Authentic vs. Vicarious?

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thedoc
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Authentic vs. Vicarious?

Post by thedoc » Wed Nov 05, 2014 6:09 pm

Are vicarious experiences as valid as authentic ones that you have experienced yourself. Everyone has stories that relate to their lives, some have been lived directly, some are experiences of others and those stories are part of ones life.

uwot
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Re: Authentic vs. Vicarious?

Post by uwot » Wed Nov 05, 2014 11:50 pm

thedoc wrote:Are vicarious experiences as valid as authentic ones that you have experienced yourself. Everyone has stories that relate to their lives, some have been lived directly, some are experiences of others and those stories are part of ones life.
I don't know, thedoc, but I love the question. What philosophers know (the less bonkers ones, at any rate) is that all experience of 'things' is vicarious. We only experience phenomena, we have no direct perception of the thing that is responsible for phenomena (ding an sich/the thing itself). This raises the possibility that someone else's interpretation of any phenomenon is a better description of the thing itself than your own. In which case, it is possible that you could have a better understanding of reality by listening to someone else rather than experience it yourself. There are several contributors to this forum for whom this is true all of the time.
You make a very good point that a lot of our 'Truth' is what other people tell us. As a general rule, I recommend suspending judgement on anything that people say that doesn't agree with things that you have seen happen yourself, and can be accommodated in a direct cause and effect chain.

Ginkgo
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Re: Authentic vs. Vicarious?

Post by Ginkgo » Thu Nov 06, 2014 12:10 am

uwot wrote:
thedoc wrote:Are vicarious experiences as valid as authentic ones that you have experienced yourself. Everyone has stories that relate to their lives, some have been lived directly, some are experiences of others and those stories are part of ones life.
I don't know, thedoc, but I love the question. What philosophers know (the less bonkers ones, at any rate) is that all experience of 'things' is vicarious. We only experience phenomena, we have no direct perception of the thing that is responsible for phenomena (ding an sich/the thing itself). This raises the possibility that someone else's interpretation of any phenomenon is a better description of the thing itself than your own. In which case, it is possible that you could have a better understanding of reality by listening to someone else rather than experience it yourself. There are several contributors to this forum for whom this is true all of the time.
You make a very good point that a lot of our 'Truth' is what other people tell us. As a general rule, I recommend suspending judgement on anything that people say that doesn't agree with things that you have seen happen yourself, and can be accommodated in a direct cause and effect chain.
Hi uwot and doc

It is an interesting question. However, I take a somewhat non-casual approach to the problem. I think there is something wrong with the idea that being able to imagine, remember or recognize experiences is the same as having the experience. This type of 'know-how' knowledge is usually put forward by physicalists as a means disproving qualia.

uwot
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Re: Authentic vs. Vicarious?

Post by uwot » Thu Nov 06, 2014 12:59 am

Ginkgo wrote:I think there is something wrong with the idea that being able to imagine, remember or recognize experiences is the same as having the experience.
I suspect so would thedoc. I certainly would. The point I thought I made is that anyone else's description of the source of qualia might correspond with 'the truth' better than your own.
Last edited by uwot on Thu Nov 06, 2014 7:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

thedoc
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Re: Authentic vs. Vicarious?

Post by thedoc » Thu Nov 06, 2014 3:23 am

uwot wrote:
Ginkgo wrote:I think there is something wrong with the idea that being able to imagine, remember or recognize experiences is the same as having the experience./quote] I suspect so would thedoc. I certainly would. The point I thought I made is that anyone else's description of the source of qualia might correspond with 'the truth' better than your own.

Yes I must agree with this, but while there is no substitute for actually having an experience, there are some that are beyond the means of most people. If I want to learn about atomic structure, I need to rely on the experience and observations of those who actually have access to particle accelerators. If I want to learn about astronomy, I need to rely on those who have access to the large telescopes. I can't drive much over the speed limit without consequences, but I can vicariously ride in a race car, with the driver by watching a race on TV. I'd like to think that I could handle a race car at 200 MPH, but I'm a realist and don't seriously entertain that thought.

As far as other peoples descriptions of events that I have been a part of, there is a problem with some people. I have been blessed (or cursed) with fairly accurate ability to observe and remember, and several times I have encountered people who seemed the value a good story over the truth of the situation. In one case, hearing the same story over again revealed that the story changed significantly with each telling. In another case I had observed a change, and many years later was flatly told by others that what I knew was wrong, (BTW I then verified what I had seen with an authoritative source), that involved the color of highway yield signs that I had observed the year they started to change. I sometimes think that this ability of mine might come from my previous activity of oil painting, where I had to actually look at an object, in order to accurately portray it on canvas. It also fits with my experience as a machinist, and draftsman, in several jobs that I have done. You have to really look at an object to accurately draw it, and you have to really look at the drawing to accurately machine the part.

