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Holiday Dinner Table Political Discussion

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Neodoxy replied on Wed, Nov 28 2012 12:26 PM

Lol damn Vive, for someone who has made thousands of posts on Mises.org you sure seem to hate political discussion!

At last those coming came and they never looked back With blinding stars in their eyes but all they saw was black...
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z1235 replied on Wed, Nov 28 2012 12:31 PM

AJ, imagine (visualise) a 2-d agent residing in a 2-d plane. Also imagine a 3-d sphere flying through his 2-d plane near him. From the perspective of the 2-d agent, a dot appeared on his plane out of nowhere then grew into a circle then shrunk into a dot and disappeared. He can not "visualise" a sphere but he could extrapolate its "existence" as the best (simplest) possible explanation for the "magic" he just experienced.

Visualisation is but one of the tools available to a sentient agent while trying to navigate (explain, predict) phenomena in the environment around him. For a 3-d agent, the very definition of "visualise" is limited to the 3-d realm. If a dot showed up out of nowhere next to you, grew into a sphere, then shrunk back into a dot and disappeared -- breaking all the laws about the preservation of mass + energy -- perhaps extrapolating the existence of a 4-d object that just "flew" through your 3-d space may not be the worst possible hypothesis, especially if it allows you to predict the next fly-through and warn you to step aside so you can survive.

Finally, we accept the "existence" of a decision making (free) agent in human minds even though we have trouble visualising its independence from deterministic physical laws. We do that because this model allows us to better explain (navigate, predict) phenomena which affect us.

 

 

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AJ replied on Wed, Nov 28 2012 12:44 PM
There is a difference between being too complicated for a human to readily visualize and being conceptually impossible to visualize even in principle. Insofar as the speaker of the utterance "345/567" has not visualized the fraction (as, say, a ratio of two lengths), he is simply presenting an unsolved problem, not communicating a number or magnitude. In fact, insofar as the speaker has no accurate sense of how much "345" is, he cannot really be said to be communicating a quantity but rather a code or set of instructions for how to generate the quantity. This works fine for numbers because we all know we could count out 345 or make three groups of 10x10 and four groups of 5x2 and one group of 5x1, but for "the fourth dimension" we do not know how to point in this direction, hence we have no reason to accept the utterance as meaningful.
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AJ replied on Wed, Nov 28 2012 12:57 PM
Z, I can imagine a 2D image on my visual field, but not a 2D plane floating in 3D space. All I see is a thin (3D) board floating in space. How thin do I have to visualize it for the board (and its inhabitants) to count as 2D?

Even supposing I could visualize these flatlanders, the analogy is only suggestive of higher dimensions; the overriding problem still remains that if no human uttering the words "fourth spacial dimension" can be comprehending what they're even saying, their utterance can hardly be called a coherent one.

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z1235 replied on Wed, Nov 28 2012 1:23 PM

AJ, we may have to define "visualise" and "exist" before we continue. I mentioned above that for any 3-d agent, any definition of "visualise" would be constrained within the 3-d realm. The fact that you cannot visualise a non 3-d object (space) is not an objection against their possible existence -- its simply question-begging.

By all means, feel free to constrain the realm of what exists to the realm of what you can visualise (in a 3-d sense) but it would be nonsensical to call it nonsense when others find it useful to expand the realm of what exists (i.e. of what could interfere with their 3-d existence) beyond the realm of what they could visualise as 3-d agents. Extrapolation works along the dimension dimension, too.

 

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Clayton replied on Wed, Nov 28 2012 1:32 PM

AJ, imagine (visualise) a 2-d agent residing in a 2-d plane. Also imagine a 3-d sphere flying through his 2-d plane near him. From the perspective of the 2-d agent, a dot appeared on his plane out of nowhere then grew into a circle then shrunk into a dot and disappeared. He can not "visualise" a sphere but he could extrapolate its "existence" as the best (simplest) possible explanation for the "magic" he just experienced.

Visualization is not the issue. The issue is what you're talking about. 2D space to a 2D Flatlander is an inherently different category of knowledge than 3D space. His knowledge of 2D space is fundamental, that is, it is a category of unelaborated knowledge. His knowledge of 3D space, however, is elaborated. 2D space is real space for the flatlander. Everything else is a mathematical convention and it is a mistake to put the "imperceptible" dimensions inferred by his elaborated mathematical models onto the same epistemological footing as his unelaborated knowledge of 2D space.

It is possible that 3D beings may be able to have unelaborated knowledge of 3D objects in a way that the Flatlander cannot. Nevertheless, there can never be any communion between the 3D being and the 2D being that will effectively transmit this unelaborated nkowledge to the 2D being. In other words, it is possible that God or angels see the world in 4, 11, 26 or infinitely many dimensions but this is of no use to us and does not alter the privileged place that 3-dimensional, Euclidean space occupies in human knowledge.

