What is the greatest problem in epistemology?

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Re: What is the greatest problem in epistemology?

Post by Greta » June 10th, 2018, 9:30 pm

Wirius wrote:
July 16th, 2016, 1:31 pm
For me, I believe it is the problem of induction. How do I rationally demonstrate that one induction is more logical or reasonable than another? Sure, intuitively we believe it is more reasonable that the sun will rise again tomorrow, than the sun will not rise again tomorrow. But, rationally, why is this? If we could discover a rational construct of thought which could evaluate the rationality of inductions, I believe epistemology would be in a better place.
I don't have education in this area (or in anything much, really) but I find induction an extremely useful means of investigation because reality is fractal in nature, based on self similarity. So one can expect to find interesting similarities between, say, black holes, solar systems and atoms - each being basically an area of extreme mass and its surrounds and effects. Such natural metaphors that arise were essentially how humans comprehended nature before the scientific method, eg. The Sun was like a leader or emperor, the Moon his mistress, the Earth as a mother.

The traps for induction are time and emergence. Regarding time, the Sun might not be seen to rise tomorrow because a rogue black hole has disturbed the solar system's gravitational balance; the unexpected can happen over time, meaning that induction is really an educated guess. The other issue, emergence, means that the logical assumption/induction during the first two billion years on Earth that all of the microbes will simply continue to give rise to more microbes would obviously be wrong.

Induction looks to me to be just one means of trying to understand reality, along with deduction and abduction.

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Re: What is the greatest problem in epistemology?

Post by Wayne92587 » July 30th, 2018, 12:04 pm

The greatest problem with epistemology is Absolutely Bad Knowledge, which is easily mistaken to be Absolutely Good Knowledge, Knowledge having a dual quality; the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

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Re: What is the greatest problem in epistemology?

Post by Newme » August 6th, 2018, 9:10 pm

Alec Smart wrote:
July 16th, 2016, 4:18 pm
Platos stepchild wrote: Damned clever. In fact, too clever. There's nothing left to say.
Actually, I seem to have acquired a reputation for profundity, based entirely on people mistaking my ignorance for insight.
:lol:

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Re: What is the greatest problem in epistemology?

Post by ktz » November 10th, 2018, 8:06 pm

Tough to make an evaluation of "greatest problem" without criteria or some kind of idea of what the OP had in mind. Induction has moved outside of the toolset of the scientific methodology and other formally rigorous types reasoning, but I'd agree with Greta who noted that it still has reasonable uses with practical considerations. Though fans of inductive thinking may want to consider the idea of Nassim Taleb, who brings up Black Swan events and his discussions of fragility/antifragility, which are another example of the case of "emergent" phenomena Greta mentions which inductive arguments often fail to consider.

One modern area of interest could be epistemological ideas in "Big Data" -- nowadays, people seem to think by using tracking and advertising they can derive hermeneutic knowledge about an individual and who they are as a person, which to me is seriously appalling. I'm trying to combat this line of thinking using ideas from the existentialists, e.g. existence precedes essence, and anyone else from the antipositivist camp making the case that humans are more than just a bunch of data points.

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Re: What is the greatest problem in epistemology?

Post by Hereandnow » November 15th, 2018, 5:27 pm

Philosohically, there is really the big question: How does anything "out there" get "in here" (pointing to my head)? If you have the answer to this that is in any way compelling, I will call the neighbors and wake the kids.

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Re: What is the greatest problem in epistemology?

Post by BigBango » November 16th, 2018, 5:37 am

Hereandnow wrote:
November 15th, 2018, 5:27 pm
Philosohically, there is really the big question: How does anything "out there" get "in here" (pointing to my head)? If you have the answer to this that is in any way compelling, I will call the neighbors and wake the kids.
You should read Kant. His "Copernican Revolution" as presented in his "Critique of Pure Reason" lays out the ways in which the nature of "objective" reality conforms to our mental ability to understand it. It is that aspect of reality that grounds the legitimacy of our epistemological inferences.

Our mind evolved from the nature of reality and therefore our mind is blessed with the categories of understanding that illuminates an objective reality we can all appreciate.

Call the neighbors and wake the kids.

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Re: What is the greatest problem in epistemology?

