Individualism vs. Collectivism

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RCSaunders
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by RCSaunders »

Immanuel Can wrote: Thu Dec 26, 2019 11:28 pm
We're not going to agree on the concept of holism which, to me, has all the same problems as emergence.
I don't think it does. "Emergence" is a supplementary quality supposed to "leap out of" a certain stage of evolutionary development. That's really hokey. But holism is not like that, because everything that has holistic integrity has it all the time...or, as you would say, has it none of the time. Either way, it's not like "emergence."
I cannot argue with that, because that is your view. Since I regard both views as mistaken, I only have what is written by others who believe in emergence and holism and what used to be called the gestalt, to go by. Other's agree with you that there is a difference between holism and emergence, others see them as variations of the, same perennial "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts," thinking, an idea I regard as without foundation.
Immanuel Can wrote: Thu Dec 26, 2019 11:28 pm
You might be surprised to know I understand your, "strong intuitive feel," that something is "missing" from the view that an entity is its qualities and nothing more. It was, I believe, the same kind of sense that, "there has to be something more," that led scientist to assume the existence of luminiferous aether to explain the propagation of electromagnetic waves, especially after the wave nature of light was discovered.

I fear that's a rather unfair analogy. I might as easily say, "the strong intuitive feel" that the Earth was round, or that new lands existed to the West, or that the Earth went around the Sun, led to the "propagation" of the view that all these things were true. Which they were, of course.

So the analogy is question-begging here, at best; and at worst, a little slanted against holism.
I'm sorry you had that impression. The example of aether is not an analogy, only something I think was both understandable and a reasonable assumption at the time. My point was actually meant to explain why I understand the idea that something has to be more than just its qualities. If I had never asked the question myself, "even if a thing is all its qualities, what are they qualities of?" I might not understand. It is because that question seems inevitable to me that I had to discover what is wrong with it, but I do understand it and it is not easy to dismiss.
Immanuel Can wrote: Thu Dec 26, 2019 11:28 pm
Now I have question about the following...I have no idea what, "three levels," you are talking about,
Ontology, epistemology, linguistics.
Ah, the old Kantian false trichotomy: Ontology (Necessary vs. Contingent), Epistemology (A Priori vs. A Posteriori), Language (Analytic vs. Synthetic). You already know what I think of that nonsense.
Immanuel Can wrote: Thu Dec 26, 2019 11:28 pm
...or what an, "epistemological response to the presence of an ontological entity," is.
Let's put it in a little story.

You're walking down an alley. Suddenly, a black shape launches itself at you. Your surprise elicits a response in verbal form.

The ontological fact: in reality, there is a wolf attacking you. Epistemologically, though, you think it's your neighbour's big dog. Linguistically, you yell "Down, boy." Now, the ontological fact is that you are going to eaten. The epistemological perspective you hold, though, is that your bloody neighbour has let his Alsatian off the chain again. And your linguistic response, though sponsored by the ontological facts of being attacked and the epistemological interpretation you have that tells you this is your neighbour's dog, leads you to the absurd act of addressing a wolf in English.

Ontology is not epistemology. Epistemology is not linguistics. Linguistics is not ontology. But in the analogy, all three are still related. Without the ontological fact of the wolf, there would be no epistemological belief in your mind that your neighbour had let his dog out, and you would not utter any linguistic response.
How do you hold the thought, "your bloody neighbour has let his Alsatian off the chain again," without language. You can only think that, or any other thought, with words. There is only one kind of human knowledge, verbal knowledge gained and held by means of langauge.
Immanuel Can wrote: Thu Dec 26, 2019 11:28 pm So the ontology causes the epistemology which causes the linguistics. But they are not identical, nor equal in any sense.
This is so wrong! Nothing, "causes," epistemology any more than rivers and mountains, "cause," geography, or highways cause maps. Even if what you mean is, "the ontological (entities) cause the epsistemological (i.e. knowledge)," it is not true. Knowledge is not something that, "happens to," human beings, all knowledge is learned and learning is something human beings do, and from a very early age must choose to do. It is also impossible to learn anything without language, and language itself is the very first knowledge human beings learn. Language is the method of epistemology. Without language, there is no epistemology.
Immanuel Can wrote: Thu Dec 26, 2019 11:28 pm ... I'm saying is that for me, as a human being, my epistemology is always somewhat flawed and imperfect: I see the chair, but only one side of it, at one time. I don't know the chair as it is, in its totality -- I don't perceive the utter and complete truth about its reality. I see it as a bunch of brown lines.

However, God is not limited to that sort of epistemology. He can know the complete truth about the reality of the chair...He can see it from all sides, in all dimensions, all at once. Thus, His assessment about it will be correct, no matter how flawed mine is. There is a reality outside of the partial "reality" I see..reality as it is in the mind of God.
First of all, you are confusing perception, ("seeing"), with knowledge. Our knowledge is about what we see (and perceive in every other way), but seeing is not knowledge, it is only the direct apprehension of what our knowledge is about. "Seeing a chair," is not, "knowing it is a chair or what chair is."

Secondly, if we see a chair as it actually exists we must not be able to see all sides and dimensions at once, because that would a perceptual distortion. All that is perceived is always in its total ontological context, which includes all its relationships to all other entities, including the perceiver. If a chair or anything else had the same appearance in all contexts it would be deceptive.

Now I know what, "seeing," is, because I do it, and I know if something actually saw things as though they had no context (relationships to anything else, like being able to see all sides and dimensions at once) it would be delusion.
Immanuel Can wrote: Thu Dec 26, 2019 11:28 pm
I know I have certain knowledge of reality and its nature.
Oh, I think that's manifestly untrue. You aren't really certain of anything...unless I am, by accident, speaking to God. You're certainly not warranted in your assertion of certainty, if you're still human. For all humans are merely local to their physical and geographical location, and to the time in which they are found. We are not omniscient: and omniscience is the sine qua non of true and absolute certainty.

I think what you must mean is that you feel certain. Which might be true, but might not be warranted.
I'm afraid you've got me. It is a feeling that makes me know I'm certain. I discovered it when I was still in school, and it is the reason I always had a perfect score on multiple choice tests. As I looked at each possible answer my left earlobe would tingle when I read the right answer. It never failed. So now when I have a possible question about anything I just have to think about an answer and the right answer always causes my left earlobe to tingle and I'm certain I'm right.

Nonsense, right!? So is the idea that any other kind of, "feeling," has anything to do with certainty. In my experience I've had to make choices that I did not, "feel," comfortable making, even when I was absolutely certain they were right, contrary to my feelings. And they were right, because they were based on reason, not feelings.

Now if you want to claim that it is impossible for you to be certain of anything I'm perfectly willing to take your word for it, but you are a bit out-of-bounds when you claim the same defect in others, whose minds you cannot read or know. Which is interesting in itself, because it raises the question, how can you know what God knows if what is in God's mind is impossible for you to know? Since you're not infallible or omniscient how could you possibly know if another mind is?

I think the reason you doubt that certainty is possible is because you have an unusual idea of what knowledge is. You frequently use the words, "omniscient," and, "infallible," as though they were the sole criteria for knowledge. It is not necessary to know everything to know anything and it is not necessary to never make a mistake to have knowledge that is not mistaken. By the time one is an adult one has an almost endless amount of knowledge without which he could not survive a day because everything a human being does must be consciously chosen and no right choice can be made without knowledge.

From the moment you wake up in the morning to the time you finally leave to go to work you have performed thousands of little acts that have required enormous amounts of knowledge all of which are so certain you take them for granted. You have to know what every article of clothing you put on is, how it must be worn, what buttons are, a zipper is, how to tie shoe laces or your tie. If you shower and shave in the morning you must know what a razor is, your shaving cream is, what hot and cold water are and how to adjust them. You must know what soap is, and maybe shampoo, and what a towel is and how to use it. Then you must make your breakfast and know what coffee is and what a coffee maker is and how to set it up. You have to know what a coffee cup is, and what milk and sugar are, if you use them, and where they are. Whatever you have for breakfast, you must know what it is, an egg, cereal, toast, muffin, and how to prepare them. If you're conscientious enough to clean up after yourself, you must load up the dishwasher, and of course know what that is and how to do it. There is so much knowledge required for even the most routine aspects of life most are never aware of it. You have to know what every utensil you use is as well as how to use them, what a closet is, a cabinet, a stove, a burner or heating coil are, and how to adjust them, what a clock is and how to tell time, and ... well you know the list is endless.

Now you can say you are not certain what a spoon is, or that the device you made your toast in is only statistically likely to be a toaster, or that your car, in another universe, might actually be a pumpkin, but to everyone else, that kind of thinking only shows up in fairy tales, insane asylums, Dostoevsky, Kafka, or Kant's philosophy. I know you'll think I'm exaggerating, perhaps, or denigrating your view, but I am seriously only saying that is exactly what you, and every other anti-intellectual anti-certainty philosopher, who claims true certain knowledge is impossible sounds like.
Immanuel Can wrote: Thu Dec 26, 2019 11:28 pm Have a happy new year, RC.
Well, the same to you, of course, though I have to wonder exactly what you are wishing me, if we cannot be certain what happiness is, or what a year is, especially a new one. Well I'm certain I know what they are, and I'll just go with that.

