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March 20, 2013

Comments

I'm slightly underwhelmed by the reasoning offered in the article. I feel it lacks substance. Basically the whole reasoning seems to be:

1. Everything is material
2. That would be boring
3. So, not everything is material

and

1. Everything is material
2. I don't feel like this is true.
3. So, not everything is material.

What exactly is this non-material stuff that makes for a better explanation of world, morality and consciousness? What exactly is non-matter anyway? How do you make the distinction which natural phenomena are material and which are non-material? Exactly why does materialism go against common sense and why should we even care? It makes perfect sense to me that things that exist have to be defined as "material."

The reasoning that we are "too smart" to be products of evolution seems to lack grounding too. By all accounts, life on the savanna was probably harder then our modern life. Why would our predecessors be dumber in any meaningful way, or lack the capability of "modern" reasoning? Sure, they lacked universities and writing, so obviously they worked with more limited information, but education != intelligence.

Erkki-

What is this mind-independent material stuff you speak of?

How do you make the distinction between natural phenomena that are mind-dependent from those that are not?

What exactly do you mean when you say X explains Y? Does it mean something other than "once I used stuff I believe about X to predict something about Y"?

It makes perfect sense to me to say that to exist is to be perceived by a mind or to be a perceiving mind.

“….materialists who believe that most of what we experience in life is an illusion. Colors, sounds, our sense of self, free will, morals—all illusions. We’re just ‘molecules in motion,’ ‘nothing but a pack of neurons.’

Why aren't molecules and neurons also believed to be “illusions”? Can a materialist really define the difference between, say, sounds, and the neurons that transmit those chemical signals?

Why does the materialist get to trust his sight but not his sense of morality?

    What is this mind-independent material stuff you speak of?

I don't really understand the question. Are you saying that matter does not exist without a mind? Why would this be?


    How do you make the distinction between natural phenomena that are mind-dependent from those that are not?

Again I need some clarification what exactly do you mean by "mind-dependent". From a strictly physical perspective, my understanding is that no system can be completely independent. There are no specific atoms that are "you" and the rest that is not. The distinction between "mind" and the "world" is bogus.


    What exactly do you mean when you say X explains Y? Does it mean something other than "once I used stuff I believe about X to predict something about Y"?

What I mean is, what exactly does this "spooky" non-material explanation actually explain?

"We don't know how conciousness can emerge from matter."

"That's because the mind is non-material."

"Okay, and this non-material mind is... where and what?"


    It makes perfect sense to me to say that to exist is to be perceived by a mind or to be a perceiving mind.

No question about that, but where does the "spooky" stuff come in?

I think Jason Rosenhouse makes some good points about Andrew Ferguson's article.
http://scienceblogs.com/evolutionblog/2013/03/19/thomas-nagel-needs-better-defenders/

I’d also add that the scientific method leading to any scientific interpretation or consensus suffers a specific problem related to beliefs about outcomes. In other words, how can you measure scientific consensus? In the end, you have to trust the immaterial beliefs of human beings.

"Are you saying that matter does not exist without a mind?"

While I may indeed believe this, I was not asking about that. I was simply asking you to tell me what exactly you take mind-independent matter to be.

    While I may indeed believe this, I was not asking about that. I was simply asking you to tell me what exactly you take mind-independent matter to be.

That's kind of a tall order, since modern physics is mostly about finding out exactly this. It's kind of impossible to say exactly how small components reality can be broken down.

Erkki,

What I think WL is asking is this: Putting aside what the physicists say, how do you personally understand matter? Don't you just understand it in terms of your sense data? For example, we might want to say that the coffee cup in front of me is that which, if I see it, produces certain visual data, and if I touch it, produces certain tactile data, etc. But is there really anything more to the cup than all that sense data? And if so, what is it?

Thanks Ben, that more or less gets at what I was wondering, though I would not have emphasized Erkki's personal opinion. Erkki obviously thinks that the idea of matter is of great explanatory power when compared to mind. I was just curious what this idea is.

I'm also still wondering what he means when he says "X explains Y"

I mean something like this: X is something I already understand and I can understand Y in terms of X.

