I have been waiting for more than 3 Months. You can send a mail to UAN help by mentioning your 2 UAN numbers then they will verify and block your old one keep active latest one. The exact same thing is happening for my UAN account. Ships from and sold by Amazon. Is my assumption correct? But when I tried to register using the pension number, it worked. If you find please do share with us.
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Then you could spend many more hours reading and thinking about this and come away with the feeling that maybe there is something to it. But both of us are too lazy to do this. Frankly, the drugs are a gift because they are pretty much guaranteed to work on everyone. Out of curiousity, what makes you think that I think this is all bullshit? They are not unreasonable objections, and I would have raised them myself, but they are indicative.
It could not possibly be otherwise. There is an aspect of the experience that is simply formally inexpressible. The whole point is to break out of the closure of abstract concepts. But there is an experience that I suspect you did not have, which imparts an appreciation of the formal limits of language and thought. Imagine that a few decades in the future we discover how to rewrire the brain for various things. You then tell me to go use the new nano-rewiring dust and rewire my brain so that I believe in homeopathy unconditionally.
Once I have done so, my lack of understanding will be ameliorated. How is that different from suggesting that people take brain-altering drugs to understand the truth of the things believed by people with altered brains? If the world was being conquered by Starro, who mind controls everyone by putting starfish on their heads, should I welcome having a starfish placed on my head because it will let me understand why Starro should rule the world?
My altered brain might even be unable to distinguish this from actual understanding. First, I understand the evidentiary problem. As I said, this problem is usually not a problem because the mystic does not go looking for students.
So the special knowledge of the entities is not in doubt. Second, your analogy is rather poor. I am not, after all, telling you to alter the state of your brain so that you believe in something. Why would you want to do that? Well, in my previous incarnation as debunker of all things airy-fairy, I was still a mostly curious and open-minded person.
If someone appeared before me back then and said to me the sort of things that I have said in these comments, I would think: He has offered me a protocol for creating an interesting experience that he claims may have important and beneficial effects. I ought to at least try it just as a matter of intellectual curiosity.
This special knowledge is certainly in doubt. I might end up believing that it is outside my head. The claim is that you can learn something interesting about the nature of your mind by tweaking variables that cannot normally be tweaked. I mean your thought process, emotions, perceptions, and etc. It stands to reason that by altering the state of the brain in certain ways, you can access thoughts, emotions and perceptions that are completely outside your normal range.
Is it really so much of a stretch that such a state might yield insights that are not normally available? This objection makes no sense to me whatsoever. The entire reason to ask the entities to do math is to find out whether or not they are outside his head. It depends on how it changes my mind. If it cannot provide evidence or reasoning, but it will make me come to a conclusion anyway, that means that it will make me come to a conclusion by rewiring my brain. Jiro the inception of many, maybe most ideas is not achieved through reasoning.
Einstein famously intuited his way to Relativity. Kekulé found the structure of benzene in a vision of an ouroboros during a daydream.
But intuition let them make the leap to the answer. Mystical experiences and practice make it easier to make intuitive leaps, while constant reasoning can impede them. Think of it as coming to a hypothesis. And in that, you would be in some very good company. Pretty much the same.
Do you not ever give credence to insight and intuition? I also offered some illustrations of how insight and intuition are extremely important, and that mysticism thus has a similar value.
Does this seem wrong to you? The insights that I kept were only those that satisfied later rational inquiry. If you have some experience with rationality, you should emerge from a mystical experience with much the same beliefs as before although perhaps with some interesting hypotheses to consider in sobriety!
It would be interesting to see Scott Alexander vs. They were all speaking English, too. Depending on your level of charity, you could interpret this as a translation convention.
For me, this is a sign of the non-external nature of the entities. More seriously, the arbitrariness of it is what bothers me. No reason why non-human beings would default to it. The car is a reality model. Useful for getting somewhere but not the best way to interact at all times. It can trap you. The train was hard, so ive been on foot for a few years, and it was painful at first, but now I can get in my train whenever I need to.
Unless they got it by generating two large primes and multiplying them, in which case none of this proves anything because they knew the prime factors all along. Someone else could have generated the numbers in secret and written them down before giving the protagonist the product. I mean, you can generate two large primes and multiply them without ever actually knowing what the primes are yourself.
