, le temps astronomique et le temps personnel, le temps vécu et le temps perçu ainsi que leurs modalités comme la durée par exemple, le temps de l'attente ou le temps associé à un contexte particulier mais il n'y a qu'un temps simultané c'est celui du sujet.

If that isn't the case then we're on the verge of schizophrenia.

Un article sur le déjà-vu qui peut t'intéresser.

Some years ago I read Matter and memory by Bergson et je me souviens qu'il traite à un moment donné du "déjà vu".

Son explication, antérieure de plus d'un siècle aux connaissances actuelles en neuroscience, est très proche de ce que rapporte cet article : Il est question d'une espèce de chevauchement de deux réseaux de perception du temps.

Bergson évoque la possibilité de passerelles, involontaires évidemment, entre les données destinées à être "conservées" en mémoire (second réseau) mais qui -pour certaines- passent dans le système d'activation du présent (premier réseau).


I'm afraid you underestimate Kant's teaching re Time and Space.

No other philosopher had his discovery named a revolution like there has been the Copernican and the Newtonian revolutions.

I have never heard of a Nietzschean revolution nor of a Piercean one.

Ignoring Kant's revolution is akin to ignoring the aforementioned revolutions, no less.

You apparently seem to think that accepting the view I have introduced would be detrimental to your physicalist point of view, which is not the case.

Sticking so firmly to an exclusive materialist Weltanschauung will prevent you from even considering the field of phenomenology and you will miss something worth your interest.

C'est dommage...

Ned Ludd a dit…

Flocon, in your link to Wiki, there are several caveats about the article so I am no sure I am getting the right picture. The introduction has many points that bear study, but I got tired going through the whole list of points of view, so didn't finish that.

I can almost agree, "Phenomenology, in Husserl's conception, is primarily concerned with the systematic reflection on and study of the structures of consciousness and the phenomena that appear in acts of consciousness." It is admirable to study consciousness, but what is it, and what is an act of consciousness?

Cognitive scientist Steven Pinker has argued, "“Trivers, pursuing his theory of the emotions to its logical conclusion, notes that in a world of walking lie detectors the best strategy is to believe your own lies. You can’t leak your hidden intentions if you don’t think they are your intentions. According to his theory of self-deception, the conscious mind sometimes hides the truth from itself the better to hide it from others. But the truth is useful, so it should be registered somewhere in the mind, walled off from the parts that interact with other people.”

I don't know what Pinker thinks of B.F. Skinner, maybe my own Kant, but many of his statements look like they have common ground. I can agree with this, "In its most basic form, phenomenology thus attempts to create conditions for the objective study of topics usually regarded as subjective: consciousness and the content of conscious experiences such as judgments, perceptions, and emotions." I think that both Pinker and Skinner could agree with that. Skinner invented experiments and machines to try to measure what consciousness is and where it comes from. I notice on Wiki that criticisms of Skinner are offered, but there aren't any in the phenomenology page.

Skinner and probably Pinker would reject "The ultimate goal of these reductions is to understand how these different aspects are constituted into the actual thing as experienced by the person experiencing it." For Skinner, we can't know another person's experiences but only judge by their behavior. Many of our judgements are likely to be wrong because they are based on our genes and learning experiences. He worked on understanding the physical workings of the brain. Pinker thinks that there maybe things that we will never understand about the brain's functioning, but there is a lot that we will such as emontions such as love. They both rely on a neurological basis. Your link to déjà vue would seem to support them.

Ned Ludd a dit…

According to the Wiki page, Husserl favored "a method of reflective attentiveness that discloses the individual’s “lived experience.” and "the suspension of judgment while relying on the intuitive grasp of knowledge, free of presuppositions and intellectualizing." and ""the reflective study of the essence of consciousness as experienced from the first-person point of view." There are two problems with these." There are at least three problems here. What is meant by "relective", "intuitive", and "essence"? As already noted, Skinner rejects being able to disclose an individual's "lived experience."

Skinner gives a much different point of view:

"The position can be stated as follows: what is felt or introspectively observed is not some nonphysical world of consciousness, mind, or mental life but the observer's own body. This does not mean, as I shall show later, that introspection is a kind of psychological research, nor does it mean (and this is the heart of the argument) that what are felt or introspectively observed are the causes of the behavior. An organism behaves as it does because of its current structure, but most of this is out of reach of introspection. At the moment we must content ourselves, as the methodological behaviorist insists, with a person's genetic and environment histories. What are introspectively observed are certain collateral products of those histories.
In this way we repair the major damage wrought by mentalism. When what a person does [is] attributed to what is going on inside him, investigation is brought to an end. Why explain the explanation? For twenty five hundred years people have been preoccupied with feelings and mental life, but only recently has any interest been shown in a more precise analysis of the role of the environment. Ignorance of that role led in the first place to mental fictions, and it has been perpetuated by the explanatory practices to which they gave rise"

Flocon a dit…

I certainly won't argue with you about phenomenology Ned and I probably stand on Skinner's side on this issue.

As a matter of fact, I've been trying for the last twenty years (je n'ai pas fait que cela non plus...) to come to terms with phenomenology but at the end of the day all that I have read boils down to empty talks to me.