Given that, it seems to me that matter can never explain mind, and in fact it always goes the other way.

Materialism Can't Explain Our World

Argument from ignorance.

Actually, the critic says materialism fails to explain and then immediately points at the material explanation (nerve cells, hormones, etc.) and says they don't like it.

The explanation doesn't sound like our experience.

Why should it?

The explanation doesn't sound like our experience.

Why should it?

Perhaps you would like to tell us what you mean by "X explains Y" Ron?

X is a model (which is the same thing as a theory).
Y is some data.
When you run the model it matches up with the data.

The issue here is with the matching up.

Koukl, for example, will say that if he opens your skull he will not see your thoughts.

I don't know why he expects that or if he really does expect it, but he claims to.

So, he claims there is a mismatch between any materialist model of the mind and the data of introspection.

I think his expectations are wrong.

How about you?

Ron-

So, in other words, according to you, the fact that X predicts Y is explanation?

Suppose you are an incredibly rich CEO who decides to start skating at his job. You expect that things will go along well enough for the remainder of your life that you can expect to be comfortably wealthy. So you decide to commit all your decisions from then on to the Magic 8-Ball. It turns out that the competitors in your business sector follow your lead (actually, they have been for years).

Now some business analyst starts observing the decisions made in your business sector and finds that he can predict it via a model that resembles the motion of a tetrahedron floating in a viscous fluid. He runs his model and, lo, his predictions work out. He believes he has come up with an explanation of economic behavior in your sector...it's kind of like the motion of a tetrahedron floating in a viscous fluid.

Has he actually explained economic behavior in your sector?

Sheesh, The Magic 8-Ball contains an icosahedron floating in oil or alcohol or something like that. It has 20 sides. Thus its ability to give 20 different answers. It does not contain a tetrahedron (4-sides). At least both have regular triangle faces.

Yup. He has. You understand.

I guess you don't like that.


The analyst has explained economic behavior whether my competitors are using the 8-ball or not.

Electrons (the theoretical ones) do their explanatory job regardless of whether there are really things like electrons in the world.

RonH,

Why would you say that he has explained economic behavior in that sector? Hasn't he just created a model that reproduces the stimuli the CEOs in that sector use to make certain decisions?

What's to be said about the CEOs real behavior, the decision to use the magic 8 ball in the first place? The CEO makes that decision each time he uses the 8 ball, but the analyst can't explain it. To truly explain economic behavior, his model would have to explain the CEO's sense of financial stability and his related desire to use a magic 8 ball. Further, how does the model explain the behavior of the competitors to follow his lead?


KWM

From your response I get the impression that anything that spawns more questions than it answers is not running in parallel with reality. It's kind of like the answer given is deflected from a parallel course to reality because there is a flaw in it. By noticing its trajectory, one can infer that there is something wrong with the model that produced that answer. This is all about reality vectors.

A perfect model comes up with one answer that hits all the way-points paralleling observed reality. Looking at it from different angles, you can see the relationships line up in a straight line.

Actually this kind of explains why there has to be constant course adjustments being made in scientific materialism. It keeps going off course because of the missing God factor. However, course corrections can improve its vector to match reality or make it worse. It's a hit and miss proposition without the right constant.

"The analyst has explained economic behavior whether my competitors are using the 8-ball or not."

When I said that your competitors follow your lead, I actually meant that they ape your decisions, not that they also use the 8-ball. I don't think it much matters either way for my example. I think it does matter that they do more-or-less what you do in order for the analyst's model to successfully predict the behavior of your business sector.

OK Ron, that helps.

When people say that they don't think that materialism explains intentionality, sensation, morality and so on, they are not saying that you can't use materialism to predict some stuff about those things. At least, that's not what I'm saying.

What I mean is that I can't even get started in understanding any of those things in terms of matter. I, in fact, already understand some of those things pretty well on their own (and even have a fair idea of how I might understand matter in terms of them).

So to a very large extent, we're talking past each other. We have very different ideas of what it means to explain something.

KWM,

Why would you say that he has explained economic behavior in that sector?

Because he has by my definition.

