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Schrodinger's Cat

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Where is the empty space?

Hmmmm. I must resist the urge ...

Seriously, you should ask yourself whether that is a meaningful question in the context of the current discussion.

Darrell

Space in the universe is a measurement of distance. It is not empty. Empty space is a contradiction because there is no distance to measure in such a place--it does not exist. One can say this space is empty of X, Y and Z things and so is that space over there, but they are not empty per se. Not unless you can get rid of gravity and the radiation left over from the Big Bang and light itself. Dark matter, where/what art thou?

Let's say that, like galaxies, there are billions of universes, many with space between them. Now such spaces may indeed be empty, until two of the (expanding) universes collide. There would be no known way of knowing any of this until it happens, if it ever does. Such empty space could only be known as an after-thought if then.

Could burnt out universes be causing the accelerated expansion of our universe?

--Brant

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Causality is not something that is a priori true, it the regular behavior of things that we observe in the macroscopic world that has lead us to introduce this notion, as we had never seen any exception to it, making it into a seemingly immutable law. That is, until we started to study the atomic and subatomic world. The evidence that classical causality no longer holds in that realm is as strong as the evidence that it does hold in the macroscopic world, so we had to revise the idea that causality never can be violated, just as we after Einstein had to revise the apparently immutable notion of an absolute time.

Is it possible that Einstein was right about causality and absolute time? He believed in the first but not the second.

A particular uranium atom may decay the next moment or it may decay after a billion years, there is no cause for it to decay at a certain moment, so causality is violated and therefore it is impossible to predict when it will decay.
I will agree that science can have no meaningful way of considering unobservable or unmeasurable causes, but can philosophy? Since science is founded in observation and quantitative measurement, it cannot explore what cannot be observed and quantitatively measured. Therefore, Heisenberg's limit is a limit to science as an epistemological method.

Objectivist philosophy has a different method. It is founded in observation and qualitative measurement. It seems to me that Objectivism runs into the same trouble as science. How can we say anything about causality, about the necessitation of action beyond the quantum limit, if we cannot observe or qualitatively measure anything that might exist there?

However, Rand's epistemology contained more than just what she made explicit in ITOE. There is no doubt in my mind that she learned much about human nature, not just via a process of observation, qualitative measurement and abstraction, but by inventing characters in her imagination, setting them in specific contexts, and setting them in motion to imagine how they would interact. Rand looked beyond what was directly observable and measurable, applied an empirically expanded version of the concepts of identity and causality, and created an understanding of the unseen psychological/social dynamics that causes observable human events.

Can we not, in the spirit of philosophy if not science, apply this epistemological method to explore the nature of reality that may lay beyond the quantum limit? I think Rand did when she came up with here "little stuff." That Einstein did is the reason he lost touch with the direction of modern physics for the sake of holding onto causality. I think both Rand and Einstein had the right idea. I also think their concepts of identity and causality were incomplete. For both Rand and Einstein, their concepts of identity and causality needed to be more empirically informed.

Einstein recognized the need for integrating particle actions and interactions with wave and field dynamics---i.e.: he saw the empirical need to integrate an atomic type of causation and a node-field causation into his thinking. Rand recognized that causality identifies a necessary relationship between what a thing is and what it does---i.e.: she identified the connection between an individual's psychology and philosophy and his actions as a general rule of causation. The importance of Rand's insight is in where it places the locus of control in the causal process: in the entity, not in the antecedent action.

What else can we say about all observed entities and all observed actions? Can we say there are no unextended entities? Can we say there are no disembodied action? Is there a single concept of causality that is compatible with the world of classical physics, the world of quantum physics and the experience of creative will and volition? If such an empirically informed view of identity and causality can be reached, could it not guide us, along with the evidence from the sciences and personal explorations of our existence, in constructing the nature of existence that underlies the unobservables and unmeasurables of the quantum world and the psyche?

