What Sorts of Things Exist, and How? - dialogue with Paul Mealing

Since I’m always interested in trying to stir up some discussion, I thought I’d share this and see if anyone wanted to weight in, either here, or at Paul Mealing’s website.

The terms, ‘things’ and ‘exist’, seem self-evident yet they’re not. And the word, ‘how’, whilst the apparent key to understanding this, is probably the most enigmatic part of it. What does one mean by ‘things’? As well as a physical object, examples of which surround you everywhere you go, a thing can be an idea, a concept, a mathematical equation or a tune in your head. So I’d divide ‘things’ into two categories: those that are constructs of the mind and those that are independent of any mind. Not surprisingly, some have an existence that seems to bridge these two worlds, the physical and the mental. …

Paul P. Mealing said…

Objective is the opposite to subjective almost by definition, but people confuse them. For example, colour is seen as objective when, in fact, it’s totally subjective. Consciousness is a totally subjective experience, but without it, we wouldn’t know anything objective exists.

Then there are the natural laws of the Universe. Are they subjective or objective? Are they discovered or dreamt up? Is mathematics invented or discovered? I think mathematical truths are objective, but many would argue otherwise.

01 December, 2021 22:46

Paul writes: “Objective is the opposite to subjective almost by definition”

I’m not questioning that. My point: both are players within our human Mindscape, an interjected filter between us and physical reality, one worth recognizing in a way humans like to avoid.

Physical Reality doesn’t depend on how objective or subjective we humans think our assessment is. We don’t have some ‘right’ to understand everything. (In particular, now I’m thinking of what seems to me a contrived Hard Problem of consciousness.)

I’m not knocking “objectivity” -

Defining “objectivity” and then developing rules for a limitless community of educated scientists to work together and develop observing tools, gather data, process that information into an objective reliable assessment, it’s been humanity’s greatest achievement, no doubt.

But, too often humans cross the line and act as though nature needs to prove itself to us. (Not you (Paul), I’m referring to others.)

Paul writes: “Consciousness is a totally subjective experience”

Please consider what those words are telling us, do you think it holds in light of living our lives?

Isn’t the reality of a creature’s conscious state of mind during the course of its day to day, (be it worm or human) intimately dependent on the range of certain material stuff its body needs to function through the day?

How about a “dynamic interchange” - complex systems and feedback loops and who knows what all.

That’s why I’m thinking a little mediating on our human condition and the

“Physical Reality ~ Human Mindscape divide”

would be beneficial for every serious thinker.

Take a moment and remove our human intellect from the picture, think of evolution, before and after Homo.

It doesn’t matter if we close our eyes, this earth will still unfold as a living organism adapting to conditions as they arise regardless.

[quote=“citizenschallengev4, post:1, topic:8658”]

Paul writes: “Objective is the opposite to subjective almost by definition”

Yes, the objective universal geometry can exist without an observer, but no observer can exist without the universal geometry.

Paul writes: “Consciousness is a totally subjective experience”

We touched on that before. The brain completely relies on secondary data streaming from the senses and can only make an educated best guess of the external environment and the patterns that are present in various forms and densities.

This is why “witnesses” often have very different cognitive recollections of the same event.

As to color being a subjective experience, this may illustrate the different world color impaired sighted persons experience and the amazement when they subjectively experience a color corrected world.

When they put on the corrective glasses they enter a new world that they have never known before. Most are overwhelmed by the experience.

But it does illustrate our subjective experience of the colors that surround us.

or hearing a voice coming out of the silence.