Easier to check the answer mentally under the influence of powerful hallucinogens. It might as well be alien language and to help you get out of the car, they should have translated it into words you understood? An example of that would be illuminating. I am not sure what kinds of things you mean. And how would you shut down options to get it to happen?
Roughly the set of things that your mind-body can do but feels outside your conscious locus of control. Or in other words, anything you can be hypnotized to do. Subconscious finger twitches, forgetting your name, dropping an insecurity, wiggling your ear, etc. In the story above, the tripper had an opportunity to run away and chose to take it because he was less uncomfortable being without the transcendant joy message than he was facing what he had to face in order to get out of the car.
Feels super convincing too — I had it myself. The analogy with ear-wiggling is interesting, but it has three features that are absent from the story. But if it works for you: Sure, there may be evidence that, Yes, humans have the muscles to wiggle their ears, but people tend to think of themselves as exceptional. Despite the fact that these are known things humans can do, like ear wiggling, people will often characterize their inability to do them impossibility.
A state of expanded or altered consciousness is a little less objective than wiggling your ears, but there are still physiological changes ranging from easily observed to requiring an mri or cat-scan. As jimmy pointed out, in the story the tripper chooses to turn back instead of getting all the way out of the car, or instead of accepting that the outside of the car is always there, even without the drugs. Is it possible that it is physically and mentally painful for them to attempt to do this thing?
Eventually I did learn to play barre chords, sort-of. It only took 3 years. Do I understand that if Joan Jett, with her tiny hands can play barre chords, I can? Does that particularly help me to play a barre-chord right at the moment, no. Teaching tends to work better when the teacher is treated with some respect. Assurances from supernatural DMT creatures have, after all, no strict binding to the actual or possible. The problem is that the protagonist wants evidence i.
Suppose they do — and then what? Why should they be any different from the college student who takes the drug, visits the other plane, then goes back to the real world? Sure, we now have proof that this other plane is objectively existent whatever that may be taken to mean rather than a drug hallucination.
But you still have to write that report. Even if we had proof that the other plane was real, unless we were going to change all our values in this world, it will make little difference to us. All religions will say the same thing: There is no accommodation between the Truth and the way we go about our ordinary lives.
And unless I can function as a normal productive citizen, how can I do all that? A good case up until you started on the religion stuff. Finally you understate the very real differences between the even the religions that oppose living in the world, who may have visions but fundamentally different ones at heart.
One of those things being the dangers of just dipping your toe in. I do not know, and would be curious to find out, if the wisdom provided by those traditions which rely on mind-altering substances differs from the others.
But the mystical traditions are not the same as the religion themselves. Reciting a digit number from memory is tough for a human…remembering the two digit factors would be even harder. And a really convincing number would be several times as long. Just enough to prove that someone actually factored it. Even if you only remember the last ten digits of those fifty-digit numbers, that is still enough to show that they factored it.
Have your computer generate and store the factors in advance but only output their product; memorise the product at leisure, practicing until you can recite it easily; have the DMT entities factor it; remember selected digits of the factors and check them against the ones stored on your computer. It would be much better to factor a number no one knows how to factor like one of the larger RSA numbers ; then everyone will be interested.
Also, one could memorize n-k digits, where k is an amount that can reasonable be handled by a computer. For instance, if your computer can test 1 million numbers per second, then you can memorize n digits, and then let your computer brute force the rest of the digits over 3 hours. This was a problem I had with Conversations with God , and I thought about it then. You could ask it to recite some passage from a page: Or where in the world is the passport that you lost 5 years ago.
Yes, hash breaking would probably work better. Ask the entity to give you an English-language rhyming couplet such that each line has the same SHA hash value. Art under rigorous constraints is the original proof-of-work function.
SHA takes arbitrary input and converts it into a bit value. The actual shortest possible couplet is probably substantially shorter, though. Hmm…something like this could work. I think you end up with longer strings, but they are probably much easier for humans to remember. Think of the scandal a factor would be! Natural English text e. Wikipedia has an estimated entropy of a little more than 1 bits per character, including spaces and punctuation the Hutter Prize record is 1.
