virus: SM

Reed Konsler (
Fri, 26 Sep 1997 10:10:02 -0400 (EDT)

>Date: Thu, 25 Sep 1997 12:02:28 -0600
>From: David McFadzean <>
>At 01:32 PM 9/25/97 -0400, Reed Konsler wrote:
>>It depends on your tradition, doesn't it? Derrida laughs at your feeble
>>to separate the signified from the signifier. We are having a philosophical
>>conversation. You want to begin of logical positivist turf. I'm postmodern
>>Let's negotiate.
>Do you really believe things disappear (don't exist) when no-one looks at them?

I don't know. Certianly, my observations imply that things have some existence
outside of my consciousness of them. But the question you are asking is
unanswerable. I guess I must believe that it is not the case that things
when no-one looks at them based upon the proponderance of my actions. But
that is based upon my own defintion of "belief" which you don't accept.

Do you mean:

Do you really Reed-believe things disappear (don't exist) when no-one looks
at them?

My answer to that question would be: "Of course not." After all, I try to be
internally consistent.

>When you first brought up this example I wanted to suggest that we
>stay clear of using color to make our points. It is so problematic
>that is has its own discipline now: the philosophy of color. Why don't
>we stick with something simpler, like did T-Rex exist before anyone
>had a concept of <T-Rex>? I claim that yes indeed there existed many
>of them around 65 million years ago. How about you?

I'd say the fossil record implies the existence of such creatures.

>>How does one prove the existince of a reality outside of perception? You're
>>beginning to sound like a mystic.
>I never suggested you could. Whatever happened to the discipline of

It isn't that I don't agree with your sentiment, David. But the way you
express it leads me to question you. I'm a scientist by occupation, so
I certianly act as if T-Rex existed before <T-Rex> to the extent that
that statement is woven into the scientific model that my actions would
imply my belief in. Frankly, I'm very skeptical about what existence
T-Rex ever had independent of <T-Rex>. Were they warm or cold
blooded? Did they care for their children? How intelligent were they?
Are their nearest reletives lizards, fish, or birds? Why did they all
become extinct? All of these questions are part of the existence of
T-Rex, wouldn't you agree? When a culture changes it's mind about
something, does that make the universe different? James Burke had
an excellent book on this subject entitled _The Day the Universe
Changed_. I'm sorry to frustrate you, but I think it's incorrect
to imply that I'm not trying earnestly to communicate

>I am saying that is possible for something to exist before it is detected
>(like galaxies before the 18th century).
>>Do you mean objective as in:
>>Identical for all observers using the same definitions.
>>I don't accept that such a thing exists. I'm particulary worried about words
>>like "identical" and "same". The concept of "definitions" and from whence
>>they are derived (and if two people can ever agree on them) is also puzzling.
>Maybe you should take it up with whoever said that.

I interpreted "consistent (non-contradictory)" as "identical". I agree that was
probably not a good substitution. I didn't understand what you meant by
"consistent (non-contradictory)", and still don't. I thought that by floating
a synonym I might be able to clarify...but if I'm making a strawman of
you I apologize.

When you say that "objective" is "consistent" do you mean within an observer,
between observers, or both?


Reed Konsler