Epistemology Archive Dump #1
Thursday 02Jul92 From Helix Quark

Okay, so if you look in a book about illusions and you realize all of a sudden that what you thought you were looking at was really something totally different, then your perception has failed.

Therefore, perception is faulty.

If perception is faulty, then how can you be really sure to what extent it is faulty? At what point if any can you say that what you think you see is in fact what you see, when the next moment the illusion might become transparent?

Friday 03Jul92 From Mr DNA

Just because one percieves something that is different from the "expected" perception, who can say it is faulty? Granted, the arguments such as a butterfly who masquarades as another, bad tasting variety for survival purposes, is purposely yanking the predators perception chain. But from the butterfly's point of view, is that faulty perception?

Anyways, to continue to the question of how to know to what extent one's perception is faulty... It depends on one's own filtering system. What bias', experiences, and chemical make-up, etc that the percieved object or experience must wash thru. In short, everyone's perception is different than what is truly "real". Ergo: Everyone's perception is faulty all the time.

The "problem" would not lie in the perception, but in the utilization of the information gained in that perception. But, then again, the last sentance is merely my thinking from my own perspective. :>

Perception is completely individual and what would be considered faulty by one, would not be by another. Also, by the allusions you present, you are hinting at a "norm" which, at the individual level, can never truly be. Only by external, social custom are perceptions pushed into the little band of "normalcy" which is considered palatable to the masses.

::jeez, next thing you know, I'll be fire-bombing mental hospitals...:::

Saturday 04Jul92 From Helix Quark

DNA: actually I am hinting at a norm and in effect asking if anyone really think that it exists.

The norm I am wondering about is Objective Reality.

You are right everyone has a perception of the way IT IS, but they differ, and no i don't think that any one perception really has presidence over another,( altho when confronted with so-called unballanced persons I tend to rely on my perception first, double standard? ) but the point is that all we can perceive is subjective. Is there any way to show objective reality?

NO, just as there is no way to show the empirical existence of the etheric body and such, as we we're discussing in the other room down below.

Nothing is true. Nothing that we perceive is necessarily really in any sense of the word or idea. Nothing that is so is so.

Even modern science has come to the same conclusion: nothing can be said to exist in any real sense. The things that we perceive aren't really there anyway, so who could be surprised that we have such a hard time getting it all together? ;)

It's all Zen. Everything that is 'real' is in our heads, and in the heads in our heads.

The hermetic view, and also in Hindu Cosmolgy, is that the whole universe is mental in substance. The hermetic principle of mentalism is that all is in the mind of The All

What that really means is tho everything is a mental construct, us included, mental consrtucts are 'real' to each other, so while the All could wake up and it would all go poof, we are stuck with the solid subtance of a dream. The hindu is pretty much the same, as ttthe universes are but the dreams of the sleeping Brahma ( or is that Vishnu? ack )

Sunday 05Jul92 From [Dat Sneaky Ol'] Jeff

There is a rebuttal to that position, Helix, but not of any great help. If your previous post were actually a true set of circumstances, then the various perceivers would not be able to agree on anything, even things as materially fundamental as what a chair is or how to hand somebody a coat. Everything in our experience and intuition screams that the completely subjective view is a false one, or a hyperbolic reaction to uncertainty. You don't conduct your daily business as if it were true, and neither do I. You conduct your daily business as if your clothing and your workplace were real, and solid, and changing in ways that are causally observable. There is a huge hypocrisy at the center of the "all reality is in your head" position, or if not a hypocrisy, certainly an "ad absurdem" position that leaves you in a nonsensical place (nonsensical meaning that it is not-sense). Emprically, we don't believe it, and if we do, they put us in the funny farm (Neurotucs build castles in the air, psychotics live in them).

Monday 06Jul92 From Helix Quark

Yes, I remember your comment a while back to that effect too.

However, I do wonder. The labels and understanding that we have of our perception is all pretty much learned: take for example the fact the natives of africa had to be taugh to 'see' pictures of 'reality' on photographic paper. The ability to separate 'reality' into understandable forms is a learned process, almost perhaps a hit or miss process. The case of perception as a case of the best working model: take for example having to 'learn' to differentiate images in optical illusions. The senses produce stimuli to some 'outside' substance, but the process of making 'reality' out of those stimuli is a learned an purely mental function. Reality, our understanding of the world, is only in our heads.

Sure I understand your point that there seems to be an objective reality but that is circumstancial evidence. :) The truth could as easily be that we have selectively bred ourselves in to a particular world view by locking away the so-called not-real perception in rubber rooms.

Seeing in a new way or seeing reality in a different way could be as easy as learning to selectively attend to new things. Like learning to look at art. It is dependant upon the liguistic ability to label the findings.

We look at what we want to look at, not what is really there. I guess my point really is that there is no way to escape from the processing that the brain carries out, there is no way to take the middle man out of perception.

But basically the reality that we see conforms to the tools with which we measure it. If you use different tools what you get for results will be different. Everything that exists exists in a maybe state until it is measured.

So two people can identify a chair as a chair, but the third person comes in and now it is a recliner, for the fourth the chair becomes a La-Z-Boy, or something. There seems to be a thing, but the label changes, and when the first person hears that it is a recliner and takes a closer look then 'sees' the lever that opens it up, where that person had not 'seen' anything but a chair, reality for that person has changed. For that person that chair was not a recliner. The state of reclining remained in a maybe state until observed.

individual reality is what I'm talking about and there is no way to say anything more than hear-say about a supposed objective reality. We agree on a lot of things, but the universe is still 'stranger than we can imagine.' Our reality is not the same today as it will be tomorrow.

I do operate as if my perception related 'true' maps of the 'territory' but how can I say that my 'map' IS the 'territory'?

If we sit down and draw a map together it is still a map.

