Mental Content: The Argument from Illusion

General philosophy discussions. If you are not sure where to place your thread, please post it here. Share favorite quotes, discuss philosophers, and other topics.

Re: Mental Content: The Argument from Illusion

Postby Asparagus on December 27th, 2017, 7:56 pm 

Dave_C » December 27th, 2017, 3:27 pm wrote:Your question then seems to be, does the argument from illusion as given for example by the above Stanford reference, provide a logical (indisputable?) argument that proves: 5.Therefore, in normal perception, one is directly aware of non-physical things.

Not exactly, no. The OP, first and foremost, was meant to spark discussion. Its content is stuff that happens to fascinate me, and I have my own angle on it (which is sort of Schopenhauer-esque). Beyond that, I'm interested in how you see it.

Dave_C wrote:Is that your interpretation of the argument? It sounds to me like it's an argument that concludes that mental content is non-physical or a non-physical phenomenon. Similarly, it seems to say mental states or phenomenal experience is non-physical.

Yes. It's an argument for indirect realism.

Dave-C wrote:Personally, I fail to see that the argument has achieved any proof of this. I don't disagree that mental states are non-physical in some way but I fail to see that the argument has accomplished its mission. The pencil in water trick doesn't do it for me for all the reasons Wikipedia provides:

So let's be clear that the argument is not suggesting that brain-states are non-physical. It's merely saying that in navigating the world, we deal with representations. The alternative would seem to be direct realism. Is that your stance?
Asparagus
Member
 
Posts: 258
Joined: 16 Dec 2017
Blog: View Blog (2)


Re: Mental Content: The Argument from Illusion

Postby mitchellmckain on December 28th, 2017, 12:51 am 

Asparagus » December 26th, 2017, 9:48 am wrote:
To say that the object of perception is the sense data itself would be like saying that a camera is not taking a picture of the objects it is pointed at but of the photons which happen to be in the camera while the shutter is open. It's just silly.

That probably would be silly. That's not the conclusion of the Argument form Illusion.


Perhaps the problem is that there are more than one version of this argument. The one described in Wikipedia claims

Rather than directly perceiving the stick, which would entail our seeing it as it truly is, we must instead perceive it indirectly, by way of an image or "sense-datum". This mental representation does not tell us anything about the stick's true properties, which remain inaccessible to us.


The first statement is certainly ok and not something I would even think to dispute. It is the second statement to which I object and which my response was addressing. Sense data and mental representations are just part of the process of perception which certainly does tell us about the stick's true properties. And perhaps we should examine the meaning of "tell us about" the stick's properties, which again is not a claim to capture the properties themselves but only says that there is some communication of these properties to us which may take considerable work to refine to greater accuracy.

A good example is found in the advent of Chaos science, where we learned that since all our science was routinely replacing non-linear equations with linear approximations we were misconstruing some fundamental characteristics of the things we were studying. But this does not mean that linear approximations were telling us nothing about nature only that some corrections were required to get a more accurate understanding.

The Stanford Encyclopedia presentation of the argument is as follows:
Using the bent-stick illusion as an example, one might argue:

When viewing a straight stick half-submerged in water, one is directly aware of something bent.
No relevant physical thing is bent in this situation.
Therefore, in this situation, one is directly aware of something non-physical.
What one is directly aware of in this situation is the same kind of thing that one is directly aware of in normal, non-illusory perception.
Therefore, in normal perception, one is directly aware of non-physical things.


Here the objective is to claim that the object of perception is non-physical. And I object to this conclusion also. Not only is there is nothing non-physical about sense-data but again the object of perception has been confused with the process of perception. The object of perception remains the physical object and the sense-data consisting of physical things such photons and neurological impusles are entirely physical. If the point of the argument was simply to argue for the existence of sensory data then I would have no objection, but I don't think that is the case.
User avatar
mitchellmckain
Member
 
Posts: 982
Joined: 27 Oct 2016


Re: Mental Content: The Argument from Illusion

Postby BadgerJelly on December 28th, 2017, 2:05 am 

This is getting really interesting. I actually think I've finally come across someone who is roughly in the same position as me - although I am sure this illusion will fade into nothing and I'll be left standing alone talking to myself again soon enough! :D

Anyway, Serpent. You make some quite strange points on the previous page that I only hope were meant to be probing for cracks rather than presented as assertions.

This is where I cannot help, yet again, refer to the post modernist perspective in regards to hermeneutics. Be it Santa, Star Wars or Greek mythology, they are all human endeavors.

Serpent said:

Why would I think that any two real (Kroll, Google, Hubble, Gallup) or imaginary (Santa Claus, Big Brother, History) narrators were spinning yarns about the same world? Their subject matter and their mandates are various: they are charged with recording specific types of event around different designated targets. None of them records or interprets the entire world.
So, 1. The narratives of these putative third party interlopers are about different aspects of the world.
and 2. None of them are necessarily between my own perception and the world.


You understand what they are. Therefore you already disproven your own position. To further highlight this point I could write an in depth and detailed rendition about my experience of travelling and exploring a city. I could refer to places I've been to and how I felt about the place. You are essentially saying this place does not exist, and what is probably confusing to me, you and everyone else is that this place does both exist and not exist. Your of this city may be completely different to mine and there may be parts I could've referred to you will simply never be able to see because my personal perspective of them may differ quite drastically.

