To: nominalism@todiscuss.com
Subject: Re: suggestion from a subscriber
From: David McDivitt <david@nonspiritual.com>
Date: Sun, 02 Nov 2003 18:53:13 -0600

On the one hand I agree with you. On the other hand, not. Let me lay out my train of thought to see if it makes sense.

Let's assume everything is physical, or that an absolute physical model is true. True, would mean it is at all times sufficiently descriptive and without contradiction. It need not explain everything on the outset, but is at least adaptable, providing a means to build premises on premises. The model breaks down when it comes to social interaction in my opinion. Person A might say one thing. Person B might say something else. According to classic physicalism, person A is right, person B is right, both are partly right, or neither are right. Truth is said to exist anyway, regardless what anyone says, in an independent and standalone fashion. Whether or not either person properly describes the truth does not diminish truth still exists anyway, right? My question is: What good is such truth if no one can say what it is for a certainty? Do we happen along through life, trying this and that, then suddenly because what we do aligns with the hidden or previously undiscovered laws of nature, what we do works, as if satisfying god's secret plan or some mystical quality? I reject that. It is fodder for those who wish to impose their will on others, both morally and intellectually. Two things are problematic for physicalism: subjectivity and certainty.

When hearing a knowledgeable person speak, to what extent do we question the methodology used whereby that knowledge was come by? Social protocol establishes this. Can an experiment be reproduced? Is it well documented? Is it politically correct? These are social functions. That it may be called science does not diminish that it is a social endeavor. Why even start? Why have the desire to do anything? Truth comes by way of personal motivation to manufacture it, and expressly not because however many truths are laying around ready for someone to trip over and find.

With quantum physics comes the realization there is no certainty in anything. Truth is the probability what one says is correct, with correctness proven out by the usefulness of an idea. Certainty might be considered 100% probability. I think we have "effective" certainty regarding many things, but absolute certainty, no. The appearance of quantum physics, that truth is probabilistic, changed the state of the universe because it changed our perception of our own knowledge. Did the universe suddenly reconfigure itself? No. But the fact we interpret the universe differently means the same thing from a logical perspective. Today, the entire universe can be reconfigured in a moment, based solely on one new idea. Is this mind over matter? On the one hand no, but on the other hand yes. If equations are written out on paper, and they come to a logical conclusion, what does that have to do with the universe? They are just scribblings on paper. The point here is not discovery of whatever realistic functionality, but whether there are survivable logical premises. There is a difference between statements based on realistic assertions, and statements based on logical assertions. They are not the same thing. Logic supersedes reality. Logic constructs reality.

So who are we, where do we live, and where do we exist? I don't think it matters. Such can only be individual subjective statements. I don't have to know who I am and why I am here. For who or what purpose? All I know is I have the ability to think and perceive. Is some higher being feeding me or us information as if to steer in a preconceived deterministic path? Hogwash. I think there is difficulty accepting our own mortality, and thoughts of a higher power provide cheap intellectual satisfaction. Realism is a continuance of the same spiritual/metaphysical theme. It may sound good and provide intellectual avoidance for the finality of death, but it has a cost. Who we are, where we live, and where we exist is what we make, and it is done intellectually. Believe it or not, pain has a strong intellectual component. If someone wants to take my words and ask whether we really die, and how I know we do, I challenge that one to make logical assertions to the contrary. I do not wish to debate what is real. I want to see intellectualism I can use.

Coming full circle, if physicalism has a limited view, and if physicalism is merely an idea "of the physical", why must other ideas not tied to physicalism be diminished? Do not all ideas carry the same weight? We have morality. We have visions of collaborative global consciousness. How is what we think things "should" be different from how things are? I do not see any difference.

The "spiritual" nature of man is often asserted and contrasts with materialism. In my opinion the spiritual nature of man can easily be restated as the intellectual nature of man. By using this substitution of terms, many mysteries and incongruencies between today and past civilizations can be resolved. But it is not some form of physicalism, however dynamic.

>From: mc <mlc1@grics.net>
>Date: Sun, 02 Nov 2003 16:32:24 -0600


>Realism is opposed to idealism. You can deny this, of course... but its entire
>definition is founded in this premise. To say that realism is idealism would be
>determinism at its finest... however, to remove it as a thoughtform can only be
>done in the wishes, dreams, desires and need of the individual. Insane people do
>these sorts of things all the time... that's why they get put in asylums to keep
>them from hurting themselves in the exercise of their free will.


>>Complexity and being abstract is an illusion. Much would be wholly dependent on
>>ones own intelligence. I would challenge that there is nothing that can be shown
>>to exist that is not physical.
>>Intellect describes the ability to learn and reason... its use is as the capacity
>>for knowledge and understanding. It is physical in nature, it functions in the
>>physical realm and is describable in physical terms because it is dependent on
>>chemical electricity, cellular memory and sensory input.

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