PHILOMADRID

PhiloMadrid - Pub Philosophy Meetings in Madrid

Friday, April 26, 2013

from Lawrence, Sunday PhiloMadrid meeting: Is life a dream? + LUNCH

Dear Friends,

Don't forget that this Sunday we have the lunch at the Segoviano; 28th April at 3.30pm. If you wish
to come and were not on the list last week please can you call Encarna (914457935); I just won't be
able to organise it.

After lunch we will be discussing: Is life a dream?

Both Ruel and Miguel prepared us an essay, the links are below. As for myself I wrote a few lines
trying to figure out, without success, the philosophical implications of the topic.

Message from Asun----
Lawrence I forgot to ask you if you can include this link of a 56sqm apartment in Chamartin. Close
to Principe de Vergara and Serrano and Paseo Habana for 700eu. All details in the link.

idealista.com/inmueble/2093379

Thanks

Asun
-------------end--

Best Lawrence

Lawrence: 606081813
Blog: http://philomadrid.blogspot.com.es/
PhiloMadrid Meeting
Meet 6:30pm
Centro Segoviano
Alburquerque, 14
28010 Madrid
914457935
Metro: Bilbao

-----------Ignacio------------
Thursday's Open Tertulia in English
Important Notice: From December 1st, the Tertulia will take place at O'Donnells (ex-Moore's) Irish
Pub, c/ Barceló 1 (metro Tribunal)
http://sites.google.com/site/tertuliainenglishmadrid/

------------------


Ruel
Is Life A Dream?
http://ruelfpepa.wordpress.com/2013/04/22/is-life-a-dream/


Miguel
Is life a dream?
http://cielosdemarzo.blogspot.com.es/2013/04/is-life-dream.html

Is life a dream?
In passing, I will exclude the possible interpretation of "a dream" to mean something exceptionally
nice and good; it isn't. Indeed life is much closer to a nightmare than a Hollywood love story!

Strictly speaking life is part of the big programme we otherwise call the universe. There is no
doubt that we are a function within the universe as much as our dreams are a function of our brain.

But there is a difference between life being within the universe, and Descartes thought experiment
of us being a thought in some evil god. We can see the reductionism from the universe to our brain
to dreams being in our brain. Descartes' thought experiment was just a thought in Descartes' brain.

However, life, as in the life we live, does have some things in common with dreams. To begin with
the rather randomness that affects both phenomena. We have very little control of what we dream. And
although in life we seem to have some control of our destiny, in many cases the price we pay
involves our liberty and conforming with the trend.

In the meantime, life is not a dream.

Best Lawrence







from Lawrence, Sunday PhiloMadrid meeting: Is life a dream? + LUNCH

Thursday, April 18, 2013

from Lawrence, Sunday PhiloMadrid meeting: Silent mind, awareness without thinking,+ LUNCH

Essays: Miguel, Ruel and myself – LUNCH 28/04 @3.30pm– Msg from Asun flat for rent

Dear Friends,

This Sunday we are discussing: Silent mind, awareness without thinking.

At face value the topic seems a bit confusing, but I would argue that this issue unearths more
problems than we can handle. Basically, I would describe this topic as a lake of quick sand.

Luckily Miguel, who proposed the topic, Ruel and I have all written an essay. And although I have
not read the two essays (not to be influenced when writing mine) I am sure we're going to have some
interesting ideas to contemplate.


LUNCH at the Segoviano -----

In the meantime, I need to pass the details to Encarna for the Lunch on the 28th at 3.30pm at the
Centro itself. If you wish to come, and haven't done so yet, please let me or Encarna know and it is
very important to let me know what you want from the menu.

1) 28th April 2013 - we start lunch at 3:30pm and then start the meeting as usual. In the meantime
we can think about the menu:
-Starters (frituras variadas), Entrecot o Cochinillo con ensalada, Postre- cafe-bebida. 25 euros per
person.
-Alternative option 1: fish or vegetarian but you will have to speak to Encarna about this, I've got
her number so please ask me or her when you come to the meeting. 25 euros per person
-Alternative option 2: cochido completo (plus the extras above) 20 euros per person.
(Looking at the menu you might think this is a challenge to this week's subject, but I am assured
that the food is very good!!!)

