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Re: The Natural and the Supernatural

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  • Jim
    Hi Herman, Let me start my response by considering what you write at the end of your post: The science and realism of which you speak is idealist. You, and
    Message 1 of 38 , Jun 5, 2011
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      Hi Herman,

      Let me start my response by considering what you write at the end of your post:

      "The science and realism of which you speak is idealist. You, and them, preconceive of the world being a certain, definite way, independent of observation. In my book, that's called magical thinking."

      So what you call "magical thinking" is my belief that Tiger continues to exist, going in and out of the cat flap, chasing birds, climbing over fences, sleeping on my bed, etc. whilst I am away at work. Or my belief that you get up go to work, read Existlist posts, have meals etc., even though my only "observation" of you is marks on my computer screens.

      I call this "rational thinking", and I think anybody who doesn't think physical objects, including furry animals and human beings, continue to exist when not observed, is lacking an appropriate sense of his place within the overall scheme of things.

      Now if the world of medium-sized physical objects such as cats and human beings obeyed the laws of quantum mechanics, I may agree with you. But quantum mechanics deals with the very, very small – electrons and the like. We – me, you and Tiger – don't behave like electrons. Electrons, supposed, behave both as particles and as waves, and their behaviour is affected by an observer. We, on the other hand, behave just as particles. An observer doesn't make me disappear – unless of course I owe him money. You can measure both my position and velocity at the same time – unlike the sub-atomic particles which are the domain for quantum mechanics.

      Admittedly by extrapolating from the unobserved to the unobserved, I can occasionally make mistakes. It is possible you are not a real human being but a computer program written by some mad Buddhist scientists to fool non-Buddhists like me.

      However, the whole of biology – and remember Aristotle was a keen biologist – is based on the assumption that animals and plants are self-regulating organisms. For example, cut my leg, and the rest of my body takes action to heal the damaged area. Self-regulating organisms have a continued existence over time, and their identity is not affected by observers – unless the observers deliberately poke, prod or physically interfere with the thing observed.

      Small furry animals are the paradigm example of things-in-themselves – things which can continue to exist when unobserved. Perhaps Aristotle developed his theory of substance and accident by observing his own furry animal pet.

      Jim
    • Mary
      Jim, As I wade through Zizek s How To Read Lacan, I also find this piece helpful. I realize it s a backward process to read Hegel, Lacan, and Marx through
      Message 38 of 38 , Jun 8, 2011
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        Jim,

        As I wade through Zizek's How To Read Lacan, I also find this piece helpful. I realize it's a backward process to read Hegel, Lacan, and Marx through Zizek, but it's where I am. Here's another link for you.

        http://www.lacan.com/zizekchro1.htm

        I'm discovering a rich philosophical history behind socialism and delighted to regard Zizek as 'continuing' the work of Sartre.

        Mary

        --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Jim" <jjimstuart1@...> wrote:
        >
        > Mary,
        >
        > Thanks for that. Reading a couple of paragraphs of Zizek makes me want to read more. In particular I would need to read more about the "original monstrous cut / excess" before I felt ready to comment on Zizek's thought in this area.
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