Truth vs. Paradigm

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Wyman
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Re: Truth vs. Paradigm

Post by Wyman » Sat Jun 14, 2014 2:15 pm

You and I have different understandings of perception, even see. How about if I substitute sense data for 'actual perceptions'?
Oh boy, look up 'sense data' in wikipedia and see all the references to logical positivists! (not that there's anything wrong with that)

I don't like talk of sense data or qualia, in the sense that they are place holders for the speaker's entire theory of perception usually. They're less terms, than hyperlinks to entire philosophies. I realize that my use of 'perception' could have the same problems, but at least it has an ordinary meaning that I think is at least close to how I am using it.

When I say that I see an eclair, not first a patch of colors, then an eclair - I am basically rejecting 'sense data' as a meaningful concept in talk of perception. I don't see any reason to suppose that I somehow see a 'sense data,' then process it into a completed perception. I think it is only meaningful to say that I 'just' see an eclair.

So in a sense, yes, knowledge changes sense data as I think you use the terms. But sense data in my mind (so to speak) is not half the story (raw material to be molded into something else by the mind or brain).

I think I could say 'consciousness' when I say 'perception' and would probably mean the same thing. But I have to think about that.

uwot
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Re: Truth vs. Paradigm

Post by uwot » Sat Jun 14, 2014 5:33 pm

Wyman wrote:I don't like talk of sense data or qualia, in the sense that they are place holders for the speaker's entire theory of perception usually. They're less terms, than hyperlinks to entire philosophies.
It said that in wikipedia?
Not sense data then. How about retinal stimulation? The photons that enter our eyes are independent of our interpretation. The immediate effect of them is to provoke images in our mind that, if we choose to, we attach some level of importance to and maybe a label. There are a whole bunch of events that lead to our having ideas, or 'seeing' eclairs. You might have a particular belief about when interpretation kicks in, you could probably make a case for any point after the photons are absorbed. I don't think there is any plausible argument that the way our retinas are stimulated is affected by interpretation.

Wyman
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Re: Truth vs. Paradigm

Post by Wyman » Sun Jun 15, 2014 5:47 pm

The immediate effect of them is to provoke images in our mind that, if we choose to, we attach some level of importance to and maybe a label.
I don't think that we choose. It happens subconsciously. How immediate do you think is the time between photons hitting the retina and the emergence of a conscious experience? I would view it as the interpretation occurring prior to the visual image - like a camera picking up photons, transferring that data to a computer program which then translates it into an image. We can always re-interpret an experience via memory - but the initial experience goes through a preliminary, unconscious interpretation. I am not making philosophical claims here, but what I understand the science to be (very broadly speaking). I'd defer to the scientists on this, though, if I am wrong.

The exceptions prove the rule. Think of when your brain makes mistakes in interpreting the incoming information (via photons or sound waves or whatever). Optical illusions and such things that philosophers and psychiatrists love to talk about. They show a level of interpretation occurring unconsciously, under the surface.

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A_Seagull
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Re: Truth vs. Paradigm

Post by A_Seagull » Sun Jun 15, 2014 11:05 pm

While you guys are arguing about the appearance of the éclair or even whether it is real or not..... I am gonna grab it....and eat it!
"Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm dat is one good éclair!"

The point is that my perception of the éclair has been sufficiently accurate that it has enabled me to interact with the real world and to gain pleasure from it. So I can only conclude that my perception of the éclair was 'true'.

uwot
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Re: Truth vs. Paradigm

Post by uwot » Mon Jun 16, 2014 6:15 am

A_Seagull wrote:"Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm dat is one good éclair!"
Well, yes. The point I'm making is that your perceptions are 'true', in that, whatever you are perceiving at any given moment, you can be sure that you are having those perceptions. What you can never be sure about is that those perceptions correspond to your interpretation.
I am one of those
Wyman wrote:...who accept too blandly 1) - that truth is impossible, but say 'ehh, so what.'
that Wyman likes to challenge. I can only assume that is why they are being so obtuse.
Wyman wrote:I also think that acceptance of 1) entails moral relativity and I think I am with Nietzsche and Dostoevski on this.
I don't think that follows. I certainly wouldn't describe myself as a moral relativist, but I am impressed by Wyman's "esoteric knowledge of the history of philosophy and ... mastery of philosophical jargon."

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A_Seagull
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Re: Truth vs. Paradigm

Post by A_Seagull » Mon Jun 16, 2014 12:59 pm

uwot wrote:
A_Seagull wrote:"Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm dat is one good éclair!"
Well, yes. The point I'm making is that your perceptions are 'true', in that, whatever you are perceiving at any given moment, you can be sure that you are having those perceptions. What you can never be sure about is that those perceptions correspond to your interpretation.
I am one of those
I would use a slightly different terminology to you. I would say that you can never be sure that your image of an external world, that has been created from sense data, corresponds to an actual real world.