Post by Hereandnow » November 16th, 2018, 1:16 pm

Hello BigBango, Yes but Kant was an idealist and the arena of perceptions of the world was empirical. Granted, if you locate "out there" as simply an empirical out there, one within the apriori intuition of space and time, then the objective reality you speak of is certainly within one's grasp epistemologically, that is, one can know objects in the world, in this space, locate them, discuss their properties, and so on. But Noumena? Forget it: it is a fiction. The question regarding the greatest problem in epistemology goes to this very fiction: Is it true that a knowledge claim about the world can never pass beyond the delimitations of thought and sensation? To answer in the affirmative, one would have to establish how anything that is outside these limits passes though them into the empirical world we live in. I read Hillary Putnam on this once, (he is a kind of soft idealist) and his asked the simple question (addressing Richard Rorty who is very hard on those who think knowledge is a maatter of "discovery:; all knowledge, he holds, is made): are you trying to tell me that my wife in a phenomenon entirely manufactured in my psyche? You see, there is something counterintuitive about idealism, but when it comes to saying what it is, the words, the arguments, simply and utterly fail.

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Re: What is the greatest problem in epistemology?

Post by BigBango » November 17th, 2018, 12:32 am

Hereandnow wrote:
November 16th, 2018, 1:16 pm
Hello BigBango, Yes but Kant was an idealist and the arena of perceptions of the world was empirical. Granted, if you locate "out there" as simply an empirical out there, one within the apriori intuition of space and time, then the objective reality you speak of is certainly within one's grasp epistemologically, that is, one can know objects in the world, in this space, locate them, discuss their properties, and so on.
Yes Hereandnow, what you have said is what counters the assertion that Kant was an idealist. I give you the fact that there were many German idealists that mistakenly grounded their idealism on Kant's writings. The truth is Kant was never an idealist and turned our philosophical thinking from the endless metaphysical speculations that were rampant in his time toward a metaphysics that had an empirical component that was replicable by others. He therefore established the outlines of what could be called "science".
Hereandnow wrote:
But Noumena? Forget it: it is a fiction. The question regarding the greatest problem in epistemology goes to this very fiction: Is it true that a knowledge claim about the world can never pass beyond the delimitations of thought and sensation? To answer in the affirmative, one would have to establish how anything that is outside these limits passes though them into the empirical world we live in. I read Hillary Putnam on this once, (he is a kind of soft idealist) and his asked the simple question (addressing Richard Rorty who is very hard on those who think knowledge is a maatter of "discovery:; all knowledge, he holds, is made): are you trying to tell me that my wife in a phenomenon entirely manufactured in my psyche? You see, there is something counterintuitive about idealism, but when it comes to saying what it is, the words, the arguments, simply and utterly fail.
I hear you. As you say, this is no small epistemological problem. We need to consider Schopenhauer's answer to the questions you raise. In his "The World as Will and Representation" he identifies two different sources of knowledge. The objective world of Representation and the world of direct knowledge that is our experiential states. Both sources of knowledge, the way you experience your wife and the distance you find the sun to be from the earth is the same as other scientists makes me believe that there is both an objective reality and a reality that can only be revealed through personal testimony, making our individual existence necessary for a complete account of objective reality.

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Re: What is the greatest problem in epistemology?

