Forum Index Register Members List Events Mark Forums Read Help

 JREF Forum Why Husserl's mathematisation of nature is important

 Welcome to the JREF Forum, where we discuss skepticism, critical thinking, the paranormal and science in a friendly but lively way. You are currently viewing the forum as a guest, which means you are missing out on discussing matters that are of interest to you. Please consider registering so you can gain full use of the forum features and interact with other Members. Registration is simple, fast and free! Click here to register today.

 Tags nature , edmund husserl

 28th March 2006, 04:59 PM #2 Dr Adequate Banned   Join Date: Aug 2004 Location: Waiting Long Enough By The River Posts: 17,897 Originally Posted by JustGeoff However, the position of modern science which is defended by the people on this board identifies the lifeworld and the mathematisation of the lifeworld as being identical. No.
 28th March 2006, 05:05 PM #3 UndercoverElephant Pachyderm of a Thousand Faces     Join Date: Jan 2002 Location: Sussex, England Posts: 9,060 Originally Posted by Dr Adequate No. I am going to bed now. Any chance you can do better than a one word answer? __________________ "I am real!" said Alice, and began to cry. "You won't make yourself a bit realler by crying," Tweedledee remarked: "there's nothing to cry about."
 28th March 2006, 05:11 PM #4 Dr Adequate Banned   Join Date: Aug 2004 Location: Waiting Long Enough By The River Posts: 17,897 "Straw man". That's two. We can all tell the difference between a mathematical model and reality.
 28th March 2006, 05:38 PM #5 Meadmaker Penultimate Amazing     Join Date: Apr 2004 Location: Detroit suburbs Posts: 11,435 What I don't understand is why the mistake of confusing the lifeworld and its mathematisation somehow leads to the apparently unresolved problems of metaphysics, or why eliminating the confusion would help us get past those problems. Occaisionally, I do see signs of this confusion, but not all that often, and I don't see that confusion leading to any of the struggles on this board or any place where people debate weighty philosophical issues. __________________ Dave "War is Peace. Freedom is slavery. Particles are waves."
 28th March 2006, 05:42 PM #6 UserGoogol Master Poster     Join Date: Sep 2002 Posts: 2,074 Both the "lifeworld" and the mathematization of nature, based on your descriptions, seem to both be models. The lifeworld as you describe it seems to refer to the various sensations by which we experience reality. Phenomena seem to me to be merely the internal model by which human beings automatically parse the universe into. I see no reason to believe that the sensation of "redness" actually exists in nature. (It might, but it might not.) The "lifeworld," as it were, is merely the model which our subconscious mind automatically constructs, whereas the mathematical world consists of the model which our conscious mind constructs quite deliberately and carefully. Neither is a truly complete model of reality, but the mathematical world seems better because it is the result of conscious effort. In addition, it seems unfair to give atoms and oranges different levels of reality. We can see individual atoms, and we can see individual oranges. It just happens that we can see oranges with our natural faculties, whereas atoms can only be seen with additional help. But I don't see why the eyeball is so much better than the electron microscope. For what it's worth, I've long been of the opinion that much of metaphysics is utter bullsh*t. I am very much of the opinion of people such as Kant who say that the ultimate nature of reality is unknowable. __________________ Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity. -- Hanlon's Razor Last edited by UserGoogol; 28th March 2006 at 05:45 PM.
 28th March 2006, 06:25 PM #7 hammegk Banned   Join Date: Jan 2002 Posts: 8,422 Originally Posted by Dr Adequate "Straw man". That's two. We can all tell the difference between a mathematical model and reality. Have you ever tried thought prior to typing a meaningless assertion?
 28th March 2006, 06:28 PM #8 Dr Adequate Banned   Join Date: Aug 2004 Location: Waiting Long Enough By The River Posts: 17,897 No. Nor have I tried breathing before wrestling with crocodiles.