Asun----
Lawrence I forgot to ask you if you can include this link of a 56sqm apartment in Chamartin. Close
to Principe de Vergara and Serrano and Paseo Habana for 700eu. All details in the link.

idealista.com/inmueble/2093379

Thanks

Asun
-------------end--



Finally, best and see you Sunday – essays below

Lawrence: 606081813
Blog: http://philomadrid.blogspot.com.es/
PhiloMadrid Meeting
Meet 6:30pm
Centro Segoviano
Alburquerque, 14
28010 Madrid
914457935
Metro: Bilbao

-----------Ignacio------------
Thursday's Open Tertulia in English
Important Notice: From December 1st, the Tertulia will take place at O'Donnells (ex-Moore's) Irish
Pub, c/ Barceló 1 (metro Tribunal)
http://sites.google.com/site/tertuliainenglishmadrid/





ESSAYS------
Miguel

http://cielosdemarzo.blogspot.com.es/2013/04/the-silent-mind.html
-------------------

Ruel
http://ruelfpepa.wordpress.com/2013/04/16/the-silent-mind/
---------------


The Silent mind, awareness without thinking

We can interpret this topic in two ways. The first, as an issue between consciousness and
unconsciousness, and the second as an issue between sense perception and rational reasoning (thinking).

Except that there are two problems with the topic. Although we've been talking about the mind, close
to half a millennium, it is still not clear that there actually is, as an independent entity, such a
thing as the mind. I am inclined to think that there is no independent mind. But rather what the
human brain calls a mind is none other than an extrapolation by the brain of a particular type of
sense perceptions.

So if there is no such thing as a mind then obviously the mind is silent; indeed we cannot say
anything about the mind at all! Or at least what we can say about the mind, we can easily say it is
the brain, without any logical loss nor form and substance.

Of course, just because we might discover that there is no independent substance that is
identifiable with the mind (and independent of the brain), it does not follow that this concept is
not useful. But from being useful we cannot confer ontological properties to concepts they do not have.

But this does not exclude awareness without thinking. Unconscious perception and cerebral functional
processing is now a well established characteristic of humans and other biological systems, such as
animals. But are functional processing of unconscious perceptions also thinking? That is, thinking
of any kind, never mind rational thinking?

This would mean that functions such as ignoring background noise or repelled by offensive smells
would be classified as rational thinking. And if unconscious perception functions are not thinking
what is the difference between thinking and cerebral perception functions? Is this question of the
same type as raising my arm and my arm rising? (Wittgenstein)

And if we look at the issue from another angle, what is it that we are aware of when we are aware of
something through the process of thinking? And is there any difference, in type at least, of
awareness done through thinking and awareness done without thinking? By type, I don't mean the
content of what we are aware of (that's token) but perhaps the means of carrying the information of
the content. For example, is there any material difference between a perception of a noise in the
background and listening (and enjoying) a piece of music by my favourite composer? Where does
awareness without thinking stop and awareness with thinking begin?

Indeed, to flip the argument, can there be thinking without awareness? We can accept that certain
biological functions are done unconsciously, and even instinctively, and for all that matters, we
can accept that what we call a mind is none other than a function of the brain, but are we prepared
to accept that we can thinking without being aware of it? For example, we have expressions that
illustrate the point: we apologise for certain things we do because we were "not thinking" or "not
aware" that something was already the case.

Once again this question depends on what we accept as thinking. Most people would agree that
language is indeed thinking, but we process (speaking or understanding) our native language
unconsciously, and in many cases we are not aware of how we formulating language structures, how we
use the right words and expressions without consciously going through a menu of words, of course
sometimes we do go through a menu of words; I've just done it!

And we can go another step further. We all accept that mathematics is a rational form of thinking.
And yet one of the most important modus operandi of human beings, at least, is inductive thinking.
Now we can argue about the details but inductive thinking is at the very least a rudimentary form of
probability and the evaluation of the chances of an event repeating itself. Therefore, are some
instances of language and induction cases of thinking but without awareness?

To conclude, if by silent mind we mean silent brain: awareness without thinking, then surely we are
sometime aware without thinking. We can all agree that sometimes we are aware of something without
thinking; indeed this is a no brainer. But then what is the difference between what we call thinking
and what the brain does with sense perceptions? Can we drop the word thinking in the same way we are
free to drop the word mind from our menu?


