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* / History Quotes​
 

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I also like this really harsh quote from Ibn Sina (aka Avicenna) :b

Anyone who denies the law of non-contradiction should be beaten and burned until he admits that to be beaten is not the same as not to be beaten, and to be burned is not the same as not to be burned.
 

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Martin Heidegger on qualia:

We never really first perceive a throng of sensations, e.g. tones and noises, in the appearance of things - as this thing-concept alleges; rather we hear the storm whistling in the chimney, we hear the three-motored plane, we hear the Mercedes in immediate distinction from the Volkswagen. Much closer to us than all sensations are the things themselves. We hear the door shut in the house and never hear acoustical sensations or even mere sounds. In order to hear a bare sound we have to listen away from things, divert our ear from them, i.e., listen abstractly.
 

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I'm not done taking over this thread so here's a quote by the American pragmatist C.S. Peirce on the problem with Descartes' method of doubting everything until you find some piece of knowledge you can be absolutely sure about -

We cannot begin with complete doubt. We must begin with all the prejudices which we actually have when we enter upon the study of philosophy. These prejudices are not to be dispelled by a maxim, for they are things which it does not occur to us can be questioned. Hence this initial skepticism will be a mere self-deception, and not real doubt; and no one who follows the Cartesian method will ever be satisfied until he has formally recovered all those beliefs which in form he has given up… A person may, it is true, in the course of his studies, find reason to doubt what he began by believing; but in that case he doubts because he has a positive reason for it, and not on account of the Cartesian maxim. Let us not pretend to doubt in philosophy what we do not doubt in our hearts.
 

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...then intergroup male violence in hominins may have gone from frequent in the earliest species to infrequent when simple hunter-gatherer societies first emerged to frequent again when human societies became larger, more complex, and more competitive.

Source: The Human Career by Richard Klein (Really awesome book btw and works beautifully as a reference).
This is like how agriculture's to blame for so much of the inequality civilizations have right? :( if that's true then I don't think even the invention of beer can make up for all the troubles it has brought us.
 

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Oh, you're into phenomenology? That's interesting. Have you read any books on the philosophy of mind?
Yeah :D Not books for the most part, but I have read a number of articles and things online related to analytic philosophy of mind. There's lots of important stuff in that general field don't get me wrong, but I got a bit tired of seeing reductionist talk about "C-fibers firing", among other things. Also I feel like ideas such as eliminative materialism, even if only supported by a small minority, is proof that analytic philosophy isn't something inherently more rational or superior to continential thought.

In three short papers published in the early sixties,[16][17][18] Feyerabend sought to defend materialism against the supposition that the mind cannot be a physical thing. Feyerabend suggested that our commonsense understanding of the mind was incommensurable with the (materialistic) scientific view, but that nevertheless we ought to prefer the materialistic one on general methodological grounds.
This is the kind of thing that turned me to phenomenology u_u

Sorry my reply turned out to be so polemical. :blank to keep things positive I just remembered that I read Alva Noë a while back, you familiar with him? He has some interesting things to say about consciousness as an activity. He argues it can't be reduced to the brain anymore than dancing can be to the muscles, if that makes sense.

You can look at the bright side. If the author is right and the environment did make us more violent overall, we can hope that in a future significantly altered by technology, we might become less violent somehow.
Sounds a bit transhumanist (I think?), also I wonder how much psychology could contribute to a better society as well (assuming you didn't include science under your def. of technology)

I'm not sure whether I should use this thread as I initially wanted to or keep my weird interests and SAS separate. : /
It's impossible for me to to keep them seperate, so I just try to suspend all sense of shame whenever I post this stuff. :lol
 

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I just posted some excerpts from this paper on tumblr. I have lots of conflicting feelings towards it - one of the contributors, Barry Smith, has spent the past decade or two applying metaphysical & scientific realist principles to designing ontologies and databases for scientific research, especially in the biomedical field. So clearly he's done a lot of good, but I can't blame anyone for being put off by the elitist attitude he has towards some philosophers (I have to say I agree with him on Derrida though :b)

 












There's also a great quote from Russell in there -

 

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I read a short biography of the phenomenologist Adolf Reinach, it's really cool how he anticipated so much later developments in analytic philosophy (like Wittgenstein's musings on language, states of affairs, and Austin's speech act theory). There's lots of entertaining bits as well.

