There is no such 'thing' as energy.

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by ColinT, May 29, 2018.

  1. Speakpigeon Valued Senior Member

    That's not what I requested. You failed. QED.

    We're made to have a great time together. Your post is crap, too!

    You think that's convincing?! Or are you just trying "suggestion"?

    And there's really no need to capitalise the more important words. That's just a distraction and it reflects really badly on your character or psychology. Please restrict yourself to rational arguments and facts.

    Humour is OK, though.

    I fail to see where the concept of existence is defined here as applicable only to the "material" or the "physical", or indeed to whatever you personally believe exists. The concept of existence is used by people in relation to just about anything, including God and fairies. Dictionaries won't help you here.

    You don't seem to have any argument. So, you merely restate your view again and again and again. You should understand that this won't be convincing except for those who have the same beliefs as you have.

    Let me remind you that it's only you claiming that green is a concept and nothing else. And there's also nothing to prove somehow that our ideas don't exist as such, whether inside our mind or our brain, or even somewhere else.

    Me, I take green to be essentially a subjective quality, i.e. one that I know whenever I experience green. If I know it, it cannot not exist. You won't have any proof that I'm wrong so we can stop here this discussion where you have shown yourself to have no argument whatsoever.

    From a more objective point of view, green is usually regarded as a sensation, and usually as a perception. The concept of green is derived from that. So, your point about the "concept" of green is just entirely irrelevant and also shows you don't even understand what I'm talking about.


    Please note I'm very familiar with the ideas contained in this piece. The vocabulary used there is somewhat confused and all over the place but I guess I understand what he is trying to say.

    Your apparent belief that this supports your position shows you don't even begin to understand the issue. Illusions are nothing new. The idea that the physical world is somehow the cause of our mental subjective experience is nothing new. This article doesn't bring anything new to the debate. What this seems to show, though, is that you don't really understand the terms of the debate and the issues involved. The connection you also make with "religion" in another post probably shows you have an ideological position on this. Somehow, you think that accepting the notion that we have a very real subjective experience would be a concession to the religious crowd that you seem to seriously dislike. You've brought no rational argument to the table. You're just pleased to restate your very conventional ideas again and again as if you're going to convinced anybody doing that. The notion of qualia is now quite old. Newton didn't use the term but already observed that colours as we experience them probably don't exist in the physical world. So, you're somewhat lagging behind in your very naive conception of the universe.

    Again, I don't think we need to pursue this debate. It's a derail and we've all said whatever there is to say.
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2018
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  3. Speakpigeon Valued Senior Member

    Yes, I broadly agree with that, assuming I understand your rather obscure style.

    Still, I'm convinced that even the few hardcore supporters of the various abstract concepts of an external world can't shake the impression they have that their perceptions still are the real world. It should be obvious now that we can't just trust people that what they report about themselves properly reflects their own subjective experience of things. It should be clear that people say whatever they believe is somehow better or convenient for them to say, even if that's not quite the whole story or even if that's a straightforward fable. I can only take my own experience to conjecture what their experience may be. And there, despite of my views, I find myself that I still trust my perceptions 100% percent as if there was this real material world out there. I'm still experiencing things as a naive realist. So, I can only assume that will be true also for other people, even among them those relying on the most abstract language to express their views.
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  5. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    Sure. But it's usually irrelevant in the similar sense that one doesn't expect a preacher who's secretly a serial adulterer to admit in church that he doesn't really believe in God. Or expect a patrol officer stopping a driver for traffic violations to be the easygoing, fun-loving spouse and parent s/he is at home. Or expect Daniel Dennett to proclaim that "the qualitative character of experience" in not nonsense.

    What one usually encounters is the "defender and mover of _X_ doctrine, paper, or school of thought". The person on the job.

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  7. NotEinstein Valued Senior Member

    But none of the things you brought up are qualia, are they? This is why I called them "weird comparisons". I'm not saying you're wrong, but trying to prove that one cannot have a physical amount of qualia by making comparisons with non-qualia things that happen to be impossible too just seems like a false comparison accusation waiting to happen.

    Once again, (samples of) black holes are not qualia, are they? Additionally, that may not be impossible to do (although it's obviously impractical). This part of your argument comes across as a false analogy to me, in other words, as fallacious. (And unnecessarily so, because there are enough qualia to make comparisons with.) But please correct me if I'm wrong.

    (No comment.)
  8. Speakpigeon Valued Senior Member

    Thanks for taking an interest in my prose!

    No, indeed, I didn't request him to send me qualia. The reason is simple. He himself doesn't believe qualia exist, so asking him to send me qualia would have been granting him a cheap point. He would have just retorted that he can't send me qualia by post just because qualia don't exist.