Since I could not possibly wish you anything better, IC, I hope your new year will be as full of joy and meaning as mine.

RC
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Immanuel Can
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Immanuel Can »

RCSaunders wrote: Tue Dec 31, 2019 5:49 pm I cannot argue with that, because that is your view.
I have no problem with that, RC. Debating is how we get anywhere. But we may have both already said what we can on that subject.
Immanuel Can wrote: Thu Dec 26, 2019 11:28 pm ...So the analogy is question-begging here, at best; and at worst, a little slanted against holism.
I'm sorry you had that impression.
I'm not offended at all. However, I don't think we can justify a dismissal of holistic integrity by comparing it to one or another failed scientific hypotheses. We would have to show that such an analogy was just. Holism, rather than being a failed hypothesis, is a very lively one -- so lively, in fact, that "the sum is greater than its parts" has become a ubiquitous axiom.
Immanuel Can wrote: Thu Dec 26, 2019 11:28 pm
Now I have question about the following...I have no idea what, "three levels," you are talking about,
Ontology, epistemology, linguistics.
Ah, the old Kantian false trichotomy..
No, I'm not channelling Kant, and I certainly didn't cite him.
How do you hold the thought, "your bloody neighbour has let his Alsatian off the chain again," without language.
Actually, rather easily and automatically. What's more likely to go through your head is a rush of adrenaline, and some noise like "aaaaauggh." But buried in your reaction is going to be a pre-linguistic assumption about the identity of your assailant, processed at the level of the midbrain, and which you have no time to put into real words at all. If you knew it was a wolf, you might grab an object and fight; if you thought it was the neighbour's Alsatian, you might just try to protect your suit from muddy paws. But your choice of reaction reveals your pre-linguistc assumption about the level of risk to which you are subject.

That's routine.
You can only think that, or any other thought, with words.
Apparently not true. Babies can think, even before they acquire language.
There is only one kind of human knowledge, verbal knowledge gained and held by means of langauge.
\
No, that's not so. Vicarious knowledge is passed on only through language, perhaps; but existential knowledge is lived and experienced, often in a way that is prior to any ability to articulate what has happened.
Immanuel Can wrote: Thu Dec 26, 2019 11:28 pm So the ontology causes the epistemology which causes the linguistics. But they are not identical, nor equal in any sense.
This is so wrong! Nothing, "causes," epistemology...
Oh, darn...you went off on the word "causes," RC. Let me fix that. Let me say "induces," "precipitates" or "stimulates" instead of the word "causes."
First of all, you are confusing perception, ("seeing"), with knowledge.
No, I don't think so.
Our knowledge is about what we see (and perceive in every other way), but seeing is not knowledge, it is only the direct apprehension of what our knowledge is about. "Seeing a chair," is not, "knowing it is a chair or what chair is."
Even idomatically, we say "I see," when we mean "I know," as in "I see what you mean." But that doesn't mean we're confused about which we're doing. It just means that our faculty of sight and our powers of apprehension are closely related.
...ontological context...
There's no such thing. The ontology of an entity, in the way I would use the word, and in the way I think philosophy generally does, is not context-dependent. To say, "A cat is on the mat" is not to say that if the mat is replaced with a cushion then the same entity placed on it will cease to be a cat. The ontological identity of the cat is stable, regardless of context.
Now I know what, "seeing," is, because I do it, and I know if something actually saw things as though they had no context (relationships to anything else, like being able to see all sides and dimensions at once) it would be delusion.
Not at all. If you could do it, it might well be a revelation. Because if you have only ever seen one side of the chair, why would we think you know less about it, or have become deluded, if you are able to see two, three or four sides?

I think Picasso and the Cubists were working on similar ideas: multi-perspective viewing must necessarily be more accurate and informative than single-perspective viewing: the only problem is that only God could conceivably do it. Of course, it would be a great thing for us if we could, but we cannot.
Immanuel Can wrote: Thu Dec 26, 2019 11:28 pm
I know I have certain knowledge of reality and its nature.
Oh, I think that's manifestly untrue. You aren't really certain of anything...unless I am, by accident, speaking to God. You're certainly not warranted in your assertion of certainty, if you're still human. For all humans are merely local to their physical and geographical location, and to the time in which they are found. We are not omniscient: and omniscience is the sine qua non of true and absolute certainty.

I think what you must mean is that you feel certain. Which might be true, but might not be warranted.
I'm afraid you've got me.
:D I actually think that if you understand my point, maybe I do.

I'm not accusing you of being preoccupied with "feelings" or sensations like ear tingling. I'm just saying that there is no such thing as certain empirical knowledge to be had by human beings...assuming they're all essentially the same, in that respect. So unless you're a god, you have no certain empirical grasp of reality. You've got perspectives, and a probabilistic grasp.
Now if you want to claim that it is impossible for you to be certain of anything I'm perfectly willing to take your word for it, but you are a bit out-of-bounds when you claim the same defect in others, whose minds you cannot read or know.
I don't think so. I don't think I have to see inside your mind to be sufficiently probabilistically convinced that you are not a god, RC.
Which is interesting in itself, because it raises the question, how can you know what God knows if what is in God's mind is impossible for you to know? Since you're not infallible or omniscient how could you possibly know if another mind is?
Oh, I can't. But what I can know is that a) I don't know everything for certain, and b) He knows not just more than I do, but by analytics, as the Supreme Being, First Cause and Creator of all things, must necessarily know what I do not know. Moreover He, not I, must be the touchstone of what is ontologically real and what is not.
I think the reason you doubt that certainty is possible is because you have an unusual idea of what knowledge is. You frequently use the words, "omniscient," and, "infallible," as though they were the sole criteria for knowledge.
I don't think I've done that at all. And it was you who claimed you had "certain" knowledge. How is "certain" not the equivalent of the other two, to you?
It is not necessary to know everything to know anything and it is not necessary to never make a mistake to have knowledge that is not mistaken.
No, of course not. But to say that my knowledge of a chair is "not mistaken" is very different from saying it's "comprehensive" or that its' "certain." The best I can say is that I have an extremely-high probability conviction that what I'm looking at is a chair. If that's enough for "knowing," then I can say I "know" it.

However, I have been fooled before. So have you, I expect. Probably you were walking down a street in some unfamiliar town, and you thought to yourself something like, "If I turn left at the traffic lights, I'll get back to my hotel." And you were sure it would work. You were as certain as you could ever be. And then you were wrong. The street only turned right at the next lights, and your hotel wasn't there. What then happened to certainty?
From the moment you wake up in the morning to the time you finally leave to go to work you have performed thousands of little acts that have required enormous amounts of knowledge all of which are so certain you take them for granted.

Aha! :D Gotcha. :wink: "...are so certain..." "are" is a word indicating a feeling, and you are ascribing it to yourself there as a mental condition, or about how you feel about what you think you know -- we may say, "are so certain to you", so that you can "take for granted" that which you do not have absolute knowledge of; and "so" here implies degrees of fallibility. But that's exactly what I've been saying.
Now you can say you are not certain what a spoon is,

I am not, if absoluteness is required for certainty. I have seen sporks and other such devices that could deceive one into thinking it was a spoon, when it is not: moreover, some "spoons" are not for eating -- a fishing "spoon" is for fishing. So do I know what a "spoon" is? Mostly. Not with absolute and exclusive certainty, though.
...every other anti-intellectual anti-certainty philosopher, who claims true certain knowledge is impossible sounds like.
Ouch. I'm none of these. But I do claim that "certainty" is impossible in any absolute sense, at least about empirical matters. And I would suggest that's a position an anti-intellectual person couldn't even conceive, let alone articulate. In fact, you might say that it take some real thinking to see past the naive trust an ordinary person may place in his or her senses. It is the ignorant, not the intellectual, who tend to be too trusting of their first impressions. So that's a bit harsh, RC.
Immanuel Can wrote: Thu Dec 26, 2019 11:28 pm Have a happy new year, RC.
Well, the same to you, of course, though I have to wonder exactly what you are wishing me, if we cannot be certain what happiness is, or what a year is, especially a new one. Well I'm certain I know what they are, and I'll just go with that.
Heh. It's not so opaque. I'm just saying that if I could have a wish in the matter, it would be that things future go well for you.
Since I could not possibly wish you anything better, IC, I hope your new year will be as full of joy and meaning as mine.
That's great. Not many people can say that.

Best wishes to you.

