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Do abstract concepts exist without mind?

Skepticalone
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11/17/2015 4:29:28 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Do logic and numbers exist independently of the rational mind. In other words, if there were no minds would these things remain? There is only one view point that makes sense to me, but I hope an open discussion might help me to understand other view(s).
This thread is like eavesdropping on a conversation in a mental asylum. - Bulproof

You can call your invisible friends whatever you like. - Desmac

What the hell kind of coked up sideshow has this thread turned into. - Casten
kp98
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11/17/2015 9:43:33 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
I'd guess most people take the view that the universe would carry on much as before if there were no ration or conscious minds in it. Certainly people are happy with extrapolating the Big Bang to times before there were rational minds.

So if the 'regularity' of the universe is independent of mind, what is it that underpins - enforces - that regularity?

I suppose it would be 'physical laws'. Do physical laws, then, exist without mind? And (wrt the OP) what is the relationship between numbers, logic and physical laws?

I think there is a semantuc trap that creates arguments where there is none. Do thw tow words 'physical law' refer to the fact that (for example) mass attracts mass in a definite way that the natural world manifest, or do the same two words ('physical law') refer to our model or understanding of it?

As stars continue to shine and masses attract each other in a 'mindless' universe, I'd say physical law in the former sense exists in that universe. But 'physical law' in the latter sense clearly does not exist in a mindless universe.

So I think that the answer to the OP question is a definite 'Yes and No'. It depends on the particular definition of the terms being used - former or latter.
Sidewalker
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11/18/2015 12:37:14 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 11/17/2015 4:29:28 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
Do logic and numbers exist independently of the rational mind.

Logic is a matter of valid reasoning, there can be no reasoning without a mind. Numbers are a symbolic abstraction, they need a mind to symbolize in.

In other words, if there were no minds would these things remain? There is only one view point that makes sense to me, but I hope an open discussion might help me to understand other view(s).

The things they abstractly represent would remain, but the abstractions themselves would not.
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
Sidewalker
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11/18/2015 3:04:05 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 11/17/2015 9:43:33 PM, kp98 wrote:
I'd guess most people take the view that the universe would carry on much as before if there were no ration or conscious minds in it. Certainly people are happy with extrapolating the Big Bang to times before there were rational minds.

So if the 'regularity' of the universe is independent of mind, what is it that underpins - enforces - that regularity?

I suppose it would be 'physical laws'.

The "physical laws" are descriptive abstractions of what the universe does, not prescriptive legislations that tell the universe what to do.

Do physical laws, then, exist without mind? And (wrt the OP) what is the relationship between numbers, logic and physical laws?

Our physical laws are descriptive; they are human concepts that describe how some aspect of the universe behaves. Force, mass, and acceleration are conceptual abstractions, isolated aspects of certain regularities that we observe. F=ma is just a mathematical representation of the observed relationships between force, mass, and acceleration. The equation itself, and the conceptual terms of the equation, do not exist independently of the human mind, the regularities of nature do, but our representation of it does not.

I think there is a semantuc trap that creates arguments where there is none. Do thw tow words 'physical law' refer to the fact that (for example) mass attracts mass in a definite way that the natural world manifest, or do the same two words ('physical law') refer to our model or understanding of it?

As stars continue to shine and masses attract each other in a 'mindless' universe, I'd say physical law in the former sense exists in that universe. But 'physical law' in the latter sense clearly does not exist in a mindless universe.

So I think that the answer to the OP question is a definite 'Yes and No'. It depends on the particular definition of the terms being used - former or latter.

The single most influential work in modern philosophy is "Critique of Pure Reason", and Kant"s underlying insight was that the mind is constructive, it doesn"t mirror the order of nature; it constitutes that order. We see nature from the vantage point of, and as it conforms to, the structure of human reason, a different kind of mind would experience a different kind of universe. But the universe itself, it would remain the same, with or without minds it would go on doing what it does.
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
kp98
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11/18/2015 7:00:53 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
If 'Physical law' is descriptive, what is it describing? As I see it the words 'physical law' get used for both our description of universe and what it is those laws describe. All I'm saying is it's easy to confuse the two meanings of 'physical law' and end up talking at cross-purposes.

