Tag Archives: positivist

A.J. Ayer’s Phenomenalism

5 Oct

A.J. Ayer, a philosopher at the end of the logical positivist movement, wrote a paper called Phenomenalism, creating a ‘theory of perception’ of how sense data is taken in and understood. Even though he does not say so at the outset, he picks on positivist protocol statements stating previous sense data observations. I have not addressed protocol statements that much before, but the things that make them up are what Ayer attacks to promote phenomenalism. Ayer’s writing envelops a lot of philosophy and thought, and here I only aim to discuss the 3 problems of sense data and protocol statements (in a sense) that he addresses, and why he lands on phenomenalism as the true theory of perception. Ayer specifically addresses many other things in this essay that I do not wish to venture into, such as what logical constructions are, and what sense data is defined by Russell as, along with some other specific arguments.

Protocol statements is a part of the logical system unified under science that Carnap, Neurath, and Schlick have advocated and changed throughout the logical positivist movement. Protocol statements are the recorded past versions of immediate observations. They are recorded as X was observed by observer W,  at place U , and at time C. Once something is observed it immediately becomes this protocol statement. It is this that the logical positivists used in their system of unified science. I discussed this in my first writing about Carnap. This occurs where intuitions are divided between analytic and synthetic. In analytic are the implicit definitions, and in that, geometries (Euclidean, Lobachevskian, and Riemannian) and physics (relativistic, or Newtonian). Also in analytic are the coordinating definitions which are the language  chosen to convey the subject/object, and those are either thing language, or physics language. The synthetic intuitions by Carnap are observations, that immediately become these protocol statements. This is the system you would use to go from your observation to protocol, to implicit definition, and coordinating definitions to have physics language, and later theoretical physics language statements. When Neurath published his thoughts, he focused on the protocol statements by putting most emphasis on them by eliminating observations from the system totally (as an observation only has a microsecond to actually be an observation before it becomes a protocol). This caused a collapse of the system until Schlick published his Foundations of Knowledge where he made the protocol statements the starting points of all knowledge.

I elaborate so much on this because it has been through Carnap, Neurath and Schlick that the protocol statement has traveled only to be dismantled by Ayer with phenomenalism. Again, Ayer does not talk about protocol statements directly but he addresses the observer, place, and time that are all a part of a protocol statement, which is why understanding what it is is so important. With the observer, time and place of a protocol statement Ayer states each to have its own problem to be addressed. From addressing these problems, is where he gets phenomenalism.

The problem of the observer is that the observer observing a situation is really no different from what he observes. Ayer discusses the observer as equal to the physical objects he observes, and that trying to point out which physical object among the many is doing the observing is a worthless task. Physical objects are subject to creating more sense data and only being another question of sense data and its relation to the physical object (if you know phenomenalism already, I have not yet gotten to the main principle of it yet). The problem of the place is similar, in that one place is mixed with all other places that are all placed in question together: “Thus the phenomenalistic analysis of ‘x is at P’, will be something like the following: ‘X is sensing a visual or tactual field such that if he had replaced it by another spatially adjoined to it, and if he had replaced that by another spatially adjoined to it, and if he had replaced that in turn by still another, and so on, then eventually he would have been sensing the visual or tactual field which is actually being sensed by the speaker at this moment”.  I quote Ayer, simply because I could not have said it better myself. If one place is singled out from the others, it could conventionally be replaced with spaces around it and still work with the place and observer. This creates a large sense field with a set of places, set of observers, and also a period of time. The problem of time is again similar with the other two. It is so much more than just one instant that the place and observer are consistent with the sense data. Ayer states that not only would S2 and P2 be consistent with t (time), but so would S5 and P5.  These are all problems that Ayer states to be issues for the phenomenalist. He then in the fifth section of the paper, gives the solutions to these three problems.