IC
Nick_A
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Nick_A »

"When a man joins a political party, he submissively adopts a mental attitude which he will express later on with words such as, ‘As a monarchist, as a Socialist, I think that …’ It is so comfortable! It amounts to having no thoughts at all. Nothing is more comfortable than not having to think." Simone Weil
From Simone Weil's essay on the Iliad or the "Poem of Force"
"The true hero, the true subject, the centre of the Iliad, is force. Force employed by man, force that enslaves man, force before which man's flesh shrinks away. In this work at all times, the human spirit is shown as modified by its relation to force, as swept away, blinded, by the very force it imagined it could handle, as deformed by the weight of the force it submits to."
It frightens me when I remember that a political party is an indoctrinated collective; an indoctrinated creature of reaction to forces it doesn't understand and
incapable of thought Such a creature is capable of the most violent atrocities as witnessed in human history.

What is even more frightening is admitting that only a few care and are aware how they have become a part of a mob mentality with no concept of what human individuality actually is and only define it in relation to the collective they are held psychologically captive by. To make matters worse, this mob mentality is largely in control of public education assuring the spread of the collective influence much like a bad virus. This is why the human potential for a free society has been losi. it has been killed by the mob virus within which freedom is unnecessary and raises questions intolerable for the mob which must be eliminated in one way or another.
Nick_A
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Nick_A »

Read on the Internet
Individuals who simply aspire for great wealth, fame, and power for its own sake were misguided. To Plato, a life well lived was achieved by the pursuit of higher knowledge and man's social obligation to the common good. How does one develop “aretê” or virtue according to Plato?
What does it mean to live the good life according to Plato. It seems simple enough. A person pursues higher knowledge and exercises their obligation to the common good. Yet living this way will easily get you scorned or even killed.

The problem is that higher knowledge for the public or the great collective is defined by experts in lunacy. Higher knowledge becomes earthly indoctrination serving political agendas.

What is the common good? Who defines it and who defines the means to further the common good? Again the experts in lunacy acquire positions of power which enable them to manipulate the Grand Collective and call it the common good.

Is secularism even capable of higher knowledge or does it restrict itself from experiencing it? Plato said that knowledge of the good was the final thing to learn. First we must learn what the common good actually is. Of course debating this can get you killed so becoming able to experience the GOOD exists only as a potential. Admitting it is intolerable for modern society which the experts have claimed authoritative control. The common good becomes demanding the grand collective to believe, obey and pay the bills of their educated superiors who have taken the place of the GOOD or GOD if you prefer.

Yet somehow it does seem that a small minority of humanity can become individuals actualizing higher knowledge able to serve the common good as opposed to secular manipulations

What is their reward? Who knows. I do have my ideas but that is another thread.
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RCSaunders
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by RCSaunders »

Well, it is a new year. Except for a number on a calendar, not much has changed. It is going to be a very bad year for those who have and watch TV, I think. It's an election year here and everything will be politics--a kind of mix between snuff films, pornography, and a parade of degenerate crooks and clowns. At least I'll be spared that.
Immanuel Can wrote: Tue Dec 31, 2019 7:03 pm
You can only think that, or any other thought, with words.
Apparently not true. Babies can think, even before they acquire language.
If that were true, you could not possibly know it. You cannot know what goes on in anyone else's consciousness, and certainly not an infant's. But to even say that, you have to mean something by thinking that cannot possibly be thinking. It is certainly not what I mean by thinking, which can only be done using words.

I am curious about where you acquired such an idea and what you mean by thinking.
Immanuel Can wrote: Tue Dec 31, 2019 7:03 pm
There is only one kind of human knowledge, verbal knowledge gained and held by means of langauge.
No, that's not so. Vicarious knowledge is passed on only through language, perhaps; but existential knowledge is lived and experienced, often in a way that is prior to any ability to articulate what has happened.
If you think you have knowledge without language, please explain it to me, or to yourself, without using language. I know, that is not a fair request, but you could, at least, explain what kind of thought you can have without language and in what form you have it.

Just exactly where do you think, "knowledge ... passed on ... through language," came from. Someone had to first form that verbal knowledge before it could be passed on.

I have no idea what, "existential knowledge," is supposed to be. I hope it's not this. It does use a lot of the same kinds of descriptions you use.
Immanuel Can wrote: Tue Dec 31, 2019 7:03 pm So the ontology causes the epistemology which causes the linguistics. But they are not identical, nor equal in any sense.
This is so wrong! Nothing, "causes," epistemology...
Oh, darn...you went off on the word "causes," RC. Let me fix that. Let me say "induces," "precipitates" or "stimulates" instead of the word "causes."
I'm afraid I did not make my point clear enough. Nothing, "causes," "induces," "precipitates" or "stimulates" knowledge, it is not something that happens to human beings. Knowledge is the result of human conscious action of identifying what one is conscious of. Very early on, that action is almost automatic, but within the first year, learning is a chosen action.
Immanuel Can wrote: Tue Dec 31, 2019 7:03 pm
First of all, you are confusing perception, ("seeing"), with knowledge.
No, I don't think so.
Our knowledge is about what we see (and perceive in every other way), but seeing is not knowledge, it is only the direct apprehension of what our knowledge is about. "Seeing a chair," is not, "knowing it is a chair or what chair is."
Even idomatically, we say "I see," when we mean "I know," as in "I see what you mean." But that doesn't mean we're confused about which we're doing. It just means that our faculty of sight and our powers of apprehension are closely related.
I suppose you may not see any difference in a word used idiomatically and a word's original meaning. Our epistemology is completely different, so what we mean by a concept is different.

You seem to equate a, "word," with a concept so that the word, "see," itself is the concept that must mean both "seeing," in the visual sense, and, "seeing," in the metaphorical sense of understanding. To me, a word is only a symbol and the same symbol can be used for more than one concept. In the case of, "see," one concept identifies the conscious visual experience, and another completely different concept "see" is used as a symbol identifies the metaphor for "understand." There is no way to discuss this since we are not using the same language.
Immanuel Can wrote: Tue Dec 31, 2019 7:03 pm There's no such thing. The ontology of an entity, in the way I would use the word, and in the way I think philosophy generally does, is not context-dependent. To say, "A cat is on the mat" is not to say that if the mat is replaced with a cushion then the same entity placed on it will cease to be a cat. The ontological identity of the cat is stable, regardless of context.
First of all we were not talking about ontological identity, we were talking about perception, so you changed the context of the discussion.

My original statement was, "All that is perceived is always in its total ontological context, which includes all its relationships to all other entities, including the perceiver." My point is that any actual existent does not exist as an isolated entity unaffected by anything else, and to perceive it as though it were would be deceptive. If there is a cat on a mat and I see it, but it appears without the mat, as though it were floating in space, I am not seeing what is the actual ontological case. It has nothing to do with the ontological nature of the cat. My knowledge of a cat's ontological nature is knowledge about the cat I see, but I do not need any of that knowledge to be able to see a cat in its total ontological context. I must first see a cat before I can study it to discover its nature.
Immanuel Can wrote: Tue Dec 31, 2019 7:03 pm
Now I know what, "seeing," is, because I do it, and I know if something actually saw things as though they had no context (relationships to anything else, like being able to see all sides and dimensions at once) it would be delusion.
Not at all. If you could do it, it might well be a revelation. Because if you have only ever seen one side of the chair, why would we think you know less about it, or have become deluded, if you are able to see two, three or four sides?
I am able to see all sides of a chair. I am also able to see where it is, what it's relationship is to everything else in the room and what it's relationship is to me, and I see them because of the nature of perspective. Ontologically, the chair actually is somewhere, and has relationships to all these other things, and is in some particular location relative to my own location and all of that is apparent to my perception, that is, I perceive all that exactly as it is.

You seem to be saying, if I saw the chair as though it had no relationship to anything else, without any perspective, as though it were some kind of isolated vision floating in a void, that would be better than actually seeing a chair as it actually is. Does it not occur to you that how you see a chair is determined by its actual shape and structure and that is why its appearance changes as you or it moves, and if that didn't happen you would not be seeing the chair as it actually is?
Immanuel Can wrote: Tue Dec 31, 2019 7:03 pm ... You've got perspectives ...
Fortunately, else I wouldn't be able to see anything as it actually is. You use perspective as thought it were some kind of defect. Perspective is necessary to see things as they actually exist ontologically.
Immanuel Can wrote: Tue Dec 31, 2019 7:03 pm ... and a probabilistic grasp.
There is nothing, "probable," about it. What I perceive is exactly as I perceive it.

You keep using the word, "probable," as though actual entities and events are not actual entities and events. I would love to know how you compute the probability of a single entity or event. Statistical probability only applies to multiple samples. If the dog is dead, it's dead, not, "probably," dead. Where there is only one possible sample, it is statistically certain.

Just for fun! What is the statistical probability that you are actually somebody else?

