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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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ktz
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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by ktz » December 13th, 2018, 5:39 pm

chewybrian wrote:
December 12th, 2018, 6:23 am
Life becomes so much easier when you accept this simple truth of the scope of your control. You will naturally become a better person when you acknowledge control over yourself, and remove much of the anger, anxiety or sadness that is a result of wishing to control that which you can not. The idea that you control nothing is no more sane than the idea that you control everything. Reality is obviously in the middle ground, and you will have rough sledding if you try to go against it in either way.

As flying is the essence of being an eagle, so reasoned choice is the essence of man. The eagle knows he can fly, and must fly to thrive, and also knows he can not fly through a mountain. Man is not always so wise.
I appreciate you drawing this connection for me, Chewy, and I really am starting to think I give some serious time to reading the stoics. My sister swears by Marcus Aurelius's meditations, and I think many of the epiphanies I got from reading Frankl and the existentialists probably have their true roots in stoicism.

Regarding what you said, I think it's fairly interesting the huge range of opinions on this scope of our control. On the one hand you have plenty of Jesus-Take-The-Wheel types not dissimilar to what RJG advocates for, and on the other hand you have the super intense "Creative Visualization" types who believe the future can come to them simply by the power of imagination. For me personally, it's definitely a struggle to delineate the borders between my willpower and my addictive personality on a regular basis. Maybe the stoics have something to offer for me there.

I'm also curious if you have an opinion on Epicurus since I believe he typically gets contrasted with the stoics. Are you familiar, and if so do you think any of his thinking complements stoicism, or is it all in diametric opposition?
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ktz
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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by ktz » December 13th, 2018, 5:59 pm

Eduk wrote:
December 12th, 2018, 4:36 am
Another great write up @ktz
I was walking across Waterloo bridge the other day. There was a person walking along with their eyes on their phone. They walked shoulder first into a lamp post. They then looked and said something to the lamp post like it was the lampposts fault. I found the look of confused anger and shock and blame directed at a lamppost to be both ridiculous and scary.
I guess this individual has an external locus of control.
Actually it seems a modern trend, though perhaps it's always been so, that no one will take responsibility for anything. We see this most obviously with politicians but you also see it in everyone.
The other day I parked behind someone to take my kid to school and they reversed into my parked car as they attempted to leave. Their first comment was that they did not see me. When this was found wanting they asked why I had parked so close. So instead of me thinking that we all make mistakes and it's just one of those things I now think the individual is a massive prat.
@Eduk Sign of the times, for sure -- I've observed similar experiences and definitely share your fear and incredulity. Maybe I can submit a philosophical hypothesis above my pay grade that perhaps it's linked to the rise of postmodernism and the deconstructionism, aka post-structuralism. When we start to believe that humans are merely a confluence of various forces, David Foster Wallace has this funny bit from the Greatly Exaggerated essay of his collection, A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again:
For the deconstructionist, then, a writer’s circumstances and intentions are indeed a part of the “context” of a text, but context imposes no real cinctures on the text’s meaning, because meaning in language requires a cultivation of absence rather than presence, involves not the imposition but the erasure of consciousness. This is so because these guys —Derrida following Heidegger and Barthes Malarmé and Foucault God knows who—see literary language as not a tool but an environment. A writer does not wield language; he is subsumed in it. Language speaks us; writing writes; etc.
So in the postmodern world, we no longer walk into the lamp -- instead, the lamp demonstrates its structural soundness through its collision with our bodies. Consumers no longer make purchases -- advertisers just tweak and tune their big data analysis and targeting algorithms enough that us suckers have no choice but to buy, buy, buy.
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chewybrian
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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by chewybrian » December 14th, 2018, 6:45 am

ktz wrote:
December 13th, 2018, 5:39 pm
I'm also curious if you have an opinion on Epicurus since I believe he typically gets contrasted with the stoics. Are you familiar, and if so do you think any of his thinking complements stoicism, or is it all in diametric opposition?
That is a great topic for a thread, and some others might be able to give a better workup than me, but I'll try.

There's not much strictly similar between them. Their names have many letters in common, and their strategies are both often summarized much too simply and thus not remotely understood or appreciated. People think stoics lack emotions, including happiness and empathy, while hedonists are always off having drunken orgies, and neither of these portraits gives respect to the thoughtfulness and usefulness of either philosophy. The loose similarity between these two guys is that they often arrive in the same place by travelling a different route. They both seek justice and temperance, for example, but in different ways and for different reasons. The strongest similarity I can see is that they both agree that tranquility comes first and foremost from within. Epictetus would have you detach your happiness from anything external; if something happens which is outside your control and it upsets you, you've only yourself to blame for allowing your happiness to be determined by what you do not control. Epicurus thinks static pleasure is preferable to moving pleasure, meaning your goal of pleasure will be more easily met by simple pleasures, which you control, like relaxing in your yard than by going to a concert, where various pains can come along with the pleasure.