At least one of those is going to be grammatical at each point in a sentence. If someone told me that LSD let you contact superintelligent aliens, and presented this factorization as a proof, I would not be convinced: If you presented a factorization of RSA , I would take you much more seriously. As someone who spent 6 weeks in Peru last fall on an ayahuasca course, I really appreciate seeing this on a rationalist blog. Reading your link, I think the Nichols quote is really privileging hypotheses.
I can think of all sorts of things that a hypothetical drug might tell us. He probably should not have asked a wishing engine. For every enlightened person, I would expect to see 10 people who tried getting out of the metaphorical car, but did not make it.
Yet, there are none. Because to me, they look suspiciously like failed Enlightened beings. In mysticism more than anywhere else, a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing.
Alternatively, park safely, open a window a crack, sniff … retreat to normal. Again a little wider … retreat. Slowly work up to more and more exposure to reality. This is a possible opening move for a dialogue designed to shift terminal values; amused by its modularity.
If you snip the humorous ending and translate the metaphor into something more actionable…actually, not sure the most effective way to go about it. Character coded as impossibly wise vs. I think I might have a window on this. Both Eliezer and Scott are right about a lot of stuff now, but they had formative experiences of figuring out they had been wrong e. For similar reasons, the moment in this story where the bat suddenly snapped into lucidity, and a lucidity that semi-explained the meaning of its earlier opaque speech, was jolt-up-in-my-seat exciting to me.
Being able to explain something in short words and basic concepts to young children and the ignorant is the mark of real understanding. Transcendent culture, and they were the most polite beings imaginable- they answered the question that the protagonist should have asked, not the question that he did.
Intentionally creating ambiguity is not polite. Well, it might have something to do with serotonin, or it might not — and then to explain this you have to go into a heap of technical and scientific jargon to explain the complexity. Unless the ambiguity helps him actually do the most productive thing, rather than the thing he was trying to do. Yes jerky but sometimes needed or called for, particularly if you are seeking spiritual direction. Sometimes I think my spiritual directer is a major a-hole but he gets the job done.
This reminds me of an old Zen story: A monk was dissatisfied with his current teacher, so he found a new one. But every time he asked the new teacher a question, she hit him with a brick. Fed up, he went back to the old teacher and complained about her; the old teacher said that he only hoped the monk had properly thanked her for her grandmotherly kindness. This is one of my favorite Zen stories ever.
Clear feedback is terribly hard to get, but priceless. Gutei raised his finger whenever he was asked a question about Zen. A boy attendant began to imitate him in this way. When anyone asked the boy what his master had preached about, the boy would raise his finger.
He seized him and cut off his finger. The boy cried and ran away. Gutei called and stopped him. When the boy turned his head to Gutei, Gutei raised up his own finger. In that instant the boy was enlightened. What, besides the obvious, is confusing about that story? May I make this into a short film someday? This is like a Rationalist version of Jorge Luis Borges. I thought of a similar idea in the context of the Thomas Covenant book series and how to prove that the Land was real.
Do some sort of mathematical calculation that requires pencil and paper to solve but whose answer can be memorized. Check the answer when you get back. For instance, you need a piece of paper to find digits of the square root of 2, but once you have those digits, you can memorize them. But the real reason you want it to do math is that doing math is hard to fake , and making you feel universal joy is easy to fake. And, Scott is using a false symmetry. But when you tell them to do math, they do know how to do math and are just refusing.
Of course, Scott is in a dilemma here. If the entities can do math but refuse, this breaks symmetry to us in order to make the situation appear symmertrical to the Scott in the story. Except that doing the math is demanding directions to the place where one can get out of the car. The very end of the story shows that the entities are capable of doing the math. They were just being jerks about it.
Or like the culture they were acting according to a long standing standard operating procedure based on randomized controlled trials of interventions into developing civilizations.
On the other hand refusing to provide proof-of-work while repeating messages of universal love and transcendent joy has been found to not increase self-genocide while reliably reducing the time to Eschaton by approximately years. Yes, they could be being jerks. What is the visitor asking?
Imagine a human trying to explain, using terms derived from musicology, a particular work by Mozart or Schoenberg or any composer of your choice to an intelligent dog.
Insisting that this is really important and that it can only be explained one way comes across as scam-artistry. Or… they were acting according to a long standing standard operating procedure based on randomized controlled trials of interventions into developing civilizations.
