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What is the relation between form and substance?

The Grey Man

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The formal aspect of the key (its specific shape, including the contours of its teeth) and the force that turns the key are necessary, but disjunctively insufficient conditions of the key opening the lock. Analogously, the momentum of the light rays impinging upon one's retina and the shape of the impressions are necessary, but disjunctively insufficient conditions of subsequent cognitive processes identifying, e.g., a triangular object as the origin of the light rays. I don't think that anyone here will deny that light rays or the muscular irritations of their own arms have causal efficacy, but given that formal conditions are necessary to yield the specified effect in both cases, do forms or ideas also have causal efficacy?

Civilization was made possible on the banks of the Nile, Euphrates, and Tigris rivers by both human artifice and naturally occurring canalizations of water, both of which are due no less to spatial forms (the shape of the terrain and the corporal structure of its inhabitants) than to the material properties of water; but there are yet no grounds for concluding that space influences events in the same way as matter. It seems more reasonable to conclude that space plays an individuating role, allowing cognitive subjects to distinguish between objects, whereas matter is a manifestation of a timeless will or divine power, the objectification of the latter as the action of the forces or natural laws that bind the objects together as members of the same global community. But why individuation? Why will? God only knows. Schopenhauer, I think, rightly identified the identity of the subject of volition and that of cognition (the union of masculine irascibility and feminine wit) as the "world-knot," the non ultra of scientific discovery. 20th century quantum mechanics acquaint us with the possibility of an invisible 'seamy side' of the world which does not obey laws and which researchers represent by such ethereal mathematical constructions as the 'superposition of eigenstates,' but this occult Kantian 'thing in itself' is, ex hypothesi, inaccessible to human experience/observation and, eo ipso, to the analysis and synopsis a posteriori of physics.
 

The Grey Man

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So my opinion is that there is no relation between form and substance because relation in general is the province of space as the principle of individuation. Substance can only be known to itself; it is a 'matter' to be expressed by the poet or the mystic rather than the mathematical physicist, who speaks only of relations. Dynamical relations are only its shadow, its "objectification."
 

Rebis

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Everything is precisely what it is. There is no reason. Reason is attributed by us to structure the chaotic nature of the universe. Events occur without a precedent meaning, we just use meaning to predicate laws which govern why objects of form interact with another. We employ systems to manipulate the world to a predictable outcome.
 

The Grey Man

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If the world is irrational, why do we expect our systems to produce specific outcomes? Natural laws may only be approximate, but to say that events in general happen without causes seems like a step too far, even if it is logically irrefutable. We all implicitly believe in causation by practical necessity (Hume's "habit and custom"), if not by theoretical necessity.

Then again, practical necessity (motivation) presupposes causality as the genus to its species, so it seems that I'm guilty of vicious reasoning (and so is Hume). Oh well, I did say that your position was logically irrefutable, didn't I?

I guess I've learned that, even if natural laws are not fictitious, yet those who believe in them do not do so on rational grounds. But that's alright. Logic can only take one so far. If reason does not permit us to predict that water will not run uphill based on past experience, so much the worse for reason.
 

Rebis

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If the world is irrational, why do we expect our systems to produce specific outcomes? Natural laws may only be approximate, but to say that events in general happen without causes seems like a step too far, even if it is logically irrefutable. We all implicitly believe in causation by practical necessity (Hume's "habit and custom"), if not by theoretical necessity.

I think our ability to predict the scope of the world is confined by our perception. If we look back divinity was our main precedent to explain what we don't know, in which we attributed grand meaning to fill in the gaps of the stories. In other words, relationships between entities are irrational as you can adopt many models to forecast why an event has occured. For example, let's consider the bonding of Two hydrogen atoms and an oxygen Atom, We know that Atoms bond when a certain number of electrons don't occupy the electron orbitals of an atom thus forming a molecule. We derive a reason "Because atoms do not want an incomplete shell", that reasoning allows us to understand the proces but it leads us to no enhanced understanding of why a molecule is formed. Why isn't it so that atoms do not coalesce?

I think reasoning will always be an act of fruition when it involves behaviour of matter. Matter does not exhibit linguistic complexity like we do, or at least we cannot know if they do, all we know is our own proclivities. I cannot infer the reason why atoms coalesce, all I know is they do given the conditions, but that is an approximation as I can never truly know the objectives or reasoning behind why atoms exhibit these properties in a given situation. I have limited knowledge of the variables at play that govern this interaction. As you can see with digging deeper into any reasoning is that it is flaky and a product of the imagination to conceptualise an event, it can never be in congruence with the properties of atoms themselves. Given the conditions, properties are properties. Propositional properties are easier to generally better to rely on that predicate properties.

The world is irrational by the nature of being an outside observer. It is irrational by the hazyness of how we reason about the rules of the universe by being cultivated in a competitive environment for survival, on one single planet over earth over millions of years. Is our understanding of the universe a permutation of the information we've intuitively understood on earth for millions of years or is the universe the same everywhere, of which earth is a permutation of?
 

Teax

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Saying that there is no relationship between substance and form is like saying that there is no relation between reality and the shadows in the allegory of the cave. Just because we can't know everything about reality by observing the shadows, doesn't mean that can't know anything.

Substance is a kind of form.

Because (what-you-call-)substance is knowable only as long as a particular formal experiment, intended to prove that the substance exists, succeeds.
 