Then you raise the question of limits to an explanation. So, I guess you have in mind the idea of a better explanation. I'm on board with that.

A better explanation might fit more more kinds of data.
Or, it could have fewer theoretical elements (Occam).
Or, it could give more precision.
Or, it could be easier to apply (get predictions with).

WL,

Talking past each other can be addressed.

Maybe this has something to do with it: I don't insist that the elements of a model exist in the world for that model to be called an explanation. I think you do. Am I right?

RonH


    What I think WL is asking is this: Putting aside what the physicists say, how do you personally understand matter? Don't you just understand it in terms of your sense data?

No. (Direct) sense data is one way to understand matter, but not the only one. A deaf man can not hear, but he can still understand what hearing is in materialistic terms, as variations of air pressure affecting the mechanism of the inner ear. You can even show music as frequency spectrum, same as you can explain what colors are to a blind man. Obviously he can not experience them in a same way, though deaf man could still feel the music in pressure waves.


    But is there really anything more to the cup than all that sense data? And if so, what is it?

Yes, because there has to be something that interacts with the mind, because if it weren't something it would be nothing. As to precisely what it is, is a question where no final answer can probably ever exist.


    Erkki obviously thinks that the idea of matter is of great explanatory power when compared to mind. I was just curious what this idea is.

Matter, or more precisely energy, is everything that physically exists. The whole underlying assumption of materialism is that mind IS matter, so there is nothing to compare against.


    I'm also still wondering what he means when he says "X explains Y"

Basically what I mean: if you want to find out how components in reality interact, you have to look for empirical data to find out how they interact.


    I mean something like this: X is something I already understand and I can understand Y in terms of X.

    Given that, it seems to me that matter can never explain mind, and in fact it always goes the other way.

Are you assuming that you already understand your mind? How would you know that?

RonH,

Is "matching up" your definition of explanation? If so, then what you mean by explanation is really prediction. But these are not the same are they?

Did you know that student dropout rates are predicted by the number of books in the school library? If this actually explains dropout rates, then all we have to do is put more books in the school libraries and solve this problem that has vexed politicians and educators for decades. Wow, that was easy. On to world peace.

While there are many "definitions" of the word explanation, here are three common ones. An Explanation is: 1) a statement or account that makes something clear, or 2) a reason or justification given for an action or belief, or 3) a statement that makes truth known.

The analyst has offered a partial explanation based on definition 3. The CEO's do indeed use magic 8-balls, and thus the "icosahedron floating in oil" model explains the mechanism, but it does not explain the rational, the outside factors that influence the functioning of the 8-ball, etc. The model makes truth known only in the most gross and translucent sense it seems.

Of course, if materialism is correct, please do not reply because I have no free will and my response was predetermined from the beginning of time. I was compelled by quantum forces and causes to write these words, which also don't exist because colors must exist to provide the contrast necessary for your senses to perceive them, and my perception of your words is also determined by these natural forces, so you cannot hold be responsible if there even is a material me.

Erkki-

Some thoughts on your last entry.

Ben asked this:

[H]ow do you personally understand matter? Don't you just understand it in terms of your sense data?
You answered him thus:
No. (Direct) sense data is one way to understand matter, but not the only one. A deaf man can not hear, but he can still understand what hearing is in materialistic terms, as variations of air pressure affecting the mechanism of the inner ear.
All of which would be conveyed to him by sense data. Looking at an oscilloscope is as much a sense experience as listening to a symphony.

-------------------

I had said that "I was just curious what this idea [of matter] is."

You replied:

Matter, or more precisely energy, is everything that physically exists.
It looks like you are saying this
Matter is everything that materially exists
Which has a kind of truth to it, but wasn't exactly what I was looking for ;-)

In fairness, perhaps you just meant to say that matter is energy.

OK.

What's that?

-------------------

I had asked this:

I'm also still wondering what he means when he says "X explains Y"
You answered in this way:
Basically what I mean: if you want to find out how components in reality interact, you have to look for empirical data to find out how they interact.
I don't really understand this answer. What's the X, what's the Y and where is the relationship of explaining.

