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Featured Against Scientific Materialism

Discussion in 'Science and Religion' started by sayak83, Jan 8, 2019.

  1. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member
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    See. In materialism, the background assumption is that physical entities are the fundamental bricks of reality, primary existants so as to say. So it needs to explain how entities like experiences can be made out of this physical stuff.
    In Pragmatism, we are saying that physical entities are good models for elements of experiences that roughly fall under the label of "the external world". We are completely open as to what sort of model will be most useful to explain and manipulate other elements of these experiences ( like self-awareness, Qualia etc.). We will accept provisionally whichever model proves most useful. Usefulness is our criteria for defining what is true after all.
     
  2. blü 2

    blü 2 Well-Known Member
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    So no sense of an objective test for truth? I guess that follows.
     
  3. joelr

    joelr Active Member

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    No, science as a whole never really thinks that.
    Sounds like a made up argument to use against science just to have something against science?
     
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  4. viole

    viole Metaphysical Naturalist
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    "Reducible to the structure of our brain" seems to be the most parsimonious first explanation. Otherwise, I really wonder what all the amount of neurons and connections is there for.

    Ciao

    - viole
     
  5. Jumi

    Jumi Well-Known Member

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    I don't blame you for assuming that something so complex that we haven't grasped yet, must be the reason for everything.
     
  6. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member
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    We would define objective truth as that which proves most useful for the purposes at hand.
     
  7. blü 2

    blü 2 Well-Known Member
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    Truth based on expediency? I think we can do better than that.
     
  8. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member
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    I do not think you can.
     
  9. blü 2

    blü 2 Well-Known Member
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    Cunning rascal! The materialists do all the work, and you sit back enjoying it and murmuring Agreeable experience, this ...
     
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  10. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member
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    Actually some of the greatest physicists of the 20th century were pragmatists, like Neils Bohr.
    Niels Bohr and the Philosophy of Physics

    Also see modern work on the topic,
    How Pragmatism Reconciles Quantum Mechanics With Relativity etc -

    Excerpt:-
    3:AM: So does your pragmatism at work in these two cases mean that we should think of quantum mechanics as a realist or an instrumentalist theory or is it a middle way?

    RH: Too often contemporary philosophers apply the terms ‘realism’ and ‘instrumentalism’ loosely in evaluating a position, as in the presumptive insult “Oh, that’s just instrumentalism!” Each term may be understood in many ways, and applied to many different kinds of things (theories, entities, structures, interpretations, languages, ….). I once characterized my pragmatist view of quantum mechanics as presenting a middle way between realism and instrumentalism. But by adopting one rather than another use of the terms ‘realism’ and ‘instrumentalism’ one can pigeon hole my view under either label.

    In this pragmatist view, quantum probabilities do not apply only to results of measurements. This distinguishes the view from any Copenhagen-style instrumentalism according to which the Born rule assigns probabilities only to possible outcomes of measurements, and so has nothing to say about unmeasured systems. An agent may use quantum mechanics to adjust her credences concerning what happened to the nucleus of an atom long ago on an uninhabited planet orbiting a star in a galaxy far away, provided only that she takes this to have happened in circumstances when that nucleus’s quantum state suffered suitable environmental decoherence.

    According to one standard usage, instrumentalism in the philosophy of science is the view that a theory is merely a tool for systematizing and predicting our observations. For the instrumentalist, nothing a theory supposedly says about unobservable structures lying behind but responsible for our observations should be considered significant. Moreover, instrumentalists characteristically explain this alleged lack of significance in semantic or epistemic terms: claims
    about unobservables are meaningless, reducible to statements about observables, eliminable from a theory without loss of content, false, or (at best) epistemically optional even for one who accepts the theory. My pragmatist view makes no use of any distinction between observable and unobservable structures, so to call it instrumentalist conflicts with this standard usage.

    In this view, quantum mechanics does not posit novel, unobservable structures corresponding to quantum states, observables, and quantum probabilities; these are not physical structures at all. Nevertheless, claims about them in quantum mechanics are often perfectly significant, and many are true. This pragmatist view does not seek to undercut the semantic or epistemic status of such claims, but to enrich our understanding of their non-representational function within the theory and to show how they acquire the content they have.

    There is a widespread view that the role of the wave-function (or more general mathematical object) is to represent a novel physical structure—the quantum state—whose existence is evidenced by the theory’s success. In this view, a wave-function represents a physical structure that either exists independently of the more familiar physical systems to which claims about positions, spin etc. pertain or else grounds their existence and properties. From this realist perspective, it may seem natural to label as instrumentalist any approach opposed to that account of the quantum state. But a pragmatist should concede the reality of the quantum state; its existence follows trivially from the truth of quantum claims ascribing quantum states to systems. What he should deny is that quantum state ascriptions are true independently of or prior to the true magnitude claims that (in his view) back them. A more radical pragmatist would reject the representationalist presupposition of this realist/instrumentalist dilemma: the assumption that mere representation is both a (key) function of a novel element of theoretical structure and figures centrally in an account of its content. The truth of a quantum state ascription trivially implies that a wave-function represents something, much as the truth of ‘1+ 1=2’ implies that ‘1’ represents the number one. By eschewing a ‘thicker’ notion of representation, this more radical pragmatist could seek to undermine the view that representation of a tolerably insubstantial sort could either be a non-perspectival function of an element of theoretical structure or usefully appealed to in an account of its content. I’m not presently convinced you have to be so radical to understand the significance of the quantum revolution!
     