For the time and place, Ayer creates a ‘local scenery’ where time and place are all contained into one construction. For place, in the local scenery is the large somewhat finite area where things are perceived as sense data, so that way in a sense, there is no one space, but there are many places within the local scenery. For time, there is no set time for something to be seen within the local scenery. If someone is to ask ‘when’ something is perceived within the local scenery, that person would be asking an ‘illegitimate’ question because at one time or another, things are perceived in the local scenery. It is that local scenery where the place and time is included. He also addresses the observer problem where he answers it by stating that there is no observer at all. The local scenery is set up basically as the given, in the possible event that in some point of the existence of the local scenery that someone would happen to observe something within it. This local scenery is the visual sensory field that Ayer has been creating throughout the paper that is the logical replacement for protocol statement sense data.

So, entirely, phenomenalism is a the perception theory that physical objects are not exactly real material beings, but are “logical constructions out of sense data.” We see things, we believe a physical object to be there causing the sense data we perceive. Ayer and other phenomenalists believed that sense data had no ties to a physical object, but the physical  object was only sense data’s logical construction.  Not only is this a different perceptional theory, but it is a new take on positivist ideas.

Phenomenalism says nothing about what physical objects are or what they tell us, it only says that our sense data does not often denote physical objects. We only see sense data, and think it always to be physical objects, when really, even in real life, our sense data only 50 % of our lifetime denotes a physical object. I agree with all of this essay and all other phenomenalist work because of that fact. I disagree with all other philosophies that discredit all sense data (i.e. solipsism and neutral monism), but I agree with this because of how this is a milder version of philosophies that discredit the perception.  Solipsism discredits all perception, and only states the soul to exist. I entirely disagree with that.

Phenomenalism is different from solipsism. Phenomenalism only decides to make the rule to always take sense data as sense data only before it is taken as anything else. Sense data (as constituents of a  local scenery/visual sensory field) takes a lot of understanding and research before it might be considered to be representative of a physical object. Ayer seems to take phenomenalism to discredit the sense data as representative of physical objects more than phenomenalism does as a whole,  so I would endorse a softer form of phenomenalism.

The kind of phenomenalism that I would endorse would be less strict than Ayer’s. The kind I would endorse would be discrediting all sense data until further notice. Upon further understanding, research, and verification of my sense data when paralleled with reality, I might consider that my set of questioned sense data is closer to a real physical object. I believe that this can be easily done by experiencing more sense data, and comparing them side by side, face value for face value, and any similarities and corresponding themes between them can denote some reality in perception.

I think that with Ayer’s Phenomenalism essay, I have explained it well to a degree to help my own, and others’ understanding. Also, I think I took my own turn on it, by altering Ayer’s phenomenalism version towards my own beliefs about sense data.

I find it interesting also that in the beginning of the essay, Ayer begins talking about sense data, and states that Bertrand Russell first used the term in the teens and 20’s, when really the first philosopher who used it was Josiah Royce in 1882. I want to eventually read him, and possibly write about him in the future.

Thanks for the support.

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Classification of Beings

20 Sep

A long necessary thing to be done is to classify the beings of the world. Some choose to set metaphysics aside, but I choose to classify the beings to make this my guide to today’s metaphysics and my further studies in it.  Benedict de Spinoza did NOT  state this classification of beings, and this work is purely of mine. The reason I categorize this with Spinoza is because of how within this classification I use his word ‘creatum’ a lot. Creatum is the world that was created by God, and I take only the word and its meaning from Spinoza. It is an important term because within the classification, the world only He created is necessary to classify apart from the rest.

Beginning this classification, I break all of it down into 3 categories and ways to classify the beings in the world.  Those 3 would include Sort classification, temporal classification, and spatial classification. I feel no need to classify the beings beyond these three things because it would be arbitrary. It could be argued that the sort classification is not necessary, but I feel it is.

