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« 10 Years at STR and Counting... | Main | What Does the Bible Say about Raising and Disciplining a Child? »

October 18, 2014

Comments

This is the 'AWARE' study - AWAreness during REsuscitation.

Read the paper. Amy, thanks for the link.

The researchers put images on high shelves in emergency rooms so that people having out of body near death experiences up near the ceiling would be the only ones able to see them.

I looked in the paper to see how many NDE people correctly reported the images.

None.

Significantly, the paper barely mentions this completely negative result.

And the news articles at Medical Daily and the Independent completely ignore it.

Interesting.


For those interested in this kind of thing, I would recommend reading Rupert Sheldrake's work or watching his TED talk. He is a Christian who keeps his psi research separate from his religious beliefs. There are many wolves out there who have hidden agendas. As far as I know, he is not one of them.

I guess if someone did see the pictures as you describe, Ron, that would be very interesting in that it would be really difficult for a physicalist to explain that. But dualists (like Amy) or immaterialists (like me) would, I should expect, NOT predict that NDE people would see anything that they could not have inferred from previous experience. If anything, I would predict that they would not see the pictures.

I don't think you need to believe that vision is routinely possible for disembodied minds in order to think that the mind is distinct from the body or that minds are the primary substance of reality.

Bottom line, the test you describe could only be a disconfirmation of physicalism.

RonH

Does not seeing some particular thing prove that you can see nothing? Not everything in a room draws our attention and I doubt that you could catalog and report on every single item in any given room you have visited.

The pesky repeatable of what is referred to as veridical perception is real but only in a small %. A lack of cultural bias permeates these universal (pan-world) accounts. As does the report of a hyper-real quality. Veridical perception in (intentional) circulatory arrest in the operating room remains rare - yet (pesky) present.

Even 1% in these lines is too large for physicalism. Because the 1 or 2 or 3% remains constant. Constants matter. Like math.

WL,

I guess if someone did see the pictures as you describe, Ron, that would be very interesting in that it would be really difficult for a physicalist to explain that.

But if any subject had correctly reported on an image it could have been because someone got on a stepladder and told that subject what to report.

Repeat any experiment enough and you'll get some false positive results.

But dualists (like Amy) or immaterialists (like me) would, I should expect, NOT predict that NDE people would see anything that they could not have inferred from previous experience.

Regardless of your expectations about predictions, some NDE stories do include exactly this kind of claim.

I think Sam Parnia's installation of the images is a dualist's prediction that some NDE people would see them.

These images were installed to permit evaluation of VA claims described in prior accounts.

Or, maybe Sam Parnia hoped someone somewhere would get up on a stepladder.

Louis,

Does not seeing some particular thing prove that you can see nothing? Not everything in a room draws our attention...
I don't claim that the negative result proves or disproves anything.

Physicalism explains the negative result out of the box.

Dualism, on the other hand, needs some help explaining this negative result.

You offer a good candidate: we don't notice everything.

But that's all it is: a good candidate.

You might be expected to notice, say, a swastika on a shelf. (The paper used the word nationalistic to describe some of the images.)


RonH,

Theism explains BOTH seen / heard vs. not so.

Physicalism ONLY explains half of that.

Constants matter. %'s size shouldn't give the physicalist reason for faith. Math doesn't work that way.

RonH,

As to your objection as why the object placed for observation was not observed, three points:

1) Would the traumatizing scene of seeing your lifeless self surrounded by a hospital staff striving for resuscitation be remarkable enough to draw all attention to this point away from all possible distractions?

2) Did the experimenters create a set of attractants to draw attention toward the target objects?

3) Would the at-death experience be such a one that all objects are relegated to a degree of unimportance?

Note, your objects on display experiment was in response to accepted NDE observations recorded by Habermas' study of near death experience. Your objection neither confirms nor discomfirms. Only if the target object is a swastika and the subject noted a rosary would a level of dis-conformation be attained. Not noticing is inconclusive.

DGFischer,

#1 Have you heard the one about the woman that said she saw a tennis shoe on a window ledge during her NDE? A guy in the AWARE paper notices a guy in blue scrubs. Imagine that. Scrubs in a hospital.