By this I simply mean expectations are met in some cases, surpassed in others, and completely miss the mark elsewhere. The best example I can think of for this was my idea of what south east Asia would be like, and my expectations prior to visiting Bangkok. I had a very naïve mental impression of what it would be like.

This may seem like a very longwinded way of saying something simplistic, but I wanted to point toward the emotional content and cultural perceptions of foreign places/ideas. This also points toward a more Jungian perspective on subjectively inhabiting the world among sets of archetypal ideas. We all understand the general theme of what Santa represents; and some of us probably understand this more than others and the historical and commercial side of this symbol - which are more about how the mythos in a symbolic form has been put to use.

Then we have this in reference to numbers being in your skull:

Easy way to find out. Try taking off your head and thinking of the number 7 without it.
Seriously, there is no such thing as a number. There are quantities of things and there is the ability to quantify and there is the desire to keep score and there is the concept of making symbols for the record. You have had to learn all these ideas separately, then put them together in the same drawer in your synaptic cupboard, note its co-ordinates so that you can navigate there at will. Only then can you think of the number 7. That's why few children under three years, and even fewer dogs, can think of the number 7, or seven, or VII or even iiiiiii. However, both will notice the absence of their blue ball, even though the green, orange, yellow, white, purple and pink balls are present.


This I find very interesting. I cannot see how you can be so quick to accept that a blue ball is not in your head, but that the number seven is? This is self refutation yet again. It is a very interesting conflation to point out though. After all if number only exist in your head, unlike the ball apparently?, then how is it we can put these numbers to use as a heuristic tool? It is precisely these questions that made me realise the limitation of reductionist thought. It makes no sense to be able to refer to "ball" or "blue", and if a very young infant sees a blue ball disappear behind a screen and a yellow banana reappear on the other side, then they are not even slightly surprised. They know ONE object went behind the screen and then ONE object reappeared. That is enough for them in the early stages of neurological development. If two or more objects appear when only one disappeared they will take note of this phenomenon. Just because they do not articulate numbers does not mean they cannot appreciate them on some level. So if you are saying numbers exist in your head you may as well think of a reasonable defense for the existence of balls and other "physical" concepts that cannot be applied to "non-physical" concepts. Just in case this is not clear enough for you, you're saying - when you remove all the mess - that one ball is the same as one million balls. When it comes to magnitudes and how infants comprehend quantities we can see obvious developmental processes which were noted by Piaget in this area (referring to when four items spread out over 20cm seems like more items compared to 7 items spread out over 10cm, to children. This, I would argue could be more to do with differentiating between different lingual concepts of magnitude though.)
User avatar
BadgerJelly
Resident Member
 
Posts: 5115
Joined: 14 Mar 2012


Re: Mental Content: The Argument from Illusion

Postby Asparagus on December 28th, 2017, 10:41 am 

mitchellmckain wrote:
The first statement is certainly ok and not something I would even think to dispute. It is the second statement to which I object and which my response was addressing. Sense data and mental representations are just part of the process of perception which certainly does tell us about the stick's true properties. And perhaps we should examine the meaning of "tell us about" the stick's properties, which again is not a claim to capture the properties themselves but only says that there is some communication of these properties to us which may take considerable work to refine to greater accuracy.

The argument is assuming that we can discern in some way the true nature of the stick (that is, that it's straight.) It's zeroing in on a particular moment when the mental content associated with sense is illusory.



mitchellmckain wrote:Here the objective is to claim that the object of perception is non-physical. And I object to this conclusion also. Not only is there is nothing non-physical about sense-data but again the object of perception has been confused with the process of perception. The object of perception remains the physical object and the sense-data consisting of physical things such photons and neurological impusles are entirely physical. If the point of the argument was simply to argue for the existence of sensory data then I would have no objection, but I don't think that is the case.

Where "object of perception" means what we're directly aware of, the argument is concluding that the object of perception is non-physical. In other words, there is no bent stick. It's an illusion.

The argument is not maintaining that photons and electrical impulses are not involved in sight.
Asparagus
Member
 
Posts: 258
Joined: 16 Dec 2017
Blog: View Blog (2)


Re: Mental Content: The Argument from Illusion

Postby Braininvat on December 28th, 2017, 10:56 am 

The bent stick (curiously unpersuasive to me) reminds me a little of Frank Jackson's "Mary in the Black and White Room" conundrum, which is about the irreducibly mental aspects of qualia (in this case, seeing red). I have houseguests and little time, but it's worth looking up in SEP or elsewhere and seeing some its problems.
User avatar
Braininvat
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 6230
Joined: 21 Jan 2014
Location: Black Hills


Re: Mental Content: The Argument from Illusion

Postby Serpent on December 28th, 2017, 1:23 pm 

BadgerJelly » December 28th, 2017, 1:05 am wrote:Anyway, Serpent. You make some quite strange points on the previous page that I only hope were meant to be probing for cracks rather than presented as assertions.

