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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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RJG
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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by RJG » December 7th, 2018, 12:21 pm

Belindi wrote: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.
What makes a thought voluntary? If we don't have any thoughts of our own (as they are all just 'given' to us), then which thoughts are voluntary?

Consul wrote: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.
This is just a "can-kicking" exercise. If one cannot experience the 'active raising' of the arm, then one also cannot experience the 'active attempt' to raise the arm. The experiences associated with "raising" and "attempting" are still just 'passive' experiences.

Situation A: You experience (see and hear) your neighbor walking across the street.
Question A: Since you experienced this, does this mean you 'caused' your neighbor to walk across the street?

Situation B: You experience yourself walking across the street.
Question B: Since you experienced this, does this mean you 'caused' yourself to walk across the street?

Why believe you caused that which you experienced in one situation and not in the other? Other than a different group of experiential detectors (sensory organs), what's the difference? ...is it because we have been conditioned (indoctrinated) to believe such? ...or why does one take credit for 'causing' that which one can only 'experience'?

Present awareness wrote:In order to experience something, something needs to be there, therefore “I am” must be there before “I think I am”.
Or..., in order to 'know' something, there must be something there to know.

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by Consul » December 7th, 2018, 2:17 pm

RJG wrote:
December 7th, 2018, 7:47 am
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'.
Of course, I cannot be introspectively conscious of an experience before it occurs; but it is not the case that I cannot be introspectively conscious of an experience as long as it occurs, because my undergoing an experience can very well be simultaneous with my being introspectively conscious of it.
However, if introspective consciousness means introspective thought about experiences, then thoughts about sensations (such as itches) or emotions can be simultaneous with these, but higher-order thoughts about thoughts themselves can't. It seems impossible to think a thought and to also think another thought about that thought at the same time.
RJG wrote:
December 7th, 2018, 7:47 am
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.
No nonconscious activity in the brain is a case of thinking. The nonconscious neural processes underlying my thinking aren't part of it. Any occurrence of thoughts is a case of thinking.
RJG wrote:
December 7th, 2018, 7:47 am
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).
No, you're wrong, because there is nothing contradictory about saying that my thinking (or imagining) is a mental doing of mine which is experienced by me. To define all experiences as pure passions is to beg the question against those who believe in mental action (active, deliberate thinking or imagining).
RJG wrote:
December 7th, 2018, 7:47 am
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".
In my view, thinking is inner speaking; so if you deny that inner speaking is ever an (intentional) action voluntarily controllable, directable, or "manageable" by the subject, then you must also deny that outer speaking, talking (or writing) ever is. If you were right, we would all be purely passive and powerless listeners (or readers) rather than active speakers (or writers). And then nobody would be responsible for what s/he says (or writes).
RJG wrote:
December 7th, 2018, 7:47 am
"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.
The phenomenological difference between an (intentional or voluntary) arm-raising and a mere arm-rising is that there is a sense of agency involved in the former. What it is like for me to raise my arm is different from what it is like for me to simply see my arm rise (e.g. because of a sudden neural malfunction), because I experience the former as a doing by me and not as a mere happening to me.

If you were right, there would be no difference between winking and blinking, and between shaking one's body and shuddering; but there is, so you're not right. There really is such a thing as (intentional) physical or mental action.

"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. I do not suggest that this is a sharp distinction, because there is a voluntaristic element of perception and there are passive components of voluntary action. But there is clearly a difference, for example, between voluntarily raising your arm as part of a conscious act, and having your arm raised by someone who triggers your nerve connections. This distinction is well illustrated by the researches of the Canadian neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield. Penfield found that by stimulating the motor cortex of his patients, he could cause their limbs to move. The patient invariably said, “I didn’t do that, you did it.” In this case, the patient has the perception of his arm moving but he does not have the experience of voluntary action. The basic distinction is this: in the case of perception (seeing the glass in front of me, feeling the shirt against my neck) one has the feeling, I am perceiving this, and in that sense, this is happening to me. In the case of action (raising my arm, walking across the room) one has the feeling, I am doing this, and in that sense, I am making this happen. It is experience of voluntary action, more than anything else, that gives us the conviction of our own free will, and any account of the mind has to confront this experience."


