Comments on “I get duped by eternalism in a casino”


Enjoying the read

I stumbled on this site looking for a little info on the German romantics’ stance on True Self, and since then I’ve been reading for the last three days. Highly interesting and enjoyable read. I’ve got questions and comments, but I’d like to go through the whole thing once, possibly multiple times, before really getting into it. I’m posting here to say that your enthusiastic quote above, “At one point I was up by thirty-seven cents, but in the end I lost the whole dollar!” struck me as extremely funny. It reminds me of the kind of story Feynman might have told in “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman.”

Surely You're Joking

Wow, thanks! I take comparison with Feynman as very high praise indeed! He was a better philosopher than all but a handful of professional philosophers, I think, and funny and accessible as well. It’s quite possible that this story was influenced by my reading of him (although it’s also entirely true).

I have ADHD.

anders's picture

I have ADHD.
I am addicted to learning.
Wikipedia tells me that ADHD is linked to problems with the dopamine system.
You just told me that sudden insight and dopamine are also connected.
Thank you for the fix.

I think there's a fundamental

Jack's picture

I think there’s a fundamental misunderstanding in the argument here- that is to say, while your analysis of how meaning is not eternal (objective) is sound, your argument for why meanings are not just subjective seems off.

If meaningness was merely subjective, it would not be possible to be wrong about it. However, my felt beliefs about meaning, in the grip of a run of good luck, were definitely outright wrong.

This seems almost like some kind of a category error, though I am not entirely sure if that is the best way to describe it. The conflation occurs between “belief about what something means to someone else” and “what something means to someone else.”

I can be wrong in my belief that Mr. Smith cares about me, just as you can be wrong about the universe caring about you. However, that doesn’t mean that what I actually mean to Mr. Smith suddenly contains an objective value component.

There are objective facts about what things mean to people- for example, most people value money. That is an objective fact. However, that does not change the fact that the act of valuing money is itself a subjective meaning attribution. Money loses its (subjective, socially constructed) value in the event that everyone decides to stop valuing it.

Meaningness, like a rainbow

“Not objective” does not imply “subjective”; there are other possibilities. Meanings are neither objective nor subjective; they are interactive, which is a third category.

See “Rumcake and rainbows” for an introduction to this understanding.

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This page is in the section Eternalism: the fixation of meaning,
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