Best Lawrence







from Lawrence, Sunday PhiloMadrid meeting: Silent mind, awareness without thinking
+ LUNCH

Friday, April 12, 2013

from Lawrence, Sunday PhiloMadrid meeting: What is a nation? + Lunch

Nation


Dear friends,

This Sunday we are discussing: What is a nation?

You will find the link to Ruel's essay at below and also a few lines from me.

But first thank you for those who have confirmed they are coming to the lunch on the 28th April. I
will confirm 3.30pm with Encarna on Sunday. In the meantime:



----Lunch at the Segoviano----
Lunch

Hola a todos,
Os escribo este mensaje para concretar el tema de la Comida.

Se celebrará el día 28 de Abril a las 15:30 (la hora la discutiremos próximamente). Por favor,
hacerme saber, lo antes posible, qué es lo que queréis de menú, si alguien desea o necesita algo
especial decírmelo para poder pasar el mensaje a Encarna, o por el contrario podéis hablar con ella
directamente.

Animaros, podemos pasar una buena tarde.

Un saludo.

(Just in case you are wondering, Isabel wrote the above!!!)


----Lunch at the Segoviano----
1) Last Sunday we discussed the possibility of organising a lunch at the centro and I asked Encarna
for details. However, we still have to organise the date so you can think about this lunch and find
a gap in your busy diary. I also have a pending appointment at the hospital and won't know the dates
until next week. What is sure is that we start lunch at 3:30pm and then start the meeting as usual.
In the meantime we can think about the menu:
-Starters (frituras variadas), Entrecot o Cochinillo con ensalada, Postre- cafe-bebida. 25 euros per
person.
-Alternative option 1: fish or vegetarian but you will have to speak to Encarna about this, I've got
her number so please ask me or her when you come to the meeting. 25 euros per person
-Alternative option 2: cochido completo (plus the extras above) 20 euros per person.
(Looking at the menu you might think this is a challenge to this week's subject, but I am assured
that the food is very good!!!)

RUEL essay-----

Hello Lawrence,
In case you didn't see the e-mail I sent you yesterday, here's the link to an essay I wrote re the
topic on Sunday.

http://ruelfpepa.wordpress.com/2013/04/09/what-is-a-nation/
Thank you very much. Hasta luego.
Ruel


Lawrence essay-----

What is a nation?

Before looking at this issue, we can start by reminding ourselves of a milestone in philosophy.
There was a time within living memory, certainly well into late twentieth century, where it was said
that one can do philosophy criticizing Kant, or one can do philosophy praising Kant, but one cannot
do philosophy without Kant. The metaphysics of Kant captured the essence of the key issues in
philosophy at the time. We can also say that by the mid twentieth century, Wittgenstein replaced the
central place Kant once occupied.

The essence, but certainly the philosophical DNA of both philosophers, was based on our relationship
with the rest of the universe. For example, the distinction between categorical truths and
hypothetical truths - moral objective duty vs satisfying a wish now. Or maybe the distinction
between our personal ideas and our ability to communicate with others.

Today, I would argue that the situation has changed from following a particular personality towards
pursuing what is objective and our place in this objective world. We no longer investigate the
relationship between us and the rest of the universe, but rather our place in the universe.

Why is this important for our topic? But first what do I mean by our place in the universe? Today we
investigate our relationship within the universe by understanding how we feature in the universe.
And we can do this because we have the tools, even if they sometimes seem rudimentary: i.e. the
scientific method. Thus, I would argue, Kant and Wittgenstein have been replaced by physics and
biology. Let us pass for today the question whether biology is a subset of physics.

So why is this important for us? The concept of a nation was, first and foremost, established when
our philosophical mindset involved understanding of our existence in terms of our relationship with
the rest of the universe (us against the rest of the universe). And secondly, our philosophical
mindset did not take into account the fact that both us and the universe change despite the
teachings of various philosophers starting from the pres Socratics.

In other words, today the concept of a nation depends on the protection of acquired territory which
is no different from the protection of an alley by a street tomcat. Despite the political banter and
the frills of politics a nation reflects a group of people associated by proximity and usually
identified to a specific location. Thus an English nation or a Spanish nation is associated by the
historical antecedents of people living in parts of the British Isles or the Iberian Peninsula.