This is where I cannot help, yet again, refer to the post modernist perspective in regards to hermeneutics. Be it Santa, Star Wars or Greek mythology, they are all human endeavors.

[ narrators were spinning yarns ... None of them records or interprets the entire world.
So, 1. The narratives of these putative third party interlopers are about different aspects of the world.
and 2. None of them are necessarily between my own perception and the world. ]

You understand what they are. Therefore you already disproven your own position.

Why do you make such a song-and-dance of my "position"? And how am I disproving it by citing examples of possible third-party narrators?
It is Asparagus who interposed a third-party narrator (and, indeed, some objective or subjective narrative) between the world and my mental image of it, and then challenged me to agree that this imaginary narrator is making a story about different worlds, or whatever.
What I dispute is that any such third party narration needs to exist, or if any do exist, that they necessarily have any effect on my comprehension of reality. I already acknowledge that some, such as a teacher, might.
What I suspect is that Asparagus and a whole bunch of busybody philosophers (the religious ones are obvious enough!) are attempting to impose their magic thinking on my understanding of the world. And I'm saying: That ain't gonna happen!

To further highlight this point I could write an in depth and detailed rendition about my experience of travelling and exploring a city. I could refer to places I've been to and how I felt about the place. You are essentially saying this place does not exist

Not at all. I'm saying places and things can exist perfectly well without you or me ever seeing them. Whatever you say about the cities you have seen, I'm willing to accept... conditionally - on that your description is compatible with my previous knowledge of reality - like, I'll believe that it smells of nutmeg, but not that it floats in a cloud - and until it's contradicted by more compelling data - like aerial photographs for instance.

and what is probably confusing to me, you and everyone else is that this place does both exist and not exist.

That would be confusing - if I entertained such a notion.

Your [?perception?] of this city may be completely different to mine

We may have different experiences of, and a different reactions to, the same city. We may see different parts and aspects of a city. We may live in the same city in very different circumstances. But the existence of the city itself is not altered by the perception of its residents and visitors, nor by the commentary of its observers and chroniclers.

We all understand the general theme of what Santa represents; and some of us probably understand this more than others and the historical and commercial side of this symbol - which are more about how the mythos in a symbolic form has been put to use.

In my example, it represents an imaginary third-party narrator who "sees you when you'r sleeping and knows when you're awake..." Nothing more.

I cannot see how you can be so quick to accept that a blue ball is not in your head,

In this case, I know it is. That particular blue ball is my own invention, to demonstrate that an innumerate baby or dog can recognize the presence or absence of a real object, even though she cannot count objects, let alone visualize mathematical symbols.

but that the number seven is?

That was in Asparagus's head. It may still be there. I've certainly never encountered a Seven in the wild - have you?

After all if number only exist in your head, unlike the ball apparently?, then how is it we can put these numbers to use as a heuristic tool?

Because we invented the concept for that very purpose. All I'm pointing to is the difference between a physical object that can exist even after you leave the room and a concept that goes with you. The number seven does not adhere or inhere to a ball that's still in the room after you leave and will still be in the room whether you return or not; if you take the orange and yellow and green balls with you, the blue one will be number one, two, three or four the next time someone counts them: it can't be seventh anymore. But it can, and is likely to, remain round and blue and composed of foam rubber with some small tooth-shaped indentations on its skin.
So if you are saying numbers exist in your head you may as well think of a reasonable defense for the existence of balls and other "physical" concepts that cannot be applied to "non-physical" concepts.

I don't agree that the existence of physical objects needs defending.
Just in case this is not clear enough for you, you're saying - - that one ball is the same as one million balls.

No, I'm not. I said quantifying was a learned ability; a process of accretion and consolidation that takes place in brains.
- when you remove all the mess -

I tried that. Evidently, I failed.
Serpent
Resident Member
 
Posts: 2858
Joined: 24 Dec 2011


Re: Mental Content: The Argument from Illusion

Postby Braininvat on December 28th, 2017, 2:28 pm 

Because we invented the concept for that very purpose. All I'm pointing to is the difference between a physical object that can exist even after you leave the room and a concept that goes with you. The number seven does not adhere or inhere to a ball that's still in the room after you leave and will still be in the room whether you return or not; if you take the orange and yellow and green balls with you, the blue one will be number one, two, three or four the next time someone counts them: it can't be seventh anymore. But it can, and is likely to, remain round and blue and composed of foam rubber with some small tooth-shaped indentations on its skin.


So it has more than one indentation? Even after I leave the room?
User avatar
Braininvat
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 6230
Joined: 21 Jan 2014
Location: Black Hills


Re: Mental Content: The Argument from Illusion

Postby Serpent on December 28th, 2017, 3:31 pm 

So it has more than one indentation? Even after I leave the room?