 28th March 2006, 06:29 PM #9 stamenflicker Muse     Join Date: Apr 2004 Location: Tennessee Posts: 869 Originally Posted by Dr Adequate "Straw man". That's two. We can all tell the difference between a mathematical model and reality. I don't at all speak for Dr. A, but I would agree with him that many (probably not most) people on this board understand the limits of their philosophical leanings. It's easy to forget those limitations when we are debating back and forth. However, in relation to the straw man accusation, I believe Geoff gave a fair criticism of a hardline materialist world view, which does deserve a bit more discussion. Again we are really talking about the models of understanding reality, and many of us know this even when we sound like we don't. Further, the statement from Geoff deserves more consideration: What we call "idealism" is a dialectical reaction to this mistake which simply provides a mirror image of the mistake. Husserl therefore ends up being neither a materialist nor an idealist, regardless of the fact that he is often accused of being an idealist. Where this post doesn't yet take us, and I am uncertain if Husserl does or not, is into the notion that of what we are really able to discuss outside of mathematization (or representation models) of empiricial facts. It also fails to really acknowledge the power and problems of nominalism as we move further away from empirical facts-- in which language serves a mathematical model of representation of both objective phenomomon and subjective noumenon, both of which exist as (at the bare minimum) ontological entities in the lifeworld. That said, it is important to realize that there are many scientists and logicians with the not-so-hidden agenda as to make idealism out to be a farce to begin with, in other words, treating it as an utter failure to communicate anything of value. This post addresses that very well. Flick __________________ http://narcissus-shrugged.blogspot.com/
 28th March 2006, 08:05 PM #10 Dr Adequate Banned   Join Date: Aug 2004 Location: Waiting Long Enough By The River Posts: 17,897 However, the fact remains that no-one is in any danger of confusing a mathematical model of reality and reality. For much the same reason that no-one is likely to try to eat the word "apple". To misquote Samuel Johnson : "I am not so lost in mathematics as to have forgotten that numbers are the sons of earth and things are the daughters of heaven." NB : Flick --- re your signature --- I have a single hypothesis which can explain both the facts that puzzled Chesterton. Can you guess what it is?
 28th March 2006, 08:42 PM #11 stamenflicker Muse     Join Date: Apr 2004 Location: Tennessee Posts: 869 Originally Posted by Dr Adequate NB : Flick --- re your signature --- I have a single hypothesis which can explain both the facts that puzzled Chesterton. Can you guess what it is? Nope, fire away. __________________ http://narcissus-shrugged.blogspot.com/
 28th March 2006, 10:36 PM #12 LW Master Poster     Join Date: Jan 2002 Location: 60°N 25°E Posts: 2,800 Originally Posted by JustGeoff The mathematisation of the sphere looks like a sphere. You do have odd looking spheres around, if they really look like this: $ (x-x_0)^2 + (y-y_0)^2 + (z-z_0)^2 = R^2.$
 29th March 2006, 12:01 AM #13 Kevin_Lowe Penultimate Amazing     Join Date: Feb 2003 Location: Queensland Posts: 10,265 Originally Posted by JustGeoff At this point Husserl hopes that people can now begin the process of unravelling the mysterious mess we have got ourselves into. Somebody in the other thread said "So what? Why does this matter?" It matters because people (and at the time Husserl was writing it seemed like pretty much everyone) are not aware of this conflation of the lifeworld and the model of the lifeworld. It goes by unnoticed. That's because for most purposes it is a distinction without a difference, and hence not worth mentioning. Quote: But it is exactly this mistake which leads to the apparently unresolvable problems of metaphysics, and the only way to get beyond those problems is to go back to thinking of the lifeworld as the lifeworld and the mathematisation as the mathematisation. What problems? Who are they problems for? __________________ Thinking is skilled work....People with untrained minds should no more expect to think clearly and logically than people who have never learned and never practiced can expect to find themselves good carpenters, golfers, bridge-players, or pianists. -- Alfred Mander
 29th March 2006, 02:18 AM #14 UndercoverElephant Pachyderm of a Thousand Faces     Join Date: Jan 2002 Location: Sussex, England Posts: 9,060 Originally Posted by Dr Adequate "Straw man". That's two. We can all tell the difference between a mathematical model and reality. D.A., It is no use just dipping in at the end of the argument and denying the conclusion. You have to actually start from the beginning and explain where I lose you, yes? Geoff __________________ "I am real!" said Alice, and began to cry. "You won't make yourself a bit realler by crying," Tweedledee remarked: "there's nothing to cry about."