Epictetus is dogmatic, while Epicurus is pragmatic. Epictetus believes in fate, while Epicurus believes man has a greater measure of control. Epictetus will focus on shaping your perspective, while Epicurus will focus on controlling your behavior. Epictetus would have you conform yourself to reality to find tranquility, while Epicurus would also have you turning reality to your own ends. Epictetus seeks virtue as its own end, and finds tranquility is the result. Epicurus seeks tranquility, and finds virtue is the necessary means to that end.

Take the idea of justice. For Epictetus, this is a cardinal virtue. We seek justice as an end because it is right to do so. Your life will usually also be better as a result of seeking justice, though he thinks we should seek it either way. For Epictetus, justice is objective and its truth does not change, no matter what subjective judgments people, communities or countries make about it. Epicurus would take a more pragmatic view of justice as a social contract, which varies by location; it means obeying the law as much or more than it means trying to do the right thing. For Epicurus, the end is pleasure (and the removal of pain). Justice is a bit of an afterthought. He thinks you should be just so that you will avoid the pain of guilt. He believes, and I think Epictetus would agree here, that mental pain is usually worse than physical pain. So, avoiding the fear of being caught would usually be preferable to whatever one might gain by being unjust.
One can not live pleasurably without living prudently, honorably and justly.-Epicurus
Temperance is another cardinal virtue for the stoics. You seek it because it is right to do so. For Epicurus, it is a side effect of seeking pleasure in a thoughtful way, in a way far more complex than most people would give him credit for doing so. You will want to be temperate to get the most pleasure in the long run. If I like golf, I will probably like it less if I play 10 hours a day. Even if I do enjoy myself, I expose myself to injury from overdoing it, and may end up playing less golf in the course of my life if I play too much too fast. A few drinks might be pleasurable, but too much is not always as much fun, and the after effects of hangovers and poor health and a shorter life don't make it a good bargain. You won't get the most pleasure in the end if you go after too much too fast. You can't have sex 10 hours a day. Well... if you can, it will be less pleasurable and some pain is sure to be brought into the mix.

After all this, to answer your question--no. I do not think they compliment each other or work in any kind of harmony. Epicurus has means which are coincidentally many of the ends of Epictetus. They may arrive at some of the same destinations, but they travel a very different route. Because he is more pragmatic, Epicurus might be willing to consider the usefulness of some of the ideas of Epictetus, but I have to think Epictetus would dismiss those of Epicurus quickly and completely. As soon as you turn your focus to extrernals, you are lost, he would say.
Work, therefore to be able to say to every harsh appearance, "You are but an appearance, and not absolutely the thing you appear to be." And then examine it by those rules which you have, and first, and chiefly, by this: whether it concerns the things which are in our own control, or those which are not; and, if it concerns anything not in our control, be prepared to say that it is nothing to you...

If you ever happen to turn your attention to externals, so as to wish to please anyone, be assured that you have ruined your scheme of life. Be contented, then, in everything with being a philosopher; and, if you wish to be thought so likewise by anyone, appear so to yourself, and it will suffice you.--Epictetus
"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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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by ktz » December 14th, 2018, 7:40 pm

chewybrian wrote:
December 14th, 2018, 6:45 am
ktz wrote:
December 13th, 2018, 5:39 pm
I'm also curious if you have an opinion on Epicurus since I believe he typically gets contrasted with the stoics. Are you familiar, and if so do you think any of his thinking complements stoicism, or is it all in diametric opposition?
Epictetus is dogmatic, while Epicurus is pragmatic. Epictetus believes in fate, while Epicurus believes man has a greater measure of control. Epictetus will focus on shaping your perspective, while Epicurus will focus on controlling your behavior. Epictetus would have you conform yourself to reality to find tranquility, while Epicurus would also have you turning reality to your own ends. Epictetus seeks virtue as its own end, and finds tranquility is the result. Epicurus seeks tranquility, and finds virtue is the necessary means to that end.
I found this to be quite profound. Maybe this was the prologue to the deontology vs teleology fight to come centuries later. I can see strands from both schools of thought in my worldview today. Very instructive writeup as always, thanks for this contribution.