Of course. It's as many indentations as my imaginary toddler and my imaginary puppy chewed into my imaginary ball - they both share toys well - in this case, six (four upper and two lower incisor) flattish ones, nine deep (canine) and six shallow (lower incisor) pointy ones. Now that this information has entered your mental content via vision, short-term memory, symbol-processing, word recognition and matching to archival images of balls, colours, babies and puppies and you previous knowledge of how they each interact with balls, plus your logical deduction of the size this particular ball needs to be in order to meet the criteria, a much clearer image of the same ball leaves the room with you than the one you brought into the room from yesterday. I will never know the shade of blue you attributed to it.
None of which - nor any other mental images formed by people who may have read this and formed their own mental image - is capable of creating one single actual ball in the real world.
Last edited by Serpent on December 28th, 2017, 5:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Serpent
Resident Member
 
Posts: 2858
Joined: 24 Dec 2011


Re: Mental Content: The Argument from Illusion

Postby Asparagus on December 28th, 2017, 4:10 pm 

Serpent wrote:What I suspect is that Asparagus and a whole bunch of busybody philosophers (the religious ones are obvious enough!) are attempting to impose their magic thinking on my understanding of the world. And I'm saying: That ain't gonna happen!

I would die on behalf of your right to be an eliminative materialist. I think that's what you are, but since it's all encapsulated in your skull, I despair that I may never know for sure. If you talk enough, will it creep out of your mouth one word at a time?

BTW, the 1st Amendment protects you. You don't need me. But I got your back just in case.
Asparagus
Member
 
Posts: 258
Joined: 16 Dec 2017
Blog: View Blog (2)


Re: Mental Content: The Argument from Illusion

Postby Serpent on December 28th, 2017, 5:15 pm 

Asparagus » December 28th, 2017, 3:10 pm wrote:I would die on behalf of your right to be an eliminative materialist.

Oh, please don't!
If you talk enough, will it creep out of your mouth one word at a time?

Possibly, but we're unlikely to meet face to face; unlikely to hear each other's voices.
That's the limitation of visual imagery: all you have here is what I've typed into a box; we have both only ever seen it displayed on monitors far apart, as interpreted by computers, in the form of symbols of the Latin alphabet.
I keep seeing pictures of that half-submerged pencil, and wondering why somebody doesn't just reach in and feel the thing, if it's really bent, or put one they know to be straight beside it to see if that one also looks bent in water. But, of course, you can't, as it's only a picture.

BTW, the 1st Amendment protects you.

It doesn't, actually, which is okay, since our bill of rights enforced just as well - maybe even better?
But thanks.

I'll stop typing now, if that's okay.
Serpent
Resident Member
 
Posts: 2858
Joined: 24 Dec 2011


Re: Mental Content: The Argument from Illusion

Postby mitchellmckain on December 28th, 2017, 6:56 pm 

Asparagus » December 28th, 2017, 9:41 am wrote:The argument is assuming that we can discern in some way the true nature of the stick (that is, that it's straight.) It's zeroing in on a particular moment when the mental content associated with sense is illusory.

Perception is something which develops over time. And learning about the effects of refraction is only one step in a long learning process for correctly interpreting the data our various senses deliver to us. At an earlier stage of development we don't see either water or a stick but only light and colors. The stage of seeing a bent stick is not a very long one if there is one at all, for it does not take much experience to learn that the bending of light through water does not mean such a stick is actually bent when we go to get it.

Asparagus » December 28th, 2017, 9:41 am wrote:Where "object of perception" means what we're directly aware of, the argument is concluding that the object of perception is non-physical. In other words, there is no bent stick. It's an illusion.

And that conclusion is what I am objecting to. What we are directly aware of is the actual physical object. It is a much more advanced cognitive function that is able to break this down and focus on the elements of the perceptual process such as the sensory data. I think even the so called illusion is a more advanced perception, because frankly I don't think most people ever think a stick in the water is actually bent. Thus there is no such bent stick as an object of perception until we are acquainted with this idea of illusions and the whole thing is mental concoction quite apart from the perception of sticks in the water. And even these things are not non-physical except according to an antiquated understanding of "physicality" as opposed to mentality.
User avatar
mitchellmckain
Member
 
Posts: 982
Joined: 27 Oct 2016


Re: Mental Content: The Argument from Illusion

Postby BadgerJelly on December 29th, 2017, 2:15 am 

Serpent and ALL -

I was simply expressing a certain requirement (in my eyes at least) for care with the words we use in the context of the topic. The story of the Three Little Pigs exists and we all probably understand its meaning and composition more than we understand the function and concept of "a blue ball".

I was just probing around to see where it is we can, or if we can, distinguish between something as abstract and something as concrete. If we think of the term "room", we'll all happily take this as colloquially existing as a concrete thing, but really it is an abstract concept composed of other abstract concepts. The underlying "concrete" meaning given ("through" sensibility) is buried under layers of abstraction.

What I have found is that the more abstract something is the more meaning we can attach to it. And in opposition to this the more concrete something is the less meaning is possesses. That is why I generally hold up items I experience as being existent for me simply because I can question them. That which I cannot question I cannot ken.

Of course, in everyday life I experience a blue ball and I have no reason to question it directly, yet I notice it because how I experience it is only in part (I cannot experience it from all angles and across all time.) If I am dreaming and I experience a blue ball I regard it in the same manner, I don't question its existence as a concrete object anymore than I would do when awake.