Scott is trying to write a story which is symmetrical: If neither side understands the other side, there will be nothing in the story which rules out the possibility that the protagonist is hallucinating. However, I called them jerks in the context of pointing out that they are acting differently than the protagonist.
That larger point still holds. Rationalism is always going to fail in detecting fakes if you postulate that the real thing is indistinguishable from a fake.
Things can be indistinguishable-right-now but distinguishable-eventually. Allow me to point out the existence of child safety locks that prevent you from opening the doors from the inside to add to this metaphor. Although those do only apply to passenger doors.
Specific example of criticism In the vague hope of offering something remotely constructive: The sea was made of strontium, the beach was made of rye. A thousand stars of sertraline whirled round quetiapine moons, and the sand sizzled sharp like cooking oil that hissed and sang and threat ened to boil the octahedral dunes.
Compare to Ancient Mariner:. Then like a pawing horse let go, She made a sudden bound: It flung the blood into my head, And I fell down in a swound. The second line is iambic trimeter. The fourth line is seven syllables, but it still sticks to the trimeter by joining beats together. I love this, but I think your car analogy is missing the point. From the point of the entities, questions of existence or nonexistence, and especially questions of evidence, are car-talk — presumably outside the car those concepts are not fully meaningful.
And they flat out refuse to. Neither you, nor anyone else on here, has ever refused or neglected to answer a question because it is so ludicrously trivial, it has nothing to do with the topic? Imagine someone meeting a fireman and being told the building is on fire and they need to follow the exits out, and refusing to listen until the fireman tells him which is better: Everyone knows vanilla is better!
The story, on the other hand, is trying but failing to imply similar gaps of understanding on both sides. If the alternative is that the person ignores you and burns to death, then of course you answer the question. Even better, if you can predict which flavor the person likes as the entities can probably predict what answer we want to the factoring question , just tell them what they want to hear. There seems to be a lot of fighting the hypothetical here.
As with the trolley problem, all of these objections or clever evasions can be dealt with by tweaking the scenario without really affecting the underlying question. I knew it was all false! They say that when you tell them the prprime-factorisation of a digit number? There are too many fraudulent peddlers of enlightenment in this world, real and hallucinatory, for blind trust to be the default setting.
First you tap on the window from outside, so I know there really is an outside and you really are in the outside. It may get a bit dark outside of the lights of the car, but keep going. I identify with the protagonist. This was very creative and very good! If only you could catch a glimpse of the edge of the screen, if you turned your head fast enough….
That said, my experience with psychedelics psilocybin once was less about this kind of coherent conversation in weird circumstances and more about my own altered neural functions- I doubt I would have been coherent enough to ask all the spirals to factor something, let alone receive a verbal answer from them.
From quick-and-dirty research, DMT seems to come with euphoria at least. Are there psychedelics that produce altered senses without seriously compromising rational thought? I thought the insight was:. Sounds like the experiences that occultists achieve by meditating and self-brainwashing for years and undertaking elaborate ridiculous rituals can be had instantaneously by… taking a pill?
Also, just out of pure curiosity, does that stuff have any side effects besides an upset stomach? Jerome, Three Men in a Boat. Ok, that sounds a bit terrifying! So there are a list of foods to avoid for a couple days before and after google MAOI diet , and some potentially severe medication interactions to research and avoid.
The main offenders re: Commodification of what was a spiritual experience, neatly packaged for tourists to get a relatively safely monitored dose of transcendence which may or may not have lasting effects when they go back home, but which will probably gradually fade just like the college student twenty years after in the example.
For example, what does system security mean? What is a market? Enlightenment, transcendence, and knowledge of the fundamental answers to Life, the Universe, and Everything are for a spiritual elite, not for the masses! The Lough Derg pilgrimage is getting very easy by comparison with the traditional practice for people to do. I have never made a pilgrimage to Lough Derg, partly because I take it seriously.
I have more respect and regard for someone who thinks this is all the strain of Jansenism in Irish Catholicism, or that Catholicism is nonsense, or religion is nonsense on stilts, than someone who carefully cultivates their palate with a tasting-menu of bouquet ethnic experiences globally catered via tasteful packages tailored to your requirements by high-class agencies specialising in the carriage trade.
