shel wrote:It depends on how you wish to define data. Sense input is commonly referred to as sense data. Instincts could be defined as biologically encoded data.
A central aspect of instinctive and sensory impressions is
data, but they are rarely (if ever?) experienced as such. The conscious mind is not generally bothered about the precise classification and naming of its inputs, in the sense that a PC processes such information or in the sense that the term 'data' implies. What appears to the mind is 'known' by comparison with all previous inputs.
shel wrote:There are of course functional or reliable views of fundamental substances.
But how do we know whether (and how) the viewed substances are fundamental?
*(my 'negative karma of speech' deleted
)* _ might raise eyebrows on either a Buddhist or a *serious* philosophy forum (if there are any out there).
People are often slow to change their views, but science is by nature not dogmatic. If it were dogmatic it would not be science. You are projecting.
It's true that the practice of science cannot involve dogma, but human beings draw their own conclusions from its findings that go way beyond 'functional' results such as the earth orbiting the sun. -Other members on other threads here have of course asked whether philosophical materialism
rests on central dogma.
shel wrote:Some scientists believe that substances have a final base level which cannot be further analyzed by the human mind? That's an awkward belief, because no one knows what the most fundamental level of substances are, or if the human mind is capable of analyzing unknown levels.
True, but I was really asking how people imagine these aspects of reality. Your suggestion that physical reality may be unknowable to us at some fundamental level is comparable to the theological concept of Divine Ineffability, although there is nothing in either argument's appeals to Mystery ('mysticism' is too loaded a term here) to suggest that they are false. Nonetheless, the mind is naturally suspicious of such defeatism, unless it's already 'reified' that which it's failed to understand - and followed the converse temptation to posit either monism (whether idealist or materialist) or dualism by granting an absolute ontological status to mind (particularly in the form of God), physical energy, or both.
It follows that if certain aspects of physical reality are completely inaccessible to any
mind, then they are fundamental to reality as a whole, and whatever may have been said by Madhyamika teachers about the 'Mind-only' schools of Buddhist philosophy being provisional teaching tools -rather than final descriptions of reality- stands. I don't have enough positive karma to understand Dzogchen, but it seems to come up a lot on this forum, so I've recently read a little, and conclude that if it's really possible to access a base level of reality underlying both mind and matter, then endless debates such as ''Idealism v. Materialism' are ultimately null and void.
shel wrote:Objectification, by the way, means expressing an abstraction in concrete terms, or degrading the status of something or someone to that of a mere object.
I was trying to express that objectification can contain a hidden core of mysticism, because of the size of the leap from abstract/mysterious to concrete/'pinned-down'. So, 'objectifying' beings as physical energy manifesting as well-organised matter is all very well, but the questions of what constitutes and directs that energy remain unanswered. Even a cliched use of the term, like 'objectification of women', can have some of this sense ('feminine mystique' in this case, I guess