If we look at a rainbow and approach it, it will evade us. Only at a certain distance is the illusion available to us, just like standing on flat Earth is the illusion of the flatness available to us. Given a broader perspective we establish the curved surface of Earth. This is uncovered by taking a phenomenological view. The Earth looks flat, therefore it is flat, and the rainbow looks like it is over there, therefore it is over there. They differ because we understand that the Earth is not flat by expanding our visual field (moving away from it or simply opening up our horizons), and the rainbow we understand the illusion by moving toward it.

I cannot take interest in anyone suggesting within the field of this discussion that a ball exists and a number does not. It makes no sense to suggest such a thing when we can just as easily experience a ball that is not there. I am not suggesting that numbers are the same as balls, but I am certainly saying they are very much the same kind of thing in many ways we're justy accustomed to ignoring in day-to-day life. We do not need to habitual use of numbers to understand magnitudes. Numbers are merely an abstraction of magnitudes just as a ball is an abstraction of magnitudes.

The question then becomes is a ball more of a magnitude than a number? I would say that it is not, but in day-to-day language I would say it most certainly isn't more of a magnitude than a number, because we generally use numbers to refer to magnitudes not "ball". This would be an illusion of language by habitual usage.

Bagsarapus -

It appears Dave was suggesting that if you close your eyes and then open them again this is an example of an illusion. The world is there, then it disappears, and then it reappears. Much like peekaboo this is a fair point to make.

What we're all avoiding here, out of fear or anguish I am not quite sure, is the concatenation of experiences. We have expectations of the world and when these expectations are not met we meet with astonishment. The apparent "rules" of the world bend here and there and we become fascinated by these distortions. By naming them they become tangible items for direct investigation.

What we are "directly aware of" would be the immediacy of the phenomenon. I think you'd find a lot of use if you looked into phenomenology more; but I would suggest you are extremely cautious with anything that comes after Husserl - not that it is not useful only that I believe quite strongly that Heidegger and co. went down another path completely.

You are completely correct. The stick appears to be bent and learning that it is not actually bent makes a difference to our perception of it in a phenomenological sense. I have mentioned something similar to this before; if you stand in front of a mirror you can look at yourself in the mirror, yet while doing so you cannot look at the mirror. Note in this case the sensible input is identical yet we can refer to two different experiences. Th eview of myself in the mirror and the mirror both exist together. So we can then ask if either of these views is an illusion where the other one is a non-illusion. Those inclined to sensibility will say the mirror is not an illusion but the view of myself fis an illusion ... yet they are quite willing to dismiss the empirical fact that all vision is an immediate announcement of reflected light.

It is all done by way of emotionally probing about the world. The body moves here and there and we feel it and apply ourselves where emotional content explodes into our immediacy. With the baby the peekaboo experience astonishes and remains an item of attention because expections were broken. If in life expectations are broken severely we recoil with fear or explore with zest.

My issue with your OP would be with the use of words like "accurate" and "mental". To go back to Descartes it is a simple and profound obviousness. If you can doubt your own experience then the "doubt" is the important point not the experience. When you are unsure and confused about the world then you are "close" to "yourself". All measurement and accuracy are out of reach, all understanding is up in the air, you are furtherest away from understanding and immediately appropriated to the horizon of your knowledge. (Biologically speaking we would refer to this as the point upon which flight or fight ensues, laugh or cry, etc.,.)
User avatar
BadgerJelly
Resident Member
 
Posts: 5115
Joined: 14 Mar 2012


Re: Mental Content: The Argument from Illusion

Postby Asparagus on December 29th, 2017, 10:43 am 

mitchellmckain wrote: The stage of seeing a bent stick is not a very long one if there is one at all, for it does not take much experience to learn that the bending of light through water does not mean such a stick is actually bent when we go to get it.
(bolding mine)
You appear to be conflating visual data with its interpretation. So you're saying that what we actually see is interpretations?

I could have commented on your next paragraph, but I didn't want to muddy the mud you just stepped into.
Asparagus
Member
 
Posts: 258
Joined: 16 Dec 2017
Blog: View Blog (2)


Re: Mental Content: The Argument from Illusion

Postby Serpent on December 29th, 2017, 10:44 am 

I cannot take interest in anyone suggesting within the field of this discussion that a ball exists and a number does not.

Duly noted. I don't want to be an annoying Bobo doll: the third time you slap me down, I stay down.
It makes no sense to suggest such a thing when we can just as easily experience a ball that is not there.

Next time, I'll give my puppy a seven to play with and a pi to eat.
Serpent
Resident Member
 
Posts: 2858
Joined: 24 Dec 2011


Re: Mental Content: The Argument from Illusion

Postby Asparagus on December 29th, 2017, 10:52 am 

BadgerJelly wrote:What we are "directly aware of" would be the immediacy of the phenomenon. I think you'd find a lot of use if you looked into phenomenology more; but I would suggest you are extremely cautious with anything that comes after Husserl - not that it is not useful only that I believe quite strongly that Heidegger and co. went down another path completely.


I'm guessing that people who have done a bit of visual art are more at ease with the idea of examining experience. And it's for that reason that I'm going to have to challenge you to a joint reading of Heidegger's The Origin of the Work of Art.