Here's the Augustine/Wittgensteinesque discussion on how a child learns language and communication:

 


on neo-Kantians:

 


relatable:

 
 

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Yeah, I like some of the quotes I find from phenomenologists sometimes. I think I was planning to read something by Merleau-Ponty at one point because I liked some of his quotes, but never got to doing it?
I'm reading an introduction to his thought by Lawrence Hass, and I'd highly recommend it if you're still interested in him :D

Merleau-Ponty seems to advocate something similar to what Heidegger does in the quote I posted earlier, that qualia, sense-data, pure sensations are not the fundamental building blocks of our perception, but at best, they're abstractions rooted in Cartesianism. The idea is that our perceptions are more holistic and unified and all that.

Also like Dennett he challenges the idea of the Cartesian theater (without using that term I'd imagine). There's a lot of comparisons with other thinkers so it's a neat and fairly short book.
 

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“The cosmos is similar to a rave party in some abandoned warehouse along the Spree in East Berlin, where the individual rooms are each surprisingly isolated from all external sources of music, flashing lights, perfumed odors, and dominant moods-but in which it is quite possible to move from one space to the next, and in which the doorways are always flooded with faint premonitions and signals of what is to come.” - Graham Harman, Guerrilla Metaphysics
 

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"Today, we live in an age characterized by digital sampling, ecological crises, and the emergence of the posthuman. Whitehead is deeply relevant to our contemporary concerns because he thinks about how novelty can emerge from selective repetition, how all the entities of the world are deeply interrelated and mutually dependent even in their separation from one another, and how nonhuman agents, no less than human ones, perform actions and express needs and values."

— Steven Shaviro, The Universe of Things
 

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Werner Heisenberg said:
I think that modern physics has definitely decided in favor of Plato. In fact the smallest units of matter are not physical objects in the ordinary sense; they are forms, ideas which can be expressed unambiguously only in mathematical language.
I'm not sure whether I agree with him about particles being ideas, but it makes sense to me that matter as we know it isn't simply made up of more matter. That's one of the big differences between classical materialism and modern physics - the ancient atomists conceived atoms as small bits of stuff that behaved exactly like the macroscopic things we encounter everyday, when the reality's far more exciting than that :p
 

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It isn't an "either" "or" though. I think both materialism and idealism are anthropocentric. Neither the content of our minds, nor the things we evolved to perceive are the main building blocks of the universe. I think the "fabric of the universe" or whatever may be so alien to us that it's literally impossible for us to ever comprehend it.
Um, I might sound like an idiot or something; so don't hesitate to call me out, and additionally, I convey no feelings of malice. Just curious. I viewed the understanding of the universe as a giant moving variable with loops and unfoldings; with potential trans-humanism being a kind of multiplier; though, I could be wrong; as the understanding of our universe could be non-linear, and thereby using trans-humanism (brain implants, computer integration) could yield in going "off-course". So, we have the non-linear mapping of understanding that fluctuates, and meanders. But then, what of the are fluctuations in the universe as well? I'd probably get called out by referencing this, but I recall some fringe scientist referencing minute changes within the constants of the universe i.e speed of light, and the like. Given these alterations actually occur, I wonder to what extent these changes would change a given model. So, then we have the chasing of a moving target so to speak.

But additionally, what if there was a hypothetical way to somehow integrate enough of the perspectives and viewpoints regarding the universe i.e collaborations with extraterrestials to somehow spew out an abstract general view of the universe? Then, it would make the overarching view a little less anthroprocentric; but we run into another issue of making it life-centric? And who's to say that any of them are even remotely correct? But then, I suppose technological breakthroughs i.e practical applications stemming from the theoretical work could in turn give credence to some aspect of a given model? I would view this as another multiplier as well.

This is even more far-out, but maybe a kind of collaboration with beings in other universes assuming they even exist at all? Another multiplier.