#2 I don't know. Did they? If they didn't, then did they do a bad job? If they did a bad job then why post about it? Why defend it? If you and Sam Parnia and his friends want to spend more of your money to improve it, then I say knock yourselves out.

#3 Tennis shoes again.

Your #1, #2, #3 seem to repeat Louis's idea: we don't notice everything.

I already agreed Louis had a good candidate. I meant it.

This part of the study was not an accurate test: It's VERY subject to both false positives and false negatives.

It doesn't reflect positively on the investigators' scientific talents.

But that's ok.

The thing I really object to is that the paper, the news articles, Amy, and the comments here don't seem to want to acknowledge the totally negative result in any way - not even by saying Yeah, we tried that and it was dumb.


accepted NDE observations recorded by Habermas' study

Accepted?

RonH,

Yes. Accepted.

That is why the merit of/for further study gets its toe in the door. Intentional circulatory arrest with outside verification is interesting. That is, worth looking at.

Now, if your a priori commitments keep you from following the evidence, such as that pesky 1%, well that isn't very scientific of you. If you have evidence against the move to look further, then you need to present it.

Otherwise, you're just allowing your presuppositions to get in the way of further investigation - falling into the trap of Scientism's own absurdity.

After all, there is no evidence that microscopes CAN answer all these questions. In fact, for painfully obvious reasons there, scientism just is nonsense.

Philosophy trumps (physical) science – in a sense – for by philosophical means we come to see the self-evident, to know, that scientism is nonsense.

Justified knowledge comes by many vectors. Not merely one.

If you dispute that - then Scientism.

And absurdity.

The stuff of science just does house all these other non-physical, self-evident, vectors too. That is why 1%, or 0.5%, or 0.1%, in these lines are just too large for Physicalism. Constants become, well, constant.

Ron:

The researchers put images on high shelves in emergency rooms so that people having out of body near death experiences up near the ceiling would be the only ones able to see them.

I looked in the paper to see how many NDE people correctly reported the images.

None.

Significantly, the paper barely mentions this completely negative result.

WL:
I guess if someone did see the pictures as you describe, Ron, that would be very interesting in that it would be really difficult for a physicalist to explain that. But [believers in minds] would...NOT predict that NDE people would see anything...
Ron:
But if any subject had correctly reported on an image it could have been because someone got on a stepladder and told that subject what to report.
I'm trying to put all this together, Ron, but I just can't.

Are you trying to say that positive results would be meaningless (because of the stepladder objection), but the negative results are probative (in spite of the fact that mentalism does not predict that NDE subjects would see the images)?

You sound like someone who is trying to fit the facts to his theory to me. Or at least to fit that facts against competing theories.

I'm just trying to imagine how the stepladder case would go. You're in an ER where someone is bleeding out...then one of the nurses has the idea to get a stepladder out and look at the high images and call them out to the dying patient...just on the speculative possibility that he might die.

I've seen some weak objections in my day, but this one makes my top-ten list.

Regardless of your expectations about predictions, some NDE stories do include exactly this kind of claim.

I think Sam Parnia's installation of the images is a dualist's prediction that some NDE people would see them.

Well, Parnia's placement of the images is interesting because, as I noted, should NDE subjects see the images, that would be a pretty powerful counterargument against physicalism.

But the fact that the images are not seen has very little bearing on mentalism...since, whatever Parnia might say, mentalism does not predict that anyone would see the images.

Now, it's worth noting that the 'negative' evidence you refer to on that study is pretty worthless even if mentalism did predict that NDE subjects would see the images. This is because during the term of the study, none of the NDE subjects had an out of body experience where they found themselves floating above their own bodies, though they did have some of the other experiences characteristic of NDE subjects.

WL: I'm trying to put all this together, Ron, but I just can't. Are you trying to say that positive results would be meaningless (because of the....

I already said: The thing I really object to is that the paper, the news articles, Amy, and the comments here don't seem to want to acknowledge the totally negative result in any way - not even by saying Yeah, we tried that and it was dumb.

WL: I'm just trying to imagine how the stepladder case would go...You're in an ER where someone is bleeding out...then one of the nurses has the idea ...

The nurse (or anyone else) can see the image at ANY t time. All they, or some one else who now knows, needs to do now is get the message to a subject before the paper is published.

