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How does one find True Knowledge?

Discuss any topics related to metaphysics (the philosophical study of the principles of reality) or epistemology (the philosophical study of knowledge) in this forum.
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h_k_s
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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by h_k_s » July 11th, 2019, 12:52 pm

RJG wrote:
November 21st, 2018, 5:06 pm
How does one find True Knowledge?

There seems to me to be two methods to finding "true knowledge".
  • A. Descartes "clean slate" method (which he failed at), and
    B. Removing 'logical impossibilities' from our pool of contaminated knowledge.

A. Descartes "clean slate" method.

Descartes's goal was to arrive at one item of truth that could serve as the starting-point and foundation for all knowledge. His starting point was his famous statement "I think, therefore I am". As Descartes explained, "We cannot doubt of our existence while we doubt …" Descartes asserted that the very act of doubting one's own existence was proof of the reality of one's own mind; there must be a thinking entity; a “self”; a “mind”, for there to be a thought.

According to Descartes, "I can doubt anything. But when I doubt, I am thinking, and as long as I am thinking, I exist. Thinking is inseparable from me. Thus I have a clear and distinct idea that I am a mind, or intelligence, and my nature is a thinking thing. On the other hand, I have also a clear idea of body as an extended and non-thinking thing." He concludes that res cogitans and res extensa are two independent entities. This dichotomy is the foundation of Descartes's dualism. “For all that I am a thing that is real and which truly exists. But what kind of a thing? … A thinking thing (res cogitans).”

Descartes errors --
  • Firstly, Descartes commits the logical fallacy of "begging-the-question" (pre-assuming the conclusion in his premise) in his famous "I think, therefore I am" quote. Notice the two occurrences of "I". He pre-assumes the existence of "I" in his premise, "I think", to then conclude it's existence in his conclusion "therefore I exist". Descartes has committed the logical fallacy of "begging-the-question". Similar examples include:
    • 1. God answers prayers, therefore God exists.
      2. Ghosts are invisible, therefore ghosts exist.
      3. X does Y, therefore X exists
      4. I think, therefore I exist (...Descartes flawed logic)

    Secondly, Descartes, like most most people, automatically (and falsely!) conflate the "experiencing of thoughts" with the "thinking" of thoughts. Instead of Descartes immediately stopping and proclaiming to the world, “I EXPERIENCE THOUGHTS!” as his starting premise to derive all true knowledge, he instead takes a blind leap of faith, and falsely proclaims “I THINK!” as his fateful (and flawed) starting premise.

    The experiencing-of-thoughts and the thinking-of-thoughts are not necessarily the same thing. One is a passive experience (the hearing of a constant monologue voice in one’s head), and the other is an action (the authoring/creating/constructing of those thoughts that are then experienced). Descartes falsely equivocates the two as one-in-the-same in his "I think" premise.

    Descartes doesn't (can't) really know "with certainty" that he "thinks", for all he can really know "with certainty" is that he "experiences thoughts". He can only presume that he is the “thinker”; the author/creator/constructor of these thoughts. Although the “I experience thoughts” versus “I think” may seem to be a minor nit-picky technicality, it is nonetheless ultra-critical, ...especially if this ("first principle") starting premise is to serve as the 'seed' to derive all 'true' knowledge.


    Thirdly, Descartes did not go back far enough. If one’s goal is to find the true starting point of knowledge, then the starting premise is of utmost criticalness. This starting premise needs to be ‘absolute and undeniable’. Descartes premise “I think” does not meet this level of certainty. Descartes should replace the “I think”, with “I experience”, or to be truly accurate, he should replace it with “Experiencing exists”. Since the “I” has not yet been determined with absolute certainty, it does not belong in this starting premise. For this critical first premise, the ‘experiencing’ itself is the only true absolute/undoubtable thing, and therefore is the only thing that belongs in this starting premise.
So to help Descartes reach his original goal of a "clean slate" method, I have re-written his logical statement that satisfies his original goal:

“Experiencing exists, therefore I (the experiencer) exist.”