-------------------

About my conception of explanation you asked this:

Are you assuming that you already understand your mind?
Parts of it, yes. For example, I understand my sensations of red. I can clearly distinguish them from other ideas, e.g. the sensation of middle-C, the taste of chocolate, the recognition that 7+5=12, my love for my wife and so on. I also recognize that I don't see red on the basis of some other fact...I didn't infer red...I directly saw it. When I am having a sensation of red, I find it impossible to doubt that I am having a sensation of red. Etc.
How would you know that?
When it comes to the example I just gave, how would I not?

Ron-

Maybe this has something to do with it: I don't insist that the elements of a model exist in the world for that model to be called an explanation. I think you do. Am I right?
Well, I certainly don't believe that the posits of a model must have an independent existence in order for the model to be an effective predictive tool. Of course, the posits of any model do exist as theoretical constructs.

But I think I would say that even if the posits of a model did have an independent existence, the fact that the model is an effective predictive tool has little to do with whether it explains anything. Explanation is about increasing understanding. Mere prediction--no matter how effective--does not do that.

Effective prediction may be some evidence for the proposition that you do understand a thing. But it is not the same thing as understanding or explanation.

I'm thinking that for us to come to some meeting of the minds, there's got to be more to your idea of a model that has thus far been conveyed. The model is what increases understanding somehow. The fact that it's good at predicting is just evidence for the idea that it is a true model (or truer than its competitors).

And I suspect that there would have to be some truth to the model in order for it actually to increase anyone's understanding. Otherwise it would be a vehicle of misunderstanding. The Ptolemaic system with epicycles and the Keplerian system were both good predictive models. Still there's only one way the planets actually do move, and at most one of the systems successfully explains things. Indeed, the Ptolemaic system with epicycles is a better predictive system than the straight Copernican system. Still, it seems that the Copernican system provides a better explanation.

    All of which would be conveyed to him by sense data. Looking at an oscilloscope is as much a sense experience as listening to a symphony.

Well yeah, obviously if there is no way to input data for the mind, then mind cannot access data. But my point was that it is fairly easy to prove that reality is not just "in your mind" because you can show what creates the sensory experience, even without direct access to it. A person going blind does not make "vision" unreality or illusion.


    In fairness, perhaps you just meant to say that matter is energy.

    OK.

    What's that?

I don't know.


    I don't really understand this answer. What's the X, what's the Y and where is the relationship of explaining.

Basically what I mean is: If there is a Y and you want to find out whether this Y was caused by Z or X, then either X or Z has to exist somewhere and be something outside your mind for there to be cause Y. If not, the cause Y is also only in your head. How would you describe thing that exists outside your mind?


    I didn't infer red...I directly saw it. When I am having a sensation of red, I find it impossible to doubt that I am having a sensation of red.

This is rather curious. You have never had a sensory hallucination? I see them all the time, for example: fancy sparkles around my vision when I have a really bad headache. Do you really think that there is a substance called "red" that is directly affecting your mind? This goes pretty wildly against any modern physics.

But my point was that it is fairly easy to prove that reality is not just "in your mind" because you can show what creates the sensory experience, even without direct access to it.
But the point is that sense data are the only connection with this strange thing called matter. Doubly strange because, by your own admission, you don't know what this thing called matter is.

But somehow you are firmly convinced that it creates these sensory data. You even say you can easily prove that it does so.

Well, I have no doubts about the sense data. I do however have my doubts about this something-I-know-not-what that supposedly causes (I-know-not-how) the sense data.

And if I have my doubts about this spooky matter, that goes ten-fold for the idea that it explains anything. Especially ordinary down-to-earth things, like what I see right in front of me...things that hardly need explanation in the first place.

This is rather curious. You have never had a sensory hallucination? I see them all the time, for example: fancy sparkles around my vision when I have a really bad headache.
Of course you do. Any doubt that you are having the sensation of seeing sparkles? Or is it possible that you are really hearing a guitar strum?
Do you really think that there is a substance called "red" that is directly affecting your mind?
Who said anything about a substance called "red"? I do believe that the sensation of red is a non-material event that occurs in a non-material mind
This goes pretty wildly against any modern physics.
Actually, since we're talking about non-material things, physics, by definition, has nothing to say about whether my mind has red sensations.