I mean where does the aristotlean Perfect Object (or whatever it is called) and the actual object meet? Where does our observation end and the Objective begin? It exists outside of what we are capable of knowing. Like imaginary numbers in mathematics, they 'exist' inthe sense that we label them, but they don't fit into the structure in any way other than a label ... the only thing I can say about the square root of negative one is that it turns out to be darn useful, but I certainly can't reduce that sucker any more than to call it the square root of negative one.

:) your turn.

Monday 06Jul92 From [Dat Sneaky Ol'] Jeff

Passing through, Helix. Yes, we map the chair in different ways, and the person who makes chairs for a living sees a lot more sophisticated chair than you or I do. So what? We still walk around it, and if we don't, we trip on it. African natives might have a difficult time with 2-dimensional representations, but they have no difficulty recognizing the real thing that was photographed (I know the anecdote, and it may actually be true, or perhaps only apocryphal). How we manipulate the chair, what it means to us, the impressions it triggers, etc. etc. are indeed individual reactions to the chair, but only someone who enjoys academic arguments will quibble that the material object exists, or only the insane that it advised us to sell our hogbelly options or murder the Pope.

Unfortunately, at the moment I am involved in a rhetorical argument with another fellow on another board on a totally strange subject, and don't have the mental energy to get back into mediate and representational realism. But be patient with me ... this is a fun subject and worthy of some blather.

Monday 06Jul92 From [Dat Sneaky Ol'] Jeff

BTW: The concept of mapping is exciting ... I remember the tremendous AHA reaction I had when my physics prof decided to spend a semester on the philosophy of science and really explained to me about modeling and how physicists work through ambiguities by using the "most applicable model". When you quote Hiyakawa's comment about "the map and the territory", remember you are quoting a philologists argument, and the grandaddy of the argument is Ludwig Wittgenstein. Wittgenstein maintained that "anything which can be clearly thought can be clearly said", and philologists ever since have been either supporting or arguing with that position. I heartily recommend Wittgenstein's "Philosophical Grammar", among other material from this amazing man.

Monday 06Jul92 From Helix Quark

Yes, I am afraid that I have not had a chance to read much in this area.

I am not equipt to reall get down and argue the existence of the object in objective reality, but the question of how we process knowledge of that object and how we identify that object remains individual. We really don't disagree on that point.

The question is: if each individual can and does see the object differently, what can really be said about the object? What is there? That it seems to exist? That's it really.

If a hundred people in line in a bank watch someone drop a quarter, then can it be said to exist?

If ninety-nine people walk down the road, and the hundredth person sees a quarter, then can it be said to exist?

What is those hundred people live in Arkham Asylum?

What if that one person also happens to wear an aluminium hat to keep the alien transmissions away?

What if those hundred people are in a church seeing Holy Mary?

What if that one person sees the aliens?

What if those hundred people see the aliens? (not the movie :)

Where is the line where that object becomes suspect? Where is the line where the object ISN'T suspect?

Tuesday 07Jul92 From [Dat Sneaky Ol'] Jeff

The object is not suspect - it's merely perception which is suspect. You can measure the quarter, weigh it, and your weights and measures will be the same as mine if you are calibrated to the same standard. To you, it may be filthy lucre, to me it may be bubble-gum ... but it still weighs 3.8 grams. We can whine and cry about the probability of its quarks and leptons being at a certain place at a certain time. We can argue that it in a million years, it will be worn away to nothing. Don't confuse how you feel about the quarter, or what the quarter means to you with the existence of the quarter. They are two separate areas of conjecture. Its existence can be modified by an infinite number of things, but anything capable of modifying the nature of your quarter can be described in terms of time and causation. On the other hand, how the quarter is perceived (and what the perceiver wants to "do" about the quarter, if anything) is as individual as the perceiver.

Tuesday 07Jul92 From Helix Quark

Jeff the object can very easily be suspect. Think about it. If I tell you I see a quarter, and then you go over and look for it, finding it not, what do you think? Well, there must have been an object that Helix percieved to be a quarter?

But if I say I saw a green man hop out of a space ship and hand me a quarter, and I can't find the quarter, can you really say that you don't suspect that the quarter was just as much an hallucination?

If your reasoning is taken as is, then everything anybody 'sees' has an object, even pink elephants. There is a line where the object itself becomes suspect, even if that line is when someone is telling untruths. There is a line where you will stop believing that I have seen 'solid matter' and have started hallucinating.

You have started from the other end. You have assumed that objects exist, and then said that the perception of them changes, but the only thing that you have to SHOW that the object exists is the perception of that object. That is circular logic. The evidence that is used to show that the object exists can be used to reach other conclusions as well. In the same way I can say, with the same certainty, that the object actually CHANGES with each observer.

The 'real' manifestation of the object exists only as a catagory in our thought. Like mathematics: it represents that way it works but is not the thing itself. Our perception CREATES a 'chair' or a 'quarter' out of the stimuli of the senses, but what is that thing? it is made of nothing. It is empty space, and somehow we end up 'seeing' this empty space as a chair and that empty space over there as a 'quarter'

If a person makes a thing to sit on with all the qualifications of a chair then it is a chair ...

If nature erodes a rock in such a way to make it possible to sit comfortably upon it, is it a rock or a chair? What if someone chipped away at the rock in order to make it possible to sit on it? Is it still a rock or is it a chair? at what point does it become a chair?

It is a label applied to nothing. The formation in our minds that it is anything at all, is purely in our minds.

In mathematics, there is a theory that states that no mathematical system will be perfect. In fact, there are, as I understand it, several systems of mathematics. So which one is the RIGHT one?

Which 'reality' is the right one?

There are indeed two lines of inquiry here:

How can anything be said to exist?
How are things differentiated from one another?