I would also say that while I am able to use my image of an external world to bring me pleasure, that it really doesn't matter whether there is a perfect correspondence or not.

Wyman
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Re: Truth vs. Paradigm

Post by Wyman » Mon Jun 16, 2014 1:29 pm

I would use a slightly different terminology to you. I would say that you can never be sure that your image of an external world, that has been created from sense data, corresponds to an actual real world.


You can be absolutely sure that the mental image does not correspond to the actual real world. That image may still be useful though.
So uwot, felasco, seagull and I (and probably others here as well) agree that a correspondence theory of knowledge cannot produce 'absolute' truth or certainty. However, it can produce something like substantial truth or 'useful' (pragmatic) truth.

The rest of the conversation is 99% disagreement with terminology. I was trying to take a little step beyond that or at least root out other peoples' theories and views on whether it is possible to get beyond that - felasco has ideas about overcoming that 'humean scepticism' and although I don't have a solution, I do have the motivation to keep looking and have some ideas and intuitions on the subject.

uwot
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Re: Truth vs. Paradigm

Post by uwot » Mon Jun 16, 2014 1:56 pm

A_Seagull wrote:... I would say that you can never be sure that your image of an external world, that has been created from sense data, corresponds to an actual real world.

I would also say that while I am able to use my image of an external world to bring me pleasure, that it really doesn't matter whether there is a perfect correspondence or not.
Well, as Popper said: "It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." but I think that sums up what I am trying to say very succinctly.

uwot
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Re: Truth vs. Paradigm

Post by uwot » Mon Jun 16, 2014 2:15 pm

Wyman wrote:- felasco has ideas about overcoming that 'humean scepticism' and although I don't have a solution, I do have the motivation to keep looking and have some ideas and intuitions on the subject.
By all accounts, Hume was one of the most affable philosophers. Scepticism gets very negative press, generally from people who have a specific ideology they are peddling. The advantage to Humean scepticism is that the world remains a thing of wonder and discovery, and always will. I think many people are motivated to understand the world as it presents itself to them, some people cope better with not 'knowing' than others, religious nuts and right wing loons spring to mind.

Wyman
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Re: Truth vs. Paradigm

Post by Wyman » Mon Jun 16, 2014 8:46 pm

By all accounts, Hume was one of the most affable philosophers. Scepticism gets very negative press, generally from people who have a specific ideology they are peddling. The advantage to Humean scepticism is that the world remains a thing of wonder and discovery, and always will. I think many people are motivated to understand the world as it presents itself to them, some people cope better with not 'knowing' than others, religious nuts and right wing loons spring to mind.
Why does it matter whether Hume was affable?

I suppose that people who have an ideology frown upon scepticism (as it would deny their ideology), but I do not see how this is an argument for scepticism. Maybe it's an ad hominem? I don't know.

What about Humean scepticism allows the world to remain a thing 'of wonder and discovery' where some other belief system denies or impedes this (i.e. what advantage does it confer?)

What allows certain people to 'cope better' with not knowing than others? Disposition, intelligence, secret knowledge, affability, noble breeding? Again this seems to be an ad hominen - 'Most of the people who don't agree with me are either ideologues or religious nuts.' Even if it were true, it is irrelevant to whether or not Hume was right.

Then again, at a certain point arguments fail and we have to go with our gut. If you like Hume and the wonder and discovery of the world, so be it, and consider my questions above as rhetorical.

madera
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Re: Truth vs. Paradigm

Post by madera » Mon Jun 16, 2014 9:06 pm

Wyman wrote:
By all accounts, Hume was one of the most affable philosophers. Scepticism gets very negative press, generally from people who have a specific ideology they are peddling. The advantage to Humean scepticism is that the world remains a thing of wonder and discovery, and always will. I think many people are motivated to understand the world as it presents itself to them, some people cope better with not 'knowing' than others, religious nuts and right wing loons spring to mind.
Why does it matter whether Hume was affable?

I suppose that people who have an ideology frown upon scepticism (as it would deny their ideology), but I do not see how this is an argument for scepticism. Maybe it's an ad hominem? I don't know.

What about Humean scepticism allows the world to remain a thing 'of wonder and discovery' where some other belief system denies or impedes this (i.e. what advantage does it confer?)

What allows certain people to 'cope better' with not knowing than others? Disposition, intelligence, secret knowledge, affability, noble breeding? Again this seems to be an ad hominen - 'Most of the people who don't agree with me are either ideologues or religious nuts.' Even if it were true, it is irrelevant to whether or not Hume was right.

Then again, at a certain point arguments fail and we have to go with our gut. If you like Hume and the wonder and discovery of the world, so be it, and consider my questions above as rhetorical.
This is not a reply to your post.
I just want to say that truth is in the eyes of the beholder and most beholders here are blind.

