Please note that the PhilPapers forums will be closed in March 2017 and replaced by a newer, more modern feature shortly thereafter. To minimize disruption, we have now disabled the creation of new threads. We encourage forum participants to wrap up discussions before March.

Metaphysics and Epistemology

 1 - 20 / 257 
I've recently rewritten my critique of Alvin Plantinga's persuasive modal version of the argument for the existence of God. I would be pleased for readers to review this draft version and let me know if I've made any basic logical blunders.

In this essay, I uncover both the strengths and weaknesses of Plantinga's argument. I conclude that while the argument is probably formally valid, it is ultimately unsound. I argue that it's only non-analytic premise is not only false, but necessarily so. You can read the draft version of my essay at

Can someone explain to me how to make sense of direct realism, more precisely : how can one claim that to perceive is to have direct access to the object itself if we grant that perceiving is the end product of a certain pattern of neurons firing ?

I can understand direct realism on aristotelian grounds where an objective form leaves the object and penetrates the intellect, but if firing neurons are involved, aren't we obliged to say that the brain reconstructs the "thing in itself" ? (I understand also the problems involved with the theory of sense-data and the motivations that originate from physicalism : my question is purely regarding the constraints imposed by basic neurological ideas).
Latest replies: Permanent link: Reply

Before the fact, we know based on what has been written, an example might be knowledge of the law and does not commit crimes because of conceptual knowledge. There it is based on experience already przeżytym but on the intellect, namely on this, what not to do in order not to be convicted of a misdemeanor or felony. Rights can learn to read codes that have warned us about what not to do this in ten same way, we can learn a vocabulary of language, call the prior knowledge, knowledge BEFORE the fact. Hindsight is based on our own experience and others. Drawing on the knowledge of this is written, we draw knowledge from others who have already experienced something, it is passed. Hindsight, IS OUR personal knowledge without relying on prior experience. Knowledge Based on previous experience we can verify and, if I upgrade, so how do scientists when previous experience does not agree with the observations, then seek an explanation and often expand or narrow theories. The prior knowledge IS ... (read more)

The psychule is a proposed model for a fundamental type of event related to mind/sentience/consciousness. The term "psychule" is meant to be analogous to the term "molecule" as the fundamental unit of a substance, except that a psychule is not a substance but an event.  I would like to say the proposed model describes the fundamental unit of consciousness (as in the subject line), but for many philosophers the term "consciousness" brings along certain expectations which tend to be missing from the simplest requirements of the model.  Similarly with the term "sentience".  Therefore I have coined (I think) a new term to describe the fundamental unit.  I will then claim that any sentient or conscious event is a psychule, and leave it to future generations to decide whether the definitions of consciousness and sentience should be extended to include each and every psychule.

As mentioned, a psychule is an event.  More specifically, a psychule is a pattern recognition type of event. I use th ... (read more)

Latest replies: Permanent link: Reply

What you can think about comes from what you have observed.
You think about angels. What are angels?

An angel can be that sweet person, something that makes you happy, etc. It's an adjective. 

If you think of something which you think doesn't exist in the physical world or have not yet observed, the fact that you can think about it, shows that it is a assembly of selected parts of what has already been observed and exists.
Latest replies: Permanent link: Reply

Is awareness specific to specific parts of an experience?
When we are aware of seeing an apple, are we aware of all other sounds, shapes, tastes, etc which occur simultaneously?
Latest replies: Permanent link: Reply

Some words in my paper:

T(hj|ei)--fuzzy truth function of a predicate hj.

T(hj)--logical probability or  average thue-value of a predicate hj.

Popper defined Testing severity and Verisimilitude (1963/2005, 526, 534). Since Logical Probability and Statistical Probability are not well distinguished by him, his definitions are not satisfactory. The author suggests defining log [1/T(hj)] as testing severity, and T(hj|ei)/T(hj) as verisimilitude. In terms of Likelihood method, P(ei| hi is true)/P(ei) =T(hj|ei)/T(hj) is also called standard likelihood. So, we may say Semantic information = log (Standard likelihood) = log (Verisimilitude)=Testing severity - Relative deviation
 If negative verisimilitude for lies or wrong predictions is expected, one may also define verisimilitude by log [T(hj|ei)/T(hj)]. 

The figure 8 in the paper shows how positive and negative degrees of believe affect thruthlikeness. 

Latest replies: Permanent link: Reply

In foot note 3 of Daniel Dennett's  paper "What RoboMary Knows", Dennett notes:


Robinson (1993) also claims that I beg the question by not honouring a distinction he declares to exist between knowing "what one would say and how one would react" and knowing "what it is like."  If there is such a distinction, it has not yet been articulated and defended, by Robinson or anybody else, so far as I know.  If Mary knows everything about what she would say and how she would react, it is far from clear that she wouldn't know what it would be like. 


In the paper Dennett imagines RoboMary as follows:

"1.RoboMary is a standard  Mark 19 robot, except that she was brought on line without colour vision; her video cameras are black and white, but everything else in her hardware is equipped for colour vision, which is standard in the Mark 19."

Dennett then, it seems to me, considers that RoboMary would consciously experience red when in a simila ... (read more)

Latest replies: Permanent link: Reply

Where is color?
In the observer as a feeling, the observed or in the communique between the two?
Latest replies: Permanent link: Reply

Does the Phineas P. Gage case show that there are two types of memory?
One emotional and the other intellectual?