    But the point is that sense data are the only connection with this strange thing called matter.

I really wouldn't say that it is the only connection. I think that you are confusing the mind itself and senses. Senses are one way to find things about reality, but senses alone do not make something reality, nor are they only access to data. Mathematics and rational deduction are another. There are people who have ghost pains from removed or missing limbs, but the pain itself does not make the limb reality. It is when you have material limb that can interact with the world you have limbs.


    Of course you do. Any doubt that you are having the sensation of seeing sparkles? Or is it possible that you are really hearing a guitar strum?

Yes, it is possible. I suppose that if I had a very particular and curious sort of brain damage, I could see sparkles when someone is playing guitar. Incredibly unlikely, though.


    Actually, since we're talking about non-material things, physics, by definition, has nothing to say about whether my mind has red sensations.

Okay, are you saying that even if there was no such thing as "light", which is quite obviously a physically measurable thing, you could theoretically have a mind that would have "red" sensations? What exactly would this "red" be in this non-light experience?

Yes, it is possible. I suppose that if I had a very particular and curious sort of brain damage, I could see sparkles when someone is playing guitar.
The question was not whether someone's playing guitar could make you see stars. The question was whether you could ever confuse the sensation of seeing the sparkles with the sensation of hearing the strum.

brianehunt,

Pointing out a correlation is not making a model.

A model has moving parts.

RonH

    The question was not whether someone's playing guitar could make you see stars. The question was whether you could ever confuse the sensation of seeing the sparkles with the sensation of hearing the strum.

Well if they are by definition different sorts of mental sensations, then they obviously have to be different. So thats sound pretty much like tautology.

It's anything but a tautolotgy. You know the differences between the two sensations not by the meaning of words, but by your awareness of what it is like to have the one sensation vs. your awareness of what it is like to have the other. You have an intimate and inerrant awareness of the contents of your mind that surpasses any so-called knowledge you have about the strange I-know-not-what that you call matter.

    You have an intimate and inerrant awareness of the contents of your mind that surpasses any so-called knowledge you have about the strange I-know-not-what that you call matter.

That's a pretty bold claim. How would I know the contents of my mind are inerrant? What am I comparing them against? And why are we making the distinction between mind and matter? From materialist perspective, mind is matter, so "mind is better explanation then matter" is meaningless statement.

"How would I know the contents of my mind are inerrant?"

Well...could you mistake the sparkles for the guitar strum? If, as I think, you can't, it sounds pretty much like an inerrant awareness of the difference.

"From materialist perspective, mind is matter"

But you don't even know what matter is! How on earth can you know that mind is matter?

(And BTW, why should I take a materialist perspective?)

    Well...could you mistake the sparkles for the guitar strum? If, as I think, you can't, it sounds pretty much like an inerrant awareness of the difference.

This really doesn't sound to me as much more then "different experiences are different" which sounds to me like a pretty odd way to define "inerrancy". I mean, obviously mind can not wrong about itself, but this seems like very solipsist way to define world.

    But you don't even know what matter is! How on earth can you know that mind is matter?

Well, im pretty sure that if I bang my head on the concrete wall of my basement really hard, or drop three bottles of vodka down my throat really fast, that's gonna do very bad things to my mind. So it seems that my mind does not exist in some sort of different, non-material realm. Common day experience seems to suggest that it takes material things to interact with material things, and as mind interacts with the world, it would seem logical to me to assume that they are similar sort of things. Also, I do not have any idea what this "non-matter" sort of mind might even theoretically be.

    (And BTW, why should I take a materialist perspective?)

Well, really the biggest advantage of materialist perspective is that it is really the only one that can have falsifiability and feedback loop. There is nothing of course stopping you from assuming that you are "non-material" in some way or that abstract ideas are real, but as this proposition is impossible to prove or unprove it kind of becomes very uninteresting as anything else other then armchair philosophy.

