I should go to bed, but want to pull this thread back onto its track.
February 2, 2021
Jan Koenderink, "Esse est percipi - verum factum est" - Considering Hoffman's case.
Defending Physical Reality, because apparently somebody needs to.
Philosophy has and will continue to resemble a dog chasing its tail,
in contrast to science’s hound sniffing out its quarry.
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Considering, "Esse est percipi & verum factum est"
(It is perceived to be & It is true)
Jan Koenderink, Psychonomic Bulletin & Review
volume 22, pages 1530–1534(2015). September 18, 2015
(original 2800 words)
I’ve read a little bit about Jan Koenderink, no doubt he’s a brilliant man with many impressive accomplishments. I can’t hold a candle to this master of academia. Nor is my intention to dismiss him. But, fact remains this particular paper says much worth disputing. For me, it’s another example of what I refer to as getting lost within one’s own Mindscape and losing sight of physical reality.
The following is intended for students who think something is being missed by the masters. Students curious and motivated to do their own homework, to figure it out for themselves.
I go into the historical roots of the fundamental issues relating to the “interface theory of perception,” concentrating on the sciences rather than on philosophy. …
I am mainly in sympathy with the concepts discussed in the target article. I have often used the “interface paradigm” myself (Koenderink, 2011, 2013) in vain attempts to kick people out of their mainstream slumber. The rare reactions, however, have been negative (e.g., Tyler, 2014). I foresee some frictions in getting the ideas of the authors accepted!
Yet the basic notions are hardly revolutionary. They occur in philosophy—that is, proto-science—from the earliest days, …
I find it interesting how Koenderink injects “Proto-science.”
Yes, philosophy gave birth to science. But make no mistake, modern philosophy remains philosophy as much as it ever was.
In philosophy, the coin of realm is rhetorical abilities.
In science, the coin of the realm is honest observations and constructive learning.
Philosophy has no standards of objectivity beyond the writer’s imagination and the ability to argue effectively.
The English word “reality” might be translated into German as either Realität or Wirklichkeit. This German distinction reveals a basic dichotomy. One reality is your awareness here and now, whereas the other reality is sometimes referred to as the physical world. …
This is where I believe it’s appropriate to step outside our imagined ‘god’s eye view’ and recognize our physical reality from the perspective of the creature within us.
The simple fact of us existing requires that we are a product of an unfathomably ancient evolutionary process. Nothing else makes rational or emotional sense.
That being the case, there is a physical reality that is ultimate, that simply is, and in some fundamental ways it has nothing to do humans, we just happen to be an incredibly lucky fluke. Billions of years worth of incredibly advantageous breaks. Very much like all the other creatures we share Earth with today, but we’re the epitome of complexity.
It feels to me like Koenderink and Hoffman and the like have lost sight of that fundament reality we were born into. I suspect because they are blinded by the brilliance of their own minds.
Koenderink. Awareness is not to be confused with consciousness, a notion of self, or reflective thought. It simply is. It is the ultimate subjective fact. Because it is not an objective—that is, public—fact, it is outside the reach of science.
How about the ultimate objective fact?
If awareness is outside of science, it’s because its a product of our Mindscape. Science is constrained, by physical reality, to studying physical reality. (Actually, human scientific ingenuity is figuring out strategies for eavesdropping on the mind - but I don’t think that detracts from the fundamental meta-physical nature of thoughts and awareness.)
Consider it in simpler straightforward terms. We are embedded within this physical reality - that simply is - and our bodies must react to the constraints of physics and the “laws” of nature to survive.
Our human minds are on an altogether different footing. The Mind is thoughts, unrestrained by the limitations of nature and the physical reality of this Earth.
Why not face, and then boldly acknowledge, and be humbled by the Physical Reality ~ Mindscape divide?
Koenderink. The mainstream is fully, albeit silently, committed to a belief—indeed, I can only call it a belief—in the “all seeing eye” (Koenderink, 2014). For instance, one aspect of the notion of “interface” involves its nonveridicality. Notice the touchstone that is applied.
It took physics a century to realize Kant’s (1787) “Copernican revolution” (mentioned in the preface to the 2nd edition of his Kritik der reinen Vernunft). A convenient date for this advance is 1894, with Heinrich Hertz’s (1894) ideas in Die Prinzipien der Mechanik in neuem Zusammenhange. Max Planck (1944) finished it off—for instance, when he held that the causality principle is neither true nor false, but an act of faith, or that mind is the matrix of all matter.
“Physical objects” have become recognized as symbolic forms, and physical reality as constructed from these.
Nobody “understands” physics, perhaps least of all physicists.
This is gratuitous and irritating hyperbole in the age of space travel and CERN, super computers, and the medical wonders we witness these days!
What level of absolute understanding is the author expecting? What will satisfy this philosophizing? Is it ever spelled out?
Impossible expectations not being realized, isn’t nature’s fault!
It simply exposes the folly of human gluttony. Too much is never enough, be it material or mental.
Koenderink. Physical reality has become our model, an interface. …
Here’s another example, this makes it sound as though it’s the defining that creates our reality. That’s what I mean by getting lost within our Mindscape.
If we can’t quite figure out everything, that’s no reason to question the fundamental soundness of the underlying physical reality itself.
Why second-guess the physical reality that made us? Wouldn’t it make more sense to start by questioning our own judgement calls?
After all, the quality of our questions dictates the quality of our answers.