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    Thread: Metaphysical Paradoxes

    1. #151
      Drivel's Advocate Xaqaria's Avatar
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      You can't interpret reality, since that implies that the mental construct is outside of reality. The mental construct of 2 itself is a part of reality that is used to represent many physical phenomena (known as pairs) that we as humans percieve. The designation of "2" is entirely dependent on an observer to seperate their perceptions into discreet phenomena and then to assign likeness threshholds in order to make a judgment on groupings. For instance, am I holding 2 apples or 1 green apple and 1 red apple or 1 pair of apples or n number of apple cells or n number of atoms or 200 cubic centimeters of apple and air or 1 lumpy depression in my palm? Feel free to ignore me if I'm just rehashing an argument that everyone is tired of already.
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    2. #152
      Xei
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      Quote Originally Posted by Universal Mind View Post
      You used his definition of the word. The definition is false, and you expressed support for it. By the reasoning you used there, 2 is not real. In making that point, you were disagreeing with me. If he had defined 2 as "made of ice cream," would you have expressed such support?
      Like I said before, the 'false definition' argument is fatuous and pointless and I won't be engaging in it. All I will be doing is clarifying the definitions that people have chosen to use.

      I was not disagreeing with you, nobody else in this thread is having such titanic struggles with such a simple concept. For the nth time, words are shortcuts for more verbose concepts. Even if nobody had used a word in a specific sense before, it doesn't matter, as long as the participants in the conversation understand what it means. Mathematicians do this loads in proofs; for example they may define a word like 'nice' to refer to some abstract property of an object and then use it from then on in the proof. Nobody gets confused and starts saying 'but a lecturer in another course said nice meant something different', or 'but the dictionary says nice means appealing and that has nothing to do with what you said'. Most people have no problem understanding that words are simply symbols used for utility.

      When I said '2 is not real', the explicit form of this statement, which I made perfectly clear, is '2 is not made of physical matter'. Which you don't disagree with.

      If PS for some reason wanted to define 2 as the adjective 'made of ice cream'... okay? What would be the problem? Of course, any argument we had about 2 would be about ice cream and nothing to do with this conversation about numbers.

      Quote Originally Posted by Universal Mind View Post
      No, they are not contradictory. They are all forms of being actual.
      Hmm, this doesn't look like either the word 'yes' or 'no'. In fact you just flat out deleted the question from my quote. How bemusing. I thought you hated 'dodgeball'.
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    3. #153
      Lucid Shaman mcwillis's Avatar
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      This crossed my mind as possibly being a metaphysical paradox today. If some of the more educated people here with regards to science, mathematics and philosophy think that this is complete nonsense then please say so and why. If it is wrong & I appear completely stupid please leave out any insults as it is getting very tiresome, I have spoken to members recently that avoid Extended Discussion because of this which is a real shame. Anyway, We all know that the numbers 1 & 2 exist and are real quantities. If I have two coins in my pocket and I am unaware of the amount of coins in my pocket I can pull out each coin and count 1 coin, then 2 coins. I can say, 'Yes I have 2 coins'. But if there are an infinite amount numbers between the numbers 1 & 2 then because of the nature of infinity after 1 we can never get to the number 2... This idea perplexes me and hence why I have added it in this thread.

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    4. #154
      Xei
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      I don't think it's very clear what you mean. Specifically, what does it mean to 'get to' the number 2?

      At any rate, number systems are just models for various phenomena. In this case, namely discrete objects, we can model it most simply with the naturals, which don't have any numbers between 1 and 2.

    5. #155
      Lucid Shaman mcwillis's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      I don't think it's very clear what you mean. Specifically, what does it mean to 'get to' the number 2?

      At any rate, number systems are just models for various phenomena. In this case, namely discrete objects, we can model it most simply with the naturals, which don't have any numbers between 1 and 2.
      I thought someone may ask this after I made the post. If there are an infinte amount of numbers between the numbers 1 & 2 then in essence we can never reach the number 2 by counting metaphysically because there are an infinite amount of numbers in between 1 & 2.

      Sure, I can definately count the number of coins I have in my pocket. I have 2.

      But counting metaphysically from 1 to 2 can be seen as being impossible if we count using the smallest incremental amounts using the decimal base number system.