I may consider starting that thread in the future since there may be a lot I can learn from the Stoicism vs Epicureanism contrast, but my latest encounter with Fooloso has me wary of starting threads on things I haven't read and don't know much about, and in my month or so since registering, this forum has already given me too much new interesting source material to explore in a concrete way. Both "Epic" guys are on my list though I am somewhat fearful about accessibility -- did you start with the original texts in your approach to the stoics, or was there some good introductory resource you would recommend?
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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by chewybrian » December 15th, 2018, 7:31 am

ktz wrote:
December 14th, 2018, 7:40 pm
Both "Epic" guys are on my list though I am somewhat fearful about accessibility -- did you start with the original texts in your approach to the stoics, or was there some good introductory resource you would recommend?
There is nothing to worry about in either case. There is not much volume to go through, and in both cases there is no attempt to hide the true meaning. They want you to get the message, rather than the idea that they are smarter than you.

My quick list might include Plato's Apology and Crito, Epictetus' Enchiridion and Discourses, Marcus Aurelius' Meditations for the stoics and the Letter to Menoeceus from Epicurus for the other 'Epic' .

With the exception of the Meditations, which is longer and wanders all over the place, the rest are short and simple, yet also densely packed with insight and wisdom. You are reading Nietzsche; you can breeze through all of these. However, you will get more out of them by re-reading. Put this book in your bathroom and get a little refresher every day:

https://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywo ... ud2yyz5a_e

I would also recommend re-reading the Enchiridion frequently to remind yourself of the content and to remember to apply its principles in your life every day.

The Apology and Crito don't seem to have all the layers you find in other works of Plato. They seem rather straightforward, and Socrates comes across as the heroic stoic sage. There was probably some effort to deify him as a martyr, but the ideas, whether fully his or not, hold up well.

In Epictetus, you might find a few outdated references, like the difficulties of going to the public bath; just substitute going to the gym and it all makes sense. You probably don't get upset because your slave does not come when you call him; think of having no cell service and the point sinks in. He also has an unusual way of addressing his audience by talking to a third person who is not there. He asks and answers the questions as if someone is throwing out objections to his arguments. There could have been a third person there, whom Arrian, his biographer, did not bother to mention by name. Or, this could simply be Epictetus' unusual but effective style of teaching. Either way, you will become accustomed to it quickly.

What could be a roadblock for many is their irrational preconceptions and attachments to externals which they do not want to let go. I'm sure you have heard that if you chain down an elephant when they are young and small, they will learn that they can not break the bond (and of course, you know they never forget...). Even when they grow massive and thus could easily break free, they remember trying and failing, and thus won't try again. The mental version of this is the only thing that could hold you back from learning through the work of Epictetus. If you were taught that emotions occur outside your control, and that you should feel happy or sad based on events in the outside world, you may have difficulty making progress. If you insist on attaching motives to others, and especially on thinking they should see things your way, you will find more reasons to be angry. You must consent for anyone else to control your emotions, yet most of us are all too willing to take that 'click bait', in person or on-line. When you do get to the other side, you will marvel at all the unnecessary suffering you went through before you learned and accepted these simple truths, and at how easily tranquility can be achieved in almost any circumstance.

The Meditations is simply a diary which was published. As such, it drifts all over the place. The thoughts were put down by Marcus to himself, and never put in any meaningful order or outline. Each short chapter stands alone. His style is a bit more difficult, too. Sometimes he tries too hard to have a poetic touch, or uses unclear language which he probably would have cleared up if he had intended to make a book of his writings.

Epicurus is quite clear and simple. My objection to him is that I feel he arrives at correct conclusions from a faulty foundation that pleasure is the ultimate end. You could say he is coincidentally correct, or that he has unjustified true belief. This may be my own thin chain of belief that virtue is the end we should seek. I can see value in his teachings, but I could not see anyone having the life-altering breakthrough from reading his work that I had through Epictetus. There is good reason, I think, that the Enchiridion is the basis for twelve step and anger management programs and cognitive behavioral therapy. Epicurus is prodding you in pretty much the same direction as Epictetus, yet without the critical focus on perception as both the problem and the answer to 'life, the universe, and everything'.

Sorry for rambling, but this subject matter is dear to me. You asked for secondary study guides. In addition to the Daily Stoic mentioned above, I would direct you to this guy:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tv7gngX ... Cq&index=1

He makes even difficult subjects understandable (though I don't think these are tough at all). You can search youtube for "Sadler Plato", "Sadler Meditations", and such, and find a video by him on just about any classic work of philosophy.