What makes you say that the quarter is not suspect? It isn't really the object that you don't suspect. What you have no doubts about is the concept of a quarter, the ideal object that all quarters are judged by. THAT quarter has a definiate mass. THAT quarter has a definite size. THAT quarter 'exists' only in our minds. The actually quarter that I may or may not have on my desk IS suspect. The thing to which you hold no doubts is the concept of the quarter. What is suspect is how that concept is applied by our brains to differential signals that are also suspect.

Thursday 09Jul92 From [Mysterious] Big D [After ya]

What about subjective reality to objective reality? What's the difference, how is it different in respect to how one relates with the other? For say, you Helix subjectively sensed a quarter, and objectively tested it with a friend, like, "Hey, look over there a quarter!"...don't they go hand and hand a little? Objective is apparently suppose to be the way all perceive as what an object is, subjective though we have different values for it, our perception. So is objective considered learned, but how did a objective idea become global, since we do know that it had to start subjective..curious..

Thursday 09Jul92 From [Dat Sneaky Ol'] Jeff

Helix: absolutely true, I started out from the premise (based on my intuition, experience and empirical evidence) that the object exists. Start out from the other side, do a reductio ad absurdem, and see where that leads you. The conclusion is nonsensical. I WILL be back on this, give me little more time!

Thursday 09Jul92 From Helix Quark

Big D. the difference is that subjective is the only kind of reality that we can experience. Objective remains a mistery. Even testing 'it' with a friend remains subjective, since it is the subject to observation and perception. Objective relity is the alledged 'absolute' reality, never touch by human perception at all, or so I hold :)

Thursday 09Jul92 From Helix Quark

BUT jeffy ( whine ) what empirical evidence? Any evidence you have was garnered thru perception. It's is a vicious cycle. The only way one can get 'empirical evidence' of the object is to assume that perception is accurate ... and from that you say that perception is accurate as your conclusion. That makes no sense senor! You are proving thru the reflexive what we are questioning.

so you have it on intuition and experience and empirical evidence ... the first two are subjective, and the last one isn't really empirical evidence but is in fact the assumptions and catagories you have developed or had developed for you out of the first two. It's all hearsay durnit! I don't believe any of it! :) hee-hee.

I challenge you to produce evidence that you have not perceived, any evidence at all that is not subject to 'subjectivity'

If perception does indeed form empirical eveidence then I ask how can you say that someone elses perception is less empirical than your?

We have agreed that individual perception changes by definition of subjective, so if perception is empirical evidence then empirical evidence changes with each perceptive observation.

Therefore reality is the creation of individual perception since my empirical evidence is not your evidence. Therefore reality is a creation of the mind viewing it.


Thursday 09Jul92 From [Dat Sneaky Ol'] Jeff

Oh damn: you stinker, you have put out a bunch of piecemiel arguments and illustrated about every fallacy that had us in uproarious merriment in my delightful schooldays, oh so long ago. But for the moment:

Emperical argument one: does the perceiver exist? If the perceiver exists, can it be argued that anything else exists?

Now go back and do what I asked you to do ... start a logical chain based on everything being subjective, and you wind up with the perceiver as a subjective object (is not the nature of everything subjective?) So who is perceiving the perceiver?

Friday 10Jul92 From Helix Quark

ooo that's good. okay.

here we go.

Well, first off I don't know that the perceiver exists.

Okay. Well, the perceiver is by definition perceiving itself, until viewed by another.

So what's wrong with the perciever being a subjective object anyway? That there must be some perceiver outside the perceiver? I don't think that that follows. The perceiver is by definition the perceiver of self. I suppose that it could be argued that that leads to an infinite regression, but if it is all subjective then what's wrong with that?

I think I want to rephrase the above. Please omit 'until viewed by another' since that makes a few assumptions I am not willing to make.

So I am what I think I am, and if I think I am something else then I am. I mean really think not wish. If I think I am a failure then I'll fail.

I'm not so sure that the perceiver isn't subjective. If the perceiver were objective then could it be said that all perceivers exist? I suppose it could. But just because I think that I am doesn't mean anything empirical. Are there REALLY thousands of napoleons in asylums?

of course that is also a two sided arguement. If everything is subjective, then the perceiver perceiving itself as napleon makes it so? not really because it is a subjective perception. Okay.

So I still don't have anyway of saying anything meaningful about objective reality, right?

So I seem to be what I perceive about myself, and if I perceive something else then that is what I seem. If I perceive that I seem a failure then I seem a failure to me.


Friday 10Jul92 From [Mysterious] Big D [After ya]

That's why I asked for a difference, is there truely one? Subjectively we bring forth our creative efforts, but yet some of us believe that this is objective to this reality. When did it become so called objective, just because it fits one rule of mind?? Towards the experience it started as that, so why is an experience upheld and regarded as the truth of objective reality. It was at one time subjective, but by making us believe a subjective idea can transcend, what form of magic posses this power?

Friday 10Jul92 From [Dat Sneaky Ol'] Jeff

MR. Quark, you have the audacity to accuse me of circular reasoning after that last post? I am still dizzy from that one ... let me get a dramamine and I'll be right back ...

Friday 10Jul92 From [Dat Sneaky Ol'] Jeff

OK: Back ...

Of COURSE you know the perceiver exists, unless you are into some very bizarre self-denial. All of epistimology flows from the central fact of the existence of the self. What this existence "means" and how accurately we perceive what exists is a matter of conjecture, of course, but unless you enjoy completely absurd speculations you can, in the secret silence of your own intuitive heart, be pretty assured that you exist. Even if you're not so sure about me ...

And then, the matter of the "reality" of perception can be viewed as a kind of a toy, unless the perceiver's life or well-being is threatened by external reality. If you and I walk down the street, and I yell "duck!", you fail to duck at your own risk. If I throw a baseball at your face, and you argue with me whether or not the baseball is real, then I will concede your absurdist position. If you duck, on the other hand, then I will smugly rest my case. If you don't duck, my "intuition and exoerience" tell me you will get a bruised forehead, but maybe there is a case for your position of uncertainty. There IS a probability that the atoms in the baseball will miss the atoms in your head, because they are so widely spaced in both articles, correct? Or there is a probability that the baseball and the thrower are merely dreams and while the baseball is in mid-flight, you can change to another reality?