Similarly, we have to be very careful in specifying what exactly we mean by 'number' and 'logic' before we can address the OP question. Unfortunately, even defining 'number' is easier said than done. I rather fear the 'Do numbers exist without mind' will depend more on how 'numbers' is defined than anything else.
Sidewalker
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11/18/2015 10:22:42 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 11/18/2015 7:00:53 AM, kp98 wrote:
If 'Physical law' is descriptive, what is it describing? As I see it the words 'physical law' get used for both our description of universe and what it is those laws describe. All I'm saying is it's easy to confuse the two meanings of 'physical law' and end up talking at cross-purposes.

Similarly, we have to be very careful in specifying what exactly we mean by 'number' and 'logic' before we can address the OP question. Unfortunately, even defining 'number' is easier said than done. I rather fear the 'Do numbers exist without mind' will depend more on how 'numbers' is defined than anything else.

Even more than that, I think it will come down to how "exist" is defined, a lot of posts here end up being semantics, especially when it comes to the word "exist".
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
viodoze
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11/18/2015 12:52:09 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 11/18/2015 10:22:42 AM, Sidewalker wrote:

Even more than that, I think it will come down to how "exist" is defined, a lot of posts here end up being semantics, especially when it comes to the word "exist".

In my view there are 2 types of existence a mind can get in contact with depending on the context it puts itself in in terms of perception: abstract and physical.

I think the real question here is "are both equally valid?". If the answer is yes then numbers (abstract existences) can exist in an abstract context without a mind, once they're created.

Here appears the idea of the mind as a creator of abstract concepts, and seems that this is what causes the doubt about mind/concept independence. After their "creation" (I prefer to call it a "recall to a possibility"), are those concepts dependent on a mind to exist?

The existence of the possibility of them to exist exists before they're created.

With the indeterminate possibility of concepts existing in an abstract world before a mind's recall, could that argue that the concept of number 7 exists without the need for a mind to create it?

You don't know if abstract concepts exist before the mind "creates" them, so you can't know if they can exist without a mind.

I think my answer is: We can't know.
Criticize me, it helps me learn.
Sidewalker
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11/18/2015 2:29:50 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 11/18/2015 12:52:09 PM, viodoze wrote:
At 11/18/2015 10:22:42 AM, Sidewalker wrote:

Even more than that, I think it will come down to how "exist" is defined, a lot of posts here end up being semantics, especially when it comes to the word "exist".

In my view there are 2 types of existence a mind can get in contact with depending on the context it puts itself in in terms of perception: abstract and physical.

I think the real question here is "are both equally valid?". If the answer is yes then numbers (abstract existences) can exist in an abstract context without a mind, once they're created.

Here appears the idea of the mind as a creator of abstract concepts, and seems that this is what causes the doubt about mind/concept independence. After their "creation" (I prefer to call it a "recall to a possibility"), are those concepts dependent on a mind to exist?

How exactly would they be created without a mind?

The existence of the possibility of them to exist exists before they're created.

How can something be said to "exist" as a possibility? I have two sisters and no brother, it was certainly a possibility that I could have had a brother, does that mean I have a brother that exists in some abstract realm of possibility? How many of these brothers exist, one for each possible combination of sperm egg, times every possible nurture possibility? Do I have trillions and trillions of siblings that existed as superposition until the sibling wave collapsed? It strikes me as unlikely that this can be said to be what "exist" means, the word loses meaning if that is the case.

With the indeterminate possibility of concepts existing in an abstract world before a mind's recall, could that argue that the concept of number 7 exists without the need for a mind to create it?

Doesn't a "concept" require a mind for its existence? "Where and when" do concepts and possibilities exist if not in a mind?

You don't know if abstract concepts exist before the mind "creates" them, so you can't know if they can exist without a mind.

