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Thread: "is there a there, there? " (Constructivism)

  1. #1

    "is there a there, there? " (Constructivism)

    This rather obscure sentence [is there a there, there?], paraphrased or not, somehow pops up quite often in the stuff I read. And it is bugging me. Is it merely a rhetorical question that gauges the human ontology like: "is there reality outside of the Homo Sapiens brains?". I am not sure what to think of it so can you help me in knowing what it truly means? For the latter to be untrue it would mean that when all humans died on earth they would leave nothing behind....no animals, no mountains, no nothing...right...something I refuse to believe to be true if that turns out to be the answer, for why would the earth stop to exist when all humans died suddenly, instantly? Zenith of arrogance, the weak or strong anthropic "solipsistic" principle? Does the sentence mean this very thing? That there may be a there behind Plato's shadows on the cave? And thus not merely an existentialist play on words grammatically?

    Please educate me, I'm stuck here.
    Last edited by Duikboot; 06-07-2015 at 07:45 PM.

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    I think the answer to that is we humans construct the world with our senses (sight, sounds etc), but other animals do so in quite different ways, as they don't have the same senses that we have. There are also smaller differences between human cultures than there are between humans and different species. There is a lot more to this than can be put into one sentence, of course.

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    I'm stuck also. I think Dreamwoven provides one interpretation of what that means.

    George Berkeley's philosophy claims there is something out there but we cannot experience "senseless Matter". So whatever is out there, it is not senseless Matter. Here's a quote:

    To me, I say, it is evident that the being of a spirit infinitely wise, good, and powerful is abundantly sufficient to explain all the appearances of nature. But, as for inert, senseless Matter, nothing that I perceive has any the least connexion with it, or leads to the thoughts of it. And I would fain see any one explain any the meanest phenomenon in nature by it, or show any manner of reason, though in the lowest rank of probability, that he can have for its existence, or even make any tolerable sense or meaning of that supposition. For, as to its being an occasion, we have, I think, evidently shown that with regard to us it is no occasion. It remains therefore that it must be, if at all, the occasion to God of exciting ideas in us; and what this amounts to we have just now seen.

    Berkeley, George (2012-05-12). A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge (Kindle Locations 809-815). . Kindle Edition.

    It was only recently, after considering quantum physics' "consciousness causes collapse" interpretation, that I thought he might be right. There is something out there. It is not just an illusion inside my head although my experience of it is filtered through my senses, but it is not what we normally think of as "matter".

    Here is an InspiringPhilosophy YouTube video attempting to describe idealism based on quantum physics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4C5pq7W5yRM It goes a little fast. Although both Berkeley and InspiringPhilosophy are viewing this from a Christian perspective, I think the conclusions would be the same for any panentheistic viewpoint.

    Although I think I get this intellectually and I can even accept that an atom is mostly empty space and that we don't actually touch the floor we walk on but only respond to electromagnetic waves keeping us from falling through the floor like a neutrino would, the idea that there isn't anything there still puzzles me.
    Last edited by YesNo; 06-08-2015 at 10:09 AM.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Dreamwoven View Post
    I think the answer to that is we humans construct the world with our senses (sight, sounds etc), but other animals do so in quite different ways, as they don't have the same senses that we have. There are also smaller differences between human cultures than there are between humans and different species. There is a lot more to this than can be put into one sentence, of course.
    Let's reverse it! Dinosaurs were on earth before homo sapiens sapiens - I hope you agree with me there. Let us assume that dinosaurs were just as intelligent as we humans are now but due to ill fate they were knocked out by a big *** asteroid. The earth still exists today, regardless of dinosaurs being smart or dumb, conscience or their environment, being able to recognize their own mirror image like dolphins, elephants and some primates (perhaps even octopus too). So is that not proof that the earth was there before humans were living on it (in itself a ludicrous question)? What would make the Earth disappear then when humans were replaced (just like dino's) by other species suddenly?

  5. #5
    Yesno, that is indeed very interesting stuff and I must honestly say also so counter-intuitive to even scientists, which I am far from, that I read as much as I can on the subject, but I will never have the illusion even grasping a tenth of the knowledge that only 20 of the most intelligent people on earth are struggling with today. I lack the hubris to even enter those woods, unarmed in wits as I am thus far.
    Last edited by Duikboot; 06-08-2015 at 06:05 PM.

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    Duikboot, in your first post heading you used the word constructivism. Wikipedia separates several variants of this in its disambiguation of this word. Which of the resulting meanings are closest to what you meant?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Duikboot View Post
    Yesno, that is indeed very interesting stuff and I must honestly say also so counter-intuitive to even scientists, which I am far from, that I read as much as I can on the subject, but I will never have the illusion even grasping a tenth of the knowledge that only 20 of the most intelligent people on earth are struggling with today. I lack the hubris to even enter those woods, unarmed in wits as I am thus far.
    What makes it difficult is the counter-intuitive nature of it. Technically, it is not all the difficult. There are also many alternative answers that conflict with each other. If you want to get some answer to your question, you almost have to enter those woods.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by YesNo View Post
    What makes it difficult is the counter-intuitive nature of it. Technically, it is not all the difficult. There are also many alternative answers that conflict with each other. If you want to get some answer to your question, you almost have to enter those woods.
    I can not, for the very reasons I provided. I am not BETA enough, I am not even an Alpha as most of my posts here may prove. My brains are not wired for this stuff, but they are inquisitive. That is why I consult with others to learn more about it. Not only the big bad wolf resides in the woods. No woods for me. I am little red riding hood informed by the science-police no to go there - there be dragons.