    As it is, I asked him to send me proofs of the things he would claim exist, things like energy, space-time etc, just because they are part of the scientific paraphernalia. And I asked him to send me a kind of proofs that is routinely accepted as properly "objective", like photographs, an used in many circumstances, like judicial trials and public enquiries, and even in a large number of particular sciences.

    Now, the trick was that doing what I asked can't be done. Not because these things don't exist.Maybe they do, I wouldn't know. But even if they exist, they cannot be photographed, or at least we haven't figured out yet how to do that.

    So, in effect, I invalidated the standard of proof he himself had defined. He asked of me an objective proof. So I did the same and asked of him for an objective proof, a proof he couldn't deliver, which should lead him to recognise that my failure to satisfy his initial request was not conclusive as to the inexistence of qualia unless he was prepared to accept that if should also be conclusive as to the inexistence of energy, space-time etc. Something I knew he wouldn't be prepared to do.

    Is that more understandable now, do you think?

    As I understand Black Hole science there's no way you could go and get a bit of one except by going personally headlong into one and never come back. I'm no specialist and may be wrong on this but I doubt it.

    The analogy is not in the things themselves. Energy is not qualia. The analogy is in the parallel between my claim to the existence of qualia and his claim to the existence of things physical like energy and space-time, and then between the impossibility I am in and he is in to comply with the request from the other side.

    I certainly hope it's clear now...

    No comment.
  9. NotEinstein Valued Senior Member

    No problem! I'm glad you are responding in a reasonable manner. (There are some posters...)

    But right now you're literally asking him to send some things that cannot exist. How is that any different?

    Ah, understood. So it's not that it must be a photograph per se.

    But sending proof of energy is possible: just the letter itself is proof that energy exists (if you believe current mainstream science's \(E=mc^2\)). Space-time too: how can one send something (change the position of an object over time) without it? (I know this isn't what you meant, but by moving away from qualia this is the type of counters that open up.)

    But that's one of the differences between the comparisons: qualia cannot (per definition) exist in a "pure", "stand-alone" form, but energy and space-time can. Your last sentence here shows it: it may be possible to one day send direct, photographic proof of energy, perhaps, but it's not possible for qualia per definition.

    Are you claiming energy and space-time don't exist, or are you saying Michael 345 can't prove they do?

    I agree here.

    For the most part, yes. Thanks for your clarifications!

    If you have a very impractically big envelope, it's most definitely possible: just put the envelope around an existing black hole, and with gravity fields move the two around. That's my point: instead of being (obviously) impossible, some of your comparisons are (merely) impractical, weakening if not breaking the comparison.


    Yes, it indeed is. I wonder if there's something that's not qualia that would result in a better comparison, where my objections don't apply?
  10. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 70 years old Valued Senior Member

    I perhaps clear up my position on stuff in this paragraph

    Energy exist and can be measured and shown to exist

    Space-time I really do not have enough knowledge about so no thoughts about

    Space - well the name given to the region above atmosphere

    Time - non existent

    Sensible discussion welcome
    Certain posters need not even try because they are effectively non existent

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  11. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member


    We already have a word to describe things with physicality. That would be ... physicality.

    But is 'does not exist' really a phrase that is appropriate for something we can all understand, feel, experience, discuss, agree upon and disagree upon?

    The pain really exists for me. I react to it. If it's bad enough I might curl up on the couch and sob.
    The taste really exists for me.

    What does it mean that all these things are directly experiential, yet they do not exist?
  12. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 70 years old Valued Senior Member

    Strange you mention pain. There is a pain measurement. A common pain relief medication name is a amalgamation of a foreign name for pain and the pain measurement unit

    Anyway the problem I have with treating concepts as being real (as in real real) is the problem religion has (though they are blind to the concept).

    When they created god, a super hero with magic powers, they opened the door for everyone to create their own super hero

    One is just as valid as any other

    Back to colour briefly. Being subjective there is no way any colour I experience can be compared with a colour someone else experiences ( they might be seeing blue to my green)

    But is 'does not exist' really a phrase that is appropriate for something we can all understand, feel, experience, discuss, agree upon and disagree upon?

    YES - just because we can all understand, feel, experience, discuss, agree upon and disagree upon? does not invalidate its non existence

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  13. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    We've had this discussion before.

    The pain can only by measured by the person by describing what they feel. And it's subjective.

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    Title text: If it were a two or above I wouldn't be able to answer because it would mean a pause in the screaming.
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  14. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 70 years old Valued Senior Member

    Scientists created a pain measurement scale by burning the hands of women in labor

    Paracetamol - trade mark Panadol

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  15. Speakpigeon Valued Senior Member

    "Anyway the problem I have with treating concepts as being real (as in real real) is the problem religion has (though they are blind to the concept). When they created god, a super hero with magic powers, they opened the door for everyone to create their own super hero".

