Normative Irreducibility

If I may give a quick info-dump with further info for those interested

Now, I have some of my own disagreements with Yangming that we could get into but most of those veer into inside-baseball so I think he provides a useful starting point. Since we are human beings, the world which we experience is necessarily the human world. Trying to separate the semiotic construct that is the human world from some other ‘real’ world is a foolish endeavor since we can never actually leave our human perspective. Since morality is one of the systems of symbols whereby the world is understood for human beings, how can it be said that morality isn’t real? They can only be reduced down to the human experience, but since the discussion is taking place amongst a human audience, I don’t see how that is problematic.

why do you say this? you can observe two identical things in different places and times very easily. and yes, they do relate to each other, they relate with regard to their difference in locations in space and time, as well as their different causal histories. these differences create relations between them.

well, since we cannot experience eternal recurring, just as we cannot experience infinity itself, or the universe as a whole, or mathematical abstraction, we are left to theorize about such things as best we can, through our conceptual reason.

there is just no other way to deal with them, to understand them, because they are beyond our ability to directly experience.

In response to OP.

The aesthetic of beauty (for example) is as real as the thing that produces it.

Fundamentally it is a question of the perceiver’s ability to perceive.

Moral properties cannot be reduced because they are not material.

Likewise, the subjective experience of perceiving colour cannot be reduced to its material components.

Morality and human experience are not properly explainable in material terms because fundamentally they are not material entities.


seriously, how do you come up with this stuff? its hilarious!

=D> =D> =D>

A combination of meditation and prayer.

Not exactly -
they do not relate to each other from within their own context.
They only can be said to relate when we completely step out of their context, and observe them completely detached from their position in space time, which means that it is not a proper observation.

We can distinguish them, but not in a way meaningful to what they are.
That is what we are differing about - meaning. I say meaning exists strictly in context.

i would have to agree that meaning is always contextual, or rather, it is of a perspective.

if we take the objective perspective of a third-party observer observing entities A and B, then A and B are in relation to each other regardless of how similar or different the structures of A and B are to or from each other; this is because A and B are located at either a different place, or a different time, or both. it also means that, by virtue of their different locations relative to a third-party, they are partaking in differing causalities by virtue of this difference in location.

if we take the subjective perspective of one of the entities, then A and B may still be related to each other, because, if we perceive from the perspective of A, then B is perceived as “without” while A is perceived as “within”, and vice versa from perspective of entity B: self, and other, regardless of similarity of structure.

of course, if we speak of entity A as in universe X, and entity B in universe X[2], then we, and indeed no one, can actually observe A and B… no single perspective will experience A and B. but, does this mean that A and B are not to be understood as being within relation to one another? can we meaningfully talk about “A is here (spatial-temporal location 1) and B is there (spatial-temporal location 2)” in the hypothetical, even though technically, no entity will actually be able to PERCEIVE A and B within this relation, assuming it entails?

i believe we can. i do not believe that someone needs to exist to look at the moon for the moon to be real. perception does create subjective experiences of reality, but reality itself STILL EXISTS whether or not a perceiving entity lvies to create this subjective meaning for itself. the moon as a fact of reality exists whether or not someone is alive to look at it and say “moon”. meaning is contextual, yes, and always of a perspective; however, “meaning” is a human value-term, and meaning is not equal to fact… in otherwords, it may be true that there is no meaningful way to understand the relation between A and B if we define meaning as a possibility for direct experience, but this does not change the fact that this relation can still EXIST, it can be a fact, outside of human perception.

there are things that we know about only hypothetically. certain mathematical postulations; entities in space that are invisible to us but that we “see” by their gravitational affect upon other entities; subatomic particles that we “see” only by tracking the dispersal patterns of subatomic collisions, and how these energies curve and wind around each other… yet, we can still talk about these entities which we do not directly experience, we can still KNOW that they OBTAIN… do you see what i mean?

anyways, i realise its pretty much a moot point, but i still think that there is a way to reconcile our two understandings. i see where you are coming from, that if no relation between two things can be identified, then they can be said to be the same thing, and that if two things are IDENTICAL, then you believe no such relation can obtain-- but when we consider that relations of PLACE, of DISTANCE FROM one another, are still relations, we see that, even if a human being could never actually physically experience this relation for himself, we can nonetheless obtain knowledge of this relation by process of mental abstraction, by realising that entities A and B lie at different point along a timeline, and that regardless of how infinite or unending that timeline may be, A and B will ALWAYS lie on DIFFERENT points alone the line. this fact alone generates the relation between A and B, even if it is only a hypothetical and not a directly-perceivable relation.

since it is a FACT that entity A and entity B existed at different times relative to one another (i.e. there is a time t existent such that entity A exists, and entity B will exist, but does not yet exist), we can still understand this relation in theory, in a similar way to how we understand the relations between invisible subatomic particles, or between matter and the dark matter that we cannot see.