A slight clarification: while materialism itself can not be falsified, rather then simply assumed, the advantage of this worldview is that only by assuming that things exist in some form of empirical, materialist realm, we can have feedback loop and falsify propositions about what things truly exist and interact.

This really doesn't sound to me as much more then "different experiences are different" which sounds to me like a pretty odd way to define "inerrancy". I mean, obviously mind can not wrong about itself
1. It's a lot more that the claim that different experiences are different. It's the claim that you can tell without the possibility of error that they are different.

2. If it's obvious to you now that the mind cannot be wrong about its own ideas, why does it seem strange to say that the mind is inerrant about those ideas? I mean really, what else would you want?

3. I'm not sure what makes you think any of this is solipsist. After all, the world obviously resists your will. You know this as surely as you know that the sparkles are different from the guitar strum. If the world resists your will, isn't it something else...something different from you?

Well, im pretty sure that if I bang my head on the concrete wall of my basement really hard, or drop three bottles of vodka down my throat really fast, that's gonna do very bad things to my mind.
What exactly is it to bang your head on a concrete wall? The only thing I know about is my decision to do so, followed by a feeling of speed as my vision of the wall shows it getting larger and larger, followed by pain and disorientation. These are all mental phenomena. Adding matter to the story does nothing to make it clearer or better understood. In fact, since we don't even know what matter is, how could it?
Common day experience seems to suggest that it takes material things to interact with material things, and as mind interacts with the world, it would seem logical to me to assume that they are similar sort of things.
Common day experience, and all experience, is a mental phenomenon. And I don't even know what these material things are that you talk about.
Also, I do not have any idea what this "non-matter" sort of mind might even theoretically be.
You mean you don't know what ideas and sensations are?

Really?

Well, really the biggest advantage of materialist perspective is that it is really the only one that can have falsifiability and feedback loop.
Suppose that I observe a set of gauges on a Millikan oil drop apparatus and watch the drops falling.

Suppose I believe that when I do so, I will see that virtually any charge measurement might stop a drop from falling or rising (and not just measurements that come in multiples of -1.6 x 10^-19 Coulombs).

Not one word that I just supposed implies that matter (whatever that is) exists. All I am talking about are my sensations of and beliefs about my future sensations of the gauges and drops.

You seem to be saying that my belief cannot be falsified unless I add to my purely observational language the proposition "Matter exists". (Even though I have no idea what matter is.)

I don't think that's true.

This sounds like Naming and Necessity by Saul Kripke.

    1. It's a lot more that the claim that different experiences are different. It's the claim that you can tell without the possibility of error that they are different.
    2. If it's obvious to you now that the mind cannot be wrong about its own ideas, why does it seem strange to say that the mind is inerrant about those ideas? I mean really, what else would you want?
    3. I'm not sure what makes you think any of this is solipsist. After all, the world obviously resists your will. You know this as surely as you know that the sparkles are different from the guitar strum.

Because you've only really defined that there is no such thing as an error. If you leave any sort falsification mechanism out of picture, obviously such thing as an "error" goes along in the bathwater. But why leave the falsification mechanism behind? Like I've said, there are plenty of ways to know the content of your mind and your ideas are false. We know from common day experience that they often are. I just yesterday watched briefly a documentary about a guy who suffers from narcolepsy and has so vivid nightmares he cannot always separate them from reality. So now it seems like youre saying that if I leave this falsification mechanism behind, then the mind has inerrancy. Well...duh. That's why it's there.

If youre asking what makes it solipsist, then it is most obviously evident in that people can have very conflicting mental ideas and pictures. One person can have a really strong feel that angels are watching over the world. Other guy thinks that there are no such things as angels. Both of these person cannot be right or inerrant.


    If the world resists your will, isn't it something else...something different from you?

No, I really don't see why it would. If the world resists my will, it would seem the world is in charge... not my will.


    These are all mental phenomena. Adding matter to the story does nothing to make it clearer or better understood.

Yeah, it does. If I know that my brain has chemistry and needs bloodflow in order to operate, and that my mind is physically connected to my brain, then I now know why banging my head with force can cause really bad damage to my mental faculties or possibly my death.