You do know that academic so-called philosophers, actually ask questions like that. You've probably run across the one that asks, "how do you know you are not a butterfly dreaming you are a human?"
Immanuel Can wrote: Tue Dec 31, 2019 7:03 pm
Now if you want to claim that it is impossible for you to be certain of anything I'm perfectly willing to take your word for it, but you are a bit out-of-bounds when you claim the same defect in others, whose minds you cannot read or know.
I don't think so. I don't think I have to see inside your mind to be sufficiently probabilistically convinced that you are not a god, RC.
I am certain I am not God, but of course you cannot be certain of that since it's probablistically possible I am. [Your explanation of exactly how you would compute that probability would be entertaining I think.]
Immanuel Can wrote: Tue Dec 31, 2019 7:03 pm
I think the reason you doubt that certainty is possible is because you have an unusual idea of what knowledge is. You frequently use the words, "omniscient," and, "infallible," as though they were the sole criteria for knowledge.
I don't think I've done that at all. And it was you who claimed you had "certain" knowledge. How is "certain" not the equivalent of the other two, to you?
You just did it, and I've already explained the difference, which you quoted.
Immanuel Can wrote: Tue Dec 31, 2019 7:03 pm
It is not necessary to know everything to know anything and it is not necessary to never make a mistake to have knowledge that is not mistaken.
No, of course not. But to say that my knowledge of a chair is "not mistaken" is very different from saying it's "comprehensive" or that its' "certain." The best I can say is that I have an extremely-high probability conviction that what I'm looking at is a chair. If that's enough for "knowing," then I can say I "know" it.
Quite! That is all that is required for knowledge.

I'm glad you used the example of a chair because it illustrates one of the epistemological mistakes behind much misunderstanding of knowledge. That mistake is a failure by almost all philosophers to differentiate between two kinds of concepts: intrinsic concepts and extrinsic concepts.

Intrinsic concepts are those that identify entities in terms of their actual ontological nature, that is, the inherent qualities that are what it is ontologically. Examples are: planet, star, rock, any chemical element, tree, dog, or human being.

Extrinsic concepts are those that identify entities in terms of qualities that are not inherent in the entities themselves, but about those entities, such as what a thing is used for, where it is from, or how it relates to other things. Examples are: geo-stationary satellites, power-plants, chairs, tools, utensils, pets, and Athenians.

A dog is a dog (intrinsic concept) because it has all the qualities (attributes and characteristics) of a dog, known or unknown. A dog is only a pet (extrinsic concept) if someone keeps it for their own use and pleasure but a dog will be a dog whether anyone keeps it as a pet or not. A human being is a human being (intrinsic concept) because he has all the qualities (attributes and characteristics) of a human being, known or unknown. An Athenian will only be an Athenian (extrinsic concept) if he lives in Athens, but he will still be a human being if he lives in London or Boston. A rock is a rock (intrinsic concept) and can only be a rock if it has the chemical and physical properties of a rock. A chair is a chair (extrinsic concept) because it is used for a human being to sit on. There is no such thing as a, "chair," ontologically. A chair is anything made by a human being to sit on and has no inherent qualities. It can be made out of any solid substance, wood, plastic, metal, stone, or cement. It can be almost any shape so long as it will accommodate a human anatomy when sitting.

Knowing what a chair is does not require one to see a chair of any kind. One only needs to know a chair is a human made entity with the purpose of being sat on by a human being. It doesn't matter what shape it has, what it is made out of, what it looks like, or whether one has ever seen one or not. Any actual chair, of course, will be made of some material, will have a specific structure and size, and exists as an actual ontological entity, but as a referent of the concept, "chair," its nature is extrinsic (determined by its function) not its inherent ontological qualities. One can know with absolute certainty that a thing that is made to sit on is a chair. There can be no doubt about it.
Immanuel Can wrote: Tue Dec 31, 2019 7:03 pm However, I have been fooled before. So have you, I expect. Probably you were walking down a street in some unfamiliar town, and you thought to yourself something like, "If I turn left at the traffic lights, I'll get back to my hotel." And you were sure it would work. You were as certain as you could ever be. And then you were wrong. The street only turned right at the next lights, and your hotel wasn't there. What then happened to certainty?
I've often held ideas tentatively, when I knew I was not certain, and in some cases have been surprised by what I thought was likely turned out to be wrong. Nothing happens to certainty in such cases, because I was never certain to begin with. I have never been fooled by that about which I am certain. If you actually are fooled by things you believe are certain, I think you have a problem, but I don't see how you could have, since you don't believe anything is certain.
Immanuel Can wrote: Tue Dec 31, 2019 7:03 pm
From the moment you wake up in the morning to the time you finally leave to go to work you have performed thousands of little acts that have required enormous amounts of knowledge all of which are so certain you take them for granted.

Aha! :D Gotcha. :wink: "...are so certain..." "are" is a word indicating a feeling, and you are ascribing it to yourself there as a mental condition, or about how you feel about what you think you know -- we may say, "are so certain to you", so that you can "take for granted" that which you do not have absolute knowledge of; and "so" here implies degrees of fallibility. But that's exactly what I've been saying.
We really do speak a different language. "Are," is not a word indicating a, "feeling." "Are is a form of the verb, "to be." It is the plural and second person form of the present case of the verb, "is," and nothing more. You are one of my friends. We are going on vacation. They are all members of the band. These are certainly not indications of, "feeling," and "certainty" is not a feeling. Certainty is a judgement about the validity of a proposition, specifically that the proposition is true without doubt or question.
Immanuel Can wrote: Tue Dec 31, 2019 7:03 pm
Now you can say you are not certain what a spoon is,

I am not, if absoluteness is required for certainty. I have seen sporks and other such devices that could deceive one into thinking it was a spoon, when it is not: moreover, some "spoons" are not for eating -- a fishing "spoon" is for fishing. So do I know what a "spoon" is? Mostly. Not with absolute and exclusive certainty, though.
If you really didn't know what a spoon is, that paragraph would have no meaning. How could you know the, "sporks," you've seen were not spoons if you didn't know what a spoon is? Just like a chair, a spoon is an extrinsic concept, and you don't need to see a spoon to know exactly what one is, because a spoon is what it is, no matter what it's shape or material, so long as it is a, "man-made object with a shallow bowl on a handle used to prepare, serve, or eat food." "Spooness," is not an ontological, inherent, quality or attribute, it is strictly extrinsic and epistemological.
Immanuel Can wrote: Tue Dec 31, 2019 7:03 pm
...every other anti-intellectual anti-certainty philosopher, who claims true certain knowledge is impossible sounds like.
Ouch. I'm none of these. But I do claim that "certainty" is impossible in any absolute sense, at least about empirical matters. And I would suggest that's a position an anti-intellectual person couldn't even conceive, let alone articulate. In fact, you might say that it take some real thinking to see past the naive trust an ordinary person may place in his or her senses. It is the ignorant, not the intellectual, who tend to be too trusting of their first impressions. So that's a bit harsh, RC.
I did not say you were, "one of those," I said what you say, "sounds like," one of those. Those who say or teach anything that denies certain knowledge are anti-intellectual. The intellect is that aspect of the human mind capable of learning and holding knowledge. To deny that any certain knowledge is possible is a denial of any knowledge. It turns the entire world into Alice's wonderland where nothing is certain and one can never know what is true or real because it could all change in the next minute.

I know you do not think of it that way, and I'm sure you do not align yourself with the post modernists, cultural Marxists, and logical positivists who have intentionally corrupted the entire field of epistemology, and even science to some extent, but you do repeat many of their own irrational arguments, and I'm sure it's because you sincerely believe they are true.

We're not going to find common ground on this, but it does not matter. So we don't agree, which harms neither of us, and it is, after all, disagreement that makes for the most interesting discussion.

So, if you are interested, tell me exactly what you think a concept is. (I'd ask about knowledge as well, but only if you'd be interested in discussing propositions.) I'd also like to revisit the idea of holism, because I have some questions about what you actually mean, particularly the, "ubiquitous," phrase, "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts."

Otherwise, all my best!

RC
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Immanuel Can »

Hello again, RC:

Sincere apologize for the delay. It was occasioned by a vacation of mine, plus the fact that among all my interlocutors you are the most substantial and complex at the moment...which is good fun, I might say, but hardly makes it easy to fashion a quick response. So please take my tardiness as a sign of respect and appreciation, not of lack of interest.

Fair enough?
RCSaunders wrote: Sat Jan 04, 2020 2:55 am
Immanuel Can wrote: Tue Dec 31, 2019 7:03 pm
You can only think that, or any other thought, with words.
Apparently not true. Babies can think, even before they acquire language.
If that were true, you could not possibly know it. You cannot know what goes on in anyone else's consciousness, and certainly not an infant's.
Well, really, RC, t's not at all complicated.

They can gesture, respond, emote, and so on, long before any of them can talk. These things show that they are "processing" things at a very pre-linguistic level. And were they not, it would be very hard to explain how babies can come to learn at all...for being devoid of linguistics, how could they ever eventually come to learn the association between word and item, if they were not thinking?
Immanuel Can wrote: Tue Dec 31, 2019 7:03 pm
There is only one kind of human knowledge, verbal knowledge gained and held by means of langauge.
No, that's not so. Vicarious knowledge is passed on only through language, perhaps; but existential knowledge is lived and experienced, often in a way that is prior to any ability to articulate what has happened.
If you think you have knowledge without language, please explain it to me, or to yourself, without using language.

