A brood comb

….philosophical and other notes….

Philosophize by Numbers

Posted by Tanas Gjorgoski on September 3, 2007

I was trying to systematize my views a little, so I ended up with this rough Wittgenstein-like outline…

1 We become aware of things

    1.1 We become aware of objects

    1.2 We become aware of objects’ properties
       1.2.1 Awareness of objects’ properties include awareness of the object

    1.3 We become aware of events.
       1.3.1 Awareness of events includes awareness of objects involved in those events

    1.4 We become aware of relations
       1.4.1 Awareness of relations includes awareness of relata
       1.4.2 We become aware of multitudes and their similarity

    1.5 We are aware of the things we imagine, and things we assume.

2 Things of which we are aware are in relation of context and aspect

    2.1 Aspects don’t exist as self-subsistent, but exist only because the context exists.
       2.1.1 Properties exist only as properties of the objects.

    2.2 Aspects can have further aspects, and contexts further contexts
       2.2.1 An object has color. Color has hue and brightness as aspects

    2.3 Different aspects of the same thing are related because of sharing common ground (the context on which they are dependent)
       2.3.1 One is always affecting the context. The affecting of the aspect is only secondary (abstract), even we might not be aware of it
          2.3.1.1 One can’t merely change the position of an object. What one does is changing the context of bodies, so that the distance between different bodies will be different.

    2.4 Sometimes we are aware of the aspects but not of the context
       2.4.1 In such cases we tend to think of the aspects as self-subsistent
       2.4.2 When we think about those things we encounter contradictions because of their assumed self-subsistence
          2.4.2.1 Zeno’s paradoxes appear because of imagined self-subsistence of space and time
       2.4.3 The way out of this is becoming aware of the context, and becoming aware of how those assumed self-subsistent things are actually aspects of the context (one might already be aware of context, but not aware of the context-aspect relation)
          2.4.4 Bachelorhood is aspect of certain kind of social relations
          2.4.5 Phenomenon of chairs is aspect of our society, needs, etc..

3 We perceive some things

    3.1 Our perception is limited, and picks-out certain aspects of the world
       3.1.1 The color we see is an aspect of objects.

    3.2 There is no experience which represents things, and which has what-it-is-like aspect
       3.2.1 We have experience in the sense that we participate in the events of which we are aware (and we learn something from them, or we are affected some way from them)
       3.2.2 The what-it-is-like is wrongly assumed because the physical is not taken to be aspect
       3.2.3 The representational faculty is assumed to explain the illusions, hallucination and dreams
          3.2.3.1 About general way to address those without accepting experience as representing things see (6.1)

4 We become aware of other people

    4.1 We become aware of other people being aware of the things

5 We give names to what we are aware of

    5.1 When the intentional content is an individual thing, we speak of proper names

    5.2 We give names to the multitude sharing certain aspect – those are the common nouns.
    5.3 Individual events and relations, and also multitudes of events and relations sharing certain aspect can be given proper names, or common names too.
    5.4 We can name imagined or assumed content

6 We are not aware of everything about the context

    6.1 We might mistake one context for another, because the former shares some aspect with the later.
        6.1.1 We might mistake virtual thing for a real thing if we are unaware that we wear virtual reality glasses
    6.2 Of course we can become aware of the things we weren’t aware of.

7 Using language is acting

    7.1 One of the use of language is making someone aware of something through sentences
    7.2 The sentences describe the relations (of which the other is not aware) through words for things (of which the other is aware)
    7.3 The sentences might introduce new words (of which the listener becomes aware while listening the sentence)

8 Some things have a physical aspect

    8.1 Physical aspect is not self-subsistent
       8.1.1 World is not reducible to physical

    8.2 The physical aspect is the measurable aspect
       8.2.1 Measurement is comparing – it is making a ratio between two magnitudes
       8.2.2 There are truths about numbers as ratios
       8.2.3 Those are truths of the physical aspect
       8.2.4 The number aspect is not self-subsistent, but dependent on the context. The number-truths are true of the number aspect just as long this aspect exists as part of the context.