Kant believed that noumena was converted into phenomena, where the information from the senses is an object. By noumena he meant the 'communique' between the observer and the physical world which enables the sensing process. 
On the contrary I believe, there is no communique, all there is is sensation. However I believe there is phenomenon first and the product of sensing then becomes stored as memory. Memory of an object gives the object a permanent state. A known object as part of memory is shapeless, colorless, etc having only meaning and is senseless. Knowledge is a collection of 'thing-in-itself'.
Latest replies: Permanent link: Reply


(1) all atoms in a form that does consciously experience, would behave the same if individually they had the same surroundings in a form which does not. 


(2) The reasons for the behaviour would be the same in both cases. 


(3) What the form was consciously experiencing is not a reason for any atomic behaviour. 

because given (2) the reasons for each atom's behaviour are the same reasons as when in a form that is not consciously experiencing. 
Latest replies: Permanent link: Reply

In two recent papers (Journal of Modern Physics (open access), I have shown that a fundamentally irreversible world (deduced from a dynamic interpretation of the principle of least action) not only eliminates paradoxes in quantum physics and cosmology, but also leads to maximum entropy production (within the constraints of the systems involved) in self-organized systems. Under such conditions also information systems can self-organize to develop consciousness and mind. Mind can thus be materialistically explained as a higher (self-organized) hierarchy compared to mere computation. 
In the second paper I have given three conditions for falsification of this theory. If, on the other hand, they cannot be demonstrated the presently established scientific concept of a fundamentally time invertible, reversible world is shown to be incorrect. This has dramatic consequences for understanding o ... (read more)
Latest replies: Permanent link: Reply

Hi,I'm looking for a good book/article that analyzes the concept of continuum (not just in space and time but on the general level, including properties, numbers etc.) and surveys its definitions.
I'll be grateful for your references.
Latest replies: Permanent link: Reply

After the publication of this paper, I enjoyed personal communication with Aloysius Martinich and discovered that I misused if and only if in several places of this paper. The corrections are below:

The formula indicates the following:
1. A is relatively identical to the value, but A is not absolutely identical to the value.
2. B is relatively identical to the value, but B is not absolutely identical to the value.
3. The value of A is absolutely identical to the value of B.
4. A is not identical to B.
(page 135)

1. The expression 1 + 3 is relatively identical to the value 4, but 1 + 3 is not absolutely identical to 4.

2. The expression 2 + 2 is relatively identical to the value 4, but 2 + 2 is not absolutely identical to 4.
3. The value of 1 + 3 is absolutely identical to the value of 2 + 2.
4. The expression 1 + 3 is not identical to the expression 2 + 2.
(page 135)

1. The triumvir was relatively identical to Lepidus, but the triumvir was not absolutely identical to Lepidus.
2. The pontifex maximus ... (read more)

Latest replies: Permanent link: Reply

I describe a novel textual structure which gave rise to the so-called analytic/continental divide, and which describes the origin and nature of divides in general.
The source of the analytic-continental divide is organizational and not conceptual, the divide arising as a consequence of the structure of the University "text". This structure I refer to as the "integral text". It is a tangible, self-referring structure through which the University stores knowledge and retains influence. (Those who wish to grasp the main conjecture quickly can move straight to the description of the integral text, about half-way through this essay.)

I develop the model of the integral text to describe both the structure through which an interpretive community fixes knowledge within its institutional repository and the way in which this structure restricts and promotes communication and academic influence.The integral text is not itself a body of knowledge, but a single, indivisible structur ... (read more)
Latest replies: Permanent link: Reply

It seems to me that this work is very much unavailable to students and professionals. Have not found it online in any form, save for a few hardcover editions for more than $500. Crazy.
Latest replies: Permanent link: Reply

The real materialism states that "all scientific laws are inherent to the matter itself".
It is these laws that, for billions of years (at least 13) determine the causal evolution of the atomOs (atomOs of Democritos&alii), and thus determines the causal evolution of photons, so the agglomerated material, so the causal evolution of living matter and therefore the causal evolution of human society.
So we can say that the laws of biology are inherent in the laws of physics. They are only summaries of these basic laws.
As a result, physics and biology have a common body of scientific laws - they are what we will call "philosophical laws."
These laws obviously add to the laws of knowledge (epistemological laws)
So we will call "materiological laws" these laws that will add to the "epistemological laws" to form the set of "philosophical laws."
The first materiological laws - so a law common to physics and biology - is the law of transformation quantity quality  law.-(LTQQ)
It was discovered by Hegel ... (read more)
Latest replies:
  • Boris Itkin, 2016-11-07 : I agree with you that all three dialectic laws of Hegel-Engels conserves their validity in both physics and biolgy, but... (read more)
Permanent link: Reply

I have been following the discussion thread here on the topic of qualia. I was also interested in recent reports about observations made by brain scanning on brains affected by LSD (Carhart-Harris 2016) which seem to show that a great many additional areas of the brain are activated as the test subject experiences vivid drug-induced hallucinations. That seems to suggest that it is not in the nature of the data itself to be of a special kind that contains the information stored in a quale, but rather it is due to the procedure that is interpreting the data. That is analogous, perhaps, to a person, accustomed to reading novels, reading a dictionary by mistake and wondering why the plot seemed so confusing. I accept that the information content of an experience must be stored internally in some form. However, rather than being a replication of something which forms the input to our sensory perceptions, it must instead be a replication of some aspect of the output. A replication of the inp ... (read more)
Latest replies: Permanent link: Reply

 1 - 20 / 257