If I can imagine it, it's logically possible?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Speakpigeon, Mar 30, 2019.

  1. Speakpigeon Valued Senior Member

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    Again, I can't imagine this would work. And I doubt you can.
    EB
     
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  3. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    Fine. Still a process, with no content and no ability to produce any.
    Like one might confuse ballroom dancing with dancing?
    Thus: an activity or process, as distinct from a thing or concept.
    Logic doesn't determine anything. It's a tool for assessing relationships.
    Imagination doesn't determine anything. It's a tool for projecting what is to what might be.
    Neither affects reality; neither encompasses possibility.
    The laws of physics.
    Riding a unicorn into the sun.
    You've made lots of detailed nonsensical statements and this is evidence of something, but, unlike you, i won't leap to a conclusion.
    It's easy to misunderstand nonsense.
     
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  5. Speakpigeon Valued Senior Member

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    But you did say it was a formal process. Here:
    Logic isn't a formal process. It's not even a physical process. It's apparent you don't know what is logic.
    OK, but what does this have to do with anything the OP says?!
    Where did I suggest anything about reality?! I said: If I can imagine it, it's logically possible.
    I don't think you know the difference between physically possible and logically possible.
    Physics determines logical possibilities? Whoa.
    Where is it that the laws of physics allow the logical possibility of subjectively experiencing pain?
    OK, so now I can assume what you mean in fact is that this isn't a physical possibility.
    So, your post is a derail from you misunderstanding the issue..
    I leapt to no conclusion. I said it was evidence of.
    And now I know you misunderstood my post because you have a wrong conception of logic.
    You're a waste of my time.
    EB
     
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  7. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    If the ball is lifted up the slope by magnetic attraction from the initial distance, why would it then drop through the hole where the attraction is stronger? Not saying it wouldn't, just asking your opinion, or to at least explain why it would.

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  8. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    I'm hugely skeptical that logical possibility is dependent on human imagination. (The opposite is more likely to be true.) I'm more inclined to think that logic (and mathematics along with it) are fundamental metaphysical features of reality itself. (I'm something of a mathematical Platonist when I'm in these moods.)

    Sure, you can believe that if you like, but I'm not going to join you in believing it.

    Imagine that the straight inclined plane has a very gradual slope. Imagine the short gravitational force vector for an object on that slope. Imagine that the attractive force was greater. Now imagine the hole, and imagine that the unconstrained force of gravity straight downwards is greater than the attractive force. So the metal ball accelerates downward and (as the second ramp curves) away, restrained and slowed by the attractive force. Now imagine the receding object leveling out to a horizontal surface, where the attractive vector is once again longer than the gravity vector, pulling it up the other ramp so that the process endlessly repeats.

    I'm not arguing that it's physically possible, I'm just agreeing with what I took JamesR's point to be in that I can imagine how it might be possible (if I ignore some things).

    I'm not sure that it works as a counterexample to Speakpigeon's thesis though, since my being able to imagine it might (on Speakpigeon's principles) mean that it's logically possible, provided only that a few physical principles were a little different. The problem with a perpetual motion machine like this might be more of a physical than a logical difficulty. It might work great in a different possible world. (That's my line for the moment, but the more I think about it, the fuzzier the physical/logical distinction gets.)

    I sense (perhaps falsely) that sort of a Kantian line is implicit in the "If I can imagine it, then it's logically possible" idea. Reality appears to conform to logic and mathematics because that's how human minds perceive/conceive things. It's us imposing logic (and mathematics and hence physics) on reality. In that kind of scheme, logical possibility might indeed be a function of the imaginative/conceptual powers of "the human mind". Or my mind in particular. There's a big solipsism problem there since we can't blithely assume that every mind (are there other minds?) impose the same logic (and hence the same physics) on their own phenomenal/experiential realities.

    Physics and the "indispensibility arguments" seem to militate against that. Aerodynamics is an inherently logical undertaking, and it allows humans to build aircraft that don't fall out of the sky. I think that's something more objective than my mind perceiving airplanes as flying so as to keep everything consistent inside my own personal conceptual scheme. The Kuhnians (Kuhn was very much a Kantian, at least at the time he wrote SSR) seem to me to happily march off precisely that cliff with the claim that adherents of different "paradigms" live in different incommensurable "worlds". (I used to always wonder how it's possible for adherents of different "paradigms" to bump into each other in the hall.)
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2019
  9. Goldtop Registered Senior Member

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    I can't even imagine something that seems relatively obvious to exist; a world where all humans exist at peace, respect and understanding, united. If this can be imagined, please do offer that scenario. Thanks in advance.
     