Temporal Classification

The temporal part of all this is what I split into 2 things:  the infinite, and the finite. Temporal means time, in case you were not aware of it. Most things in the world are infinite temporally. Lets first discuss what could be finite, since infinite is basically everything else. When I talk about the creatum I split that up into  spiritual, and material. Everything material is infinite (which I’ll discuss later), while spiritual things are either infinite or finite. I talk about finite right now because in the temporally finite category includes non-nous souls. Nous is an ancient term meaning intelligence and being aware of one’s existence. Humans have most nous, while animals have less than half of what a human has. Nous also includes a being not being aware of what happens to them in the future. The notion that all dogs go to heaven is only a story and a myth because all animals (excluding humans), plants, fungi, protista, and monista are all non-nous souls enough to the point that they are called into question as to the finiteness of their souls.  I categorize non/some-nous souls to be finite. When a plant comes into life, and dies, the soul of it goes nowhere, and it vanishes from existence. When a dog or other animal dies, its soul dies and vanishes from existence with it. Therefore, in the temporal classification I include lesser-nous souls. This is the only temporally finite thing.

Temporally infinite includes everything else. This means God, un-ensouled beings ( soulless matter),  the void, and the rest of the creatum and its beings. Beyond this, infinite is divided by whether a being is infinite towards the past, and infinite towards the future. God is infinite both ways, meaning he never came into being, and has always existed (this is a concept no human can understand and that we must accept and wait until Heaven to conceive). The non-ensouled, the void, and the creatum all came into being at some point and will never cease to exist (it will just be relocated). The void is infinite because God created it when he created the world. The creatum includes all ensouled beings, and non-ensouled beings. By ensouled beings I mean humans, and all other non-nous souls (plantae, fungi, monista, protista).  The creatum also includes the non-ensouled beings like the earth, all other planets, and planetary extra matter (asteroids, comets, meteors scattered among the void).  The soul of the nous en-souled beings is infinite temporally because it comes into being, and once the body dies, the soul is relocated to another level spatially. When the body dies it mixes with the rest of the earth. I gave a scenario in a previous writing where a man comes into being, dies at 99 years old, and his soul goes to a higher spatial level (will talk spatial levels next), but his body gets put in a wooden casket. After many years, the body decomposes along with the casket and becomes humus with the earth. Many years after that, carrots are grown in the same humus, and feeds newer life. In this process nothing leaves existence, it is all relocated and still exists in some way or another.

I say that the only thing finite in the universe is non- nous souls/some nous souls because everything else is relocated and does not perish in any form. The only being in the universe that does perish is the soul that lives in a certain body at a certain time (the body is still again relocated and conserved). I have a few rules for the beings in the world that I shall present after talking about beings spatially and by sort.

Spatial Classification

The spatial classification of beings is where I choose to classify everything as to where they exist into high, middle, and lower space. Here I classify this to link the levels of space to what beings exist there, therefore creating the spatio-temporal metaphysical field, that is discussed yet not formally clarified. In the higher spatial includes heaven, the upper void, and the upper planetaries.  By the heavens I mean where God exists, and that must be far away from the middle space (and from evil), even if the heavens is a spiritual space field. By the void, I mean the space without any beings other than some air particles not forseeable by anyone.  By upper planetary (and by planetary I mean all bodies of the universe), I mean the stars that exist above the middle spatial. All things in the high space are infinite in every way possible. Second, is the middle space, which includes the solar system as a part of the middle planetary. Around the middle planetary is the middle void, also being the space without beings around the middle planetary. All beings in the middle space are not all infinite, because the non-nous beings live in the middle space, and the non-nous souls are finite.  Third, and finally, the lower space is where the lower void, and lower planetary (excess matter, and stars) exist. Not only this, there exists Hell, where Satan and those cast away live.  Here I encounter a problem in that it could be understood that 2 lower spaces exist, or my old definition of space of hell must be redone. It is a biblical statement that hell exists within the depths of the earth where it is extremely hot. This makes ambiguous the lower space definition.  The lower space could include the lower void, and other planetary. So, because of the biblical statement of the spatial location of hell, I find I must include within the lower space the hell, and the lower void and planetary. So, my definition of lower space is the lower void, and planetary, along with the inner cores of bodies of solar systems. This seems to qualify as all low enough to work well with the definition. Dividing space up makes it necessary to further sort the actual beings to understand where each beings exist.

Sorting Classification

By sorting classification, I mean dividing the beings up by nous ensouled, and the non-nous ensouled. As I described before, nous is the intelligence and awareness of the soul of its own state and existence. Man has nous, plant has none, animal has some.  I divide beings by this nous because beings with complete nous, are beings that their spirit is infinite, while some to non-nous beings’ spirits are finite in nature. The nous ensouled beings of course include God and man. The non nous and even ensouled beings include animals besides man, plantae, fungi, protista and monista, along with all unensouled beings like earth, and planet matter.

The sort, spatial, and temporal classifications I have set forth compel me to state some postulates about the beings and spaces in the world, hence the below:

*

__________________

Another way to sort out the beings is by how they came about: God, who did not come about, and will never perish, and the creatum which was created by God, some of which is infinite and some finite.

The creatum can be further divided into spiritual and material. Spiritual includes the man’s soul which is infinite, and the some animal, plant, fungi, monista, protista beings which are finite. Material includes all planetary bodies, planetary stars, planetary excess and material a part of each body. All of the material is infinite, because it is merely relocated when it seems it ceases to exist (water in a cup disappears, it does not cease to exist, it evaporates and relocates itself to the higher atmosphere).

The term infinite can be defined either by spatially or temporally. Temporally, as I said before, all things are infinite except for the spirits of some animals besides man, plants, fungi, monista and protista. Spatially, the void is infinite, God, and His Heaven is infinite, while all other things are spatially finite.

The lower space can be characterized as space below the planetary systems, but when it is said to include hell, the definition is said to include the inner parts of the larger planetary (not stars or excesses) bodies because of the place Satan’s lair is located.

Without Him having created the creatum, there would be nothing, not even the void, except for Him. He created the void, all spaces, and all beings, including therefore the creation of temporal sense.

God Himself is said to be an unmoved mover by Descartes and Aristotle, and I too endorse this statement. He is infinite spatially and temporally (whether or not the notion of time is noted). He exists at all times in all spaces in one way or another, and is in all places at once.

Spiritual matter of the man is generated in the middle space, and is later relocated to the higher or lower space, and with man’s spirit, no spiritual matter is ever discarded. (* note that any other spiritual matter beside God’s and man’s is discarded on a daily basis because of lack of presence of nous).

Material matter is never discarded, again, only relocated to other spaces. Like the chemists say, no matter is created or destroyed, but I revise their standpoint to say that beyond the Genesis when the creatum was first made no matter is created (creation of new beings by sexual or asexual reproduction is not creating new material matter, only spiritual matter. When a sperm fertilizes an egg in sexual reproduction, the fertilized egg in its spot has only to grow into another human being, therefore material matter is conserved). This leads to further laws and theories.

Conservation Law: (An extension of the chemist’s law of conservation of mass)  After the creatum was created by God during the Genesis, no material matter is created or destroyed, only relocated (or changed to different beings, like also the chemists say that during a reaction two elements change totally by composition and physical qualities, and are completely different from what they were after the reaction. This shows that not only can matter be relocated, but it can be changed without the creation or destruction of matter).

Conservation Law: After the creatum where all things besides God were created by God, only non-nous souls are destroyed. All nous souls are never destroyed, only relocated from the middle space to the lower or the higher space based on certain commitments while within the middle space. God’s soul is never destroyed or created. His supreme soul never came into being, but has always existed, and will never cease to exist. The fact that a being within the universe has the ability to always exist for all eternity but never actually come into being is an impossible concept for us to understand, but something we must still accept as truth (This is something we are able to understand if our soul is relocated to the higher space).