      To illustrate: By counting ('get to' in your reply) in the smallest incremential amounts possible starting with just one decimal place to keep it simple 1.1 leads to 1.9, almost 2, would then eventually lead onto 1.99 and then onto 1.999.

      This would go on ad infinitum, so in theory we can never reach the number two by counting in the smallest incremential amounts possible to count upwards from 1 to 2 if we use the fact that there are an infinite amount of numbers between 1 & 2. Therefore we can say that we can't really count from 1 to 2. But... yes I can as I have two coins in my pocket. Note the seeming metaphysical paradox.

      I don't understand what a natural number is, although I have heard the term before, and no doubt would explain why my post has no validity. Its been fun though thinking about it

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    6. #156
      Xei
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      A natural number is just the set of numbers that cultures naturally come up with at first, namely the counting numbers, {1, 2, 3, 4, ... }. Sometimes the naturals are also taken to include 0.

      My point was that different kinds of number are conceptual structures which are used for different purposes. The most obvious choice for counting things is the naturals, which by definition don't have any numbers in between 1 and 2. Such numbers are not necessary for the consistency of a certain number system.

      I think you could make your point easier if you considered something naturally modelled by the reals, such as walking from point 0 to point 1.
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    7. #157
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      Quote Originally Posted by Xaqaria View Post
      The mental construct of 2 itself is a part of reality that is used to represent many physical phenomena (known as pairs) that we as humans percieve.
      What you're getting at is called the problem of negative existentials, and it's been around for a very long time. Stating something like "pegasus does not exist" might be a true statement until you see that you're denying the existence of the idea of the thing, and not the thing itself, thereby creating a false statement. This kind of reasoning can be ultimately self-defeating, since the idea of pegasus subsists.

      When you focus on the non-properties of something you're opening up a floodgate of negative facts that doesn't necessarily make what you're questioning to be the case true, rather than what is not the case. By proving the non-existence of an earthquake in Rome, are you proving the same non-earthquake in India? Do things change over time or over space? It depends on how much you want to dismiss, and how much you want reality to rely on metaphor. How much credit does you intellect give to your experience to trust as witness?

      Would you rather first learn to speak or to see as a child? On the surface, names are the easiest to understand because their meaning is whatever bears the name, unless you begin using the name also as a quantifier, then the name becomes a function in the sentence, not something that is being named; "nobody" as a name, for example.

      Don't allow missteps in reasoning, and lack of linguistic clarity trick you into hopeless abstraction or absurdity.

    8. #158
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      Quote Originally Posted by Xaqaria View Post
      You can't interpret reality, since that implies that the mental construct is outside of reality. The mental construct of 2 itself is a part of reality that is used to represent many physical phenomena (known as pairs) that we as humans percieve. The designation of "2" is entirely dependent on an observer to seperate their perceptions into discreet phenomena and then to assign likeness threshholds in order to make a judgment on groupings. For instance, am I holding 2 apples or 1 green apple and 1 red apple or 1 pair of apples or n number of apple cells or n number of atoms or 200 cubic centimeters of apple and air or 1 lumpy depression in my palm? Feel free to ignore me if I'm just rehashing an argument that everyone is tired of already.
      The mind is part of reality, but there is a whole lot more to reality outside of the mind. You are interpreting my posts. I am not typing them in your mind. I am typing them in my bedroom.

      If you are holding 2 apples and pass out, no longer having any concept of the apples, what happens to the 2 apples? Are there suddenly more or fewer apples? Are there zero?

      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      Like I said before, the 'false definition' argument is fatuous and pointless and I won't be engaging in it. All I will be doing is clarifying the definitions that people have chosen to use.

      I was not disagreeing with you, nobody else in this thread is having such titanic struggles with such a simple concept. For the nth time, words are shortcuts for more verbose concepts. Even if nobody had used a word in a specific sense before, it doesn't matter, as long as the participants in the conversation understand what it means. Mathematicians do this loads in proofs; for example they may define a word like 'nice' to refer to some abstract property of an object and then use it from then on in the proof. Nobody gets confused and starts saying 'but a lecturer in another course said nice meant something different', or 'but the dictionary says nice means appealing and that has nothing to do with what you said'. Most people have no problem understanding that words are simply symbols used for utility.
      I'm talking about a definition that was pulled out of somebody's ass... after he used a different one in Part 1 of this debate, which he decided to rekindle in this thread. I'm proud of you for taking up for that. However, what you are not getting is that my definition of "definition" is "horsey."

