Misconceiving Truth

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the Hessian
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Re: Misconceiving Truth

Post by the Hessian » Sat Jun 21, 2014 11:13 pm

I am saturated in truth, where truth is a quality of a proposition that is justified by the world. My being, as being in the world, entails it. I am bombarded, moment by moment, by facts. The world is nothing other than the totality of facts.

Knowledge is the collection of facts. (Thanks Gee).

That any individual fact does not explicitly describe every other fact is irrelevant to its being true. What would such a totalizing fact even look like? If I make a proposition about a book, as a book, is it any more or less true than a proposition that I make about the molecules of the book, the atoms of the book, the sub-atomic particles of the book, the collection of books to which it belongs, etc? There are, it seems to me, an infinite number of facts.

Our thinking determines the kinds of facts can be known. Thinking is constrained by the structure of language, the potency of concepts and the interface of technology. Scientific thinking has advanced so far that we are now required to build super-colliders in order to find the facts that will make its propositions true.

No fact has any meaning, insofar as by meaning we mean value. The world, as the totality of facts, is without meaning. Value is not of the world.

Self-consciousness exists not as a fact, but as a creator of meaning. Facts experienced in a meaningful way. This meaning does not exist in the world; it is an experience of the world.

Given all of this, what kind of nonsense is the notion of philosophical knowledge? What kind of facts does philosophy claim to have knowledge of?

And despite all of this, I absolutely agree with Gee when he says, increduously I might add, "All of the most important things in life, the things that make life worth living are not real." They are not real. But they are the most important things in life.

They are not of this world. And this is the conundrum that philosophy has faced since humans first started to abstract their thinking beyond the facts.

Gee
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Re: Misconceiving Truth

Post by Gee » Sat Jun 21, 2014 11:19 pm

Hessian;

Please consider my following responses to your thoughtful post.
the Hessian wrote:A good night's sleep helps the mind articulate a way forward for this conversation.
Agreed.
the Hessian wrote:
  • Truth: a quality of a statement one makes about the real such that there is something in the real that justifies the statement. Truth is synonymous with Gee's definition of a "fact"
  • Absolute truth: effectively nonsense, since it would entail a statement that includes all possible facts. Such a statement does not exist.
  • Subjective truth: a poorly worded concept that is better defined as "meaning." Meaning results from an awareness of facts. It is an interpretive act that is part of the decision making process. It is used to help guide future action. It makes no sense to talk about the truth of a meaning.
  • Wisdom: (Gee's term that I am trying to find a way to include) a quality of a meaning such that it tends to lead to beneficial or agreeable actions
This needs to be tightened up, but I think the basic outline addresses most of the positions laid out in the discussion so far.
This is a good start. There are a few things that I would dispute, but more to the point is that some things are missing. Your first statement regarding truth looks good to me, but it does not explain what "the real" is, so I think it is necessary to include that information.

We know what is real in our subjective minds, but this information comes to us in two different ways, I think. We either observe reality through our senses, or we experience reality. So the "real" is a true reflection of something that we observe or experience. Observed reality can be observed by more than one person, so it is objective; this truth often becomes fact, if it is stable, as it can be confirmed.

Experienced reality is experienced by only one person, so this is a subjective truth. It is difficult to confirm so it does not usually become fact, and often remains truth. But some subjective truths are also common truths; such as, People in love do not see their loved one very clearly. This is true, but not a fact, because some people do see their loved one very clearly. Ben Franklin wrote a proverb (wisdom) about this idea. He wrote, "Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, and half shut ever after". Good advice.

I agree with your definition of Absolute truth, and would suggest that if you replace the word "meaning" with the word "experience", you will have a much better definition of subjective truth.
the Hessian wrote:Metaphysics comes from the drive to provide an ontological status to our interpretive processes. We want to give fact status to our [observations and experiences] meanings, which is where the shit hits the fan.
I did not give a very complete definition of wisdom, so I will write a post on that soon.

G

the Hessian
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Re: Misconceiving Truth

Post by the Hessian » Sat Jun 21, 2014 11:28 pm

Gee,

Thank you for responding. I will reflect on what you have written. But one thing jumps out at me immediately, so I will share it with you immediately fully aware that it could change once I think further on what you have written.
Gee wrote: We know what is real in our subjective minds, but this information comes to us in two different ways, I think. We either observe reality through our senses, or we experience reality.
I would dissolve the two different ways into one. I am inclined to say that when we "observe reality through our senses" that we are actually "experiencing an observation of reality." I don't think what you present as two different ways are actually different at all.