I guess it all comes down to what we mean by exist, and what exist means has necessarily become problematic, even if we limit it to what "physically" exists. Physical existence certainly requires a "where and when", but then again, what about light?

If we consider what current theory tells us about light, the question of how existence is defined becomes problematic. I think we all agree that light physically exists, but according to theory, things get shorter in the direction of travel until they reach zero at the speed of light, and time slows until it stops at the speed of light. Light also exhibits the mutually exclusive characteristics of both wave and particle, a logical contradiction, Consequently, in the direction of travel light measures zero in space and therefore spatially it has no dimensional existence, it also doesn't exist in time, and logically it exhibits mutually exclusive characteristics, logic tells us that light isn't even a possibility.

I think my answer is: We can't know.

I think I have to agree, we just don't know, and in fact, it appears we can't even shed some light on the subject :)
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
kp98
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11/18/2015 8:32:31 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
There are eight planets orbiting the sun... how many would there be if there was no one to count them?

I think it might well be '8'.... I'm almost certain it can't be 7, or 9.
Sidewalker
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11/18/2015 11:20:08 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 11/18/2015 8:32:31 PM, kp98 wrote:
There are eight planets orbiting the sun... how many would there be if there was no one to count them?

I think it might well be '8'.... I'm almost certain it can't be 7, or 9.

In the absence of minds there would be no concept of planet and no concept of quantity. The universe would still exist but it would be inexact and interrelated, there would be no concept of separate things to be counted. It would be a universe where no two events are identical, no two things are identical, the concept of planet wouldn't exist, abstraction and identity wouldn't exit, the universe would just be. The individual bodies we call planets would not be generalized such that there were eight of them, everything would be as it is, unique and singular. Counting and numbers are abstract signs pointing at abstract referents, that requires a mind, and with no mind, there wouldn't be eight of anything.
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
Mhykiel
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11/19/2015 12:35:36 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 11/17/2015 4:29:28 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
Do logic and numbers exist independently of the rational mind. In other words, if there were no minds would these things remain? There is only one view point that makes sense to me, but I hope an open discussion might help me to understand other view(s).

I'm pretty sure numbers and logic are abstractions to explain what we see in reality.

Reality would remain but abstract conceptions of it would disappear.

The sad thing is no one can really tell what reality is without a mind. Philosophers have conjectured that if you remove all minds, reality disappears as well.

I think this could lead into a long discussion about the Anthropic principle and idealism.
Skepticalone
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11/19/2015 12:39:46 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 11/18/2015 12:37:14 AM, Sidewalker wrote:
At 11/17/2015 4:29:28 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
Do logic and numbers exist independently of the rational mind.

Logic is a matter of valid reasoning, there can be no reasoning without a mind. Numbers are a symbolic abstraction, they need a mind to symbolize in.

In other words, if there were no minds would these things remain? There is only one view point that makes sense to me, but I hope an open discussion might help me to understand other view(s).

The things they abstractly represent would remain, but the abstractions themselves would not.

I agree.
This thread is like eavesdropping on a conversation in a mental asylum. - Bulproof

You can call your invisible friends whatever you like. - Desmac

What the hell kind of coked up sideshow has this thread turned into. - Casten
Skepticalone
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11/19/2015 1:20:27 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 11/19/2015 12:35:36 AM, Mhykiel wrote:
At 11/17/2015 4:29:28 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
Do logic and numbers exist independently of the rational mind. In other words, if there were no minds would these things remain? There is only one view point that makes sense to me, but I hope an open discussion might help me to understand other view(s).

I'm pretty sure numbers and logic are abstractions to explain what we see in reality.

Reality would remain but abstract conceptions of it would disappear.

Agreed.

The sad thing is no one can really tell what reality is without a mind. Philosophers have conjectured that if you remove all minds, reality disappears as well.

