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Wednesday, April 05, 2023

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A surprisingly difficult question to answer quickly and succinctly (posed by the late, great Martin Gardner in his book The New Ambidextrous Universe) is: why do mirrors reverse right and left, but not up and down?

Another wrinkle. Thanks, Malcolm. If nothing else, these puzzles distract us from the collapse of the nation. We need distractions. Chess is one one of the best. "An oasis of sanity in an insane world."

>This suggests, contrary to the point made in the immediately preceding paragraph, that there is a man in the mirror and that he is identical to BV!<

No, because the MM thing is an image, and an image is not a man, but rather an image. But then we have the difficult question of where the image is located. I say, behind the mirror, in which case the image must be an immaterial object, given that the only material objects behind the mirror are bricks.

"Unifiers" by contrast, will say that there is no such thing as a mirror image, but rather you are saying yourself as seen in the mirror. But I have a problem with that "treacherous little word as".

On the variant question, I would like to see a carefully laid out argument as to why incongruent counterparts prove ideality.

Get a package of unfiltered Camels. On the side of the package is says "CHOICE QUALITY" . . . Turn the words upside down and hold them in front of a mirror. The word CHOICE comes back correctly, and the word QUALITY turns into Turkish.

Joe,

I'd walk a mile for a Camel. Now if I buy me a pack and what you say will happen does not happen, will you pick up the expense? Cigs are expensive these days. My Uncle Ray smoked unfilterd Camels, which is what real men smoked in those days. He lived to be 79. He quit in the '60s though, like my father and aunts.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Vg_QVAEJtg

Bro Bill, just print out in all caps, like this:

CHOICE QUALITY

And try it with the paper from the printer.

Or hand letter it, even better, the frugal Italian way.

When I used to smoke a pipe, upon the occasions that I ran out of pipe tobacco, I would buy unfiltered Camels, and rip them up for tobacco for the pipe. The stuff was pretty good, at least at the time, 40 years ago.

It is not raining, so off I go an a Camino training hike.

"We need distractions. Chess is one of the best."

I agree, Bill, as you know. Music too. And simplest of all: walking outdoors.

Proposed dissolution: man is not an image and vice versa.

BTW the Camel commercial was fun. Reminds me of the times when genuine masculinity wasn't a crime.

Disclaimer for our woke times: the previous two sentences do not intend to ... etc. Thankfully this blog's audience & host don't need this BS.

Dmitri,

There is nothing toxic about masculinity as such, but there is such a thing as toxic masculinity.

Compare: There is nothing thuggish about blacks as a group, but there are black thugs.

I am sure we agree. Nowadays, "I'd walk a mile for a camel" would be taken as an endorsement of zoophilia.

>>Proposed dissolution: man is not an image and vice versa.<<

No doubt, but then what are you pointing at when you stand before a mirror and point toward it? A man or an image?

Oz writes,

>>No, because the MM thing is an image, and an image is not a man, but rather an image. But then we have the difficult question of where the image is located. I say, behind the mirror, in which case the image must be an immaterial object, given that the only material objects behind the mirror are bricks.<<

Obviously, what we want to say is that MM is an image, not a man, because there is only one man in the room. Obviously, when I look at myself via a mirror, I am not looking at an indiscernible twin or Doppelgaenger.

Are you telling us that the image is an immaterial item that has a location in space? That makes no sense.

How about this: the image in not a man, but a proper part of a man, the man being a bundle of all his actual and possible images. (not just visual imnages, but auditory ones too, etc.) So when I point at MM, I am pointing at a proper part of BV.

>Are you telling us that the image is an immaterial item that has a location in space? That makes no sense.<

Of course it makes sense. Or are you using the ‘makes no sense’ locution to mean you think it is false, or absurd.

There clearly is something coloured and object-like behind the mirror. That is a datum, which it would absurd to question. You see it there. But it cannot be a material object, because there are material objects occupying the same space behind the mirror, and no two material objects can occupy the same space.

You may object that “science” dictates otherwise. But why? Science is based on observation and measurement, and we can observe the image and measure both its distance and location.

>How about this: the image in not a man, but a proper part of a man, the man being a bundle of all his actual and possible images.

