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Author Topic:   Objective reality
Stile
Member
Posts: 3393
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 91 of 172 (560122)
05-13-2010 12:14 PM
Reply to: Message 90 by Straggler
05-13-2010 11:05 AM


Re: Supernatural Math
Straggler writes:

What is the largest number that we have an empirical basis for?

Does infinity exist?

Does infinity have an empirical basis?

The answer to all 3 of those questions is "I don't know".
Perhaps someone more knowledgeable may know.

Straggler writes:

Stile writes:

So he certainly can conclude that the number 6 exists. It just isn't included in his "known to be a part of objective reality" category.

Why ever not?

I'm not positive that he can't. I just don't personally see how. Can you think of a way he can test that 6 apples is within his "known to be a part of objective reality" while he only has 5 apples?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 90 by Straggler, posted 05-13-2010 11:05 AM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 126 by Straggler, posted 05-14-2010 11:51 AM Stile has responded

    
nwr
Member
Posts: 5585
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005


Message 92 of 172 (560128)
05-13-2010 1:27 PM


I'm back in town, so catching up with replies.

I won't individually reply to every post. I will comment on those of particular interest, and I'll add some general comments.

I think it clear enough from the discussion that "objective" is not easy to define. And there seem to be two major groups. One group wants to restrict "objective" to instances with no human involvement at all, so anything dependent on human culture, including mathematics, would be excluded from what is considered objective. The second group is more permissive, and in particular is willing to consider that mathematics might count as objective (though perhaps not as reality).

My phrase "shared subjectivity" (see Message 383 in thread Creation, Evolution, and faith) was intended to indicate that I agree with the second of those groups.

According to Kant, we have no access to "the world in itself", and can only know the world through our mental phenomena. If we go by the first group on "objective", then Kant's view would seem to exclude everything we have access to. And that would seem to make the first group's view of "objective" unsustainable.

I am not sure whether I agree with Kant. But even without that, I think the first group's view is unsustainable. Mathematicians sometime joke that a topologist cannot distinguish between a donut and a coffee cup. Note that this joke is about the surface of a donut and the surface of a coffee cup, not the materials of which they are made. Topologists say this, because the metric properties that distinguish between a coffee cup and a donut are human constructs that are not dictated by the topological properties of the surfaces. It seems to me that to use "objective" in the sense of the first group, one would have to say that what distinguishes a donut from a coffee cup (considered as surfaces) is not objective. And I think that is far too restrictive in practice.


  
nwr
Member
Posts: 5585
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005


Message 93 of 172 (560129)
05-13-2010 1:33 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by Straggler
05-08-2010 1:57 PM


Re: The red pill? Or the blue pill?
Straggler writes:
What is it that makes the perceived "objective reality" within the Matrix any less objective than that perceived outside the Matrix?

The fact that it isn't "real".


But it would seem real to those in the matrix, so it would fit what those inside the matrix mean by "real".
This message is a reply to:
 Message 10 by Straggler, posted 05-08-2010 1:57 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 132 by Straggler, posted 05-14-2010 9:40 PM nwr has responded

  
nwr
Member
Posts: 5585
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005


Message 94 of 172 (560130)
05-13-2010 1:36 PM
Reply to: Message 15 by Rahvin
05-08-2010 2:22 PM


Re: Non-Empirical Objective Reality(?)
Rahvin writes:
Mathematics is just language.

I will join cavediver in disagreeing with this view of mathematics, though it is one I often hear expressed by non-mathematicians.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 15 by Rahvin, posted 05-08-2010 2:22 PM Rahvin has not yet responded

  
nwr
Member
Posts: 5585
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005


Message 95 of 172 (560134)
05-13-2010 1:43 PM
Reply to: Message 38 by Dr Adequate
05-09-2010 12:53 PM


Re: About Math
Dr Adequate writes:
I'll go further than that. The natural numbers don't exist.

I agree with that. I'll tentatively take that to indicate that you are a fictionalist.