There really IS no incontrovertible proof for any of this, of course. But I can say with certainty that the mediate realist position "works" in all observable circumstances, and the absurdist position of subjectivity almost never works in any observable set of circumstances. This is as close as we can come to a "proof" in terms of epistomology, and this is at its very simplest level.


So why not take this opportunity to schedule the 1st Annual Paradise Island Epistimological Challenge Derby of the Stars?

1. We will gather at a neutral site, all arguing interminable over whether any of us are really there, and whether the site exists as anything but an imaginary concoction of a subjective perceiver.

2. Helix will stand on a grassy knoll. We will take turns throwing a baseballs at his face. If Helix is able to turn the baseballs into subjective articles which are less harmful to his subjective self, we will laugh, pat him on the back and drink subjective beers.

3. If for some unknown reason, the baseballs create any sort of physical damage, we will change our perception of both the baseballs and the event into something less traumatic: perhaps we can all shift our perceptions to being on a fishing trip to Pluto with an Antarean Pleasure Slimer.

Friday 10Jul92 From [41 days left...and] Shay [is counting 'em down!]

::Reeling:: "Subjective...objective...existence...perception...."

::Trips over non-existent quarter and falls on non-existent chair, which does or does not collapse, dependant on whether anyone perceives that it actually exists subjectively::

Saturday 11Jul92 From [Dat Sneaky Ol'] Jeff

::Gives Shay one of his dramamine, and introduces her to Antarean Pleasure Slimer ...::

Saturday 11Jul92 From Helix Quark

and you sir have the audacity to call my post absurdist after your vacation on the Antarean Pleasure Slimer. ( Slime included or is that extra? ) :)

Well, the 'realist' view of reality may seem to work but there are admitted holes where it does not answer certain questions, just as mathematics does not deal with certain questions. There are other systems that deal with the questions not answered by either of the previous, but they too leave questions.

I suggest that any speculation in the realm of objective-subjective will lead to the same theory, as in mathematics, that comes to the conclusion that no systems will answer all questions.

What this means to me is that the systems do not really model the objective in any directly correspondent way. What this suggests to me is that the what we label as the realist reality is just a stop gap measure to stop the choas with some conceptual form and shape, but that it is only qa manipulation of the data and not a ture and accurate map of the territory of what we cannot actually experience in any meaningful way, and that is objective reality.

What this means to me is that the alledged objective reality contains phenoms and structure that our de facto realist model does not know how to deal with. I suggest that the system of our cenception, i.e, manipulation, of what we perceive is just that: a filter, but not the objective itself. There are things beyond and indeed MORE than what the realist model can explain or demonstrate.

The realist model may 'work' but it is not ideal. This is my point. The 'realist model' may yeild usable chunks of perceptual data out of the haze, but it is not complete.

It may work, sir, but it is a crock natheless.

As you so admit, sir, out of the side of your mouth as you hail my position as absurd, the actual corespondence between or perception and a qualitative, empirical view of the objective doesn't exist. It is all speculation, you say. Is this not a synonym to 'subjective,' sir? :)

I suggest that there are things beyond your 'realist' view that you patiently try to ignore hoping to find, once you have lifted the covers once again, have gone away of their own accord.

Saturday 11Jul92 From Helix Quark

Let me add one other thing as well.

If I am subjective and you are subjective and the ball is subjective, then it makes perfect sense that I would be injured by the baseballs. We are all of the same stuff, mercurial tho it could be.

If I dream that you are throwing a baseball and it hits someone, can I not dream that the baseball actually hits the target and causes damage? What makes it impossible for a subjective ball to strike and cause injury to a subjective target?

If we are all in a dream, of for the sake of arguement Brahma, then what in the dream-world makes it so that the dream-balls do not strike a dream-me while I am stuck in the maya of my so-called existence? If I am so earthbound,, I wonder, do not the things of the earth effect me? and yet they remain the stuff that dreams are made on.

At least that is what I gather the hindu view is, and as a matter of fact it seems to be pretty close to the hermetic view as well.

Saturday 11Jul92 From [Dat Sneaky Ol'] Jeff

I can see this isn't going to be much of a discussion ... we can't even get terms defined without bringing in baseballs and dreams of mythical gods! Ah well, we could tinker with Goedel's proof and the diagonal theorem, as you suggest, or another fun thing to do is equate metaphysical outlooks to psychological profiles. Subjectivism doesn't work and it asks more questions than it answers, but it certainly is more fun and not nearly as much work, and it leaves the trap door of "denying everything" (You can't pin it on me, I was merely a figment of your imagination!) I probably am only arguing with you at all because I have been stressed out and grumpy, and not up for gambolling through the vineyards of folly. Can I take a rain-check for now, and we can do this another time when my sense of humor is operating?

Sunday 12Jul92 From [Mysterious] Big D [After ya]

We need a foundation to start, otherwise; let's create our own Nihilist group. :) Then all sides would be happy(or uh....dead)

Sunday 12Jul92 From Helix Quark

not much of a discussion. Hmmm.

Saturday 18Jul92 From [Dat Sneaky Ol'] Jeff

OK, Helix, I'm feeling better now (takes a deep breath). Just for fun, let's attack this philosophically instead of by just making competing assertions:

1) If all knowledge of reality is subjective, can you tell me what is subjective to what? I mean: what is the object and what is the subject?

2) If all knowledge of reality is a Dream of Maya (is this another way of saying subjective?) who is the dreamer and what is the dream?