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy is another source I often access and recommend:

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/epicurus/#Bib
"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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ktz
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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by ktz » December 15th, 2018, 9:42 am

chewybrian wrote:
December 15th, 2018, 7:31 am
With the exception of the Meditations, which is longer and wanders all over the place, the rest are short and simple, yet also densely packed with insight and wisdom. You are reading Nietzsche; you can breeze through all of these.
Perhaps reading, but as Nietzsche himself seems to be eager to tell me, reading and understanding/applying are entirely different things...

But thanks very much for this comprehensive introduction, it's exactly what I was hoping for when I asked.
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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by Consul » December 18th, 2018, 4:59 pm

RJG wrote:
December 7th, 2018, 10:41 pm
Consul wrote:...there is nothing contradictory about saying that my thinking (or imagining) is a mental doing of mine which is experienced by me.
Do you actually believe you can consciously experience the "doing" part? If so, then please tell me 'specifically' what it is that you experience that indicates this.
The (sensory) experiences involved in my actual arm-raising are visual sensations (I see my arm raise) and bodily sensations: muscular tension and a kinesthetic (proprioceptive) sensation (of the position and movement of my arm).
RJG wrote:
December 7th, 2018, 10:41 pm
Note: we can only experience 'experiences' (effects), and NEVER the 'causation' or "doing" part.


Thinking and imagining are experiential, (phenomenally) conscious events; that is, you experience your thinkings and imaginings; and if they are mental doings, you experience your mental doings. They are then experienced cognitive performances, experienced cases of mental action or behavior.

Thinkings and imaginings qua mental actions—I know you're denying that they are really actions—are experienced by their subjects and they can also be innerly perceived (introspected) by them, whereas purely physical actions (bodily motions) cannot be experienced but only perceived.
(Nonexperiences are perceived by means of experiences, especially sensations. For instance, you perceive your arm through sense-impressions of it.)
RJG wrote:
December 7th, 2018, 10:41 pm
Causation is only presumed to exist, and is impossible to ever experience.
Really?

"The acceptance of the singular causation raises a very interesting epistemological question. Can we perhaps perceive causation, perceiving it in the direct sort of way that we perceive colours, shapes, distances, and other sensible qualities and relations? We could hardly do this if a Humean account of causation is correct because it would be magical to be perceptually sensitive to vast regularities over space and time. The best one could do then is to make some sort of inference from bodily sensations. But if causation is singular, then there seems to be an obvious candidate for perception: the action of various forces upon our body. This is information that we need for the immediate conduct of life and if it is lacking we would be most grievously handicapped. Relevant here seems the case described by Oliver Sachs of the woman in ‘The Disembodied Lady’ (in Sachs 1986) who suffered total loss of her proprioceptive capacity (perception of her own body), leaving her with almost no information about the state of her body save what could be painfully and artificially gained by vision. She could not be directly aware of the action of the world on her body. But we luckier ones are so aware, and so, it seems plausible, are aware of causal action on our body. Of course, even if my suggestion here is correct, we would not be experiencing the operation of a causal law. What we experience when we experience the operation of causes on our body will be the mere resultant of the causes operating upon some portion of our body at that time.

You can put the point by saying that among our sense impressions should be included sense impressions of some of the forces that act upon our body. David Hume, it may be remembered, argued that all our ideas (concepts) are derived, directly or indirectly, from sense impressions. But he says that he is unable to find any impression of causality, and in particular he denies that there is any impression of the necessary connection between cause and effect. All the senses give us, he assumes, are regular successions. I think that this is very likely quite wrong. In Humean terms, there are impressions from which we can derive the idea of causation. There are such impressions, impressions of forces acting on our body. Impressions can err, of course (error is always possible in perception), but in veridical cases we are able, I claim, to perceive causal action on our own body. (And we don’t have to think, as Hume seems to assume, that this would have to be a necessary connection. It could be contingent.)

Incidentally, Hume also denies that we experience causality in connection with willing our actions (in many places in his Treatise and Enquiries). I think he may be wrong here also. There seems to be direct introspective awareness of causes here, once again. We can be aware, with the usual caution that we might be mistaken, that we have successfully acted in a certain situation, that what we did sprang from our will as cause."


(Armstrong, D. M. Sketch for a Systematic Metaphysics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010. pp. 45-6)
RJG wrote:
December 7th, 2018, 10:41 pm
Firstly, you can never experience a "doing" of anything.
If thinking or imagining is a mental action, I experience it and can perceive it innerly, i.e. introspectively. I don't experience my physical actions, i.e. bodily motions, but I can perceive them both extrospectively and interoceptively/proprioceptively.