I have read some texts by Husserl and they left me empty handed. Like he was endlessly enunciating his program.

I remember discussing the issue with an Italian teacher of philosophy who now is a professor at the University of Barcelona, and I asked him the question after I had read 200 pages of some book by Husserl: When do we start? To which he replied: Exactly!, that's all there is with phenomenology!

I have the same questions as the ones you ask: What is an act of consciousness and what is intentionality etc.

Yet phenomenology isn't associated with astrology and Husserl as well as Merleau-Ponty are highly regarded theoricians so I don't know.

As you know, I'm very much a proponent of psychoanalysis where many people think of Freud as a charlatan (not much educated people though, like writers or artists).

Que l'observation des phénomènes que nous percevons soit l'objet d'une attitude et d'un regard particulier sur son environnement et le monde en général je le conçois fort bien, et cela inclut la suspension du jugement dont parle Husserl, mais autant je me représente bien la pratique bouddhiste pour ce faire, autant il m'est impossible de comprendre que cela puisse être l'objet d'une infinie théorisation livresque.

Eventually, I've given up phenomenology and I'll try to enter Heidegger's weltanschauung, although he was a disciple of Husserl.

Needdless to say, analytic philosophy (the Anglo-saxon one, starting with Wittgenstein and Russell) doesn't care a fig about Husserl nor Heidegger for that matter.

Flocon a dit…

To be sure, the word "phenomenology" has a wide range of application as shown with this page for example or that one.

I mentioned Merleau-Ponty in my above comment and there is his most famous book that I should read, all the more since it goes along the subject/object relationship that I have been emphasizing from the beginning of these exchanges.

Also, Merleau-Ponty takes over (reprend?) Schopenhauer's idea that our body is the very place where the world and the phenomenas we perceive are to be observed.

This is indicated on the French wiki page but not on the English one (and I have not been active on it).

I may someday get a clearer idea of what Husserlian phenomenology is and maybe not...

Anonyme a dit…

The mathematics which support the arrow of time are beyond my ken, but I do understand that they depend on the assumption of quantum mechanical symmetry among sub atomic particles (which symmetry has hitherto been consistently observed). This symmetry results in an equal probability of time running "forward" or "backward".

An article in the September 1st issue of the Economist reports a significant breakthrough on this issue. Work at the SLAC Stanford laboratory reveals that the sub-atomic B-meson particle displays asymmetry! One type of B-meson exists in four forms. B, B-bar, B-plus and B-minus. When energized, The particles change forms. But they do not change forms in the expected symmetrical ratios. B-bars turn into B-minuses far faster than B-minuses turn into B-bars. As many as five B-minuses are produced for every B-bar. The chance of this result being an experimental fluke was calculated to be one in 10 to the 43rd power.
This sub atomic imbalance is all that is needed to shift the probabilities to support time running in only one direction.

But if there is no objective reality independent of the scientists' subjective perceptions of their experiment, their perceptions are no more valid a representation of reality than any alternate explanation I can conceive and perceive through my imagination. So long as I perceive it, my perception of the reality of the arrow of time is just as valid as their perception of it.

There are no delusions.


Ned Ludd a dit…

Flocon, I don't wish to argue about phenomenology either. I just saw some things that puzzled me about it and it vagueness.

I find it funny that Skinner(correctly in my mind), says that we can only observe and understand behavior, while Pinker's quote of another says that people tend to hide their lies, and thus the truth, by believing their own lies. That makes Skinner's task much more difficult. How can he or we know if someone is acting on a personal lie that he has come to believe as true or revealing himself by actin on a truth? If we as "lie detectors" could distinguish the difference, we would understand a person's behavior more precisely.

A real casse-tete.

Semper Fi, you use the plural "scientists". If one scientist claims some theory, you could be right to disregard it as subjective perception. However, when that occurs, other individual scientists do the same experiments and even others to try to determine if there is a "truth" to it. If these scientists in their several individual(usually now they work in groups)come to the same conclusion, it is beyond the subjective perception of just one person.

So, unless you propose a group delusion, your sole subjective perception is not as valid as that of several scientists who find the same result different than yours.

I don't know the experiment you mention, but there are other conflicting results.

"On 14th May 2010, physicists at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory reported that the oscillations decayed into matter 1% more often than into antimatter, which may help explain the abundance of matter over antimatter in the observed Universe.[1] However, more recent results at LHCb in 2011 and 2012 with larger data samples have demonstrated no significant deviation from the Standard Model prediction of very nearly zero asymmetry" - Wiki B-Bbar oscillation.

The more I look into this, the more references to related things I find. The math in the articles are way beyond me. The Wiki article on "Time Travel" presents multiple theories which experiment has not confirmed. Some rule out moving backward in time and others don't.

An aside, sometimes I forget what day it is. It is Thursday and I act like it is Friday because I think it is. Or it is Friday and I think it is Thursday, so I act appropriately. So in my subjective view, I am either in the future or in the past, at least I act as if that were the case.

Flocon a dit…


I certainly miss the knowledges both in maths and physics that are indispensable to understand what you are referring to, but I notice there are quite a few "if" in your comment.