The Grey Man

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I do think that substance can be known, but not in the same way that physical, spatial relations are known. Scientific experiments are shadows on the wall, too—they exist in relation to the experimenters and, for this reason, double as their self-consciousness. The complete act of observation, the reciprocity of its subject and its object, is substantial to its object alone. We are ourselves the Platonic sun that radiates being into the void.
 

Teax

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Scientific experiments are shadows on the wall, too.
Exactly.
I do think that substance can be known, but not in the same way that physical, spatial relations are known.
When you discover that light behaves as particles and waves, would you consider that a discovery of substance or form? The experiments have a form, therefore it is form, it is merely a shadow in the allegory. But it tells us something about the substance, therefore it is a discovery about substance.

If substance is only discoverable through form, then is only knowable through form. Then what is the difference here from saying that substance is form? Knowable in the same way that physical and spacial relation are known, through an experiment.

It is just physical and spacial relations are discoverable through the simplest of experiments, while the behavior of light particles requires us to build elaborate contraptions. But if the only difference whether we call some thing substance vs. form is the complexity of the experiment, then is there any difference at all?
 

The Grey Man

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When you discover that light behaves as particles and waves, would you consider that a discovery of substance or form? The experiments have a form, therefore it is form, it is merely a shadow in the allegory. But it tells us something about the substance, therefore it is a discovery about substance.

Experiments tells us no more than what we interpret them as telling us, and the only way to test these interpretations is by further experimentation, by yet more shadows on the wall. Substance unclothed by its appearances, independent of the conditions of its observation, is eo ipso unobservable, just as the horizon recedes as quickly as we approach it. The duality of the subject and object of observation is substantial to both. Substance inheres in the ineffable aseity of the experience itself, not in what it might mean. One cannot find it as long as One is looking for it.
 

Teax

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Substance unclothed by its appearances, independent of the conditions of its observation, is eo ipso unobservable, just as the horizon recedes as quickly as we approach it.
If you're saying that it is unobservable independent of appearances, how is that different from saying that it does not exist independent of appearances?
 

The Grey Man

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It is different because to say that something exists is not the same as saying that it is observed and, contrapositively, if something is not observed, it does not follow that it does not exist. There is, pace Berkeley, no reason to assume that the essence of anything is exhausted by how it appears to us.
 

The Grey Man

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I don't see what is to be gained by making such an exotic assumption, and I don't see how forgetting about essence is consistent with defining an existent thing in general as something that can be observed. You're back to Berkeleian idealism.
 

Teax

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I don't see what is to be gained by making such an exotic assumption
I would gain insight into what you believe. But it is ok, the fact that you call it an "assumption" is already a valid answer to my question.

I don't see how forgetting about essence is consistent with defining a thing in general as something that can be observed. You're back to Berkeleian idealism.
Logic applies generalities to concrete cases, which is a technique we as philosophers use to guarantee that we are not giving any one thing special treatment. E.g. treating essence as some sort of replacement for a god concept, attributing special rules of existence to the concept which you normally wouldn't attribute to anything else.
 

The Grey Man

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I would gain insight into what you believe. But it is ok, the fact that you call it an "assumption" is already a valid answer to my question.

I call it an assumption because it is one. I can't prove that things only exist if they can be observed. This is the paradox of logical positivism and of empiricism in general: the statement that those statements are alone meaningful which are empirically verifiable is not empirically verifiable. It is a petitio principii, a spurious assumption.
 

Teax

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I can't prove that things only exist if they can be observed.
Yep, based on this I would have to take back my previous statement

Teax said:
Saying that there is no relationship between substance and form is like saying that there is no relation between reality and the shadows in the allegory of the cave. Just because we can't know everything about reality by observing the shadows, doesn't mean that can't know anything.

and instead I would agree with you on this one:

So my opinion is that there is no relation between form and substance because relation in general is the province of space as the principle of individuation. Substance can only be known to itself; it is a 'matter' to be expressed by the poet or the mystic rather than the mathematical physicist, who speaks only of relations. Dynamical relations are only its shadow, its "objectification."
:good:
 

Teax

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I would gain insight into what you believe. But it is ok, the fact that you call it an "assumption" is already a valid answer to my question.
I call it an assumption because it is one. I can't prove that things only exist if they can be observed. This is the paradox of logical positivism and of empiricism in general: the statement that those statements are alone meaningful which are empirically verifiable is not empirically verifiable. It is a petitio principii, a spurious assumption.
That is totally fine, I would agree with you on that one.

My question was not about empiricism... it was about how different people use different terms to model reality. One person's assumption is another's tautology. One person's paradox is another's axiom. When a single misunderstanding causes the debate to boil down to a different use of terms, it's time to step back and reevaluate the terms. This thread was a nice little diversion, thank you :)
 

The Grey Man

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The pleasure is mine.

I think the logical positivists unconsciously understood that not everything worth believing is provable but, like I said, I don't think there's anything to gain by believing in the contrary despite a lack of evidence. As I've said elsewhere, faith and reason are complements. Where one is neglected, the result is morbid empiricism or extravagant rationalism. I'd like to find a sensible via media if I can.
 

sushi

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just read a metaphysical book today

From my reading, substance is something which persist in an object despite of change and process.

in other words, it is something that stays the same even after change and process.

form is subject to change but substance is not
 

sushi

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my newest realiization

substance= material it seems, or they are very similar
substance and material are two words describing the same thing


form is the container that contains the material, like a bottle that contains the water
 
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