Footnote: In ordinary-language usage, "to experience" is often used in the sense of "to perceive"; but, strictly philosophically speaking, nonexperiences are only perceptible rather than experienceable.
RJG wrote:
December 7th, 2018, 10:41 pm
Secondly, your "sense of agency" is a creation of indoctrinated belief.
I doubt that my subjective impression of (intentional) physical or mental action is just an illusion. For there is perceptual evidence for my being a subject with active powers. I can consciously (intentionally/voluntarily) do something and thereby make something happen, which wouldn't have happened if I hadn't done something.

As for thinking and imagining as mental actions, I'm not saying that all events of thinking or imaging are acts, i.e. things I do intentionally, but at least cases of explicit philosophical or scientific reflection are.

For example, when I ask you to imagine an ice cube and to let it rotate around one axis for ten seconds, you can intentionally do that, can't you? Or when I ask you to add all natural numbers ≤10 in your mind, you can intentionally do that, can't you?
RJG wrote:
December 7th, 2018, 10:41 pm
Consul wrote:If you were right, there would be no difference between winking and blinking, and between shaking one's body and shuddering…
If one 'experiences' a difference between winking/blinking and shaking/shuddering, then they do. If they don't, then they don't.
My sense of agency is not an illusion, because I am well aware of the difference between a blinking that just happens to me (e.g. due to a neural malfunction) and a winking that is (consciously/intentionally/voluntarily) done by me. Normal self-conscious subjects such as human ones aren't just passive "event-watchers"; they aren't just remote-controlled "puppets on strings", because they have certain active powers and a certain degree of self-control.
RJG wrote:
December 7th, 2018, 10:41 pm
Consul wrote:There really is such a thing as (intentional) physical or mental action.
Not so. Firstly, it is not possible to ever consciously "intend" (or "do") anything. Secondly, "intending" itself is a meaningless self-stultifying (self-defeating) word.

One cannot “intend” anything without there existing a prior “intention” to do so. But this prior “intention” defeats any viability of true 'intentionality', thereby making the term itself self-contradictory; logically impossible; self-stultifying.

In other words, just ask yourself, did you cause (intend) your intention, ...or was this intention unintentional? If you intended your intention, then did you also intend this intending, ...or was it unintentional? Continue on with this never ending process, until you finally realize that "intending" anything is logically impossible.
I reject your premise that one cannot intend to do x unless one also intends to intend to do x. Intentions to action and intentional actions don't impossibly require an infinite regress of prior intentions to intentions.

When I act freely in accordance with my intentions (in the compatibilist sense of freedom of action), these are just there and haven't been freely chosen by me. However, there are indirect ways of changing one's intentions.
RJG wrote:
December 7th, 2018, 10:41 pm
One can only 'experience' (the urge called) intention, and never ever the "intending" itself!
Intending to do x is not the same as feeling an urge to do x. For example, when I (rationally) intend to go to the dentist, I never feel an urge, a desire, or impulse to do so (on the contrary!). I can intend to do (and do) what I don't desire or want to do.

By the way, there's a distinction between intention-to-action (planning to do x), intention-in-action (intentional action, the exertion of the will: voluntarily attempting/trying to do x), and intention-of-action (the purpose of doing x: doing x in order to…).
RJG wrote:
December 7th, 2018, 10:41 pm
Consul wrote:"Active and Passive Consciousness:
To anyone who reflects on his conscious experiences, there is an obvious distinction between the experience of voluntary intentional activity on the one hand and the experience of passive perception on the other.
Obvious? If this were "obvious", then one could easily identify and point out this distinction. But one can't. One can't because one can only experiences 'effects', and never the causers themselves.
There are "agentive experiences", i.e. experiences of oneself as an agent who is a causer of things.

"Consider what it is like to engage in a mundane action, such as waving goodbye to a friend. In addition to experiencing one’s body as moving in a certain way, one will also experience oneself as acting and, indeed, as carrying out a particular kind of action (say, waving). One will experience the movements of one’s arm as intentional and as goal-directed; one will experience oneself as the agent of the action. One may also experience oneself as having a certain degree of control over both the initiation and execution of the action; one may experience the action as “up to oneself.” The action might be experienced as involving a certain amount of effort. It might also be experienced as an action that one performs freely or voluntarily. Each of these types of mental states is, I assume, familiar to you from your own experience. I will group these states together under the heading of “agentive experiences.”