You mean, like a baby does, so routinely?
Nothing, "causes," "induces," "precipitates" or "stimulates" knowledge, it is not something that happens to human beings.

It doesn't happen without inducement or stimulation. Knowledge is always "knowledge of" something, and that something comes to us from the external world. And even when you object, as follows...
Knowledge is the result of human conscious action of identifying what one is conscious of.
...you concede that, by the use of the words "what one is conscious of." If there's nothing to be conscious of, there's no knowledge: and that thing comes from the objective, external world. We don't generate knowledge spontaneously -- that is, without cause, stimulus, or occasion to do so.
You seem to equate a, "word," with a concept so that the word, "see," itself is the concept that must mean both "seeing," in the visual sense, and, "seeing," in the metaphorical sense of understanding. To me, a word is only a symbol and the same symbol can be used for more than one concept. In the case of, "see," one concept identifies the conscious visual experience, and another completely different concept "see" is used as a symbol identifies the metaphor for "understand." There is no way to discuss this since we are not using the same language.
Heh. :D We are using English. It's perfectly serviceable for this purpose.

But I think that what you must mean is that we are stipulating different meanings for a particular term, "knowledge." And with that, I agree. But we can clearly discuss our stipulated definitions in ordinary English, just as we are doing now. So we are not at an impasse.
I must first see a cat before I can study it to discover its nature.
So...the ontological reality of the cat being there is the stimulus for your discovery. That's just what I said: "knowledge" does not come spontaneously, but is stimulated by ontological realities outside the knower.
Immanuel Can wrote: Tue Dec 31, 2019 7:03 pm
Now I know what, "seeing," is, because I do it, and I know if something actually saw things as though they had no context (relationships to anything else, like being able to see all sides and dimensions at once) it would be delusion.
Not at all. If you could do it, it might well be a revelation. Because if you have only ever seen one side of the chair, why would we think you know less about it, or have become deluded, if you are able to see two, three or four sides?
I am able to see all sides of a chair.
Not at the same time, you aren't. By the time you turn the corner to look at the chair from another side, it's a few seconds later. And as you turn the corner, you'll lose sight of the side you had formerly seen, and will stop seeing it.

That's why Cubists like Picasso tried to "flatten out" their images: they were depicting a kind of sight that comprehends more than one side of a thing at once. Naturally, since multi-sided sight is not a human experience, their efforts resulted in rather nightmarish images.
I perceive all that exactly as it is.
No, you don't. You perceive one aspect of anything, at any one time. Unless you have magical, stereoscopic vision that no other human beings possess, that is...or unless you are yourself omniscient and omnipresent.
You seem to be saying, if I saw the chair as though it had no relationship to anything else, without any perspective, as though it were some kind of isolated vision floating in a void, that would be better than actually seeing a chair as it actually is.
As for "no relationship to anything else," I neither said nor implied that, so I can't defend that suggestion. As for "perspective," as opposed to seeing the chair "as it is," if that means in toto, then it's not "better"; rather, it's all you can possibly do.
You use perspective as thought it were some kind of defect.
In a sense, it is. "Perspective" means that you can only see things from one vantage point at any one point in time. It means there is no way to "see things as they actually exist ontologically." You can't "see" that. It could still be true that the object in your vision exists, and I think it usually does (apart from hallucinations and dreams, of course). But you don't "see" the totality of what a thing is: rather, you have only one perspective on it.
What I perceive is exactly as I perceive it.
You might suppose that. But the person who sees the north side of the chair at the very same moment you see only the south side sees differently than you do. To you, the chair leans to the left; to him, it leans to the right. Who is right? Both of you are. The answer to what is the truth depends on where you are standing -- on what your perspective is.
You keep using the word, "probable," as though actual entities and events are not actual entities and events.

They're probably real.
I would love to know how you compute the probability of a single entity or event.

I don't "compute" it, nor, rationally speaking, do I have to. All I have to know is that probability is what governs my judgment of the situation -- not that certainty does.

At the gambling table, one does not have to know what one's precise odds are to know that the game is governed by probability, or to know that some games (like roulette) are associated with lower probability than others (like blackjack). But whichever game one chooses, the important thing is that you know that you are not in an institution in which certainty is being guaranteed, and that some sort of "gamble" is involved in all the games being played.

To think otherwise is simply to be a "sucker."
Immanuel Can wrote: Tue Dec 31, 2019 7:03 pm
Now if you want to claim that it is impossible for you to be certain of anything I'm perfectly willing to take your word for it, but you are a bit out-of-bounds when you claim the same defect in others, whose minds you cannot read or know.
I don't think so. I don't think I have to see inside your mind to be sufficiently probabilistically convinced that you are not a god, RC.
I am certain I am not God, but of course you cannot be certain of that since it's probablistically possible I am. [Your explanation of exactly how you would compute that probability would be entertaining I think.]
Again,, it's not a thing I have to calculate. I assume that you are, like me, a human being, and the rest follows. What do I estimate the odds are that you are God? Possibly it would be something in the order of 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 to some power, to one. In other words, I regard the odds as very small indeed.
Immanuel Can wrote: Tue Dec 31, 2019 7:03 pm
I think the reason you doubt that certainty is possible is because you have an unusual idea of what knowledge is. You frequently use the words, "omniscient," and, "infallible," as though they were the sole criteria for knowledge.
I don't think I've done that at all. And it was you who claimed you had "certain" knowledge. How is "certain" not the equivalent of the other two, to you?
You just did it, and I've already explained the difference, which you quoted.
I did not. I merely asked how you justified the word "certainty" in respect to your own knowledge. That's all.
Immanuel Can wrote: Tue Dec 31, 2019 7:03 pm
It is not necessary to know everything to know anything and it is not necessary to never make a mistake to have knowledge that is not mistaken.
No, of course not. But to say that my knowledge of a chair is "not mistaken" is very different from saying it's "comprehensive" or that its' "certain." The best I can say is that I have an extremely-high probability conviction that what I'm looking at is a chair. If that's enough for "knowing," then I can say I "know" it.
Quite! That is all that is required for knowledge.
Then you're not actually "certain" at all. You may have "knowledge," and perhaps I can agree you do. But let's not go on saying it's "certain." It's clearly not.
A dog is a dog (intrinsic concept) because it has all the qualities (attributes and characteristics) of a dog, known or unknown. A dog is only a pet (extrinsic concept) if someone keeps it for their own use and pleasure but a dog will be a dog whether anyone keeps it as a pet or not. A human being is a human being (intrinsic concept) because he has all the qualities (attributes and characteristics) of a human being, known or unknown. An Athenian will only be an Athenian (extrinsic concept) if he lives in Athens, but he will still be a human being if he lives in London or Boston. A rock is a rock (intrinsic concept) and can only be a rock if it has the chemical and physical properties of a rock. A chair is a chair (extrinsic concept) because it is used for a human being to sit on. There is no such thing as a, "chair," ontologically. A chair is anything made by a human being to sit on and has no inherent qualities. It can be made out of any solid substance, wood, plastic, metal, stone, or cement. It can be almost any shape so long as it will accommodate a human anatomy when sitting.
This is not profound. It's only the difference between ontological definitions and functional or utility-based definitions. It's generally recognized. So what's the point?
One can know with absolute certainty that a thing that is made to sit on is a chair. There can be no doubt about it.
That is not true. A thing made to be sat upon may be a stool, a post, a cushion, a horse...or any number of other things. And things that one, at first, appear to be chairs may turn out to be tripods, bird baths, sculptures, holograms of chairs, or odd rock shapes. One's estimation that a particular thing is a chair is governed, like all knowledge, by probability. You think it probably is, and act accordingly, using it like a chair until someone tells you it's not.
I have never been fooled by that about which I am certain.

Then you are not human. How blessed is your lot! :wink:
Immanuel Can wrote: Tue Dec 31, 2019 7:03 pm
From the moment you wake up in the morning to the time you finally leave to go to work you have performed thousands of little acts that have required enormous amounts of knowledge all of which are so certain you take them for granted.

Aha! :D Gotcha. :wink: "...are so certain..." "are" is a word indicating a feeling, and you are ascribing it to yourself there as a mental condition, or about how you feel about what you think you know -- we may say, "are so certain to you", so that you can "take for granted" that which you do not have absolute knowledge of; and "so" here implies degrees of fallibility. But that's exactly what I've been saying.
We really do speak a different language. "Are," is not a word indicating a, "feeling."
No, we're speaking the same one. I did not say that "are" is: I said that "are certain," and with "so" as a modifier, is. And it is.
Certainty is a judgement about the validity of a proposition, specifically that the proposition is true without doubt or question.
Then "certainty," as you define it, is available nowhere in the empirical world; only in the abstract realms, as in maths. For we have some reason to doubt or question every proposition that we draw from the empirical world.
Immanuel Can wrote: Tue Dec 31, 2019 7:03 pm
...every other anti-intellectual anti-certainty philosopher, who claims true certain knowledge is impossible sounds like.
Ouch. I'm none of these. But I do claim that "certainty" is impossible in any absolute sense, at least about empirical matters. And I would suggest that's a position an anti-intellectual person couldn't even conceive, let alone articulate. In fact, you might say that it take some real thinking to see past the naive trust an ordinary person may place in his or her senses. It is the ignorant, not the intellectual, who tend to be too trusting of their first impressions. So that's a bit harsh, RC.
I did not say you were, "one of those," I said what you say, "sounds like," one of those. Those who say or teach anything that denies certain knowledge are anti-intellectual.