This sub atomic imbalance is all that is needed to shift the probabilities to support time running in only one direction. being another form of "if".

I have no idea about the arrow of Time except (not save, I insist, except) that I'm getting older at the second and not the other way round. I wish you could prove me wrong though...

Flocon a dit…


Speaking of lie detectors...

I just saw a portion of the news some days ago with a new apparatus being used to tell if someone is lying or not by observing the differences in the brain in terms of energy dispelled in such and such part of the hypothalamus or whatever, being acknowledged that lying requires more energy than telling the truth.

So there was this man with his wife and he accepted to test the machine and he was asked if he did cheat on his spouse and he first said "no" and instantly the machine reacted and he had to admit he lied.

The wife was mildly pleased (like it took her 50 years to find out what men are all about [I am currently laughing in front of my keyboard].

And I said to myself, should I have a try I would constantly lie.
-Did you cheat?
--> Red alert, red alert, red alert.
-Ok I admit I cheated;
-But you've just said you didn't?
-Yeah but I've just changed my mind.
-Ok, now how many times did you cheat?
-13 times!
-That's a lie
-ok, 135 times
-That's impossible, another lie
-5 time
-It's a lie
-0,3 time then

And before half an hour, the machine would get a nervous breakdown;

Let's come home darling, c'est rien que des conneries sa machine.
-I never doubted you sweatheart,
-I love you sweetie

Anijo a dit…

With the two slit experiment, which everyone who is interested in science knows well, what exactly is the point you are trying to make? I don't see how it poses a problem for what I have written about the origin and constitution of our universe.

Ned, it has to do with the properties of matter. Your questions about waves is important.

See here.

Anijo a dit…

From the above link are these interesting concepts as concerns waves and matter (with respect to the electron).

So a photon, or a free moving electron, can be thought of as a wave packet, having both wave-like properties and also the single position and size we associate with a particle. There are some slight problems, such as the wave packet doesn't really stop at a finite distance from its peak, it also goes on for every and every. Does this mean an electron exists at all places in its trajectory?

Notice also that this means the electron does not exist at one single spot in its orbit, it has a wave nature and exists at all places in the allowed orbit.

The location of a subatomic particle is not defined until it is observed (such as striking a screen).

Clearly the two slit experiments, for the first time in physics, indicates that there is a much deeper relationship between the observer and the phenomenon, at least at the subatomic level. This is an extreme break from the idea of an objective reality or one where the laws of Nature have a special, Platonic existence.

The wave nature of the microscopic world makes the concept of `position' difficult for subatomic particles. Even a wave packet has some `fuzziness' associated with it. An electron in orbit has no position to speak of, other than it is somewhere in its orbit.

To deal with this problem, quantum physics developed the tool of the quantum wave function as a mathematical description of the superpositions associated with a quantum entity at any particular moment.

Notice that the only explanation for quantum tunneling is if the position of the electron is truly spread out, not just hidden or unmeasured. It raw uncertainty allows for the wave function to penetrate the barrier. This is genuine indeterminism, not simply an unknown quantity until someone measures it.

It is important to note that the superposition of possibilities only occurs before the entity is observed. Once an observation is made (a position is measured, a mass is determined, a velocity is detected) then the superposition converts to an actual. Or, in quantum language, we say the wave function has collapsed.

The collapse of the wave function by observation is a transition from the many to the one, from possibility to actuality. The identity and existence of a quantum entities are bound up with its overall environment (this is called contextualism). Like homonyms, words that depend on the context in which they are used, quantum reality shifts its nature according to its surroundings.

In the macroscopic world ruled by classical physics, things are what they are. In the microscopic world ruled by quantum physics, there is an existential dialogue among the particle, its surroundings and the person studying it.

Anijo a dit…

p.s. Sorry for taking so long to respond. I was having 'puter problems.

Anijo a dit…

And Flocon,
Notwithstanding the fact that you don't don a uniform, and notwithstanding the fact that I do want you to be polite towards SemperFi because I respect said Marine, in the end, I agree with your proposition on this thread.

Flocon a dit…


I agree with your proposition on this thread.

Ah, merci Anijo, I knew it would take an artist to fill (and to feel too) the missing link between raw materialism and an expanded unrestricted view of the world.

Another wider view which isn't in the least in contradiction with the scientific physicalist efforts to explain what we perceive.

Like I've written above and before, materialists forget themselves in their calculations and reason like no brain was necessary to reason.

So, if you've got my position right, you can also see how simple and evident it is. And yes, it doesn't change anything in the world nor does it invalidate any scientific theory or result.

Just, this comprehension that the world exists only as long as there is at least one brain to perceive it, represent it and reconstruct it addresses each and everyone of us as individuals and permits us to consider the world from another wider perspective.

All one needs to understand what is proposed here and perhaps change one's mind about this issue I wrote in some of the above comments:

Space and Time aren't gigantic aquariums in which we live but, quite the opposite, they are a priori forms of our sensitivity

Time and Space (and also causality) lie within us, they don't exist in the outer world which, in turn, exists because we're here with our inner tools to perceive it and make some order as to what we perceive.