The implication is that the number pi also does not exist, and I agree with that, too. But there is still a question for the ratio pi, which I am inclined to think of as existing (though not empirical).

I'll say a little about my view of where mathematics fits in another post.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 38 by Dr Adequate, posted 05-09-2010 12:53 PM Dr Adequate has not yet responded

  
nwr
Member
Posts: 5585
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005


Message 96 of 172 (560137)
05-13-2010 1:47 PM
Reply to: Message 42 by tesla
05-09-2010 4:43 PM


Re: My Take;
tesla writes:
Objective reality simply means: As it is.

Great. Now all we need is a definition of "as it is".

tesla writes:
That the data such as:" what goes up, must come down" is true and verified by all observation.

The terms "true" and "verified" aren't that obvious either.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 42 by tesla, posted 05-09-2010 4:43 PM tesla has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 123 by tesla, posted 05-14-2010 12:12 AM nwr has acknowledged this reply

  
nwr
Member
Posts: 5585
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005


Message 97 of 172 (560146)
05-13-2010 2:15 PM


On mathematics
Here is my take on mathematics.

I see mathematics as about methods, rather than about objects.

Take number theory (or elementary integer arithmetic). I see that as the study of counting. We invent numbers, as useful fictions, in order to exercise our counting methods in an ideal environment. Empirical counting is messy - for example, it gives rise to hanging chads as in the 2000 US presidential elections as contested in Florida. Idealized counting is perfect - ideal - so it does not run into the same hanging chad problem.

A study of idealized counting is scientifically valuable, because whenever empirical counting differs from idealized counting, that difference tells us something interesting about empirical reality.

Similarly, I see geometry as a study of measuring methods. Euclidean geometry is, in some reasonable sense, an idealization of the use of a portable measuring rod for determining distance.

If reality objective, then a study of the methods for dealing with reality should be considered objective. And, in that case, the study of idealizations of those methods should also be considered objective. And if the ratio pi shows up as important in those idealized methods, then that would lead us to also consider the ratio pi as objective, even if we think of numbers as merely useful fictions.


Replies to this message:
 Message 110 by cavediver, posted 05-13-2010 5:22 PM nwr has responded

  
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16085
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 10.0


Message 98 of 172 (560155)
05-13-2010 3:01 PM


I REST MY CASE
You're all (with the occasional exception of nwr) talking nonsense about math.

This prevents you from addressing an interesting question such as that raised in the OP.

It is fortunate for you that mathematics is merely an intellectual discipline rather than a religion, or I should burn most of you at the fucking stake.

Instead of being wrong about math, why don't you try being right about the OP?

Edited by Dr Adequate, : No reason given.


Replies to this message:
 Message 99 by cavediver, posted 05-13-2010 3:14 PM Dr Adequate has responded
 Message 100 by New Cat's Eye, posted 05-13-2010 3:17 PM Dr Adequate has responded

  
cavediver
Member (Idle past 1720 days)
Posts: 4129
From: UK
Joined: 06-16-2005


Message 99 of 172 (560161)
05-13-2010 3:14 PM
Reply to: Message 98 by Dr Adequate
05-13-2010 3:01 PM


Re: I REST MY CASE
You're all (with the occasional exception of nwr) talking nonsense about math.

Again, I'm glad you are here to solve these age old arguments. We really could have done with you in DAMTP - many many hours of arguments over coffee could have been saved. It must be so nice to be so convinced you're right. Have you tried Christianity? It would suit you well.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 98 by Dr Adequate, posted 05-13-2010 3:01 PM Dr Adequate has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 104 by Dr Adequate, posted 05-13-2010 4:36 PM cavediver has responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 100 of 172 (560162)
05-13-2010 3:17 PM
Reply to: Message 98 by Dr Adequate
05-13-2010 3:01 PM


Re: I REST MY CASE
You're all (with the occasional exception of nwr) talking nonsense about math.
This prevents you from addressing an interesting question such as that raised in the OP.

