What comes first, the question or the answer?

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What comes first, the question or the answer?

Post Number:#1  Postby Synthesis » July 16th, 2017, 12:49 pm

Seems downright blasphemous to suggest that the answer must precede the question, but how can it be any other way?

And, yes, it flies in the face of all scientific inquiry [the greatest of witch-hunts], but allow me to right yourselves so you can to get off your heads and stand on your feet.

In order to ask a question, and I will pick one at random, "What is on the other side of the Universe?" You might say that nobody knows what's on the other side of the Universe so how can you know the answer? I will counter by saying that you know the answer because you know the question is ridiculous. In other words, there is no other side of the Universe [an absurd concept], so what's the difference? It would be like saying what is infinity times infinity?

Let's take another example. You might ask, "What is my friend over there thinking about?" Through "observing" your friend, your mind has already determined what they might be thinking about to the point where your it has generated the question. That is, our minds do not work like we think they do, in a 1+1=2 manner. Instead, we are processing an infinite amount of information to the point where we can then postulate.

Another example. We are driving down the interstate at 85mph along side of hundreds of your closest friends and neighbors. You are processing an enormous amount of information and the answers and questions are coming so fast that they are under the radar, so to speak. Well, this is how all things work. The real thinking is going on outside of our ability to be aware of it. What we do think of as our thinking is interpretation, a lower order process designed to get man into all kinds of difficulty.

Think about it. It might just revolutionize your interface with reality.
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Re: What comes first, the question or the answer?

Post Number:#2  Postby Surreptitious57 » July 17th, 2017, 12:48 am

Asking the question what is on the other side of the Universe may not be as absurd as it sounds even if it is poorly constructed
Since what exists beyond the observable is not actually known so any enquiry is valid. Also infinity times infinity equals infinity
A MIND IS LIKE A PARACHUTE : IT DOES NOT WORK UNLESS IT IS OPEN
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Re: What comes first, the question or the answer?

Post Number:#3  Postby Burning ghost » July 17th, 2017, 1:03 am

Questions are based on premises. That is all. What is your point?

We can of course question the premise and challenge it perhaps. To build a question we require a foundation. If you wish to question that we need a foundation to construct a question I will simply accuse you of playing a language game and trying to pervert language to make some absurdist claim (which is okay if that is your thing).

It is quite clear that the question comes before the answer. What comes before the question are premises on which to found it. These premises are "taken for granted", they are necessarily outside our immediate ability to question. Only once the question is formed are we able to analysis it and discern its reach and application.
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Re: What comes first, the question or the answer?

Post Number:#4  Postby LuckyR » July 17th, 2017, 1:42 am

Synthesis wrote:Seems downright blasphemous to suggest that the answer must precede the question, but how can it be any other way?

And, yes, it flies in the face of all scientific inquiry [the greatest of witch-hunts], but allow me to right yourselves so you can to get off your heads and stand on your feet.

In order to ask a question, and I will pick one at random, "What is on the other side of the Universe?" You might say that nobody knows what's on the other side of the Universe so how can you know the answer? I will counter by saying that you know the answer because you know the question is ridiculous. In other words, there is no other side of the Universe [an absurd concept], so what's the difference? It would be like saying what is infinity times infinity?

Let's take another example. You might ask, "What is my friend over there thinking about?" Through "observing" your friend, your mind has already determined what they might be thinking about to the point where your it has generated the question. That is, our minds do not work like we think they do, in a 1+1=2 manner. Instead, we are processing an infinite amount of information to the point where we can then postulate.

Another example. We are driving down the interstate at 85mph along side of hundreds of your closest friends and neighbors. You are processing an enormous amount of information and the answers and questions are coming so fast that they are under the radar, so to speak. Well, this is how all things work. The real thinking is going on outside of our ability to be aware of it. What we do think of as our thinking is interpretation, a lower order process designed to get man into all kinds of difficulty.

Think about it. It might just revolutionize your interface with reality.


Which is it?
"As usual... it depends."
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Re: What comes first, the question or the answer?

Post Number:#5  Postby Gabrielbtst » July 17th, 2017, 10:33 am

The question.
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Re: What comes first, the question or the answer?