It's a pretty astonishing piece of philosophy, and I think you need to read it before you continue talking smack about Heidegger. Plus I'd like to read it again due to my interest in neoplatonism. Interested?
Asparagus
Member
 
Posts: 258
Joined: 16 Dec 2017
Blog: View Blog (2)


Re: Mental Content: The Argument from Illusion

Postby Serpent on December 29th, 2017, 11:01 am 

Asparagus » December 29th, 2017, 9:52 am wrote:I'm guessing that people who have done a bit of visual art are more at ease with the idea of examining experience. ....
It's a pretty astonishing piece of philosophy, and I think you need to read it before you continue talking smack about Heidegger. Plus I'd like to read it again due to my interest in neoplatonism. Interested?

Nope. I've done oil and gauche, acrylic and watercolour, clay sculpture, paper construction, fabric design, wood-carving, computer graphics and photography. Don't need anyone 'splaining it to me.
Serpent
Resident Member
 
Posts: 2858
Joined: 24 Dec 2011


Re: Mental Content: The Argument from Illusion

Postby BadgerJelly on December 29th, 2017, 11:09 am 

Asp -

I talk smack about everyone, including Husserl. Yeah, but I cannot get hold of a copy very easily.

note: Just found a pdf, but not great quality.
User avatar
BadgerJelly
Resident Member
 
Posts: 5115
Joined: 14 Mar 2012


Re: Mental Content: The Argument from Illusion

Postby Asparagus on December 29th, 2017, 11:25 am 

Serpent » December 29th, 2017, 11:01 am wrote:
Asparagus » December 29th, 2017, 9:52 am wrote:I'm guessing that people who have done a bit of visual art are more at ease with the idea of examining experience. ....
It's a pretty astonishing piece of philosophy, and I think you need to read it before you continue talking smack about Heidegger. Plus I'd like to read it again due to my interest in neoplatonism. Interested?

Nope. I've done oil and gauche, acrylic and watercolour, clay sculpture, paper construction, fabric design, wood-carving, computer graphics and photography. Don't need anyone 'splaining it to me.

I wanna see. Have you posted anything on this forum?
Asparagus
Member
 
Posts: 258
Joined: 16 Dec 2017
Blog: View Blog (2)


Re: Mental Content: The Argument from Illusion

Postby Asparagus on December 29th, 2017, 11:26 am 

BadgerJelly » December 29th, 2017, 11:09 am wrote:Asp -

I talk smack about everyone, including Husserl. Yeah, but I cannot get hold of a copy very easily.

note: Just found a pdf, but not great quality.

Is that a yes? :)
Asparagus
Member
 
Posts: 258
Joined: 16 Dec 2017
Blog: View Blog (2)


Re: Mental Content: The Argument from Illusion

Postby BadgerJelly on December 29th, 2017, 1:27 pm 

Serpent -

Numbers are "moments" not "parts" - as Husserl would put it. A ball is a collection of moments. The number 7 is not a description of itself, whilst ball is a description of itself - meaning it can be broken down into moments (things that cannot be removed from the concept of "ball".)

Verbose language is not needed to experience the form of the ball, but the ball must possess moments to be experienced. Distracting yourself with word play is an interesting venture; it is for that reason I steer away from claims espoused by Derrida, Foucault and Heidegger.
User avatar
BadgerJelly
Resident Member
 
Posts: 5115
Joined: 14 Mar 2012


Re: Mental Content: The Argument from Illusion

Postby Serpent on December 29th, 2017, 2:36 pm 

Asparagus » December 29th, 2017, 10:25 am wrote:I wanna see. Have you posted anything on this forum?

Sorry, no: I'm technically challenged. Except for words, I can only operate in the real world. I haven't even learned how to make an avatar.
Serpent
Resident Member
 
Posts: 2858
Joined: 24 Dec 2011


Re: Mental Content: The Argument from Illusion

Postby mitchellmckain on December 29th, 2017, 7:58 pm 

Asparagus » December 29th, 2017, 9:43 am wrote:
mitchellmckain wrote: The stage of seeing a bent stick is not a very long one if there is one at all, for it does not take much experience to learn that the bending of light through water does not mean such a stick is actually bent when we go to get it.
(bolding mine)
You appear to be conflating visual data with its interpretation. So you're saying that what we actually see is interpretations?

Incorrect and incorrect. I am saying that your analysis does not reflect the actual process by which perception develops. People do not look at a stick in the water and think it is bent. They see the stick and pull it out of the water and thus understand how sticks look when they are sticking in the water. It is only later, some joker like you comes along and tells him that he is seeing a bent stick at first and thus the sensory data is somehow lying to him. The philosophically naive might buy into this but others like myself do not.

I am saying that what we actually see is the stick and that we are not even aware of the components of the process (such as visual data and interpretation) by which we do this until much later in a more advanced self-reflective perceptual process. The refraction in water does not change this in the slightest but only emphasizes it, for refraction is something we learn about much later in our education.

Asparagus » December 29th, 2017, 9:43 am wrote:I could have commented on your next paragraph, but I didn't want to muddy the mud you just stepped into.