With every single person who dies the whole universe disappears and not only h/h personal universe made of souvenirs and personal experience but the universe itself disappears entirely like in a black hole. Just, there are other human beings who carry on with them the representation of the world ad infinitum, hence the world is in a permanent process of continuation through death and birth.

Flocon a dit…

Argggg the horror!

I've just realised that all along this thread I have been writing forms of sensitivity instead of the forms of sensibility which of course may have ruined the meaning of my discourse.

The benevolent reader will have corrected by self of course...

Du danger des faux-amis...

Now, with the intuitive understanding that eventually the world depends on me to exist and that it lies within my brain through my innate forms of sensibility, one may consider a parallel to be drawn with the Christian assertion that God resides in the deepest of our heart. (I am writing this under SemperFidelis's control of course).

The topic is way too enormous to be dealt with here (and may well be not that interesting to all) but yet it indicates that there exists among human beings the same intuitive sensation that there's more than meets the eye (appropriate idiom considering where the post comes from) with what we see (perceive).

Just, the religious thinking refers to the heart where the rationalist refers to the brain...

Anijo a dit…


As concerns your questions re waves and your knowledge of the double-split experiment, what think you now?

What indeed is a wave? Is the wave in the double-split experiment what you think it is?

Here is an excellent discussion.

Anijo a dit…

And from above discussion of 'matter waves', I present here some responses that elucidate the issue:

Matterwaves, as they are called, aren't physical waves like sound, nor are they EM waves like light...they are probability waves. The probability wave itself does not have any "mass", it just tells you the probabilities of finding the particles at specific places. The particle has mass, not the wave. The wave simply describes the particle.

The particle is described by a wave-function, and this wave-function is NOT physical in any sense

When you make a measurement, e.g. a measurement of mass, you invariable are measuring the particle. Even in the tunneling example, you are measuring the position of the particle. You are not measuring a wave like you could measure a physical wave (like waves on a pond). With waves on a pond, I could measure the amplitude by using a ruler, for example; however, I can make no such measurements on the electron's wave-function (or the absolute square of the wave-function). I can only get an idea for the amplitude, if I get many measurements of identically prepared electrons.

A photon and electron both display wave particle dualities the same. A photon is a particle, it is not an electro magnetic wave.

So with the double slit you can work with either one, shouldn't matter.

Either way in order to see the wave nature you must send more than one particle through the slits. Though you can send them with great amounts of time between. Like 1 photon every year and still see the interference pattern.

Let us try to make everything as clear as possible. First, let's stay with the double-slit experiment. When you make a specific measurement of position, i.e. where the particle is on the screen, you necessarily measure only the particle-like aspect - position (waves are spread out!). When you combine many many measurements of position, you start to see a diffraction pattern occur in the distribution of these electrons and from this you can infer a wave-like property. Be absolutely certain that you did not measure this wave-like property, but you inferred it from your measurements. This applies to both electrons and photons. You can ever only measure 1 aspect at a time.

Now onto the tunneling example. In fact, it is analogous because when you measure the 1 electron, you are in fact measuring a particle-like aspect (position). You may be able to infer from this 1 electron the wave-nature but you certainly did not measure the wave-nature.

I admit, this topic is getting to the limits of my QM knowledge.

The main point to make here is that the wave-function is not a physical reality (except perhaps in the Many-worlds interpretation....which I'm not familiar with). The wave-function cannot be measured like position or mass or the amplitude of a real physical wave.

Quote by Hoku
This is what I'm trying to get at. I learned that the wave aspect of the duality was documented in the double slit experiment by a single particle interfering with itself after it passed through both slits, simultaneously. So you're saying that I learned this wrong? Where did this "interfereing with itself" thing come from?
The particle is interfering with itself when passing through the slit, this is the result of getting a diffraction pattern.

We can't detect a single particle going through both slits though, because each time we detect a particle the wave function collapses, which means a function which used to exist over all space now exists only in one spot, the slit it was detected at.

Edit: By exists I mean has a value other than 0 at each position.

What the article is stating is that after sending a large number of photons through the slit we can determine from the results that a single photon must have wavelike nature.

We can't deduce this from sending only one photon, though it is true that single photon has wavelike nature.

Ned Ludd a dit…

Basically, I agree with Matterwave from the beginning. "Matterwaves, as they are called, aren't physical waves like sound, nor are they EM waves like light...they are probability waves. The probability wave itself does not have any "mass", it just tells you the probabilities of finding the particles at specific places. The particle has mass, not the wave. The wave simply describes the particle."

One key word here is probability. The rest of Matterwave's posts are further explanations of this one.
So we have probabilities of where the particle is. It is like the problem where we can measure where a particle is or its motion, but not both.

If the unprove string/supertring theory is correct, all particles are made up of waves of vibrating strings. Ultimately if strings are found, then I suppose we will be faced with the question of whether they have mass, which for the moment seems unlikely.

Also if we eventually learn something about dark matter and dark energy, which makes up 70% of the universe, we might learn learn more about the question, but that is speculation. For the moment we know nothing about it. Maybe there is a connection and maybe not. It is hard for me though to imagine that all these things are not connected.