Monday 20Jul92 From Helix Quark


Well, if one were the extrapolate blazenly: everything is subjective to everything else; kinda like how the gravitational effects of everything effect everything else thru infinity, diminished yes, but not lost. Hmm? I'm not sure that, really, the Object can be separated from subject since the object can't be said to conclusively 'exist' in any real sense. The 'subject' exists only to the observer, but is the object there? or is it just that the object can't be said to be different than anything else? is the existence of the object as a 'thing' not just a product of the way that the information is processed by the brain?


The way I understand the idea of Maya or the Principle of Mentalism; the 'universe,' or the dream is a product of the sleeping god, or of the All. That everything that we see and experience and see and feel is just part of that dream. That the existence of ourselves is in fact just a part of the dream; That every instance of differentiation is a figment since the All is indistinctable, i.e, there are no divisions of substance.

Monday 20Jul92 From [Dat Sneaky Ol'] Jeff

I ask, "What is the subject and what is the object"

You answer: "everything is subjective to everything else". We are talking about a theory of knowledge, and I THINK we are assuming the existence of awareness (correct me if I'm wrong). Does this statement mean "Everything is aware of everything else but nothing exists except as the fantasy of a fantasy?" (By the way, the statement "everything is subjective ..." is not a definition, it is an assertion, and it is an assertion not of subjectivity but of relativity.) If you believe this assertion, you believe that there IS some category of being encompassed in your "everything" (which exists) whose existence is relative to "everything else" (which also exists).

You have the following difficulty: "I'm not sure that, really, the Object can be separated from subject since the object can't be said to conclusively 'exist' in any real sense." If you can't be sure that the object can be separated from he subject, then you should pick different terminology. A subject implies on object - they are a coexistent pair. I can't tell if you are still maintaining that the aware entity (the subject) somehow invents the object (what we are trying to decide is "real" or not) or merely perceives it with defects. You appear to be arguing that the "object" does not exist at all - that it is imaginary, or you may be simply asserting that there is no way to substantiate the reality of an external object beyond a reasonable doubt. I assume your position will grow more clear as the discussion continues.

You say: "The 'subject' exists only to the observer, but is the object there?" But this is an incorrect application of the terminology you are using. The "subject" IS the observer. The dependent clause of your statement is a good question ... "is the object there?" This is what epistimology is all about - the creation of an empirical or experiential or probabilistic belief system about what is or is not "real".

(Continued ...)

Monday 20Jul92 From [Dat Sneaky Ol'] Jeff

You say: "... or is it just that the object can't be said to be different than anything else?" By asking this question, are you asserting that there ARE "things" and that the real problem is that everything is the same? That there is no real differentiation between any category of mass or energy, and that a book is no different from orange juice in any respect but our imagination? But you are STILL assuming there is something ("anything else") which exists, and you are STILL assuming there is a perceiver who either falsely perceives a "difference" between categories of "things which are" or imagines the existence of different things which don't exist but are all the same? WHAT are you saying, here???

And finally you end with: "is the existence of the object as a 'thing' not just a product of the way that the information is processed by the brain?" And here I have to say this statement SOUNDS like you are returning to the more moderate position of a problem in perception, not a problem of ontology. I DO want you to examine some things in this statement:

a) A product of WHAT information? Where does the information come from?

b) Whose brain? Does the brain exist?


As for question 2, you and I can play the Hindu game if you want, but neither one of us will ever really understand it. Once you learn algebra, the Hindu thing is dead meat for us - too narcissistic. (admittedly an assertion and not a definition :)

However: "... everything that we see and experience and see and feel is just part of that dream [of the sleeping god]. That the existence of ourselves is in fact just a part of the dream; That every instance of differentiation is a figment since the All is indistinctable, i.e, there are no divisions of substance." This is not only confusing, it is so circular as to be completely meaningless. Does this statement imply that the sleeping god is real, and I am not? Where did this idea come from? Who or what was the first to discover that he/she is a figment of the imagination of a sleeping god? Was this discovery an act of independent cognition or perception? Does this act of discovery mean that the dreamee is now as real as the dreamer (or as unreal?) SOMEBODY is creating this information, and SOMEBODY is receiving it. Are these SOMEBODY's real, and is the information real? (These are rhetorical questions, and I do not expect an answer. I expect you to follow where they lead, though.)

Thursday 23Jul92 From louise

If I might add a post from the School of the Bleedingly Obvious:

The entire question of the existence of "subjective" as distinct from "objective" is a two-valued, bipolar view of perception which has not yet been proven in the denition of terms. (unless Helix was covering his tracks by erasing that post).

Thursday 23Jul92 From louise

Having started by attacking the definition of terms might I add the following possibilities for conjecture:

The "evidence of the senses" which possibly has been confused with "objective" evidence, has no relation to objectivity whatsoever. In tests that were conducted over a vast population, it has been shown that the sense of smell is almost purely subjective, that is to say, individual in its experience.

In contrast to (I didn't say opposing, but rather just "contrasting" or "potentially different") is the "evidence of the intuition." Those who maintain, in a scientific fashion, that "objective evidence", i.e. observable in laboratories with calibrated equipment which augments the sensory equipment of the human body is in some way the only reliable source of information on the universe and the Self, must needs have an "object-centered", that is to say "body-focused" Weltanschauung. They tend to think (and portray) that their intuitional evidence, sucas dreams and inspirations and "Eureka"-type thingies, are interferences in the "objective" process, not understanding that the mere introduction of a chemical such as l-lysine, or methanol, or (god forbid) methamphetamine, CHANGES one's body-focus and body-senses to the point where recalibration can become, ah, impaired. Not to mention, of course, the legal aspect.

There, how's that for a monkey-wrench?

Thursday 23Jul92 From [Dat Sneaky Ol'] Jeff

It's a good one luigi, but it belongs in the middle of the argument, when you get to the verification stage. I still want to get Helix back to some first principles: i.e. he is still assuming existence, or "being", or something which is relative to something else.

