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Thread: The Universe

  1. #11
    Senior Member sdalek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xander View Post
    To try and define something is to objectify it (I believe). Many things are beyond such measures at the moment. We instead work with presumptions and assumptions.
    The definition of "objectify" that I'm familiar with means either to make external or object such as using language to express internal ideas OR to make impersonal or present as an object such as the objectification of women through pornography. I think the definition of "objectify" needs to be clarified so that agreement can be reached on what it is meant.

    Also, are we talking purely scientific attempts to define the universe or philosophical discussions seeking to define the universe? While both science and philosophy stem from the same root thought processes, one seeks to explain by a system of physical proof and disproof, the other seeks to explain by discussing the human condition and how the universe relates to it. Or is a different system being referred to?

    If you are trying to say that we are operating under a series of theories which must be proven to be fact or disproven so that new theories can be developed, THAT I can agree with.

  2. #12
    Lex Parsimoniae Xander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sdalek View Post
    The definition of "objectify" that I'm familiar with means either to make external or object such as using language to express internal ideas OR to make impersonal or present as an object such as the objectification of women through pornography. I think the definition of "objectify" needs to be clarified so that agreement can be reached on what it is meant.
    Agreed. However to go too far into definitions often ends up in a debate about the word and not the meaning which can become counter-productive.
    Quote Originally Posted by sdalek View Post
    Also, are we talking purely scientific attempts to define the universe or philosophical discussions seeking to define the universe? While both science and philosophy stem from the same root thought processes, one seeks to explain by a system of physical proof and disproof, the other seeks to explain by discussing the human condition and how the universe relates to it. Or is a different system being referred to?
    The interesting thing is that your talking about two systems as one system and then differentiating them based on whether the human mind considers them fact or theory.

    "What is now proved was once impossible" William Blake
    Quote Originally Posted by sdalek View Post
    If you are trying to say that we are operating under a series of theories which must be proven to be fact or disproven so that new theories can be developed, THAT I can agree with.
    Nope. We can't prove those theories, we can only prove that one is more likely and hence a better guess.
    Isn't it time for a colourful metaphor?

  3. #13
    Lex Parsimoniae Xander's Avatar
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    Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1) - Cite This Source
    ob·jec·ti·fy /əbˈdʒɛktəˌfaɪ/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[uhb-jek-tuh-fahy] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
    –verb (used with object), -fied, -fy·ing. to present as an object, esp. of sight, touch, or other physical sense; make objective; externalize.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    [Origin: 1830–40; object + -ify]

    —Related forms
    ob·jec·ti·fi·ca·tion, noun
    Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1)
    Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.
    American Heritage Dictionary - Cite This Source ob·jec·ti·fy (əb-jěk'tə-fī') Pronunciation Key
    tr.v. ob·jec·ti·fied, ob·jec·ti·fy·ing, ob·jec·ti·fies

    To present or regard as an object: "Because we have objectified animals, we are able to treat them impersonally" (Barry Lopez).
    To make objective, external, or concrete: thoughts objectified in art.

    ob·jec'ti·fi·ca'tion (-fĭ-kā'shən) n., ob·jec'ti·fi'er n.

    (Download Now or Buy the Book) The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
    Copyright © 2006 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
    Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
    WordNet - Cite This Source objectify

    verb
    1. make external or objective, or give reality to; "language externalizes our thoughts" [syn: exteriorize]
    2. make impersonal or present as an object; "Will computers depersonalize human interactions?"; "Pornography objectifies women" [syn: depersonalize] [ant: gash]

    WordNet® 3.0, © 2006 by Princeton University.
    Isn't it time for a colourful metaphor?

  4. #14
    Senior Member Bushranger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sdalek View Post
    Also, how do scientists objectify the universe? It was my understanding that they attempt to qualify and quantify it.
    I don't think the argument was directly aimed at scientists.
    I'll get you my pretty, and your little hermit crab too!

  5. #15
    Senior Member logan235711's Avatar
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    meta-universe! yes yes! so true : )

    "Tell me Sir, what is matter?"




    oh, I should say, questions of the form "what is/are" were re-focused to "how it works/behaves" in Joseph Fourier's 1822 mathematical theory of heat : )

  6. #16
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nocturne View Post
    ... Now, if we consider the universe as an object, which can have a cause, an prior meaning or outside, then we have contradicted our definition of the universe. The universe is by definition everything, including all of the laws which govern it. The moment we begin to ask questions like the above, we implicitly objectify the universe, we treat it as an object which is in turn subject to laws, such as cause and effect or geometrical axioms.

    In other words, we have implicitly postulated a metauniverse, which shouldn't exist. Indeed, the problem is unsoluble due to a flawed context, one that unavoidably gives rise to a contradiction. The whole set of problems is dissolved, you might say, by simply adopting a new context free of that contradiction.
    When people say 'universe' many times they are referring to the observable universe, 3-D space that moves through time and can be traced back to the Big Bang, etc. The questions you mention in your post relate, in my mind, to the question of whether what we comprehend as the 'universe' is the sum total of it, or if our observable 'universe' is a component of something larger. Math operates in higher dimensions and there are other theories suggesting the universe is larger than what we have observed.