Anijo a dit…


Could you elucidate and explain in more detail why it is that you agree with Matterave? Merci.

Anijo a dit…

And, Ned, you do understand that the double-split experiments for electrons are the same for photons, right?

Not sure about this comment that you made:

probabilities of finding the particles at specific places.

Well, one doesn't 'find' particles at 'specific places'.

Anijo a dit…

And yes, I do know what Matterwave was getting at, in that he was attempting to describe a complex notion in layman's terms, yes.

Anyway, the point is that there is no 'specific' place that the electron is at until the wave function is collapsed. That is, there is no specific place that the electron is at until the observer observes it.

Anonyme a dit…

Anijo: //That is, there is no specific place that the electron is at until the observer observes it.//

Exactly. We can observe the electron and at the moment of observation (in the language of our discussion above, at the moment we perceive it as a particle)we can determine its location with (in theory, but in actuality limited by the sensitivities of our instruments)100% probability. But at that moment we cannot perceive its speed at all. Before we observe it as a particle, at a point in time when it is manifest as a wave, we can determine its speed, but we cannot determine its location at all. It has some possibility of being anywhere.

BUT THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT IT DOES NOT EXIST. The probability that it is SOMEWHERE in the universe is 100%.

Adopting Flocon's view will change your views about other things. For example, you will eventually see progressive politics as irrational. After all, if the poor and downtrodden have no objective reality independent of your subjective perceptions, the rational response is not to work to change "things", which do not exist independent of your subjective perception. The rational response is to ignore them. If you do not think about them, they do not exist.

Ned Ludd a dit…

Anijo, you ask me a difficult question, because with probability I probably realized that I had reached my limit in following modern math. To give you an example, here is someone trying to explain Probability Amplitude

"The principal use of probability amplitudes is as the physical meaning of the wavefunction, a link first proposed by Max Born and a pillar of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics. In fact, the properties of the wave function were being used to make physical predictions (such as emissions from atoms being at certain discrete energies) before any physical interpretation was offered."

In the article you can skip over the math formulae and just try to grasp the commentary. You will see why I have difficulty.

"However, it is impossible to observe which slit is passed through without altering the electron. Thus, when not watching the electron, the particle cannot be said to go through either slit and this simplistic explanation does not work. However, the complex amplitudes taken by the two wavefunctions which represent the electron passing each slit do follow a law of precisely the form expected (ψtotal =ψfirst + ψsecond), and the calculations agree with experiment. This is the principle of quantum superposition, and explains the requirement that amplitudes be complex, as a purely real formulation has too few dimensions to describe the system's state when superposition is taken into account"

Matterwave left out the amplitude effect. By "complex" here, the writer means complex numbers i.e. square root of negative one represented by "i". As you see in the article there are back references that I will check when I feel up to it.

For the wave function, there is a particle somewhere, but the function describes the probability of where it is, or you might say where it will appear when we try to observe it.

Ned Ludd a dit…

Anijo, I should also add that I have given several links to scientists who try to give answers for the layman.

Ned Ludd a dit…

Anijo, on re-reading, I think I made a mistake in relating "complex" to complex numbers. This was caused by my relating his "real formulation" to real numbers. Maybe that is what was meant but now I think not.

Flocon a dit…


Your last comment went direct into the spambox and has just be freed. Sorry about that, I have no explanation, maybe did you post from another computer than the one you usually post from?



Thank you, thank you very much for unwillingly proving my point.

We've been here before:
It's not because we haven't found WMDs that they don't exist. (and in the end of course there were no WMDs...)

This is a first class fallacy which worked ten years ago and it apparently hasn't lost its attractivity power...

This issue has been addressed on this very thread some days ago when I answer to Ned:
This kind of argument is a revised version of quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur.
(20th September 7:22 am)

Apparently my comments aren't read...

Anyway, I have to be very cautious when addressing you because Anijo has admonished me to be polite and respectful and Ned is on the watch too. Their maternal instinct probably leads them into believing a Marine is a fragile, delicate and vulnerable poor thing ô-Ô. Oh well, girls, you know...


Other than that, I have to say to you (in a polite and respectful way of course) that once again there is a blatant contradiction in your comment when you keep on
repeating the verbs "to perceive, to observe, to determine" like you needed no brain to do so.

Like I've said before, materialists forget themselves in their calculations.

Your second paragraph shows that you actually reason like I was defending pure and unadulterated solipsism which isn't the case.

Actually, if you're interested of course, in the (good) article I link to, you'll find a comprehensive review of what solipsism is.

And particularly of the position you (rightly) make fun of with the moral consequences of sheer solipsism.

Just, I am not defending pure solipsism and nobody actually does because it is an untenable position.

Now, I understand the limit between Berkeley's solipsism and the extension Schopenhauer has given to the former's Esse est percipi may be somehow subtle at first glance but it is all a matter of taking the right direction when coming over a railroad switch.

Solipsism is the consequence of not having taken the right direction when the first railroad switch was met and therefore, all that follows leads to dead ends.