Of course "subject/object" is polar. If you use that terminology, you are postulating a polar subject and a polar object. So far, the argument is that the "object" is an imaginary creation of the "subject" which is fine as far as it goes. What is not fine is when the subject becomes an object of itself, which it does in the case of reflective self-awareness. The attempt to evade this logical necessity gives rise to conceptualizations like the "sleeping god, and the dream of the all", or some kind of amorphous or static state of matter which is completely in disharmony with any experiential or empirical observation. In order to believe that, we have to completely deny the evidence of our senses, which leads us to nihilism.

Friday 24Jul92 From Helix Quark


I would say at this point that awareness seems to exist, but somehow this 'existence' feels like it is different than saying this substance 'exists.' This may just be a case where I think that the language fails to make a distinction. However, I cannot say that awareness is a catagory of existence. I also cannot say therefore that that which is aware also belongs in the set of those things which exist. These seem to correspond but are not equal.

"Everything is aware of everything else but nothing exists except as the fantasy of a fantasy?" - I cannot say that I do belive this assertion altho, it does sound awfully like something I would say. I would say that everything that exhibits awareness would be aware of something else, by definition it seems. but the question remains: is that something 'real?'

BTW- any definition could be said an assertion :) including this one

I do not agree that a subject implies an object. There are many instances where perception has created whole-cloth a subjective 'object' from nothing that can be shown to be objective. Perception does not I think imply Objective existence. Even if I were to agree that the objective exists, which I do not, there doesn't seem to be anyway to show that the subjective IS the objective except as pure hearsay and conjecture, i.e, in a subjective manner.

I do think that we are using these words, subject and object, differently. I use subject to mean the percieved 'object' and object to mean the alledged objective 'object.' This defintion of subject means in essence 'the subject of observation,' and includes the self as subject to the examination by self under observation but is not limited to the self in any way except to imply that the subjectivity implies an observer OF the subject. The 'object' is something else entirely unknown, except through hearsay and conjecture which is of course subjective.

"A subject implies on object - they are a coexistent pair." - I disagree. I do not think to imply that the so-called 'aware entity' invents the object. I say rather that perception creates, thru a filter, a questionable, subjective object. This perception of a subjective 'subject' does not imply the existence of the objective 'object' They do not imply each other. The realist model can be said to hold that they 'usually' go together but I do not think that you will maintain that that model will hold that ALL subjects imply objects. Let us remember the case of Arkham Asylum.


Friday 24Jul92 From Helix Quark

"The 'subject' exists only to the observer, but is the object there?" - Again, the subject can be, but is not limited to, the observing 'entity.' The subject of observation 'exists' only to the observer, but is this existence actual 'existence' and can there be said to 'exist' a SUBSTANCE as source for this observation when subjective 'objects' can be shown to 'exist' in some cases as a single phenom and not even to have the 'empirical' evidence provided by other observation?

"... you asserting that there ARE "things" and that the real problem is that everything is the same? That there is no real differentiation between any category of mass or energy, and that a book is no different from orange juice in any respect but our imagination?" - I think what I suggest for the sake of arguement is the 'existence' of A thing, one only. If you want more than one we'll have to work on that question too. This is actually my second question, 'How can we 'know' one thing from another?' (My fisrt question was, 'How can we 'know'that there is any Thing?') I do ask how we 'know one thing from another and I say that this 'knowledge' of difference is only in the subject, that this differentiation bewteen so-called plurality and unity is the quixotic filter of the observer's invented reality.

and finally,

"... everything that we see and experience and see and feel is just part of that dream [of the sleeping god]. That the existence of ourselves is in fact just a part of the dream; That every instance of differentiation is a figment since the All is indistinctable, i.e, there are no divisions of substance." - makes sense to me! :) Altho if I might quote Archie J. Bahm:

"ONLY THE WHOLE EXISTS; NO PARTS EXIST. I know of no one who holds this view as stated. Yet tendancies toward such a view appeaer in some followers of Advaita Vedanta when they discribe ultimate reality (Nirguna Brahman) as pure indistinctness. Nirguna Brahman has no parts. But, as we shall see below, the Advaitins have a more subtle view than this ..."

"NEITHER PARTS EXIST NOR WHOLES EXIST. Advaita Vedanta holds that the ultimate reality, Nirguna Brahman, involves no distinctions and thus no distinction between whole and parts. 'it cannot be regarded as a whole including parts...,' (Radhakrishnan, Indian Philosophy) for 'it transcends the opposition of ... whole and parts ....' (Radhakrishnan) 'Part and Whole are not true or real entities, but only Things of Reason, and consequently there are in Nature neither whole nor parts.' (Wild, Spinoza, Selections) Madhyamika Buddhists regard ultimate reality (Sunya) as void of distinctions and hence indescribable. If we insist on attempting to describe it, we may say that it is, or has, neither parts, nor a whole, nor both parts and a whole, nor neither parts nor a whole."

(Bahm, Metaphysics an Introduction)

Friday 24Jul92 From Helix Quark

"The entire question of the existence of "subjective" as distinct from "objective" is a two-valued, bipolar view of perception which has not yet been proven in the denition[sic] of terms." - Indeed, I think that is my point when I say that the 'object' cannot be said to exist. The subject, the subjective exists for the viewer, but the alledged 'object' is what I'm not so sure about. This 'object is the supposed SUBSTANCE that Jeff seems to say is implied by the 'subject.'

Anyhow I think that your Monkey Wrench is in fact in essence a part of the arguement that I was putting forth. :) The rest of your post sees a good refutation of the 'empirical knowledge and intuition' cited by Jeff.

This does deal with the second question tho.