 29th March 2006, 02:45 AM #15 LW Master Poster     Join Date: Jan 2002 Location: 60°N 25°E Posts: 2,800 Originally Posted by JustGeoff It is no use just dipping in at the end of the argument and denying the conclusion. You have to actually start from the beginning and explain where I lose you, yes? Here: Quote: However, the position of modern science which is defended by the people on this board considers the lifeworld and the mathematisation of the lifeworld to be identical. I don't know any scientist who would claim that the world and the mathematical model that describes the world are identical. [I'm not saying that there is not any, but it certainly is not the standard position].
 29th March 2006, 03:33 AM #17 Darat Lackey Administrator / JREF Forum Liaison     Join Date: Aug 2001 Location: South East, UK Posts: 64,741 Originally Posted by JustGeoff This is an offshoot from another thread. I am going to try to explain what Edmund Husserl said and why he said it. And thanks for the link -it was to say the least interesting. Quote: Before the Greeks there was no science, no systematic philosophy and no geometry. ...snip... On a factual note is this accurate? I though the world's first university is normally given to been Takshashila - around 700 BCE? __________________ If it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart? - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn 1918-2008
 29th March 2006, 04:00 AM #19 Darat Lackey Administrator / JREF Forum Liaison     Join Date: Aug 2001 Location: South East, UK Posts: 64,741 Originally Posted by Kevin_Lowe ...snip... Redness is something that goes on in the human nervous system as a result of light of certain wavelengths hitting the human eye. ...snip... Don't forget that is just one the ways it occurs - direct stimulation to the brain can also cause it e.g. damage, chemical, direct stimulation of the tissue by probes and so on. But of course I agree with your comment that in principle we have certainly now "found" redness. __________________ If it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart? - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn 1918-2008
 29th March 2006, 04:22 AM #21 UndercoverElephant Pachyderm of a Thousand Faces     Join Date: Jan 2002 Location: Sussex, England Posts: 9,060 Originally Posted by Dr Adequate However, the fact remains that no-one is in any danger of confusing a mathematical model of reality and reality. Really? What colour are atoms? And BTW, did you actually bother to read the opening post? __________________ "I am real!" said Alice, and began to cry. "You won't make yourself a bit realler by crying," Tweedledee remarked: "there's nothing to cry about."
 29th March 2006, 04:26 AM #23 UndercoverElephant Pachyderm of a Thousand Faces     Join Date: Jan 2002 Location: Sussex, England Posts: 9,060 Originally Posted by LW Here: I don't know any scientist who would claim that the world and the mathematical model that describes the world are identical. [I'm not saying that there is not any, but it certainly is not the standard position]. What is the standard position? Are atoms coloured? __________________ "I am real!" said Alice, and began to cry. "You won't make yourself a bit realler by crying," Tweedledee remarked: "there's nothing to cry about."
 29th March 2006, 04:26 AM #24 Darat Lackey Administrator / JREF Forum Liaison     Join Date: Aug 2001 Location: South East, UK Posts: 64,741 Originally Posted by JustGeoff Really? What colour are atoms? All colours and no colours - colour is a human invented word to help us communicate "events" (to use your word from another thread). __________________ If it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart? - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn 1918-2008
 29th March 2006, 04:33 AM #25 LW Master Poster     Join Date: Jan 2002 Location: 60°N 25°E Posts: 2,800 Originally Posted by JustGeoff What is the standard position? That world is what world is and does what world does, and science creates mathematical models that describe how the world looks like and allows us to predict how it will behave. Quote: Are atoms coloured? Atoms as in the small blobs of matter that we can see with electron microscope [the world] or atoms as symbols that occur in various mathematical formulas that physicists and chemists use to describe how the said small blobs of matter interact with each other [the mathematical model]?
 29th March 2006, 04:39 AM #27 UndercoverElephant Pachyderm of a Thousand Faces     Join Date: Jan 2002 Location: Sussex, England Posts: 9,060 Originally Posted by Darat All colours and no colours - colour is a human invented word to help us communicate "events" (to use your word from another thread). ***bangs head on desk*** Q) What colour are atoms? A) All colours and no colours ***bangs head on desk*** Darat, what is that answer supposed to mean? Perhaps I could have phrased the question better: Are atoms coloured? (please don't answer "yes and no") __________________ "I am real!" said Alice, and began to cry. "You won't make yourself a bit realler by crying," Tweedledee remarked: "there's nothing to cry about."