    8.3 Our awareness of things has physical aspect
       8.3.1 Our awareness of things is not reducible to the physical aspect
       8.3.2 The physical aspect of our awareness of things includes the physical aspects of our bodies, the physical aspect of the things of which we are aware, and the physical aspect of the acts of perception (including the physical aspect of the history)
       8.3.3 When our awareness changes, the physical aspect will probably (but not necessarily) change too.

    8.4 We are affecting physical aspect through affecting the context (see 2.3) even if we are not aware of that
       8.4.1 When affecting certain brain parts, we are really affecting our awareness of things

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17 Responses to “Philosophize by Numbers”

  1. Santiago GL said

    8.4.1 When affecting certain brain parts, we are really affecting our awareness of things

    Would you consider drugs’ (including alcohol) effects into this brain affection?

  2. Hi Santiago GL,

    Yes, drugs, alcohol, but also electrodes, magnets, or similar things.

  3. Joe said

    Good!! Interesting use of W’s style, too. A few axiomatic questions…

    * Is ‘self-subsistence’ the same as ‘continuity’?
    * How does ‘aspectual’ context differ from non-aspectual context?

  4. Hey Joe, thanks for the comment!

    1.
    Self-subsistence, as I use it, means that the thing’s or phenomenon’s existence isn’t grounded in something else ‘outside’ of it.
    Phenomenon of bachelorhood is not self-subsistent, as it can’t exist without a certain type of society (where there is the institution of marriage, where one man can marry one woman, where most man marry, etc…). Color of the object is not self-subsistent, as it can’t exist without the object whose color it is to exist.

    BTW, I don’t mean by ‘self-subsistence’ just mere independence, so that we depend on oxygen doesn’t negate our self-subsistence.

    2.
    Not sure what you mean by the difference between aspectual context and non-aspectual context. Did I imply something like that?
    Here is context-aspect example where context contain aspects, and those aspects have further aspects (so are contexts for them):
    context – collision
    aspect – objects that collided
    aspect – the strength of collision

    context – one of those objects
    aspect – it’s color
    aspect – it’s form
    aspect – it’s size

    context – the color
    aspect – the brightness of the color
    aspect – the hue of the color

  5. NooProcess said

    You seem to have covered everything.

  6. Hey NooProcess, thanks for the comment,

    I did think of a few things that I would like to add on rereading it, like my thoughts on the issue of existence. But I guess being rough outline, it will necessarily miss more details about what I think.

  7. Martin Morgan said

    As with numbers per se, I’m fascinated by the leap from 0 to 1.

    0. We are not.

    1. We become aware of things, etc.

    What the hell happened?

  8. Maybe we can become aware of that too?

  9. Enigman said

    Hi Tanasije, when younger I was curious about the slide from 1 to 0 as we fall asleep, and tried to become aware of that, but never to any avail, as far as I could recall. Becoming aware of waking seems easier, as we can do it from a dream that we recall (although even then I find it hard to analyse the details of that process, or to recall much of it after a few minutes:)

  10. Hi Enigman, thanks for the comment.

    That is true, being aware while we move from Martin’s point 0 to point 1 seems almost impossible. I was thinking though of understanding (or becoming aware) of what is happening while our normal consciousness. We often become aware of what was happening after the event is finished.

    Of course, we can describe and find out what is happening on bio-physical level, but as I’m not physicalist, I don’t think that this description will be the whole story.

    Also, might be that we just lack that kind of awareness (given that one accepts that the bio-physical story is not the whole story), and that while the whole thing is in principle understandable (which as idealist I believe) that we (with our limited reason) can’t understand it.