Ginkgo
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Re: Misconceiving Truth

Post by Ginkgo » Sat Jun 21, 2014 11:46 pm

Gee wrote:Ginko;

Please consider my following responses.
Ginkgo wrote: A lot of people are not pleased with Dennett, but this sayings nothing about the rightness or wrongness of this theory. I think he is difficult to understand because what he says is mostly counter intuitive, but again this has nothing to do with rightness or wrongness.
I should clear something up here. I did not state that Dennett is "difficult" to understand because I can not absorb his ideas; I stated that he is "difficult" to understand because I do not understand why the man would lie through his teeth. He is a philosopher, and as such should respect truth.

I was not asked if his theories were "right" or "wrong". Sappo de Miranda asked me how I "felt" about Dennett's philosophy, and that is what I answered.
Ginkgo wrote:Yes, Dennett says consciousness is an illusion, but he is definitely not a dualist in making this claim. Dennett provides us with a classical materialist explanation for consciousness. By saying that consciousness is an illusion Dennett actually means there is no actual first person account of consciousness. Another way of saying this would be that the observer of our thoughts is just an illusion.
So what he is saying is that there is no "self". Subjectivity does not actually exist -- it is an illusion. Since he can not find a "self" in the brain, it must not exist. Brilliant! Except this is not a new idea. Most people like to believe that only humans have subjectivity, because it is a lot easier to eat other species for dinner with that mind-set. And I believe that the Nazis were sure that the Jews did not actually have a self or subjectivity. And what about those Plantation owners in the South? Didn't they argue that it was alright to sell a slave's children because the slave would get over it soon just like other farm animals? I am sure that those slaves must also have not had a subjective "self".

So this would mean that free will is a bunch of silliness. Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness takes on whole new meanings, and self-control and/or self-respect don't really have any meaning. Of course people will have to be controlled from the outside just as other animals are. Some people might think this beneath the dignity of humans, but let us be frank, if subjectivity does not exist, then neither does dignity.

So since self-respect and dignity do not actually exist, as they are just illusion, then manners are irrelevant. In which case, I can be free to state that I think that Dennett is an ass. It won't hurt his feelings or insult him, because he does not actually exist -- he is just an illusion in a body.
Ginkgo wrote:According to Dennett's theory "google" could becomes conscious given enough time and complexity. Dennett is not a dualist because the "illusion" is not a division of consciousness.
According to Dennett's theory, he could be a philosopher, but so far, he is striking zero with these theories.

G

Please be aware I am only explaining Dennett's theory, this doesn't mean I support his theory. I know this all seems rather bizarre but Dennett it is actually consistent with the the scientific method. This particular method is the process of defining and measuring phenomenon that is not directly measurable. So he is not actually "lying through his teeth", he is implementing a methodology that is applicable to science. Neuroscience and neurophilosophy actually support him in this respect.

I guess the other important point is that science is not actually saying just because we cannot find a self it doesn't exist. The search for "self" in neuroscience is centered on the neural correlates of consciousness. Jesse Prinz is especially relevant in this area with his
A.I.R theory of consciousness.

No-self theories are a bit weird from my point of view, but it is the basis for some Eastern religions. Unfortunately, Eastern religions are not may thing so I don't know much about how no-self and free will pans out with them.

Ginkgo
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Re: Re:

Post by Ginkgo » Sun Jun 22, 2014 12:02 am

cladking wrote: Modern language assumes a single perspective from infinite distance.
You'll have to unpack this bit for me, I have no idea what you are trying to say in relation to language.

Gee
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Re: Misconceiving Truth

Post by Gee » Sun Jun 22, 2014 12:28 am

the Hessian wrote:Gee,

Thank you for responding. I will reflect on what you have written. But one thing jumps out at me immediately, so I will share it with you immediately fully aware that it could change once I think further on what you have written.
Gee wrote: We know what is real in our subjective minds, but this information comes to us in two different ways, I think. We either observe reality through our senses, or we experience reality.
I would dissolve the two different ways into one. I am inclined to say that when we "observe reality through our senses" that we are actually "experiencing an observation of reality." I don't think what you present as two different ways are actually different at all.
Hessian;

Actually, you are correct. We do experience our observations of reality. The only difference is that some of those ways are confirmable and some are not, so I was trying to find the right words to explain this difference. We get information from a lot of different sources, but some of those sources do not seem to have a physical route that can be traced. Science takes the physical route, through the senses and comes up with objective truths that have the potential to become facts. But we also get information internally from emotion, awareness, and the self, but this is not traceable, and not really confirmable. This is the information that is often attributed to spirituality, the paranormal, or "God" and is most often confirmed through religion -- it is subjective information.

