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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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Tamminen
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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by Tamminen » December 6th, 2018, 8:05 am

What is the experiencer?

When I feel pain in my finger, is it the finger that feels the pain? Or my brain? Or my body as a whole? The whole question is absurd. None of these is the subject that feels. Sure I need my body to feel the pain in my finger, but my body does not feel anything – any more than a stone feels anything.

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RJG
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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by RJG » December 6th, 2018, 8:16 am

Tamminen wrote:What is the experiencer?

When I feel pain in my finger, is it the finger that feels the pain? Or my brain? Or my body as a whole? The whole question is absurd. None of these is the subject that feels. Sure I need my body to feel the pain in my finger, but my body does not feel anything – any more than a stone feels anything.
Doesn't the pain radiate from (and felt by) the finger? ...if there were no finger, would there be pain?

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by Tamminen » December 6th, 2018, 8:40 am

RJG wrote:
December 6th, 2018, 8:16 am
Tamminen wrote:What is the experiencer?

When I feel pain in my finger, is it the finger that feels the pain? Or my brain? Or my body as a whole? The whole question is absurd. None of these is the subject that feels. Sure I need my body to feel the pain in my finger, but my body does not feel anything – any more than a stone feels anything.
Doesn't the pain radiate from (and felt by) the finger? ...if there were no finger, would there be pain?
You can feel pain in your finger even when you have no finger. This is called phantom pain. But that is beside the point. Normally you must have your body - at least your brain and the finger - to feel pain in your finger. But it is you as the subject, not your body, that feels the pain.

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by RJG » December 6th, 2018, 8:43 am

Does a docile worm experience pain when he suddenly and violently reacts (squirms) to his body being punctured onto a fishing hook? Is it his 'body' that experiences the pain, or is there a 'conscious entity within' (aka "subject") that experiences the pain? And if the latter, does the "subject" then instruct the body to "violently squirm"?

1. Why does the 'body' need a "middle-man" to feel for it?
2. If the "conscious entity within" feels for the 'body', then who feels for the "conscious entity within" ?
3. Why can't the 'body' be the 'experiencer'; the "subject"?

Tamminen
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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by Tamminen » December 6th, 2018, 9:24 am

RJG wrote:
December 6th, 2018, 8:43 am
Does a docile worm experience pain when he suddenly and violently reacts (squirms) to his body being punctured onto a fishing hook? Is it his 'body' that experiences the pain, or is there a 'conscious entity within' (aka "subject") that experiences the pain?
If it feels pain, it is a subject, and a subject is not a body.
...does the "subject" then instruct the body to "violently squirm"?
Not necessarily. It can be seen as a response by the subject. Or the subject's experience of the physical response.
Why does the 'body' need a "middle-man" to feel for it?
The subject is not a "middle-man". It is the "first man".
If the "conscious entity within" feels for the 'body', then who feels for the "conscious entity within" ?
The subject does not feel for the body, it feels by means of the body. Its body offers it a relationship with the world, and the feeling is its response to that relationship. Everything happens for the subject, and the body is its instrument for existing.

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by Mitch88 » December 6th, 2018, 10:59 am

The treasure of the human mind is such that the ultimate Truth can be found by seeking after it. There can also be a gift received by our spiritual Being in answer to prayer in times of great emotional stress. The human mind when spiritually guided feeds the Soul - our innermost Being that can explain the meaning of Life itself. Such true knowledge can only be found by our belief in God - now admitted by science due to the great complexity of Creation being only possible through a creator God.

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RJG
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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by RJG » December 6th, 2018, 11:00 am

RJG wrote:Why does the 'body' need a "middle-man" to feel for it?
Tamminen wrote:The subject is not a "middle-man". It is the "first man".
Can a subject exist 'without' a body? -- For without bodily reactions to be conscious of, what is there left for the subject to be conscious of?

RJG wrote:If the "conscious entity within" feels for the 'body', then who feels for the "conscious entity within" ?
Tamminen wrote:The subject does not feel for the body, it feels by means of the body. Its body offers it a relationship with the world, and the feeling is its response to that relationship. Everything happens for the subject, and the body is its instrument for existing.
So without the 'body' and its reactions, there can be no consciousness (nor "subject") of these bodily reactions, ...right?