Paul

PS: When I was writing previously about quantum physics on this thread, I was writing from models I developed many years ago and I was somewhat confused between my visualization of matter waves and EM waves because I see both as being transmitted via a singular background media that can be described in terms of the geometry of space/time. I also forgot how I saw both of these types of waves causally integrated with the corpuscular properties of particles (which can be described as a node or knot in the background energy field) to shape quantum events. Basically, I was thinking of matter waves, calling them EM waves, and I forgot to use the concept of quanta in a discussion of quantum events. Oops! My program has been updated. :)

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Dr. Hougen:

You remarked in post #68:

"I do not consider the universe to be a thing."

The universe is conceived in our modern physics (with much empirical and mathematical reason) as having some definite, finite positive value of mass-energy, though what that value is has not yet been ascertained for certain. The universe is also thought to have definite global structure. Shouldn't the universe as conceived in modern physics count as an entity having definite specific attributes?

Wouldn't the fact that the universe has mass-energy as a global attribute, further, that the mass-energy of the universe is finite or that it is finite and constant be things that can be known through modern physics and not through metaphysics?

You remarked:

"I do not consider the universe to be a thing. Empty space is not a thing."

This suggests that by universe you meant the universe considered apart from the matter and fields and vacuum energy in it. Could we know from metaphysics what attributes of---what layers of structure in---empty space are only abstractions and not also concretes physically autonomous with respect to all forms of mass-energy? Or would this issue be for modern physics to resolve?

Stephen

PS: Your remarks on the EPR experimental results and on identity and causality under the basic Objectivist metaphysics are dead on target.

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Space in the universe is a measurement of distance.

That is a novel definition. Space is generally taken to be the absence of a thing, the absence of dirt in a hole, the absence of furniture in a room, the absence of a loved one in one's life. Space is a mental abstraction, not something that exists.

Darrell

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I will agree that science can have no meaningful way of considering unobservable or unmeasurable causes, but can philosophy?

I don't think so. One can characterize a random process in terms of a probability distribution, but imagination is no substitute for empirical evidence.

However, Rand's epistemology contained more than just what she made explicit in ITOE. There is no doubt in my mind that she learned much about human nature, not just via a process of observation, qualitative measurement and abstraction, but by inventing characters in her imagination, setting them in specific contexts, and setting them in motion to imagine how they would interact. Rand looked beyond what was directly observable and measurable, applied an empirically expanded version of the concepts of identity and causality, and created an understanding of the unseen psychological/social dynamics that causes observable human events.

What do you mean by, "an empirically expanded version of the concepts of identity and causality?" That sounds a little wishy-washy.

Darrell

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Space is a mental abstraction, not something that exists.

Darrell,

I only have a common sense approach, but isn't space something that exists with its own nature? I always thought it was an expanse where things are contained and move around. An all-pervasive "background" existent for other existents, so to speak. And it is HUGE, bigger than anything else—so huge that we usually only deal with a portion of it at a time.

Michael

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The universe is conceived in our modern physics (with much empirical and mathematical reason) as having some definite, finite positive value of mass-energy, though what that value is has not yet been ascertained for certain. The universe is also thought to have definite global structure. Shouldn't the universe as conceived in modern physics count as an entity having definite specific attributes?

Perhaps, but the original question was whether the universe could be said to be finite, a priori, i.e., without evidence. My response should have been that the universe is the set of all things which is a mental abstraction. The universe itself is not a thing. Now, it may turn out that the quantity of things in the universe is finite, but that does not alter the original definition.

Consider infinite series in mathematics. We can conceive of an infinite series by ascribing a finite set of properties to it, but we cannot conceive of every member of the series nor can such a thing exist as a singular entity in reality.

Darrell

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I used to take your view that the solopsistic viewpoint is useless. That is one approach. But, I believe that it is worse than useless. It is fundamentally untrue. You say that you don't believe the solopsistic point of view. But the question is, why? Simply because it is useless or because it somehow fails to correspond to your experience? Although the first response is logically safe, I suspect that the true answer is really the second.