(Searle, John R. Mind: A Brief Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004. p. 142)
RJG wrote:
December 7th, 2018, 7:47 am
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.
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; but I can certainly know what I am doing while doing it.

My active arm-raising is accompanied by a passive perception of my arm's rising, but the former is not reducible to the latter.
"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 Consul » December 7th, 2018, 2:47 pm

RJG wrote:
December 7th, 2018, 12:21 pm
Consul wrote: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.
This is just a "can-kicking" exercise. If one cannot experience the 'active raising' of the arm, then one also cannot experience the 'active attempt' to raise the arm. The experiences associated with "raising" and "attempting" are still just 'passive' experiences.

Situation A: You experience (see and hear) your neighbor walking across the street.
Question A: Since you experienced this, does this mean you 'caused' your neighbor to walk across the street?

Situation B: You experience yourself walking across the street.
Question B: Since you experienced this, does this mean you 'caused' yourself to walk across the street?

Why believe you caused that which you experienced in one situation and not in the other? Other than a different group of experiential detectors (sensory organs), what's the difference? ...is it because we have been conditioned (indoctrinated) to believe such? ...or why does one take credit for 'causing' that which one can only 'experience'?
A perception is not a causation or production of its object. This is true both of outer perception (extrospection) of things in one's environment or one's own body and of inner perception (introspection) of one's mind. 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 and (successful) attempt to raise the arm. An arm-rising needn't be an arm-raising, but an arm-raising entails an arm-rising; so there is both activity and passivity on the part of the subject, in the sense that there is both a performance (the raising of the arm) and a passively perceived occurrence (the rising of the arm).
"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 Belindi » December 7th, 2018, 3:46 pm

RJG wrote:
What makes a thought voluntary? If we don't have any thoughts of our own (as they are all just 'given' to us), then which thoughts are voluntary?
I could perhaps have been clearer . 'Voluntary' is relative not absolute. A thought may be more, or less, voluntary. In a deterministic world such as this there is no Free Will. There are however degrees of freedom or voluntariness. Reason is the virtue that confers freedom or voluntariness.In a deterministic world there is no absolute freedom. The reasoning man is however more free, that's to say more voluntary, than the unreasoning man.

The more voluntary thoughts are the more reasoned thoughts.

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by RJG » December 7th, 2018, 10:41 pm

RJG wrote: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.
RJG wrote: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:...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. Note: we can only experience 'experiences' (effects), and NEVER the 'causation' or "doing" part. Causation is only presumed to exist, and is impossible to ever experience.

Consul wrote:If you were right, we would all be purely passive and powerless listeners (or readers) rather than active speakers (or writers). And then nobody would be responsible for what s/he says (or writes).
Bingo!

RJG wrote:"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.
Consul wrote:The phenomenological difference between an (intentional or voluntary) arm-raising and a mere arm-rising is that there is a sense of agency involved in the former. What it is like for me to raise my arm is different from what it is like for me to simply see my arm rise (e.g. because of a sudden neural malfunction), because I experience the former as a doing by me and not as a mere happening to me.
Firstly, you can never experience a "doing" of anything. Secondly, your "sense of agency" is a creation of indoctrinated belief.

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.

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.

One can only 'experience' (the urge called) intention, and never ever the "intending" itself!

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.

Consul wrote:I do not suggest that this is a sharp distinction, because there is a voluntaristic element of perception and there are passive components of voluntary action. But there is clearly a difference, for example, between voluntarily raising your arm as part of a conscious act, and having your arm raised by someone who triggers your nerve connections. This distinction is well illustrated by the researches of the Canadian neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield. Penfield found that by stimulating the motor cortex of his patients, he could cause their limbs to move. The patient invariably said, “I didn’t do that, you did it.” In this case, the patient has the perception of his arm moving but he does not have the experience of voluntary action. The basic distinction is this: in the case of perception (seeing the glass in front of me, feeling the shirt against my neck) one has the feeling, I am perceiving this, and in that sense, this is happening to me. In the case of action (raising my arm, walking across the room) one has the feeling, I am doing this, and in that sense, I am making this happen. It is experience of voluntary action, more than anything else, that gives us the conviction of our own free will, and any account of the mind has to confront this experience."
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.

RJG wrote: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.
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.

RJG wrote: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.
Consul wrote:...but I can certainly know what I am doing while doing it.
Not so. