A Peculiar Question for Metaphysics

Any topics primarily focused on metaphysics can be discussed here, in a generally casual way, where conversations may take unexpected turns.

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Soul_of_Shu
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Re: A Peculiar Question for Metaphysics

Post by Soul_of_Shu »

AshvinP wrote: Sat Aug 14, 2021 7:05 pm
Ben Iscatus wrote: Sat Aug 14, 2021 4:16 pm What evidence is there for a cat group soul? Is there a slug group soul?

The collective intellegence of many such animals, while each individual member does not seem to function at that high level, is only accounted for by the group-soul IMO. The real evidence for any of these questions would be supersensible knowledge. Behavioral psychology may contribute some basic understanding, but otherwise we are purely speculating. Beyond that, everything about the way Nature and living beings are structured according to archetypal patterns also implies such group souls. Until the modern age, this view was the default (philosophical realism).
Under idealism proper, would the idea of morphogenetic 'fields' of resonance be phenomenally representative of such group psyches?

Here out of instinct or grace we seek
soulmates in these galleries of hieroglyph and glass,
where mutual longings and sufferings of love
are laid bare in transfigured exhibition of our hearts,
we who crave deep secrets and mysteries,
as elusive as the avatars of our dreams.
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AshvinP
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Re: A Peculiar Question for Metaphysics

Post by AshvinP »

Soul_of_Shu wrote: Sat Aug 14, 2021 7:30 pm
AshvinP wrote: Sat Aug 14, 2021 7:05 pm
Ben Iscatus wrote: Sat Aug 14, 2021 4:16 pm What evidence is there for a cat group soul? Is there a slug group soul?

The collective intellegence of many such animals, while each individual member does not seem to function at that high level, is only accounted for by the group-soul IMO. The real evidence for any of these questions would be supersensible knowledge. Behavioral psychology may contribute some basic understanding, but otherwise we are purely speculating. Beyond that, everything about the way Nature and living beings are structured according to archetypal patterns also implies such group souls. Until the modern age, this view was the default (philosophical realism).
Under idealism proper, would the idea of morphogenetic 'fields' of resonance be phenomenally representative of such group psyches?

Yes, good catch (I think)! Sheldrake's morphogenetic 'fields' sound very similar to Goethe's concepts around "archetypes" and "biogenetic law" (a term derived later by Haeckel) and Steiner's spiritual science which goes into the details of "group-souls". I am not sure if or how the details of the former's match up with the latters', though. Goethe was obviously writing before the discovery of genes and what not, so I am sure that would explain a significant amount of difference. The other difference would be Sheldrake is speaking in terms of modern abstract concepts ("phenomenally representative") from the sense-world, while Goethe and Steiner remain with more concrete terms (spiritual ones in the case of Steiner). I would still say they are all using phenomenally representative language and concepts, though, but some like "archetype" or "group soul" are just more concrete than others like "morphogenetic field". Here is a passage from Goethean Science on that:

Steiner wrote:In Goethe's concepts we also gain an ideal explanation for the fact, discovered by Darwin and Haeckel, that the developmental history of the individual represents a repetition of the history of the race. For, what Haeckel puts forward here cannot after all be taken for anything more than an unexplained fact. It is the fact that every individual entity passes, in a shortened form, through all those stages of development that paleontology also shows us as separate organic forms. Haeckel and his followers explain this by the law of heredity. But heredity is itself nothing other than an abbreviated expression for the fact just mentioned. The explanation for it is that those forms, as well as those of the individual, are the manifest forms of one and the same archetypal image that, in successive epochs, brings to unfoldment the formative forces lying within this image as potentiality. Every higher entity is indeed more perfect through the fact that, through the favorable influences of its environment, it is not hindered in the completely free unfolding of itself in accordance with its inner nature. If, on the other hand, because of certain influences, the individual is compelled to remain at a lower stage, then only some of its inner forces come to manifestation, and then that which is only a part of a whole in a more highly developed individual is this individual's whole. And in this way the higher organism appears in its development as composed of the lower organisms, or too the lower organisms appear in their development as parts of the higher one. In the development of a higher animal, we must therefore also see again the development of all the lower ones (biogenetic law). Just as the physicist is not satisfied with merely stating and describing-facts, but also seeks out their laws — i.e., the concepts of the phenomena — so, for the person who wants to penetrate into the nature of organic entities, it also does not suffice for him merely to cite the facts of kinship, heredity, struggle for existence, etc.; but rather he wants to know the ideas underlying these things. We find this striving in Goethe. What Kepler's three laws are for the physicist, Goethe's ideas of the typus are for the organic scientist.
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Papanca
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Re: A Peculiar Question for Metaphysics

Post by Papanca »

Robert Arvay wrote: Fri Aug 13, 2021 4:02 pm Here is a question which may strike you as peculiar at first, but if you can resist the temptation to dismiss it out of hand, it may lead you to some interesting metaphysical inquiry.

The question arose when, while visiting a friend, I glanced at his cat. Up until then, the cat had not seemed to pay much attention to me. However, it noticed that I was looking at it. The cat sat up and took notice of me.

Of course, I knew then, that the cat was looking at me. The question that came to me, and yes, I am a strange fellow, was, how did the cat know I could see it?

The answer may seem obvious. The cat could see my eyes (of course). But how does the cat know that MY eyes are comparable to its? Does the cat have any idea that it has eyes? It likely just takes for granted its own powers of vision, without ever questioning them, without ever wondering how vision works.

But—can it look at another creature, see its eyes, and connect those eyes with the cat’s own ability to see?

Okay, I know that there are physicalist explanations for this, but they all miss the heart of the question. I am assuming that, on THIS forum, people will think more deeply than to accept those explanations without further thought.

Does the cat know it has eyes? How does it know that our eyes are what enables us to see? What further implications are there to all this?
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Maybe there were cats that didn't know that someone was looking at them or just didn't give a fuck, those would lose fights, be easy to attack and their genes would disappear from the gene pool.
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