So we have two divisions of incoming knowledge, hence the dualism wars of science vs religion. I generally like to send science and religion to their respective corners until they can behave, and I just think about philosophy -- truth.

If you can think of a better way to explain these divisions, let me know.

G

cladking
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Re: Re:

Post by cladking » Sun Jun 22, 2014 10:41 pm

Ginkgo wrote:
cladking wrote: Modern language assumes a single perspective from infinite distance.
You'll have to unpack this bit for me, I have no idea what you are trying to say in relation to language.

This is a difficult concept to communicate in modern language. Let me try.

We look at a clock on the wall and say "there is a clock on the wall". We might say this even if there were two clocks on the wall. But the statement has very little real meaning except to communicate the concept that some clock exists and is on some wall. We see the clock from a perspective removed from both the clock and the wall so the statement has meaning from this perspective; there is a clock somewhere and this clock is on a wall at that location which is remote from our current position. Everyone knows what it means. Each individual might understand it a little differently since clocks evolve over time and walls come in all shapes and sizes but we all pretty much know that a "time keeping device is appended to an opaque room divider which may or may not help support a building". We see this as we know time keeping devices and walls. There is likely more meaning to be added to this as such a sentence has little commnicative ability alone. But we see what we know and we see it remotely. This perspective is simply assumed in modern language. It is the same perspective used in blueprints and since lines lay on top of each other the drawinging has to be turned to three different angles to see the entire "object". We say "Copenhagen" and most of us see a map or some other perspective we know.

It's all this knowledge we use to deal with and function in the world. It is knowledge which is remote from the object of the knowledge and is learned rather than instinctive. If a bird saw a cat from infinite distance and flicked through its mental rolodex to ascertain the danger it would be lunch. When the bird sees a "tree" it doesn't see the concept of a tree from infinite distance but rather it sees the individual tree and the life it's been known to harbor. If it's an unfamiliar tree then it's looking for specific branches on which to land. It tries to see this perch from every angle and to look out from the new perspective even before it lands.

It's this seeing things from a distance and seeing what we know that is caused by language. From infinitely far away we can see only what we know though this is a poetic way to state it. The bird doesn't know how it knows to build a nest but it can see the nest from four dimensions and "instinct" guides its ability to weave twigs, branches, and bits of plastic bottles.

I believe humans are functioning at a very low level because of the difficulty of adapting knowledge to their enviroment and then the world functions at much lower level because of the difficulty of adapting human potential to human tasks. Essentially the problem is that the confusion engendered by the adoption of modern language is still with us. The primary problem is communication and secondarily it's the unnatural way that systems have evolved.

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Arising_uk
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Re: Re:

Post by Arising_uk » Mon Jun 23, 2014 3:07 am

HexHammer wrote:Who talks about flat plane? Only you!
You brought up the idea that people who thought triangles can't have three ninety degree angles were wrong. They think this because when they learnt geometry they learnt the geometry of triangles on a flat plane and the law that the interior angles of such a triangle sum to one hundred and eighty degrees, as such they cannot have more than one right angle so in this case they are right. Its when you change to a sphere that you can have such a thing as a triangle with more than one right angle.
You shoehorn an irrelevant property into the equation, forcing a faulty answer.
So no the surface a shape is on is not an irrelevant property.

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HexHammer
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Re: Re:

Post by HexHammer » Mon Jun 23, 2014 3:22 am

Arising_uk wrote:
HexHammer wrote:Who talks about flat plane? Only you!
You brought up the idea that people who thought triangles can't have three ninety degree angles were wrong. They think this because when they learnt geometry they learnt the geometry of triangles on a flat plane and the law that the interior angles of such a triangle sum to one hundred and eighty degrees, as such they cannot have more than one right angle so in this case they are right. Its when you change to a sphere that you can have such a thing as a triangle with more than one right angle.
You shoehorn an irrelevant property into the equation, forcing a faulty answer.
So no the surface a shape is on is not an irrelevant property.
..and they learn that electrons orbin only in circular paths, yearh..
Once people gets higher learning they will learn new things that often contradicts the previous learned.

The triangle I talk about is ADVANCED geometry ..........OM*G!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Arising_uk
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Re: Re:

Post by Arising_uk » Mon Jun 23, 2014 3:54 am

cladking wrote:Any angle can be projected onto a plane as a 90 degree angle. Each triangle has three angles so any triangle can be seen to have three 90 degree angles. To see these three 90 degree angles requires at least two more perspectives than you begin the exercise.
Not saying what you say is not true as my knowledge of projective geometry is sparse but you'll have to show me a triangle on a flat plane that has three right angles please.