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by Tamminen » December 6th, 2018, 11:38 am

RJG wrote:
December 6th, 2018, 11:00 am
Can a subject exist 'without' a body? -- For without bodily reactions to be conscious of, what is there left for the subject to be conscious of?
I think I have said many times that I cannot imagine the subject existing without a body. So you are right: existing is being conscious of something, and that presupposes the being of that something which the subject is conscious of. And the subject is conscious of the world, by means of the material organism that we call its body. It perceives the world through the perceptions that its body offers to it.
So without the 'body' and its reactions, there can be no consciousness (nor "subject") of these bodily reactions, ...right?
Right. The "mind/body" correlation applies both ways. Without the body the subject cannot exist in any meaningful way. But when we speak about a body, it is always the subject's body.

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by Consul » December 6th, 2018, 12:18 pm

RJG wrote:
December 5th, 2018, 8:28 am
This means that we are not the 'authors' of our thoughts; we don't "think" thoughts, we only just "experience" thoughts.

“All that I know about anything comes from my thoughts. Though, my thoughts are not my own. They are given to me. I become aware of them when they come to me, and not before. There is no other way, as it is not logically possible for me to pre-select those thoughts for which I am then to become aware of. I am only the receiver of my thoughts, not the giver. For if I could truly give, or pre-select, my own thoughts, then I would certainly select happy, pleasurable thoughts all the time.” --- RJG (2010)
Your argumentation contains a doubtful premise: Thinking is not a mental action unless, before thinking that p, the subject consciously "pre-selects" the thought that p by intending to think that p and then intentionally causing the thought that p to occur in her/his mind.

Of course, that's impossible. It's impossible to intend to think that p before thinking that p, since to do so is already to think that p. So, if thinking is a mental action, the conscious action involved doesn't concern the selection or production of single thoughts but the conscious "management" or direction of the stream of thought (as opposed to its subconscious source). It is utterly implausible to claim that Aristotle and Kant had absolutely no voluntary control over their streams of thought when they were immersed in philosophical contemplation.

Anyway, my thoughts are my own, because my thoughts don't result from an exogenous thought-insertion. My brain is the organ of my thought, and with me being a human organism, it (qua thought-producer) is part of me.

Moreover, that we experience our thoughts doesn't mean that thinking is not a mental action, because it is not a necessary truth that all experiences are mere happenings (to the subject) rather than doings (by the subject). In fact, it is very hard to deny that thinking and imagining can be deliberate mental activities. (I'm not saying they always are.)
"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 Tamminen » December 6th, 2018, 12:40 pm

Consul wrote:
December 6th, 2018, 12:18 pm
In fact, it is very hard to deny that thinking and imagining can be deliberate mental activities.
I have always had difficulties in seeing the essential difference between deliberate actions and mere happenings. Intuitively it seems that there must be a difference, but I cannot get the clue of how to express it. Although I am not a materialist, I do not understand what genuine free and spontaneous acting is. And I am also wondering if you can see it better from your materialistic perspective. How can matter act?

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by Consul » December 6th, 2018, 9:04 pm

Tamminen wrote:
December 6th, 2018, 12:40 pm
I have always had difficulties in seeing the essential difference between deliberate actions and mere happenings. Intuitively it seems that there must be a difference, but I cannot get the clue of how to express it.


You're not alone with this problem, since it's a basic problem in the philosophy of action.

"Let us not forget this: when 'I raise my arm', my arm goes up. And the problem arises: what is left over if I subtract the fact that my arm goes up from the fact that I raise my arm?" – Ludwig Wittgenstein (Philosophical Investigations, §621).

One answer is that what is left over is my attempting or trying to raise my arm. That is, my arm's going up isn't a mere event if and only if it results from my attempting or trying to make it rise. (Note that although an attempt to do something requires some physical or mental effort, it doesn't necessarily involve any felt strain or experienced difficulty. Trying to do something isn't the same as trying hard to do it.)
"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 RJG » December 7th, 2018, 7:47 am

Consul wrote:It is utterly implausible to claim that Aristotle and Kant had absolutely no voluntary control over their streams of thought when they were immersed in philosophical contemplation.
It is not that this claim is "implausible", it's just that it contradicts one of our many irrational brainwashed beliefs.

RJG wrote:“All that I know about anything comes from my thoughts. Though, my thoughts are not my own. They are given to me. I become aware of them when they come to me, and not before. There is no other way, as it is not logically possible for me to pre-select those thoughts for which I am then to become aware of. I am only the receiver of my thoughts, not the giver. For if I could truly give, or pre-select, my own thoughts, then I would certainly select happy, pleasurable thoughts all the time.” --- RJG (2010)
Consul wrote:Anyway, my thoughts are my own, because my thoughts don't result from an exogenous thought-insertion. My brain is the organ of my thought, and with me being a human organism, it (qua thought-producer) is part of me.
Who the thought 'belongs to' and who 'creates' the thought are two different matters; two different who's. The itch that I experience on my arm 'belongs' to me, but this does not mean that I had any say-so over its creation. For I only became knowing of my itch 'after' I experienced it. I experience the 'thought-in-my-head' the same as an 'itch-on-my-arm'. Both of these knowingly appear to me only 'after' I experience them, not 'before'. Only in this sense are these 'mine'.