I have more respect and regard for someone who thinks … religion is nonsense on stilts, than someone who carefully cultivates their palate with a tasting-menu of bouquet ethnic experiences globally catered via tasteful packages tailored to your requirements by high-class agencies specialising in the carriage trade. The same thing fits a million different descriptions.
The same description fits a million different things. This would be convincing: Now, it may be that neither mean anything: But there seems to me very clear evidence that the two are in fact referring to difference experiences. I should have left off the Blake quote and toned down the first two, which were my own.
Thanks for the lead to zaehner. But there may be higher levels in some traditional religions RC, Buddhism,Native Am, etc where drug residue would be counter-productive.
I forget who observed that two sets of people observe the view from the mountain top: They do not get the same effect. Truly you are a genius mental health professional.
If only the protagonist thought about asking the watery sun, he would get a lot of very meta advice on how to handle his problem. I have a practically-finished theoretical paper that models mystical experience as a breakdown of the quasi-grammatical processing of causality, explains all the features of mystical experience in this way, and suggests experiments to test this model.
Does anybody know a journal I could try submitting it to? Look up Timothy Leary, Ram Dass, etc, see if any of the journals they published in are still around. The other Scott just wrote something about whether there is something mysterious about math. It would be interesting to read your take on it in terms of causality! A beautiful piece, but I understand too little about mathematical proof, mathematical explanation and the difference between the two to make a qualified comment. My entirely fanciful suspicion would be that the reasoning process that runs inside the mathematically trained brain as well as across groups of them has its own location inside the supercontinent of things in mathspace, i.
This begs the questions of: But reasoning processes located on smaller, apparently unconnected islands would lack access to the physical applications that the supercontinent happens to include, so the brains they run on would never get anywhere. But at least it is a fourth kind of answer to add to the three better ones Scott Aaronson came up with. This feels like the right time to tell this story.
Unless stated otherwise unquoted text was written by me within a week of the experience and quoted text is from the entity. The storm had finally started around ten minutes before, and there was all kinds of rain and lightning. It was a spur-of-the-moment thing, really.
I pressed the issue, and asked again with more determination. Of course, six days after I decide to allow considerations other than evidence to determine my beliefs, evidence appears. You know not to ask for another sign, of course. I spent the next two and a half hours in the dark, watching people out my window doing various power-outage-related activities, like Maintenance trying to crank the emergency generator, the police directing traffic at the light that went out, and people who decided to party outside with flashlights after the rain stopped.
The two relevant quantities are a the probability of any event that would be interpreted as a sign occurring within a certain timeframe of asking for one, and b the number of times have I asked for a sign in my life. Given these two and a bit of thought, I could come up with an estimate for the likelihood that the event was due to chance, and if that is sufficiently low then I could count it as hard evidence for myself.
So there is no other way to process the event except in terms of its subjective effect. My notes have a few other questions I managed to ask before the Question of Doom; here is the most interesting:. The drive towards development is independent of the drive towards pleasure; though they often intermingle, it will not be permitted for one to satisfy itself at the total expense of the other. That week there was an earthquake in Seattle. I went to the event. Moral of both stories: Immortality via a causal mechanism can easily be verified in finite time.
Progress is measured by gradually letting go of them. Let us count ourselves but as little children, having need of milk, and believe that these sugar-plums are only given us because we are still feeble and delicate, needing bribes and wiles to lead us on to the Love of God.
That sort of thing sounds like an excuse to me. An all-powerful entity has infinite resources and a marginal cost of action of zero. But whenever I pull that thread hard enough to reach the second question, it seems absurd. All we can do is trust His judgement. The Bible is full of them. Miracle reports since then suggest that at the very least many Christians believe that God has continued to give signs of his power. God, as in what the Christians are pointing at? To obey out of a desire to obey, not e.
As a fact of human neurobiology, if you became reasonably certain Gehenna was a real place, willful obedience becomes impossible — the terror hits overrides and dominates scarce circuitry. Also having goals in that way is not moral. The only coherent goal regarding other conscious being is to help them achieve their goals. And if you do want to have faith in it, why are you waiting for something silly like evidence? I hereby suggest having goals in that way is not moral.
This is the scenario where by pure coincidence your side looks exactly like a fake; not being able to get signs is as contrived as not being able to get evidence of creation because the fossils were created yesterday.