And yes, I know, far-out hypothetical mumbo-jumbo; but maybe we could get at least a little closer if we were able to do the things aforementioned; given that advanced extraterrestials with their own GUT (Grand Unified Theories), and beings in other universes actually exists; and the assumption that we're even able to contact them.

Regarding consciousness; I was under the assumption that it was a pattern of brain activity; but really a kind of pattern of activity in general with emphasis on recursive feedback loops. And Pansychism would be interesting; the idea that everything has mental properties; or some kind of primordial proto-consciousness. Seems consciousness-centric, but oh well. Wonder if there's something else other than consciousness? If this is true, it makes me wonder about the states of other universes, given that they exist. Given that there's matter in those universes, does proto-conscious essence exist inside of it? Or maybe it's something entirely different, and like you mentioned earlier, something incomprehensible. And why would there be a protoconscious essence within matter anway? Maybe due to certain patterns of development in a given universe? And why are universes developing anyway? I don't know.

Sorry for the long-winded post, and sorry if this is annoying or dumb. I was just curious, and thought I could learn a thing or to and explore some ideas.
 

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I don't want to sound pessimistic, but I actually don't think it's likely that we'll ever meet any aliens. I can't really prove this, but if I had to make a bet, I'd say there are no aliens anywhere in our galaxy or in any of the neighboring galaxies. And I think the reason is probably that some event responsible for our existence now is astronomically rare (Again, if I had to guess, I'd say abiogenesis, but I can't prove that either).

I'm not sure if you're familiar with the Fermi paradox? If the universe is full of aliens, why haven't we met them already? The Earth has been around for a long time, and there is no evidence that any aliens landed here. There is no evidence of "intelligent" radio transmission anywhere we can observe (and we can observe a large number of galaxies).

I think the idea that we might create a new form of life (AI or whatever) is much more likely than us actually meeting one that exists "out there".
Hmm... You raise some valid points. I know this point in particular is a weak point, however, couldn't it be possible that they are off exploring other extraterrestrial civilizations; and have thereby have no interest in visiting? Or perhaps their level of advancement is not as advanced as we would like to think? Or maybe they actually have visited us unbeknownst to us long ago without the presence of our modern technology, and hasn't been documented? Or maybe they did visit us, yet have not physically landed; similarly to admiring from afar? But then, one can go the conspiratorial route; which I'm not going to do. Or maybe they did land, explore around in the past, but were disenchanted by our primitivity, and just left to explore some other potential civilization up to their standards; likened to how one (assuming their not a scientist that studies ants) views ants?

And regarding the point about "intelligent" radio transmissions; couldn't it be possible that they use a hypothetical set of technologies seemingly a step above radio? Just pointing that out. Maybe we shouldn't expect technologies possible aliens may have as remotely resembling anything that we've currently churned out? If they are that advanced, then perhaps, given that they live far away; have in fact went through the stages of using radio wave broadcasting; but abandoned it thereafter finding something new; with the time for those radio wave to each our planet being very long?

And I don't know. What do you think of the idea panspermia? The idea that we actually originated from another solar system through the collisions of space rocks; with certain ones containing microbes from other planets?

Pansychism is not consciousness-centric at all. The reason I think pansychism makes more sense than idealism, is because idealism is by definition consciousness-centric (It's really hard to prove it wrong by the way!). What are the other options?
Maybe I just had the wrong idea of pansychism? Or I guess I didn't quite clarify or misworded. Perhaps, proto-consciousness - centric, maybe? So you have matter; but matter according to pansychism has the proto-consciousness essence that's pretty much prolific in just about everything. Could be wrong there. I only have a surface-level understanding of these matters, and probably need to read more regarding these topics.

Hmm.

Dualism? Well, that's extremely anthropocentric. What makes a human being more special than, say, a rock formation, or a star, to have this "extra thing that isn't really made of substance" (a soul or a spirit).
No disagreements there.