  10. geordief Valued Senior Member

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    1,820
    The scenarìo arises when cooperation has been shown to be successful and rewarding over a long period of time.

    This virtuous circle establishes itself only for untoward circumstances to shatter the peace and the scenario involving conflict takes over for its allotted season.

    Each scenario feeds off the other and exhausts the other temporarily.

    Monstrous examples of the latter scenario are only too common and recent.

    We must be thankful for brief respites and try to build upon their foundations when we get the chance.
     
  11. Speakpigeon Valued Senior Member

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    It's "If I can imagine it, it's logically possible", right?
    So, it may be the case that something is logically possible and that I can't imagine it. OK?
    If so, how does that make being logically possible dependent on imagination?!
    EB
     
  12. Speakpigeon Valued Senior Member

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    That doesn't seem like anything "obvious to exist".
    And imagining "a world" can't possibly be the simple task you seem to suggest. I think instead that the realistic imagining a world is way beyond anyone's capacity. Still, even if someone was capable in principle of accomplishing such a feat, I don't think he could, simply because a world where all humans exist at peace, respect and understanding doesn't sound like something possible given what we know of human people. Imagining realistic things isn't a sinecure. It's real hard work. I'm listening right now to Paul Auster's Brooklyn Follies. A novel is exactly like imagining a realistic fictional world and writing a good, really realistic novel is really hard work and few people are capable of that. And it's still not even anything like real imagining properly so called.
    EB
     
  13. Speakpigeon Valued Senior Member

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    1,123
    And your ignoring a few things makes all the difference.
    Sure, we can imagine a perpetual movement in the abstract. So, it's a logical possibility... in the abstract.
    Imagining a perpetual movement in the abstract is not at all imagining an actual contraption that would really work.
    EB
     
  14. Speakpigeon Valued Senior Member

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    1,123
    I'm definitely not suggesting that.
    I could similarly have made the claim that if I can visualise my fridge as being different than my sister-in-law, then my fridge is different from my sister-in-law. So, now, make the same argument from Kant you just made against imagining and logical possibility...
    You Kant?
    EB
     
  15. Speakpigeon Valued Senior Member

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    Here you are happily again ignoring a few things. People may imagine something without imagining something realistic. And that's usually what they do. And, sure, it's a logical possibility, only it's a logical possibility in the abstract, i.e. abstract all or most of what you know about our actual physical world and its constraints.
    EB
     
  16. river

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    17,307
    Agreed

    BB for example ( big-bang theory of the Universe is flawed ) mostly because nothing , which was before something , transforms into something . Based on the logic of mathematics . Not on reasoning based on the existence of the infinity of physical things and why . Why is the logic .
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2019
  17. gmilam Valued Senior Member

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    3,376
    If you can imagine it? Or if anyone can imagine it?

    I suspect there are many people able to imagine things that are not logically possible.
     
  18. river

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    17,307
    Agreed

    Many
     
  19. Speakpigeon Valued Senior Member

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    I agree can nothing cannot transform itself into something since nothing means "no thing" so there's no thing to be transformed.
    However, asserting "Nothing transforms into something" is merely a linguistic nonsense, with no ontological import whatsoever. The nonsense is to use the word "nothing" as if it could refer to some concrete object, i.e. something susceptible of transforming into something else.
    Instead, people should use the term "nothingness", which means, somehow, a state of affairs where there is indeed absolutely nothing, not even time. And indeed not even a state of affairs. That this notion can still make sense is a tribute to the human mind.
    Still, I don't see the connection you make with the question of the Big Bang. Physicists don't assert that something that would be nothing, i.e. nothingness, somehow transformed into the universe (well, except Krauss is saying it apparently). Rather, the Big Bang occurs at the beginning of time, and perhaps we should say that the Big Bang is the beginning of time, although it's also possible to think of it in terms of no time at all, just something.
    Thus, in this view, there's indeed nothing before the Big Bang because there isn't even time. So, whether there was or there wasn't nothingness, it is not a case of nothingness transforming into the universe. Instead, it was the universe starting to exist, on its own terms, and definitely without cause. You may want to object to this idea but there's no logical impossibility to it and so for me, it is as good as any.
    EB
     