As far as the land part of the nation is concerned this must surely occupy an arbitrary position in
our theory of a nation on the grounds that a piece of land might well be occupied by dinosaurs or
human beings. Less arbitrary are maybe, genetic changes to the people living on a particular piece
of land for example skin adaptation, immunity against certain local pathogens and so on. And of
course, there are nations (and their nationals) without occupying their ancestral lands.

However, what distinguish one nation from another are such as human activities such as language,
laws, rituals, culture, even maybe religion. The people that inherit these qualities or
characteristics belong to a specific nation. Indeed, in modern times, one can become a citizen of a
nation not only by birthright but also by procedures of the state (the power behind the nation). The
process might involve an arbitrary question like knowing the name of the spouse of the prime
minister or go to fight for the adopted country.

Whatever a nation might be, it is out of necessity a feature about people, or rather a feature about
the dynamic relationship amongst a group of people. What the old mindset of "us vs the rest of the
universe" does not take into account is that not only physical things change, but also the dynamics
of the physical things change. Thus laws change, language changes, culture evolves and so on.

The consequence of my argument so far is to ask ourselves whether the old concept of a nation is
still valid today. Keep in mind that today we recognize that we have our scope when we can change
the environment around us and vice versa. For example, most nations are bound by international
courts, international laws, international standards, treaties, such as the EU membership, require
nations to give up some of their sovereignty, and other external influences that can and do change
the roots of a nation.

With the interwoven relationships of political, military, natural resources and information, could
we say that today's model of a nation will not change drastically. I would argue that whatever a
nation is today, it is bound to change beyond recognition in the future. The mystery is how and when
our concept of a nation will change.



Best Lawrence


Lawrence: 606081813
Blog: http://philomadrid.blogspot.com.es/
PhiloMadrid Meeting
Meet 6:30pm
Centro Segoviano
Alburquerque, 14
28010 Madrid
914457935
Metro: Bilbao

-----------Ignacio------------
Thursday's Open Tertulia in English
Important Notice: From December 1st, the Tertulia will take place at O'Donnells (ex-Moore's) Irish
Pub, c/ Barceló 1 (metro Tribunal)
http://sites.google.com/site/tertuliainenglishmadrid/





from Lawrence, Sunday PhiloMadrid meeting: What is a nation? + Lunch

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

from Lawrence, Sunday PhiloMadrid meeting: Lunch/ Comida on the 28th please read

Lunch

Hola a todos,
Os escribo este mensaje para concretar el tema de la Comida.

Se celebrará el día 28 de Abril a las 15:30 (la hora la discutiremos próximamente). Por favor,
hacerme saber, lo antes posible, qué es lo que queréis de menú, si alguien desea o necesita algo
especial decírmelo para poder pasar el mensaje a Encarna, o por el contrario podéis hablar con ella
directamente.

Animaros, podemos pasar una buena tarde.

Un saludo.

(Just in case you are wondering, Isabel wrote the above!!!)


----Lunch at the Segoviano----
1) Last Sunday we discussed the possibility of organising a lunch at the centro and I asked Encarna
for details. However, we still have to organise the date so you can think about this lunch and find
a gap in your busy diary. I also have a pending appointment at the hospital and won't know the dates
until next week. What is sure is that we start lunch at 3:30pm and then start the meeting as usual.
In the meantime we can think about the menu:
-Starters (frituras variadas), Entrecot o Cochinillo con ensalada, Postre- cafe-bebida. 25 euros per
person.
-Alternative option 1: fish or vegetarian but you will have to speak to Encarna about this, I've got
her number so please ask me or her when you come to the meeting. 25 euros per person
-Alternative option 2: cochido completo (plus the extras above) 20 euros per person.
(Looking at the menu you might think this is a challenge to this week's subject, but I am assured
that the food is very good!!!)


- I'll send the usual email on Thursday and the topic is What is a nation??