    #90 sayak83, Jan 13, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2019
  11. atanu

    atanu Member
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    Sir. I see nothing new there. You agree that you have to resort to several assumptions and those same assumptions become conclusions. There is no answer to the OP's below argument:

    This is an example of the assumption becoming presumption and then a conclusion.

    With death of an individual, an instant of life-consciousness is terminated/transformed. When a bulb is fused, we do not say "light has died". We are likely to say so if we are unaware that electricity that lights up a light bulb is distinct from the bulb.

    Death of a particular instant of life-consciousness is not end of life-consciousness, which continues unabated. It is obvious. But it will not be obvious to those who have assumed 'materialism' to be true and then concluded that working of material brain generates consciousness. If the working of brain was the source-cause of consciousness, then what makes the brain work?
     
  12. blü 2

    blü 2 Well-Known Member
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    No, they remain assumptions, as long as no inconsistency follows.

    And so far, no inconsistency follows.

    Besides, by posting here, you show that they're your assumptions too. This suggests that, whatever is the difference between our views, it's not those assumptions.
    if ‘physical reality’ means reality according to some future and complete physics, then the claim that there is nothing else but physical reality is empty, because we have no idea what such a future physics will look like, especially in relation to consciousness.
    'Physical reality' means the world external to the self, the realm of the physical sciences, the set of all things with objective existence, nature ─ as we understand them now, not at any future time.

    Our understanding of reality, hence of truth, changes ─ for example, the statement 'At least one of the possible versions of the Higgs boson exists' is now true, whereas until 2013 it wasn't true. Going the other way, 'The lumeniferous ether exists' was true until Michelson-Morley (1887), and shortly after that it wasn't true.

    So 'physical reality' does NOT mean reality according to some future physics.

    And since no complete physics is anticipated under any model I'm aware of, it also does NOT mean reality according to some complete physics.
    Death is the irreversible failure of the interconnected biochemical systems of the body that make life possible. The pattern they support then collapses, the organs including the brain cease to function and that's that.
    When we're speaking formally, we say 'The bulb has failed'. (When we're speaking informally, we might say of a phone, 'the line is dead'.)
    Anything that is obvious will be obvious even to materialists. And the survival of consciousness after the biological functions which make consciousness possible have ceased to exist is an incoherent statement.
     
  13. atanu

    atanu Member
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    No. Your definition includes 'from time to time', which makes your definition empty.


    :D

    Well, that is precisely the problem. You decide that what is materially perceived by senses and interpreted by mind is all there that can ever be. Then you deduce absence of consciousness that sees/knows the mind and its movements. Consciousness is that which discerns the senses-mind and its modifications from moment to moment, including during absence of mental movements such as during sleep or in mediative stance.

    Bertarnd Russel, an staunch materialist, did point this problem.

    ...

    I have no issue with science and its method. But scientific materialism is unscientific.

    As I do not see any reason to further continue, I say Best and Regards. :)
     
  14. blü 2

    blü 2 Well-Known Member
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    No, my definition of truth does not and cannot require truth to be absolute. What is true changes from time to time.
    The imaginary can be imagined, of course, but I see no basis for confusing the real with the imaginary.
    I know of no science to suggest that consciousness is anything but a brain state derived from the physical qualities of the brain.

    Do you?
     
  15. atanu

    atanu Member
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    But sir. The assertion "I know" is the issue. Do you really know the "I"? Please honestly answer to yourself only.
     
  16. Looncall

    Looncall Well-Known Member

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    What makes the brain work? Fancy chemistry. No need for woo.
     
  17. blü 2

    blü 2 Well-Known Member
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    My sense of self appears to have much the same relationship to the rest of my brain functions as other folk's have to theirs.

    (And let me not forget to reciprocate your good wishes.)
     
  18. atanu

    atanu Member
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    Yeah. Fancy chemistry. I suppose that the mechanism of ‘fancy chemistry consciousness generation’ and the reason as to why the fancy chemistry ceases at all will be known at some future date? :)
     
  19. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member
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    Can you explain the double-slit experiment using realism? If so, please let me know how.
     
  20. blü 2

    blü 2 Well-Known Member
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    The realism lies in observing the double-slit experiment.

    The explanation will always be conceptual, and if it's our best opinion for the time being, it will also be a true statement about reality.
     
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