I always wondered exactly how that was meant. Is the size of the universe dependent on the amount of minds in existence? When someone dies, does some part of reality cease to be? It's not something I accept, but its fun to play with. :-)

I think this could lead into a long discussion about the Anthropic principle and idealism.
This thread is like eavesdropping on a conversation in a mental asylum. - Bulproof

You can call your invisible friends whatever you like. - Desmac

What the hell kind of coked up sideshow has this thread turned into. - Casten
Mhykiel
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11/19/2015 3:18:38 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 11/19/2015 1:20:27 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
At 11/19/2015 12:35:36 AM, Mhykiel wrote:
At 11/17/2015 4:29:28 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
Do logic and numbers exist independently of the rational mind. In other words, if there were no minds would these things remain? There is only one view point that makes sense to me, but I hope an open discussion might help me to understand other view(s).

I'm pretty sure numbers and logic are abstractions to explain what we see in reality.

Reality would remain but abstract conceptions of it would disappear.

Agreed.

The sad thing is no one can really tell what reality is without a mind. Philosophers have conjectured that if you remove all minds, reality disappears as well.

I always wondered exactly how that was meant. Is the size of the universe dependent on the amount of minds in existence? When someone dies, does some part of reality cease to be? It's not something I accept, but its fun to play with. :-)

I think this could lead into a long discussion about the Anthropic principle and idealism.

Well, mythological when there were fewer people the world was more magical and malleable. Some myths say the first man had the power to shape the world, speak with animals, sing things into existence. (side note song had always been related to world transforming power, take Orpheus and such.)

In philosophy, "the universe (and hence the fundamental parameters on which it depends) must be such as to admit the creation of observers within it at some stage. "the universe (and hence the fundamental parameters on which it depends) must be such as to admit the creation of observers within it at some stage. Descartes. This is a bold leap by Descartes from saying that the universe as we know it is dependent on conceptualizing minds. A relativism that was the usual remark from Protagoras, when he spoke "Man is the measure of all things."

Then Physicist looked at their experiments and followed suit. Such as john Wheeler. A good article is at http://discovermagazine.com...

Excerpt from the article.
"It would be tempting to dismiss Wheeler's thought experiment as a curious idea, except for one thing: It has been demonstrated in a laboratory. In 1984 physicists at the University of Maryland set up a tabletop version of the delayed-choice scenario. Using a light source and an arrangement of mirrors to provide a number of possible photon routes, the physicists were able to show that the paths the photons took were not fixed until the physicists made their measurements, even though those measurements were made after the photons had already left the light source and begun their circuit through the course of mirrors.

Wheeler conjectures we are part of a universe that is a work in progress; we are tiny patches of the universe looking at itself " and building itself. It's not only the future that is still undetermined but the past as well. And by peering back into time, even all the way back to the Big Bang, our present observations select one out of many possible quantum histories for the universe.

Then Astronomers liked the idea.
A more modern conception adopted by some astronomers is the Anthropic principle. The idea is that the world is shaped by perception and conception. That all is in flux till a mindful observer observes it. Because this flux is temporal as well as spatial when applied to the whole universe as a wave function, then any intelligent life at any time in the universe could be responsible for collapsing the universe's wave function into a localization we deem "reality".

"Observers are necessary to bring the Universe into being." Barrow and Tipler thought this was a valid conclusion from quantum mechanics.

It's also a simple and popular interpretation when regarding the experimental results of Delayed choice quantum eraser experiments or an interesting laser crossroad experiment. http://www.gizmag.com...

One thing becomes apparent is that measurement is a powerful shaper of this world. What constitutes measurement is still being unraveled. And this type of measurement is often linked to the mind of an observer.

As said by people brighter than me... Reality as you know it, disappears when you are not thinking of it.
Skepticalone
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11/19/2015 4:28:30 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 11/19/2015 3:18:38 AM, Mhykiel wrote:
At 11/19/2015 1:20:27 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
At 11/19/2015 12:35:36 AM, Mhykiel wrote:
At 11/17/2015 4:29:28 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
Do logic and numbers exist independently of the rational mind. In other words, if there were no minds would these things remain? There is only one view point that makes sense to me, but I hope an open discussion might help me to understand other view(s).

