Which group is bigger, the one of things we can write about (in any language (including programing)), or the one of the things we can feel through our senses (including those things that machines help us to feel, such as a microscope)?

  • How would you measure the size of each group? – labreuer Sep 9 '17 at 18:44

There are more objects that can be spoken of, or conceived, than there are objects that can be experienced, or that we could have direct physical evidence of.

Consider God. God doesn't exist in time, but our experiences take place in time, so we cannot possibly experience God. Yet we can plainly talk about God---we're doing so right now.

You might not like this example, especially if you don't believe in God. In that case, try what it is like to be a bat. Presumably it is like something to be a bat. You don't know what it is like to be a bat, because you are not a bat. You can't see a bat seeing things, only its head and eyes moving. Maybe one day we will be able to experience life as a bat. (I don't think so, but I suppose it's not inconceivable. The words are certainly sayable.) But if you did experience batness, you still wouldn't experience experiencing batness. You don't see seeing or hear hearing, you just see and hear.

We know about God and the internal experience of bats not through sensing but through thinking (in combination with sensing, in the case of bats). I think that's the only way to gain knowledge of non-experiential objects.

  • I understand your point, but, another matter emerges from it. ¿Is the group of things that we can experience finite? If that’s true, then we can write more than we can experience, but if not, and if there are infinitly small things that we are not able to see right now, aswell as infinitly big, then meaning (or the things we can write about) would be a function of what we can experience, even the things god can do! So… is the universe finitly big and small at the same time? – tcllst Aug 31 '17 at 21:53
  • This tail helps to understand www4.ncsu.edu/~jjsakon/FunestheMemorious.pdf – tcllst Aug 31 '17 at 22:08
  • I'm not sure if there are finitely many experiential objects, nor if there are finitely many things we can conceive of. But it doesn't matter. God's not an object of experience, and we can still speak meaningfully about God. Meaning is based on conception, not experience. – Canyon Aug 31 '17 at 22:25
  • Well, that is a matter of faith, I belive that if it exists, we haven´t been able to experience it. Some people claim they have though. In any way, what god can do is to play with the universe, or something like that. So we add meaning to the movemnts of the universe, lets say is god, that is a word that we can´t feel, or just by being alive can´t we feel it? Isn´t god everywere? Isn´t everything? – tcllst Aug 31 '17 at 22:54
  • I don't think you'll find any good arguments for the material existence of God---that's not a reputable view nowadays. So while I can't say what those people have experienced, I can be pretty sure it wasn't actual God. Some kind of incarnation at best. Anyway, the key point is that we don't detect God with our senses, even if we "feel it" emotionally. – Canyon Sep 1 '17 at 14:20

I claim that the number of possible emotions that can supervene on a brain is at most the number of states that brain can occupy.

For any possible partitioning of a brain, a unique string can be assigned to each partition. Let's do this at t = 0. Now lets have the brain cycle through every possible state, and at each step, concatenate a unique string to the previous string that was assigned to each partition. There will be a unique string for every possible partition in every possible brain state. Now take any of the sets of strings for any brainstate and add a character to one of the strings. This new set of strings will be different from all of the set of strings generated thus far therefore the statespace of strings is greater than the state space of brains which is at least as large as the set of possible emotions.

Lets say the character space of the aformetioned strings is the English alphabet. Lets assign unique prime numbers to each character. By the fundamental theorem of algebra, the sum of the primes corresponding to the characters for each of these unique strings is also unique. Lets say that each set of strings 'means' a pile of bananas equal to the sum of it's assigned primes. Therefore, we have a set of unique strings assigned unique meanings that exceed the number of possible emotions.

  • I agree, but when I ment "feel", I was talking about the material world, and "we" as the things that can feel. A brain has a finite capacity, yes, but the things that are experiensable are greater than those we can say? Lest supose you create new words when new experienciable things emerge... which group is bigger? the words that are posible to create or the new things that can be named? – tcllst Aug 31 '17 at 23:06
  • Here's the problem with your argument (which is correct as far as it goes): semantics. Assuming the brain corresponds to some finite automaton, then the cardinality of its state space is clearly finite, whereas the cardinality of strings (of any length) is counatbly infinite. But when the op says "write about", that wouldn't include nonsense strings. They have to mean something, to have some denotational semantics, space-of-strings-->space-of-meanings. And then you're right back to brain state space, i.e., the cardinality of the space of meanings can't be larger than the brain state space. – user19423 Sep 1 '17 at 4:15
  • You're right. Lets say I get very angry at any mention of bananas, and the more bananas that are mentioned I get incrementally angrier. In that case, I would have a unique emotion to corresponds to every POB. In this case I would have as many distinct emotions (degrees of anger) as I do POBs and therefore possible strings. – Allen More Sep 1 '17 at 15:22

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.