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Truth

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Tamminen
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Re: Truth

Post by Tamminen » December 18th, 2018, 4:15 pm

Fooloso4 wrote:
December 18th, 2018, 3:32 pm
I think the whole notion of causing thoughts is misguided.
Our history and biological structure are part of who we are. That history and biology does not cause us to think but allow us to think as we do.
Note that I did not say history and biology cause our thinking, but they partly determine the content of our thoughts, together with the material of course, making us interpret the material given to us according to our disposition and conceptual framework.

Eduk
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Re: Truth

Post by Eduk » December 18th, 2018, 5:14 pm

@RJG If you argue that arguing (using the normative definition) is impossible then in defense I offer no argument. Thank you for the debate.
Unknown means unknown.

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chewybrian
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Re: Truth

Post by chewybrian » December 18th, 2018, 5:18 pm

RJG wrote:
December 18th, 2018, 12:34 pm
chewybrian wrote:It's nice that you want to escape our real, messy universe of unknowns.
No offense chewy (at least no more offense than you show me), -- to the contrary, it is more likely that you do not want to escape your fantasy (santa claus) world, so as to avoid seeing reality as it truly is.

Chewy, these kinds of comments (yours and mine) here are totally unnecessary. These do NOTHING to further the discussion. Moving forward, I hope you (and I) can refrain from such insults, as these only highlight our 'inability' to effectively argue; and make our respective cases. Thank you.
There is truth to what you said there, but if that little snip, out of context, from all my best attempts to be respectful and intellectually honest... if that represents the worst, then I will give myself a good grade, at least an A for effort. Consider that you are attacking my entire world view, my reasons for living and my self. You are, in effect, calling me foolish for believing that I can make myself into something better.

In fact, this is my primary purpose in studying philosophy, and it has been extremely helpful. It's helped me get past very serious problems with anxiety, depression and anger, for starters. What is irrational about wanting to live better, be happier, and leave a better mark on the world? Must I have a slavish devotion to logic, math or science to play along? I have some interest and some aptitude in each, but I won't allow them to carry me past my own subjective understanding of the world, which is all I have. If you bring me an unproven theory which flies in the face of all my life experience, and everything which has helped me move forward, guess where my opinion is likely to fall.

Further, I think that true rationality requires understanding that all your opinions are just that--opinions. None of us has access to 100% guaranteed truth. And, we are all apt to make assumptions, to have world views or core beliefs which will cause us to see things in a certain light, despite our best efforts to be logical. When you make one of those assumptions, you can start right off to stack logical conclusions on top of it. When you step back from that stack and see something which does not line up with your life experience, you have to reconsider your assumption. The logic is probably OK in most cases, but, if you stack it on a turd, you can get to a really weird place. Everyone can see the logic; that's the easy part.

Below are a few examples from my favorite philosophers which are right on point, and some links if you want to see where I am coming from. The last two are giving strong warnings about losing yourself in epistomology without a foundation of virtue, or core principles to guide you through life. If you head out without these principles in place, you can get lost very fast. Your perspective will be skewed hard toward your beliefs, no matter how fair-minded you might consider yourself to be. So, consider that everyone might benefit from forming beliefs into something sound and good for us before going out searching to understand the nature of the universe or consciousness.
But in reality, for the existentialist, there is no love other than that which is built, no artistic genius other than in works of art. The genius of Proust is the works of Proust. A man engages in his own life, draws his own portrait, there is nothing more.

This is hard for somebody who has not made a success of life. But it is only reality that counts, not dreams, expectations or hopes. What people reproach us for here is not our pessimism, but the sternness of our optimism...

Some still reproach us for confining man within his individual subjectivity. But there is no other starting point than the "I think, I am" - the absolute truth of consciousness, a simple truth within reach of everyone and the only theory which gives man the dignity of not being a mere object.

All materialisms treat men as objects, no different in their being bundles of determined reactions than a table or a chair or a stone...

But it is not entirely true that we cannot judge others. We can judge whether choices are founded on truth or error, and we can judge a man's sincerity. The man who hides behind the excuse of his passions or of some deterministic doctrine, is a self-deceiver. "And what if I wish to deceive myself?"-there is no reason why you should not, but I declare publicly that you are doing so.

We will freedom for the sake of freedom. And through it we discover that our freedom depends entirely on the freedom of others, and that their freedom depends on ours. Those who hide their freedom behind deterministic excuses, I will call cowards....