No, I don't think it is untrue, you'd better say it isn't even wrong. The point is that the solipsist's system can be completely self-consistent. But to make it consistent and to live to it, he has to act in his "imaginary world" as if there is a real outside world, in other words, his imaginary world is isomorphic with our "real world" and as there isn't any discernible difference between the two worlds except how they are labeled, the obvious thing to do is to use Occam's razor and to identify his imaginary world with the real world.

I agree that the number of objects in the universe is an empirical question but that is irrelevant to the identity axiom. The identity axiom states that everything that exists, exists in some quantity. It does not state that the collection of all things is finite. Some Objectivists may take that view, but it is certainly not my view nor do I think it is warranted.

Ok. But also here my impression is not that this is only the view of some Objectivists, it is the official view, at least in Peikoff's version, I can't remember Rand saying anything of the kind.

I guess I'm not aware of any evidence that causality is ever violated. Even the EPR/Bell experiments are consistent with causality. If you know of any conflicting evidence, please let me know.

Depends on your definition of causality, but I understand that yours is not the same as the official Objectivist's version.

This is where I depart ways with Peikoff. In my view, the decay of a Uranium atom is causal in the Objectivist sense. The moment of its decay is not determinate, but the nature of the decay is still constrained. The Uranium atom still has an identity. Its behavior is not arbitrary.

Ok.

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I only have a common sense approach, but isn't space something that exists with its own nature? I always thought it was an expanse where things are contained and move around. An all-pervasive "background" existent for other existents, so to speak. And it is HUGE, bigger than anything else—so huge that we usually only deal with a portion of it at a time.

If space has its own nature, what is it? It doesn't have any size or mass or energy or momentum. It is not an aspect of consciousness. It has no properties because it isn't anything.

At one time, physicists hypothesized the existence of an either, a background (to use your term) that served as a reference frame to which measurements of position and velocity, for example, could be related. Then, the Michelson-Morley demonstrated that the speed of light is independent of the intertial motion of the platform upon which it is measured. That result effectively demolished the theory of the ether.

The Earth is orbiting the Sun and rotating on its axis and is therefore moving at high speed along a complex path. Yet, the speed of light is independent of whether its direction is East-to-West or West-to-East or North-to-South, etc. Moreover, if the speed of light is measured on a moving train, it is the same as for a stationary observer. Many such experiments have been carried out and none has ever shown an effect of inertial motion on the speed of light. The conclusion is that there is no static frame of reference that has preference over any other. Such observations also form the basis of Einstein's Theory of Special Relativity.

Darrell

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Darrell, concerning #82:

If we define the universe as the set of all things and we mean set in the sense of that which satisfies the axioms of set theory (even just Zermelo-Fraenkel without the axiom of Choice and beyond), then for sure we are talking about a mental abstraction that is not identical to the collection of all things having concrete existence. From a set equinumerous to the collection of all concrete existents, we can form larger sets. But if by universe we mean the collection of all concrete existents, then we are talking about something that is not only an abstraction, but a concrete thing.

The infinite sequence of rational numbers given by the formula {[(nxn)-n]/[2(nxn)+n]} with n=2,3,4,5,6,7,8, . . . converges step by ever-more-tiny step to the rational number (1/2). [That is the sequence: (1/5), (2/7), (1/3), (4/11), (15/39), (42/105), (14/34), . . . ] Though we cannot witness each number in the infinite sequence, the sequence is a definite singular abstract entity on the rational line Q.

The question of whether a line in physical space contains all the points and properties of the rational line Q would seem to be an empirical question. But if lines of physical space do have all the points and properties of Q, then the sequence above is not only a definite single entity in abstraction, but in concrete space.

It might seem that exact extensionless points of space are only abstractions, only limits of mathematical infinite iterative processes. Yet in our modern quantum electrodynamics, the family of particles called leptons (e.g. the electron) are assumed to be absolute extensionless points of matter. They have other nonzero properties such as mass, charge, and spin, but their length, breadth, and depth are zero. Exactly zero. This has been verified by indirect experimental methods to an enormous accuracy.