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henry quirk
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Post by henry quirk » Thu Nov 06, 2014 3:41 pm

Doc, as I say over on the couch...

You can read all the books about fucking you like, interview a thousand folks on the subject, and watch porn till your right arm grows to monumental proportions, but until you actually fuck, you got no clue what it's about.

...and...

You can learn all about a thing (sex, atomics, stars, fast driving) by way of the second-hand account, but you remain removed from it. Till you fuck, peer into the atom (with an extended sense), gaze upon the star (with an extended sense), or drive that car, you are witness, not agent.

You can appreciate the song (and the singer) but till you sing yourself you are just 'audience'.

thedoc
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Re:

Post by thedoc » Thu Nov 06, 2014 8:52 pm

henry quirk wrote:Doc, as I say over on the couch...

You can read all the books about fucking you like, interview a thousand folks on the subject, and watch porn till your right arm grows to monumental proportions, but until you actually fuck, you got no clue what it's about.

...and...

You can learn all about a thing (sex, atomics, stars, fast driving) by way of the second-hand account, but you remain removed from it. Till you fuck, peer into the atom (with an extended sense), gaze upon the star (with an extended sense), or drive that car, you are witness, not agent.

You can appreciate the song (and the singer) but till you sing yourself you are just 'audience'.

Agreed, but for some things I must be content to be witness and not agent.

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henry quirk
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Post by henry quirk » Thu Nov 06, 2014 10:11 pm

Sure, that applies to us all, highlighting that the vicarious is inferior to the authentic.

Impenitent
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Re: Authentic vs. Vicarious?

Post by Impenitent » Thu Nov 06, 2014 10:56 pm

vicarious hallucinations are doubly inauthentic until absorbed through virtual reality devices...

-Imp

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SpheresOfBalance
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Re: Authentic vs. Vicarious?

Post by SpheresOfBalance » Thu Nov 06, 2014 11:08 pm

thedoc wrote:Are vicarious experiences as valid as authentic ones that you have experienced yourself. Everyone has stories that relate to their lives, some have been lived directly, some are experiences of others and those stories are part of ones life.
I see that the actual experience is much more real. It contains much more definition.

What would you rather do, shoot a real man in the head with a real gun, or hear a war story about such a thing? I'll vote for the war story every time, as really killing anyone for any reason is something I never really want to do.

So in the case of something horrible, I vote for vicarious experience. If on the other hand it's enjoyable, like sex, eating fine food, drinking a fine wine, or listening to music, authentic definitely gets my vote. ;)

uwot
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Re: Authentic vs. Vicarious?

Post by uwot » Thu Nov 06, 2014 11:26 pm

I think it is worth distinguishing between experience, a report of an experience and an interpretation of an experience.
As Henry Quirk points out, there are some things for which a report is no substitute for the experience, but when it comes to interpretation, how do you select one over another?

Ginkgo
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Re: Authentic vs. Vicarious?

Post by Ginkgo » Thu Nov 06, 2014 11:37 pm

uwot wrote:I think it is worth distinguishing between experience, a report of an experience and an interpretation of an experience.
As Henry Quirk points out, there are some things for which a report is no substitute for the experience, but when it comes to interpretation, how do you select one over another?
Possibly the one that most resembles, or you think resembles the experiences you already have.

uwot
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Re: Authentic vs. Vicarious?

Post by uwot » Thu Nov 06, 2014 11:45 pm

Well, yes. That would be the one that fits your paradigm, context or just upbringing, a large part of which will be vicarious. Most people can massage or wallop any datum into shape, there aren't many Popperians about.

Ginkgo
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Re: Authentic vs. Vicarious?

Post by Ginkgo » Thu Nov 06, 2014 11:59 pm

uwot wrote:Well, yes. That would be the one that fits your paradigm, context or just upbringing, a large part of which will be vicarious. Most people can massage or wallop any datum into shape, there aren't many Popperians about.
Yes, understanding the data is the same as having the experience, so say the physicalists. This isn't actually my position. However, I am interested in knowing how you see Popper fitting into this.

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Re: Authentic vs. Vicarious?

Post by SpheresOfBalance » Fri Nov 07, 2014 12:14 am

Ginkgo wrote:
uwot wrote:Well, yes. That would be the one that fits your paradigm, context or just upbringing, a large part of which will be vicarious. Most people can massage or wallop any datum into shape, there aren't many Popperians about.
Yes, understanding the data is the same as having the experience, so say the physicalists. This isn't actually my position. However, I am interested in knowing how you see Popper fitting into this.
Ginkgo, I disagree with the physicalists, because it's a fantasy. Sure if it were possible, but the truth is, much more is experienced than they who does the experiencing can relate in words, such that understanding the data is all but impossible. Let us not forget the subconscious of the individual doing the experiencing, most often they themselves don't understand it completely, so how could one with only some of the data, as they fill in the blanks with their imagination. Or at least it is as such considering the current human.

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