    Digressing will not suffice, since I need an answer to my initial question.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Dreamwoven View Post
    Duikboot, in your first post heading you used the word constructivism. Wikipedia separates several variants of this in its disambiguation of this word. Which of the resulting meanings are closest to what you meant?
    Fair enough, Dreamwoven, I should have been more explanatory.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constru...t_epistemology

    That is the "constructivism" I meant. But I would rather call it Constructivist "Ontology".
    Last edited by Duikboot; 06-09-2015 at 07:06 PM.

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    That's very interesting, Duikboot. It touches on an interest I have had, the symbolic interactionist perspective. I even have the book Berger and Luckmann on my shelves, as well as the Kuhn book on science. Schutz, Bloor, Restivo, Luhmann, are also of interest though some of the constructivist work is a bit on the abstract, theoretical side for me. From your first post I suspect that is where your main interest lies.

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    Here is a quote from Duikboot's link that I found most interesting:

    As an example, Kuhn suggested that the Sun-centric Copernican "revolution" replaced the Earth-centric views of Ptolemy not because of empirical failures, but because of a new "paradigm" that exerted control over what scientists felt to be the more fruitful way to pursue their goals.

    Why should such social construction of reality imply that there is no there there?

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by YesNo View Post
    Here is a quote from Duikboot's link that I found most interesting:

    As an example, Kuhn suggested that the Sun-centric Copernican "revolution" replaced the Earth-centric views of Ptolemy not because of empirical failures, but because of a new "paradigm" that exerted control over what scientists felt to be the more fruitful way to pursue their goals.

    Why should such social construction of reality imply that there is no there there?

    this is exactly my point. Why should it? no new revolution in human thinking makes a dent in the observable reality/history. Only human history can be redeemed.
    Today people are smart enough to fall for pyramid game scams yet are not able to read a book from page 1 till the end, having the attention span of a gold fish.

    There are "New Goals". There is only $-signs.

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    I only read as much of a book as I find useful. I rarely read to the end, but I do a lot of re-reading of parts.

    I don't think the social construction of reality says anything about objective reality, only our interpretations of it. Now if you decide to go back to considering quantum physics, there might be some conclusions one can reach about objective reality.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Duikboot View Post
    this is exactly my point. Why should it? no new revolution in human thinking makes a dent in the observable reality/history. Only human history can be redeemed.
    Today people are smart enough to fall for pyramid game scams yet are not able to read a book from page 1 till the end, having the attention span of a gold fish.

    There are "New Goals". There is only $-signs.
    YesNo has a point, yet at the same time I sympathise with your view Duikboot, in an era dominated by neoliberalism with its endless sequence of booms and slumps, pyramid game scams, and fixation on making money, perhaps even in all eras. But is it as hopeless as you make it seem? I genuinely don't know the answer to this.

  15. #15
    I was merely trying to see if people would ever bring up Martin Heidegger in this regard. People tend to read his book "Time and Being" in English. While he himself is stating that we should dive straight back into to Greek Etymology to "RESET" ourselves and from there follow a new path to the center of the WOODS in which positivistic scientists are currently lost in. But I read Sein und Zeit over and over, with annotations and what not...I can not help myself from believing that all Heidegger longed from us is to be some sort of Buddhist....and what do you know? Zen-buddhism had no craveat, no warning message about the holocaust. Its just a dog eat dog world, thats basically it - people are automatons even awaken by automatons they invented, like an alarm clock. We are lived, instead that we live.
    Heidegger to me does not add anything new to this, for I was raised to think this way which took him half his lifetime to find out. That people are not standing on the sideline of nature, we are part of nature/evolution...we are not the crown of the creation in terms of evolution, we merely think...but viruses do not think, and they can destroy intelligence, de-crown us all from the face of the earth. Intelligence is nothing but a strategy to adapt to the earth's environment....that some people survive without thinking is a short-term happiness...la petite mort...have sex as much as you can at intervals allow....like with me is the case.


    people who feel insulted need to seriously stop reading Freud. For real. No one can insult one another. And I do not mean this solipsistic. Insulting of Da-sein ist nicht insulting da Insulting Sein of das seiende entiteit being that it was ought to be not is that was in this aspect but to be, like mon petit papa Shakespeare was not meaning to be purported to seem.
    Last edited by Duikboot; 06-18-2015 at 06:35 PM.

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