Because they have to. When I was in college, I was studying reports of and explanations of mystical experiences for a class. I had been a Christian most of my life, but tended to be pretty skeptical of purported claims of mystical experience.
I had certainly not had experiences before that I would have classified as mystical or transcendent — although I had sometimes prayed for them in the past. However, after studying mystical experiences for a while I had become reasonably confident that some purported mystical experiences could not be explained naturalistically. One night I decided I wanted to have such experiences myself, and prayed to God for such an experience after lying down in bed. Very shortly after that, I began to feel numb all over, as if under anesthesia.
I felt as if there was little or no distinction between my body and what was surrounding me; and I had a feeling that I was not my body, but something distinct from it. It was not an out of body experience per se , but close to one.
That experience was very striking with me, and had lasting effects — most notably, strangely enough, a ringing in my ears that started with the mystical experience but did not end with it — but as the days went on I began to be skeptical that I had really had a mystical experience, and thought that I was just interpreting more ordinary physiological symptoms through my own religious lens.
However, a week later I had the experience again, and the second time there was no doubt in my mind that I was experiencing something non-naturalistic.
I felt a power, or force, come upon me. I felt as if it entered my chest and almost lifted me out of myself. The experience was otherwise as before, but even more intense. I have had the same experiences subsequently, but eventually stopped seeking them out and even started actively avoiding them when I could feel them coming on.
Their content was not particularly uniquely Christian, or even theistic — I felt as if I was experiencing union with something , but whether God or Consciousness or Being or what have you I could not say purely from the experiences themselves. I felt as if I was experiencing union with something, but whether God or Consciousness or Being or what have you I could not say purely from the experiences themselves.
Even while having it, I was pretty sure it was all in my head — probably because it was preceded not by prayer or religious contemplation, but by reading lots of posts on a PUA forum.
It still felt lovely and profound, though. Depending on what you were reading your experience may not be entirely unusual, inasmuch as there is a long tradition connecting sex and mysticism.
Were I to pick an ordinary experience to compare my mystical experience to, it would be sex — it differed mainly in that there was nothing analogous to orgasm in it. I do not know whether this aspect would feel closer to their experience of sex for women than it did for me.
Believe it or not, sex was a surprisingly unpopular topic — most discussions and theories were about social interaction. I have also read a lot of, ahem, sexually stimulating material, but the altered mental states it induces are rather predictable and not very mystical to me.
Lord knows what the old Japanese monks meant by that word. Nothing that any of us is likely to reach, anyway. See the middle of this PDF — the shorter stories are my favorites. Take a large handful of soybeans and ask her exactly how many beans you hold in your hand.
If she cannot tell you, you will know she is only figment of your imagination and will trouble you no longer. I have had weirder things happen to me, and I have heard anecdotes of truly staggering weirdness told by completely reasonable people with total sincerity. Now that in itself is weird. Certainly there are many more ways for The Weird to present itself than through synchronicities, and yet it almost always presents itself in this way. Well, what that tells me is that if your model for The Weird is one of supernatural entities causally intervening in the profane world of physics, then this pattern of encounters ought to disconfirm your model.
If that was really the way it worked, then everyone would know about it by now. Hi Scott, I highly enjoyed this article, and felt particularly gratified to see my name mentioned, something I hardly expected! On the day you know that there is no car, that will be the day you will be ready to get out of the car. On the other hand when you realise that people can experience an abstract reality through meditation, contemplation, recreational drugs, transcranial magnetic stimulation, fasting, extreme emotions, disease or damage then feeling universal love or transcendent joy becomes a bug, not a feature.
As far as I can tell this spirit world is just as comprehensible to everyday material existence as the physical world-of course it is, Scott is a material being. And of course what this world is like has no bearing on the normative claims of the bat. But as to claims of in general of some kind of incomprehensible-to-scientism-and-rational-thought-reality, the car analogy is way too weak- you can easily imagine what being outside a car is like from in.
A slightly better analogy would be trying to tell a blind from birth person about vision, or a deaf from birth person about sound. We have no such thing with these sort of claims. And on what basis should I believe such claims? Map of Earth UC Map of Earthsphere UC Contents [ show ]. If you could change or add anything in the Universal Century from The Origin to Victory, what would it be?