Mentalism is a performing art in which its practitioners, known as mentalists, appear to demonstrate highly developed mental or intuitive abilities.

Not that mentalism?

Better say so. We do, after all, have the views of Rupert Sheldrake being invoked here now.

I thought you and I agreed long ago that there was no way to distinguish between idealism and physicalism.

You say, "mentalism does not predict that anyone would see the images."
But does it predict the images can't be seen? Is that your personal idealism or official, true idealism?

during the term of the study, none of the NDE subjects had an out of body experience where they found themselves floating above their own bodies

What about this?

Recollection # 2 “At the beginning, I think, I heard the nurse say ‘dial 444 cardiac arrest’. I felt scared. I was on the ceiling looking down

We can't escape this:

See/Hear (looking down etc.) and Not-So are BOTH compatible with theism. Whereas, physicalism can ONLY be compatible with Not.

RonH,

I note your objections, and do agree with the clumsiness of the expectations of target objects for verification.

But there is an ethical element to improving the chances of the subject spotting such objects from the ceiling-view. To guarantee results, the subject should be advised of such objects and would call on the subjects cooperation in the unlikely event of needing to be resuscitated to "take a look." The "subject," after all, is a "patient" to be cured, not to be treated by a surgeon who wants the fellow to go to death's door, open and take a look, then report the findings.

Proper scientific procedures would seek the best controls to guarantee the experiment's integrity and findings. Proper medical procedures would not share the interests of the scientific community on this matter.

Thus, keeping it "mum" to the patient/subject would be the correct ethical choice.

I hope you understand my dilemma over the subject of this post. Good medicine or good science. When will they conflict? The fellow lying down in the OR, after all, is not a lab rat.

RonH,

The reason why there was a negative result on the images experiment is because the only two instances where visual awareness NDEs were recalled afterwards occurred in rooms that didn't have the shelves set up with the images on them. If you had read the paper carefully you would have noticed this.

the paper, the news articles, Amy, and the comments here don't seem to want to acknowledge the totally negative result in any way - not even by saying Yeah, we tried that and it was dumb.
But it wasn't a dumb thing to try. Had someone seen the images during an out-of-body near-death experience, that would have been a major problem for physicalism. It would be no problem at all for mentalism.

And the 'totally negative' result you speak of Ron is this:

No one resuscitated in any of the rooms with the pictures had an out-of-body near-death experience where they were floating high over their nearly-dead body.
It is not this much more interesting case:
Some people had out-of-body near-death experiences where they were floating high over their nearly-dead bodies, but in none of those cases did anyone see the pictures.
Indeed, the 'totally negative' result you are talking about isn't worth mentioning. It's almost like saying that Jones had a 'totally negative' result for his experiment on Thursday because he didn't conduct his experiment on Thursday.

WL,

But dualists (like Amy) or immaterialists (like me) would, I should expect, NOT predict that NDE people would see anything that they could not have inferred from previous experience. If anything, I would predict that they would not see the pictures.

Why would you predict that? What do you think it would indicate if they did see the pictures? I'm curious how something like that would fit into immateralism.


RonH

"Physicalism explains the negative result out of the box."

Nope...it appears to explain.
when alternate explanations are just as reasonable and valid, you cannot make the claim you make. You can only make my revision of it.

It is not a matter of it does explain.

It is a matter of can it be explained.

Zero percent can be explained by both theism / physicalism.

Greater than zero percent cannot be explained by physicalism and can be explained by theism.

Looking down....outsiders confirming nuance after the fact... greater than zero percent isn't hard to achieve. It probably already has been.

That is the problem with constants and size. Math doesn't care bout decimal points in this particular formula.

The method for the physicalist is to maintain faith despite evidence to the contrary. Now, if there are tons and tons of evidence for physicalism over there, and this NDE stuff over here seems solid, but is really small, then it is (perhaps) "reasonable" to not go tossing out entire houses because of one chair. Well fine. The question though is that if one will be honest about making that move - or - if one will be honest about making that move WHILE setting out to disaffirm such reports, such chairs.

But to just wave a hand in the face of what may be real constants arriving in one's previous formula ..... well that's just doing bad math - and tolerating on a priori commitments - bad math. It's unthinking. Doing good science requires thinking. And math.


