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Is absolute truth possible?
Posted: 22 March 2007 01:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Brennan, I couldnt help but address your most recent comments.

Feel free to respond or not respond - but that should go without saying.


[quote author=“mckenzievmd”]

In my view, this is indeed how it appears. I certainly don’t see any reason for believing in a soul, or an inherently existing self. In other words, I don’t see things as having any indiviudal essence. All things are like an eddy in a stream, coming into being and then forever vanishing.

The eddy doesnt inherently exist

This is a nice way of putting it. Reminds me, again, of the Buddhist notion that nothing inherently exists as an independant thing because everything is a concatenation of prior circumstances and in ongoing interaction with other things.

Of course, there is a less abstract level of daily life in which things function as independant and real (I wouldn’t advise contemplating a speeding truck as a mere eddy of effect when it’s heading for you!)

I think we should avoid or meet physical death because it’s deemed most logical by us, not because of fear.  I think fear of death can be overcome to a significant degree and should be worked on.  I liked ernest becker’s book, the denial of death, and I think his message is a very good one.  Kierkegaard and Buddha offer a great deal of help in this regard.  Despite the superficial appearance that they are fearless, Suicide bombers are essentially motivated by a terror of death.

So again I’m not sure how useful this level of abstraction is, but it makes a certain sense.

It’s useful insofar as by thinking about it enough, you give the emotions no susteance.  Causality, if you think about it in the right way is corrossive to religious and romantic thoughts.  In my view, emotions have largely outlived their usefulness.  It’s time we work to overcome the human condition. 

[quote author=“Brennan”]
[quote author=“Cory”]Speed is a sensation percieved by vision.

I still disagree with this. Humans, at least, are terrible at perceiving movement, only good at perceiving changes in movement.

I don’t think you are really seeing my point.  A change in movement is detected via the senses, and this change can’t be detected without a contrast between the thing moving and the thing that is not (or the thing that is not moving as fast).

Vision has a strong role in perception of movement, but it is the apparatus of the inner ear that does most of the work here.

Fine, but the work depends on the contrast that I am emphasizing.

Still, in the absence of changes in velocity or direction, you could sit in a vehicle going 10mph or 10000mph and not know the difference.

Well yes, but that’s because you are depriving the senses!  We would certainly know a difference and have a sense of an object having speed if we could see out the window.

Even visually, perception of velocity varies with distance from the thing seen and is not especially accurate.

Ah, but this isn’t about accuracy.  That’s beside the point. 

And I didnt say that you couldn’t create conditions that confuse the senses, rendering them incapable of sensing what is moving faster and what slower (or not at all).

The absolute truth is that: if the senses can detect speed, it is only because a thing is observed relative to something else.  There are a great deal of everyday conditions where the senses detect speed - - and yes, there are conditions where we can confuse or deprive the senses rendering them incapable of detecting change or a senses of speed.

In those cases we would then depend on technology to tell us about speed - and we wouldnt be able to measure speed without this absolute truth:

“the speed of something must always be measured relative to something else”

That is an absolute truth.

So while the others are senses (vision, hearing), I still don’t think there really is a sense of speed.

Sure there is, under normal conditions we certainly have a sensation of things moving faster than others.  This really is quite apparent.

Anyhow, how about I present a new absolute truth, one that is more pure than the speed example:


Change is detected only if one thing is acknowledged as having relation to another thing.


[quote author=“Brennan”]
[quote author=“Cory”]You are seperating the self from the self’s internal processes. Implying an awareness of these seperate processes. So there is a division between the awareness and the object of awareness. So we can see cause and effect here. There can be no self without an object of consciousness.

Well, if the object of awareness is self, it isn’t other.

But consciousness can only be aware of itself through thought.  If you remove thought, then you remove the ability of self consciousness.  And thought is a record of what has happened.  And so self consciousness is impossible without the duality of what is and what was.  Our identity is what has happened to us, our impression of what was said to us, or what we said, or what we look like in the mirror.  When we are aware of the self, we are merely focused on memory.  Otherwise we just go blank - and that can’t really be called self awareness.  It’s just nothing. 

Yet as I pointed out in my post above, and you seem to agree, there is no actual self or seat of consciousness, only the false perception of it.

What do you think ‘it’ is?  ‘It’ is just an agglomeration of memory.

So this still doesn’t convince me that consciousness fundamentally requires an other.

If you think about the vital role that thought plays in consciousness, and if you realize that thought can only exist when there is a past and present, then you will see that a duality is required between the inner and the outer (the inner and outer is ultimately an illusion). 

[quote author=“brennan”]
[quote author=“cory”]]If you were born into a condition where your vision was limited to only yellow, then there would be no way you’d be able to see unless you could detect yellow at different shades.

If I was born only able to see yellow, I would only see that which was yellow and all else would be invisible. It’s like certain simple predators, such as some frogs I believe, who see motion acutely and have very limited other visual ability so they literally do not see that which isn’t moving.