Both you and Ned are actually reasoning against my position thinking I have taken the wrong track but not seeing the other track that is available and that I have taken.

Ned Ludd a dit…

Sorry Flocon, but your last sentence puzzles me. I think I understand, but I am sure you could put it in a better way. It's confusing to say we think you have taken the wrong track, which implies that for you that it is the right one since we oppose it. Then you add that you took a different track. So the two tracks seem to be the same one.

Also, the metaphor is not so good. If we take follow the switch in a different direction, it doesn't mean it leads to dead ends. Suppose I want to go from the East Coast to Los Angeles and near the Mississippi River the switch is wrong and I end up in Chicago.

Flocon a dit…


Ok, right you're are, my bad, there are indeed three tracks.

-1° The usual one that absolutely every train goes along and the one you and Semperfidelis are on.

-2° The one that absolutely no train takes because it definitively leads to a dead end and everybody knows that and it is beyond any questioning because it is as sure as 2 + 2 = 4. It's called solipsism, period.

-3° The third track that I chose and which eventually leads me to the same direction track #1 would have led me to.

Now I reason like I were in your position and SemperFi's one.

I gather that you hadn't heard of that third track before I mentioned it three weeks ago and you still cannot see it and therefore, being aware of only two existing tracks, you think I am on the second one whereas I am on the third one. But both of you cannot see it and keep on presenting me with the same objections that are indeed rightly raised against the second track. Except that I am not on that second track.

I have reread all the objections you and Semper have presented to me since this exchange has been on the rail and not a single one, not one, has safely passed my answers. And rightly so since the two of you don't aim at the correct target.

In contrast, I have asked two or three times very simple, basic questions that have been left unanswered, probably because you two don't see the third track and still reason in terms of two tracks, the one you're on and the one nobody's on.

Note that I have never contradicted (?) opposed any of your "scientifically based objections" since they are valid of course and also the third track (another Weltanschauung as a matter of fact) doesn't lead to any opposite directions than the first one you're on.

Skinner, Hawkins all scientists you can think of (with your brain), all cosmologists, you and Semper as well as me and Anijo and absolutely every living person on earth does need a brain to perceive and think, can you seriously object to this?

You need your brain to read on your screen as well as to make your fingers dance on your keaboard, we're all agree about that aren't we?

This is my starting point: Our brain and I always stick firm on that base whereas you and Semper - and everybody else for that matter - forget that the existence of our brain is the sine qua non condition that enables everything to exist.

Ned Ludd a dit…

As I noted earlier, there could have been other universes possible. Ours has the particularity that the original conditions and physics made the elements that made stars and galaxies and eventually the earth come into existence. These conditions had to fall in a narrow range to make all that possible.

Whether there are multiverses with different or the same physics is not my point here.

On earth all these things led to the appearance and continuation of life, which nearly disappeared with catastrophes like the Permian Extinction 250 million years ago.

Our species appeared only 100 to 200 thousand years ago. It has the brain to reflect, to perceive that it perceives, and to think about and maybe understand our universe, but we are still just another animal species, with a small variation.

Our brain is a product of evolution, which is only possible because all of the conditions stated above permitted it. If the original conditions were slightly different, life leading down to us would not have happened.

Since we are but a millisecond in the history of life on earth, why should our brain be so special? I can't say for sure that it is an inevitable result, but maybe it is. Even if is not, the structure of our universe is the sine qua non of our brain, and undoubtedly other brains, in the extremely vast extent of our universe.

So I don't see how such an insignificant species as ours can create and destroy worlds from one instant to another. Well destroy, maybe. Maybe another small variation leading to a better brain is necessary to understand Kant's theory. Oh, we understand it in our way now, but maybe we that better brain to have a deeper understanding of how it "really" works.

Does our brain have inherent limitations that don't allow it to completely study itself? We only have our brain to study our brain.

Flocon a dit…


I agree with all that you say, just I am being a little cautious here though.

there could have been other universes possible.

On peut l'imaginer en effet but at the end of the day it is the one we know that exists with us.

The conditional tense opens the door to innumerable billions of possibilities. At each and every nano second something else may happen and actually happens and then what? The nanosecond that follows is itself portent of a potential disruption of the fabrics of the universe.

If you're a determinist, the conditional should be avoided since... well, it needs no explanation, it is so self evident like I could have been born a lovely baby girl but things turned sourly wrong.

If the original conditions were slightly different, life leading down to us would not have happened.

Yes, if and there may have existed many, many other "if" at each millisecond ever since the Big Bang happened but again this supposition is another output of our imagination

Maybe another small variation leading to a better brain is necessary to understand Kant's theory.

The aliens are among us then since hundreds of thousands of human beings have understood Kant since he published his Critique of Pure reason, starting with the religious authorities who forbade him to republish his book which they perfectly understood was dangerous for their dogmas.

Does our brain have inherent limitations that don't allow it to completely study itself? We only have our brain to study our brain.

First question: In a way that is indeed Kant's finding and it is why his book is called a critique of pure reason.

