On Tue, Dec 7, 2010 at 1:44 PM, Brent Meeker <meeke...@dslextreme.com> wrote:
> On 12/7/2010 10:13 AM, Rex Allen wrote:
>> So I don't strenuously deny the possibility of something
>> non-experiential existing - but ultimately I'm not sure what it means
>> to say that something exists outside of experience.
>> So let's take the set of all things that I know about rocks. Now,
>> let's remove the properties from this set that are just aspects of my
>> experience. For instance, any property possessed by dream-rocks or
>> hallucinated-rocks, we will subtract from the set of properties that
>> belong to "real" rocks.
>> Now...after this subtraction, what is left that is unique to "real
>> rocks", as opposed to "experiential rocks"?
>> Nothing, right? So what are we talking about when we discuss "real" rocks?
> If you know that rocks are hard then that is a true belief, independent of
> your experience.  Otherwise you don't know it.

You are right that if it’s not true or it’s not a belief, then you
don’t know it.

Additionally, if your belief about the hardness of rocks isn’t
justified, then you don’t know it.

>> It seems to me that there is nothing conceivable about the in-itself
>> except the idea that its existence doesn't depend on our experience of
>> it. This is a pretty slim reed.
>> Therefore, I don't really see why we should assume the existence of
>> something that we can't conceive of.
> You've slip from existence of things to treating existence itself as a
> thing.

What kind of thing do you feel that I’m treating it as?

> It is easy to conceive of a rock as existing, even if you can't
> conceive of its existence as a ding an sich.

If you can’t conceive of it’s existence as a thing-in-itself, then
what does your conception consist of?

When I think about rocks, I can only think of them in terms of how
they seem to me.

>>>> 3.  Therefore I conclude that only my mental states exist.  No.
>>> All right then. But this contradicts other posts you send.
>> My other posts said that only conscious experience exists.  I never
>> said only *my* conscious experience.
> Why suppose that they do?  Where's your proof?

No proof required.  I’m not asserting that they definitely exist.  Or
that they don’t exist.  It just seems plausible to me that they might,
based on the facts of my own consciousness.

>>>> That is non sense. It is like saying, before trying to build a pendulum we
>>>> need a plausible explanation of gravity.
>>> Your analogy doesn't hold since we don't have to infer the existence
>>> of our consciousness from what we observe via our intersubjective
>>> experience.
>> So we observe the pendulum and infer the existence of gravity to
>> account for it's behavior.
>> I don't infer the existence of my consciousness from observing my
>> interactions with other people.
>> I might infer other people's consciousness from my interactions with
>> them.
> What "them"?

My imaginary friends.

>>> 1Z was right: you ask for an
>>> absolute explanation. Just that makes you a solipsist, given that only
>>> personal consciousness can be considered as absolute.
>> An absolute explanation is available.  Meillassoux discusses it in his
>> book, "After Finitude:  An Essay on the Necessity of Contingency".
>> The absolute explanation is that there is no reason for how things are.
> But what is the explanation for there being no reason?

I refer you to the “absolute explanation”.  There is no reason for
anything, not even that.

Just setting up an infinite series of questions does not an infinite
regress make.

I assume that’s where you were going with that.

>>> But then how could *you* infer anything from this, given that you don't have
>>> an account of consciousness when your own "theory" asks for it.
>> Conscious experience is fundamental, therefore no account can be given
>> of it.  Fundamental things can't be explained in terms of anything
>> else.  That's what makes them fundamental.
> But that's what makes them useful for explaining other things.

There are no other things that need explaining.  There's just
conscious experience.  And no conscious experience explains any other.

>> Again, metaphysical answers are never "useful" in any practical sense.
>>  They never add anything over instrumentalism, except perhaps to spark
>> the imagination via metaphor and analogy.
> Which is very useful.

It sometimes feels that way.


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