Again, Jeff, I'm not so sure that 'awareness' implies existence, just as existence does not imply awareness. I think that that's jumping the gun a bit. The point I think that I want to make is that awareness of an object seems to imply existence as a subjective 'object' but I do not think that this can be said to imply the 'existence' of SUBSTANCE, an 'object.'

Well, that's it. :) Your turn.

Friday 24Jul92 From [Dat Sneaky Ol'] Jeff

Helix: in trying to make sense out of what you say above, I see several competing ideas, not all of them compatible, tangled up in there.

I am trying to see what your epistimology IS, and you are telling me what it is NOT. Can you phrase your theory of reality in a set of postulates, or even refine it into a disciplined statement? Is it something as simple as "I am unsure that anything is real?"

Friday 24Jul92 From louise

I think it can be simplified even more than that. "Reality" is a process, not an object.

If you break down the word "process" into its roots you have the original conception of going forward or advancing; i.e. evolution. From the Latin pro cedere. An object comes from the latin "to throw in the way, to hinder", and "subject" to "throw under" or to bring under control or dominion. The subject/object definition of reality implies only that which is sensory in nature or what you (Jeffy) appear to be defining as "empirical" (the word 'empire' is in there, snicker snicker).

If we are talking about reality and ways of knowing, "KNOW" comes from the Greek "to perceive directly or to have an understanding of." And "reality" comes from the Sanskrit for property or lands.

Simply put, the subject/object, bipolar definition of perception could be conceived of as bringing property under dominion.

The evolutionary definition of perception could be conceived of as an understanding of a process.

So I would make my aphorism based upon the original meanings:

Perception, or "knowing" is a direct cognition of evolution.

Friday 24Jul92 From louise

So, having define for myself what my terms are:

The dominion (in Jewish mysticism, Malkuth) of lands would be a physically-delimited perception.

The direct cognition of evolution would be a spiritually-delimited perception.

Thus I conclude that we, as human beings, must consist of a duality: body and spirit.

Friday 24Jul92 From louise

Jeffy, if you're going to posture in this sub, please spell epistemology correctly.

Saturday 25Jul92 From [Dat Sneaky Ol'] Jeff

What did I do that you perceive as posturing?

Saturday 25Jul92 From [Dat Sneaky Ol'] Jeff

Helix: I am kind of quibbling with your analytics. We are trapped in a circle of rebutting rebuttals. I read through again all that you had written the previous day, and you are reacting to me reacting to you. Can we get straight on a couple of things?

What exactly are you advocating as a theory of being? I see you bringing in both western being/non-being polarity and Eastern monism. Is there one you like better than the others or are you saying "These are all possibilities as far as I know?"

What line of reasoning causes you to distrust or deny the emperical evidence of your senses? I notice you had referred to incidents where somethign was made up out of whole cloth that was or was not true (see, you are begging the question when you say stuff like this). Do you believe that you (Helix) cannot tell the deifference between illusion and (far want of a better term) non-illusion?

If I am correct when I assume you are saying "there is no irrefutable evidence" that any external object is real, or that in fact there is any turth to the concept of "external" at all, can I ask if you have done any thinking about whether or not there is some kind of proof that it is NOT real? Or maybe some line of conjecture that could establish its UNreality?

Sunday 26Jul92 From louise

You might ask yourself, Who is this beautiful wife You might ask yourself, Where is this beautiful car?

or something to that effect. I ask myself NOT "what is reality" but "what is the duality?"

Monday 27Jul92 From Helix Quark


of course I'm reacting to what you say! :) or perhaps I should say, "...to what I think that what I think is something I think is you says." hee-hee.

I'm going to take some time a print out what we've taked about so far and then I'll wiggle something out of the ole grey matterm but for now I'll just wing it:

Eastern 'monism' and western 'being/non-being' are not incompatable as I think I hear you say. The difference is in degree. The point I think is that there is quite a bit of synthesis that can go on. The duality of 'being/non-being' can belong to the world of the senses in maya which is the illusion that cloud the substance of 'real.' The truth rather is that they speak of different thing, not that they are incompatable. Being is part of the world of maya, while monism speaks of what lays beyond that.

This differnce of degree is also manifest, I submit, is other places as well. The difference between a "sleeping dreaming god who's dream is the manifest world of illusion," and "an omnipotent omniscient god who's seven days of labor produced this world," is only one of degree. They really speak of the same process. That of FIRST matter creating SECOND, or TENTH?, matter. The insertion of particulars does not change the sameness.

If I do, and I do, present ideas from many sides of the fence, I would think that I am mearly trying to show places where I see questions. I do not think that that invalidates in any way the questions raised by those views as presented. The point is not whether the views are wrong or correct, but rather whether there is an answer to the question they raise. The 'correctness' of a view is a question of dogma not dialectic.

As to what line of reasoning I have used to arrive at thdistrust of the 'evidence of the senses,' well evidence is nothing if not misleeding when taken in to consideration without concern for the source and the credibility of your witness is due some examination. The witness has shown the predilection for filtering and selective attention. The witness has shown the inability to correctly process optical illusions. The witness has shown the predalection to misremembering past events, even but a few seconds ago. The perception of the witness has been shown quite plainly to be subjective and uncertain. Can the witness remember the particulars of any event? Did the witness ACTUALLY perceive these events as thet occured in the same way that another witness from across the street? The verily, the subjectivity of perception has been established in several previous posts, and even been heard from the worthy gentleman from Leshai. :) I as how can one start from uncertain particulars and then extrapolate certain generals? That does not follow. If the particulars are suspect, I ask, where does the idea that, suddenly, perception is not questionable in the larger aspects? That's not logical at all. There has been placed an imaginary line across which all perception is to be trusted, and this I question. This border I call arbitrary. This border I call in to debate.

I also actually argue on several levels here. I question perception at the first level then at the next level I question to 'reality' of the 'object' of perception, and on the next level I question the SUBSTANCE of that 'object.'