Materialism? (or Physicalism, the idea that the universe is made of whatever building blocks the Science of Physics tells us it's made of. And everything else can be completely reduced to those building blocks). My issue with Physicalism is that I've never seen anyone explain how consciousness can possibly emerge out of highly complex collections of physical particles. What is so special about complexity? How does the universe "know" that a human brain is much more "complex" than any random collection of physical particles. And how does the universe "know" that the human brain should have a single "I" or first person view? It's really hard for me to imagine how that can happen.
Hmm. Good points there. That's a tough one; I'd admit; or maybe I just lack understanding? Not a physicalist here, but, I would find that hard to counter. What came to mind was some interaction mechanism involving chaos theory? So, maybe not the collection of physical particles, but that there has to be kind of interaction going on between them; else, nothing arises? But then, one could ask why certain interactions occur; or what initially triggers it, and one could refer back to chaos theory? To be honest, that's a piss-poor explanation on my part. A futile attempt at avoiding saying "I really don't know"; and using the guise of "chaos theory"; as an explanation when it really isn't. I think I'm going to have to ponder a bit more about this.

Pansychism is an extremely vague position actually. Because no one really has any idea what proto-consciousness is, or particles interact, and what laws determine "which" systems are conscious and which systems are not.

Is an electronic functional replica of the human brain conscious? Are insects conscious? Are laptops? Are thermostats? Is a person's immune system, or their digestive system conscious? Is your spinal cord conscious? Is society conscious?

The intuitive answer to most of those is no. But for me I just don't see how a human being or a human brain is different from any of these systems. I think the laws that govern how consciousness arises must apply to everything, and it should be a completely blind process, depending on basic properties of the building blocks of the universe.
Understandable. And I'd add that perhaps the consciousness (assuming it's there) regarding those systems are differentiated into degrees of consciousness? Like, there exists a kind of "consciousness value" that is present within these different systems; however it seems like a black box to me. And I wouldn't know how to actually measure it either; which I think you address later on.

So, to give an example. A ball has mass, and it exerts gravitational force following the same law that governs how a planet attracts objects. The gravity of a planet doesn't "emerge" simply because we added a lot of particles to a small region of space. Every particle exerts a gravitational force. It just only becomes noticeable if you have a huge mass.

So, I'm not saying that every electron has a personality, or that particles are aware of their existence. I'm just saying that whatever makes us conscious, is probably rooted in some property in fundamental particles that we cannot describe using Physics. And that we can never study the laws that govern how that property "adds up" to form conscious creatures like ourselves using Physics. (We probably can't study those laws, period. Since I don't think consciousness can be detected or differentiated from blind empty-from-the-inside intelligent behavior).

I think another theory that makes more sense to me than Dualism or Physicalism is called Monism, which says that both the physical and the mental are made of the same stuff. (which sounds very close to Panpsychism imo).

I am of course a layman, and I my understanding of these things is probably inaccurate. So, don't take my word for any of this.

I think the philosopher that made me really skeptical of the prevailing Physicalist worldview is David Chalmers. I really like some of his writings.
I see the dilemma now. A can of worms so speak. Lol.
 

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I have no idea if other universes exist. If I had to guess, I'd say there is probably an infinite number of universes. Why do I say that? Mostly because of how it seems like the Physical constants seem fine-tuned in our universe? Also, the fact that it doesn't go infinitely back in time. These two facts make me wonder about our existence. It seems pretty unlikely if only one universe ever existed, and isn't eternal. I mean what are the odds?

Of course speaking of odds and probability when talking about universes is probably not very meaningful. I just find it more intuitive to assume that there's an infinite number of universes popping into existence all the time, and that there's nothing really special about our universe (where stars can form) or our existence (see: the Anthropic principle).

Anyway, I think regardless of whether or not other universes exist, I think that we will never know the answer or come into contact with them. (because if we do, it means those are just parts of the same universe). I think for something to qualify as a separate universe, it has to be unreachable by definition. Otherwise, it's not a very useful distinction.
I see what you're doing, or at least I think? Pardon me if I'm wrong, but you're using the universe as a variable for what we know or what we know to be accessible in respect to a certain time? So if we were in the days of ancient civilizations, the prevailing "universe" at that time would be analogous to the solar system; as they were aware of nearby planets; and probably nothing else; or at least they thought it encompassed everything?