Within the class of agentive experiences we can distinguish between core and non-core elements. The core elements of agentive experience are elements that must be possessed by any agentive experience whatsoever. As the name suggests, the core elements of agentive experience lie at the heart of the phenomenon. We might think of the core as “the feeling of doing” or “the sense of agency.” A minimal construal of this core would identify it with nothing more than a bare experience of oneself as acting—what Ginet (1990) refers to as “actish phenomenology.” A richer conception of the agentive core might identify it with the experience of acting on the basis of a particular aim or goal. We need not decide between these two conceptions of the agentive core here.

By the “non-core” elements of agentive experience I mean to identify those elements of agentive phenomenology that need not be present within an experience of agency. It is something of an open question just what phenomenal features might qualify as non-core elements of agentive experience, but I would include experiences of effort and experiences of freedom in this category. Although many of our actions involve a sense of effort or a sense of freedom, these elements are not essential to the sense of agency as such. Arguably, one can experience a movement as an action without experiencing it as something in which one is investing effort or as something that one is executing freely."


(Bayne, Tim. "Agentive Experiences as Pushmi-Pullyu Representations." In New Waves in Philosophy of Action, edited by Jesús H. Aguilar, Andrei A. Buckareff, and Keith Frankish, 219-236. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. pp. 219-20)
RJG wrote:
December 7th, 2018, 10:41 pm
One falsely believes that they 'voluntarily' raised their arm, because they 'experienced' the preceding 'urge' to raise their arm. Without the preceding urge (prior to stimulating the muscle movement), there is no urge, and hence no false belief of 'voluntary' action.

Note: the experiencing of an urge, does not mean one consciously caused said urge.
No, a voluntary arm-raising needn't involve any urge. An urge can motivate me to raise my arm, but I can as well do so without feeling any urge to do so. I can simply decide to raise my arm and do so. (And when I feel an urge to raise my arm, I can decide to resist it and not to raise my arm.)
RJG wrote:
December 7th, 2018, 10:41 pm
Consul wrote:I can know what I intend or want to do before doing it, but of course I cannot know what I am doing before I start doing it...
No problem with 'knowing' your experiences; being conscious of your intentions/desires. The problem (impossibility) is in knowingly causing these intentions/desires.
Of course, I cannot freely choose or decide to have the intention or desire to do x; and, ultimately, even meta-intentions or meta-desires to change one's intentions or desires aren't freely chosen. (For example, an alcoholic can have the meta-desire to get rid of his addictive desire to drink alcohol.) But it doesn't follow that intentional (physical or mental) actions are impossible.
RJG wrote:
December 7th, 2018, 10:41 pm
Consul wrote:My active arm-raising is accompanied by a passive perception of my arm's rising, but the former is not reducible to the latter.
There is never a consciously experienced "active arm-raising". One cannot experience "active" events", one can only experience 'experiences' (effects). Consul, if you truly believe you can experience an "active" causal event, then please be specific and identify this (impossible) active 'experience'.
You perceive your physical actions through certain sensations accompanying it. In the case of purely mental actions (deliberate thinking or imagining as the using of linguistic or non-linguistic mental images for conscious cognitive processes such as reasoning, deciding and problem-solving), you cannot perceive them sensorily but only introspectively. But you don't have to introspect your mental actions in order to experience them. All mental actions involve experiences of mental images, but qua being actions rather than mere passions they don't just consist in the passive enjoyment of mental images but in the active employment of mental images by the subject. That is, the actively thinking or imagining subject doesn't just passively have thoughts or images, because s/he intentionally uses them for something.

Your mental or physical actions are also accompanied by a distinctive sense of agency or "action awareness" (Christopher Peacocke): "The content of such action awareness is first-personal and present-tensed. It has the form ‘I am doing such-and-such now’."
RJG wrote:
December 7th, 2018, 10:41 pm
Consul wrote:When I raise my arm I see it rise, with the arm-rising not being caused by my seeing it; but, again, the active raising of my arm is not reducible to a passive seeing of its rising. For it includes an intention…
Experiencing an intention, is NOT causing (intending) that intention.
True, but I didn't say it is.

