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Dante

When debating philosophy/politics/economics.

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I'm going to attempt a quick summary of sides here:

 

Side 1:

 

Due to the inherent incompleteness and internal inconsistencies of all representational systems, objective reality is inaccessible and truth is indeterminate through these systems.

 

Side 2:

 

If this is the case, then

a) What are the implications?

b ) What the fuck are we going to do about it?

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The fact that we cannot attain the true "objective reality" does not mean we cannot have objective reality in the ordinary sense of the words. In fact, I was pointing out that it is useless to talk about the true, ultimate "objective reality."

 

Consider the word "selfishness." I have seen two major definitions of the word. One definition is "one's tendency to put oneself before others MORE than an average person." The second definition is "being self-centered." The second definition is not useful, however, because, by that definition everyone would be selfish -- everyone would ensure his survival before that of others. When used in such manner, the word fails to characterize anyone or convey any useful information.

 

Similarly for other standards of objectivity that Dante mentioned. We agree on standards of objectivity, and if someone meets that criteria, we say he is objective.

 

That is good enough.

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You repeatedly ignore my statements on pragmatism. To put it simply, our knowledge generally consists of models based on empiricism. Even empiricism itself does not deny that things can happen in a way that they never have before, but it gives us a starting point for our knowledge, probability, and from there comes mathematics and so on.

 

Because they're not valid, and you can't prove them, and you expect us to provide "proof", but just merely to accept your stance, from nothing, from there to proceed.

 

We cannot objectively know that something is going to happen, but we can subjectively \"know.\" The idea that is flawed is the idea that we cannot act without an objective basis - once we abandon this idea, we can still function in the world and be pragmatic.

 

But again, your same error.. "We can't know the entity "in itself", but I'm supposed to accept, but some shine of light, with the example of atoms, for instance, that at this moment, we understood the object in full, so could we finally "prove" that nothing could be known.

Dante, you are covering the topic of pragmatism inadequately, and from there all of your other arguments fall. All of your arguments basically equate to the idea that I cannot prove my position, that there is no reason to prefer my position, that my position isn't objective, that it justifies believing in everything, and so on. But once again, all of those are based on the assumption that you can prove things, that things can be objective, and that knowing an objective truth is a prerequisite for any definition, categorization, or rationality.

 

This comes down to the assumptions we begin with. You can understand the concept of pragmatism only once you accept that you can never be objective. Since you have not accepted that, for whatever reason, you are not understanding what I am saying. Let's look at our assumptions, and how they are molding our vies:

 

You: An objective reality exists, and we as humans can know that objective reality. That is a given, so any arguments to the contrary are false.

 

Me: My basic assumption, as stated, is tabula rasa. This is in regard to objectivity only, of course. If something can prove to me that something is objectively true, I will believe it. Until then, I am not even going to worry about "objectivity," since it doesn't exist in human thought. Given that I have a tabula rasa view on objectivity, I then proceed to a method of functioning in the world. At that point I all but ignore the idea of there not knowing an objective truth, because it is utterly irrelevant to my life. At that point, the only application the idea has is a pragmatic one. So you see, I am using the idea of not knowing objective truth in a pragmatic sense right now, and I am not trying to make an objective claim: Rather, I am saying that from a pragmatic point of view, I believe that others should adopt this way of viewing the world. Of course, this is my personal belief, but given that objectivity doesn't exist, everything stated is a personal belief, so like I have said there is no point in opening every sentence with "I think...." Pragmatically, I view the world from a thoroughly rational, definitive point of view. The exception is when the debate becomes philosophical, as it has, and people make the claim that humans know an objective truth. In my opinion, this line of reasoning is responsible for much of the pain that we as humans experience, because we are deluding ourselves, and this fundamental contradiction leads to anxiety, just as the fundamental contradiction of faith vs. rationality in a Christian leads to anxiety.

 

What is most important here, is that you have ignored my statement that beliefs do not need an objective basis outside of human experience to be legitimate. This seems to be the fundamental question, whether or not an objective reason is needed for us to define things and make claims. Everything we know & believe is a product of human experience. Given that, I choose to be a human, and know and believe things. I do not objectively know and believe things, I know and believe things as a human. As I've said, objectively one belief is the same as the next. But from a perspective of the individual, or of humanity as a whole, all beliefs are not equal, because we have our subjective truths. I'm not going to throw my hands in the air and give up, just because I can't confirm that what I know is the way things "really" are. That would be ludricous, and it would mean I might as well just kill myself, since my life has no "objective" meaning. But this life has been given me and I don't intend to waste it, either by throwing my hands in the air and giving up, or by trying to define "the" truth when it isn't even definable.

 

David

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David, while you have consistently expressed yourself with eloquence and sophistication, you have yet to adequately address the issue of what to do with the world in the absence of objectivity. This, as I stated at the beginning of this bloody thread, is the crux of the issue.

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David, just wondering; do you follow buddhism?