 29th March 2006, 05:17 AM #29 Melendwyr Master Poster     Join Date: Oct 2005 Posts: 2,064 You may as well ask "what color is dye?" A specific example of an amount of dye can be any color. 'Dye' as a concept has no ties to any specific color. Duh. __________________ Arguing with the irrational is like giving medicine to a dead man or preaching to the damned. "Dance with us, GIR! Dance with us into oblivion!" "Oddly, stating that one has no creed assures that one has no creed." -- Upchurch "I am the only one here using reason." -- Interesting Ian "You cannot respond to the arguments of TIMECUBE!" -- TimeCube guy
 29th March 2006, 05:36 AM #30 UndercoverElephant Pachyderm of a Thousand Faces     Join Date: Jan 2002 Location: Sussex, England Posts: 9,060 Originally Posted by Melendwyr You may as well ask "what color is dye?" A specific example of an amount of dye can be any color. 'Dye' as a concept has no ties to any specific color. Duh. I'm not sure you understand the context of the question. Have you read the opening post? __________________ "I am real!" said Alice, and began to cry. "You won't make yourself a bit realler by crying," Tweedledee remarked: "there's nothing to cry about."
 29th March 2006, 05:54 AM #32 Paul C. Anagnostopoulos Nap, interrupted.     Join Date: Aug 2001 Location: a little toolshed Posts: 18,589 I vote we continue this conversation for 18 more days before we bother to define color. Also, someone please page Ian. Geoff: Could you define color before you ask the apparently poignant question "What colour are atoms?" ~~ Paul __________________ Millions long for immortality who do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon. ---Susan Ertz RIP Mr. Skinny
 29th March 2006, 05:55 AM #33 Paul C. Anagnostopoulos Nap, interrupted.     Join Date: Aug 2001 Location: a little toolshed Posts: 18,589 Originally Posted by Geoff "Are atoms coloured?" is an entirely valid question. It forces you to decide what you mean by the word "atom". Screw atom. Define color. ~~ Paul __________________ Millions long for immortality who do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon. ---Susan Ertz RIP Mr. Skinny
 29th March 2006, 06:07 AM #34 Paul C. Anagnostopoulos Nap, interrupted.     Join Date: Aug 2001 Location: a little toolshed Posts: 18,589 Originally Posted by Geoff If you are going to disagree with Husserl, you must specify at which point in his historical account you don't follow his argument. You can't just disagree with his conclusion and fail to address his argument. Quote: The mathematisation of the sphere looks like a sphere. No it doesn't. Quote: How are you going to mathematise felt temperature? You can specify the temperature of your nerve cells in degrees celsius, but this isn't even as useful as the wavelength, because a specific temperate in degrees celsius doesn't always feel the same - it depends on whether your hand is warming up, cooling down or staying the same. Yup, this is a complex problem. Don't know how to solve it. However, I would not take this complexity as an indication of any deep metaphysical problem. Quote: So this mathematisation of the lifeworld can never be complete and the mathematisation simply is not the lifeworld. How does the first claim follow? I agree with the second claim. Quote: However, the position of modern science which is defended by the people on this board considers the lifeworld and the mathematisation of the lifeworld to be identical. Is this a convoluted way of saying that materialists consider the physical world to be all there is? Quote: But what are "atoms"? The word "atom" refers to an object in the mathematisation. Atoms are objects in the lifeworld. Where was Husserl sleeping? Quote: Do you see the problem? At what point does it stop being the mathematisation and start being the lifeworld? Is it a continuum? It surely is not. Is there a sudden transition? No. Therefore we have a problem, it's a logical problem and it's a serious problem. Nope, don't see the problem. The way we verify a scientific hypothesis is to come up with empirical evidence that supports it. So in that sense, all scientific theories are in the lifeworld, because they are supported by evidence from the lifeworld. In fact, hypotheses without any empirical backing are in danger of being considered pseudoscience. Perhaps it concerns him that the mathematics does not "look like" the lifeworld things it models. But that's true of all mathematics. 1 + 1 = 2 doesn't look like what happens when I drop two pennies in a pile, which in turn does not look like what happens when I put two horses in a corral. Quote: But it is exactly this mistake which leads to the apparently unresolvable problems of metaphysics, and the only way to get beyond those problems is to go back to thinking of the lifeworld as the lifeworld and the mathematisation as the mathematisation. Which problems of metaphysics? Quote: What we call "idealism" is a dialectical reaction to this mistake which simply provides a mirror image of the mistake. The man's a genius! ~~ Paul __________________ Millions long for immortality who do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon. ---Susan Ertz RIP Mr. Skinny Last edited by Paul C. Anagnostopoulos; 29th March 2006 at 06:09 AM.