I completely disagree. I think that those who imagine they are certain when they are not are the ones who have fallen short in the intellectual department. For they have naively taken for true currency that which is only a promissory note -- they have assumed they have certainty in regards to matters over which they cannot possibly be absolutely certain, but are only probabilistically so.
To deny that any certain knowledge is possible is a denial of any knowledge.
Not a bit.

It's a description of knowledge, in fact. It accurately represents human empirical knowing as probabilistic, not absolute. So it says that there is such a thing as "knowledge," but calls out the naive belief that "knowledge" requires, or can have, absolute certainty.
I know you do not think of it that way, and I'm sure you do not align yourself with the post modernists, cultural Marxists, and logical positivists who have intentionally corrupted the entire field of epistemology, and even science to some extent, but you do repeat many of their own irrational arguments, and I'm sure it's because you sincerely believe they are true.
You're right to say I am not of their ilk. They are relativists, and I am nothing of that kind. In regard to ontology, I'm an objectivist. But in regard to epistemology, I'm a probabilist. That is, I do believe in the real existence of the external, empirical world; but I also recognize that human perception of it is mediate by human senses...and that human senses are fallible and perspectival. So while the world is real, our grasp of it is probability-dependent.

Marxists, Pomo types and the rest would say that truth itself was relative. I would never say that.
We're not going to find common ground on this, but it does not matter. So we don't agree, which harms neither of us, and it is, after all, disagreement that makes for the most interesting discussion.
It does indeed. But we are both sane men, and men of goodwill, I trust. And so I am not so glum about the prospect of us making sense to each other.
So, if you are interested, tell me exactly what you think a concept is. (I'd ask about knowledge as well, but only if you'd be interested in discussing propositions.) I'd also like to revisit the idea of holism, because I have some questions about what you actually mean, particularly the, "ubiquitous," phrase, "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts."
I shall let you pick one of these as the focus of our next exchange, then. Perhaps we can come to each in its order.

Yours,

IC
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by SpheresOfBalance »

Nick_A wrote: Wed Dec 11, 2019 1:47 am SOB
The only truth is that none of us asked to exist, and that we were thrown into this existence naked and afraid. None of us knows of those premises that necessarily qualify any particular life as supreme, as they are always self serving, usually more touted by the most fearful of us all. As such, there can be no conclusion that is necessarily informative of anything remotely resembling an elite. We have proven it time and time again, history informs, we're simply dumb selfish animals, all of us!
Both the Philosopher King and the tyrant can be considered elitist. Do you see them as the same in regards to human objective quality?
I see that an elitist only exists in their own minds eye, and I absolutely pay no credence to the cretin, I'm sorry that you do! Can you say mindless parrot or mindless clone?
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by RCSaunders »

Immanuel Can wrote: Sat Jan 11, 2020 4:34 am So please take my tardiness as a sign of respect and appreciation, not of lack of interest.
You never have to apologize to me, IC. If you take some pleasure in our discussion that's all that matters to me. So I'm glad to "see" you, since that seems to be the case.
Immanuel Can wrote: Sat Jan 11, 2020 4:34 am Apparently not true. Babies can think, even before they acquire language.
If that were true, you could not possibly know it. You cannot know what goes on in anyone else's consciousness, and certainly not an infant's.
Well, really, RC, it's not at all complicated.

They can gesture, respond, emote, and so on, long before any of them can talk. These things show that they are "processing" things at a very pre-linguistic level
I know you think we are both using the same language because we both use the same English words. The problem is that the concepts those words identify for you are not the same concepts they identify for me.

For example, you said, "babies can think, even before they acquire language," and now use these examples as evidence, "they can gesture, respond, emote," and are therefore, "'processing' things at a very pre-linguistic level." All of those things are apparently examples of what, "thinking," means to you. None of them are examples of what, "thinking," means to me. We are not using the same language.

I do not regard any physical action (gestures or responses) thinking or evidence of thinking since reflexes and physiological reactions can totally account for them, and those same things can be observed in most animals. Whatever you mean by, "emote," (I presume you mean, "have feelings,"), emotions are not thinking, and if there are emotions we certainly cannot know what those subjective experiences are. As far as I can tell, my cat has feelings (it certainly has moods) but I'm sure it's not thinking. There are all sorts of conscious processes going on all the time, perception, imagination, dreams, feelings, etc., which are not thinking. (I'm talking about what I mean by thinking. Just because something goes on in one's consciousness does not mean it's thinking. Most people call just anything that goes on in their head thinking.)

What I mean by thinking is that psychological process that uses language to identify existents, and their qualities, relationships, and actions, to ask questions, to make judgements, and to draw conclusions.

You may certainly identify all those others things you describe as, "thinking," (most people do), but philosophically it leads to endless confusion. In the context of philosophy, what I mean by, "thinking," is only what I have described, for the same reason that philosophically, "knowledge," pertains only to what can be known intellectually, that is, by means of language.

In my epistemology I wrote:
The word knowledge is used to identify many different concepts, such as developed skills and abilities (he knows how to drive, she knows how to type, he knows how to play the piano), things one has experienced (I know what cinnamon tastes like) or is acquainted with (he knows where the library is) or even for things animals can do (Rex knows his way home).

Knowledge, in epistemology, refers only to the kind of knowledge possible to human beings, knowledge held by means of language.
So you see, what you mean by thinking and knowledge are not what I mean by those very same words. If we are going to discuss either of those concepts we're going to have specify which we mean, I think.
Immanuel Can wrote: Sat Jan 11, 2020 4:34 am
And were they not, it would be very hard to explain how babies can come to learn at all...for being devoid of linguistics, how could they ever eventually come to learn the association between word and item, if they were not thinking?
The following is from an older version of my epistemology, form the section, "Baby's First Words:"
Whether babies form their own very rudimentary language, or not, we know that baby's' earliest words, which we recognize as words, are similar to (and are obviously attempts to mimic) our own. Babies obviously learn some words from observation alone, but most of them are taught. "Where's Tina's nose?" we say while touching Tina's nose. "Where's Tina's ear?" touching Tina's ear. "Kitty!" we say, guiding Tina's hand to touch the family cat.

When, later, Tina says, "kitty!" upon seeing the family cat, we conclude she has learned the meaning of the word "kitty." Has Tina now a concept "kitty" for a cat?

If the components of a concept are a word and a definition, what is the definition of "kitty" that Tina understands?" It is obvious Tina would understand nothing about animals in general, or the meaning of felix domesticus. "Kitty," to Tina is the thing that looks like the family cat.

A "definition" only has to indicate or isolate that which a word means, that is, what it identifies, from all other things. At what point Tina goes from simply repeating the word "kitty" when she sees the family cat to making the connection that it is "kitty" we do not know, but it is that connection that changes the word "kitty" from a mere word, a sound she can repeat, into a spoken symbol for the concept "kitty."

...

It will not be until Tina happens to see two cats, perhaps her family cat and the neighbor's, at the same time that she might first conclude that "kitty" identifies more than one thing. It will be on such an occasion that Tina will form her first "universal" concept.
I readily admit this is conjecture, but no more than your assumption that babies think pre-linguistically. My own experience with my own children certainly was very much like this description.
Immanuel Can wrote: Tue Dec 31, 2019 7:03 pm
Nothing, "causes," "induces," "precipitates" or "stimulates" knowledge, it is not something that happens to human beings.

It doesn't happen without inducement or stimulation. Knowledge is always "knowledge of" something, and that something comes to us from the external world. And even when you object, as follows...
Knowledge is the result of human conscious action of identifying what one is conscious of.
...you concede that, by the use of the words "what one is conscious of." If there's nothing to be conscious of, there's no knowledge: and that thing comes from the objective, external world. We don't generate knowledge spontaneously -- that is, without cause, stimulus, or occasion to do so.
The problem with your description for me is that it implies that it is what is available to learn about that makes one (causes or stimulates them to) learn. Of course one cannot learn what is not there to learn, but it's existence does not make anyone learn anything about it, unless they choose to learn it. Old G.B. Shaw addressed the view that experience (that which one consciously experiences) is the cause of knowledge. "Experience fails to teach where there is no desire to learn," and "Men are wise in proportion, not to their experience, but to their capacity for experience. If we could learn from mere experience, the stones of London would be wiser than its wisest men."
Immanuel Can wrote: Tue Dec 31, 2019 7:03 pm So...the ontological reality of the cat being there is the stimulus for your discovery. That's just what I said: "knowledge" does not come spontaneously, but is stimulated by ontological realities outside the knower.
But seeing a cat does not in any way make me learn anything about it. I must choose to learn about it, or anything else I learn about. How many people were "stimulated" by seeing lightning to learn what it was? Nobody did though, until Ben Franklin chose to learn that it was electricity.
Immanuel Can wrote: Tue Dec 31, 2019 7:03 pm
I am able to see all sides of a chair.
Not at the same time, you aren't. By the time you turn the corner to look at the chair from another side, it's a few seconds later. And as you turn the corner, you'll lose sight of the side you had formerly seen, and will stop seeing it.