      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      When I said '2 is not real', the explicit form of this statement, which I made perfectly clear, is '2 is not made of physical matter'. Which you don't disagree with.
      Yes, and more specifically, it is not made of ice cream.

      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      If PS for some reason wanted to define 2 as the adjective 'made of ice cream'... okay? What would be the problem? Of course, any argument we had about 2 would be about ice cream and nothing to do with this conversation about numbers.
      Then what you should say is, "Uh, PS, that's not what 'real' means," instead of being his philosophy forum attorney.

      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      Hmm, this doesn't look like either the word 'yes' or 'no'. In fact you just flat out deleted the question from my quote. How bemusing. I thought you hated 'dodgeball'.
      WTF? The first word is "no."

      Quote Originally Posted by mcwillis View Post
      We all know that the numbers 1 & 2 exist and are real quantities.
      Not everybody here is aware of that. I'm still working on getting some people there.
      Last edited by Universal Mind; 04-30-2012 at 11:02 PM.
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    9. #159
      Xei
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      Quote Originally Posted by Universal Mind View Post
      Then what you should say is, "Uh, PS, that's not what 'real' means," instead of being his philosophy forum attorney.
      I haven't acted as anybody's attorney, the only point I have been making is that both sides would resolve their argument if they defined exactly what they each meant by 'real'. The only reason I'm still talking to you is that you seem dogmatically opposed to providing a functional definition. I don't know why.

      WTF? The first word is "no."
      Dodgeball again? You are intelligent enough to know that this response makes no sense. The question was, 'is fake silk real, yes or no'. You didn't attempt to answer it.

      Let's assume that you keep refusing to answer it because you can't. In that case, all that means, is that for your definition of A, there are certain objects X for which X can be said to be A according to the definition and X can also be said to be not A according to the definition.

      This is in fact fundamentally what it means to not be well-defined (dictionary definition 3). Checking that a new definition doesn't do this is a regular exercise in mathematical proof (for example, proving that the quotient group is well-defined).

      Patently one will never be able to determine the answer to 'is 2 real or is 2 not real' if one cannot in general determine the answer to 'is X real or is X not real'.

      Not everybody here is aware of that. I'm still working on getting some people there.
      Don't fool yourself UM, you're refusing to even jump the first basic hurdle and give a consistent definition of 'real'.
      Last edited by Xei; 05-01-2012 at 10:07 AM.

    10. #160
      Consciousness in the Void Universal Mind's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      I haven't acted as anybody's attorney, the only point I have been making is that both sides would resolve their argument if they defined exactly what they each meant by 'real'. The only reason I'm still talking to you is that you seem dogmatically opposed to providing a functional definition. I don't know why.
      Why would you even bother typing something so obviously wrong? I gave my defintion, I gave it again, and I posted a dictionary set of defintions and said I am using what the overall definition is illustrated by the totality of the 5 subdefinitions. You know that PS used a crock of shit definition, so it is really bizarre that you would advocate it and use it as a debate point.

      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      Dodgeball again? You are intelligent enough to know that this response makes no sense. The question was, 'is fake silk real, yes or no'. You didn't attempt to answer it.
      You were not clear on this. You quoted something I said that began with "no" and said I did not have "yes" or "no" in it. You should have quoted what you said I didn't answer. Yes, fake silk is real in the sense that I have described "real." The subdefinition involving actuality as applied to genuineness is a minor illustration that helps create the overall picture, but it alone does not involve the overall "real" we are discussing. In that subdefinition sense, fake silk is not real. In the sense that you know I have been illustrating and explaining, it is. Take even those 5 subdefinitions and apply them to existence. That is the metaphysical sense of the word. That is what we are discussing.

      Very importantly, I gave my own single definition and later brought it up again just for you. We do not need to keep splitting hairs over this.

      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      Let's assume that you keep refusing to answer it because you can't. In that case, all that means, is that for your definition of A, there are certain objects X for which X can be said to be A according to the definition and X can also be said to be not A according to the definition.