Terrible. The image is neither a man nor a proper part of one, for neither of these are images. Nor is a man a bundle of all his actual and possible images.

Oz,

>>There clearly is something coloured and object-like behind the mirror. That is a datum, which it would absurd to question.<<

By 'absurd' in this context I take it you mean 'obviously false.' Is there something colored and object-like behind the mirror? Yes, of course, the wall and what it is composed of, bricks and mortar, for example. But that is not what you mean. You mean that the image that one sees when one looks 'into' a mirror is behind the mirror.

You say that that is not only a datum, but an unquestionable datum. But what you say makes no sense to me and so I cannot evaluate whether your putative datum is in fact a datum, a given. When I look at myself in a mirror, I don't see anything behind the mirror -- whatever that might mean.

How can something immaterial have a position in objective space? Obviously, if x is behind y, then both x and y are in space. Would it not be a Rylean category mistake to ask where the image is?

Hi Bill

LOL in agreement on your zoophilia remark...

>>what are you pointing at when you stand before a mirror and point toward it? A man or an image?

An image (of a man). Ryle probably would elaborate, in his didactic mode of voice, that you are pointing at a reflection of yourself in the mirror and confounding the two concepts is a category mistake.

>But what you say makes no sense to me

If I say "I see something behind the mirror", then that makes perfect sense. The sentence is grammatically well formed, and each word has a standard meaning ('I', 'see', 'behind' etc etc). How can it not make sense?

>When I look at myself in a mirror, I don't see anything behind the mirror

Perhaps your experience of looking in mirrors is different.

>How can something immaterial have a position in objective space?

I am simply reporting a fact, namely that I see something behind the mirror. Why can't something immaterial have a position in space. (I omit the otiose 'objective').

> You mean that the image that one sees when one looks 'into' a mirror is behind the mirror.<

You seem (almost) to be agreeing with me, except for the preposition 'into'.

Oz,

Maybe British English is different, but on this side of the Pond no one says 'I see something behind the mirror.'

When I am standing in front of a mirror with my eyes open and lights on, I see something in the mirror. That is the datum, correctly described in plain English. Now what is this thing I see? My face or an image of my face? My face is the material surface of a material thing, hence NOT immaterial. You might reasonably object: No, what you see is an image of your face, and then go on to say that images are immaterial. But then I will ask you: how is it possible to see (with your eyes) something immaterial? Answer me that one! This brings us back to the aporetic dyad as I formulated it in the OP -- and which you did not pay close attention to.

If I recall correctly the optics I learned at school, physics classifies images as 'real' or 'virtual'. Real images are obtained by focusing light rays diverging from a point on the object surface so that they converge to a point in the imaging surface, be it retina, camera CCD, cinema screen, etc. They are there even if unobserved. They are physically real, causing changes in the retina, CCD, etc. Virtual images, the ones we are considering, are produced by plane mirrors and magnifying glasses. 'They' are not 'there' unless observed. This is because they rely on a further optical system such as the lens of the eye or camera to focus the diverging rays to a point, that is, to construct a real image on a real surface. Absent the further system the light carries on diverging to negligible effect. I am conscious here of talking of virtual images as if they were things, and using scare quotes to deflect a literal interpretation. My feeling is that we can't avoid an 'as if' formulation. A magnifying glass produces an image on your retina as if the object were closer to the eye and your eye's lens had a shorter focal distance. A plane mirror produces an image on your retina as if you were viewing the object from behind the mirror, and as if you were looking at the object's chiral opposite. The problem is that, in effect, the retinal image contains elements from two distinct vantage points. To describe what we see as if it were entirely from a single vantage point will introduce anomalies. A little like trying to describe some of Escher's drawings that contain multiple, seemingly integrated, perspectives.

From an optics text: " In flat, or plane mirrors, the image is a virtual image, and is the same distance behind the mirror as the object is in front of the mirror."

>how is it possible to see (with your eyes) something immaterial?

There will not be a physical (=material) explanation, obviously. More on that some time.

Brightly
>My feeling is that we can't avoid an 'as if' formulation.

Absolutely. More on this.

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