Post Number:#6  Postby Synthesis » July 17th, 2017, 1:06 pm

Surreptitious57 wrote:Asking the question what is on the other side of the Universe may not be as absurd as it sounds even if it is poorly constructed
Since what exists beyond the observable is not actually known so any enquiry is valid. Also infinity times infinity equals infinity

You severely limit yourself if you assume that "knowing" is some sort of intellectual process. Reality happens before the intellectual process kicks-in.

What exactly is infinity, anyway?
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Re: What comes first, the question or the answer?

Post Number:#7  Postby Synthesis » July 17th, 2017, 1:15 pm

Burning ghost wrote:Questions are based on premises. That is all. What is your point?

We can of course question the premise and challenge it perhaps. To build a question we require a foundation. If you wish to question that we need a foundation to construct a question I will simply accuse you of playing a language game and trying to pervert language to make some absurdist claim (which is okay if that is your thing).

It is quite clear that the question comes before the answer. What comes before the question are premises on which to found it. These premises are "taken for granted", they are necessarily outside our immediate ability to question. Only once the question is formed are we able to analysis it and discern its reach and application.

My point is that the question comes after the answer, not before. Just because I am suggesting an idea that you do not agree with does not make it absurd. I am not playing games. I am simply asking you to consider an alternative line of reasoning that seems to make a great deal of sense.

How can a question be formed without assuming an answer [it's validity being inconsequential]? For example, "Does God exist?" Is there anybody who lacks an opinion on this [no matter how weak]? Why would any other question be different?
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Re: What comes first, the question or the answer?

Post Number:#8  Postby Synthesis » July 17th, 2017, 1:17 pm

It's always both [the duality of all things, no?].
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Re: What comes first, the question or the answer?

Post Number:#9  Postby Shaded » July 17th, 2017, 8:11 pm

To me, it is quite obvious that questions and answers simply co-exist, since both are processed and produced by our own minds. Neither of them technically originate directly from reality, if you understand what I'm saying. (Unless we are talking about questions coming from an academic setting, like questions for math or science homework.) Aren't questions just a way of leading us to answers? However, one could argue that answers are simply explainations of questions. Really, when you think about this topic and then ask yourself about things like what lies beyond the universe, you are just setting yourself up for one sleepless night. You can't say whether or not an answer precedes a question when you have nearly nothing to go off of. Sure, you can ask, "what is my friend thinking about?" Honestly though? Whatever answer you come to will not be accurate without actually asking your friend, "what are you thinking about?" This is where it gets confusing. I can go on and on and on and every time, I end up with this: we need answers to formulate questions that lead us to answers.

I, personally, don't care. In the end I usually find what I'm looking for, and the "what came first? The chicken or the egg" thing doesn't always interest me. If you really need to find out, look at the topic, and look at the responses. If they all differ greatly, then perhaps you haven't asked a logical question. Or maybe there is no logical answer.
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Re: What comes first, the question or the answer?

Post Number:#10  Postby Burning ghost » July 18th, 2017, 3:14 am

Synthesis -

You don't even know what you're doing or what I am saying. How can I disagree with a statement laden with bizarre uses of language? I simply stated what we generally mean by "question" and how we form questions. We work off premises NOT answers. We can of course pose questions with the intent of adding evidence to a certain answer we may expect.

It is not very difficult. How we "establish" premises is what you are hopefully meaning to ask here? I am not accusing of "playing games" I am saying this IS a language game. If you are using terms differently from everyone else here we have a serious problem communicating.

My point is you are misusing language and expecting us all to define how we use very common words. It is absurd to do such a thing, this is not open to question it is the very premise of communicating. I don't go around insisting people call bananas apples because it is an absurd thing to do.

The question "Does God exist?" depends on the premises in place. Looking at the meaning of the terms we can establish what use the question is and how we frame the question. For example what do we mean by "exist" and "God"?

How can a question be formed without assuming an answer you ask? I can ask for example "Why do things fall?" Do I assume there is an answer simply because I can ask the question? If I say "How many squares are yellow?" does this mean anything? Further I can ask "When does green get bigger?"