      This is in fact fundamentally what it means to not be well-defined (dictionary definition 3). Checking that a new definition doesn't do this is a regular exercise in mathematical proof (for example, proving that the quotient group is well-defined).

      Patently one will never be able to determine the answer to 'is 2 real or is 2 not real' if one cannot in general determine the answer to 'is X real or is X not real'.

      Don't fool yourself UM, you're refusing to even jump the first basic hurdle and give a consistent definition of 'real'.
      Lord have mercy. Are you really this lost? A broad meaning can be applied in specific ways that are different from each other. I didn't realize that would confuse you so much. Do I need to dig up my own wording of the definition we are using in this debate and explain the overall illustration principle again? I will give it to you yet again.


      Quote Originally Posted by Universal Mind View Post
      As for the definition of "real," I don't recall dodging questions about the definition of it. Do you, honestly? It means "having existence as something physical, or a property or measure that has the potential of pertaining to something physical." More specifically, we are debating what numbers are real. Such numbers are actual quantities. They do not have to be quantities of physical things. They can be quantities of properties and other things that merely pertain to or are manifested by the physical, such as thoughts, waves, fiction characters, etc., but they have to be actual quantities. 2 is a quantity. i is not a quantity. You can't have i of anything.

      Quote Originally Posted by Universal Mind View Post
      Barrack Obama is real; Superman is not real. Cincinnati, Ohio is real; Atlantis is not real. Al Pacino is real; Michael Corleone is not real. Richard Dawkins is real; God is not real. Knowledge of the existence of 2 is real; knowledge of how to travel faster than the speed of light is not real. Oject speeds of 2 miles per hour are real; object speeds beyond the speed of light are not real. Intelligence is real; omniscience is not real. Your thoughts are real; your kitchen counter's thoughts are not real. Do you see a pattern here? The pattern is real.
      Quote Originally Posted by Universal Mind View Post
      They all mean the same thing, but in different specific ways. They all mean "actual." Things can be actual in terms of existence, legitimacy, and other things. Fake silk is not imaginary, but its existence as true silk is imaginary. That is how it is not real silk. Do you see the connection?
      If you are still confused, read this post as many times as you need to.

      By the way, this debate is about whether or not 2 is real.
      Last edited by Universal Mind; 05-01-2012 at 11:25 AM.
      Quote Originally Posted by really View Post
      God cannot destroy himself because He is Omnipotent.


    11. #161
      Xei
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      Quote Originally Posted by Universal Mind View Post
      Yes, fake silk is real in the sense that I have described "real." The subdefinition involving actuality as applied to genuineness is a minor illustration that helps create the overall picture, but it alone does not involve the overall "real" we are discussing.
      Correct, it fake silk is real. But it also isn't. The definition says that that which is counterfeit is not real. Is fake silk counterfeit? Yes. Therefore the definition tells us that fake silk is not real. That's how definitions work. That's what the dictionary says. I'm not going to argue about this, it's just bloody stupid. It's right there for everybody to read. Just accept that the concept of a 'holistic dictionary definition' is ill-defined and move on. We cannot possibly use a definition that says something both is and isn't real if we wish to determine whether 2 is real.

      Very importantly, I gave my own single definition and later brought it up again just for you. We do not need to keep splitting hairs over this.
      Yes, you did give your own definition. I asked you to clarify and you refused to, on the basis that we should just use the dictionary definitions. As the dictionary definitions are inconsistent, clearly we need to go back to clarifying the single definition that you originally gave. I believe I had asked you to clarify the term 'quantity'.
      Last edited by Xei; 05-01-2012 at 02:47 PM.

    12. #162
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      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      Correct, it fake silk is real. But it also isn't. The definition says that that which is counterfeit is not real. Is fake silk counterfeit? Yes. Therefore the definition tells us that fake silk is not real. That's how definitions work. That's what the dictionary says. I'm not going to argue about this, it's just bloody stupid. It's right there for everybody to read. Just accept that the concept of a 'holistic dictionary definition' is ill-defined and move on. We cannot possibly use a definition that says something both is and isn't real if we wish to determine whether 2 is real.
      If the dictionary is honestly confusing you that much, which I don't think it is, you can just disregard it. In case you truly are trying to understand what "real" in the metaphysical sense means, I will explain it to you one more time. After that, you are on your own. I think you are probably just stagnating the conversation on purpose because you know I have a point about the nature of numbers. You and I go back a little bit on the topic.