Hmm. Well, I had the impression that we could simply apply another meta-level, and call the entire system a "multi-verse"; therein housing a variable number (possibly infinite like you said) universes. Likened to a kind of nesting mechanism that just regresses (not sure)? Upon thinking further about this, I am curious at to why something has to qualify as a separate universe, it has to be unreachable? Not sure how valid doing this is (probably a fallacy); but I used the analogy of a planet in relation to a solar system could be likened to a universe inside of a multi-verse. However, what properties of a universe bar us from doing that; assuming it's incorrect to do so. Maybe these structures in of themselves aren't entirely correct in the first place?

Um, also another question. This may be a dumb question, but given that there are other universes, and they are popping in and out of existence; why is this? Is there some kind of morphing mechanism that makes a universe unreachable, because we cannot capture dynamism in a single snapshot? Or is there some kind of multiplicative effect going on? Appears to be a giant experiment with whatever parameters are general with respect to a given universe.

It's okay, lol. I haven't formally studied philosophy or cosmology. I'm pretty sure my opinions on these issues are mostly intuitions and impressions rather than justifiable philosophical positions. But anyone can have an opinion, right? : P
I suppose so.
 

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I see what you're doing, or at least I think? Pardon me if I'm wrong, but you're using the universe as a variable for what we know or what we know to be accessible in respect to a certain time? So if we were in the days of ancient civilizations, the prevailing "universe" at that time would be analogous to the solar system; as they were aware of nearby planets; and probably nothing else; or at least they thought it encompassed everything?

Hmm. Well, I had the impression that we could simply apply another meta-level, and call the entire system a "multi-verse"; therein housing a variable number (possibly infinite like you said) universes. Likened to a kind of nesting mechanism that just regresses (not sure)? Upon thinking further about this, I am curious at to why something has to qualify as a separate universe, it has to be unreachable? Not sure how valid doing this is (probably a fallacy); but I used the analogy of a planet in relation to a solar system could be likened to a universe inside of a multi-verse. However, what properties of a universe bar us from doing that; assuming it's incorrect to do so. Maybe these structures in of themselves aren't entirely correct in the first place?

Um, also another question. This may be a dumb question, but given that there are other universes, and they are popping in and out of existence; why is this? Is there some kind of morphing mechanism that makes a universe unreachable, because we cannot capture dynamism in a single snapshot? Or is there some kind of multiplicative effect going on? Appears to be a giant experiment with whatever parameters are general with respect to a given universe.

I suppose so.
Oh, and one other thing. I acknowledge that all of my musings about advanced ETs, and multiverses are just far-out conjectures. There is no evidence of either of these things, but I wanted to share a plan (crappy one at that) as to how one might be able to slither ever so closely to accounting for as to how the universe (seemingly finite collections of galaxies and much more) may function.

Still wondering about physicalism, and thinking through those glaring holes present within it, however. What of emergentism; or the idea that the reducible parts of a system is not the system itself? Ah, but it still falls short in that the boundary or "sweet spot" in which consciousness is said to emerge according to the theory itself is still ambiguous at best. Perhaps there is a dimension between the two extremes of no consciousness and consciousness; given that such a scale exists.

Still doesn't explain why complexity is so special, however. I was thinking it vaguely resembled a splintering, fluctuating, symbiotic interaction between non-linearity and order with a scale in between the ideal extremes. It still evades the question, however.

Or maybe the universe doesn't "know"that something is complex or not; likened to an experiment like say, evolution (which we are a product of). What comes first is the figurative force of non-linearity; but the interaction of an instance of non-linearity somehow meshes with an instance of order, or the structuring of systems. I truly don't know. And I don't know why there is emergence, or any of this, to be frank.

As for the theory of panspermia; perhaps what is actually rare is the yielding of intelligent conscious life like that of ourselves, and not the permeation of microbes and bacteria in the cosmos. Perhaps what happens is a seeming asynchronous, cyclical pattern in which intelligent life does develop; and the lifeforms may or may not leave their home planet. After a while, either due to cosmic disaster or collective disharmony amongst the lifeforms, they are eventually wiped out. If the lifeforms do splinter off, and happens to colonize other planets, I predict the pattern may repeat in that case as well. Through the destruction of a given planet, the fragmented remnants of the planet meanders throughout space; colliding with other objects in the cosmos until the pattern repeats once again. But what most likely happens is that if there does happen to be extraterrestial life, it's most likely "unintelligent" animals that never happen to leave their home planet or better yet, develop any kind of civilization at all.
 