He states that our brain is capable to grasp some understanding of the world (the phenomenons) thanks to our innate forms of sensibility (time, space and causality) but that these same forms prevents us to know the thing -in-itself. (Je simplifie)

We only have our brain to study our brain

Cette remarque se trouve dans le premier paragraphe du Discours de la méthode and also with F.Bacon de Verulam:

Il ne faut pas demander qu'on s'en rapporte au jugement de ce qui est soi-même mis en jugement.

And also, "if" there are so many "if" to be taken in consideration, it shows how fragile and uncertain our universe is since it is permanently floating from a if to another one.

I am rather of the opinion that "if" is a useful tool in logics and maths (somehow the same thing which is derived from our a priori forms of sensibility).

Other than that, it boils down to If Cleopatra's nose had been shorter etc. or if Frau Hitler had had an headache in mid august 1887... :-)

Ned Ludd a dit…

I knew about the difference between noumenon and phenomenon, but I learned more from your link. One thing at the link is that Schopenhauer argued that Kant changed the meaning of the words. I don't know enough about it to argue the point myself.

According to what I read, I think I can agree with Kant that the thing-in-self may be unknowable, but I didn't see where he said it didn't exist physically independent of our limited observation. We just represent it according to "innate concepts" or "categories of understanding." That is a defensible position, but what are they? Are they immutable or do they change with our changes in understanding? In fact, can we define them? We should be able to classify them.

"A crucial difference between the noumenon and the thing in itself is that to call something a noumenon is to claim a kind of knowledge, whereas Kant insisted that the thing in itself is unknowable. Interpreters have debated whether the latter claim makes sense: it seems to imply that we know at least one thing about the thing in itself (i.e., that it is unknowable)"

Kant, "...though we cannot know these objects as things in themselves, we must yet be in a position at least to think them as things in themselves; otherwise we should be landed in the absurd conclusion that there can be appearance without anything that appears." I have experienced that in the usage of certain prohibited substances.

Incidentally, I thought I knew what a priori meant, and did to a certain extent, but I found it more complicated when I looked it up.

Ned Ludd a dit…

Another thing I don't understand. The articles mentioned talk about "synthetic a priori propositions" and Nietzsche about "synthetic judgements". But neither article explains what is meant by "synthetic" and I am lost.

Flocon a dit…

You must be commanded for your interest and dedication to the topic Ned...

As a foreword to my answer, it must be kept in mind that contrary to maths, physics, chemistry et all. where 51 : 3 (more complicated examples are valid) will absolutely always give 17 whether in Chinese, German or Portuguese, the apparently same notion or concept in philosophy will be dealt and treated in very different ways with each author or commentator resulting in situations where one wonders if we're really discussing the same issue.

-1° "One thing at the link is that Schopenhauer argued that Kant changed the meaning of the words".

Yes indeed and it is the subject of his own Critique of Kantian philosophy

Schopen's position on this issue has been discussed (with 2 examples here but it's just Wikipedia which isn't the final word on all and everything anyway.

What I can tell you is that globally speaking, Kantians of strict obedience have ridiculed Schopen's criticism, Kant for them being of course unassailable. We've been here before...


-2° "I didn't see where he said it didn't exist physically independent of our limited observation".

I'm not surprised here because indeed he didn't say anything of that sort, nor its contrary for that matter since he just didn't raise the issue that Schopenhauer did.


-3° ""innate concepts" or "categories of understanding." That is a defensible position, but what are they? Are they immutable or do they change with our changes in understanding? In fact, can we define them? We should be able to classify them."

I understand you took from Wiki the segment "innate concepts or categories of understanding" which is an absolute nonsense and horribly misleading way of presenting things.

A concept definitively cannot be a category or whatever. A concept is a concept, that is a reasonnably well built and structured idea; it is not some kind of matrix.

Tu as raison de poser ces questions sur les catégories kantiennes (here they are on Wiki).

They were 12 in Kant's Critique of Pure reason and Schopen brought them down to 3 : Time, Space and causality. it is mentioned at the end of the previous link.

Even die-hard Kantians have (reluctantly) to admit 9 of the 12 Kantian categories simply don't hold water.

Here you have Schopenhauer's criticism of Kant's schemata

Excepts: "time and space are known by the human mind (Gemüt) apart from any worldly experience. In fact, they are merely the ways that the mind organizes sensations"

Flocon a dit…

-4° Interpreters have debated whether the latter claim makes sense: it seems to imply that we know at least one thing about the thing in itself (i.e., that it is unknowable).

C'est jouer sur les mots là.

This is another fallacy (interpreters wouls do anything to draw attention on them).

Dismantling of the fallacy:
We know nothing about black holes (you can substitute whatever notion here) except that they exist because we have a name for them.

We know nothing about God but we know it exists because we can name it. Another version of "God cannot not exist since it's perfect which entails that it cannot not exist".

-5° "The articles mentioned talk about "synthetic a priori propositions" and Nietzsche about "synthetic judgements". But neither article explains what is meant by "synthetic" and I am lost."

Don't worry Ned, Uncle Flocon will lead you out of the wood...

Nietzsche was very critical of Kant, not that he really refuted Kant's findings (the job had been done by Schopenhauer 50 years before) but he needed to criticise Kant's rationality in order to advance his own blend of irrationality.