      I posted all five Dictionary.com definitions because they have a common thread. I was trying to paint a picture for you. However, I thought you would take that big picture and common thread and apply them to the word "real" as it is used in the metaphysical sense. If that did not work, then forget it. I think you know I am not making an issue of whether 2 is fake or counterfeit. I already explained to you that I am talking about actuality as it applies to being in the realm of existence, not actuality as it applies to being specifically in the realm of genuine money or commercial products. Those subdefinitions apply to more specific principles but involve the broad concept. Like I said, if that confuses you, never mind it. Just focus on my own worded definition. If the words in it confuse you, get a dictionary and focus on context, like you should have done in the first place.

      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      Yes, you did give your own definition. I asked you to clarify and you refused to, on the basis that we should just use the dictionary definitions. As the dictionary definitions are inconsistent, clearly we need to go back to clarifying the single definition that you originally gave. I believe I had asked you to clarify the term 'quantity'.
      I have posted several paragraphs worth of clarification-- my own definition, the dictionary's set of definitions, my explanation of the dictionary's set of defintions, a list of pairs of real and unreal things, and a whole lot of other elaboration. You know what the fuck we are talking about. You are a math student at Cambridge, so you know what a "quantity" is. If you need further understanding, use the dictionary + context tip I gave you. Check your math textbooks for meaning too. I'm sure you'll understand it quite well.

      What do you mean by "the?" I just looked it up in an online dictionary and got tons of defintions. How am I supposed to know what it means? I am still waiting for you to define "does" and "is."

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      Quote Originally Posted by really View Post
      God cannot destroy himself because He is Omnipotent.


    13. #163
      Drivel's Advocate Xaqaria's Avatar
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      If I pass out I will not be holding anything as they will surely fall out of my hand. Is that what you meant by "are there zero?"

      If a tree falls in the forest and there is no one around to witness, does it make a sound? Are compression waves traveling through air still considered sound if their are no ears to translate them into brain waves? I feel like we have been involved in this same debate for several years now.

      Have you ever passed out? I did once this past year. I blacked out and collapsed and had a mild seizure from standing up too quickly while being dehydrated. It wasn't the same as falling asleep; my body was still taking in information but I wasn't able to process it. The first thought I was able to process was that someone must be playing radio static very loud which I later realized was actually the sensation of the carpet against my face. If I had been holding two apples during this experience (and miraculously managed to hold on to them) then while I was out, not only would there not be two apples in my hand, but there wouldn't exist apples or objects of any kind at all. Perhaps you watching me would say that there were still two apples but then you would be an observer capable of seperating your perceptions into discreet phenomena and applying likeness values to them.

      Can you show me two apples that exist independently of any observers?
      Last edited by Xaqaria; 05-02-2012 at 04:32 AM.
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      I for one don't have the hubris to proclaim that everything ceases to exist without myself, or consciousness in general, existing. Then again, I'm not even sure what this 'self' actually is...

    15. #165
      Xei
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      The statement 'everything ceases to exist without myself' is meaningless by the verifiability criterion. Namely: is there any observation I could make which would have a consequence for this statement?

      Quote Originally Posted by Universal Mind View Post
      If the dictionary is honestly confusing you that much, which I don't think it is, you can just disregard it.
      No, it really is. It is my firm belief that a very large number of philosophical arguments arise from problems of language. This has been the driving philosophical insight since around the start of the 19th century and is a very serious position. Being tricked by homonyms is one of the chief causes of these problems. The perennial 'does a falling tree make a sound if there's nobody there' is an excellent example; the argument is completely and utterly futile, clearly stemming from the interlocutors having vague definitions of what 'sound' means. Once they define what they are talking about properly, for instance, 'the tree makes waves of air molecules', or, 'the tree does not make waves of air molecules which are perceived by a person', no sane person could disagree with whatever it was that they were saying. They only thought they had a disagreement because they were using the word 'sound' to mean inconsistent things, that is to say, there were objects X for which X could be said to be A and also not A by consulting the two subdefinitions. Clearly different meanings of the word are common enough for the argument to arise, so arguing about what the word 'sound' 'actually means' is even more pointless, the meaning of words are decided upon by whoever uses the word.