Lawrence


Lawrence: 606081813
Blog: http://philomadrid.blogspot.com.es/
PhiloMadrid Meeting
Meet 6:30pm
Centro Segoviano
Alburquerque, 14
28010 Madrid
914457935
Metro: Bilbao

-----------Ignacio------------
Thursday's Open Tertulia in English
Important Notice: From December 1st, the Tertulia will take place at O'Donnells (ex-Moore's) Irish
Pub, c/ Barceló 1 (metro Tribunal)
http://sites.google.com/site/tertuliainenglishmadrid/





from Lawrence, Sunday PhiloMadrid meeting: Lunch/ Comida on the 28th please read

Thursday, April 04, 2013

from Lawrence, Sunday PhiloMadrid meeting: Time + Lunch

Time

Dear friends,

After such a long period of holidays, this Sunday we are discussing: Time.

One curious feature of time is that we always run out of it just when we need it most; it's a bit
like banking in a way!

In the meantime Ruel has sent us a link to this essay and I have written of few lines basically,
trying to go back to basics.

This Sunday we have to fix a date for the Lunch.

Best Lawrence


----Ruel----
Hi Lawrence,
Here's a link to the essay I wrote re the PhiloMadrid topic on Sunday.
http://ruelfpepa.wordpress.com/2013/03/25/on-time/
Hasta luego.
Ruel

----Lawrence---

The problem with this subject for us is that it is so wide and broad that we can easily get lost. Of
course, I have no intention of solving the issue of time in philosophy now. Nor am I going to
consider the traditional problems of time in philosophy for example, what is time? Is the future
real? Or the off shot issues of time for example: time and fatalism.

However, I do want to briefly explore how best we can approach the topic. Today we are in a position
where scientists try to understand the nature of time through physical investigation. The perception
of time, for example, is a topic in psychology and neuroscience that refers to our sense of time.
And then we have the language application of time: past, present and future. And finally we have the
every day use of time, the one we refer to from our clocks and watches and our diary.

Although at face value the time we are considering in these different disciplines is different from
each other, from our point of view we still have to ask whether this is indeed the same time despite
the perception that we are looking at different types of time. If for the sake of argument there is
just one form of time, then: 1) does time have causal effects, in other words is time subject to the
laws (rules) of causality? 2) What effect does time have on us? And other entities in the universe?
Indeed does time have a mass?

In other words, is time some objective entity in the universe in the same way that a gold atom is an
objective entity or a neutron star is an objective entity, or maybe uric acid is an objective entity
in our body?

And if it is not an objective entity then surely it has no place in the universe? Or to rephrase
this question, is time a figment of our imagination, even if it is a useful figment? Indeed this
would explain why we have so many different concepts of time. It is not that there are different
types of times out there but rather we have different classification of time each engineered for a
specific application and context in our life.

I would therefore conclude that the first philosophical issue we have to settle is whether time is
an entity out there or a state of affairs in our brain?

----Lunch at the Segoviano----
1) Last Sunday we discussed the possibility of organising a lunch at the centro and I asked Encarna
for details. However, we still have to organise the date so you can think about this lunch and find
a gap in your busy diary. I also have a pending appointment at the hospital and won't know the dates
until next week. What is sure is that we start lunch at 3:30pm and then start the meeting as usual.
In the meantime we can think about the menu:
-Starters (frituras variadas), Entrecot o Cochinillo con ensalada, Postre- cafe-bebida. 25 euros per
person.
-Alternative option 1: fish or vegetarian but you will have to speak to Encarna about this, I've got
her number so please ask me or her when you come to the meeting. 25 euros per person
-Alternative option 2: cochido completo (plus the extras above) 20 euros per person.
(Looking at the menu you might think this is a challenge to this week's subject, but I am assured
that the food is very good!!!)

take care and have a good holiday,

Lawrence


Lawrence: 606081813
Blog: http://philomadrid.blogspot.com.es/
PhiloMadrid Meeting
Meet 6:30pm
Centro Segoviano
Alburquerque, 14
28010 Madrid
914457935
Metro: Bilbao

-----------Ignacio------------
Thursday's Open Tertulia in English
Important Notice: From December 1st, the Tertulia will take place at O'Donnells (ex-Moore's) Irish
Pub, c/ Barceló 1 (metro Tribunal)
http://sites.google.com/site/tertuliainenglishmadrid/





from Lawrence, Sunday PhiloMadrid meeting: Time + Lunch

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