DGFischer,

You are worried that getting informed consent might harm the subjects. But some say the AWARE researchers fail ethically because they don't get informed consent from their subjects before intervening (placing the pictures). People are approached all the time about participating in studies without anyone worrying that such solicitations will harm them.

Andrew,

You offer 'the' reason for the negative result. Maybe there were multiple reasons.
Maybe the result was negative just because we can see only through our eyes.

WL,

RE: dumb

Parnia had the germ of a good idea: putting the images on the high shelves.

But, to do this right, you'd need to show that you effectively prevented false positives.

And to do that, you'd need to prevent anyone from finding out what image is posted (except any NDE people who may happen by).

This is standard stuff.

But Parnia just put the images on a high shelf - the way you do with Halloween candy and kids' Christmas presents.

He did nothing else (as far as I know) to prevent false positives.

The cost of getting this right might make the experiment impractical, but that's no excuse for doing it wrong.

So doing the experiment was dumb for that reason (by my standards).

What about false negatives?

DGFischer suggests you could 'guarantee results' by telling the subjects before the NDE to 'take a look'.

Like I said before, Parnia failed here too.

It is difficult to say what might be done to avoid false negatives.

Nobody really knows what interests these NDE folk or whether anybody would remember to 'take a look'.

"And if no one sees the pictures, it shows these experiences are illusions or false memories.

- Sam Parnia

Just so nobody misunderstands: I didn't quote Sam to support my view. I quoted him to impeach his credibility. If no one sees the pictures, then no one sees the pictures, Sam.

Sam-

I probably should not have gone so far as to predict that the NDE subjects would not see the pictures. I really expect that that wouldn't happen though.

Here's what I was thinking.

I have long experience that habitually connects visual sensations as either coming from memory or from the directing of my eyes toward something. Since a disembodied mind would have no eyes to direct, it would seem that the only remaining source of visual sensation would be memory. And since the NDE subject has never seen the high images, memory is ruled out as well.

Of course, there is no necessary connection between looking with eyes and vision. The connection, instead, is habitual. So I must admit that perhaps a mind could receive visual sensations in some third way apart from memory and eyes. Perhaps a way that would only be available while the mind is disembodied.

So that's why I wouldn't really expect to be able to see while disembodied. Of course, if I did manage to see while disembodied, I think that would be a death blow to physicalism, because if physicalism is true there is absolutely a necessary connection between visual sensations and the direction of the eyes toward objects.

It's more likely to see the negative result - though ill-gotten - given physicalism than given either dualism or idealism.

Ron-

If you mean this:

Pr(Pictures Sighted | Physicalism) < Pr(Pictures Sighted | Mentalism)
Then I agree.

That is because its impossible for the pictures to be sighted if physicalism is true. But it's only extremely unlikely that the pictures would be sighted if mentalism is true.

Basically, 0 < 0.00...001

I thought you and I agreed long ago that there was no way to distinguish between idealism and physicalism.
I don't think I would ever agree to such a thing. You got a link.

I believe you can distinguish between that which is either contradictory or conceptually empty and that which is neither.

Experts currently believe that the brain shuts down within 20 to 30 seconds of the heart stopping beating – and that it is not possible to be aware of anything at all once that has happened.

So we caught that “anything". That’s seems pretty exclusive - in that excludes everything.

Forget pictures on the ceiling, forget nurses getting on stepladders. What if I picture my mother at 20 years old holding me as a baby? What if I picture my brother at 90 years old on his death bed? For both, my vision surely isn’t accurate to reality. But so what? Do we have a working definition of what’s real to a clinically dead person?

Nearly half (46 percent) had memories with seven major themes, family being one.

That’s not being aware? Well, you certainly can define awareness to include those experiences.

You got a link?

No. I thought I asked you years ago what difference we would notice between a physicalist's world and an immaterialist's. And I thought you answered: none.

But since I can't provide a link in a reasonable amount of time, let's suppose no interaction like that never took place.

Here we are then: What difference would it make if idealism were true compared to physicalism?

I am flexible about the content of your answer, but I would prefer a test like the one Parnia offers up for distinguishing dualism from physicalism.

In any case, this

I believe you can distinguish between that which is either contradictory or conceptually empty and that which is neither.
is not enough by itself. What are you referring to?