The beings of the world are classified by three main categories, and therefore many sub-categories because we must understand where we are, who we are, and what we discuss and look at, before we declare metaphysical and theological statements to be truths. The logical positivists and the empiricists (and the empirical positivists) did not assess the beings of the universe in a correct way, leading to their rash decision to discard metaphysics and theology.  My statement for them is that there are solutions coming to their problems by metaphysicians and theologians. They have not yet become mature theories to be introduced among all branches of philosophy for understanding and application.

The above is a precedent to further defenses of metaphysics and theologies.

Immanuel Kant Critique of Pure Reason: Noumena?

2 Sep

Again I write something about Kant’s awesome Critique of Pure Reason, because it is simply awesome, and I should stop saying/writing the word awesome. Awesome. This part of the book is the Transcendental Doctrine of Faculty and Judgement aka Analytic of Principles in the third chapter. This chapter makes the distinction between phenomena and noumena. Phenomena is a wide known thing that is justified to exist, but noumena however can be claimed by epistemologists and other philosophers as to be nonexistent.  It is noumena that I wish to take up for discussion, and claim that it does in fact exist regardless of a philosophical principle’s qualification to have logic within it. I do, however, have some logic to put within it however.

First, I want to describe and discuss phenomena so that I can contrast it with the main topic of discussion in noumena.  Phenomena defined by Kant is this: “…objects of a possible experience…” (Kant).  Phenomena has sense data and has all properties of something that we see. Phenomena is justified by epistemologists and philosophers to exist because of its sense data and of its analytic nature. We can perceive it and not have to go through any thought process to know that it exists and to understand its nature. Noumena is just the opposite.

Noumena is defined by Kant as the following: “….of a thing which must be cogitated not as an object of sense, but as a thing in itself (solely through the pure understanding), is not self-contradictory, for we are not entitled to maintain that sensibility is the only possible mode of intuition” and “by the term noumenon, we understand a thing so far as it is not an object of our sensuous intuition, thus making abstraction of our mode of intuiting it..” (Kant).  So in essence noumena (noumenon in the singular sense) is the exact opposite of phenomena in that phenomena is intuited by sense, while noumena is not. Epistemologists discredit noumena right there because it cannot be perceived of the senses. One thing I also find amazing is that Kant is so bold as to state that we arent entitled to state that senses are our only way of intuiting things. Things that count as noumena are intuited based on pure understanding.

When I think of noumena as having faith that a certain thing that we cannot sense exists. Now, I do  not want to make this writing into a transition into telling everyone that you have to believe in God, even though that you do. I do not want this writing to go that way because about 50% of my other writings do just that. First, I want to talk about noumena in the sense Kant talked about  it in that sense does not have to be the only means that we intuit something. I also want to map out a few things that reside within noumena. Also, I want to discuss why philosophers of the epistemological variety state noumena to be a jibberish philosophical term.

What resides as a part of the noumena  are things that are vague and ambiguous but there are things that we can know by analytic deduction to exist just by pure understanding as Kant said it. I want to discuss God in this nature, however I want to loosely discuss Him as a higher power even if I think He is more than just a higher power. We can for sure know that  a higher power exists within this world even if one is not perceived. We do perceive with sense data the world and processes around us, and with all the great things this is, our pure understanding leads us to a source for all this, and that source is a higher power. A higher power is within the noumena because we cannot perceive with sense data this power, but we have enough pure understanding even with observation to have an intuition for His existence. Even if some people deny this purely understood intuition, we all have it, and that puts the higher power in the noumena. I will go into further the means that we have this pure understanding and why we put so much into it. The higher power is the most thing disputed to exist, and to be a part of the noumena, but a plethora of other things exist that are within the noumena. One smaller example would be that there is a molten core in the center of the earth. Has anyone gone inside the earth to see this core? No. That makes this core noumena because we have not perceived it with sense data. However with pure understanding and with other phenomena, we have justified for sure that this core exists. Basically anything that we have not perceived as phenomena, yet claim to existence is noumena and other examples could be elaborated upon, but  I believe I have exemplified this mystical noumena.