    Every other life-form is aware of only a fragment of what we know to be the universe. Why would humans be any different, only able to perceive a fragment of what is? There are likely questions we 'can't' answer, or more to the point, questions we cannot think to ask. For an ant, the earth as an object does not exist. For a cat the solar system does not exist in its 'universe', and so forth. What doesn't 'exist' for humans? I realize it is speculation, but the ability to speculate could have value to foster growth?

    I can see that speculation taken too far is meaningless, but humans can glimpse just enough beyond what we know to inspire a continual search. Our perception of the 'universe' has broadened so drastically in the development of science that I can see some drive to continue to withhold conclusions about the sum total of it.
    Step into my metaphysical room of mirrors.
    Fear of reality creates myopic morality
    So I guess it means there is trouble until the robins come
    (from Blue Velvet)

  7. #17
    Senior Member hereandnow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toonia View Post
    When people say 'universe' many times they are referring to the observable universe, 3-D space that moves through time and can be traced back to the Big Bang, etc. The questions you mention in your post relate, in my mind, to the question of whether what we comprehend as the 'universe' is the sum total of it, or if our observable 'universe' is a component of something larger. Math operates in higher dimensions and there are other theories suggesting the universe is larger than what we have observed.

    Every other life-form is aware of only a fragment of what we know to be the universe. Why would humans be any different, only able to perceive a fragment of what is? There are likely questions we 'can't' answer, or more to the point, questions we cannot think to ask. For an ant, the earth as an object does not exist. For a cat the solar system does not exist in its 'universe', and so forth. What doesn't 'exist' for humans? I realize it is speculation, but the ability to speculate could have value to foster growth?

    I can see that speculation taken too far is meaningless, but humans can glimpse just enough beyond what we know to inspire a continual search. Our perception of the 'universe' has broadened so drastically in the development of science that I can see some drive to continue to withhold conclusions about the sum total of it.
    Why say universe? Is the plural not possible?
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  8. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by hereandnow View Post
    Why say universe? Is the plural not possible?
    I read toonia's post as asking the very same question.

  9. #19
    Senior Member reason's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toonia View Post
    When people say 'universe' many times they are referring to the observable universe, 3-D space that moves through time and can be traced back to the Big Bang, etc. The questions you mention in your post relate, in my mind, to the question of whether what we comprehend as the 'universe' is the sum total of it, or if our observable 'universe' is a component of something larger. Math operates in higher dimensions and there are other theories suggesting the universe is larger than what we have observed.

    Every other life-form is aware of only a fragment of what we know to be the universe. Why would humans be any different, only able to perceive a fragment of what is? There are likely questions we 'can't' answer, or more to the point, questions we cannot think to ask. For an ant, the earth as an object does not exist. For a cat the solar system does not exist in its 'universe', and so forth. What doesn't 'exist' for humans? I realize it is speculation, but the ability to speculate could have value to foster growth?

    I can see that speculation taken too far is meaningless, but humans can glimpse just enough beyond what we know to inspire a continual search. Our perception of the 'universe' has broadened so drastically in the development of science that I can see some drive to continue to withhold conclusions about the sum total of it.
    Quote Originally Posted by nocturne
    The word universe comes from Latin, and means entire world, all together, turn to one, etc. The prefix uni- means one... Now, if we consider the universe as an object, which can have a cause, a prior meaning or outside, then we have contradicted our definition of the universe. The universe is by definition everything, including all of the laws which govern it.
    I don't care to argue the meaning of words. Of course, if you redefine 'universe,' then it can be used in the plural and such concepts as a metauniverse may be consistent; but then if you redefine 'pig,' then I might consistently talk of a jet powered supersonic pig.

    The 'universe' is defined as totality of everything, and you can't have an everything + 1.
    A criticism that can be brought against everything ought not to be brought against anything.

  10. #20
    Senior Member reason's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sdalek View Post
    Also, the problem of aether didn't just disappear, it was empirically disproved by the Michelson-Morley experiments which results were verified and validated by repeats of the experiment by other scientists.
    The problem of aether did disappear. I rarely invoke Kuhn in talks concerning metascience i.e. the philosophy of science, but here I'll make an exception, since his theory of paradigmatic science is very close to my concept of theoretical context.

    The problem of aether arose in the Newtonian paradigm, where physicists felt some medium was necessary to carry electromagnetic waves, and experiments which returned results inconsistent with the aether theory were problematic. The prevailing paradigm implied that the aether existed, so the problem was to reconcile the experimental results with the existence of aether.

    The problem of aether disappeared, not because it was solved, but because it was dissolved as what we might call a psuedoproblem. In other words, a seemingly intractable problem with no solution, arising from inconsistent or false premises. In Kuhnian language, a paradigm shift, or scientific revolution occured, in which the whole Newtonian paradigm was replaced, and within the context of this new paradigm the problem of aether did not arise.

    Also, how do scientists objectify the universe? It was my understanding that they attempt to qualify and quantify it.
    I didn't mention scientists specifically. In fact, theologians are more likely candidates for this error.
    A criticism that can be brought against everything ought not to be brought against anything.

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