Post by Hereandnow » November 17th, 2018, 1:34 am

BigBango:
Yes Hereandnow, what you have said is what counters the assertion that Kant was an idealist. I give you the fact that there were many German idealists that mistakenly grounded their idealism on Kant's writings. The truth is Kant was never an idealist and turned our philosophical thinking from the endless metaphysical speculations that were rampant in his time toward a metaphysics that had an empirical component that was replicable by others. He therefore established the outlines of what could be called "science".
The 'outline" you speak of is what Husserl had in mind. Now, to say Kant was NOT an idealist does require more than the mere saying so. I mean, it's like saying Einstein wasn't really a physicist. So, you have some rabbit out of a hat non idealist construal of his Copernican Revolution? Pray tell.
I hear you. As you say, this is no small epistemological problem. We need to consider Schopenhauer's answer to the questions you raise. In his "The World as Will and Representation" he identifies two different sources of knowledge. The objective world of Representation and the world of direct knowledge that is our experiential states. Both sources of knowledge, the way you experience your wife and the distance you find the sun to be from the earth is the same as other scientists makes me believe that there is both an objective reality and a reality that can only be revealed through personal testimony, making our individual existence necessary for a complete account of objective reality.
As i recall, Schopenhauer thought will was in everything, and he came to this by projecting the presence of internal events in a human psyche on to everything. His arational universal Will is a bit of metaphysics I don't abide by. The existentialists are much more interesting. I guess Schop's Will is, for me, an unwarranted characterization things in themselves; after all, what is the basis for thinking a human's interior is a model for my couch's "interior? My couch, divested of all the perceptual features I acknowledge in it in the perceptual/historical event, presents to me no basis at all for positing anything about its interiority. It is, I will grant you, spooky and alien to think about; what, with it being "there" and not being there at the same time. See Heidegger on this kind of thing: what do we really have beyond the language resources to "disclose" it? We have intuitions, and Kant's dictum-- concepts without intuitions are empty, intuitions without concepts are blind-- put this kind of thing, identifying the interiority of my couch's being, in what Kant called empty dialectical spinning of wheels, being untethered from any given intuition.

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Re: What is the greatest problem in epistemology?

Post by BigBango » November 17th, 2018, 5:27 am

Hereandnow wrote:
November 17th, 2018, 1:34 am
BigBango:
Yes Hereandnow, what you have said is what counters the assertion that Kant was an idealist. I give you the fact that there were many German idealists that mistakenly grounded their idealism on Kant's writings. The truth is Kant was never an idealist and turned our philosophical thinking from the endless metaphysical speculations that were rampant in his time toward a metaphysics that had an empirical component that was replicable by others. He therefore established the outlines of what could be called "science".
Hereandnow wrote:
November 17th, 2018, 1:34 am

The 'outline" you speak of is what Husserl had in mind. Now, to say Kant was NOT an idealist does require more than the mere saying so. I mean, it's like saying Einstein wasn't really a physicist. So, you have some rabbit out of a hat non idealist construal of his Copernican Revolution? Pray tell.
The problem here is not whether Kant was an idealist or not, the problem is whether or not one accepts both empirical knowledge, a verifiable science about objective reality, and an account of our individual experience of reality. An idealist's position is always tainted by his peculiar conceptual reckoning of the facts.

It is rather difficult to address your position either favorably or not because you are so damn glib, jumping around like a wrestler who just wants to keep you from grabbing him.

You ask the right question "What do we really have beyond our language resources to 'disclose' it?" Of course the answer is nothing. Intuitions have to be communicated and we only have language to do that. Regardless, what we experience is an objective fact and if that is an epistemological conundrum then so be it!

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Re: What is the greatest problem in epistemology?

Post by Hereandnow » November 17th, 2018, 12:18 pm

BigBango
The problem here is not whether Kant was an idealist or not, the problem is whether or not one accepts both empirical knowledge, a verifiable science about objective reality, and an account of our individual experience of reality. An idealist's position is always tainted by his peculiar conceptual reckoning of the facts.

It is rather difficult to address your position either favorably or not because you are so damn glib, jumping around like a wrestler who just wants to keep you from grabbing him.

You ask the right question "What do we really have beyond our language resources to 'disclose' it?" Of course the answer is nothing. Intuitions have to be communicated and we only have language to do that. Regardless, what we experience is an objective fact and if that is an epistemological conundrum then so be it!
Sorry. I will try to keep it free of glibness. Essentially you're saying, even if Kant IS an idealist (curious that you said he wasn't), so what? It's like saying who cares about philosophical problems, the world works, and that is all we need. I don't see things like this. I think our philosophical understanding of things can have a profound impact on how we experience the world. After all, as Kant tells us, the world we live in is constructed by idea. If what is normal to us turns out to mere reified familiarity, and I think this true, then the search begins: what does it mean to be a person in the world at all, to suffer, to die, to be in harmony,and so on?

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Re: What is the greatest problem in epistemology?

Post by BigBango » Yesterday, 4:46 am

Hereandnow wrote:
November 17th, 2018, 12:18 pm
BigBango
The problem here is not whether Kant was an idealist or not, the problem is whether or not one accepts both empirical knowledge, a verifiable science about objective reality, and an account of our individual experience of reality. An idealist's position is always tainted by his peculiar conceptual reckoning of the facts.