    You mean you don't know what ideas and sensations are?

No, I know what ideas and sensations are. I just don't see why they would be non-material.


    You seem to be saying that my belief cannot be falsified unless I add to my purely observational language the proposition "Matter exists". (Even though I have no idea what matter is.)

I don't really get your example. This is obviously a very much a material experiment. Yes, it would seem to me that your belief can not be falsified, unless you acknowledge that there are physical forces outside your mind.

I think I need to clarify myself a bit more: when I say I believe ideas and sensations are material, I don't mean to say that I know precisely what sort of things ideas and sensations consist of, or even what matter is. What I mean is I don't see any reason to assume that my mind exists on some sort of completely different realm or substance from the material and the mechanisms of the rest of the universe. Even if it did, I'm not sure I would classify it as "non-material" as the phrase seems to be nonsensical to me.

Because you've only really defined that there is no such thing as an error.
I made no definitions. I simply noticed that you, in fact, cannot be wrong. In so doing, I discovered a set of claims that are quite meaningful and that it is impossible to proceed in any theoretical endeavor without, but that cannot be falsified.

First you complained that the mind is not inerrant in this area. Now you complain that it's pronouncements in this area are not falsifialbe. I think that you are talking yourself into a kind of catch-22 on this subject.

But why leave the falsification mechanism behind?
What is this falsification mechanism (I've heard of a falsification criterion, but not a mechanism) and where did I leave it behind?
Like I've said, there are plenty of ways to know the content of your mind and your ideas are false. We know from common day experience that they often are.
But you just said they obviously can't be mistaken in the previous post!
I just yesterday watched briefly a documentary about a guy who suffers from narcolepsy and has so vivid nightmares he cannot always separate them from reality.
This poor person is never wrong about what he sees and experiences. If he sees a friend's face melt, he's won't confuse that with tasting lemonade. What he's wrong about are his predictions that what happens in his nightmares will persist...that the next time he sees his friend, he will look like he did when he saw his face melt.
If I know that my brain has chemistry and needs bloodflow in order to operate, and that my mind is physically connected to my brain, then I now know why banging my head with force can cause really bad damage to my mental faculties or possibly my death.
What is it to know all these things about brain chemistry and so on? You construct a theoretical model (a product of the mind) based on repeated observations (sensations that you take note of and remember...all operations of the mind) with which you can reliably predict from one set of sensations another set of sensations that will follow. Why do I need matter? Especially given that I don't even know what it is.
I don't really get your example. This is obviously a very much a material experiment.
Where in it did I mention matter? I was only talking about my sensations. And by the way, I've done the experiment personally, and I've experienced the outcome, so I happen to have direct, personal knowledge that the belief I mentioned not only can be, but is falsified. (Of course, I didn't actually have the belief when I conducted the experiment that the charge measurements would be continuous...I believed that they would be quantized.)
the material and the mechanisms of the rest of the universe.
I have yet to see any reason to suppose that there is a material of the rest of the universe.

There obviously is a rest of the universe...after all, it resists my will. I just don't see any reason yet to suppose that it is material. I don't even know what it would be to suppose that it is material.

    I made no definitions. I simply noticed that you, in fact, cannot be wrong.

Yeah, you did notice, by making wrongness by definition impossible. To use analogy, it seems like you are writing answers on an exam paper, throwing the answer key away, then claiming that your answers are inerrant as they are all different and there's no answer to key to compare them against anyway.

    What is this falsification mechanism (I've heard of a falsification criterion, but not a mechanism) and where did I leave it behind?

The falsification mechanism (criterion, if you prefer) is the material, empirically observed universe. If the contents and theories of your ideas do not match those of empirical reality, then I would I say that you are wrong and in error in any meaningful sense of the word.

    But you just said they obviously can't be mistaken in the previous post!

What I said was that obviously the mind cannot be wrong about itself. This does not mean the mind equals reality.

    This poor person is never wrong about what he sees and experiences.

The point of the example was not wrongness precisely, I mean obviously the guy knows he has nightmares even if they are terrifyingly real-like, the point was just notifying that senses != reality.