My point would be, translated into these terms, that you wouldn’t be able to know anything about the moon if it hadn’t been observed by anyone.
Knowledge starts with perception, experience, - though certainly not necessarily first hand.

Meaning is broader than value. Value is a form of meaning.
A fact is per definiton a meaning, an interpretation. That does not mean it is less than true - in fact truth can’t be understood without meaning.
At least that is how I understand these terms.

The point where I differ with you is that I see the measure in which A and B are identical, which is their entire constitution, as more fundamental to an understanding and subsequently a description of ‘what they are’ than the fact that they are on different points of the timeline.

This timeline doesn’t mean anything to me in itself.
Time as I understand it is a function of matter/energy. Hence, it cannot be used as a standard for measuring matter/energy.

yes, i can see exactly what you mean.

i agree with what you say here, in fact; the difference between our two views is not an essential differece but rather just a slightly different way of thinking about the perspectives involved.

i agree that a hypothetically-recurred “entity X” which is identical to a previous entity X configuration of matter-energy is the same entity X, in all the ways that would count-- in that there would be no way to tell the difference between them.

however, comparison would be impossible, which is, i think, your point. that there is no real way to even know that entity X is in fact a recurrence at all. you could be a recurrence right now, but no one would ever know, so is it meaningful to (if we assume that you are such a recurrence) say that you are a DIFFERENT person than the you who previously lived in an alternative past universe?

its all useless speculation, really. the idea of recurrence, as has been successfully shown here, is absurdity at its finest. if we speak of identically-recurring things, and recurrence means literally the same in EVERY aspect, then this will ONLY happen when an ENTIRE NEW UNIVERSE is born, which exactly mimics a previous one. therefore, even if something recurred, it would be impossible to know it, from any potential perspective at all, even a “god’s” point of view.

i still retain my claim, however, that, if we consider the timelines of universal creation and rebirths, thinking about the fact that a universe has COME AFTER another, i.e. exists along different points in the timeline, then its easy to see how entity X that has recurred is in a different location on this timeline, i.e. it has COME AFTER. compared to previous instances of matter-energy configurations, it MUST always be different in the sense that entity X[2] has different past points along its timeline than entity X[1] did… but, really, its pointless to even talk about, of course.

i say, two things, if they really were IDENTICAL in EVERY way, would of course be “the same”, by definition, in every way; this, however, does not change the fact that, if they exist along different points in the history of time, they are different organizations of the same configuration of matter-energy-experiences– they are literally, and technically, TWO distinct yet identically-configured entities, which, in every way that counts and from every possible perspective imaginable, could not be distinguished nor even compared to one another. this is your point again, i think, that speaking of the differences along the timeline is meaningless, since there would never be a way to understand this difference at all, not even as God himself.

so, we can imagine and conceptualize the timeline itself, and see there that a difference exists; other than that ideation, however, we will never know, nor could we ever know, if a thing has indeed recurred at all (not when we define recurrence as IDENTICAL in EVERY WAY).

and yes, time is indeed a function of matter-energy, so it is meaningless to speak of time without matter-energy. time is merely the measure of the rate of change in matter-energy. this measure of the rate of change is totally relative to the matter-energy itself. if there exists no matter-energy, there is no “time passing”, in any meaningful sense at all. so yes, technically, you are right that conceptualizing the timeline independent of matter-energy is meaningless; however, i still think that, since matter-energy can never be destroyed, if we think of a succession of big-bangs and big-rips/big-collapses which pulse one after another, then a “timeline” might still be meaningful, but of course once again its impossible to conceive of it in all likelihood, and at that single point where all the matter-energy in the universe is condensed into one singularity, before the big-bang occurs, time would be meaningless, at the moment where there is no change in the singularity itself. it would literally exist for an eternity in this state, as long as there is no real CHANGE in the energy-itself… but, well, this is all speculation and far-afield anyways from where the discussion originated. i think we can agree that we are on the same page here, and probably just move along.

that is at least what Nietzsche was claiming - I think.


Yes, but some assume a God ‘beyond manifestation’. And what I think Nietzsche claims is that it suffices to believe that one knows if this exalts one’s experience by enhancing one’s will to power

You must define ‘God’ first then. Otherwise that claim is meaningless. Zeus would not know, I agree. But I don’t know about Brahman or the unknowable name of Allah, for example. Note that these (Hindu’s, sufi’s, muslims) are the people who invented the zero.

We both see then I think that there is no time in vacuum, and eternity in absolute density.
These seem to me to be different, though.

Okay, I am reaching now - but could eternity not mean all possible change?
If so, a hypothetical God beyond creation could hypothetically know things.