It is rather difficult to address your position either favorably or not because you are so damn glib, jumping around like a wrestler who just wants to keep you from grabbing him.

You ask the right question "What do we really have beyond our language resources to 'disclose' it?" Of course the answer is nothing. Intuitions have to be communicated and we only have language to do that. Regardless, what we experience is an objective fact and if that is an epistemological conundrum then so be it!
Sorry. I will try to keep it free of glibness. Essentially you're saying, even if Kant IS an idealist (curious that you said he wasn't), so what? It's like saying who cares about philosophical problems, the world works, and that is all we need. I don't see things like this. I think our philosophical understanding of things can have a profound impact on how we experience the world. After all, as Kant tells us, the world we live in is constructed by idea. If what is normal to us turns out to mere reified familiarity, and I think this true, then the search begins: what does it mean to be a person in the world at all, to suffer, to die, to be in harmony,and so on?
I still say Kant was not an idealist. It's just that I do not see that categorizing him one way or another is as important as understanding what he said. Sure Kant tells us that the world we live in is constructed by idea, but you seem to forget "His Copernican Revolution" was that "objective reality" conforms to our categories of understanding. Things are countable and our mathematical abstractions are not simply wild guesses as to the nature of stuff. Our science of the world has revealed objective truth about the world that is universally accepted by the community of science researchers. It is that fact of community as to what is seen as true that rejects the subjective relativism of "Idealism".

"what does it mean to be a person in the world at all, to suffer, to die, to be in harmony, and so on?". Such good questions, Hereandnow.

My honest answer to that is one needs to feel the tension between what we are programmed to value by our genetic disposition and our own understanding of the world as seen from our point of view. Our soul comes to us from the accumulated assimilation of attachments from worlds that preceded the BB. We are now those beings/civilizations that are now trying to gain some casual efficacy over their shattered/BigCrunch/BB world they now find themselves in. We are both their construction and their hope for a continued existence in their new world. They have genetically biased our nature yet given us the powers to make our own analysis of the world. We need to sense the tension between our take on the world and our genetically biased disposition, the take on the world of our ancestors before the BB.

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Re: What is the greatest problem in epistemology?

Post by Hereandnow » Yesterday, 12:04 pm

BigBango
I still say Kant was not an idealist. It's just that I do not see that categorizing him one way or another is as important as understanding what he said. Sure Kant tells us that the world we live in is constructed by idea, but you seem to forget "His Copernican Revolution" was that "objective reality" conforms to our categories of understanding. Things are countable and our mathematical abstractions are not simply wild guesses as to the nature of stuff. Our science of the world has revealed objective truth about the world that is universally accepted by the community of science researchers. It is that fact of community as to what is seen as true that rejects the subjective relativism of "Idealism".
On this one, you really can't have your cake and eat it, too. Kant was an idealist and was emphatic about denying validity to any statement that cannot be confirmed either analytically or synthetically, that is, in experience. I would refer one to reading this or that passage, but in fact the idea pervades the Critique. You might be conflating literary or romantic idealism with ontological idealism, the former being about constructing ideas that postulate or celebrate morally perfect worlds, utopias and the like. These are not what Kant had inmind, in fact he was a rationalist, not a romantic. On the other hand, he does affirm treating others as ends and not means, his kingdom of ends in his moral treatise Metaphysic of Morals, and this morally perfection is an ideal that issues from our perfect rational nature that eschews desire and obeys duty. There is something of a romantic ideal in this, I think.
My honest answer to that is one needs to feel the tension between what we are programmed to value by our genetic disposition and our own understanding of the world as seen from our point of view. Our soul comes to us from the accumulated assimilation of attachments from worlds that preceded the BB. We are now those beings/civilizations that are now trying to gain some casual efficacy over their shattered/BigCrunch/BB world they now find themselves in. We are both their construction and their hope for a continued existence in their new world. They have genetically biased our nature yet given us the powers to make our own analysis of the world. We need to sense the tension between our take on the world and our genetically biased disposition, the take on the world of our ancestors before the BB.

BB is the Big Bang cosmologists talk about? How are you construing this? What does "worlds that preceded the BB" mean?