I'm pretty sure numbers and logic are abstractions to explain what we see in reality.

Reality would remain but abstract conceptions of it would disappear.

Agreed.

The sad thing is no one can really tell what reality is without a mind. Philosophers have conjectured that if you remove all minds, reality disappears as well.

I always wondered exactly how that was meant. Is the size of the universe dependent on the amount of minds in existence? When someone dies, does some part of reality cease to be? It's not something I accept, but its fun to play with. :-)

I think this could lead into a long discussion about the Anthropic principle and idealism.

Well, mythological when there were fewer people the world was more magical and malleable. Some myths say the first man had the power to shape the world, speak with animals, sing things into existence. (side note song had always been related to world transforming power, take Orpheus and such.)

In philosophy, "the universe (and hence the fundamental parameters on which it depends) must be such as to admit the creation of observers within it at some stage. "the universe (and hence the fundamental parameters on which it depends) must be such as to admit the creation of observers within it at some stage. Descartes. This is a bold leap by Descartes from saying that the universe as we know it is dependent on conceptualizing minds. A relativism that was the usual remark from Protagoras, when he spoke "Man is the measure of all things."

Then Physicist looked at their experiments and followed suit. Such as john Wheeler. A good article is at http://discovermagazine.com...

Excerpt from the article.
"It would be tempting to dismiss Wheeler's thought experiment as a curious idea, except for one thing: It has been demonstrated in a laboratory. In 1984 physicists at the University of Maryland set up a tabletop version of the delayed-choice scenario. Using a light source and an arrangement of mirrors to provide a number of possible photon routes, the physicists were able to show that the paths the photons took were not fixed until the physicists made their measurements, even though those measurements were made after the photons had already left the light source and begun their circuit through the course of mirrors.

Wheeler conjectures we are part of a universe that is a work in progress; we are tiny patches of the universe looking at itself " and building itself. It's not only the future that is still undetermined but the past as well. And by peering back into time, even all the way back to the Big Bang, our present observations select one out of many possible quantum histories for the universe.

Then Astronomers liked the idea.
A more modern conception adopted by some astronomers is the Anthropic principle. The idea is that the world is shaped by perception and conception. That all is in flux till a mindful observer observes it. Because this flux is temporal as well as spatial when applied to the whole universe as a wave function, then any intelligent life at any time in the universe could be responsible for collapsing the universe's wave function into a localization we deem "reality".

"Observers are necessary to bring the Universe into being." Barrow and Tipler thought this was a valid conclusion from quantum mechanics.

It's also a simple and popular interpretation when regarding the experimental results of Delayed choice quantum eraser experiments or an interesting laser crossroad experiment. http://www.gizmag.com...

One thing becomes apparent is that measurement is a powerful shaper of this world. What constitutes measurement is still being unraveled. And this type of measurement is often linked to the mind of an observer.

As said by people brighter than me... Reality as you know it, disappears when you are not thinking of it.

Thanks for your input. It will take a while for me to mull this over.
This thread is like eavesdropping on a conversation in a mental asylum. - Bulproof

You can call your invisible friends whatever you like. - Desmac

What the hell kind of coked up sideshow has this thread turned into. - Casten
Furyan5
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11/19/2015 5:55:51 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
The perfect example of a abstract concept is color. When we see a green apple, the color is not a property of the apple or the light being reflected by the apple. Green is what our mind creates in response to the wavelength of that light. Without the mind, colors do not exist. Neither do reflections. By reflections I am specifically referring to the image we see and not the process by which photons are reflected. Reflection is a physical process, but a reflection is a virtual image which only exists if seen.
Juan_Pablo
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11/19/2015 6:41:31 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Do abstract concepts exist without mind?

This is an interesting question. They definitely exist independent of the human mind!

The philosopher Georg Wilhelm Freidrich Hegel aruges that ideas actually originate out in space. That that is where they are created. If you're a pantheist like me, you see great value in this interpretation of the universe. I believe that the entire universe is a giant mind--God--and so things can't really exist without mind.