But this of course, shoots down his dualistic position. “I” is just the ‘experiencer’ of thoughts, (and feelings, and sensory experiences); "I" is just a "res extensa", and is NOT a ‘mind’, nor a 'thinker of thoughts' entity; not a "res cogitans".

And from this point, we can begin to logically derive "true knowledge"!


*************
Next: Part B. Removing 'logical impossibilities' from our pool of contaminated knowledge.
Very nice analysis of Descartes' "cogito ergo sum."

I take it you would go with "experiento ergo sum."

Samee-same G/I soldier, however. I don't really see any difference other than semantics.

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by h_k_s » July 11th, 2019, 12:56 pm

RJG wrote:
July 11th, 2019, 6:28 am
Sculptor1 wrote:No such experiment can be carried out with anything that is infinite. since no such condition can exist.
Sure it can!

Aren't there an infinite number of segments between the 0 and the 1 on a 1" ruler? Yes/No

If YES -- then you can do this experiment!
If NO -- then how many segments are there? What is the maximum number of segments that can fit between the 0 and 1?
While it is possible for humans to imagine there are infinite things, this only happens in their/our minds.

The only infinite thing that possibly or probably exists is the empty space outside of the Big Bang concussion wave. And we don't even know this for certain. We have simply imagined it. Ergo infinity is a faerie tale all inside of our heads which we have been taught by corrupt and dogmatic mathematicians and teachers of mathematics who themselves have simply made math their own religion.

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by h_k_s » July 11th, 2019, 12:58 pm

I'm glad you are still around here, @RJG .

You are an extremely bright and gifted thinker.

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by devans99 » July 11th, 2019, 1:50 pm

h_k_s wrote:
July 11th, 2019, 12:56 pm
The only infinite thing that possibly or probably exists is the empty space outside of the Big Bang concussion wave. And we don't even know this for certain. We have simply imagined it. Ergo infinity is a faerie tale all inside of our heads which we have been taught by corrupt and dogmatic mathematicians and teachers of mathematics who themselves have simply made math their own religion.
At last! Another finitist! Thought I was going mad!

I'm personally of the opinion that what is outside of the BB concussion wave is nothing - dimensionless nothing - which therefore cannot be said to be infinite.

And what would happen if you poked a stick into the nothingness? It might be that time slows as you get to the (fast expanding) edges of the universe such that you can never reach the edge and poke a stick though. Thats a bit of a guess though.

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by RJG » July 11th, 2019, 2:11 pm

RJG wrote:Are there an infinite number of segments between the 0 and the 1 on a 1" ruler? Yes/No

If YES -- then you can do this experiment!
If NO -- then how many segments are there? What is the maximum number of segments that can fit between the 0 and 1?
devans99 wrote:From a finitist standpoint, infinity is fundamentally unmeasurable so has no size. If you disagree, then tell me how many natural numbers there are (and I'm not accepting aleph-zero as an answer). So it makes no sense to talk about different infinities of different sizes.

From the conventional standpoint, all continua have the same 'size' (aleph-one) so even though Cantor has different sizes of infinity he has the same size for all continua, no matter how long the rulers are.
Is this a YES or a NO???

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by h_k_s » July 11th, 2019, 3:18 pm

devans99 wrote:
July 11th, 2019, 1:50 pm
h_k_s wrote:
July 11th, 2019, 12:56 pm
The only infinite thing that possibly or probably exists is the empty space outside of the Big Bang concussion wave. And we don't even know this for certain. We have simply imagined it. Ergo infinity is a faerie tale all inside of our heads which we have been taught by corrupt and dogmatic mathematicians and teachers of mathematics who themselves have simply made math their own religion.
At last! Another finitist! Thought I was going mad!

I'm personally of the opinion that what is outside of the BB concussion wave is nothing - dimensionless nothing - which therefore cannot be said to be infinite.

And what would happen if you poked a stick into the nothingness? It might be that time slows as you get to the (fast expanding) edges of the universe such that you can never reach the edge and poke a stick though. Thats a bit of a guess though.
Now we are smack dab in the middle of the philosophy of Science -- the consideration and discussion of what is knowable or unknowable scientifically.