If its a projection then don't yo have two triangles with a mapping between them?
This is the nature of the real world. If you say that a triangle can't have more than one 90 degree angle than you are forcing an infinite perspective onto the question. ...
Again you'd have to explain please. Although this is not what I say as my thought is that I'm talking about limiting cases.
This is more the effect of language than the nature of a triangle. Modern language assumes a single perspective from infinite distance.
I'd have thought it more to do with vision and space than language?
From the edge a triangle is a straight line if it's viewed from the 4th dimension a rotating tringle is a pyramid or more specifically a cone.
All to do with spaces and motion yes?

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Arising_uk
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Re: Re:

Post by Arising_uk » Mon Jun 23, 2014 3:57 am

HexHammer wrote:..and they learn that electrons orbin only in circular paths, yearh..
Once people gets higher learning they will learn new things that often contradicts the previous learned.

The triangle I talk about is ADVANCED geometry ..........OM*G!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Not quite advanced just not Euclidian and nothing is contradicted, just limiting cases. So for example Newton's laws are not contradicted by Einstein's, just limited.

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Re: Re:

Post by Gee » Mon Jun 23, 2014 4:04 am

cladking wrote:It's all this knowledge we use to deal with and function in the world. It is knowledge which is remote from the object of the knowledge and is learned rather than instinctive. If a bird saw a cat from infinite distance and flicked through its mental rolodex to ascertain the danger it would be lunch. When the bird sees a "tree" it doesn't see the concept of a tree from infinite distance but rather it sees the individual tree and the life it's been known to harbor. If it's an unfamiliar tree then it's looking for specific branches on which to land. It tries to see this perch from every angle and to look out from the new perspective even before it lands.

It's this seeing things from a distance and seeing what we know that is caused by language. From infinitely far away we can see only what we know though this is a poetic way to state it. The bird doesn't know how it knows to build a nest but it can see the nest from four dimensions and "instinct" guides its ability to weave twigs, branches, and bits of plastic bottles.

I believe humans are functioning at a very low level because of the difficulty of adapting knowledge to their environment and then the world functions at much lower level because of the difficulty of adapting human potential to human tasks. Essentially the problem is that the confusion engendered by the adoption of modern language is still with us. The primary problem is communication and secondarily it's the unnatural way that systems have evolved.
Cladking;

Of all the times you stated that language was a problem in communication, in this forum and the last forum, I really did not understand what you were talking about. I believed that there was some validity to your statements, but did not understand it. The above was very helpful.

If you look in the thread, "Pure Consciousness?", about two or three pages back, you will find a discussion between Greylorn and me regarding a two bucket analogy that is from his book. He theorizes that the "soul" is analog, but the brain is digital. My interpretation of the "soul" is a sub/unconscious aspect of mind, and my understanding of "analog" is that it is flowing and much like radio waves. In order for the analog (sub/unconscious) knowledge, which is fuller and more whole, to be known in the rational aspect of mind, the information has to be digitized. It is digitized by breaking it down into pieces, and the tool that we use to break it down into individual thoughts is language. So transferring knowledge from the sub/unconscious and instinctive aspects of mind, means breaking it down into language, which would seriously reduce a lot of the information and remove the "wholeness" of the knowledge.

Greylorn calls this fooling the rational aspect of mind into thinking that it is conscious. I agree and seriously doubt that the rational aspect of mind is where the "self" or "me" resides -- it has to be in the sub/unconscious aspect. Maybe four thousand years ago there seems to have been an explosion of rational thought which coincides with the development of language and written communication. But this time frame also marks the beginning of a loss of actual knowledge, self knowledge, and wisdom (proverbs). The rational aspect of mind has no more regard for truth than a computer does, so it is not surprising that the wholeness of truth and wisdom is being lost.

G

cladking
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Re: Re:

Post by cladking » Mon Jun 23, 2014 4:49 am

Let me get back to you but your analogy might be what I've found from another direction.
It's going to take a while to digest that thread.

I think what had me excited was the concept that perhaps "mind" was analog and that "thought" is digital. In a very real way I believe this is really true. What I most like about the concept is that it's easier to express the concept that before language change "thought" was analog as well.

This probably isn't relevant in the other thread since at least a couple posters believe thought and language are distinct. I believe most thought is in language, but then, I believe this is a little less true for me. How else to explain the ability to finish a sentence that was started with no clue where it was headed?
Last edited by cladking on Mon Jun 23, 2014 3:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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henry quirk
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Post by henry quirk » Mon Jun 23, 2014 2:21 pm

Gee,

I've pretty much lost interest in this thread...said everything I wanted to (though perhaps not as clearly, directly, and plainly as I thought).