The fact that we arrive at the concept of a certain entity by abstraction does not always mean that the entity could not also be a concrete entity in the physical world. The universe and space with its exquisite geometry would seem to be concrete real entities of that nature.

Edited by Stephen Boydstun

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No, I don't think it is untrue, you'd better say it isn't even wrong. The point is that the solipsist's system can be completely self-consistent. But to make it consistent and to live to it, he has to act in his "imaginary world" as if there is a real outside world, in other words, his imaginary world is isomorphic with our "real world" and as there isn't any discernible difference between the two worlds except how they are labeled, the obvious thing to do is to use Occam's razor and to identify his imaginary world with the real world.

The solopsist's view may be completely self consistent (in some sense), but is it factual?

That things exist outside of one's own consciousness is a self evident fact. The knowledge that things exist apart from consciousness comes from an honest assessment of the content of one's own consciousness and of one's perceptions.

In the Objectivist view, it is not even sensible to talk about the logical consistency of the solopsist view, because the ultimate test of logical consistency is correspondence to reality. If there is no reality, then no correspondence can be established and consistency is meaningless.

BTW, if the solopsist view is correct, then there is only one true consciousness and that consciousness is mine.

Darrell

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If space has its own nature, what is it? It doesn't have any size or mass or energy or momentum. It is not an aspect of consciousness. It has no properties because it isn't anything.

Darrell,

Why can't space exist like consciousness does, as a primary? As simply area? Why does its nature have to have the same characteristics as other existents? I note that consciousness does not have any size or mass or energy or momentum, yet it exists.

btw - I never did understand the ether theory. Ether is a gas. What I imagine space to be is an empty area.

Michael

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The conclusion is that the axioms are not starting points. They are statements that are taken to be true because they are implicit in all knowledge. Any attempt to refute them, requires their use, as does any attempt to justify them. Because they are implicit in all knowledge, they are inescapable and irrefutable.

Darrell

Fine, but there are some problems. Not the least of which is the obvious extension of what your saying and that is to STATE them also requires their use and as a result renders them circular and useless.

Regardless, I could take as an axiom under your definition as " Something exists" - fine.

Now, the statement 'Existence exists independent of consciousness' whether true or false, is NOT axiomatic in your "hard" sense at all.

Neither is identity, as I contend the whole concept as utilized usually is a fallacy.

"That things exist outside of one's own consciousness is a self evident fact. The knowledge that things exist apart from consciousness comes from an honest assessment of the content of one's own consciousness and of one's perceptions."

And to be clear, we could argue this until the cows come home, but that's not my point - I tend to agree with the assertion. My point is that the statement is not axiomatic, it is not self-evident. And realize that as soon as you bring 'honesty' into it, you're arguing from intimidation - Rand's favourite passtime as far as I can tell, but not pertinent to the point at hand.

Bob

Edited by Bob_Mac

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Now, the statement 'Existence exists independent of consciousness' whether true or false, is NOT axiomatic in your "hard" sense at all.

That existence exists independent of consciousness is a fact implicit in all knowledge, but it cannot be proven in the ordinary sense and therefore can neither be established nor rejected on the basis of any scientific test.

And to be clear, we could argue this until the cows come home, but that's not my point - I tend to agree with the assertion. My point is that the statement is not axiomatic, it is not self-evident. And realize that as soon as you bring 'honesty' into it, you're arguing from intimidation - Rand's favourite passtime as far as I can tell, but not pertinent to the point at hand.

I agree that we could argue about this endlessly. It is a fact that cannot be proven in the ordinary sense and because I do not have access to your consciousness, there is nothing I can do to prove it to you. I can merely appeal to your reasonableness. However, in the case of QM there are certainly interpretations that are consistent with the axiom (as there must be).