Well, I don't call myself a Buddhist, but I like Buddhism more than any other religion so I might be some day if I get around to studying it more. I am very interested in Zen Buddhism and many other Eastern religions, and used to meditate but haven't found time for it, or researching these matters, as of late.

 

David

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David, while you have consistently expressed yourself with eloquence and sophistication, you have yet to adequately address the issue of what to do with the world in the absence of objectivity. This, as I stated at the beginning of this bloody thread, is the crux of the issue.

I could try to point people in the "right" direction, but ultimately people must find their own way. Once you give up the idea of objectivity, the rest follows, and it's a process of "spriritual growth" if you will. I couldn't really instruct how to do it, or say how it happens. I've only shown what it is necessary for me to show: That one can still embrace rationality, or whatever other concept they think is "right," in the absence of a belief in an objective truth. The only think I think is really important here is that the first step is taken, and that it is acknowledged that humans are not the center of the universe.

 

David

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Many books/articles I have read mention that, in modern society, with the advent of technology, people put too much faith and belief in their system of thinking. Rephrased, the problem is that we confuse our interpretation of reality with the reality itself.

 

I am not saying that we can refrain from interpretating what we see; human beings seem to be "designed" to make value judgments. Consider seeing an apple. As soon as we perceive color and shape, our visual faculties separate it out from the rest of of the world. We then give it attributes, such as size, distance, volume, etc. Finally, we make value judgments ("big, small, tasty, beautiful. etc).

 

Unfortuantely, somewhere in that process, human beings forget that the system of interpretation is fallible. We forget that from the moment we lay our eyes on that apple, we are a step behind -- that is, what we think we see is merely a memory of that event. We fail to understand, that our higher cognitive faculties involving that apple is even further removed from reality. In truth, our distortion of reality begins at the very moment we lay our eyes on that piece of fruit.

 

That thing we call reason happens somewhere near the end of the hierarchy of interpretations. It is most fallible, because it is actually most removed from the basic perception; not only does it involve multiple processes of abstraction, we are called onto attach attributes called "true" or "false."

 

The idea that something can be "true" or "false" seems to have occurred at the inception of language, the moment when human beings became capable of describing the world with words. When person A said "that apple is blue," person B may have felt that the description was inconsistent with what person B remembered. Then person B called person A's statement false. This act of placing attributes called "true" or "false" then extended to other statements that people made ... That was the birth of binary logic.

 

Let us return to the sentence "this sentence is false." Contrary to what many of you said, the sentence is not a nonsense. It is a valid sentence. It references itself, and it is consistent with the rules of grammar. It is also descriptive. It is only when we try to apply so called "rules of logic" that the sentence becomes contradictory. The fact is: whole idea that there are only 2 possible states to a sentence (namely, true or false) and the rules of logic (i.e., DeMorgan's law, negation rule, etc) are simply inconsistent with each other WHEN they are called to evaluate the falsity (or truthfulness) of sentences that, in turn, describe other sentences' falsity. It fails miserably.

 

This simple example should be enough to tell you that logic has its limits, and they are not good for everything.

 

Once you realize that language is a byproduct of our interpretation of reality, and once you realize that "logic" is another of our inventions, it is not so outrageous that we cannot determine the truth or falsehood of sentence like "this sentence is false." Human beings have limited intellect -- it is not so outrageous that these inventions have problems.

 

People need to stop worshipping human inventions, including logic, reason and rationality. Stop thinking that they are equivalent to reality. It isn't, my friends, it isn't. It is merely a construct, and a flawed one at that.

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Par:

Someone who does not believe he really exists worrying about health consequences always strikes me as humorous.

 

Dante:

Also, as you believe no absolutes, or at least those which we can apprehend, what judgement could you pass, even after you observed the person. \"Worldviews\", and I choose to be lazy. Who is anyone to tell me that I'm wrong.

 

These comments, and others, are starting to get annoying.

 

You don't understand what I'm saying. That's fine. I don't understand where you are coming from either. I don't care whether you agree or not anymore, but I really expected more from you guys. Since you worship logic - do you not know what an ad hom is? Give me a break, or get over it. If you want to continue this debate, continue it here. The only reason you haven't is that you've hit a brick wall, and find my views incompatible with the way that you see the world. Since it hasn't gotten through, I'll repeat an integral part of my view:

 

What is most important here, is that you have ignored my statement that beliefs do not need an objective basis outside of human experience to be legitimate. This seems to be the fundamental question, whether or not an objective reason is needed for us to define things and make claims. Everything we know & believe is a product of human experience. Given that, I choose to be a human, and know and believe things. I do not objectively know and believe things, I know and believe things as a human. As I've said, objectively one belief is the same as the next. But from a perspective of the individual, or of humanity as a whole, all beliefs are not equal, because we have our subjective truths. I'm not going to throw my hands in the air and give up, just because I can't confirm that what I know is the way things \"really\" are. That would be ludricous, and it would mean I might as well just kill myself, since my life has no \"objective\" meaning. But this life has been given me and I don't intend to waste it, either by throwing my hands in the air and giving up, or by trying to define \"the\" truth when it isn't even definable.

 

Given that, you have no reasons to dismiss anything I say outside of this. Your disapproval of my apparent nihilism has nothing to do with the validity of what I say in other forums.

 

David

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If they appear annoying, it's because you fail to see the contradiction of your stance. My statement was quite reasonable, in the context of that discussion.

 

You wanted to separate actions, and moral judgement apart from that, but they hold hand in hand. You spoke of judgment, but, by what base would you judge, and why would it matter. Could it matter?

 

Given that, you have no reasons to dismiss anything I say outside of this. Your disapproval of my apparent nihilism has nothing to do with the validity of what I say in other forums.

 

Reread what you just wrote. If there's a "brick-wall", it's because the fundamental issues have been covered. If there's anything that's annoying, it's a philosophical/political thread interrupted by someone debating absolutes, objectivity, and proof, arguing on those premises, without realizing it, even, when it's pointed out.

 

I don't mind debating issues, beliefs, so on, but again, if you wish to reduce everything to perception, then your stance on "pragmatism" doesn't hold, no matter which way it's stated. It's all just opinion, that is, everything.

 

Can I see how you could take offense to Par's statement, sure. Although, you fail to see how several good threads degraded into nonsense.

 

But, to quote what I stated on another thread, which, *was* relevant, within the context of that conversation (meaning it wasn't an aside)shows how you fail to see the implications of your logic.

 

You still haven't properly addressed Ras' question.

 

Here's the thread from which my quote was taken:

 

http://www.mindandmuscle.net/avantforum/in...iew=getlastpost

 

Now, do tell, how was my statement not relevant. If you wish to be a nihilist, great. If you approach science, without this view, fine. But, if every debate is going to turn into a "I can't prove anything, you can't prove anything, let me use examples", then it's pointless, and being "pragmatic", doesn't cut it.

 

And, as well, I don't mind if someone misinterprets my premise, probably my fault ("rationality is objective"). But, when that I correct, even if we still may not agree, but you again to restate the same--as saying "reality is objective, and this we can comprehend, to a greater or lesser degree, subject dependant" is far apart from saying "If I reason, I am objective".

 

But, you somehow see my statement on that thread as not relevant, considering that it's directly related; different "worldviews", assumes all is equal, as there's no objective basis, unless you're to state how some systems of thought are superior to others, which, would require some objective context.

 

If you can't see how that was related, that's too bad. My willingness to debate an issue, with certain people, only goes so far. There, I didn't mind the argument (after I bowed out of this one, as I made all my points). But, with you, all conversations degrade, which eventually precludes civility, which means, for me, there's no point.

 

Hint, reread the thread, and your statement of "worldviews", and action related to moral judgement (as if we dismiss the notion of moral judgement, beyond "subjective" agreement, then we dismiss the notion of rights and wrongs, by action).

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Dave, if you think our comments our annoying, just imagine what I think of your comments, particularly considering I went through the exact same silly little phase when I was 18-19.

 

It is not like you have introduced us to a new and scary way of thinking that is too much for our little minds to handle -- we've been there, done that, recognized all the logical and practical absurdities that come with it and moved on accordingly.

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Yes, we all had our phases, the same nonsense which we thought profound.

 

I was a Communist, a Nihilist, an Anarchist, Totalitarian etc (heavily influenced by Machiavelli, back then--BTW, will send you those books, as said).

 

As von Mises said, we're all Authoritarians, when we assume it's our views that will be enforced. One system of thought flows into another, whether seen or not is the concatenation between all such manners of notion (hence on the "Rand" thread, my statements made, which don't seem relevant, when first glanced).

 

Then we realize that being "intelligent" is far poles apart from being wise, as recently stated as much by someone to me.

 

Remember when I first saw my father's copy of Rand's "For the New Intellectual", I thought "who the fuck is this bitch to tell my anything" (as I "knew" everything, and could twist anything with my tongue to suit my needs).

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Par:

Someone who does not believe he really exists worrying about health consequences always strikes me as humorous.

 

Since you worship logic - do you not know what an ad hom is?

That's not an ad hominem. Ad hominems serve the role of logical fallacies to ensure that a persuasive argument sticks to the issues that affect it. It is not a blanket or shield used to obviate the mentioning of the individual who's argument is in question. But, that is case only if the person's mention has a tie-in with the argument. To prove that it's an ad hominem, you would have to show that someone tried to prove a point by attacking your character without attacking the issue. To get even more specific, this is a means of evading an issue, which was not the case because that's not possible here. The nature of the argument happens to include the fact that you are a part of it. That does not make it ad hominem, nor could you logically prove that it is.

 

If you want to play strict logic games, you have committed the following fallacies:

ad ignorantium

inconsistency between words and actions

equivocation

contradiction

meaningless question

special pleading

straw man

 

Besides, you've got to see the comical side of it. Where else could someone say something like that, other than a supplement forum? Relax a bit. What good is impractical spiritual conquest if it gives you anxiety. smile.gif

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You actually want people to see you contradicting yourself over and over again. How odd.

 

 

wink.gif

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