That's why Cubists like Picasso tried to "flatten out" their images: they were depicting a kind of sight that comprehends more than one side of a thing at once. Naturally, since multi-sided sight is not a human experience, their efforts resulted in rather nightmarish images.
I perceive all that exactly as it is.
No, you don't. You perceive one aspect of anything, at any one time. Unless you have magical, stereoscopic vision that no other human beings possess, that is...or unless you are yourself omniscient and omnipresent.
You seem to be saying, if I saw the chair as though it had no relationship to anything else, without any perspective, as though it were some kind of isolated vision floating in a void, that would be better than actually seeing a chair as it actually is.
Well I know a little about old Pablo and I doubt very much he was trying to depict any kind of reality and certainly not more than one side at a time. But it doesn't matter, it would not be reality if he could. Seeing things as they actually are includes their actual position and perspective. If not seeing all of everything that can be seen is not actually seeing a thing, then seeing a beautiful woman is not actually seeing a beautiful woman because you cannot see her insides. [Now I would not be surprised if that is what old Pablo was painting--a woman with her insides showing.]Image It's called, "Reclining Nude."
Immanuel Can wrote: Tue Dec 31, 2019 7:03 pm
I would love to know how you compute the probability of a single entity or event.

I don't "compute" it, nor, rationally speaking, do I have to. All I have to know is that probability is what governs my judgment of the situation -- not that certainty does.
"All I have to know ..?" If you are right, you don't know it. It's only, "probable," and since you don't compute it, you do not even have an idea how probable it is?
Immanuel Can wrote: Tue Dec 31, 2019 7:03 pm At the gambling table, one does not have to know what one's precise odds are to know that the game is governed by probability, or to know that some games (like roulette) are associated with lower probability than others (like blackjack). But whichever game one chooses, the important thing is that you know that you are not in an institution in which certainty is being guaranteed, and that some sort of "gamble" is involved in all the games being played.

To think otherwise is simply to be a "sucker."
I'm just asking here. You regard all of life, then, as a kind of gamble, because everything is only, "probable," and nothing is certain? If that is so, how do you know the table of life is not fixed and you cannot possibly win? Of course, you couldn't know. Perhaps Einstein was wrong and God does play dice with the universe.
Immanuel Can wrote: Tue Dec 31, 2019 7:03 pm
I am certain I am not God, ...
I assume that you are, like me, a human being, and the rest follows. What do I estimate the odds are that you are God? Possibly it would be something in the order of 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 to some power, to one. In other words, I regard the odds as very small indeed.
IC, I can assure you with absolute certainty that I am not God. If I were God, could I be mistaken about it? Could God doubt his own existence? If this is not true, I'd be lying. Would God lie about his own existence? I think we have found one thing you'll have to agree that I can be absolutely certain about.
Immanuel Can wrote: Tue Dec 31, 2019 7:03 pm
Certainty is a judgement about the validity of a proposition, specifically that the proposition is true without doubt or question.
Then "certainty," as you define it, is available nowhere in the empirical world; only in the abstract realms, as in maths. For we have some reason to doubt or question every proposition that we draw from the empirical world.
How odd. After you bang your thumb with the hammer you are not certain you are really feeling pain, but some human invented knowledge method that identifies nothing is certain. But it is what you call the, "empirical," world that all knowledge methods are about. If the empirical world is uncertain, so are your methods, including mathematics.

If I have three apples and then find two more and count them I will count five apples. That is, if three actual apples and two more actual apples are five apples in total. If, in the actual empirical world, my three apples and two apples are actually four apples or six apples, my method fails. Three plus two is only certain if three actual, "empirical," things plus two actual, "empirical," things are five actual, "empirical," things.

According to you, if I have three apples and another two apples, empirically it is possible that taken all together, they could be only four apples or six apples, due to some empirical principle I am ignorant of. If either of those were the case, where would the idea that three plus two is five come from?
Immanuel Can wrote: Tue Dec 31, 2019 7:03 pm ... In regard to ontology, I'm an objectivist. But in regard to epistemology, I'm a probabilist. That is, I do believe in the real existence of the external, empirical world; but I also recognize that human perception of it is mediate by human senses...and that human senses are fallible and perspectival. So while the world is real, our grasp of it is probability-dependent.

Marxists, Pomo types and the rest would say that truth itself was relative. I would never say that.
I really don't see the difference. What difference does it make if truth is absolute if you can never know anything for certain? With regard to knowledge, I see no difference in saying, "there is no absolute truth," and saying, "there is absolute truth, but you can never know it." I do not regard even the most statistically likely, "might be," knowledge.
Immanuel Can wrote: Tue Dec 31, 2019 7:03 pm
We're not going to find common ground on this, but it does not matter. So we don't agree, which harms neither of us, and it is, after all, disagreement that makes for the most interesting discussion.
It does indeed. But we are both sane men, and men of goodwill, I trust. And so I am not so glum about the prospect of us making sense to each other.
We don't even have to do that. Years ago I was visiting some friends and one of their friends I had never met was there. She was one of those girls with a smile that lights up a room and for the entire evening I was amazed by her ability to hold forth on any subject and get it all wrong with amazingly delightful and absurd comments. She had us all in stitches but was never offended and laughed at herself as much or more than we did. Quite frankly she didn't make any sense to any of us, but no one could help loving her. So you may perhaps find my comments as absurd as I found hers, and not able to make sense of them, but so long as you at least find them interesting or entertaining, that's good enough.
Immanuel Can wrote: Tue Dec 31, 2019 7:03 pm
So, if you are interested, tell me exactly what you think a concept is. (I'd ask about knowledge as well, but only if you'd be interested in discussing propositions.) I'd also like to revisit the idea of holism, because I have some questions about what you actually mean, particularly the, "ubiquitous," phrase, "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts."
I shall let you pick one of these as the focus of our next exchange, then. Perhaps we can come to each in its order.
How about concepts? "What is a concept?" would be the question. I think it is fundamental to everything else we have been discussing, but I await your pleasure, sir?

All my best!

RC
Last edited by RCSaunders on Tue Jan 14, 2020 10:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Nick_A
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

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SpheresOfBalance wrote: Tue Jan 14, 2020 3:23 pm
Nick_A wrote: Wed Dec 11, 2019 1:47 am SOB
The only truth is that none of us asked to exist, and that we were thrown into this existence naked and afraid. None of us knows of those premises that necessarily qualify any particular life as supreme, as they are always self serving, usually more touted by the most fearful of us all. As such, there can be no conclusion that is necessarily informative of anything remotely resembling an elite. We have proven it time and time again, history informs, we're simply dumb selfish animals, all of us!
Both the Philosopher King and the tyrant can be considered elitist. Do you see them as the same in regards to human objective quality?
I see that an elitist only exists in their own minds eye, and I absolutely pay no credence to the cretin, I'm sorry that you do! Can you say mindless parrot or mindless clone?
Do you consider a single ant to be an individual or just an atom of the collective or large ant colony? The same question is relevant for humanity. If we are just mindless atoms of a collective, then we lack individuality and the belief that we are individuals regardless if we are considered philosopher kings or tyrants is irrelevant. We are creatures of MECHANICAL REACTION reacting to external forces according to our nature along with the rest of animal life. Human individuality requires the ability for CONSCIOUS ACTION which is only possible for a few real individuals.

The normal mistake is for people to believe that mechanical reaction and conscious action are the same. Nietzsche's Overman would be an example of a being capable of conscious action and it is obvious how rare such an individual would be.
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by SpheresOfBalance »

Nick_A wrote: Tue Jan 14, 2020 5:22 pm
SpheresOfBalance wrote: Tue Jan 14, 2020 3:23 pm
Nick_A wrote: Wed Dec 11, 2019 1:47 am SOB



Both the Philosopher King and the tyrant can be considered elitist. Do you see them as the same in regards to human objective quality?
I see that an elitist only exists in their own minds eye, and I absolutely pay no credence to the cretin, I'm sorry that you do! Can you say mindless parrot or mindless clone?
Do you consider a single ant to be an individual or just an atom of the collective or large ant colony? The same question is relevant for humanity.
I disagree with your analogy. Ants are nothing like humans, they're either this(queen) or that(worker), there are no Einstein's or Socrates' among them.

