Sorite’s Paradox Reconsidered: Materialism Defeated
According to the Sorite’s Paradox there is no true meaning to qualitative quantities. The most popular example of explaining this paradox is the term ‘heap.’ If a pile of sand is first recognized as a heap of sand, then where would the line be drawn on how many grains of sand would have to be removed for the remaining grains of sand not to be considered a heap? The paradox states that there couldn’t possibly be any precise number of grains of sand would define the pile as a heap, and therefore everyone’s perceptions are wildly different and the word has no real meaning.
Some things can be darker shades of gray than others.
@dkman, What do you mean by materialistic views of the mind?
@dkman, Going from the Heap definition to not being a robot is a huge leap of faith, and not something I would agree with.
The thing is the brain is always comparing to what it has just seen – a single grain of sand removed from a heap is not very different than the previous heap. What a conventional computer would do different is that we would most likely program it to count the sands, or count the weight, or count the radius, and give a definition.
However, it would be just as easy to make a computer compare the new heap to the old heap, and make a qualitative distinction; is it pretty similar, or pretty different? If its pretty similar, its still a heap.
Now the mind isn’t stupid, so eventually we go out of context – we see from a new angle “If I were to simply sit down here now, I would probably not call this a heap”
This could not be done so simply with a computer as above, however it would be simple enough to program it do to do so – every few seconds or minutes re-check to make sure the total radius of the heap is in a certain range.
I was thinking along some similar lines, and I’m sure you’ve come across this question as well; if the entire human body was arranged, molecule by molecule, in the fraction of a second (don’t need to know how/why) – would this human body be conscious?
I also don’t know why I have to explain this: the way our brains process things does not necessarily mean we have a magical or immaterial being (aka soul) inside us.
@zhaetur, modern neuroscience is materialist in nature. You may want to look into methodological naturalism.
There is no heap.
You make some valid points, thanks for your input. And yes that last thought did pop into my mind while pondering this, according to your opinions you think we do not possess consciousness? Sorry if I have missinterpreted. As far as the lines of consciousness go, I believe it is not made up of mass, nor is it physical. Would you disagree with this?
@dkman, We are conscious, certainly, but consciousness is only the ability to perceive reality, it does not interact with reality and has no control, i.e. there is no “free will”.
Although I wish we had free-will, and our consciousness was the “pilot” – I don’t think that is the case. Consciousness is just some crazy, CRAZY side effect of a complex brain.
But “where is the color red?” will always intrigue me to question this…
@dalniente, What differentiates us being magical wether we have a soul or not? even if we don’t I would say our existence is amazing on its own without glitter added. What you speak of is paradox. All things funneling to the Tao end in paradox. I would say that’s pretty magical. LOL.
@splashartist, notice that I also said “immaterial” and “soul.” Are we made of matter? Yes. While I appreciate our shared wonder of life (I want to do research in the future), you have a trick of words going on there.
@dalniente, Exactly, the infinite that cannot be understood by our simple, finite minds. Is this all there is? Going so deep down the rabbit hole until you realize what you seek cannot be understood with out paradox but only experienced? Are our brains the creator of consiousness or are they the receivers? That’s the trick.
@splashartist, I said that I was using the supernatural definition of “magical.” While I agree with you that there is a possibility that our consciousness is a product of some immaterial (the opposite of materialism)…thing, there is no evidence to support that, and (as you probably know) assumptions should not be used lightly in science. I was really remarking on the OP’s non sequitur reasoning.
@dalniente, For sure! Cheers!
@dkman, hows it contradictory?
Greens my favorite color, the sunrise is beautiful, but I believe consciousness is still pretty much a side effect. Its not contradictory, right?
@ijesuschrist, I think your confusion is really just the OP’s non sequitur reasoning.
Our brains process subjective things! BAM! We have a soul!
actually if that were true it would be quite a discovery, we don’t process subjective thing, I don’t think – we process objective things in incredible feats of neurology. We can say something is the same, when its not, because we have ranges of acceptability…
@ijesuschrist, sure we can. Consciousness can be tricky to define, but it allows us to have qualitative experiences. What’s really tricky is how consciousness emerges.
@dalniente, I don’t think we have qualitative anything, just a summation of quantitative which emerge as “qualitative: There is no such thing as qualitative in my book…
Let me use the example as the Heap;
But really what we are seeing is its at a distance of X (+/-) Y
Edit: dude i tried just tried to read what I wrote and i am drunk and this may be terrible. drink me more beer for me.
@ijesuschrist, oh the inadequacies of human knowledge!
@dalniente, the real fucked up thing is the mind is able to contemplate “consciousness” in its own actions. Like I am doing now. The brain believes it is consciousness, at least the conscious part, but most of the brain remains unconscious – no?
It is quite odd to simply hear – in consciousness – “I am conscious” – no?
It means there is some kind of communication between consciousness and the mind, be it physical or “metaphysical”…
@ijesuschrist, I’ve stayed up too long working on my Mindmap thing.
There was a communication error between us, which I partly blame on how tired I’ve been for the last several hours. Various causes can lead to qualitative experiences in individuals; consciousness allows those individuals to be aware of those experiences. Something isn’t “sour” or “loud” unless they’re experienced that way. So of course qualitative experiences are the end result. I think the confusion is rooted in the question of how those experiences emerge: is the current model on the right track, or do we owe consciousness (those qualitative experiences, etc) to something immaterial? I meant that I think it’s much more likely that the current model is on the right track.
I have thoroughly enjoyed tuning in on this discussion, but I ask that @ijesuschrist restates what his position on the mind’s capacity to find mutual understanding in matters that are, to simply say, enumerated.
I understand the rational behind @dalniente‘s argument here. He makes a strong, conservative perspective.
Are you in some way eluding to the concept of “inherited experiences” or are you suggesting that, given science’s minimal understanding of the brain, there is some shared, omnipotent consciousness on which brainwaves travel?
@ijesuschrist, going off of what you and I said…
You: “…the mind is able to contemplate “consciousness” in its own actions.”
One of my faults (especially when my judgment is impaired, like it is now in my sleep-deprived state) is that I sometimes fail to communicate things that are bleeding obvious to me. I take them for granted. Sometimes that can result in a communication error.
In the case of the confusion over “process,” my mind used two different meanings:
1) To process, as in processing quantitative things into qualitative experiences. Of course qualitative experiences are the end result!
@dunny79, thanks, but I hope this post (and the one before this) will answer part of your question. Going to bed now!
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