--Sarte, "Existentialism is a Humanism"
http://www.public.asu.edu/~jmlynch/273/ ... uashed.pdf
The first and most necessary topic in philosophy is that of the use of moral theorems, such as, "We ought not to lie;" the second is that of demonstrations, such as, "What is the origin of our obligation not to lie;" the third gives strength and articulation to the other two, such as, "What is the origin of this is a demonstration." For what is demonstration? What is consequence? What contradiction? What truth? What falsehood? The third topic, then, is necessary on the account of the second, and the second on the account of the first. But the most necessary, and that whereon we ought to rest, is the first. But we act just on the contrary. For we spend all our time on the third topic, and employ all our diligence about that, and entirely neglect the first. Therefore, at the same time that we lie, we are immediately prepared to show how it is demonstrated that lying is not right.

--Epictetus, "The Enchiridion"
http://classics.mit.edu/Epictetus/epicench.html
The practical has a precedence for the stoics over the purely theoretical.

--Dr. Greg Sadler
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFP1dWngF08
"If determinism holds, then past events have conspired to cause me to hold this view--it is out of my control. Either I am right about free will, or it is not my fault that I am wrong."

Tamminen
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Re: Truth

Post by Tamminen » December 18th, 2018, 5:26 pm

Fooloso4 wrote:
December 18th, 2018, 3:32 pm
I am the author of my thoughts but many of my thoughts are borrowed.
I would say that the contents of my thoughts are borrowed from (1) the given material (2) my biological structure (3) my history (4) others. But my thinking is something I have to do because I am a subject and because I exist. As a subject I must respond to the challenges of the world, and this is what also thinking is. It is a spontaneous response to the existential situation I am meeting. It is an internal "property" of the subject. It has no other cause than the subject itself and its desire to exist.

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RJG
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Re: Truth

Post by RJG » December 18th, 2018, 6:26 pm

Eduk wrote:@RJG If you argue that arguing (using the normative definition) is impossible then in defense I offer no argument. Thank you for the debate.
I never said arguing was impossible. And thank you also for our interesting discussions.

chewybrian wrote:There is truth to what you said there, but if that little snip, out of context, from all my best attempts to be respectful and intellectually honest... if that represents the worst, then I will give myself a good grade, at least an A for effort.
I agree that I may have come off a bit harsh, and I apologize for that. You have been first class all throughout this discussion. Again, my apologies.

chewybrian wrote:Consider that you are attacking my entire world view, my reasons for living and my self. You are, in effect, calling me foolish for believing that I can make myself into something better.
I certainly and sincerely have no desire/intent to burst anyone's bubble, or attack their reasons/purpose for existence. But, this is a philosophy forum, right? Isn't this the place where free (and maybe uncomfortable) discussions about the real truths of reality are allowed? If we just limit/censure our discussions to only those that yield feel-good truths, then aren't we just kidding ourselves? ...and just playing a game?

chewybrian wrote:In fact, this is my primary purpose in studying philosophy, and it has been extremely helpful. It's helped me get past very serious problems with anxiety, depression and anger, for starters. What is irrational about wanting to live better, be happier, and leave a better mark on the world?
Nothing irrational about that. I have full respect of your desires for yourself.

I suspect that I am much older than you, which probably accounts for the differences in our desires and purpose for being here (at a philosophy forum). My overriding desire is to know the real truths (good bad or ugly) before I croak. I'm not interested in feeling better about life, nor of knowing feel-good truths (religions) unless of course there is some logical substance to it. I'm tired of playing the game. I want to know the real truths. And yes, I believe they are knowable.

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RJG
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Re: Truth

Post by RJG » December 18th, 2018, 6:45 pm

Tamminen wrote:I would say that the contents of my thoughts are borrowed from (1) the given material (2) my biological structure (3) my history (4) others. But my thinking is something I have to do because I am a subject and because I exist. As a subject I must respond to the challenges of the world, and this is what also thinking is. It is a spontaneous response to the existential situation I am meeting. It is an internal "property" of the subject. It has no other cause than the subject itself and its desire to exist.
Tam, I mostly agree with you here, with the further clarification that this "spontaneous response" is the non-conscious auto-reaction from the presentation of the conscious 'content'.

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chewybrian
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Re: Truth

Post by chewybrian » December 19th, 2018, 6:43 am

RJG wrote:
December 18th, 2018, 6:26 pm
I agree that I may have come off a bit harsh, and I apologize for that. You have been first class all throughout this discussion. Again, my apologies.
I wasn't fishing for an apology, nor do I think you owe one to me or anyone else.
RJG wrote:
December 18th, 2018, 6:26 pm
I certainly and sincerely have no desire/intent to burst anyone's bubble, or attack their reasons/purpose for existence. But, this is a philosophy forum, right? Isn't this the place where free (and maybe uncomfortable) discussions about the real truths of reality are allowed? If we just limit/censure our discussions to only those that yield feel-good truths, then aren't we just kidding ourselves? ...and just playing a game?
Of course, this is a place where you can say pretty much anything, and be expected to defend it. However, you have to allow that people will come to different conclusions when they begin with different premises. In some cases, they may be irrational, but usually it amounts to forming different initial opinions about subjects in doubt. From the first opinion, logic dictates many conclusions. If you get too stuck on the logic, it's easy to forget that the paths diverged at a point where either path had some validity. Having begun down either path, one can hardly help but follow the logic, while the person taking the other path follows a different chain of logic, until we arrive at two points so far apart that each thinks the other insane.