We cannot be conscious-of-an-itch (or thought), without the pre-existing itch (or thought) to be conscious of.

Consul wrote:Moreover, that we experience our thoughts doesn't mean that thinking is not a mental action…
But the mental action of thinking can only be a non-conscious (unknown) action, for all we ever get to consciously (knowingly) experience are just the thoughts themselves, and never the thinking.

Consul wrote:...because it is not a necessary truth that all experiences are mere happenings (to the subject) rather than doings (by the subject).
To the contrary. It is a logical truth/certainty that all experiences are just mere happenings (to the subject), for one cannot knowingly experience the "doings" except through the happenings received by the subject. For example, one cannot know they raised their arm without the bodily reactions/experiences reporting such action (via the detecting and reacting of sensory organs).

Consul wrote:In fact, it is very hard to deny that thinking and imagining can be deliberate mental activities.
The difficulty is in denying one's own irrationally ingrained beliefs. The difficulty is in seeing past our tainted pre-conditioned views, to see the clear and obvious logical impossibility of "deliberate mental activity".

Consul wrote:"Let us not forget this: when 'I raise my arm', my arm goes up. And the problem arises: what is left over if I subtract the fact that my arm goes up from the fact that I raise my arm?" – Ludwig Wittgenstein (Philosophical Investigations, §621).
"I raise my arm" is a false assertion. One does not consciously move their body about. One is only conscious of their body moving about.

One cannot know they raise their arm until 'after' the bodily reactions/experiences/senses have already indicated such action. One cannot know-of-X without an X to know of. If the lifting of the arm was preceded by the 'urge' to lift the arm, then this again was only known after the indicating bodily reaction. One cannot be conscious-of-an-urge, without the (pre-existing) 'urge' to be conscious of. If the experiencing of the urge was preceded by the 'thoughts' of lifting the arm, then this again was only known after the thought consciously appeared, not before. No matter how far we wish to "kick-this-can", we can never know X, prior to the knowing-of-X. -- It is LOGIC that tells us so.

Therefore -- We can't ever know what we "do", ...we can only know what we've "done". -- The "doing" always precedes the knowing-of-the-doing.

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by Belindi » December 7th, 2018, 8:44 am

Consul wrote:
It is utterly implausible to claim that Aristotle and Kant had absolutely no voluntary control over their streams of thought when they were immersed in philosophical contemplation.
How voluntary is the thought of a man?
A man's thought is more voluntary than the 'thought' of a worm or even, arguably, of a dog. My money is on reason as the arbiter of the degree of voluntariness in a man's thought: the more the reason the more the voluntariness.

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by Tamminen » December 7th, 2018, 9:21 am

Consul wrote:
December 6th, 2018, 9:04 pm
One answer is that what is left over is my attempting or trying to raise my arm. That is, my arm's going up isn't a mere event if and only if it results from my attempting or trying to make it rise. (Note that although an attempt to do something requires some physical or mental effort, it doesn't necessarily involve any felt strain or experienced difficulty. Trying to do something isn't the same as trying hard to do it.)
To try a phenomenological approach, perhaps it is something like this: The subject is always in an existential situation, and it responds in the way the situation demands, according to its internal nature, whatever that is. Depending on the situation, sometimes it seems that everything just happens, sometimes the situation demands an active commitment to solve it. So the nature of the situation defines what is deliberate and what is not, rather that any property of mind, like an ability to make spontaneous decisions. I think your 'attempt' is one of those proposed independent abilities, something to be explained rather than an explanation.

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by Present awareness » December 7th, 2018, 10:58 am

It would be more accurate to say “I am, therefore I think I am”.

There are only three states of existence. That which was, that which will be and that which is. Of these three states, that which was, may not be changed and because of that fact, some will claim it was destined to happen. That which will be, has not yet happened and so it only exists in potential. The image of that which is...here and now, may be captured in a photo, but those photons that were captured will be hundreds of thousands of miles away in just one second. Therefore, that which is, becomes that which was and that which will be, at the same time and very quickly.

In order to experience something, something needs to be there, therefore “I am” must be there before “I think I am”.
Even though you can see me, I might not be here.

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