The intention included in my arm-raising is an intention-in-action, a voluntary attempt of mine to actualize my (prior) intention-to-action, in virtue of which the arm-raising is more than a mere arm-rising.
RJG wrote:
December 7th, 2018, 10:41 pm
Experiencing the attempt to raise the arm, is NOT causing the attempt to raise the arm.
No, but my intention or decision to raise my arm plus my voluntary attempt to do so are part of the cause of my arm-rising. Ceteris paribus, my arm wouldn't have risen if I hadn't intended/decided and attempted to raise it.
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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by Consul » December 18th, 2018, 5:06 pm

"Thinking—conscious thinking—is not merely the having or entertaining of images, verbal or otherwise. Thinking is a matter of an agent's using such images, putting them to work, And whatever it is to put images to work, it is not solely a matter of entertaining further images. Nor is conscious thinking something occurring behind the scenes when you deploy representations: it is the deployment of those representations—in your head or otherwise."

(Heil, John. The Universe As We Find It. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. p. 252)
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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by Belindi » December 18th, 2018, 8:41 pm

Constant conjunction is the basis of what we might call true knowledge. Probability is all we can have . Unless of course we say 'knowledge' in the Biblical sense of intimate experience with privileged access.

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by RJG » December 19th, 2018, 3:08 pm

RJG wrote:Note: we can only experience 'experiences' (effects), and NEVER the 'causation' or "doing" part.
Consul wrote:Thinking and imagining are experiential, (phenomenally) conscious events; that is, you experience your thinkings and imaginings…
To clarify - it is only the 'thoughts' (the scripted content) that we can actually experience, not the 'thinking' (imagining/creating) of these thoughts.

Consul wrote:...and if they are mental doings, you experience your mental doings. They are then experienced cognitive performances, experienced cases of mental action or behavior.
Not so. Again, we can only experience the finished/resulted/scripted 'content', and never the 'making' (or creating) of this content.

For example, we only experience the 'sounds' and not the 'hearing' itself. We only experience the 'smells' and not the 'smelling' itself. And likewise, we only experience the 'thoughts' and not the 'thinking' itself.

Consul wrote:Thinkings and imaginings qua mental actions—I know you're denying that they are really actions—are experienced by their subjects and they can also be innerly perceived (introspected) by them, whereas purely physical actions (bodily motions) cannot be experienced but only perceived.
I don't deny the real actions of thinking/imagining, I only deny that we have any conscious access to these actions. We are only conscious of the 'effects'; the results of these actions; the experiences; the content themselves, that's all.

Consul wrote:(Nonexperiences are perceived by means of experiences, especially sensations. For instance, you perceive your arm through sense-impressions of it.)
Perceiving 'is' experiencing. Perceptions 'are' experiences. We can only experience experiences (only perceive perceptions). It is not logically possible to experience a non-experience (or to perceive a non-perception).

RJG wrote:Firstly, you can never experience a "doing" of anything.
Consul wrote:If thinking or imagining is a mental action, I experience it and can perceive it innerly, i.e. introspectively. I don't experience my physical actions, i.e. bodily motions, but I can perceive them both extrospectively and interoceptively/proprioceptively.
Any bodily or mental 'action' (or reaction) can only be known 'after-the-fact' via bodily "tattle-tale" sensors/detectors. The 'action' always precedes the 'knowing-of-the-action'.

RJG wrote:Secondly, your "sense of agency" is a creation of indoctrinated belief.
Consul wrote:I doubt that my subjective impression of (intentional) physical or mental action is just an illusion. For there is perceptual evidence for my being a subject with active powers. I can consciously (intentionally/voluntarily) do something and thereby make something happen, which wouldn't have happened if I hadn't done something.
Experiential/perceptual evidence is always 'after-the-fact'; 'after' the bodily/mental action has occurred. Although the body itself may have non-conscious active powers to move itself about, our consciousness or knowing of these actions are always 'after-the-fact'; after the action. We can never sensingly 'cause' the action, because the sensing is just an after-'effect' (result) of the action.

Consul wrote:For example, when I ask you to imagine an ice cube and to let it rotate around one axis for ten seconds, you can intentionally do that, can't you? Or when I ask you to add all natural numbers ≤10 in your mind, you can intentionally do that, can't you?
We can't do anything "intentionally" (consciously), but only "auto-reactively" (non-consciously). We can only recognize/know (be conscious of) our actions after we (our bodies) did them.

Consul wrote:Normal self-conscious subjects such as human ones aren't just passive "event-watchers"; they aren't just remote-controlled "puppets on strings", because they have certain active powers and a certain degree of self-control.
Not so. Any so-called "active powers" are just the non-conscious bodily auto-reactions. Everything that we are conscious of, has already happened; already been scripted; already been caused. When we are conscious of something, this 'something' (aka conscious ''content') has already been caused, created, and scripted for us to then be conscious of. Without this already existing 'something' (content) to be conscious of, there is NOTHING to be conscious of; hence no consciousness. (e.g. without something to see, there is no seeing).