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A_Seagull
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Re: Truth vs. Paradigm

Post by A_Seagull » Mon Jun 16, 2014 10:53 pm

I have a theory that perception is based, going back to a brain's primeval origins, upon an algorithm of searching for patterns in sense data.

I have expounded and expanded this idea in a book: 'The Pattern Paradigm'. Some of you may find it interesting.

I would be happy to debate any issues that arise from it.

Here is a link:
http://bookstore.xlibris.com/Products/S ... adigm.aspx

uwot
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Re: Truth vs. Paradigm

Post by uwot » Tue Jun 17, 2014 7:00 am

Wyman wrote:Why does it matter whether Hume was affable?
For the purposes of a logical argument, it doesn't.
Wyman wrote:I suppose that people who have an ideology frown upon scepticism (as it would deny their ideology), but I do not see how this is an argument for scepticism. Maybe it's an ad hominem? I don't know.
It's not intended as an ad hominem, but any ideology that isn't flexible enough to admit change is foolish, as is anyone who accepts such an ideology.
Wyman wrote:What about Humean scepticism allows the world to remain a thing 'of wonder and discovery' where some other belief system denies or impedes this (i.e. what advantage does it confer?)
I'm not sure what you mean by Humean scepticism, I'm using it rather loosely to cover his general attitude to anything that isn't empirically verifiable. Hume spoke about 'matters of fact' and 'relations of ideas'; empirical data are matters of fact, how we interpret them is relation of ideas. The point is summed up very well by another affable bloke, the great 20th century physicist and enthusiastic bongo player, Richard Feynman:
"It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong."
The advantage is that any new discovery is a further example of wonder and discovery, rather than a potential dent in some pet theory.
Wyman wrote:What allows certain people to 'cope better' with not knowing than others? Disposition, intelligence, secret knowledge, affability, noble breeding?
Intelligence and affability are factors, I suppose, but it's mostly disposition.
Wyman wrote:Again this seems to be an ad hominen - 'Most of the people who don't agree with me are either ideologues or religious nuts.' Even if it were true, it is irrelevant to whether or not Hume was right.
Well, they're the ones which, as I said, spring to mind, but I've no objection to people disagreeing with me for ideological or religious reasons if they are equally accommodating of my point of view.
Wyman wrote:Then again, at a certain point arguments fail and we have to go with our gut. If you like Hume and the wonder and discovery of the world, so be it, and consider my questions above as rhetorical.
Well, yes I do like those things, and I am aware that ultimately arguments, relations of ideas, fail, the fact that you can only 'prove' induction inductively being a case in point. We do therefore choose our epistemology for cultural and psychological reasons. I think that can be put under the umbrella of aesthetics, a sort of Kantian fittingness, but 'gut instinct' works.

uwot
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Re: Truth vs. Paradigm

Post by uwot » Tue Jun 17, 2014 8:37 am

A_Seagull wrote:I have a theory that perception is based, going back to a brain's primeval origins, upon an algorithm of searching for patterns in sense data.
Sounds plausible. I think our appreciation of mathematics, music and art would support that thesis. I think philosophy too, insofar as it is about recognising patterns in human thought. Mind you, a lot of what people present as philosophy is utterly shambolic.
A_Seagull wrote:I have expounded and expanded this idea in a book: 'The Pattern Paradigm'. Some of you may find it interesting.
Very possibly. I had a look at the link and could only find the briefest synopsis. Could you flesh it out a bit? Do you have anything other than circumstantial evidence for this algorithm?


madera wrote:I just want to say that truth is in the eyes of the beholder and most beholders here are blind.
That is an unusual use of the word truth. I think most people assume some objectivity. What are they blind to?

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A_Seagull
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Re: Truth vs. Paradigm

Post by A_Seagull » Tue Jun 17, 2014 11:27 am

uwot wrote:
A_Seagull wrote:I have a theory that perception is based, going back to a brain's primeval origins, upon an algorithm of searching for patterns in sense data.
Sounds plausible. I think our appreciation of mathematics, music and art would support that thesis. I think philosophy too, insofar as it is about recognising patterns in human thought. Mind you, a lot of what people present as philosophy is utterly shambolic.

Quite so. But the Pattern Paradigm is not shambolic, quite the opposite in fact.
A_Seagull wrote:I have expounded and expanded this idea in a book: 'The Pattern Paradigm'. Some of you may find it interesting.
Very possibly. I had a look at the link and could only find the briefest synopsis. Could you flesh it out a bit? Do you have anything other than circumstantial evidence for this algorithm?

The evidence for the algorithm is:
1. Long, long ago there was no perception, nor cognition in any biological entity.

2. There is now, in humans and other animals, perception and cognition.

Ergo, the process of perception and cognition originated from an empty slate.

By a process of elimination, the only process by which this can be achieved is through a process of pattern creation from sense data.

PS I can send you an e-copy of the book if you would like.

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