Darrell

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Why can't space exist like consciousness does, as a primary? As simply area? Why does its nature have to have the same characteristics as other existents? I note that consciousness does not have any size or mass or energy or momentum, yet it exists.

btw - I never did understand the ether theory. Ether is a gas. What I imagine space to be is an empty area.

I'm not saying that space has to have the same characteristics, just that it must have some characteristic. What does it mean for something to exist if it has no measureable properties, features or attributes?

The gas is not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about an external reference frame in which electromagnetic waves were supposed to propagate. Physicists did conceive of it as having fluid like properties in which electromagnetic waves were to be formed. Otherwise, what is waving? In fact, the Michelson-Morley experiment was apparently originally conducted for the purpose of establishing the existence of such a medium. However, the experiment failed. Nothing was discovered.

Darrell

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I'm not saying that space has to have the same characteristics, just that it must have some characteristic. What does it mean for something to exist if it has no measureable properties, features or attributes?

Darrell,

Once again, I ask, does consciousness qua consciousness have these things? We know there are brain activities that have "measurable properties, features or attributes," and they impact the consciousness on an individual living being. But the state of consciousness itself? What are its measurable features?

Speaking of large-scale ideas, what are the "measurable properties, features or attributes" of existence as a whole? Don't we merely measure the properties, features and attributes of parts of existence at one time? Not the whole (which would be impossible)?

So why not with space? In that case, in an instance of measuring only part of it, it would have length, depth and width. The main property is area.

I am not trying to be a pain. I am sincerely interested.

Michael

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So why not with space? In that case, in an instance of measuring only part of it, it would have length, depth and width. The main property is area.

I am not trying to be a pain. I am sincerely interested.

Michael

No, I don't think so. Giving space immutable qualities like length, depth, width etc. (and hence volume) is not appropriate. The 'main' property of space in the classical sense might be volume (not area), but space isn't classical. Relativity unwound all of the classical notions of length, time, space, and velocity. Matter and space (space-time more correctly) are connected so that one doesn't mean anything without the other it seems.

Bob

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Matter and space (space-time more correctly) are connected so that one doesn't mean anything without the other it seems.

Bob,

I can buy that. They are merely aspects of a whole, not components. In that case, I can agree with the following statement by Darrell:

Space is a mental abstraction, not something that exists.

But then, this same statement would have to apply to matter (energy), and also time. Correct?

Maybe "something that exists" in the statement above should be "something that exists separately from all else."

Michael

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No, I don't think it is untrue, you'd better say it isn't even wrong. The point is that the solipsist's system can be completely self-consistent. But to make it consistent and to live to it, he has to act in his "imaginary world" as if there is a real outside world, in other words, his imaginary world is isomorphic with our "real world" and as there isn't any discernible difference between the two worlds except how they are labeled, the obvious thing to do is to use Occam's razor and to identify his imaginary world with the real world.

I know I responded to this point already, but before I leave the topic, I want to point out that the solopsist view depends upon any number of stolen concepts. A stolen concept is a concept that was developed to cover some collection of facts (which ultimately can be traced back to perceptions) but is now being used in a manner in which the context has been dropped. That is, the antecedent facts that gave rise to the original concept are now being ignored.

Consciousness is properly defined as the faculty of perceiving that which exists. Solopsism steals the concept and uses it while dropping the context of existence. So, the question becomes, "Conscious of what?" The same is true of experience; "Experience of what?"

Imagination is another stolen concept as used by the solopsist. Imagination is a volitional process of creating mental pictures of what reality could be if it were changed in some manner. For example, a rational use of imagination would be to picture what your life would be like if you started a business of a particular kind. But, in the solopsistic view, both volition and reality are dropped. Mental images come at a person from an unknown and unknowable source. They are meaningless, disconnected images with no referents. Imagination depends upon mental images of real objects that are used as points of departure. But solopsism takes imagination as a primary and ignores the antecedent perceptions that form the starting point of the process.