This is why philosophy is superior to science -- because philosophy allows us to determine what can or cannot be known "scientifically."

So, back to your original question @devans99 -- what exists outside of the Big Bang event horizon?

And of course for openers (Poker term) [you could say "for starters" if you are a British culinarian -- means a salad or soup before dinner/supper], we cannot see with our telescope(s) [Hubble mostly] beyond the event horizon, therefore we can only conjecture what might be out there, if there is an out there at all.

Conceivable there COULD be something out there, same as the empty space inside the event horizon, just that there would be no matter out there because the Big Bang caused "matter." So it could go either way. And due to the logical law of argument from ignorance, we cannot determine either way.

Based on his own studies of the night sky, Aristotle determined there could be up to 45 or so God(s). Perhaps each one of These triggered their own Big Bang. The question then becomes what happens when each of their big bangs collides?

For there to be nothing outside of the BB event horizon is a paradox and dilemma and contradiction of what "out there" means.

This suggests to me that since we conceive that contradictions are not possible, therefore there must be "something" out there to allow the BB blast to expand into it -- unless of course the BB blast has by now stopped dead in its tracks. Then there could indeed be "nothing out there."

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by Sculptor1 » July 11th, 2019, 6:15 pm

RJG wrote:
July 11th, 2019, 6:28 am
Sculptor1 wrote:No such experiment can be carried out with anything that is infinite. since no such condition can exist.
Sure it can!

Aren't there an infinite number of segments between the 0 and the 1 on a 1" ruler? Yes/No

If YES -- then you can do this experiment!
If NO -- then how many segments are there? What is the maximum number of segments that can fit between the 0 and 1?
No there is not a measurable infinite amount -BY DEFINITION.

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by Consul » July 11th, 2019, 7:35 pm

h_k_s wrote:
July 11th, 2019, 3:18 pm
Now we are smack dab in the middle of the philosophy of Science -- the consideration and discussion of what is knowable or unknowable scientifically.
This is why philosophy is superior to science -- because philosophy allows us to determine what can or cannot be known "scientifically."
"Philosophy deals with two sets of questions:

First, the questions that science—physical, biological, social, behavioral—cannot answer now and perhaps may never be able to answer.

Second, the questions about why the sciences cannot answer the first lot of questions."


(Rosenberg, Alex. Philosophy of Science: A Contemporary Introduction. 3rd ed. New York: Routledge, 2012. pp. 2-3)
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by devans99 » July 12th, 2019, 5:42 am

h_k_s wrote:
July 11th, 2019, 3:18 pm
Conceivable there COULD be something out there, same as the empty space inside the event horizon, just that there would be no matter out there because the Big Bang caused "matter." So it could go either way. And due to the logical law of argument from ignorance, we cannot determine either way.

Based on his own studies of the night sky, Aristotle determined there could be up to 45 or so God(s). Perhaps each one of These triggered their own Big Bang. The question then becomes what happens when each of their big bangs collides?

For there to be nothing outside of the BB event horizon is a paradox and dilemma and contradiction of what "out there" means.

This suggests to me that since we conceive that contradictions are not possible, therefore there must be "something" out there to allow the BB blast to expand into it -- unless of course the BB blast has by now stopped dead in its tracks. Then there could indeed be "nothing out there."
If there is 'something out there' beyond the boundaries of the BB blast, then it would seem to be empty space - so it would have vacuum energy / dark energy associated with it? That would suggest an actually infinite amount of energy in the universe. Energy is equivalent to mass, so that would seem to lead to an actually infinite amount of gravitational force effecting everything in our universe - which is clearly not the case.

So if there is 'something out there' beyond the boundaries of the BB blast, then it seems it cannot be the 'empty space' which we are familiar with.

I suspect that spacetime started with the BB so that beyond the boundaries of the BB blast, there is not even any time. So there is just nothing and nothing cannot be infinite. As the blast expands, it maybe that spacetime is created in its wake.