    The word "religion" here suggests to me that your position is driven by ideology rather than any rational analysis of the facts.

    "One is just as valid as any other".

    And that is just reasoning by analogy. You've discover a real analogy between "gods" and qualia so you somehow think it's OK to infer from that that qualia is necessarily a bad idea. Just like that?! Whoa! Very impressive.

    But bad logic.

    Not only that, this shows you're prepared to deny the evidence you yourself probably have, assuming you're experiencing things like pain and colours, something you haven't denied. Just because of some real but totally irrelevant analogy with religion!
  16. Speakpigeon Valued Senior Member

    Good, but then you would need first to fix this bad logic you have that affects your ability to have sensible discussions.

    You might need to see a shrink, too. Recently, you've been seen having conversations with a non-existent poster.

    When you're at it, talk to him about all the things you see or feel that don't exist: colours, pain, sounds, all that non-existent qualia stuff. That's all quite a lot. I'd be worried if I were you.
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  17. Speakpigeon Valued Senior Member

    I'm not disputing the existence of space-time or energy. I'm just making a parallel. If you deny the existence of qualia just because there are certain things you can't do with them, like send a quale by post, then logic should leads you to deny all physical things like space-time and energy since there will always be something you can't do with them, like indeed send a photograph of energy or of space-time.

    You also have to make the distinction between the thing itself and circumstantial evidence of it's existence. The really funny thing here is that the only things we know directly, in themselves, not merely through circumstantial evidence, are qualia themselves. All the rest is inferred from the indirect evidence of your qualia. If there's a physical reality, you don't experience it directly but through your qualia.

    We don't need to send anything when it comes to proving the existence of qualia.

    In effect, I don't need to send you a sample of my quale of red for you to know that a quale of red exists. Because you have and know your own quale of red.

    It's true we can't compare your quale of red and mine but that's not the point here. We all know these things for ourselves and that therefore they exist. It doesn't matter in that respect that our respective qualia of red, very possibly may be entirely personal and therefore all different.

    But it's not possible to send a photograph of a Black Hole. It might become possible to send one. For example, we may become able to create tiny Black Holes and send them by post. But you still won't be able to take a picture of these Black Holes themselves since no light could possibly come out of a Black Hole.

    Similarly, you can send space by post. Arguably, we do it all the time because there's always some space inside any letter. Granted it won't perhaps be the same space at all when the letter is sent and when it is received but that would just make space more analogous to qualia.


    But we actually don't know that qualia don't exist by themselves, in a "stand-alone form" to use your expression. I would assume the contrary. Not only that, but I suspect that the diversity of qualia goes way beyond what we experience and most people report. This is evidenced by the fact that people with certain psychotic conditions come to experience some qualia that are entirely new to them. Nothing I could support with any reference but I guess it just makes sense. Why should qualia of colours be limited to those that human beings happen to experience? Doesn't make sense.
  18. NotEinstein Valued Senior Member

    But this again is a bad comparison: why are you comparing sending something by post to making a photograph of something? Those are two quite different things!

    But I agree that the non-photographability or non-post-sendability of something doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

    I can agree to that.

    Not sure if that's logically sound, but I do agree to that.

    You've missed my point. Demonstrating that energy or space-time exists is done differently than proving the existence of qualia. This difference has to be ignored in your comparison, which makes the comparison suspicious.

    I genuinely don't understand why you keep bringing up photographs?

    Exactly. So it's wrong to compare black holes to qualia in this regard; the analogue doesn't hold in a fundamental way.

    But Michael 345 didn't ask for a photograph of qualia, did (s)he? So why is the photographability so important?

    Wait, are you now claiming qualia can be send by post?

    Time and space-time are pretty much the same thing; why would they act differently in this comparison?

    If qualia can exist without depending on the physicality of other types of objects (this is what I meant by stand-alone), then qualia must be able to exist independently of other types of object. This is (my interpretation of) Michael 345's argument: if qualia can exist stand-alone, then it should be in principle possible to have a pile of qualia, and you should in principle be able to send some over the post.

    You're probably right, although that's indeed difficult to prove without first-hand experience of (for example) non-human minds.
  19. Speakpigeon Valued Senior Member

    I agree that "the analogue doesn't hold in a fundamental way" if by fundamental you really mean in an ontological way. There's no such a thing as an ontological proof. And so my point against M345 has to be entirely epistemological and perhaps, therefore, not quite fundamental.