The final coup de grace is the theft of the concept of logic. Properly, a statement is logical if it corresponds to reality. Similarly, a chain of reasoning is logical if it corresponds to reality and therefore is free of conradictions. Logical reasoning is the non-contradictory identification of the facts of reality. In order for a chain of reasoning to be consistent, it must be consistent with observational facts.

Solopsism drops the context of existence and asserts a kind of self consistency. However, self-consistency is completely vacuous. Words have meanings only because of their relationship to that which exists. Aristotle introduced the logical syllogism as an abstraction of the reasoning process. A syllogism is of the form, All A is B, C is A, therefore C is B. For example, All humans are mortal, I am human, therefore I am mortal. However, if the words have no referents in reality, I might as well say, All red is green, yellow is red, therefore yellow is green.

The point is that the structure of logic itself is dependent upon the nature of reality. Consistent reasoning is a process that is learned by noting the kinds of relationships that exist among objects in the world. If there are no actual existents, consistency is meaningless. Solopsism turns the process on its head by divorcing logical consistency from any external frame of reference. It takes logical consistency as a primary and attempts to build an imaginary world around it. The actual effect is to render logical consistency impossible. Under solopsism, logic is the ultimate stolen concept.

Darrell

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The solopsist's view may be completely self consistent (in some sense), but is it factual?

That's not a meaningful question. As I said in a previous post: it isn't even wrong, it's unfalsifiable.

That things exist outside of one's own consciousness is a self evident fact.

No, it is a hypothesis. No doubt a hypothesis for which we have good reasons, as it explains a lot of what we observe. A consequence of the general acceptance of this hypothesis is that it is reflected in the accepted meaning of many words (like "observe", which is generally used to refer to an independent reality), but that doesn't mean that the validity of the hypothesis follows from the meaning of these words because the negation of the hypothesis would contradict the accepted meaning of thes words. We must keep in mind that our language is molded by the reality-hypothesis.

In the Objectivist view, it is not even sensible to talk about the logical consistency of the solopsist view, because the ultimate test of logical consistency is correspondence to reality. If there is no reality, then no correspondence can be established and consistency is meaningless.

That is begging the question, as you start with demanding correspondence to reality, which is not a condition for logical consistency.

BTW, if the solopsist view is correct, then there is only one true consciousness and that consciousness is mine.

A solipsist who reads this would think: fascinating how these figments of the imagination can mimic my thoughts as if they are other consciousnesses! It's just like the persons we meet in our dreams who seem to be real persons like ourselves when we are dreaming, while they are just our own creations.

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But if by universe we mean the collection of all concrete existents, then we are talking about something that is not only an abstraction, but a concrete thing.

If you wish to label the universe as a singular thing, then there would have to be an exception for it. However, I would prefer to think of it as a collection of things.

The question of whether a line in physical space contains all the points and properties of the rational line Q would seem to be an empirical question. But if lines of physical space do have all the points and properties of Q, then the sequence above is not only a definite single entity in abstraction, but in concrete space.

In some sense, the axioms are empirical. They are implicit in all knowledge. So, if our observations revealed that reality did not have the structure asserted, the axioms would be falsified. However, let us consider the implications of them being false. If, for example, an infinite quantity of something could exist, would it be infinitely long? Or infinitely massive? Would it have infinite charge? Would it occupy an infinite volume? Are any of those things physically possible? That does not appear to be the kind of universe in which we live. Everything has a specific nature which means a finite, quantifiable nature.

The example of the line doesn't cut it. Lines don't exist as physical objects. And, as in my example of storing all of the information in the Library of Congress on an aluminum block illustrates, real objects are not infinitely divisible.

It might seem that exact extensionless points of space are only abstractions, only limits of mathematical infinite iterative processes. Yet in our modern quantum electrodynamics, the family of particles called leptons (e.g. the electron) are assumed to be absolute extensionless points of matter. They have other nonzero properties such as mass, charge, and spin, but their length, breadth, and depth are zero. Exactly zero. This has been verified by indirect experimental methods to an enormous accuracy.