If we are just mindless atoms of a collective, then we lack individuality and the belief that we are individuals regardless if we are considered philosopher kings or tyrants is irrelevant.
Atoms aren't a very good analogy, rather neurons or sets of neurons are more correct, such that individuals come together to make a greater whole, take any neuron or set away and the collective is diminished. As knowledge is made up of both those things that should be embraced and those that shouldn't. So the rest of that which you wrote immediately above dosen't necessarily follow. As individual’s we owe no one anything, save to leave them to their own life. In that way we abide by the GR. If by chance we decide that another is worthy of our collaboration, fine, so be it. But we are bound by no one, unless we agree to be so bound.

We are creatures of MECHANICAL REACTION reacting to external forces according to our nature along with the rest of animal life. Human individuality requires the ability for CONSCIOUS ACTION which is only possible for a few real individuals.
Since everyone is conscious and no one is a machine I reject your notion of mechanical reaction. Don't tell me you're one of those Scientology REACTIVE MIND freaks?

Of course we react to stimulus. Sure some reactions are automatic, out of habit, but that doesn't mean they weren't born of consciousness. All human actions are born of the mind, whether conscious or unconscious, it really makes no difference as in both cases the mind has come to terms with those things that insure it's survival. It's an innate response, the fear of death. Which doesn't mean that such fear can't obscure the more rational action. Because fear can run very deep in those that were severely damaged during those first few years.


The normal mistake is for people to believe that mechanical reaction and conscious action are the same. Nietzsche's Overman would be an example of a being capable of conscious action and it is obvious how rare such an individual would be.
Nietzsche's Übermensch is the hypothetical 'superman' from a man in mental decline like his father before him. But I'm sure you're mind is capable of bringing his hypothetical Übermensch to life, or so you seem to believe.
Humans are individuals relative to one another, but a collective relative to other species. So a particular perspective yields either case. That we all "learn" a-posteriori, are programmed, is simply a product of random environmental influence. It's a matter of chance. There are no elites because the premise/s (those things that are believed to be necessary for one to be deemed an elite) are invalid from a universal perspective. Though it may sound strange from your perspective, one may believe that an elite forever rocks back and forth, mumbling to themselves, which could be the case in a particular minds eye. Since there are no universal perspectives which lends to premises, (that is that they're all human made, depending upon the human you ask) that can be used to come to a definitive conclusion as to what is in fact elite. It does not actually exist except in the minds of those humans that look at themselves believing they exemplify or intend to exemplify, that which they believe is to be considered elite.

The fears that guide us, can know no bounds.
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

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SpheresOfBalance wrote: Tue Jan 14, 2020 11:55 pm The fears that guide us, can know no bounds.
You are obviously suffering from a sever case of paranoia. What are you afraid of?
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by SpheresOfBalance »

RCSaunders wrote: Wed Jan 15, 2020 1:42 am
SpheresOfBalance wrote: Tue Jan 14, 2020 11:55 pm The fears that guide us, can know no bounds.
You are obviously suffering from a sever case of paranoia. What are you afraid of?
RCSaunders! You can assume (ASS U ME) all you want. It's not my fault you don't understand humanity, thus human psychology!

It's not that I'm more paranoid than anyone else, it's that I've been studying humankind for a very long time, and the underlying cause of all of humanities BS is fear! PERIOD!!!

It's why we lie, are in denial, manipulate, eat, breath, drink, put on warm clothes when we're cold, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc...

Everything that we do is due to our fear. Primarily of death! How we interact and use one another, for help advice, etc! Crap, we even fear fearing. Ever heard the saying, "There's nothing to fear accept fear itself." How about this: we even fear admitting we fear. Which is probably why you engaged me in the first place. You probably fear people knowing you fear. Which is probably why you decided to initialize conversation on the topic.

;-)

But I like how you showed concern for your fellow man, you're probably a good one!

Peace my friend!
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Nick_A »

SoB
We are creatures of MECHANICAL REACTION reacting to external forces according to our nature along with the rest of animal life. Human individuality requires the ability for CONSCIOUS ACTION which is only possible for a few real individuals.
Since everyone is conscious and no one is a machine I reject your notion of mechanical reaction. Don't tell me you're one of those Scientology REACTIVE MIND freaks?
Do you differentiate between animal and human consciousness?

For example consider the interactions of animal life in the jungle. It seems to be a marvelous living machine performing a function through reactions to universal laws. Now consider life in a big society. What happens isn't a result of human consciousness but rather animal reactive consciousness leading to the same cycles as life in the jungle. The only difference seems to be the computer mind but a computer isn't conscious. What is human consciousness and how does it differ from animal consciousness?

Of course we react to stimulus. Sure some reactions are automatic, out of habit, but that doesn't mean they weren't born of consciousness. All human actions are born of the mind, whether conscious or unconscious, it really makes no difference as in both cases the mind has come to terms with those things that insure it's survival. It's an innate response, the fear of death. Which doesn't mean that such fear can't obscure the more rational action. Because fear can run very deep in those that were severely damaged during those first few years.
Is habitual acquired fear a quality of the mind or the emotions referred to as "heart?" People can write endless essays on the stupidity of war yet it continues. Does it continue from the input of the mind or the heart IYO
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

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SpheresOfBalance wrote: Wed Jan 15, 2020 2:27 am
RCSaunders wrote: Wed Jan 15, 2020 1:42 am
SpheresOfBalance wrote: Tue Jan 14, 2020 11:55 pm The fears that guide us, can know no bounds.
You are obviously suffering from a sever case of paranoia. What are you afraid of?
RCSaunders! You can assume (ASS U ME) all you want. It's not my fault you don't understand humanity, thus human psychology!

It's not that I'm more paranoid than anyone else, it's that I've been studying humankind for a very long time, and the underlying cause of all of humanities BS is fear! PERIOD!!!

It's why we lie, are in denial, manipulate, eat, breath, drink, put on warm clothes when we're cold, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc...

Everything that we do is due to our fear. Primarily of death! How we interact and use one another, for help advice, etc! Crap, we even fear fearing. Ever heard the saying, "There's nothing to fear accept fear itself." How about this: we even fear admitting we fear. Which is probably why you engaged me in the first place. You probably fear people knowing you fear. Which is probably why you decided to initialize conversation on the topic.

;-)

But I like how you showed concern for your fellow man, you're probably a good one!

Peace my friend!
Thank you, and the same to you.

I do think you are mistaken, however. When you say, "It's not that I'm more paranoid than anyone else, it's that I've been studying humankind ...." I have the impression you've studied the wrong ones. I've known a few people that entertained irrational fears, but most of the people I've known are never motivated by fear in their behavior. Perhaps you need to find some new associates.

I really do not want to accuse of this, but perhaps you are projecting. I mean, you may be assuming that your own personal experience is the same as everyone else, when theirs is really quite different. You perhaps do not realize what an admission it is to say, "It's why we lie, are in denial, manipulate, etc." Who is, "we?"

In my, "The Autonomist's Notebook," under, "Admissions of Guilt," I wrote:
Beware the man who makes broad moral judgments.
The man who says, "everyone lies sometimes," is a liar.
The man who says, "everyone steals sometimes," is a thief.
The man who says, "everyone cheats sometimes," is a cheat.
I'm sure you do not consider yourself a liar, a denier, or a manipulator, but if you are going to accuse mankind of those things as some kind of, "we," it would necessarily include you. Most people are not liars, or manipulators or thieves or cheats and do not live in perpetual fear. I'm sure you are none of those things, either, and I hope the dominant motive for your life is not fear. If it is, I truly believe you have a problem and you are mistaken that everyone suffers from that same problem.

I really do not mean this as a criticism of you, or even of your views. I just find it bewildering that someone would have such a negative view of life. It certainly cannot be a source of inspiration to achieve and be all one can be and really enjoy their life, can it?

It is all that life makes possible and one's enthusiasm for a life of infinite possibilities that motivates those I know. Even the dangers and possible harms of life are part of the adventure, not to be feared but identified and overcome to achieve what is worth living for.

All my best!

RC
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Lacewing »

RCSaunders to SoB wrote: Most people are not liars, or manipulators or thieves or cheats and do not live in perpetual fear.
That is my experience too.
RCSaunders to SoB wrote:I just find it bewildering that someone would have such a negative view of life. It certainly cannot be a source of inspiration to achieve and be all one can be and really enjoy their life, can it?
Agreed. Very good point!
RCSaunders to SoB wrote:It is all that life makes possible and one's enthusiasm for a life of infinite possibilities that motivates those I know. Even the dangers and possible harms of life are part of the adventure, not to be feared but identified and overcome to achieve what is worth living for.
Yes! That is what I see/experience too.

Your response to SoB highlights something that I've been trying to express in my communications with Nick. Continually negative impressions about people and life are more of an insight into the mental source of such ideas. (Just as continually positive impressions about people and life reflect the mental source of those ideas.) It seems that what we typically see in people and life... is the kind of energy that emanates from us. Considering how many possible ways there are to see each and every thing, it only makes sense that the mental source is a huge factor in the impressions it sees.
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