What contradiction do you find in materialism?
What conceptual emptiness?

_____________________________________________________________________

P(Pictures Sighted | Physicalism) < P(Pictures Sighted | Mentalism)

That's what I meant all right.

Where do you get that

P(Pictures Sighted | Mentalism =~ 0.00...001
having said
So I must admit that perhaps a mind could receive visual sensations in some third way apart from memory and eyes. Perhaps a way that would only be available while the mind is disembodied.

___________________________________________________________________

People have visual sensations with their eyes closed.

Afterimages, phosphenes, electrical stimulation, etc.

They are fooled by illusions that exploit specific neural mechanisms of visual processing.

They have dreams about things that don't exist.

So why do you day visual sensations come only from eyes and memories?


So why do you *say* visual sensations come only from eyes and memories?

No one has yet so much as defined mind-independent matter in a way that describes anything at all and is self-consistent. They always either smuggle minds into the definition or they end up saying nothing.

So that's what I meant when I said that it is possible to distinguish between that which is either contradictory or conceptually empty and that which is neither.

As for why I say visual sensations come only from eyes and memories, I was using the phrase "eyes and memories" rather broadly. You actually don't get visual sensations at all just from your eyes. There's obviously a whole system involving nerves and brains. And without eyes to make the memories, you likewise have nothing. I grant that that entire mechanism is what we have constantly observed to be coupled with visual sensations, the after-images, phosphenes and so on are also part of that mechanism.

Now I recognize two claims about this mechanism as obvious. In order of decreasing obviousness they are:

  1. There is no necessary connection between events in that complex mechanism and the fact of visual sensation...the two types of events (observations of visual sensations and observations of certain neural activities) just happen always to coincide when we investigate deeply enough.
  2. We've never reliably observed visual sensations to occur except when they coincide with the events in the complex neurological mechanism I was referring to.
In saying that second one, I'm not saying that we never will reliably make such an observation, nor am I saying that there never have been instances where people have had visual sensations albeit sui generis ones apart from the complex neural mechanism.

As for testability, I'll remind you that you are the one hung up on logical positivism, not I. Nothing I say is rendered false, meaningless or even implausible if it fails the verifiability test.

But for now I'll just ask you to tell me exactly what it is that you think I need to distinguish the mind from? Tell me what you even mean by the term "matter". I mean, If you want a crucial experiment to show which hypothesis is true and which is false, tell me what your hypothesis is. My hypothesis is that all that exists are thinking things and their ideas. If you want to know what thinking things and ideas are, examine your own thoughts. Now tell me what physicalism even is. Please avoid referring to minds and ideas in doing so.

You haven't answered my questions.

Instead you ask your own. Fine.

Here is what I mean by the term 'matter'.

I shouldn't and won't avoid referring to minds or ideas.

Matter is an element of some theories of the world (or theories of our experiences, if you like).

'Matter' is included in those theories that do include it to account for some aspects of the world (some of our experiences) that are otherwise not accounted for.

The 'world' itself might contain only thinking things and their ideas.

Or, the 'world' might contain something like the 'matter' in the theories.

I don't know how to shed any light on the question of whether something like the 'matter' of the theories that included it exists in the world. Maybe you do?

A specific example: one role for matter (in the theories that include it) is to explain why, in our experience, some objects seem to continue to exist, change, and interact with other objects when (as far as we can tell) nobody is thinking about them.

Theories with matter say: A clock that's locked in a closet keeps time because it is made of mind-independent stuff that has mind-independent properties. If the clock was working when locked in the closet, chances are good that it will agree with clocks we've been watching while it was in there.

Where's the contradiction here?
Why is this conceptually empty?


This is the epitome of emptines:

Matter is an element of some theories of the world (or theories of our experiences, if you like).

'Matter' is included in those theories that do include it to account for some aspects of the world (some of our experiences) that are otherwise not accounted for.

So matter is something-I-know-not-what-but-I-need-it-for-my-theories.

OK. But what on earth is it? And why is it so terribly important for your theories.

Here's an example of how you think matter helps you:

some objects seem to continue to exist, change, and interact with other objects when (as far as we can tell) nobody is thinking about them.
Since seeming is an idea that is riddled with the mental, mind-independent things absolutely cannot seem to do any such thing.