      In case you truly are trying to understand what "real" in the metaphysical sense means, I will explain it to you one more time. After that, you are on your own. I think you are probably just stagnating the conversation on purpose because you know I have a point about the nature of numbers. You and I go back a little bit on the topic.
      If you think about this it doesn't actually make sense. I mean, firstly, as I have said before, I have not once said that 2 is 'not real' according to your definition. That is not my position. In fact when you've sufficiently clarified what you mean, I expect that 2 will be real. Despite my consistently trying to clarify, you still seem to believe that my agreeing that 2 was not real by PS's definition somehow suggests I will also think 2 is not real by your definition, when in reality those conversations were about utterly different things, and were only connected via a homonym, which is nothing.

      And secondly, as it was my position in the discussion you referred to that complex numbers are real, it makes no sense that I would want to disprove your position that 2 is real, given that 2 is a complex number. Under no sensible definition of 'real' could one conclude that complex numbers are real but natural numbers aren't.

      I have posted several paragraphs worth of clarification-- my own definition, the dictionary's set of definitions, my explanation of the dictionary's set of defintions, a list of pairs of real and unreal things, and a whole lot of other elaboration. You know what the fuck we are talking about. You are a math student at Cambridge, so you know what a "quantity" is. If you need further understanding, use the dictionary + context tip I gave you. Check your math textbooks for meaning too. I'm sure you'll understand it quite well.
      One doesn't actually study the philosophy of mathematics in a mathematics degree. In fact we pretty much totally ignore it and get on with doing maths. Nowhere have I been provided with a definition of 'quantity', or even something like 'number'. These concepts are in fact notoriously difficult to define and one finds many mutually contradictory attempts at definitions... which is why I am still waiting on you. No I don't know what we're talking about, I can envisage various totally different meanings of 'quantity', under which various objects would sometimes be included and sometimes excluded.

      What do you mean by "the?" I just looked it up in an online dictionary and got tons of defintions. How am I supposed to know what it means? I am still waiting for you to define "does" and "is."
      It's a legitimate request, although I don't think it's a sincere one. 'Does' means different things depending on the context. In the context in which you found it, it was simply a grammatical framing device for the question 'what does X mean'? It meant the same thing as 'define X'. As to what 'define' means, that can only be defined ostensively.
      Last edited by Xei; 05-02-2012 at 12:35 PM.

    16. #166
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      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      No, it really is. It is my firm belief that a very large number of philosophical arguments arise from problems of language. This has been the driving philosophical insight since around the start of the 19th century and is a very serious position. Being tricked by homonyms is one of the chief causes of these problems. The perennial 'does a falling tree make a sound if there's nobody there' is an excellent example; the argument is completely and utterly futile, clearly stemming from the interlocutors having vague definitions of what 'sound' means. Once they define what they are talking about properly, for instance, 'the tree makes waves of air molecules', or, 'the tree does not make waves of air molecules which are perceived by a person', no sane person could disagree with whatever it was that they were saying. They only thought they had a disagreement because they were using the word 'sound' to mean inconsistent things, that is to say, there were objects X for which X could be said to be A and also not A by consulting the two subdefinitions. Clearly different meanings of the word are common enough for the argument to arise, so arguing about what the word 'sound' 'actually means' is even more pointless, the meaning of words are decided upon by whoever uses the word.
      I totally agree, but I think you know by now what my point about the reality of numbers is. I have clarified it to the point of beating a dead horse.

      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      If you think about this it doesn't actually make sense. I mean, firstly, as I have said before, I have not once said that 2 is 'not real' according to your definition. That is not my position. In fact when you've sufficiently clarified what you mean, I expect that 2 will be real. Despite my consistently trying to clarify, you still seem to believe that my agreeing that 2 was not real by PS's definition somehow suggests I will also think 2 is not real by your definition, when in reality those conversations were about utterly different things, and were only connected via a homonym, which is nothing.
      No, it is just that he used a made up definition.

      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      And secondly, as it was my position in the discussion you referred to that complex numbers are real, it makes no sense that I would want to disprove your position that 2 is real, given that 2 is a complex number. Under no sensible definition of 'real' could one conclude that complex numbers are real but natural numbers aren't.
      My issue has not been with complex numbers. It has been with imaginary numbers. 2 is only a complex number because it is 2 + 0i. The number I have been using as an example of a fictitious number is i.