My answer to your question is that abstract concepts cannot exist without mind, but only because the universe is mind. To better clarify, you don't need intelligent biological minds for abstract concepts to exist. These concepts exist anyway because the universe itself is a mind.
janesix
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11/19/2015 8:28:40 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 11/17/2015 4:29:28 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
Do logic and numbers exist independently of the rational mind. In other words, if there were no minds would these things remain? There is only one view point that makes sense to me, but I hope an open discussion might help me to understand other view(s).

Numbers and other abstract concepts exist. They are called archetypes,and matter couldn't exist without them as a means of organization.
Skepticalone
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11/19/2015 9:06:08 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 11/19/2015 8:28:40 PM, janesix wrote:
At 11/17/2015 4:29:28 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
Do logic and numbers exist independently of the rational mind. In other words, if there were no minds would these things remain? There is only one view point that makes sense to me, but I hope an open discussion might help me to understand other view(s).

Numbers and other abstract concepts exist. They are called archetypes,and matter couldn't exist without them as a means of organization.

I'm going to need more explanation that that. ;-)
This thread is like eavesdropping on a conversation in a mental asylum. - Bulproof

You can call your invisible friends whatever you like. - Desmac

What the hell kind of coked up sideshow has this thread turned into. - Casten
janesix
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11/19/2015 9:16:33 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 11/19/2015 9:06:08 PM, Skepticalone wrote:
At 11/19/2015 8:28:40 PM, janesix wrote:
At 11/17/2015 4:29:28 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
Do logic and numbers exist independently of the rational mind. In other words, if there were no minds would these things remain? There is only one view point that makes sense to me, but I hope an open discussion might help me to understand other view(s).

Numbers and other abstract concepts exist. They are called archetypes,and matter couldn't exist without them as a means of organization.

I'm going to need more explanation that that. ;-)

Archetypes exist as ideal forms. They manifest as fields (like electromagnetic fields) that organize all matter. You can see the ideal forms in biological convergence, where different organisms take different routs to the same forms (like many marsupial and placental mammals).

You can also make out the ideal forms in planetary bodies, such as how the Earth and moon form a squared circle. https://www.youtube.com...

There are ideal numbers in nature, such as the multiples of 27. These are found in geometry, the solar system,and ancient people knew these numbers through intuition and guidance from a higher power. They used them in architecture and in their mythologies. The squared circle of the Earth and moon was known to the builders of stonehenge,and they even used the exact same numbers as the measurements of the Earth and moon.
000ike
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11/19/2015 10:42:03 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 11/17/2015 4:29:28 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
Do logic and numbers exist independently of the rational mind. In other words, if there were no minds would these things remain? There is only one view point that makes sense to me, but I hope an open discussion might help me to understand other view(s).

From my rational intuition:
Logic and numbers are interpretative tools for understanding reality. They don't really exist anywhere to begin with, but of course they would no longer apply or be in use in the absence of human minds.
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
kp98
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11/20/2015 3:26:22 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Fascinating stuff!

But abstruse physics aside, let me suggest there are some very important abstracts that exist only if mind exists. I am thinking of such things as beauty, justice, honour, duty, good and evil.

I am not saying mind is sufficient for, say, beauty or morality to exist, but mind is necessary for them to exist.
skipsaweirdo
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11/24/2015 2:21:41 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 11/17/2015 4:29:28 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
Do logic and numbers exist independently of the rational mind. In other words, if there were no minds would these things remain? There is only one view point that makes sense to me, but I hope an open discussion might help me to understand other view(s).

If humans or any other group never appeared the concepts wouldn't exist. If humans suddenly all disappeared and data banks and/or written concepts were left as evidence of us being here then technically the concepts would still exist on "paper". If everyone but a single 1 year old disappeared and all evidence ,written or otherwise, disappeared then based on our knowledge of feral children the concepts wouldn't exist. Would you consider a human who never learned a language or information as having a "mind"?