It is fortunate for you that mathematics is merely an intellectual discipline rather than a religion, or I should burn most of you at the fucking stake.

Instead of being wrong about math, why don't you try being right about the OP?

Gawsh, an explanation on where and how they were wrong would've been an interesting read.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 98 by Dr Adequate, posted 05-13-2010 3:01 PM Dr Adequate has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 102 by Stile, posted 05-13-2010 3:25 PM New Cat's Eye has responded
 Message 105 by Dr Adequate, posted 05-13-2010 4:37 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

  
Hyroglyphx
Member
Posts: 5622
From: Austin, TX
Joined: 05-03-2006


Message 101 of 172 (560163)
05-13-2010 3:20 PM


I don't know... I've been sort of following this thread for a few days now but can't make heads or tails of it. It's an epistemological nightmare.

You fellers is on yer own.


"Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from mistaken conviction." Blaise Pascal
    
Stile
Member
Posts: 3393
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 102 of 172 (560164)
05-13-2010 3:25 PM
Reply to: Message 100 by New Cat's Eye
05-13-2010 3:17 PM


Re: I REST MY CASE
Catholic Scientist writes:

Gawsh, an explanation on where and how they were wrong would've been an interesting read.

(And, personally, I wouldn't mind being corrected... fastest way to learn things I know of)

(But you didn't hear that from me... what you did hear from me is that I'm perfect )


This message is a reply to:
 Message 100 by New Cat's Eye, posted 05-13-2010 3:17 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 103 by New Cat's Eye, posted 05-13-2010 3:29 PM Stile has acknowledged this reply

    
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 103 of 172 (560165)
05-13-2010 3:29 PM
Reply to: Message 102 by Stile
05-13-2010 3:25 PM


Re: I REST MY CASE
(And, personally, I wouldn't mind being corrected... fastest way to learn things I know of)

That the biggest possible circle ever wouldn't allow us to scientifically measure the pi ratio down to the 50th decimal place, but we can still calculate what it precisely is shows that not every objective thing can be scientifically investigated.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 102 by Stile, posted 05-13-2010 3:25 PM Stile has acknowledged this reply

Replies to this message:
 Message 118 by AnswersInGenitals, posted 05-13-2010 6:49 PM New Cat's Eye has not yet responded

  
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16085
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 10.0


Message 104 of 172 (560170)
05-13-2010 4:36 PM
Reply to: Message 99 by cavediver
05-13-2010 3:14 PM


Re: I REST MY CASE
Again, I'm glad you are here to solve these age old arguments. We really could have done with you in DAMTP - many many hours of arguments over coffee could have been saved. It must be so nice to be so convinced you're right. Have you tried Christianity? It would suit you well.

Ah yes, I was forgetting. A Christian strongly believes that Jesus is his savior --- whereas you strongly believe in the existence of cheese.

So because you both have strong beliefs in something, that basically puts you on the same level and your beliefs should be regarded in the same way.

Yeah, I was kinda forgetting that basic logical syllogism when I dared to suggest that I was right about something. Oopsie. Dearie me.

Do you have any actual arguments against the point of view that I have expressed? If so, I should be interested to hear them. If not, then spare me the rhetoric.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 99 by cavediver, posted 05-13-2010 3:14 PM cavediver has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 107 by cavediver, posted 05-13-2010 4:56 PM Dr Adequate has responded

  
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16085
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 10.0


Message 105 of 172 (560171)
05-13-2010 4:37 PM
Reply to: Message 100 by New Cat's Eye
05-13-2010 3:17 PM


Re: I REST MY CASE
Gawsh, an explanation on where and how they were wrong would've been an interesting read.

I thought I'd done that.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 100 by New Cat's Eye, posted 05-13-2010 3:17 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 106 by New Cat's Eye, posted 05-13-2010 4:44 PM Dr Adequate has responded

  
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