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Re: [existlist] Whether reasons have causes (was: The administrations war)

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  • Herman
    Hi Louise, ... I appreciate your efforts to clarify the discussion, Louise. In so doing you proceed along the lines of a physical / mental dualism. That s
    Message 1 of 55 , Aug 2, 2010
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      Hi Louise,

      On 2 August 2010 10:46, shadowed_statue <hecubatoher@...> wrote:
      > Polly,
      >
      > You wrote:
      >
      > "While the phenomenon of soul searching might be experienced as a narrative with all manner of reasons and reasonings following one after the other, a reason is not a cause of another reason. The causation of such reasoning occurs at a low neurochemical level, not at the high level of thought or spoken language."
      >
      > When I first read these words, I felt I was encountering something magical.  Now I begin to understand why.  The above is a statement of utter scepticism concerning the validity of reason as possessing its own structures, possibly on the grounds that in order for those structures to have their effect in the experience of a living organism, the physico-chemical reality of a brain with neurons firing must be there as substrate.  That reason has its own lawfulness is a matter of huge importance to our species.  If that assertion is to be challenged, the argument would be conducted on the territory where there is disagreement, not on the shared territory, concerning the physical nature of mental reality.  Because mental reality has another aspect which is not physical.  In that domain philosophy may claim to hold sway, in matters relating to truth.    Well, that is the best I can state my present understanding.
      >

      I appreciate your efforts to clarify the discussion, Louise. In so
      doing you proceed along the lines of a physical / mental dualism.
      That's fine, of course, but IMO that approach has beset thinking for
      time immemorial without actually giving more clarity. Perhaps it may
      have even clouded the thinking, to the point where we no longer
      realise that "mental" and "physical" are just categories of thinking.
      Because of those difficulties, I'd like to suggest a slight variant of
      that dualistic framework, and that would be to substitute experience
      for mental reality and explanarion for physical reality. In the
      context of a discussion, experience is pure description, and
      explanation is, well......, explanation of description. Perhaps an
      example will further clarify.

      Let's take a man seated at a bar. He's been there for under an hour
      and has just finished his fourth pint of lager. He's feeling very
      upbeat, oozing with confidence. He realises his inherent greatness is
      apparent to all, and knows that the young lady seated at the table
      wants him. To cement the certainty of the impending night of love, he
      masterfully dances his way to the microphone, and unleashes his vocal
      talents to the beat of the jukebox. After a stunning rendition of "You
      shook me all night long" he sees the table now empty, and understands
      the lady wants to share him with her friends, and has just gone to
      fetch them.

      ----

      In the above, the props of the situation are description, and the
      man's reasoning about the world to himself falls under the heading
      explanation. Central to his reasoning is his own greatness. He is the
      cause, the masterful cause, of all that is happening.

      Other explanations are possible. The alcohol is depressing parts of
      the frontal lobes that normally inhibit impulsive behaviour. The
      alcohol is also inhibiting motor control, and that is why the man
      nearly fell three times on the way to the microphone, and why the
      lyrics of the song were slurred. The alcohol would also contribute to
      erectile dysfunction.

      So, we have reasons as self-narrating explanation of the phenomenal
      world. And we have chemical causation. They both explain the world. It
      is clear that explanations can be wrong. And also that there are
      levels explanation, in that one level can explain another, but not
      vice versa.

      Do you think my proposed substitutions are worthwhile?

      Cheers

      Polly





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    • Mary
      Tom, Bohm actually agreed with Einstein that the Copenhagen Interpretation was incomplete. For a simple explanation, which also points to Bohm s relationships
      Message 55 of 55 , Aug 10, 2010
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        Tom, Bohm actually agreed with Einstein that the Copenhagen Interpretation was incomplete.
        For a simple explanation, which also points to Bohm's relationships with Einstein and Murray Gell-Mann, you might google and read: Dialectical Materialism and the Construction of a New Quantum theory: David Joseph Bohm by Christian Forstner. Bohn's pilot wave theory dismisses the wave function as a mathematical entity and restores an objective universe wherein incomplete knowledge of the observer doesn't affect the location or momentum of an electron. The article also touches on something you mention from time to time, causality vs. chance. Bohm says both exist as complementary opposites. Mary



        --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "tom" <tsmith17_midsouth1@...> wrote:

        What really matters for me is . the more active role of the observer in quantum physics . According to quantum physics the observer has indeed a new relation to
        the physical events around him in comparison with the classical observer, who is merely a spectator.
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