[-----Original Message-Tom Caylor wrote:]
May I offer the following quote as a potential catalyst for Bruno and Colin:

If thought is laryngeal motion, how should any one think more truly than the 
wind blows? All movements of bodies are equally necessary, but they cannot be 
discriminated as true and false. It seems as nonsensical to call a movement 
true as a flavour purple or a sound avaricious. But what is obvious when 
thought is said to be a certain bodily movement seems equally to follow from 
its being the effect of one. Thought called knowledge and thought called error 
are both necessary results of states of brain. These states are necessary 
results of other bodily states. All the bodily states are equally real, and so 
are the different thoughts; but by what right can I hold that my thought is 
knowledge of what is real in bodies? For to hold so is but another thought, an 
effect of real bodily movements like the rest. . . These arguments, however, of 
mine, if the principles of scientific [naturalism]... are to stand 
unchallenged, are themselves no more than happenings in a mind, results of!
  bodily movements; that you or I think them sound, or think them unsound, is 
but another such happening; that we think them no more than another such 
happening is itself but yet another such. And it may be said of any ground on 
which we may attempt to stand as true, Labitur et labetur in omne volubilis 
aevum ["It flows and will flow swirling on forever" (Horace, Epistles, I, 2, 
43)]. (H. W. B. Joseph, Some Problems in Ethics (Oxford University Press, 
1931), pp. 14-15)

Tom Caylor

[Brent Meeker wrote:]
So what?  Of course without any context, simply looking at physical processes 
doesn't allow one distiguish "true opinion" for "false opinion". 
True and false are the linguistic analogues of effective and ineffective 
action.  Wiiliam S. Cooper as written a nice little book on this called "The 
Evolution of Reason - Logic as a Branch of Biology".

Brent Meeker

[Bruno wrote]
I am not sure I follow that (very well written) statements. It is a little bit 
wrong like the argument of those who use determinism against free will. By 
looking at yourself at some low level it *looks* there is no sense, but this 
just shows that from your personal point of view you are not "living" at that 
level. You take the risk at dismissing all theories by pointing that they are 
all produce by .... and then you are using a theory for describing some level.

The fact that Schroedinger was obeying to its one wave equation cannot be used 
to invalidate it!


[Col replies---------------------------]
Tom, in your very eloquent fashion you have touched upon the essence of my 
approach to the issue of a theory of everything. Somewhat spooky in 
coincidence: as Brent Meeker tells us of Cooper's "Evolution of Reason - Logic 
as a Branch of Biology" I happen to have that very book in front of me. In that 
book is yet another very handsome structured linguistic metaphor for the 
structure of thought and reasoning. Once again I think to myself(very 
paradoxical, this act!) if I build one will it truly reason like us? The usual 
answer is 'maybe'. You simply can never resolve the question with linguistic 
frameworks (artifacts of brain material).

Note in the case of Brent and Bruno (and I do this too... putting it aside has 
been agonising) is an assumption. That assumption is that within the products 
of thought some direct correspondence with the natural world has been achieved. 
The reality of the situation is that what has been achieved is a cogent way of 
arguing for the position, not that the position has touched upon the true 
nature of things. Cooper has not done this. Nor has Crick, Koch, Edelman or 
anyone else...

The acid test is to make empirical predictions in relation to brain material or 
some other testable physical situation. If a metaphor ( a model) can’t do that 
then you're never going to resolve it. Indeed that you can ever really resolve 
it is as open to criticism. The prediction/observation of the behaviour of the 
natural world, in particular novel technology, is the only way any progress can 
be made. Even then the relationship model to the natural world can never be 
assumed more than verisimilitude in respect of the predicted outcome.

This sounds ever so dry and empirical, but it has teeth! If the only evidence 
you can find in support of 'truth' X is brain material reporting the belief - 
you are wasting your time. You will be going around in linguistic circles 
rearranging mental beliefs of other beliefs of other beliefs of.....

I would commend everyone to take a moment to simply look at things the way Tom 
has. A collection of matter, a human, made of the natural world, within the 
natural world, has made an utterance 'about' that natural world. Consider the 
bare reality of that situation. Forget everything else you have ever read about 
it. There may be an infinity of abstract domains. We may be in one of those. 
That we can necessarily represent our domain in terms of other domains is an 
assumption. QM, multiverse, computation....any other domain ... they may have 
great predictive utility and assistance in making decisions in a specific 
context.... however... in the end they can be only metaphor for the natural 
world that the natural world can access from within to describe itself. 

For that is us and what we do. We may have a perfect mathematical 'law' and yet 
we can always configure doubt, so it must remain a metaphor. We can never know 
for sure.

To let go of the idea that we literally touch the truth with our musings is not 
easy. It can feel so compelling. It can be so very useful. Humility is part of 
it. Science since the 1600s is paved with such embarrassing hubris. That we are 
stuck in this endless loop, repelling access to deeper truth is the outcome. 
That deeper truth in relation to the natural world will come from being able to 
make predictions of brain matter made from a position of humility in the face 
of the reality of our position within the natural world so well described by 

When indeed does thought as presented dynamically by laryngeal motion 
necessarily more a 'truth' than the blowing wind? More importantly: why should 
a mind inclusive of phenomenal consciousness necessarily have better access to 
a truth? (this is proven with an evolutionary argument - we wouldn't otherwise
be here to argue the point!)

You can only get to that through deep analysis of brain matter that results in 
testable predictions. Instead of ascribing access to 'reality' (which is all we 
can do)  the approach is to understand what mechanism gives rise to this 
'apparent' reality. Whatever natural world gives rise to that, no matter how 
weird, that is 'reality'.

Our scientific evidentiary process is based on the fallacy of the assumed 
existence of an 'objective view'. To push the so-called 'objective view' of 
corroborative science aside and allocate primacy to the subjective is not going 
to be an easy adjustment. To do that and retain the validity of all science to 
date (because it works) is ultimately what is required. 

Reality vs perception of reality? I vote we work really hard on the latter and 
drop all ascription in relation to the former. A  significant dose of humility 


Colin hales

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