  20. Speakpigeon Valued Senior Member

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    My point is that whatever you imagine, and we are all capable of imagining the weirdest things, it is what you imagine, exactly what you imagine, which specifies the scope of the logical possibility. If for example you assume, like scientists do, all scientific knowledge, then whatever you imagine will be a logical possibility for science. However, obviously, assuming scientific knowledge makes imagination much more difficult and few people can do it. Instead, most people will cheerfully disregard even what they know to be true and imagine, says, a Santa Claus travelling on a sleigh pulled by real reindeer. That doesn't make it a logical impossibility but that definitely reduces the value of this possibility. Imagining a Santa Claus outside of any consideration for the laws of nature makes this kind of Santa Claus only a possibility in the context of a fantasia. Right. Who cares? Yet, this in itself doesn't mean it's not a logical possibility in the context of the real world, only that to show that it is, you would need to be able to imagine a realistic Santa Claus, on a realistic sleigh, realistically pulled by realistic reindeer. Me, I can't do that, even though I can like everyone here imagine a fantasia Santa Claus.
    EB
     
  21. geordief Valued Senior Member

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    1,820
    Is the OP asking whether ,if there was an alternative universe created independently or "in parallel to the one we see -whether there are any constraints at all that we could place on the set up and outpworkings of any of these parallel universes?

    Again we have the popular expression that goes along the lines of "your imagination is the only bar to your achievements" (extrapolate absurdly from that)

    I think (agree with someone here) that logic is built into** us as sentient beings (and also as unsentient objects) but that it may be malleable and that indeed the most outlandish imaginings may have a place (even set the scene for) in some parallel universe (although I imagine that it would be overwhelmingly improbable if not demonstrably so)

    **formal logic would be a refinement of this capability

    ps In this universe clearly there is no correlation between what we can imagine and what is "logically" possible save perhaps the process of analysing (retro engineering) how the outlandish imagining arose or was constituted in the first place (a bit like how they are trying to "read dreams" now.
     
  22. Speakpigeon Valued Senior Member

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    There's nothing special about parallel universes. The logical possibility of them is only as significant as the assumptions we make to begin with. There's no doubt that the idea of a parallel universe is a logical possibility, but this only because, given what we mean by parallel universe to begin with, we can pretty much imagine any kind of universe without consideration for what we know about our own universe. This is as much as saying that we have zero reason to care about this idea. A parallel universe by definition doesn't interact with our universe. Good. We don't need to spend any time on this idea. Yet, it's a logical possibility. Just an irrelevant one.
    I've already replied to that in my previous post.
    EB
     
  23. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    Yes. That was my primary worry not wanting to link human imagination too closely with logical possibility. There might be no end of logical possibilities that no human being can possibly conceive of. We might simply lack the cognitive powers. We might not have evolved in conditions where those logical possibilities exist. (black holes, the big bang, higher dimensions, heaven, who knows what...)

    Obviously cockroaches can't conceive of mathematical physics. They simply lack the cognitive powers. So might there be beings elsewhere in the universe that stand in the same relation to us that we stand to the cockroach? And might there be fundamental aspects of reality whose understanding requires their sort of cognitive powers? (That example is from Albert Einstein.)

    So I think that it's hubris to imagine that logic is somehow coextensive with human imagination. If that wasn't what you wanted to suggest, then we would be that much closer to agreement.

    We both seem to agree that inability to imagine something does not justify the conclusion that it's illogical.

    That still leaves us with "If I can imagine it, it's logically possible". I'm not entirely convinced of that one either.

    Dreams are an obvious counterexample. Dreams are often illogical yet we still succeed in dreaming them. Psychotic delusions are a similar sort of waking state counterexample.

    So "If I can imagine it, it's logically possible" might have to be modified to become "If I can imagine it in a logical manner, then it's logically possible". That change may or may not render it circular.

    And I'm also still troubled by the idea of collapsing a psychological criterion (our ability to imagine something) with what I take to be a more ontological matter (whether or not something is logically possible).

    The idea of logic seems a bit ambiguous. It seems to me to have both a psychological sense (how we think and reason) and an ontological sense (the underlying structure of how reality behaves that we try to capture in physics, mathematics and logic). Trying to invent a psychological criterion (our ability to imagine) to serve as a criterion for the ontological sense seems to me to confuse the two. That's my worry. Maybe I'm wrong.

    Certainly that's how we typically operate in our everyday reasoning process. Thinking about things is the only way that we have to understand or explain anything. But I don't see what can justify any necessary isomorphism of the psychological and ontological senses.

    Our reasoning may function more as a heuristic. It may not be optimal and it may not always be correct. (I'm sounding very much like Hume there.)
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2019

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