The Knowledge problem

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The Knowledge problem

Post Number:#1  Postby Skakos » September 1st, 2013, 10:57 am

A newly discovered virus. A new life form/ type? Called Pandoravirus, due to the series of questions it raised. (newscientist.com/article/dn23901-my-soc ... el5wLUqySo)

If every discovery generates multiple NEW questions, then is it guaranteed that we will never know everything?
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The Knowledge problem



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Re: The Knowledge problem

Post Number:#2  Postby H M » September 1st, 2013, 11:57 pm

Skakos wrote:If every discovery generates multiple NEW questions, then is it guaranteed that we will never know everything?

A belief like this?

Isaac Asimov <-> "I believe that scientific knowledge has fractal properties; that no matter how much we learn, whatever is left, however small it may seem, is just as infinitely complex as the whole was to start with. That, I think, is the secret of the Universe." I, Asimov: A Memoir; autobiography (pub. posthumously 1994)

But an endless amount, to avoid contradiction, cannot be complete in its physical realization; and thereby be static / fixed, finite, and measurable (measurable at least in theory, for an abominably huge size, quantity, etc). To be so supposedly endless, even new nested levels of such a pattern as Asimov referenced above have to be generated on the computer screen, by algorithmic formula-process, according to the interest / curioisty of the observers to investigate yet another scale of the iterating configuration. Ironically the details of the interminable pattern are limited at any particular moment or stage of its open-ended structural development or presentation of details. Likewise, if both knowledge and "what knowledge concerns" [universe or whatever] are to be compared to such a metaphor, then at any specific "now" there would only be a finite amount of the latter that has been physically realized, for which the former may then have the remote possibility of eventually catching-up with (depending). Also: The future additions of the "endlessness", or what remains unpredictable among them, would be excluded as acceptable members of the currently existing whole, or not proper candidates for "facthood" or knowledge [not qualifying as part of "everything" yet].
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Re: The Knowledge problem

Post Number:#3  Postby Spectrum » September 2nd, 2013, 1:55 am

Skakos wrote:A newly discovered virus. A new life form/ type? Called Pandoravirus, due to the series of questions it raised. (newscientist.com/article/dn23901-my-soc ... el5wLUqySo)

If every discovery generates multiple NEW questions, then is it guaranteed that we will never know everything?

We can know everything within its core principles but there is no way we can ever know the details of possible combinations and permutations of specifics in the phenomena world.
Not-a-theist. Religion is a critical necessity for humanity now, but not the FUTURE.
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Re: The Knowledge problem

Post Number:#4  Postby ReasonMadeFlesh » September 5th, 2013, 9:51 pm

I thought this was the Gettier problem.
Beyond "is" and "is not". Both and neither. Full and empty = absolute.
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Re: The Knowledge problem

Post Number:#5  Postby Wux » September 8th, 2013, 2:31 am

If every discovery generates multiple NEW questions, then is it guaranteed that we will never know everything?

--------------------


Considering this question alone, and substituting "answer to an old question" for "discovery", and we consider nothing else, then the answer is obviously "no".

However, if we do leave the word "discovery" in place, then the answer is undetermined. Because answering a question does not necessarily raise more new questions, and we also don't know how many discoveries will be made in future times.

In other words: if one discovery raises six different questions, and we find the answers to these six different questions, then we don't increase our unknown to be known.

If the answers themselves raise more questions, then it's an irregular exponential function.

To answer your question: 1. I am not sure you asked what you wanted to ask; 2. It can is an undeterminable answer you seek, if you leave the wording of your question intact; 3. The answer is "no" if you change the wording of your question by substituting "answer we find" for "discovery". Please remember that finding answers are not at all equivalent to discoveries. Some answers are not discovered, but reasoned out. A discovery implies that a randomness played part in the finding.
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Re: The Knowledge problem

Post Number:#6  Postby Skakos » September 9th, 2013, 3:53 am

I wanted to see if "total knowledge of everything" is possible. (yes, the term is weird, but I cannot think of anything better now) I understand that the only way to do that is to go "backwards" and try to understand the beginning. Only then we may have a possibility of learning "Everything"... Because after the First Cause, the world simply "exploded" in a zillion possibilities and no matter how hard you try, there will always be new things to discover...
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Re: The Knowledge problem

Post Number:#7  Postby Frederick » September 10th, 2013, 11:36 am

Skakos wrote:..If every discovery generates multiple NEW questions, then is it guaranteed that we will never know everything?


Who are we? If we are less than everything then we do not contain everything.

We could know ourselves at any moment if we extended for more than a moment now. If we are everything that is now we could know ourselves now and then. So it is indeed possible that something will know everything now provided it does not also need to know everything then. :lol:
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Re: The Knowledge problem

Post Number:#8  Postby Wux » September 12th, 2013, 3:43 am

Skakos wrote:I wanted to see if "total knowledge of everything" is possible.



This is not a question that can be answered by speculative methods, nor by empirical methods.

For the simple reason that there is no knowledge or approx. knowledge of what it is we don't know.

Total knowledge can only be proven if total knowledge is attained. But total knowledge can only be attained by accumulating knowledge, and unfortunately there is no post in the groud of knowledge, "this is it, the buck stops here". Because there is no way of knowing what it is that we don't know.

I would like to show a thought experiment for this. There are two contestants in a room, and two contestants in another room. The two rooms are incommunicado -- cannot send information from one room to the other.

I am the experimenter. I am in one of the rooms. I ask this form the two people there: "I have a question in mind. Please answer it, and write your answer on down."

After this, a collection of written answers will be performed.

From all four contestants.

All four contestants were previosly given a pencil and a paper.

The two contestants in my room write something down. It does not matter what, there is no reasonable way they can guess the answer to a question they did not hear.

So far so good.

Now, after the collection of answers form the contestants in the other room, what will the test marker see on their paper?

You must put yourself in their situation: they were taken to a room, each was given a piece of paper and a pencil, and a little while later someone came in and collected the paper from them.

I daresay the papers from the other room were blank, nothing was written on them.

So far so good.

Now, create a fractal of this. The people who were subject when I was the experimenter, will become experimenters, and are told to perform the same experiment.

Therefore in the next iteration of the experiment, there will be four experimenters, and sixteen contestants. Same setup for each experimenter as it was for me. The four experimenters will have two students in the same room with each, and two in rooms incommunicado. Of the four rooms with both experimenters and subjects, two experimenters will ask the same question as I had of them, and four subjects will write something down. Twelve subjects will not write down anything, but stare and look around, waiting for something to happen. And two of the experimenters will be completely clueless as to what the hell is going on, and what they are supposed to be doing, if anything.

This progression can go on infinetely, given enough human participants.

This is the progression of knowledge. We don't know what it is we don't know, we only know what we know. We can point out things we don't know and source them, but there are things we can't point out and can't source them, and we still don't know them. We don't even know they exist.

This is why total knowledge is possible, and the opposite is also possible, but we will never know if it is possible for sure or not.
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Re: The Knowledge problem

Post Number:#9  Postby Skakos » September 22nd, 2013, 2:14 pm

Indeed, answering this question is more a matter of faith and belief than a matter of logic and "proof". We all believe that we will know everything one day. Maybe the question could be rephrased to "why do we believe that?"... Infinite is infinte and yet we try to harness it. We believe we can talk about it. Even though we are so small. Or maybe not?
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