  11. Aki said

    I read your “rough Wittgenstein-like outline” (:) you have very nice, sort of humorous approach to philosophy, and that I like a lot) and I have some thoughts about it I will share with you in here (because I see them related to this issue as well, and I think they cannot be accepted). Atm I will only comment your first thesis.
    1.2.1 Awareness of objects’ properties include awareness of the object
    Counterexample: You remember that duckrabbit from Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations? Thing is that when you see such image that is both image of rabbit and duck you are aware that it is both duck and rabbit, but you cannot see duck and rabbit at the same time. You are aware of properties of duckrabbit, but you are not, and you cannot be aware of that object at the same time. This means that duckrabbit does not really exist as an object (you cannot perceive it as such) but you can perceive it as set of properties. Question is how is this possible? Because to me it seems that awareness of objects’ properties does not include awareness of object as a whole, simply because it is impossible to see duckrabbit as duck and rabbit. Another, shorter example is that you are aware of properties of all the things that are around you, but you are not aware of them until you intentionally focus on one of them. You are aware of properties of system as a whole, but you cannot be aware of system as a whole (until you are analyzing it as a part of bigger system). And another thing is that if your argument is true then when you learn one property (for example red) you will became aware of all objects with that properties (red objects) because awareness of property INCLUDES awareness of object.
    1.3.1 Awareness of events includes awareness of objects involved in those events
    Counterexample: Astronomers became aware of perturbations in the orbit of Uranus so they concluded that this is caused by another planet (famous Planet X). They calculated and discovered that it was Pluto. But, thing is, they discovered it by mistake, and most of todays astronomers believe that that “no one had actually predicted Pluto’s existence, as it is far too small to have the effect on Uranus’s orbit that initiated the search.” (Wikipedia) So astronomers were falsely aware of Pluto’s involvement in event.

    I have many more of those but I will leave them for another discussion, I simply like to hear your thought on those.
    Cheers, Aki

  12. Aki,

    Thanks for the objections AND kind words :),

    I will try to answer them, but let me point first that I’m not saying that in general (talking in the context/aspect picture) to be aware of the aspect requires for us to be aware of the context. I think that our not being aware of the context, and taking the aspects to be self-subsistent is one of the reasons for different problems we get in our thinking. (2.4 part of the post).

    I will first reply to your objections about 1.2.1, and in separate comment about 1.3.1, because the response got rather big…

    so, Re 1.2.1

    The idea is that we can’t be aware of a property except as a property of something.
    It is also related with my viewing predicates (or common nouns) as mediated through awareness of multitude (actual or possible) as sharing aspect (5.2).
    So, when we *talk about* something being red, the idea is that in that sentence we don’t have an actual relation between concrete object and some Platonic ‘redness’, but something like “this is a red object”, i.e. “this is one of those objects that share specific aspect of being (somehow)”.
    Let me now, having all this in mind, refer to the aspect of the thing with the term “instantiated property”. I say, having all this in mind, as “instantiated” might be bad word in that, that it will probably bring to mind picture of one Platonic property, and it being somehow instantiated in different things. But, for the sake of the clarity, let me use that term.

    So what I meant is that if we are aware of some instantiated property *as a property*, we need to be aware of the object also. So, to say, there is no sense of being aware of instantiated property of “being blue”, without being aware of something which is blue. Or, of being aware of instantiated property of “being blue eyed” without being aware of somebody being blue eyed. We can of course become aware of blue eyes separately, but then we are being aware of them as a thing, and not as a predicate.

    So, in the example you give, “being a rabbit” and “being a duck” would be two different aspects. In being aware, we can’t be aware of instantiated properties of “being a duck” or “being a rabbit” without being aware of *that image* (me pointing to it) being a rabbit. Also, to be aware of the thing, doesn’t require being aware of any of those instantiated properties it has. (For example, if the image is on the periphery of your vision, you might be aware that there is something, but not aware that it is both rabbit or duck).

    You also say “when you learn one property (for example red) you will became aware of all objects with that properties (red objects) because awareness of property INCLUDES awareness of object.”.