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Re: What is the greatest problem in epistemology?

Post by BigBango » Yesterday, 10:20 pm

Hereandnow wrote:
Yesterday, 12:04 pm
BigBango
I still say Kant was not an idealist. It's just that I do not see that categorizing him one way or another is as important as understanding what he said. Sure Kant tells us that the world we live in is constructed by idea, but you seem to forget "His Copernican Revolution" was that "objective reality" conforms to our categories of understanding. Things are countable and our mathematical abstractions are not simply wild guesses as to the nature of stuff. Our science of the world has revealed objective truth about the world that is universally accepted by the community of science researchers. It is that fact of community as to what is seen as true that rejects the subjective relativism of "Idealism".
On this one, you really can't have your cake and eat it, too. Kant was an idealist and was emphatic about denying validity to any statement that cannot be confirmed either analytically or synthetically, that is, in experience. I would refer one to reading this or that passage, but in fact the idea pervades the Critique. You might be conflating literary or romantic idealism with ontological idealism, the former being about constructing ideas that postulate or celebrate morally perfect worlds, utopias and the like. These are not what Kant had inmind, in fact he was a rationalist, not a romantic. On the other hand, he does affirm treating others as ends and not means, his kingdom of ends in his moral treatise Metaphysic of Morals, and this morally perfection is an ideal that issues from our perfect rational nature that eschews desire and obeys duty. There is something of a romantic ideal in this, I think.
Good points Hereandnow. I guess I have to admit Kant is an idealist. However, he is an idealist with a difference, they are not all made of the same cloth. After all, how could we fail to acknowledge his commitment to an "objective world" that sufficed to discredit metaphysical thinkers that failed to support their theories with any empirical evidence and at the same time establish the outlines of the science we practice today. I will simply refer you to Mortimer J. Adler's book "Ten Philosophical Mistakes", I believe the mistake, that most idealists make, especially Berkley, is that what is experienced "in here" is somehow tainted or transformed by our senses and therefore suspect as being "direct knowledge".
BigBango My honest answer to that is one needs to feel the tension between what we are programmed to value by our genetic disposition and our own understanding of the world as seen from our point of view. Our soul comes to us from the accumulated assimilation of attachments from worlds that preceded the BB. We are now those beings/civilizations that are now trying to gain some casual efficacy over their shattered/BigCrunch/BB world they now find themselves in. We are both their construction and their hope for a continued existence in their new world. They have genetically biased our nature yet given us the powers to make our own analysis of the world. We need to sense the tension between our take on the world and our genetically biased disposition, the take on the world of our ancestors before the BB.
Hereandnow wrote: BB is the Big Bang cosmologists talk about? How are you construing this? What does "worlds that preceded the BB" mean?
Sorry, I try to restrain my own metaphysical thinking because I can't really support it empirically. However I can't resist laying out my ideas that speculate about the worlds that may have preceded the Big Crunch followed by the Big Bang.

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Re: What is the greatest problem in epistemology?

Post by Hereandnow » Today, 12:45 am

BigBango
After all, how could we fail to acknowledge his commitment to an "objective world" that sufficed to discredit metaphysical thinkers that failed to support their theories with any empirical evidence and at the same time establish the outlines of the science we practice today. I will simply refer you to Mortimer J. Adler's book "Ten Philosophical Mistakes", I believe the mistake, that most idealists make, especially Berkley, is that what is experienced "in here" is somehow tainted or transformed by our senses and therefore suspect as being "direct knowledge".
Adler, I suspect ( Iread something of his once having to do with education. He advocated student choice in high school, providing an out for those who don't take to liberal arts and the rest) is not trying to understand things at the level of basic questions. Philosophy becomes easy if one just doesn't have think about those pesky assumptions about consciousness, reality, being, meta ethics, epistemology, and....wait: those things ARE philosophy.

Kant does not deny objective thinking; he is just trying to talk about what underlies objective thinking. But there is no doubt: right now there is under a rock at the bottom of the Mariana Trench a pebble. By Kant's account, we cannot say there is a pebble absent all cognitive and experience making agencies. There is really nothing at all one can say about it under the supposition that it has to be conceived, if you will, unperceived. Of course, to even talk about it is impossible.

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