What you just wrote is a contradiction.

BTW seeming also precludes not looking at a thing. Seeming is where you look at a thing and draw some conclusion about it.

Again, a contradiction.

Now, what does happen is this: If we leave things alone and don't think about them and then come back later and look at them, we find we can construct theories, constructs of the mind, that enable us, with good success, to predict what we will see when we observe them again.

Some of these theories will involve references to things like atoms and planets and baseball bats. Things with related sensible properties of extension, color, registering so-and-so on such-and-such a scientific instrument and so on.

Insofar as anything exists that corresponds to those references, they are mind-dependent. Why? Because they cannot be described apart from their sensible properties like color, shape registering so-and-so etc. And these properties are ideas in the mind.

Here's an analogy, when you describe the standing waves on a tensed string, it is possible to do so by describing traveling waves coming in from negative and positive infinity. But all there is are the waves on the string. There is not actually a wave coming in from negative or positive infinity where there is no string.

What actually exists are the things we perceive. Looking for matter that can exist independent of a perceiver is like looking for the wave on the string outside of the piano case.

"What actually exists are the things we perceive."

And by "we" I mean "we minds". Obviously, I include God as the ultimate perceiver.

WL,

Off topic:

The state of affairs that is this: NOTHING.

If we stay on your line it seems to me that two comments can be made here.

First - even such a possible world (state of affairs) as that - No World - is mind dependent.

Second - Being - that is to say - "I" - or Being's I-am - that Mind which so conceives that state of affairs - that World - must be.

As such - Mind becomes necessary in all possible states of affairs - of which no world is one possible state of affairs.

Mind cannot not be. "It" survives all possible states of affairs. Or perhaps the other direction - all possible states of affairs including no state of affairs land in "It".

Oddly - Matter displays exactly the opposite behavior. No-Matter - even No-Time - is achievable. Mind has a peculiar twist here where matter and time do not. Matter and Time can not-be. Mind cannot not be.


WL,

I meant to add: "states of affairs" - all of them - (which includes Matter and Time and 'Any X') can be-not.

It is only Mind that cannot not-be.

SCBLHRM-

If I read you right, I think you're working your way toward a point which, I think, is also a truth of reason: God exists necessarily.

We would have a slight terminological quibble.

I view the scenario where God alone exists as a perfectly good stat-of-affairs. You seem to be using the term "state-of-affairs" to refer to the totality of facts apart from God's existence. Thus given your usage, you can have a situation where there is no state of affairs, but God still exists.

I would use the term simply to refer to the totality of facts, including God's existence. Under that usage, since God is necessary, there is no such a thing as no state-of-affairs.

Probably nothing earthshaking turns on either usage, so long as we keep them distinct.

WL,

I agree and that clarification is logically unavoidable:

There is no state of affairs void of mind. Mind cannot not be.

I find it amusing that materialists cannot rationality say the same of material....or time.

"Picture just nothing at all existing"

Huh?

I-am-necessary even for such.

Since seeming is an idea that is riddled with the mental, mind-independent things absolutely cannot seem to do any such thing.

By seeming, I mean seeming TO someone.

I didn't intend to say that a mind independent thing could 'seem' all on it's own.

(I don't even understand what that would mean.)

So I think we are in agreement here.

And I don't think I contradicted myself.

Me:

'Matter' is an element of some theories of the world (or theories of our experiences, if you like).

'Matter' is included in those theories that do include it to account for some aspects of the world (some of our experiences) that are otherwise not accounted for.

WL:
This is the epitome of [conceptual] emptiness...
I really don't think so. Is it conceptually empty to point out that, whatever its status in the world, 'matter' is an element in some theories of the world? Doesn't this theoretical notion explain the persistence of objects? Or at least isn't that that what it is intended to do? This seems conceptually rich to me. Maybe I need a definition of 'conceptual emptiness'. Feel free to give one.

But what on earth is it?

It's a 'primitive notion' - like a 'point' in geometry.

You don't ask, 'But what on earth is a point?'

And why is it so terribly important for your theories.

It handles the persistence of objects - or should I say 'experiences involving the persistence of objects'.

BTW seeming also precludes not looking at a thing. Seeming is where you look at a thing and draw some conclusion about it.