    I don’t think that this objection holds, because I’m saying that one can’t be aware of instantiated properties, without being aware of the thing whose aspects those instantiated properties are. (Again holding in mind the mediation present in common nouns)

  13. Re 1.3.1 Awareness of events includes awareness of objects involved in those events

    I think you are right that this is problematic.

    It might be defended though, I think, by making it more precise – that is we could separate the event of which we are aware from the more complex event (or phenomenon) of which this event might be just an aspect.
    And then say, that we are event only of this aspect of an event, which includes the objects of which we are aware of. That is whenever we become aware of an event, we will be aware that something is happening to some thing or things.

    I guess, the example with perturbations of Uranus orbit doesn’t work best, as I’m inclined to think of it as a result of measurements which go against the predicted orbit. But I think I got your point.

    Does the additional explanation of events being aspects of more complex events work for you?

  14. Aki said

    Again I see some problems, probably because it is not that easy to propose your philosophy via aphorisms, like Wittgenstein did (even his philosophy caused disputes and contradictions in teachings of his students). I will point at those (or at least try to point at those) and I hope you will resolve them, or explain them.
    “The idea is that we can’t be aware of a property except as a property of something.”
    I will take this into math theory (since this field is closer to me than language – I am student of philosophy but I connect to it more from aspect of set theory than language theory).
    What you are saying is that you cannot be aware of P(x) if there is no x?
    I object to this because there are many ways of creating P when there are no x, for example you can define one property by negation of another one.
    Heres short example:
    1. I know humans are mortal. – M(h)
    2. I know there is property of being immortal – nM (n means negation)
    3. I do not know of any immortal beings – I do not know of any x that fits my descripson of nM – theres no x (in my knowledge) such that nM(x)
    Now, you can say that 2 is wrong because I wrote that “I KNOW there is property of being immortal”, but to me this seems very true. I even think this is main problem in your theory and in most cartesian theories. You do not make ontological difference between object, property and substance (in Aristotelian, or even better in Lockean sense) but you do make difference between them in epistemological sense. This is probably because you are cartesian in principle, and imo cartesianism is something we need to abandon. If you accept that epistemological properties of X are also ontological properties of X, you cannot prove that two things are identical in such system (identity being taken in Leibniz’s sense – two objects are identical if their properties are the same).
    Same applies to 1.3.1
    Of course, I might be wrong as well as you might be right, and vice versa, but it seems to me that those are interesting problems.
    Cheers,
    Aki

  15. Aki,

    Oh, but 1.2.1 and 1.3.1 are meant as talk about concrete objects, and their concrete properties, not becoming aware of properties in general. Though, both as I said, I think are mediated by awareness of multitude or possible multitude of things sharing some aspect.

    As I said in 1.5, we can assume and imagine things too, and become aware of things in such way. We can assume particular things, or multiplicity of things sharing some aspect (that is imagine a property). Because for immortality, same as for other properties, I would argue that doesn’t exist in a platonic sphere, but can be *imagined/assumed* only as belonging to something. So to say I can’t imagine just “being immortal” without imagining a thing being immortal.

  16. Aki said

    “Because for immortality, same as for other properties, I would argue that doesn’t exist in a platonic sphere, but can be *imagined/assumed* only as belonging to something. So to say I can’t imagine just “being immortal” without imagining a thing being immortal.”
    Thats exactly what I am talking about – Descartes used this idea to prove that god exists in his Meditations. I simply cant figure it out so I guess thats why our views are different :)
    To me it is more from aspect of sets than ideas (one may argue that they are the same but I do not think so).
    I guess only thing we can do now is follow Wittgenstein approach – The limits of my language means the limits of my world.
    Thnx for interesting debate
    Aki

  17. Tanasije Gjorgoski said

    Thank you :)

    BTW, just for the record, I’m not saying that for us to be aware of a certain property there needs to be (to exist) a thing with that property (which would be the case with the ontological proof, where existence is taken as a predicate, with which I disagree also). :)

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