Re: this very moment

From: Brent Meeker <>
Date: Thu, 11 May 2000 18:48:35 -0700

On 11-May-00, Higgo James wrote:
> The problem is that you are a devoted materialist, wheras the ideas Bruno,
> Jacques and I put forward are idealist.
> There may or may not be 'real, tangible walls'. But there are certainly
> ideas of walls; 'my current thought' incorporates such an idea. There are
> ideas of walking through walls. There is 'your' idea that you are a human
> being of x age in front of a computer wondering if people can walk through
> walls. There is an idea of 'I am a person and I am walking through a wall'.
> There an idea, 'I am a mathematician who has found the square root of a
> prime number'. All ideas exist.

This seems like a very extravagant claim. In what sense does an idea exist if
no one has it. And what is an "idea" anyway - a thought, something that can be
expressed by a declarative sentence. If the latter, then does the idea
expressed by, "This is not an idea" exist? If there is to be a theory of
everything - including ideas - then it seems it would have to be something like
Russell's neutral monism; in which the basic "stuff" of our lives are sets of
monads some of which are related so as to represent a physical external world
(these we mostly call perceptions) and another related set which constitue an
internal mental life (which we call our thoughts). The fact that these two
sets are also related to each other in a certain order constitues the passage
of time (both physical and psychological) and together they constitute a
person who we say 'experiences things in time.' A TOE would presumably predict,
at least probabilistically, these monads and their relations.

Brent Meeker
Received on Thu May 11 2000 - 19:53:58 PDT

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