You didn't want address what was actually said but just throw mud from a distance as if that was actually meaningful in some way to the discussion. It wasn't.
User avatar
mitchellmckain
Member
 
Posts: 982
Joined: 27 Oct 2016


Re: Mental Content: The Argument from Illusion

Postby Asparagus on December 29th, 2017, 8:47 pm 

@mitchellmckain

Oh. There's a duck-rabbit who's feeling pretty neglected now.

Per Biv, onward to Mary's room. ;)
Asparagus
Member
 
Posts: 258
Joined: 16 Dec 2017
Blog: View Blog (2)


Re: Mental Content: The Argument from Illusion

Postby Serpent on December 29th, 2017, 9:47 pm 

As to the duck-rabbit and the two-faced vase and the bearded flower-girl --
Did anyone feel at all exercised about them on first encounter ? Cute trick, heh-heh... keep trucking. Might even put your finger on an Escher staircase and trace the little people going up or down - Ah, there it is!
By then we've seen enough optical illusions, stage magic, graphic and numeric trickery not to let it influence our perception of the real world. In fact, by about age 8, we're well aware of not only trickery, but can differentiate natural illusion, innocent entertainment and deliberate deceit.
We use more than one sense, plus memory and reason, to collect information all the time.
Serpent
Resident Member
 
Posts: 2858
Joined: 24 Dec 2011


Re: Mental Content: The Argument from Illusion

Postby mitchellmckain on December 29th, 2017, 10:36 pm 

Asparagus » December 29th, 2017, 7:47 pm wrote:Per Biv, onward to Mary's room. ;)


Wikipedia wrote:There is disagreement about how to summarize the premises and conclusion of the argument Jackson makes in this thought experiment. Paul Churchland did so as follows:

1. Mary knows everything there is to know about brain states and their properties.
2. It is not the case that Mary knows everything there is to know about sensations and their properties.
3. Therefore, sensations and their properties are not the same (≠) as the brain states and their properties.[5]

However, Jackson objects that Churchland's formulation is not his intended argument. He especially objects to the first premise of Churchland's formulation: "The whole thrust of the knowledge argument is that Mary (before her release) does not know everything there is to know about brain states and their properties, because she does not know about certain qualia associated with them. What is complete, according to the argument, is her knowledge of matters physical." He suggests his preferred interpretation:

1. Mary (before her release) knows everything physical there is to know about other people.
2. Mary (before her release) does not know everything there is to know about other people (because she learns something about them on her release).
3. Therefore, there are truths about other people (and herself) which escape the physicalist story.[6]
Most authors who discuss the knowledge argument cite the case of Mary, but Frank Jackson used a further example in his seminal article: the case of a person, Fred, who sees a color unknown to normal human perceivers.


This is a very common situation applying to many phenomenon, such as when a scientist studies schizophrenia. He may know everything about the condition except what it is personally like to suffer from that condition. Will experiencing it for himself add to his knowledge? Of course it will. The fact is that many many people who study something will quite often try experiencing it for themselves, if they can, in order to understand it better.

1. Mary (before her release) knows everything there is to know about brain states of a person seeing the color red, as an objective observer. Likewise the above scientist knows everything about schizophrenia as an objective observer using the methods of science.
2. Mary (after her release) knows what it is to experience seeing the color red herself. Likewise after coming down with schizophrenia himself the scientist knows what it is like to be schizophrenic.
3. Therefore knowing things as an objective observer and as a scientist is not the same as experiencing the things you study for yourself. Has anything been added to their scientific understanding? No. What has been added is the purely subjective experience alone which has no bearing on the science at all. HOWEVER, it is quite possible that for one who does not know everything about it, that the subjective experience will bring some aspect of the thing to the person's attention that he did not know before. And indeed, some people learn better that way than they do with the purely objective approach.

Anyway, does any of this establish that physicalism is false? No it does not. It simply establishes that there is more to life than science and objective observation. There is also participation in the subjective experience -- that is part of life also.
User avatar
mitchellmckain
Member
 
Posts: 982
Joined: 27 Oct 2016


Re: Mental Content: The Argument from Illusion

Postby Serpent on December 29th, 2017, 11:21 pm 

I don't know everything about anything.
Does that mean that everything I do know is wrong?
Possibly, but it's worked so far.
It certainly does mean that there is always more to learn - if we need to, or want to.
Serpent
Resident Member
 
Posts: 2858
Joined: 24 Dec 2011


Re: Mental Content: The Argument from Illusion

Postby BadgerJelly on December 30th, 2017, 1:37 am 

Mitch -

You've missed the point Asparagus was making I think. It is so obvious you passed it over. The stick appears to be bent. That is all. If it didn't we'd not even be talking about it, we'd be talking about a stick out of water.

Asparagus -

In response to Mitch you asked:

So you're saying that what we actually see is interpretations?


If we apply more general freedom to he word "see" then your closing in on phenomenology. Ontologically all phenomenon are real. Knowing that the stick is in water, or knowing about how light refracts, does nothing to input, but it does matter to the "manner" of seeing.
User avatar
BadgerJelly
Resident Member
 
Posts: 5115
Joined: 14 Mar 2012


Re: Mental Content: The Argument from Illusion

Postby mitchellmckain on December 30th, 2017, 12:33 pm 

And here I thought we decided to move on to a different topic...