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I should've added " / History" to the title, but whatever.

---

I was reading a book on life in ancient Egypt, and I came across this quote from Herodotus (the Greek historian):

I thought for a moment that he was saying the men were feminized, but the last sentence he said they weren't allowed to be priests, so he probably just thought the people had weird habits. Still sounds funny though.
That's very interesting, especially the part about toilet stuff (not sure if that's accurate or if he was assuming that based on other things.)
 

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I'm getting all of this from the Wikipedia page on Graham Harman (the article seems well-researched so hope that's not a problem :um)

According to Harman, everything is an object, whether it be a mailbox, a shadow, spacetime, a fictional character, or the Commonwealth of Nations.

Harman defines real objects as inaccessible and infinitely withdrawn from all relations and then puzzles over how such objects can be accessed or enter into relations: "by definition, there is no direct access to real objects. Real objects are incommensurable with our knowledge, untranslatable into any relational access of any sort, cognitive or otherwise. Objects can only be known indirectly. And this is not just the fate of humans - it's the fate of everything. Fire burns cotton stupidly ..."
Central to Harman's philosophy is the idea that real objects are inexhaustible: "A police officer eating a banana reduces this fruit to a present-at-hand profile of its elusive depth, as do a monkey eating the same banana, a parasite infecting it, or a gust of wind blowing it from a tree. Banana-being is a genuine reality in the world, a reality never exhausted by any relation to it by humans or other entities." (Harman 2005: 74). Because of this inexhaustibility, claims Harman, there is a metaphysical problem regarding how two objects can ever interact. His solution to this problem is to introduce the notion of "vicarious causation", according to which objects can only ever interact on the inside of an "intention" (which is also an object).
Cutting across the phenomenological tradition, and especially its linguistic turn, Harman deploys a brand of metaphysical realism that attempts to extricate objects from their human captivity and metaphorically allude to a strange subterranean world of "vacuum-sealed" objects-in-themselves: "The comet itself, the monkey itself, Coca-Cola itself, resonate in cellars of being where no relation reaches."
Expressing strong sympathy for panpsychism, Harman proposes a new philosophical discipline called "speculative psychology" dedicated to investigating the "cosmic layers of psyche" and "ferreting out the specific psychic reality of earthworms, dust, armies, chalk, and stone."
Harman rejects scientism on account of its anthropocentrism: "For them, raindrops know nothing and lizards know very little, and some humans are more knowledgeable than others."
I love how the speculative realists have all these interesting theories about ordinary things and objects. It's the same appeal phenomenology had for Sartre -

 
 

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I'm getting all of this from the Wikipedia page on Graham Harman (the article seems well-researched so hope that's not a problem :um)

I love how the speculative realists have all these interesting theories about ordinary things and objects. It's the same appeal phenomenology had for Sartre -

 
seems almost like platonic forms.
 

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seems almost like platonic forms.
Personally I was reminded of Kantian "things-in-themselves" but that makes sense too. There's another quote from Harman that sheds more light on that -

Then contra Husserl, the usual manner of things is not to appear as phenomena, but to withdraw into an unnoticed subterranean realm. Heidegger says that we generally notice equipment only when it somehow fails. […] For there is already a failure of sorts when I simply turn my attention towards entities, reflecting consciously on my bodily organs or the solid floor of my home. […] There will always be aspects of these phenomena that elude me […]. No matter how hard I work to become conscious of things, environing conditions still remain of which I never become fully aware. […] This reality slips from view into a perceptually veiled underworld, leaving me with only the most frivolous simulacra of these entities. In short, the phenomenal reality of things for consciousness does not use up their being. The readiness-to-hand of an entity is not exhaustively deployed in its presence-at-hand.
 
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