What we can do with these is establish if they are rational questions and whether or not they can be meaningfully answered or not. I do NOT assume there is an answer. The grammar of language may pose sentences that appear to be questions yet if they are unanswerable because they are absurd, due to logical consistency, they are not really questions. In this sense we can say "questions" assume "answers". If the question is absurd it is a pseudoquestion, such as stated above.

Other questions may be unanswerable because we don't possess the means to investigate. Such as in the past people said we'd never know what The Sun was made of unless we visited it. This is a case of someone excepting an answer to the question "Can we ever know what The Sun is made of without visiting it?" simply because they were unable to answer it NOT because the question was absurd.

I would say more than many other fields of investigation philosophy is one with which we have to pay particular attention to semantics and use of language. I am assuming you are not completely ignorant and are asking about "premises" and general "experience". Here we'll find ourselves delving into epistemology.
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Re: What comes first, the question or the answer?

Post Number:#11  Postby Synthesis » July 18th, 2017, 11:55 am

Burning ghost wrote:Synthesis -

You don't even know what you're doing or what I am saying. How can I disagree with a statement laden with bizarre uses of language? I simply stated what we generally mean by "question" and how we form questions. We work off premises NOT answers. We can of course pose questions with the intent of adding evidence to a certain answer we may expect.

It is not very difficult. How we "establish" premises is what you are hopefully meaning to ask here? I am not accusing of "playing games" I am saying this IS a language game. If you are using terms differently from everyone else here we have a serious problem communicating.

My point is you are misusing language and expecting us all to define how we use very common words. It is absurd to do such a thing, this is not open to question it is the very premise of communicating. I don't go around insisting people call bananas apples because it is an absurd thing to do.

The question "Does God exist?" depends on the premises in place. Looking at the meaning of the terms we can establish what use the question is and how we frame the question. For example what do we mean by "exist" and "God"?

How can a question be formed without assuming an answer you ask? I can ask for example "Why do things fall?" Do I assume there is an answer simply because I can ask the question? If I say "How many squares are yellow?" does this mean anything? Further I can ask "When does green get bigger?"

What we can do with these is establish if they are rational questions and whether or not they can be meaningfully answered or not. I do NOT assume there is an answer. The grammar of language may pose sentences that appear to be questions yet if they are unanswerable because they are absurd, due to logical consistency, they are not really questions. In this sense we can say "questions" assume "answers". If the question is absurd it is a pseudoquestion, such as stated above.

Other questions may be unanswerable because we don't possess the means to investigate. Such as in the past people said we'd never know what The Sun was made of unless we visited it. This is a case of someone excepting an answer to the question "Can we ever know what The Sun is made of without visiting it?" simply because they were unable to answer it NOT because the question was absurd.

I would say more than many other fields of investigation philosophy is one with which we have to pay particular attention to semantics and use of language. I am assuming you are not completely ignorant and are asking about "premises" and general "experience". Here we'll find ourselves delving into epistemology.

Burning Ghost, thank you for your thoughtful response.

You are suggesting that I must play the "thinking game" by an accepted set of rules so everybody else can understand me, that is, so others can either seek affirmation or challenge my truth. This would be like the mathematician suggesting that one must accept the premise that 1+1=2 before s/he can enter into a discussion on math.

The only rules I adhere to are universal, that is, that all things are in constant flux. If you believe this is not the case, then perhaps you can site an example to the contrary. If you can accept the notion that thinking is impermanent, then you must be willing a open your mind to all possibilities, attaching to none. Only then can you begin to understand the nature of thinking.

I chose to challenge the idea that the question precedes the answer because you can make a very nice argument supporting such. Regardless, none of it works this way. As if our simple minds can figure out anything when the most elementary of events are determined by an infinite number of events preceding?

And thank you for believing that I am not completely ignorant. I am not sure I could say the same for you. :)
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Re: What comes first, the question or the answer?

Post Number:#12  Postby Synthesis » July 18th, 2017, 12:01 pm

Shaded wrote: I, personally, don't care. In the end I usually find what I'm looking for, and the "what came first? The chicken or the egg" thing doesn't always interest me.

Shaded, I believe you captured the essence of almost every entry you will find in discussion groups such as this one.

People are desperately searching for affirmation for their personal reality.
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Re: What comes first, the question or the answer?

Post Number:#13  Postby Burning ghost » July 18th, 2017, 1:58 pm

Evolution says Chicken.

Synthesis -

I was hoping you'd differentiate between "premises", "questions" and "answers". If you have some unorthodox definitions of these terms please express them more clearly.

If you are doing mathematical sums you better accept that 1+1=2 obviously? The terms you are using are most certainly not as universal as abstract numbers but we don't generally go around talking about having an answer and looking for a question (unless we are being creative/mystical with our use of the terms).

If I ask a question it has to be based on certain assumptions. If I say "Where am I?" I necessarily present this question with the assumption of being somewhere. The first premise is my existence and from there things get messy. I pose questions and do some investigation and reasoning then see what results show up consistently. To pose a question I MUST do so in language. Questions are not asked without language.
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Re: What comes first, the question or the answer?

Post Number:#14  Postby Synthesis » July 18th, 2017, 2:26 pm

Burning ghost wrote:Evolution says Chicken.

Synthesis -

I was hoping you'd differentiate between "premises", "questions" and "answers". If you have some unorthodox definitions of these terms please express them more clearly.

If you are doing mathematical sums you better accept that 1+1=2 obviously? The terms you are using are most certainly not as universal as abstract numbers but we don't generally go around talking about having an answer and looking for a question (unless we are being creative/mystical with our use of the terms).

If I ask a question it has to be based on certain assumptions. If I say "Where am I?" I necessarily present this question with the assumption of being somewhere. The first premise is my existence and from there things get messy. I pose questions and do some investigation and reasoning then see what results show up consistently. To pose a question I MUST do so in language. Questions are not asked without language.

If you assume that the question precedes the answer, this is the same as assuming that 1+1=2. In other words, you have created a particular paradigm that controls the flow. This is exactly what you do not wish to happen.

In math or in any other language, you must remain open or suffer the fate of going down the same rabbit hole. When any of the truly great minds came up with another system of thought, it completely rendered the previous one obsolete. Although this appears to be an infrequent event, it actually takes place every moment. Unfortunately, we are not paying attention [nor can we] as this comes and goes without notice. It is only when something major comes down that folks pay attention, and a new idea receives its ordination until it, too, succumbs to the ravages of time.

1+1=2 exists only in a world where people have created more than one, and like all languages, a necessary tool in communicating, but understanding the limits of such a language is key. After all, is it not the intention that is of primary interest, not the form?
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Re: What comes first, the question or the answer?

Post Number:#15  Postby Burning ghost » July 19th, 2017, 2:50 am

The "question" has been a common theme in philosophy without a doubt.

Maybe it would assist you to refer to Derrida? The pdf for "Writing and Difference" is free online. Take a look at chapter 4, Violence and Metaphysics. In the opening few pages he seems to echo something of what you are saying, although the reason may be completely different it could be helpful to our discussion?

Yes, intention helps us frame the question. Maybe I intent to eat something, this then leads me to work on a plan to eat if there is no food source at hand. Usually if I am hungry I eat. I do not pose a set of questions prior to eating. I may be forced to ask questions about where I may find food in some given situation and find the need to apply reason to finding food and creating a plan to eat it (be it through foraging, hunting and cooking or whatever else may spring to mind).

The intent of the question is obviously to assume an answer. I cannot form a question if I cannot determine an answer being drawn from the question. I can also form word concepts in certain structures to have the appearance of a question when they are not really questions, questions such as "How heavy is yellow?" are not really questions, they are (if I use artistic license) able to be taken as some "answer" to a more fundamental question, I can be creative here and force the posing of a question that helps the "How heavy is yellow?" question form into a question with some kind of intrinsic meaning hidden within? I could say it is a valid question because it allows me to explore question and question the question further than I usually would. I can look at it and ask "Why is it nonsensical?", "What is colour?", "What is weight?". In these situations many tend to apply scientific definitions rather than explore the experience of "yellow" and "weight". Some delude the meaning as being the same as being about scientifically measuring and applying universal laws to objects of experience, to appearances over and above all else.
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