BadgerJelly » December 30th, 2017, 12:37 am wrote:Mitch -

You've missed the point Asparagus was making I think. It is so obvious you passed it over. The stick appears to be bent. That is all. If it didn't we'd not even be talking about it, we'd be talking about a stick out of water.

You've missed the whole discussion we were having, I think. I cannot imagine how you passed over the fact that we talked about how the stick appears to be bent many many times.

BadgerJelly » December 30th, 2017, 12:37 am wrote:
So you're saying that what we actually see is interpretations?


If we apply more general freedom to he word "see" then your closing in on phenomenology. Ontologically all phenomenon are real. Knowing that the stick is in water, or knowing about how light refracts, does nothing to input, but it does matter to the "manner" of seeing.

But what it doesn't change is the object of perception -- not from the physical object to sensory data and not to something non-physical.
User avatar
mitchellmckain
Member
 
Posts: 982
Joined: 27 Oct 2016


Re: Mental Content: The Argument from Illusion

Postby Dave_C on December 30th, 2017, 5:02 pm 

Asparagus » December 27th, 2017, 6:56 pm wrote:
Dave_C » December 27th, 2017, 3:27 pm wrote:Your question then seems to be, does the argument from illusion as given for example by the above Stanford reference, provide a logical (indisputable?) argument that proves: 5.Therefore, in normal perception, one is directly aware of non-physical things.

Not exactly, no. The OP, first and foremost, was meant to spark discussion. Its content is stuff that happens to fascinate me, and I have my own angle on it (which is sort of Schopenhauer-esque). Beyond that, I'm interested in how you see it.

Dave_C wrote:Is that your interpretation of the argument? It sounds to me like it's an argument that concludes that mental content is non-physical or a non-physical phenomenon. Similarly, it seems to say mental states or phenomenal experience is non-physical.

Yes. It's an argument for indirect realism.

Dave-C wrote:Personally, I fail to see that the argument has achieved any proof of this. I don't disagree that mental states are non-physical in some way but I fail to see that the argument has accomplished its mission. The pencil in water trick doesn't do it for me for all the reasons Wikipedia provides:

So let's be clear that the argument is not suggesting that brain-states are non-physical. It's merely saying that in navigating the world, we deal with representations. The alternative would seem to be direct realism. Is that your stance?

Hi Asparagus,
After some review of the topic regarding indirect realism and the argument from illusion, I take it that the argument from illusion is an argument in support of indirect realism. Also that indirect realism is in conflict with physicalism. So rather than indirect realism being in support of dualism, it seems dualism is seen as a problem for indirect realism.

b. Problems for Indirect Realism

i. Dualism

Many see a problem with respect to the metaphysics of sense data. Sense data are seen as inner objects, objects that among other things are colored. Such entities, however, are incompatible with a materialist view of the mind.


http://www.iep.utm.edu/perc-obj/

This YouTube video also supports the paper above and as far as I can tell, it is also an accurate description of direct versus indirect realism:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WklsgkC7O18

I have to believe philosophers of mind have argued that indirect realism does NOT conflict with physicalism, but I don't know what those arguments are. I'd be interested in seeing them.

For what it's worth, I personally would support indirect realism. I can't see how one can reject it to be honest. It seems like a well established fact. I'd also agree that once one suggests there is something other than objectively observable phenomena (ie: there are subjective phenomena) then I think we're stuck with dualism, which I also agree with. But there are far too many arguments on either side of the fence and it seems none of them have been able to convince the community at large (philosophy of mind community) what the correct answer is to all of those issues. There are simply too many issues (logical dilemmas) that have not been resolved.
User avatar
Dave_C
Member
 
Posts: 297
Joined: 08 Jun 2014
Location: Allentown


Re: Mental Content: The Argument from Illusion

Postby mitchellmckain on December 30th, 2017, 7:10 pm 

Hmmm.... a choice between direct or indirect realism wasn't on that survey mentioned by Lomax. If it had been I would have to choose "Other" since I don't agree with either extreme.

The question as stated by Wikipedia is...
the epistemological question of whether the world we see around us is the real world itself or merely an internal perceptual copy of that world generated by neural processes in our brain.


The error I see is in making this an either or choice. It is both. There is indeed an internal perceptual copy generated by neural processes in our brain. BUT this is part of the process by which we see the real world. The problem with indirect realism and the idea that this internal copy is the object of our perception is that it leaves no room for inaccuracy in our perception. If all we see is the internal construction then our perception must be perfect and we see with perfect accuracy because what we see is within us already. But clearly nobody thinks that way. Our perception is imperfect because we compare the internal copy with the reality out there AND it is the reality out there which is the true object of perception which we are getting a grasp of imperfectly.

Furthermore, the internal perceptual copy is not the same for all people. Psychologists have demonstrated that belief alters perception. Thus the internal copy for the educated mind is not the same as for the ignorant and so we might say that their perception of the world is more accurate (although the opposite is also a possibility, where education make perception less accurate because of incorrect notions in academia).
User avatar
mitchellmckain
Member
 
Posts: 982
Joined: 27 Oct 2016


PreviousNext

Return to Anything Philosophy

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests