Question was inspired by this user from Yahoo, thought I'd get some opinions on this on Think Atheist.

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So, if I understand you correctly, your position is this:

The effects of pure concepts exist in the material. The concepts themselves in a pure form do not exist anywhere.

A conscious mind evolves. Now the concept in it's pure form exists in the mind of the consciousness, through it's perception of the effects of said concept on the world. If consciousness then dies, the pure form now no longer exists anywhere, but it's effect would still act in the material world.

How could something have an effect but not exist in a pure form. Matter presumably exists in a pure form somewhere, perhaps physics will discover it. But thought cannot have a pure form? Why?

I have no idea what your definition of "pure" is, which leaves pure concepts, and pure form without definition.

So the problem is semantics?

For matter, the pure form would be the kind of particles we are currently searching for. A particle which could comprise all matter, by itself or with another indivisible particle.

If you want to call the fact that you don't get what people are trying to tell you, "semantics," by all means, call it that, or whatever else you like.

RE: "Matter presumably exists in a pure form somewhere, perhaps physics will discover it."

I think they already have - they call it energy.

So you understand what the definition of pure is. How can we apply this to a thought or idea?


Good night, Anon --

If consciousness then dies, the pure form now no longer exists anywhere, but it's effect would still act in the material world.

Concepts don't have an "effect" on the world (except through how they make conscious creatures behave); you've got it exactly backwards. A concept is a description of the world in a conscious mind, it is not a rule that the world follows. E=MC2 is a description of how the universe behaves. Einstein did not have to work out the equation before it went into effect, and the "pure" concept does not have to exist in some Platonic metaphysical plane for the universe to refer to every time matter and energy interact. The claim of most of us here is that concepts do not exist except in minds, and your Socratic questioning is not having much success changing that. To sum up, I think that you're conflating the word "concept" with the thing it describes and thus giving it too much weight.

The physical world obviously follows these rules. If I drop a pen, it falls. The rules exist in some sense. Where do they exist?

If they only exist in our minds as models, fine. But, why are they allowed to exist infinitely in time, like matter, but not in space, like matter. Are they special in some way?

If we take this argument, for example, and then consider how much special stuff there is, (infinity for example), then that would seem to be suggesting there is potentially more special stuff than real stuff. Monism starts to collapse here.

Not really.  Let's say your name is Kevin.  And there are several other Kevins.  Does that mean the name Kevin exists separately to those people who have been named Kevin in the past and possibly the future?  Is there an external "Kevin" that exists in space as a name?

The universe operates on a cause and effect basis.  There is matter, and it moves.  Everything else from there on in is simply conceptual ways to determine what causes and effects are in operation at any one time.

Well obviously it exists, it's a word, isn't it? Where does the word Kevin exist in space, and if it doesn't have to, why not?



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