Epistemology claims that one has great evidence for the existence of a thing based on what sense data is perceived. If there is no sense data or sensory impressions, there is little evidence for its existence. These kind of philosophers put great faith in the phenomena because of the sense data these things set forth. The noumena however as stated by Kant is greatly discredited by these  (especially positivist) philosophers because it has no evidence for existence, and the justification for its existence is pure jibberish.  The positivists created a system of  justifying the truth  of certain things, Rudolf Carnap being one of them. Noumena does not pass the qualifications for the following test system but I am coming to a circumvention of this test system:

Positivist Verification Conditions

Justification conditions  =  Meaning conditions = Truth conditions

=

Verification conditions

If you can justify the truth of something (in its existence or of another truth) you are able to have evidence for it. Carnap and the positivists held great bearing in evidence for the truth of things, and evidence ultimately leading to justification. The equal signs mean that if you have this, then you have this , then you have this.  Meaning conditions include if what you say mean something within what the rest of the world, or things immediately around it are. If it means something, it can be branched out the the other condition categories. Normally this test goes left to right, because if you have either justification with evidence, or meaning in what you discuss, you have truth but only if they all cohesively work together. If you just have meaning or justification and you cannot branch to the other 2 condition categories, something is wrong and you have to go see if what you have is really truth or if you have to revise something. If you can cohesively get one then 2 and 3 of these things, you have verification of truth of what you discuss.  I present Carnap and the positivists ( mostly Carnap)  verification conditions because this is a counterargument against metaphysical noumena, and why it cannot be surely stated to exist. The epistemologists have had a long train of thinkers against jibberish metaphysics (I however do not think that metahpysics is jibberish) has gone for a long run including Wittgenstein (not to mention him again) and the Vienna Circle where Moritz Schlick and other scientists got together to talk philosophy against the metaphyisicians.  I am strongly against this antimetaphysical train of thought.

My counterargument against these anti metaphysical is that there are 2 ways that we can justify the existence of the noumena. First, phenomena that occur intermittently around us point towards certain things that we cannot see with sense data within our perceptions. For one example, like my example before, we know that there is a core in the earth because of massive magnetic polar charges on the poles of the earth, volcanoes and earthquakes, seismic waves, and because of certain minerals that are not normal on the crust. All of these things point to a different material on the inside of the earth that is in fact molten, and must lie inside the earth. All of these phenomena were not us perceiving the sense data of the core, but they were phenomena that were random and intermittent that all when tested together point toward this molten core. Going back to the higher power, we see the sun, a baby born, the earth processes, eclipses, the other planets, a cell enduring mitosis, and many other things that can not have been caused by chance. All of these phenomena point toward noumena. The simultaneous phenomena around us when collectively observed are often studied together to point towards another hypothesis and even a theory about the collective cause for these things, even when the cause of all these things are not perceived with sense data. Basically phenomena can often point toward undiscovered noumena.

Second often because phenomena point toward noumena, we have faith. Kant stated that noumena is understood with pure understanding, and that we must have another method for intuition than sensory impressions. Seeing does not always have to be believing.  With all of the phenomena that point toward noumena, we have faith in the noumena being there because we have assurance in it. God does not appear before us to help us in life, but intermittent things happen that help us out, and that can be related toward God’s presence. Faith is a self described term, and noumena are the things we must have faith in after observing surrounding noumena and making a purely understanding decision about it.

The above 2 things sort of go into each other. They both fit into Kant’s statement that we must have a different way to intuit things than sense. I totally agree with his recognizing noumena, and we must rely on senses less and pure understanding more.

Thanks for the support, and I hope I was understanding enough for you to rethink a few things.