      Claiming that i is real and 2 is not is exactly what PS did, and I called him out on it. Why didn't you? What I was saying to you is that it is odd how you didn't call him out on that but instead started taking up for how 2 is not real by his suddenly new and made up definition.

      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      One doesn't actually study the philosophy of mathematics in a mathematics degree. In fact we pretty much totally ignore it and get on with doing maths. Nowhere have I been provided with a definition of 'quantity', or even something like 'number'. These concepts are in fact notoriously difficult to define and one finds many mutually contradictory attempts at definitions... which is why I am still waiting on you. No I don't know what we're talking about, I can envisage various totally different meanings of 'quantity', under which various objects would sometimes be included and sometimes excluded.
      You might never have had to write a definition of the word "quantity," but I know the word has been used in your studies and you have had to understand its meaning.

      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      It's a legitimate request, although I don't think it's a sincere one. 'Does' means different things depending on the context. In the context in which you found it, it was simply a grammatical framing device for the question 'what does X mean'? It meant the same thing as 'define X'. As to what 'define' means, that can only be defined ostensively.
      I was being satirical. Asking me to define every major word in my point was unnecessary.

      Quote Originally Posted by Xaqaria View Post
      If I pass out I will not be holding anything as they will surely fall out of my hand. Is that what you meant by "are there zero?"

      If a tree falls in the forest and there is no one around to witness, does it make a sound? Are compression waves traveling through air still considered sound if their are no ears to translate them into brain waves? I feel like we have been involved in this same debate for several years now.

      Have you ever passed out? I did once this past year. I blacked out and collapsed and had a mild seizure from standing up too quickly while being dehydrated. It wasn't the same as falling asleep; my body was still taking in information but I wasn't able to process it. The first thought I was able to process was that someone must be playing radio static very loud which I later realized was actually the sensation of the carpet against my face. If I had been holding two apples during this experience (and miraculously managed to hold on to them) then while I was out, not only would there not be two apples in my hand, but there wouldn't exist apples or objects of any kind at all. Perhaps you watching me would say that there were still two apples but then you would be an observer capable of seperating your perceptions into discreet phenomena and applying likeness values to them.
      I have debated that here in the past, and some of it was with you. The universe is not dependent on our observations. The universe was here long before we were, and it will be here long after we are gone.

      Quote Originally Posted by Xaqaria View Post
      Can you show me two apples that exist independently of any observers?
      No, it is of course impossible to observe something without it being observed. We can, however, use logic to analyze hypotheticals.
      Last edited by Universal Mind; 05-03-2012 at 05:56 AM.
      Quote Originally Posted by really View Post
      God cannot destroy himself because He is Omnipotent.


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      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      The statement 'everything ceases to exist without myself' is meaningless by the verifiability criterion. Namely: is there any observation I could make which would have a consequence for this statement?
      There have been a number of meaningless statements throughout this thread, and from an empiricists' point of view you'd be correct about what I said, but to the extent that [philosophical] analysis is concerned you've missed the essence; our knowledge is subject to experience, and without experience everything is meaningless. Here we rely heavily on synthetic statements in order to derive some meaning in an otherwise un-meaningful debate, but for only the sake of argument the meta-physic is not completely dead, nor is the distinction between theoretical and observational philosophy particularly meaningful. There's an apparent over arching positivism here wreaking of quaint correlations and weak presumptions about verification of assertions, although it seems the real paradox lies in our innate, humanly truth value.

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      I hate to burst all of your bubbles but you're all figments of my imagination.

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      Quote Originally Posted by RationalMystic View Post
      I hate to burst all of your bubbles but you're all figments of my imagination.
      To me, reality is subjective to some but not to others. It is not subjective to me, to me, but it might be subjective to me to you. That might not be the case with Bob. It depends on Marsha's perspective, etc.
      Quote Originally Posted by really View Post
      God cannot destroy himself because He is Omnipotent.


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      <<<In situation B, a train arrives, having travelled at 88mph for the infinite past.>>>

      a tain can go into the future infinitely, yet at any point that you see it it is not infinity because it started. In the situation B of the train, it might have always been traveling as far back as you go, but if the moment it stops is connected to the infinite past wouldn't that have made it not infinte anymore and therefor make the situation impossible? Wouldn't that make infinity impossible unless there are other variables i have yet to come up with?