I think that explains a great deal of the conflict in the world, and a lot of the trouble in a couple of your recent threads. Rather than arguing the validity of A-1 vs. A-2, we are talking about Z-1 vs. Z-2, and forgetting how many steps each of us took in between.
RJG wrote:
December 18th, 2018, 6:26 pm
I suspect that I am much older than you, which probably accounts for the differences in our desires and purpose for being here (at a philosophy forum). My overriding desire is to know the real truths (good bad or ugly) before I croak. I'm not interested in feeling better about life, nor of knowing feel-good truths (religions) unless of course there is some logical substance to it. I'm tired of playing the game. I want to know the real truths. And yes, I believe they are knowable.
So, all I wanted to do is what you just did, which is to explain my starting point and perspective. This makes it so much easier to accept the other person and the difference in views. You can say to yourself: "OK, if I began from that starting point, I might have ended up at the same destination." All of a sudden the other person may not seem so nuts.

I do think real objective truth is out there, yet we'll never know for certain when we have found it. The stoics would argue with the tag 'ugly', and say that you choose your opinion. Choose to wish that things happen as they do, and your wishes will be fulfilled. Calling it unpleasant implies you will wish for it not to be so, meaning you attach your happiness to things outside your control, and that inevitably leads to sadness, anger, disappointment and such, all of which are unnecessary. Consciously or unconsciously, you have made a thing unpleasant by deciding it is so. You could have decided differently, and this, your opinion, is about the only thing you can control, and it should be guided with utmost care.

However, just because some potential 'truth' we think we have found is eligible to be called unpleasant, just because it goes against our wishes, does not make it any more worthy to be called true, any more than it is so because it maps onto our wish list.
"If determinism holds, then past events have conspired to cause me to hold this view--it is out of my control. Either I am right about free will, or it is not my fault that I am wrong."

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RJG
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Re: Truth

Post by RJG » December 19th, 2018, 3:24 pm

chewy brian wrote:However, just because some potential 'truth' we think we have found is eligible to be called unpleasant, just because it goes against our wishes, does not make it any more worthy to be called true, any more than it is so because it maps onto our wish list.
Agreed. We should not discard/discount truths based on its repulsiveness (or its feel-goodness), nor should we accept truths based on its feel-goodness (or repulsiveness). Ugliness/prettiness are not relevant determinants of truth.

Tamminen
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Re: Truth

Post by Tamminen » December 19th, 2018, 6:01 pm

We do not think our thoughts from zero, as if we were thinking in a vacuum. We have our conceptual framework built by our history and biological structure, and with this framework at our disposal we confront the world. As a synthesis of these elements, understanding and perception, our thoughts are born. All creation and authoring is like this: it is seeking the way out of some existential situation, whatever that situation happens to be, and depending on the structure of the situation our efforts are more or less deliberate. It is more like trial and error to find a way among possibilities than anything like straightforward and systematic laying bricks to build a house from a model. Then there is intuition of course, and perhaps that is more like finding than seeking, to remind of a phrase from Picasso.

So we find our thoughts rather than build them. But the motive for thinking is in the subject.

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Re: Truth

Post by Fooloso4 » December 19th, 2018, 7:31 pm

Tamminen:
We do not think our thoughts from zero, as if we were thinking in a vacuum.
It seems to me that we are always thinking. There are a variety of modes of thinking. Dreaming, deciding what to have for dinner, why the car won’t start, what color to paint the house, thinking about nothing, not thinking, and thinking about thinking are all modes of thinking. Some thoughts may be imagistic rather than linguistic. The mind is always active. There is always something going on.
We have our conceptual framework built by our history and biological structure, and with this framework at our disposal we confront the world.
I do not think the framework is fixed but rather changeable. We do not simply see what is in the frame we actively frame. Some are better at this than others.
So we find our thoughts rather than build them.
We are storytellers. We make more or less coherent stories out of what is going on in the mind. The logic, habits, and filters are different when we are awake then when we are asleep but we are always creating a story. Insights can come when we are falling asleep or dreaming or occupied with something else because the normal channels in which our thinking runs are not active.

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