    What is it to know all these things about brain chemistry and so on? You construct a theoretical model (a product of the mind) based on repeated observations (sensations that you take note of and remember...all operations of the mind) with which you can reliably predict from one set of sensations another set of sensations that will follow. Why do I need matter? Especially given that I don't even know what it is.

Okay, so how exactly would you describe physical forces that exist outside your direct control, unrelated to your mind, if not as matter? Of course you don't need to describe them as matter, but now it seems like you are just objecting the words and not the content. If someone asks you is the planet Earth matter, would you answer that you have no need the assume anything like that, since you don't even know what this "matter" is?

    There obviously is a rest of the universe...after all, it resists my will. I just don't see any reason yet to suppose that it is material. I don't even know what it would be to suppose that it is material.

Again, what would you describe the universe as consisting of, if not "matter"?

The falsification mechanism (criterion, if you prefer) is the material, empirically observed universe.
I'll agree that the empirically observed universe does provide a means for pushing back against our theories and predictions. I don't believe, indeed I don't know how to believe, that it is material. In fact, describing it as empirically observed kind of makes that impossible. This is because observation is, as I noted before, remembered sensation, that is, it is an operation of the mind.
The point of the example was...that senses != reality.
If that was the point, it fell short. All it showed was that the poor fellows predictions while in a dream state were not reliable. His senses weren't the problem, his reasoning was the problem.

I'll allow that in a colloquial sense we might say that appearance does not equal reality. But what we are saying is that we have a whole lot of repeated experiences that, by habit we've come to expect will come together. But sometimes they don't. When they don't we call them appearances while regarding our habitual associations as reality.

When we see someone's face melt (or have it removed from his skull in any way), we don't expect to see him with a whole face the next day. The vast majority of our clearest perceptions of human skin goes against that. So when we see our friend's face melt in a dream, and the next day we see him with a whole face, we say the the appearance of the melted face != reality, when really all we have is that the appearance does not fit our ordinary expectations.

Okay, so how exactly would you describe physical forces that exist outside your direct control, unrelated to your mind, if not as matter?
Well, I wouldn't describe them as physical forces, because I still don't know what that means. Is there some reason I can't attribute all the pushback from the external world as the operation of other minds? I mean, I know what minds are...I have one. I know that other minds resist my will. One is doing so right now.

Matter? Not a clue.

    I'll agree that the empirically observed universe does provide a means for pushing back against our theories and predictions. I don't believe, indeed I don't know how to believe, that it is material. In fact, describing it as empirically observed kind of makes that impossible. This is because observation is, as I noted before, remembered sensation, that is, it is an operation of the mind.

This really strikes to me as some version of solipsism. Are you saying that if there would be no observer, there could not be universe? Or that because, strictly speaking, everything is interpreted by the mind the distinction between mind and the universe is unimportant? I might agree with this reasoning if I believed the mind could understand reality perfectly, but for various reasons I don't, so I find the distinction useful.

Of course there would be no universe if there were no observer. What evidence would there be for one?

The distinction between mind an universe is, perhaps, unimportant, since the universe just is the totality of minds and their ideas. Now the distinction between my mind and the universe is important because I am not the only mind (which is why my view is not solipsist).

    The distinction between mind an universe is, perhaps, unimportant, since the universe just is the totality of minds and their ideas.

Like I said, I might personally support this idea if I believed the mind could comprehend the reality perfectly. Because I have several reasons to doubt this is the case, and because the idea seems tautological, in a sense that if you do not acknowledge the difference between the mind and the reality, then "universe is what's in your mind" is simply "there is mind(s)", I generally lean to some form of materialism or if I'm feeling generous, maybe even dualism.

This seemed like a good conversation, thanks for sharing your opinion.

WisdomLover,

Nice to see a fellow idealist. I wonder, how long have you held to that view?

I "converted" a few years ago, in 2008 or so, after some long conversations with a philosopher friend of mine, who managed to convince me that materialism is incoherent and that Berkeleyan idealism is more or less true.

I've been a Berkeleyan Immaterialist for a long time. Basically the first time I heard it presented well, I realized it was right.

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