      Yet that makes me think of how the universe could pop up from nonexistence unless it has always existed or how god could even exist if no one created him.

      If it was possible for the universe to pop up out of no where then that means the possiblity exists and has existed for infinity. If god wasnt created then that means he might always have existed? If god happend out of nowhere that means the possbility existed always. This also makes me think that if god poped up out of no where through infinite possibility that that might mean that god and the universe are the same thing out of posibility.

      The last one was just a random thought that I need to look into.
      Last edited by Name; 05-10-2012 at 11:27 PM.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Name View Post
      Yet that makes me think of how the universe could pop up from nonexistence unless it has always existed or how god could even exist if no one created him.

      If it was possible for the universe to pop up out of no where then that means the possiblity exists and has existed for infinity. If god wasnt created then that means he might always have existed? If god happend out of nowhere that means the possbility existed always. This also makes me think that if god poped up out of no where through infinite possibility that that might mean that god and the universe are the same thing out of posibility..
      The funny thing about this is the way we have to ask the question is sort of contradictory. You ask when was the universe created or were did the universe come from but those two questions ask about the variables space and time. Space and time only exit within the universe. The question of when did the universe start would have to be a function of another variable entirely, one that we can't even comprehend. I find it funny how our language is confined in some ways that make it hard to talk about metaphysics without being contradictory. I think that was one of the problems with the discussion on the reality of 2.
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      Ive heard many explanations of time, infinity, etc. When i was young, probably around 6 or 7, i knew that time travel was possible. I didnt know how, but i knew i could figure it out. I was a odd child i guess, at least from my point of view. but anyways, think about this= There is two possibilities, 1: Time is moving, and we are standing still or two: We are moving, and time is standing still. I read somewere that a demon of sorts had created time to "limit" the universe. If you believed in it, and worked around it then time is real. My explanation of time is this = Imagine yourself grabbing a pen, and stricking a surface softly, every time your heart beats(pretty consitent), while watching the sun. You know exactly were the sun was when you first strike the surface, and you count how many times you strike that surface until the sun rotates all the way around the earth and back to the exact place is was in. That would be time. Now on to immortality and mortality. It is physically imposible to be immortal on this physical plane/dimension. Stone buildings dont last forever so neither will your skin. If by some odd happening, you dont age whatsoever(maybe the duplications of cells, with the disposal of the old constantly) it is possible to be immortal. Now pertaining to rocks, and other physical elements= We are all made of stardust, we are made of the earth, and there is not one chemical in your body that didnt come from somewere in the sky. Everything but something that "grows" like a plant or a human, is more than trillions of years old(or however old the f***in universe is). Well thats my 2 cents.
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      Infinity is a term and should stop trying to be applied to our unniverse as true infinty in our unniverse does not exist.
      When the events of the big bang occured it happened in a space which contained no "laws", as matter stretched out and increased in size a plane was created - time. This plane is not 2-dimensional it has no dimension but it carries our 3-dimensional world as a law. Every way particles react in our unniverse is governed by the plane which was created by the big bang in the sense that we live in a 3-dimensional world but in another unniverse (If one existed) there could be 4-dimensions. One of the rules of our plane is that its limit is the speed of light and that everything is relative. These two concepts help our understanding of infinity and immortality. For instance the faster an amount of mass goes the more time is stretched around this entity to ensure that light travels at 300000km per second so that time seems equally fast to it (relativity). A great way to show that infinity does not exist in a physical form to us is through wormholes. One could argue that infinty does exist as an infinite amount of energy can be stored in a wormhole, but think of the nature of a wormhole - A wormhole's speed and mass have caused it to break the limits set by our plane and create a hole in it, therefore beyond the event horizon of the blackhole we are not dealing with our own plane but with something unknown which does follow our laws therefore we cannot say that it is energy once it has passed this point. Same with immortality, If one was to use time dilation and break the speed limit they would no longer exist on our unniverses plane becuase it does not allow for this.
      Its hard to explain but I hope I got my point across.
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      Quote Originally Posted by MadMonkey View Post
      I can't stand to listen to things like this anymore... I need to write my paper!

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