But their vision of movement depends on their ability to detect non-movement.  And second, color would be meaningless - it couldnt be said to really exist in consciousness.  A color can only have meaning in relationship to another.  In the case of a frog, they sense light, and that is only because they sense the absence of light.  Sensation requires duality, otherwise, nothing can be detected.

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Posted: 22 March 2007 03:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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one more thing about color

Actually, and I forgot to mention something else about color.  What color you see depends partly on the wave length of light that strikes the receptors (rods and cones) in the eye.  It’s quite apparent that the aprox. 600nm wavelength of yellow does not exist independently, but is undivided from the rest of the spectrum.  The color yellow is largely a wave length that is part of a greater spectrum that includes all colors.  When 600nm of light hits the eye, the wavelength is inextricably a part of a greater whole ranging from ultra violet to infrared.  A Wave length, like any ‘thing’, cannot exist independently.  But again, if yellow is the only wave length that the eye can detect, then the concept of color is impossible for that entity to grasp (unless prior he could see in color, and had a subsequent impairment)

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Posted: 22 March 2007 04:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Re: one more thing about color

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Posted: 23 March 2007 01:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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[quote author=“CoryDuchesne”][quote author=“Occam”]To get back to the initial question of this thread, the simple answer is—NO.  The universe can be said to encompass reality.  There’s no way we can know all of that, but rather only tiny bits of reality. 

Without knowing it, you are confidently promoting what you believe is an absolute truth.

Thus, we all see small facets of truth (if we’re lucky and very careful).  And the different facets can appear to disagree.

There’s another one.

Even a being that could know and comprehend all of reality couldn’t have absolute truth because it would still be constrained by what we know of quantum mechanics, that is that various properties of most of the basic particles of the universe cannot be defined.

You are full of absolute truths!

No. As I said in the beginning, we can only apprehend a tiny bit of reality so we each have our own facet of truth.  So, my statements only apply to my particular facet, not to entire or absolute truth :D

Occam

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Posted: 23 March 2007 02:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Ok ladies and gentlemen thought experiment time:

Cory is out in the vastness of space, in a spacesuit with a flashing blue light on his helmet.  No visable stars and as far as Cory is concerned he is stationary, at rest.  He’s conducting experiments in the speed of light. 

All of a sudden in the distance Cory sees a flashing red light slowly approaching it’s Alice in a simular suit but with a red flashing light.  And she slowly difts by and they both wave at each other.

Now go back in time before Cory sees Alice, Alice is in the deep of space no visable references and stationary and at rest, conducting experiments in the speed of light.

Who is at rest and who is moving, Cory or Alice?  Or are they both correct in their assumtions of stationary/at rest?

What is the absolute truth in this scenario?  Is there an absolute truth?

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Posted: 23 March 2007 03:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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[quote author=“Occam”][quote author=“CoryDuchesne”]

You are full of absolute truths!

No. As I said in the beginning, we can only apprehend a tiny bit of reality so we each have our own facet of truth.  So, my statements only apply to my particular facet, not to entire or absolute truth :D

You are basically saying truth is relative/subjective.  Which is an objective, absolute truth.

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Posted: 23 March 2007 04:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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[quote author=“Carbon based”]Ok ladies and gentlemen thought experiment time:

Cory is out in the vastness of space, in a spacesuit with a flashing blue light on his helmet.  No visable stars and as far as Cory is concerned he is stationary, at rest.  He’s conducting experiments in the speed of light. 

All of a sudden in the distance Cory sees a flashing red light slowly approaching it’s Alice in a simular suit but with a red flashing light.  And she slowly difts by and they both wave at each other.

Now go back in time before Cory sees Alice, Alice is in the deep of space no visable references and stationary and at rest, conducting experiments in the speed of light.

Who is at rest and who is moving, Cory or Alice?  Or are they both correct in their assumtions of stationary/at rest?

What is the absolute truth in this scenario?  Is there an absolute truth?

Your hypothetical illustrates one major absolute truth - that the only reason motion can be detected at all is because one thing is in contrast to another.  Another absolute truth is that if Alice was absent from the hypothetical, then detecting motion for me, would be impossible.

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Posted: 23 March 2007 04:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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[quote author=“dougsmith”][quote author=“CoryDuchesne”]I’m reffering to the conscious sensation of speed.  It is indeed an absolute truth that consciousness cannot sense speed unless the motion of a thing is percieved in relation to another thing.

We have all experienced the phenomenon of the illusion of motion: after watching out the window of a moving car for a long time, our eyes’ motion sensors get fatigued. Then when the car comes to a stop, we have the illusion of motion in the contrary direction, even though nothing is moving in relation to anything else.

That would seem to be a counterexample.