Right now: not carin' an awful lot if any one agrees with, or understands, what I've posted.

As a parting gift: here's a lil sumthin'-sumthin' (for you or any one) to gnaw on...

To me: I am always 'subject'.
To you: I am always 'object'.
To me: you are always 'object'.
To you: you are always 'subject'.

Make of it what you like...or not.

'nuff said

Gee
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Re: Misconceiving Truth

Post by Gee » Tue Jun 24, 2014 9:30 am

Hessian;

I promised a post on wisdom, and since I can't seem to get focused back on my own thread, I will do the wisdom post now. A few years ago at another forum, a member started a thread "Truth v Wisdom". In that thread he gave the example that if a wife asks her husband how her butt looks in this dress, and he answers honestly, he could end up sleeping on the couch. But if he is wise and answers carefully, he will sleep in a nice warm bed. So being honest, truthful, and being wise, which sometimes means deceitful, do not seem compatible. Yet philosophy is supposed to be a study of truth and is about a love of wisdom. This does not add up. He had a point.

So I went to the best source that I knew of, the stories of King Solomon. Solomon's wisdom has been respected for thousands of years, so I chose two of the most well-known stories to study -- about the brothers, who could not divide their land equitably, and the babe that was to be cut in half.

Regarding the brothers: Two brothers inherited their father's land when he passed, but they each wanted their own homes and families so they needed to divide the land. But they could not come to agreement, each feeling that the other was asking for too much, so they brought the case to Solomon for his wisdom. Solomon could have simply drawn a line down the middle, but he did not know where the good pasture land was, or what was good land for tilling, or where the water flowed, or if an area flooded. He could have sent a team to investigate, but that still would not guarantee an equitable division. The truth of the matter was that there was no one else, who knew the land better than the brothers who had lived on the land. They should divide it.

Solomon told the first brother that he could divide the land in any way that he chose, then he told the second brother that he could choose the half that he wanted. Knowing that he could end up with either half, the first brother would make a very equitable division.

Clearly, Solomon knew the competitive nature of brothers, and he probably knew that in grief, people often want more than they should have because they are trying to fill up the hole created by the grief. Solomon also knew that he lacked information about the land. And he knew that the brothers lied, as they could and did divide the land equitably -- they just needed motivation. So there are a lot of perspectives and a lot of truth that Solomon had to know to make this decision.

Regarding the babe: Two mothers and two infants were brought before him -- one infant alive, the other dead. Both mothers claimed the live infant. These women lived in the same household and were probably related. One of them rolled over on her babe and suffocated it in the night (Or maybe it was Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, who knows?) then traded her babe with the live babe. This would be an extremely difficult case to judge. First, consider that you would be viewing a dead babe, which could scatter anyone's wits, then consider that both women would be hysterical. It is doubtful that anyone besides the mothers would be able to tell the babes apart as they would have been confined with their mothers until they were older. There was no other solution except to get one of these mothers to tell the truth.

Now Solomon could have had the women beaten until someone fessed up, but that would entail beating an innocent woman and beating a grief stricken woman. No DNA testing back then. So Solomon orders that the babe be cut in half, and each mother be given a half. Upon hearing this, the true Mother of the babe threw herself on the ground and declared herself a liar. She begged that the babe be given to the other woman whole. In doing this, she proved herself to be the true Mother.

In analyzing this case, we find that there was very little that Solomon could know. There was almost no truth, and his judgment was decided on three lies. One mother lied about the babe being hers, Solomon lied about cutting it in half, the true Mother lied and denied her own child in order to save it -- three lies. The only truth that we can say existed here, is the truth that a Mother will love her child above herself. So in order to judge this case, Solomon had to know the truth about lies.

So wisdom is knowing truth, it is knowing perspectives, and it is knowing the truth about lies. This is not something that a person can learn overnight, and it not something that can be tested for in a laboratory. Wisdom is accrued over time and tested over time, so when we find a little wisdom, we often write it down to keep it. This is known as Proverbs.

I once read a proverb that said that a man should build his house east of his field. Well, I don't build houses and I am not a farmer, so this did not apply to me. But it was in the winter when I read this, and after a few days I realized that I fought the sun on the way to work and on the way home -- glaring in my eyes every day. I read the proverb again and realized that if I worked west of my house, life would be more pleasant.

Facts are used to build hypotheses and theories.

Truth is used to build wisdom and proverbs.

Both make life better.

G

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