There is a difference between being too complicated for a human to readily visualize and being conceptually impossible to visualize even in principle. Insofar as the speaker of the utterance "345/567" has not visualized the fraction (as, say, a ratio of two lengths), he is simply presenting an unsolved problem, not communicating a number or magnitude.

This depends on your chosen number system. 345/567 is also an exact representation of the fraction in shorter form than decimal expansion (where its exact representation is infinitely repeating). The "/" no more represents and "unsolved division" than the place-values represent "unsolved exponentiations" in decimal.

In fact, insofar as the speaker has no accurate sense of how much "345" is, he cannot really be said to be communicating a quantity but rather a code or set of instructions for how to generate the quantity. This works fine for numbers because we all know we could count out 345 or make three groups of 10x10 and four groups of 5x2 and one group of 5x1, but for "the fourth dimension" we do not know how to point in this direction, hence we have no reason to accept the utterance as meaningful.

But dimensions can also be very trivially formalized as information. Four dimensions is just four independent variables. Track all four variables, and you have your four dimensions. Doesn't matter if you can't visualize it so long as you don't lose any information required to "translate" from real, physical space to 4D and back. This is the true reason why information theory keeps cropping up in the fundamentals of physics.

Clayton -

http://voluntaryistreader.wordpress.com
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TurkishMarch:

I found out that I'm "part of the problem" because I didn't vote in the general election.  I thought this was very insightful and fascinating since I could have sworn that Obama and Romney are Keynesian puppet statists who care nothing about me and that coercing people out of the fruits of their labor are both clearly part of the problem, but now I see the error of my ways.

Also, we can't legalize drugs because the same family member who informed me of my participation in "the problem" (clearly a bastion of enlightenment) doesn't want them available to her kids.  This was mentioned without the slightest bit of irony as she swirled her glass of wine at the dinner table which sits 2 feet from a bar laden with bottles of wine, scotch, and beer.

Let's get real, what we have are Republicans and Democrats.  The Libertarian Party is "this" small, she gestured.  I never even mentioned the LP and was never asked for why I didn't vote and certainly not which principles guided my decision.  It was in this moment that I truly understood the impenetrableness of a person's belief system built upon and sustained by emotion.

Thanksgiving was fun.  Can't wait until Christmas!

LOL Yeah, I had one of my aunts tell me one day that drug addicts can't help themselves and shouldn't be blamed for ever having tried the drug. "Drugs chose them," she said. I told her that was rubbish and everyone agreed with me. These people who deny choices are ridiculous!

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Lol damn Vive, for someone who has made thousands of posts on Mises.org you sure seem to hate political discussion!

I tend to hate actual politics "in real life"..but I like it "abstract"

But besides all that I love the Marx Bros and liquor, so may as well combine the two when I can

"As in a kaleidoscope, the constellation of forces operating in the system as a whole is ever changing." - Ludwig Lachmann

"When A Man Dies A World Goes Out of Existence"  - GLS Shackle

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gotlucky replied on Wed, Nov 28 2012 6:52 PM

Have you ever seen episodes of You Bet Your Life?

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AJ replied on Wed, Nov 28 2012 7:41 PM
Z, to say "constrained" to a 3D realm already seems to imply higher dimensions. If "higher dimensions" is a nonsense term, this would not be a constraint, practically speaking. I'll define "visualize" and "exist" below, for use whenever needed. However, prior to that, I have no grounds for interpreting what you or anyone means by "fourth dimension." I am not contesting the idea that something that would be useful to refer to as "the fourth spacial dimension" could possibly exist; I'm merely saying that I don't know what those words refer to. The way it's presented - either as "another orthogonal direction" or via analogy from flatland - are both simply puzzles that suggest or hint at a definition, rather than an actual definition that would assure everyone understands the same thing by the word. A definition that everyone understands in the same way is the only way to enable unambiguous communication.

I would define visualize as simply, "See on one's visual field." However I'd like to point out that there is nothing really unique about the visual mode of experiencing; there are other ways to experience. For example, to experience what I call "other minds" will entail a bodily/physical component as well as any visual one.

Finding a useful definition of "exist" for all contexts is challenging, but if we limit the context to physics I would start with "having a location (only applies to objects, not events [events are said to "happen" rather than exist])."

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AJ replied on Wed, Nov 28 2012 9:30 PM
Clayton, I agree on the fraction. Either way it's visualizable. As just a formal fraction it is even easier to visualize, so I didn't mention that above. As for four dimensions, I should be careful to specify that I'm talking only about the notion of four spacial dimensions in a physical sense.
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Clayton,

What is is?

http://thephoenixsaga.com/
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Have you ever seen episodes of You Bet Your Life?

When I was 15 my mom bought me an old VHS "best of" for Xmas - have,'t seen it in about 10 years, but I remember cracking up

"As in a kaleidoscope, the constellation of forces operating in the system as a whole is ever changing." - Ludwig Lachmann

"When A Man Dies A World Goes Out of Existence"  - GLS Shackle

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