OK. I look back at the thing after looking away. Now it seems to me like the thing is still there. Perhaps it's nature allows it to continue to exist even when I look away. Matter.

Maybe the persistence of objects might be made more precise.

Things seem not to last forever.

So, rather than talk about the persistence of objects, maybe it's better just to say that, during their existence, mind-independent objects don't depend on people'attention for their existence. With this modification, we can accommodate handle the possibility that objects don't last forever. They are transformed into other objects losing their identity. And the underlying matter itself can be converted to energy.

I know: What in the world is energy?

That's the innate problem of all third person accounting. It is forever - ad infinitum - one step behind of - indebted to - first person's being.

"What in the world is energy?"

You see, mentalism has an answer to that. A force is a push or a pull, work is a force applied to move something a certain distance.

Pushes, pulls, movements and distances are all ideas in the mind that we know through experience.

Mentalism also has an answer to the point question. I form an image in my mind of a small dark dot against a pale surface, then, in all my arguments about it, I refuse to take into account its sensible qualities of color, length, breadth or depth, but do take into account its sensible quality of position.

These answers are found in experience: pushes, pulls, positions, distances etc. Common experience that everyone has and knows intimately.

If you ask me what is heat, I point to the experience of heat. And you understand me.

If you ask me what a push is, I give you a gentle nudge and you understand me.

But your matter divorced from experience? I have no idea what it is, and I don't think you do either. It is an empty idea when it's not contradictory and contradictory when it's not empty.

And by the way matter does not a thing to explain or predict the persistence of things when not experienced.

But, you say of the persistent thing that "it's nature allows it to continue to exist even when I look away. Matter"

What is it to say that matter is the nature of things to persist when I look away? Or that matter is the stuff that has that nature?

What is being expressed other than the claim that things simply do continue to exist when I'm not looking at them and I posit something I-know-not-what that I call matter and it causes the persistence of sensible things I-know-not-how?

This is no explanation at all...it's just the brute assertion of an ineffable something-or-other that resolves the difficulties through occult powers.

It is more reasonable to say "When I close the door, and then come back later and open it, the chair that was in the room when I closed the door is still there when I re-open it...I don't know why that is, isn't that curious?"

Instead, you say that something completely independent from the mind or minds that have the temporally separated perceptions of the chair in the first place somehow made that happen. This claim is contradictory because you posit an entity that is both divorced from mind and not divorced from mind, or the claim means nothing at all because the posited entity is something-I-know-not-what that works in some way I-know-not-how.

As I said, better just to say you don't know how persistence works and leave it at that.

Of course, mentalism can explain the persistence of things. Mentalists are not forced into the skeptical view that is rationally preferable to the incoherency of the pseudo-explanation offered by mind-independent matter. Mentalists can assert that the persistent entity is never not perceived. That there is an individual always perceiving all those things that we are inclined to say continue to exist when we are not looking at them.

There is not the slightest difficulty in understanding what is meant by any of those words. We know what it is to perceive things. Why? We do it ourselves. We have direct experience of perceiving things. We know what it is to continue perceiving a thing over time. Again, we do it all the time. We even know what it is to form an idea in our mind and thereby have it formed in another mind...we know what it is for one mind to exist through another. Authors create all sorts of minds that exist through their own mind.

None of this is something-I-know-not-what. None of it is occult or magical in any way. And none of it is contradictory. It does not, to use a parallel, involve the existence of matter-dependent mind that is also matter-independent.

I didn't intend to say that a mind independent thing could 'seem' all on it's own.

(I don't even understand what that would mean.)

So I think we are in agreement here.

And I don't think I contradicted myself.

Well, if you meant to say that during the time that no one was perceiving the object, that it seemed then to someone that it still existed, then of course it's a contradiction to say that it was some mind-independent thing that made it seem that way. What made it seem that way at that time was the fact that the person to whom it seemed that the object existed actually had an idea of the thing.

Now, maybe you meant this. I saw the object, I looked away, I looked again and it was still there. I now infer that the object existed when I was looking away. For all the reasons given in the prior post, that inference is bad and based either on contradiction or conceptual emptiness.

Of course, the inference is perfectly OK if I say that the thing continued to exist because someone else was perceiving it when I wasn't

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