I don't view a point particle as violating the identity axiom. I'm sorry that I can't give a clear and concise definition of how the principle is to be applied. However, it does seem to have quite wide applicability. For example, is it reasonable to assume that it is possible to build a machine capable of storing an infinite amount of information? I don't think so. Is it reasonable to imagine that some person or other being could be infinitely intelligent? I don't think so.

Darrell

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I know I responded to this point already, but before I leave the topic, I want to point out that the solopsist view depends upon any number of stolen concepts. A stolen concept is a concept that was developed to cover some collection of facts (which ultimately can be traced back to perceptions) but is now being used in a manner in which the context has been dropped. That is, the antecedent facts that gave rise to the original concept are now being ignored.

Our posts crossed, but in fact I answered this point already in my previous post. That the solipsist has to use words from our loaded language which imply an independent reality, but that doesn't prove him wrong. The argument of the "stolen fallacy" is not valid. On another forum I wrote: "What is wrong with the idea of the stolen concept fallacy: even if someone uses a concept in a way that denies its genetic roots, this doesn't necessarily invalidate his use of the concept. It merely means that the concept is no longer the same as the original concept. This may be perfectly valid, for example nowadays the concept 'time' is no longer the same as the concept 'time' before 1905. On the other hand is it of course possible that the new concept is not valid, but the point is that you can't prove that by merely pointing out that it denies the validity of its genetic roots. The SCF in itself doesn't prove anything, it's therefore only a rhetorical device without any real meaning."

The final coup de grace is the theft of the concept of logic. Properly, a statement is logical if it corresponds to reality.

Certainly not. A mathematical argument can be strictly logical without having any correspondence to reality.

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Once again, I ask, does consciousness qua consciousness have these things? We know there are brain activities that have "measurable properties, features or attributes," and they impact the consciousness on an individual living being. But the state of consciousness itself? What are its measurable features?

Consciousness is an epiphenomenal description of the activity of the brain. The activity of the brain does not merely "impact" consciousness, it is consciousness. Consciousness is a description of the activity of the brain from the perspective of a person looking inward at his own mental states. Therefore, the properties or features that one can perceive are those mental states. For example, a person can perceive his (her) emotional state, e.g., happy, sad, angry, etc. Therefore, consciousness does have measureable properties. A person may be very angry, for example. Would it make sense to say that a person is infinitely angry? I've never heard a person describe his mental state in that manner. Sometimes people say that their love has no bounds, but they still end up getting divorced some years later.

Darrell

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Once again, I ask, does consciousness qua consciousness have these things? We know there are brain activities that have "measurable properties, features or attributes," and they impact the consciousness on an individual living being. But the state of consciousness itself? What are its measurable features?

Consciousness is an epiphenomenal description of the activity of the brain. The activity of the brain does not merely "impact" consciousness, it is consciousness. Consciousness is a description of the activity of the brain from the perspective of a person looking inward at his own mental states. Therefore, the properties or features that one can perceive are those mental states. For example, a person can perceive his (her) emotional state, e.g., happy, sad, angry, etc. Therefore, consciousness does have measureable properties. A person may be very angry, for example. Would it make sense to say that a person is infinitely angry? I've never heard a person describe his mental state in that manner. Sometimes people say that their love has no bounds, but they still end up getting divorced some years later.

Darrell

If a brain does not generate consciousness it does not work save for the autonomic functions.

--Brain

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Consciousness is a description of the activity of the brain from the perspective of a person looking inward at his own mental states. Therefore, the properties or features that one can perceive are those mental states. For example, a person can perceive his (her) emotional state, e.g., happy, sad, angry, etc. Therefore, consciousness does have measureable properties.

Darrell,

I was in doubt when I posted the question, but you are correct. And, as Rand pointed out in ITOE, in the chapter dealing with concepts of consciousness, these states are measured according to ordinal (comparative) standards, not cardinal (sequential) ones.

Michael

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