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by RJG » July 12th, 2019, 8:09 am

RJG wrote:Are there an infinite number of segments between the 0 and the 1 on a 1" ruler?
Sculptor1 wrote:No there is not a measurable infinite amount -BY DEFINITION.
You are avoiding the question. Of course they are not measurable, that's why it's called infinite. But that was not the question.

The question is simply asking if these segments ARE infinite (or finite) -- So, again, are there an 'infinite' number of segments on the 1" ruler? YES or NO?

And if NO -- then how many segments are there?
And if YES -- then you can do the experiment!

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by Tamminen » July 12th, 2019, 9:32 am

devans99 wrote:
July 12th, 2019, 5:42 am
I suspect that spacetime started with the BB so that beyond the boundaries of the BB blast, there is not even any time. So there is just nothing and nothing cannot be infinite. As the blast expands, it maybe that spacetime is created in its wake.
In fact this is exactly the standard model of scientific cosmology. The expanding of the universe belongs to the geometry of spacetime, so that it is nonsensical to ask what is outside of the expanding universe or "where" it expands or "where" or "when" it started. There is no space and no time outside of spacetime. But its geometry is not clear yet. Therefore cosmologists cannot say for sure if the universe is finite or infinite. Something to speculate about for us philosophers.

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by Sculptor1 » July 12th, 2019, 9:56 am

RJG wrote:
July 12th, 2019, 8:09 am
RJG wrote:Are there an infinite number of segments between the 0 and the 1 on a 1" ruler?
Sculptor1 wrote:No there is not a measurable infinite amount -BY DEFINITION.
You are avoiding the question. ...
No.

YOU are avoiding reality.

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by RJG » July 12th, 2019, 1:00 pm

Sculptor1, ...huh????

...so is that a YES, - there are an 'infinite' number of segments on the 1" ruler?
...or is that a NO, - there are only a 'finite' number of segments on the 1" ruler?

It's one or the other, ...right?

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by devans99 » July 12th, 2019, 1:16 pm

If we start with 1" segments and successively double the number of segments then we have:

1" ruler, 2" ruler
1, 2 segments
2, 4 segments
4, 8 segments
2^n, 2^n+1 segments

So as long as we stay with a discrete number of segments, we have 2^n < 2^n+1, and so in a discrete world, there are always more segments on the 2" ruler.

As soon as we extend out to infinity (IE assume the rulers are continua):

2^∞, 2^∞+1 segments

Now we can't say that 2^∞ < 2^∞+1
Because ∞ is fundamentally ill-defined:
2^∞ = UNDEFINED
2^∞+1 = UNDEFINED
And its not true to say UNDEFINED < UNDEFINED

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by devans99 » July 12th, 2019, 1:49 pm

Tamminen wrote:
July 12th, 2019, 9:32 am
In fact this is exactly the standard model of scientific cosmology. The expanding of the universe belongs to the geometry of spacetime, so that it is nonsensical to ask what is outside of the expanding universe or "where" it expands or "where" or "when" it started. There is no space and no time outside of spacetime. But its geometry is not clear yet. Therefore cosmologists cannot say for sure if the universe is finite or infinite. Something to speculate about for us philosophers.
The Big Bang happened about 14 billion years ago. Some hold that the universe was infinite in size at the time of the Big Bang. The justification is presumably ∞*(anything)=∞ and ∞/(anything)=∞. So that an already infinite thing can expand. But between any two points in the universe, there is a finite distance, so if we trace back in time, eventually we must get to a point in time when those two points were colocated. So I do not think that the universe can have had an infinite size at the time of the Big Bang - the physics disagrees with the maths of infinity (the 2nd of which I find highly suspect). Not saying the universe started as a mathematical point, just it started out smaller than infinite.

Then the universe has been expanding at a finite rate for the last 14 billion years. So a finite initial size * finite amount of expansion = a finite current size of the universe.

There is also the question of whether an infinite thing can expand. Expansion implies that size(t0) < size(t1), but the maths of infinity say that ∞=∞+1 so that would suggest the same size?

Putting my cards on the table, I'm a finitist, so I actually believe everything is finite and ∞=UNDEFINED. Once finite numbers for the initial and current size of the universe are used, the maths agrees with the physics of the situation.

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