Nietzsche wasn't a metaphysician (which more or less is another word for modern cosmologist) quite the opposite, he was very much a down to earth thinker who wasn't interested with stars and galaxies and any other world than the one we live on.

Kant utilise le mot "jugement" non pas au sens courant d'appréciation plus ou moins positive ou négative mais dans le cadre de sa théorie de la connaissance qui est rationnelle.

Au contraire, Nietzsche emploie le terme de "jugement" au sens passionnel et non rationnel dans le cadre de ses "jugements de valeur".

This is misleading indeed.

-6° Honestly I haven't read the article dedicated to a priori on the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

I suppose its exosition of what a priori means is comprehensive but it may be too comprehensive when we're talking about Kant's a priori judgements.

L'article du Stanford etc. est comme un grand ensemble A dont Kant est un sous-ensemble a. Il faut se pencher sur le petit poisson pour le connaître et pas seulement observer l'aquarium...

Il y a 2 sortes de jugements chez Kant.

- Les jugements analytiques (a priori) qui ne sont sources d'aucune connaissance et - les jugements synthétiques
créateurs de connaissance (the famous 5+7=12 part).

The later are of two kinds:
a) jugement synthétique a priori
b) jugement synthétique a posteriori.

This may help.

Cette partie de la Critique de la Raison Pure relative aux jugements analytiques et synthétiques est très différente (non pas contradictoire évidemment) de la partie "esthétique transcendantale".

The mathematician in you should ne interested with this explanation.

Flocon a dit…

Don't waste your time with Kant's judgements anyway, they're not fundamental. You may as well completely forget about his 12 categories, or rather 9 of them.

But what is essential, fundamental and revolutionary is his finding of our a priori forms of sensibility, Time, Space and Causality.

This cannot be underestimated

Ned Ludd a dit…

I hoped that my anecdotal experience on Kant's proposition would draw your attention, no luck.

As to Black Holes we know a bit about them. There is more at the NASA site.

Your references are too long for me to read at the moment.

Flocon a dit…

I hoped that my anecdotal experience on Kant's proposition would draw your attention, no luck.

Je me suis demandé un instant de quoi tu parlais until I remembered the illicit subtances.

It had me smiling of course but what was I supposed to say in the end? Des fois je n'ai pas de répartie worth mentioning...

Anijo has her beverage, it is liquid, you have your own blend of tranquiliser, it is based on air and vapors... As long as the both of you need no injections I know you're safe...

Anijo a dit…

Flocon, you might find this interesting.

Anijo a dit…

Salut Flocon,

I'm still curious about what you think about Alan Watts.

Flocon a dit…

My hearing is not good Anijo (presbycusis, hyperacusis, tinnitus) and a source of anxiety knowing that it is definitive and that I shall never again hear silence: I endure a whistling kettle in my head 24 hours a day.

That's why I usually never listen to links where people speak, es ist mir sehr unangenehm und schwierig. Even when it's in French it is very uncomfortable, and all the more so in English or German.

So I didn't listen further than the first minute of Alan Watts' speech the day you posted it but since you asked I bowed to your request...

I haven't understood the third of what he says and there was the humming of an airplane from 4:35 onward.

He apparently refers to the object/subject relationship at the beginning with his observing/observer and doing/doer couples right?

Of course I agree with that part and since he was trained as a philosopher, there's no doubt that he was familiar with Kant's teaching and German idealism.

Also the second part of the speech is dedicated to Buddhism and gurus isn't it?.

At 8:29, I hear the word Ātman of which he says (c'est ce que "j'entends") that we all have one and we're Atman.

Did you know that this man had a succession of poodles to which he repeatedly gave the name Atman? (search for the word "poodle" in the text).

Although he emigrated to the U.S at age 23 Watts apparently kept a very distinctive British English accent. Makes me think of Christopher Hitchens

Flocon a dit…

There are many fascinating speeches of Alan Watts closely related to this topic on YouTube, which is not suprising considering he was a philosopher and a Buddhist as well.

There's this one called The Myopic View Of The World and at 1:37, isn't Watt saying exactly what I was writing some times ago?

The Western Hare Krishna movement may have been somehow detrimental to the Asian schools of thought because what the masses and the media have retained are the long hair, the music, the flowers etc. , totally ignoring the philosophical basis of Buddhism specifically.

Anijo a dit…

Yes, you heard correctly. He mentions the Ātman. Even though you're listening to a foreign tongue and what with your presbycusis, hyperacusis, and tinnitus, you picked up on this. You're impressively erudite Flocon.

isn't Watt saying exactly what I was writing some times ago?

Yes, yes. I was fairly sure that you would appreciate his philosophical view of life.

The Western Hare Krishna movement may have been somehow detrimental to the Asian schools of thought because what the masses and the media have retained are the long hair, the music, the flowers etc. , totally ignoring the philosophical basis of Buddhism specifically.

Oh, I agree. It's a shame. And then, of course, there are many different branches of Buddhism which is why any discussion of this philosophy can be complex.

Anijo a dit…

Oh, and as to your other questions, yes, of course, you are correct.