materialism: necessary or contingent?

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by vostibackle, Aug 18, 2008.

  1. Materialists: is materalism a necessary or contingent fact? Could there logically be a world in which materialism is false? Is dualism logically inconceivable, or does it just happen to be false in our world?
  2. reword that question please.

    materialism is a made up concept and we are indoctrinated from the day we are born into some bullshit life-devalued society.

    theres not a truth or false about materialism, it is what it is. its pushed on us from every angle, the world without materialism is right in in front of us, but we are blind. mmm... many ideas im tired, going to have to come back to this one.
  3. The rest of the post is a rewording of the question.

    I'm talking about the idea that nothing exists besides the material. I don't think we're indoctrinated into this... it seems to me that most people don't agree with it.

    Maybe I'm actually asking about physicalism.. I'm confused about the definitions of materialism and physicalism. Maybe metaphysical naturalism? Anyway I'm interested in answers to the corresponding questions for all these terms.

    Here's a more general question. Do you think your ontological beliefs are necessary or contingent? I.e. must your ontological beliefs be true in any logically conceivable world, or do they just happen to be true in our world?
  4. alright..i've been to the dictionary and it sounds like your asking whether or not my beliefs on the nature of existence depend on existence itself, or if it's all up to the viewer to decide.

    if i'm understanding your question, i will give you this answer.

    my beliefs about the nature of existence are constantly changing and evolving as i obtain new information and ideas. i realize that our five sense reality tells us a lot about existence..for example we feel material, gravity keeps us on the ground, the wind blows etcetc. i have also realized that there is a lot more to be experienced than our 5 sense reality, and being able to repeat these experiences must prove they exist.

    i'm still confused as to what you mean, but i think its safe to say that my beliefs concerning the nature of existence are contingent upon new information, ideas and experience from the void.
  5. im a bit lost so im just going to wait untill this thread progresses.
  6. Now fracturtle is discussing the nature of existence, but vostibackle, are you questioning that or are you questioning whether we are naturally born into egoic self-image based on materialism and physicalism?
  7. No, I'm not asking whether we're born into it. Here's an example. I think I'm a physicalist. I believe that the only things that exist are physical things. No ghosts in the machine, souls, cosmic brain waves, etc. But, I think there could be world in which non-physical things exist, but it just so happens that they don't exist in our world. So I think physicalism is contingent. Some people might think that non-physical things can never logically exist, so a world in which non-physical things exist is logically inconceivable. These people think physicalism is necessary.

    I'm not talking about that kind of materialism. See
  8. Ahh, so your basically just asking about whether dualism is logically conceivable.

    Well, I believe in unity. That our bodies and our "soul" or "consciousness" or whatever you want to call it, are one with everything that is of existence. Now I could go on about how existence to humans is perceived based on the five senses, whereas there could be other dimensional existence before our very eyes. Fracturtle talked about this so I won't continue. So yes, I think that physicalism is contingent.

    I do not think that dualism exists. I highly doubt that there is some supernatural orb using my body as its host and that when I die it is free to go on a trans-dimensional journey. I believe that my "soul" is my body and vice-versa. But that's just what I believe. I could continue on about my beliefs on what happens when I die but that is irrelevant.

    The fact of the matter is that I have not died, and I do not know anybody who has previously died. So I will never know. But until then, spark up another one brother.:smoke:
  9. trying to understand what your talking about is making my brain hurt.

    from what i gather you are saying is that everything we see, feel, hear, taste, think, or otherwise perceive is nothing more than the interactions of our environment and our physical brain chemistry. i will agree with you up to a point, but i don't agree that everything is just a random playing out of energy..i can't prove it, but i believe that the physical world, including our brains, is influenced by an outside force we don't understand. aka the soul.

    if there is no ghost in the machine, then wouldn't it be logical to assume we are just a machine? every thought we have or action we take..everything we perceive would be pre-calculated by an assumed programmer and we would exist as nothing more
    than a dvd or video game on a large scale.

  10. Now with you getting into this, I ask you this. Do you think that animals, plants, bacteria, fungi, and other living things on this wonderful planet have a soul? And if not, if human beings are the only living creatures with souls, then that must mean the human race on planet earth is the very focal point of the entire universe? With the universe as large as it is, we are completely unaware at this moment if intelligent, or non-intelligent extra-terrestrial life exists. I do not believe that we are the backbone to this universe that we are a part of. As I stated above, I believe that we are one with everything in existence and I cannot believe that a human "soul" separates our species from every other living being in existence.
  11. i can't deny that plants and animals have spirit.

    after eating mushrooms, smoking salvia, and genuinely hanging out with animals, i can tell you that i wholeheartedly believe each one has its own unique essence.

    i also believe everything is is quite literal actually. everything in this universe shares a pulse. i can only figure that when your pulse stops, your energy goes back to where it was to begin with. i think the origin of this energy probably has to do with the rotation of the earth.

    all of that aside, it looks to me that everything is running on the same juice.
  12. If you believe that the Earth is the focal point of the entire universe then go right ahead, I won't try and change you. All of the planets in our solar system rotate on their axis, even the sun, and they all emit energy. Some more than others, but they all do.

    But I think it is illogical to believe that our planet is the focal point of the universe considering the unimaginable size of it and the amount of unknown territory we have yet to explore. We are just another piece of the puzzle that is the universe.

    Edit: Haha our discussion has wandered quite a bit from the topic of this thread.
  13. i don't understand what your saying..i never said i believed that earth was the focal point of the entire universe.

    i am merely tossing around the idea that we obtain the energy that we utilize everyday to move and think from the earth, which makes the most sense to me because this is the planet on which we live.

    perhaps the earth is just a large electromagnetic generator that powers all the life on its surface.

  14. :D I think I share your view of this question. Though, I might add that I'm not actually a strict physicalist, I just think that even if something nonphysical exists (perhaps it does), there can logically be absolutely no reason for believing that it does.

    This reminds me of a math problem I've been thinking about. The continuum hypothesis is independent of ZFC. So, there's absolutely no way to prove or disprove (in ZFC) that a set exists whose size is strictly between the size of the natural numbers and the real numbers. This means that it's logically consistent that such a set exists, but even if it does, you can never find such a set or use one in a proof. So even if they exist, they're absolutely useless and might as well be treated as if they don't exist.

    Yes, we are just a machine. Our actions are not necessarily pre-determined (I'm not a determinist), but any uncertainty is not resolved by some nonphysical ethereal "being".

    The comparison to a dvd or video game is an unfair intuition pump, though. When you watch a dvd, the characters do not have mental states. There are no causal relations between the experiences of the fictional characters and their actions... all their actions are caused by the encoded information on the dvd. Characters in a video game might have mental states (AI), but in modern video games their minds are so simplistic that they have about as much consciousness as a thermostat or mosquito. Maybe less than a mosquito actually.

    We, on the other hand, have a very rich set of mental states and an intricate web of causal relations between mental states, inputs (sensory data) and outputs (actions). So we are indeed very different from normal machines and animals, but not essentially so.

    I was reading recently that in the early 20th century, studiers of termite colonies observed such complicated and intricate behavior that they posited that the termite colony shared a group soul or overmind, which directed all the behavior. We now know that this is just emergent behavior created from complex interactions between many simple parts (the individual termites). The mind is perhaps a similar phenomenon. Its behavior is so awesome that we assume there must be some kind of grand overseer, the cartesian ego. But really phenomenology just emerges from complex interactions between millions of relatively simple (and relatively mechanistic) mental subprocesses.

    I think I can agree with this. Everything is energy (or maybe everything is matter or everything is information, same things I think).

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