Also, this is just the basic concept. Everything else stays the same. Of course, the Unicorn will get tons I also don't think it's enough to sim Retrieved from " http: Then so are tropes, possibilia, and even classes. But which ones are so strange as to be utterly inadmissible, and which are stranger than which?
Here there is little agreement. The disagreement between Quine and Goodman about the relative acceptability of classes and universals illustrates how much variety there can be in judgments about which entities are stranger than which. It also shows how plastic the word nominalism has become. Quine grudgingly allowed that classes must exist, since they are required by the mathematics used in physics, and physics is closer to being strictly true than any other theory.
Quine did, however, agree with Goodman that, because classes are apparently stranger than concrete physical things, it would be better if one could treat them as mere fictions. As a result, both came to use the word nominalist in such a way that no one who accepted the existence of classes could be a nominalist.
For this reason Quine did not consider himself a nominalist, despite his rejection of universals. As Goodman saw matters, one could be a nominalist while accepting a few universals but not while accepting classes. At this point, the word nominalist becomes little more than an honorific.
Many friends of universals would agree with Goodman that classes are at least as mysterious as universals. If classes exist, then classes with just one thing in them exist. The difference between a thing and the class that includes that thing alone is extremely hard to discern.
Indeed, this aspect of classes motivated Russell, Bealer, and others to attempt to do without classes entirely, replacing sentences ostensibly about classes with sentences mentioning only objects and universals.
Under what conditions is a class X identical with a class Y? If, and only if, X and Y contain all the same members. Quine argued that no comparably precise condition governs universals, and he held that things without identity conditions should not be countenanced.
Critics responded in three ways: Strawson —pointed out that the possibility of providing informative criteria must come to an end eventually and asked, why not stop with universals? Quine claimed that universals belong higher up, among the entities to be rejected no matter what, and that classes belong lower down, among the entities one may ultimately have to admit if they earn their keep. Russell and Goodman claimed just the reverse. Lewis, meanwhile, found classes and universals equally problematic, or nearly so.
When additional dubious entities, such as tropes and mere possibilia, are added to the mix and questions are asked about the relative naturalness of all these items, the amount of disagreement among philosophers grows exponentially. A clash of naked intuitions , however, leaves little room for further argument.
Under the circumstances, the intransigence of the problem of universals comes as no surprise. We welcome suggested improvements to any of our articles. You can make it easier for us to review and, hopefully, publish your contribution by keeping a few points in mind. Your contribution may be further edited by our staff, and its publication is subject to our final approval. Unfortunately, our editorial approach may not be able to accommodate all contributions.
Our editors will review what you've submitted, and if it meets our criteria, we'll add it to the article. Please note that our editors may make some formatting changes or correct spelling or grammatical errors, and may also contact you if any clarifications are needed. Learn More in these related Britannica articles: The Athenian philosopher Plato believed that mathematical entities are not just human inventions but have a real existence.
For instance, according to Plato, the number 2 is an ideal object. Many idealists, however, emphasize the concept of a concrete universal, one that is also…. Do universals exist independently, or are they only mental concepts? If they exist independently, are they corporeal or incorporeal? If incorporeal, do they exist in the sensible world or apart from it? More About Universal 16 references found in Britannica articles Assorted References foundations of mathematics In foundations of mathematics: Universals branches of philosophy aesthetic theory of types In aesthetics: The ontology of art epistemology In epistemology: Rationalism and empiricism metaphysics In metaphysics: Categories and universals philosophy of biology In biology, philosophy of: The species problem philosophical schools and doctrines idealism In idealism: The union of individuality and universality Indian philosophy In Indian philosophy: Contributions of Dignaga and Dharmakirti In Indian philosophy: The old school medieval philosophy In Western philosophy: Boethius In Western philosophy: John Duns Scotus View More.
Help us improve this article! Contact our editors with your feedback. Introduction Platonic and Aristotelian realism Medieval and early-modern nominalism Plenitudinous theories and sparse theories Plenitudes from anti-idealism The logical realism of Frege, Russell, and Moore Nominalist criticism Plenitudes from abstract reference Sparse theories from natural classes Universals as dispensable Resemblance nominalism Problems for resemblance nominalism Trope nominalism Possibilia Universals and other entia non grata.
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