Phenomenological data and absolute certainty

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Terrapin Station
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Re: Phenomenological data and absolute certainty

Post by Terrapin Station » Thu Sep 29, 2016 1:45 pm

It's probably worth noting, by the way, that maybe the best argument for how present phenomenal data qua present phenomenal data could be mistaken is that concept-application could be mistaken. For example, "I see a yellow patch (of color)." The argument goes that what we take to be yellow in that instance might not actually be (the concept) yellow.

However, that argument relies on beliefs about what concepts and language (and meaning, etc.) are in general that I do not buy. Those arguments basically rely on a Wittgensteinian, externalist/social view of concepts, meaning, etc. So in my opinion they fail in that regard. I see it rather as this: If S sees a yellow patch at time Tx, then whatever S is counting as a yellow patch at Tx is a yellow patch for S at Tx, and concepts are always to an individual at a particular time.

Or in other words, I don't accept that one can be somehow wrong about a concept in the first place.

Walker
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Re: Phenomenological data and absolute certainty

Post by Walker » Thu Sep 29, 2016 1:54 pm

akuma's chamber wrote:Sure. I think my point was that the claim of absolute certainty has been one I have not been confident about. I've only considered it reflectively and without much discussion with others. So you could say I buy the claim with 95% confidence at the moment, but I'm hoping for that 95% to either move closer to 100% or closer to 0%. Either way, unpacking the claim more just would make it less ambivalent in general for me. I guess I say 95% because I always assume I may be missing something i.e. blind-spots; and because I have yet to discuss the subject at length with others (this being one of the first times); and so I just wanted some clarity or to just bounce ideas off of people.

At the moment, I don't see how the argument is invalid though. Although one issue I have with it is this apparent paradox:

Can one be absolutely certain that absolute certainty is impossible?
Interpretation of sensory data is an inference of reality, but since folks are receiving the same data and inferring based on the same replicated sensory designs, a working consensus of reality is naturally established for a society of two or more folks.

akuma's chamber
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Re: Phenomenological data and absolute certainty

Post by akuma's chamber » Thu Sep 29, 2016 1:55 pm

Terrapin Station wrote:
akuma's chamber wrote:
FlashDangerpants wrote: Erm, one of us doesn't know what Ontology means. In keeping with the theme of this discussion, I am open to persuasion about which of us that may be.
Well I intentionally used "ontology" there to differentiate it from "Ontology" with a capital "O", similar to how Quine employs it in his "On What There Is" paper. I should have been clear about that. The way I used "ontology" there is as a way to imply how we each have a subjective perspective of reality and being, i.e. we each have personal ontologies about Ontology, if that makes any sense.
I don't think that makes much sense, because you're suggesting that the extension of what you're talking about in your ontology wouldn't match your ontology in the literal sense of it being your philosophy or theory of being/existence. But why would you take the extension of what you're talking about to be different than your ontology? If you were to believe that, you should change your ontology.

Also, I don't recall anything like that in "On What There Is," and quickly scanning through it again just now, I didn't see any capital-O "Ontology" distinction in it. Maybe you're thinking of some other paper? Frankly, it sounds more like some Heideggerian nonsense a la his "being," Being," "beyng," hyphenated "beings" like "being-in-the-world" etc.
I wasn't clear enough, but I suspect I haven't thought this out very well. I meant that Quine uses "ontology" (lower case) to differentiate people's perspectives on being/existence in relation to the subject/branch of philosophy called "Ontology".

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Re: Phenomenological data and absolute certainty

Post by akuma's chamber » Thu Sep 29, 2016 2:01 pm

Terrapin Station wrote:Ah, okay. That makes sense.

I've talked about this a number of times in a number of different milieus over the years. What I've often done is challenged folks to explain how present phenomenal data, as present phenomenal data, not as something that corresponds or not to something else, could be mistaken, and no one has been able to do that. Usually the move by the folks who for whatever reasons would like it to be uncertain at that point is to dismiss it as something (relatively) vacuous. People like to be able to dismiss things they don't like however they can, haha.
Well actually, that's how someone persuaded me to think that absolute certainty is possible too! They challenged me in a similar way to how you described...which has led me here.


As I said in the previous (newly edited) post, one thing I've heard people say is this:

Can you be absolutely certain that absolute certainty is impossible?

(Obviously I tend to think absolute certainty is possible, but still, I wonder whether that (kind of) question is a sort of logical or semantic trick that is generally meaningless because absolute certainty exists. I don't know.)

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Terrapin Station
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Re: Phenomenological data and absolute certainty

Post by Terrapin Station » Thu Sep 29, 2016 2:01 pm

akuma's chamber wrote:I wasn't clear enough, but I suspect I haven't thought this out very well. I meant that Quine uses "ontology" (lower case) to differentiate people's perspectives on being/existence in relation to the subject/branch of philosophy called "Ontology".
But that's what the branch of philosophy called "Ontology" refers to: philosophers' views on being/existence.
Last edited by Terrapin Station on Thu Sep 29, 2016 2:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

akuma's chamber
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Re: Phenomenological data and absolute certainty

Post by akuma's chamber » Thu Sep 29, 2016 2:03 pm

Terrapin Station wrote:
akuma's chamber wrote:I wasn't clear enough, but I suspect I haven't thought this out very well. I meant that Quine uses "ontology" (lower case) to differentiate people's perspectives on being/existence in relation to the subject/branch of philosophy called "Ontology".
But that's what the branch of philosophy called "Ontology" refers to: philosopher's views on being/existence.
Ok, thanks for clarifying.

cladking
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Re: Phenomenological data and absolute certainty

Post by cladking » Sat Oct 01, 2016 9:45 pm

Nothing at all is known or knowable. We don't really know what we are percieving as "self". That something exists that we percieve as the source of sensory information is merely apparent and is equally apparent to all of God's creatures and handiwork. We can't know if this source is as it appears and other individuals exist or not.

But we can adopt a set of precepts, definitions, axioms, and premises with which to study that which is apparent. At least two different such sets exist; one which assumes the apparent, and another that assumes reality can only be understood as it manifests in experiment. The former is used by all animals and was used by man until 4000 years ago and morphed into religion after it was no longer understood. The latter is, of course, modern science.

I have little doubt we'll find that there are more means to understand and process reality in the future.

Everything which is "known" is only true within its metaphysics.

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