 

No, I’m afraid it would not.  The fact is that motion, speed is detected, by the senses and that is only because one thing is observed in relation to another.  I never said you couldnt create unique conditions that might confuse the senses to the degree where they wouldnt know which object was moving in which was stationary.  But the fact is that, regardless of whether or not consciousness knows which object is moving, speed/motion is detected with the senses and that is only because there are 2 things in relation to each other.

[quote author=“Doug”]
[quote author=“CoryDuchesne”]For instance, the speed of a thing, as it is percieved by consciousness, is in part caused by it’s relationship to all other things in the field of vision.  The sensation that things are stationary is likewise caused by the sensation of things in motion.

If you are talking about some sort of Humean “cause and effect”, there the cause always precedes the effect.

Well, that’s Humean.  I’ve distilled causality to it’s very essence.  Humean causality however true, is superflously impure.  In my view, there really is no difference between an effect and a cause.  Meaning, an effect is always a cause, and a cause is always an effect.  That’s another absolute truth.

But on your sort of picture of motion, the velocity of an object is temporally identical with the stationary nature of the background.

All I’m saying is that the senses cannot sense an object moving unless that object contrasts with another object.  It’s an absolute.  The hypothetical that Carbon base provided above illustrates this very well.

Furthermore, when we boil causality down to it’s essence, we see how the sensation of motion is caused by the stationary object in relation to the object moving.

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Posted: 23 March 2007 07:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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[quote author=“CoryDuchesne”][quote author=“Occam”][quote author=“CoryDuchesne”]

You are full of absolute truths!

No. As I said in the beginning, we can only apprehend a tiny bit of reality so we each have our own facet of truth.  So, my statements only apply to my particular facet, not to entire or absolute truth :D

You are basically saying truth is relative/subjective.  Which is an objective, absolute truth.

No, Cory, you completely misunderstood what I was saying.  And it appears you are doing so on purpose so this will end my participation in the discussion.

Occam

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Posted: 24 March 2007 05:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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[quote author=“dougsmith”] We have all experienced the phenomenon of the illusion of motion: after watching out the window of a moving car for a long time, our eyes’ motion sensors get fatigued. Then when the car comes to a stop, we have the illusion of motion in the contrary direction, even though nothing is moving in relation to anything else.

That would seem to be a counterexample.

Another counter example is spend the day in a boat.  When you lie down at night in bed you will still “feel” the motion of the boat, without actually moving.

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Posted: 29 March 2007 05:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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Is deduction absolutely true?

The earth is spherical and round. That, anyway, has been deduced. Inferential reasoning may be a bit more arguable.

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Posted: 30 March 2007 06:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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[quote author=“skepticdave”]Is deduction absolutely true?

The earth is spherical and round. That, anyway, has been deduced.

To you, the earth appears approximately spherical, round.  It also appears to you that other people think this as well.  These are absolute truths.  How things appear to you, are how they appear to you.

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Posted: 30 March 2007 06:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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[quote author=“CoryDuchesne”][quote author=“skepticdave”]Is deduction absolutely true?

The earth is spherical and round. That, anyway, has been deduced.

To you, the earth appears approximately spherical, round.  It also appears to you that other people think this as well.  These are absolute truths.  How things appear to you, are how they appear.

To certain tribes around the globe, the world may appear flat, yet that does not equate the world as being flat. Intuitiveness is nothing special, it’s just based on experience.

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Posted: 31 March 2007 02:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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[quote author=“Carbon based”][quote author=“dougsmith”] We have all experienced the phenomenon of the illusion of motion: after watching out the window of a moving car for a long time, our eyes’ motion sensors get fatigued. Then when the car comes to a stop, we have the illusion of motion in the contrary direction, even though nothing is moving in relation to anything else.

That would seem to be a counterexample.

Another counter example is spend the day in a boat.  When you lie down at night in bed you will still “feel” the motion of the boat, without actually moving.

But that only goes to prove my assertion that all effects must have a cause.  You lie down and feel the motion of the boat you were in all day.  That effect you feel lying in bed, is caused by what you were doing during the day. 

Not only that, but the sensation of motion depends on your ability to sense contrasting motion, or no motion at all. 

Really, from the very begining of this thread, I was only trying to show that there cannot be a cause without an effect, and that consciousness cannot recognize a sensation unless it knows a contrasting sensation.

None of the absolute truths that I’ve been presenting have been given effective counter-arguments.  The effort was good, there has been some good imagination and some very scientific examples, but my truths still stand strong.

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Posted: 31 March 2007 04:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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What I see as an absolute truth is a truth without regard to how the mind precieves it.
With regards to motion, whither you precieve motion or not you are infact all ways in motion.  The very atoms of your body are in constant motion, You are on a planet that spins on it’s axis, and which revolves around the sun, which inturn orbits the galaxy etc.  Regardless if you can sense it or not.

Would this not be an absoulte truth?

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