 29th March 2006, 06:17 AM #36 Melendwyr Master Poster     Join Date: Oct 2005 Posts: 2,064 Originally Posted by JustGeoff I'm not sure you understand the context of the question. Have you read the opening post? Troll. Troll! TROLL! Welcome to the TechnoIgnore. __________________ Arguing with the irrational is like giving medicine to a dead man or preaching to the damned. "Dance with us, GIR! Dance with us into oblivion!" "Oddly, stating that one has no creed assures that one has no creed." -- Upchurch "I am the only one here using reason." -- Interesting Ian "You cannot respond to the arguments of TIMECUBE!" -- TimeCube guy
 29th March 2006, 07:20 AM #37 LW Master Poster     Join Date: Jan 2002 Location: 60°N 25°E Posts: 2,800 Originally Posted by Paul C. Anagnostopoulos Is this a convoluted way of saying that materialists consider the physical world to be all there is? To me it sounds like a way of saying that materialists consider that the mathematical model that describes the laws of physics et cetera is the real world.
 29th March 2006, 08:06 AM #38 Paul C. Anagnostopoulos Nap, interrupted.     Join Date: Aug 2001 Location: a little toolshed Posts: 18,589 Originally Posted by Melendwyr Troll. Troll! TROLL! Not sure why you call Geoff a troll. ~~ Paul __________________ Millions long for immortality who do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon. ---Susan Ertz RIP Mr. Skinny
 29th March 2006, 08:59 AM #39 hammegk Banned   Join Date: Jan 2002 Posts: 8,422 Originally Posted by Paul C. Anagnostopoulos Define color. ~~ Paul That's one of those quales materialists don't think are "real". What's your current take on epiphenomena? Geoff: Hi. What are your thoughts on matter as the epiphenomena for an idealist? Last edited by hammegk; 29th March 2006 at 09:07 AM.
 29th March 2006, 09:26 AM #40 Giz Illuminator   Join Date: Jul 2002 Location: UK/US Posts: 3,424 Originally Posted by JustGeoff The lifeworld is not completely mathematisable anyway. In the lifeworld you are presented with, say, a green apple. Now, you can geometrically mathematise the rough sphere, but how on earth are you going to mathematise the green? You can't. Well, you can't do it directly. You can only do it indirectly by abstracting something from the mathematised model. You can mathematise green by specifying the wavelength of green light, but this is an entirely different process to the mathematisation of the sphere, as I hope everyone will agree. Actually, I don't see a compelling reason why an abstract mathematical description of a shape is philosophically any different from an abstract mathematical description of a colour. Both describe the results of our observations. Originally Posted by JustGeoff However, the position of modern science which is defended by the people on this board considers the lifeworld and the mathematisation of the lifeworld to be identical. This is where we lose you (IMHO). The closest anyone might get to agreeing with you is to say that the mathematical model could be used to predict the way we observe the "lifeworld" respond to various inputs. i.e. we can see a "ball" in the "lifeworld" and pick it up and throw it. The mathematical model can then describe exactly the way the ball arcs and drops and bounces. But we are not claiming that the mathematical description is reality, it's just a description, an aid to predicting/recording our subjective experience in the "lifeworld". Just as when Jane Austin writes about Eliza Bennett, we are reading a description... no one claims "these printed words are in some way the real eliza bennett".

JREF Forum

 Bookmarks Digg del.icio.us StumbleUpon Google Reddit