Consul wrote:I reject your premise that one cannot intend to do x unless one also intends to intend to do x. Intentions to action and intentional actions don't impossibly require an infinite regress of prior intentions to intentions.
"Intending" is similar to "desiring", both of these words, if used as an action/verb, are 'self-defeating', rendering its meaning as self-stultifying (i.e. nonsensically self-contradictory).

Since one cannot desire/intend anything without there first existing the prior desire/intention to do so, this prior desire/intention defeats any viability of its true meaning.

To put it more simply, and to borrow/modify Schopenhauer's words a bit: Although man can do as he wants/desires/intends, he can never want/desire/intend his wants/desires/intentions. Translation: It is our wants/desires/intentions that control us, ...not the other way around!

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by Wayne92587 » December 29th, 2018, 5:01 pm

Consciousness is born of the Rational Mind. The Consciousness of the Rational Mind being the Soul Mate of the Flesh Body.

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by Tosen » January 26th, 2019, 10:26 pm

I did a post regarding having no free will. Meaning we being the "causers" of thoughts. You have raised your awareness to get this well RJG, but you fail to communicate this to the other philosophers in this forum. This truth, the truth of becoming conscious of your own 'thinking" is something you experience, not something you logically deduce. Logic are just thoughts, conceptions, therefore mental. To have an experience is to be a conscious perceiver of an experience, it's consciousness, it's a being an "observer" "observing" how thoughts "appear" in our minds is how you get this. If you make these two clear distinctions you can make your point clearer. But yes, AFTER you realize this through experience, you can say that it seems "illogical" to presume that we cause thoughts. Because now you can conceptually, through language and ideas, explain the paradox of thinking itself and see the absurdity of it. Consciousness is everything my friends.... Learn to observe your mind

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by RJG » January 27th, 2019, 2:04 am

Tosen wrote:...the truth of becoming conscious of your own 'thinking" is something you experience, not something you logically deduce.
Firstly, yes, experiencing is an "absolute" truth, and not a "logically derived" truth.

And secondly, it is not the "thinking" (the 'scripting' of thoughts) that we are conscious of, but instead, only just the (already scripted) "thoughts" that we are conscious of.

Tosen wrote:Logic are just thoughts, conceptions, therefore mental.
Not so. Logic (and Math) are not a product of thoughts/conceptions. Logic/Math is an a priori truth, not a man-made truth.

Tosen wrote:Learn to observe your mind.
No offense, but this is non-sensical. Is the mind and the observer the same entity? Or are there two of you inside you?

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by Burning ghost » February 27th, 2019, 5:26 am

RJG -
Firstly, yes, experiencing is an "absolute" truth, and not a "logically derived" truth.
Experiencing is a “phenomenological truth.”
Not so. Logic (and Math) are not a product of thoughts/conceptions. Logic/Math is an a priori truth, not a man-made truth.
Just been talking about this elsewhere. I think the point was that without sensory experience there is no “math” or “logic.” Meaning it doesn’t exist if we don’t exist - or if it does we’ve obviously no way of making any such statement with any serious conviction.

What is “a priori” is technically math and logic. Which means we know it as a given truth (ie. 1+1=2) even though we don’t have to experience it directly. Again, this is because it is an abstract idea set apart for phenomenological being - one cup and another cup make teo cups, but if we go further down we’re unable to say the are identical and so we’re dealing with approximate objects not the universal abstract terms of “one” and “two”.
No offense, but this is non-sensical. Is the mind and the observer the same entity? Or are there two of you inside you?
Perhaps offering an answer to your own question would shed further light? The self may well be an illusion but that doesn’t tell us much about what our sense of self is does it? If my sense of self is also an illusion is me knowing that my sense of self is an illusion not also - by following the same logical course - an illusion too? We end up at the infamous “elephants all the way down” where a simple, we’re not sure would do well enough and then stop us from falling into a semantic quagmire.

You started out many years ago asking the same basic question as me. What ideas have you arrived at? What is “True Knowledge”? Can you provide an instance of it if you believe you’ve found it? Or is your claim of “true knowledge” merely that you are not “you” and that eveyrthing that “you” does is already done? If so what use is this, or does this destroy the meaning of “use” outright as well as “meaning”?
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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by Karpel Tunnel » February 27th, 2019, 5:32 am

Burning ghost wrote:
February 27th, 2019, 5:26 am
Experiencing is a “phenomenological truth.”
I am not sure it makes sense to say experiencing is a truth. Aren't truths propositional? Is experiencing propositional?

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