I hold that the perception is uncertain. I hold that therfore nothing but hearsay and montage can be said of the 'object,' and I then call into question whether this uncertain model exists at all as a SUBSTANCE.

There is no way to test models of reality outside of perception. I am therefore suggesting that any propositions of SUBSTANCE outside of this world of perception (can you say MAYA?) exist in a totally quantum level. They are beyond our ability to test or experience.

Monday 27Jul92 From Helix Quark

Now what I suggest, that you have not yet argued, is that this system fails under Occam's Razor. Simply stated, if the subsatnce is beyond our speaking of, then for all intents and purposes the 'SUBSTANCE' is in fact the preception of 'object' itself, and postulating a preemmanant matter is purely filigree and lace.

Now does this mean that the changeable nature of perception implies the changeable nature of reality? on the level of perception yes. The only way to presume that there is something that doesn't change is to postulate a preemmenant matter. This I question. What is the nature of this matter? What can you say of it? How can you say anything of it at all?

What little I have read of Wittgenstien so far, suggests to me that since in actuality nothing can be said of this matter, then it is beyond what should be spoken of and remains in the realm of what we should remain silent on. Hmm? But, admittedly, I have only a few pages of an introduction to his material under my belt. Anyhow I digress.

Does this adequately address your question of my consideration of the evidence for the UN-reality of the SUBSTANCE?

The point is: can anything be said about it AT ALL?

The unreality of perception follows from the evidence of the senses, and from the consideration of the uncertain nature of those senses.

I have heard the worthy gentleman of Leshai argue that the 'empirical' and 'intuitional' evidence of the senses implies the unchangability of SUBSTANCE. I ask if this is so, what of the exceptions to this case? What of the colour blind? Is this 'empirical' and 'intuitional' evidence and less than any other any how so? just because it differs? What of other divers exceptions? Are they examples of 'wrong' perception? What makes this any different than dogma? The only justification I hear for this arbitrary seperation of sampling groups is that the agreement of the majority determines reality. I ask, then, have we not estabilished the subjective nature of individual perception? I ask, then, what of our so-called majority opinion? The agreement of minds (read: eyes) is one of illusion as well. The majority is not a construct of reality, but of convenience.

Monday 27Jul92 From [Dat Sneaky Ol'] Jeff

I am doing something wrong if you feel reactive or adversarial, Helix! There is no question that we all swim in a sea of subjectivity, and the prospect of ever sorting any of these problems out is daunting. This is why nobody ever talks about it, because these discussions often seem beyond reason.

I think I'm going to chill on this unless there is something you want to do to continue. There is no question in my mind that the things you bring up are resolvable given some basic area of agreement between the participants in the conversation. It appears you are familiar with subjective ideas, some Vedantic sorts of mindsets and some of the arguments that Hume used to describe the problem of perception.

It is difficult for me to talk with you because I am wanting to use analytical techniques and you are wanting to use rhetorical techniques. Maybe we can each write a book someday, and trade them in the mail :-)

Monday 27Jul92 From [Mysterious] Big D [After ya]

What of the collective unconsciousness in relationship to the rooms little info line?

Monday 27Jul92 From Helix Quark

I think you have some connotation to 'reaction' that I did not imply. I used the word to express the context that, 'of course I have a reaction to statements in a dialog, for without them there is no dialog.'

I understand that you are trying to use analytical methods, and I realize that you are frustrated with my lack of interest to dive into the system and set of arguements to which you are well versed. I have no reason to wish to dive into the lions den of the belief systems that you have developed over a lenthy period of time without allowing myself the tool of perspective, i.e, what you percieve as rhetoric.

I think rather what I am interested in is the healthy and interesting dialog possible in the meeting of minds. I think rather that I do not wish to play a game of conversion, perhaps to harsh a comment. I have views that I am expressing. I think that I have listened to the views that you express.

It seems that you hold as prerequisite to continuance that I agree with the presuppositions you make.

I am interested in exploring ideas, not in accepting them on the face of it. I will take as given certain postulates in the interest of arguement, but I do not agree that that implies agreement. I resrve the right to keep an interest in the exploration of the other avenues of thought.

I intend to continue this, but you obviously have some reason for wishing not to continue.

I respect you and I think that there is value in the continuing saga of our dialog, however, I do feel that the fair examination of ideas is worthy of some respectable place in such a dialog.


Wittgenstein, 'on certainty' Harper Torchbooks NY 1972

'4. "I know that I am a human being." In order to see how unclear the sense of this proposition is, consider its negation. At most it might be taken to mean "I know I have the organs of a human". (E.g. a brain which, after all, no one has ever yet seen.) But what about such a proposition as "I know I have a brain"? Can I doubt it? Grounds for doubt are lacking! Everything speaks in its favour, nothing against it. Nevertheless it is imaginable that my skull should turn out empty when it was operated on'

So I am not very far in to it, in fact having not really begun the reading of this book any way. Risking the obvious err of quoting out of context, I bravely continue.

I suggest that the question of the testing of a proposition remains a question mark until perception. No matter how sure you are of some thing ther eis still the minutest probability that it is something else other than what perception tells you it is.

This is the application of the maybe-state-cat to models of reality.

At what point I ask does the 'reality' of some Thing cease to have a probability of illusion? is there such a point?

The answer that I hear back is that the object is never in question. I ask, how so? In what way is the object so certain that the nature of that object cannot be questioned? Does this imply that there exists some ideal object of eminent SUBSTANCE? How do you KNOW?

Monday 27Jul92 From Helix Quark

Quite frankly Jeffy, I am not feeling in the least bit adversarial. I am, in fact, having a great time. I have not had a decent conversation like this this in years. No joke.




John Griogair Bell - Arlecchino Malbenvolio

“Clown with a Bad Attitude”

Original material is Copyright © 1995 – 2019 J G Bell
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