    His argument was based on requiring a very specific kind of evidence in support of the existence of qualia. So, first, he is effectively requesting an epîstemological proof to support an ontological claim. My argument relates entirely to the epistemological aspect of his argument, i.e. the very specific kind of evidence he is requesting. Why should this very specific kind of evidence be at all necessary? The logic of it would be to ask for any evidence. My retort then was to make a parallel request, asking similarly for a very specific kind of evidence in support of the existence of space-time or energy. We don't care here that my photographic evidence isn't much like his postal service evidence. I just had to ask the same kind of absurdly specific kind of evidence, whatever it is. I just had to make sure reasonable people accept that we can't take a picture of energy or space-time.

    The evidence that qualia exist isn't that you can send them by post just as the evidence that space-time and energy exist isn't that you can take a picture of them. Qualia are very different things from space-time and energy. The evidence of qualia is entirely, as far as we know, that you experience them subjectively. This is direct knowledge of qualia. And there's no better proof of existence. There's absolutely no better evidence than that. So, in my opinion, the point is fundamental. And M345 must have this evidence just as I do.

    I'm not claiming anything. I admit to being entirely ignorant. If I really don't know anything then, for all I know, we may well be able to send qualia by post. My point is just: Why ever not? Do you know something why it wouldn't be possible?

    Time and space-time are definitely not the same thing. The time dimension is very, very different from the space dimensions. The very specific thermodynamic relation between the state of the universe at time t1 and the state of the universe at time t2 has no equivalent between points in space, at least as far as I am aware.

    Also, our subjective experience of time is very specific and it's itself a quale. Our experience of the present, i.e. the present as time, is very,very specific and it's a quale. So, yes, there's a direct connection to the debate. Subjective time, and the quale of the present, obviously have a relation to objective time but only in the same way that subjectively experienced colours have a relation to the objective frequency or energy of electromagnetic waves.

    So, asking for a bit of time to be sent by post would make sense in this context.

    First, "in principle" isn't "in actual fact". But I would dispute the "should be able to". No, what we actually know of qualia makes them as you said yourself unfit for being sent by post. So there's no "should" here except after specifying a second hypothesis beyond the one about being physical, i.e. that qualia be fit to be sent by post. Physical existence may not be enough in itself to make that possible. It's not possible as far as we know for space-time and energy, so why "should" it be possible for those hypothetically physical qualia?
  20. NotEinstein Valued Senior Member

    But his request is specific in one way: if qualia are stand-alone things, then it should (in principle) be possible to post some. His challenge may not rule out all various types of qualia, but an inability to fulfil it certainly rules out certain types of qualia (such as stand-alone qualia).
    Just like your photography-challenge (if unable to be fulfilled) would rule out all visible types of energy/space-time. It doesn't rule out all types of energy/space-time, but certainly certain types.

    (Which is something I've been saying from my first post in this thread, as well.)

    I'm pretty sure that's not sound logic, or at the very least it's build upon various assumptions, but I mostly agree.

    You said space could perceivably be sent by mail, and that would be more or less analogues to qualia. That suggests you're allowing the possibility of qualia being sent by post. At the very least, you have muddied the waters.

    So your claims about qualia not being able to be send by mail were stated too strongly? Michael 345's challenge may yet be fulfilled?

    The generally accepted model of space-time put forward by the theory of GR combines space and time into a single "thing": space-time. Yes, space and time act differently, but they are two sides of the same medal. As such, space and time are inextricably connected, and you can't have one without the other (at least, not in our universe). So yes, time and space-time are kinda the same thing.

    What does thermodynamics have to do with this?

    Sure the experience of time is very different from ("objective") time, but I don't think that was what we were talking about?

    If you mean "subjective time" (i.e. the "experience of time"), probably yes.

    Which disqualifies qualia as stand-alone things, things with physicality, things-in-themselves.

    Why not?

    But that's easy: all you need to do is generate a bubble of space-time that's finite and bound in the surrounding space-time. A black hole's event horizon comes to mind. And black holes are (in principle) mailable. Moving the black hole moves all the space-time "trapped" in the event horizon with it. And there you go, mailable space-time!
    And mailable energy: charge a battery and post it, I guess?
  21. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member


    They are measuring what a subject tells them. They cannot measure a subject's pain.
  22. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 70 years old Valued Senior Member

    The detection of a increase of feeling (pain)

    The subject tells "I feel a difference" translates to pain level

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  23. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Regardless, the subject is simply telling them what they're feeling. They have no way of measuring it, or verifying that she's telling the truth about her experience. And her 1 might be someone else's 3. There is no way to measure.

    That' s what qualia are. They are things that one experiences that cannot be measured.

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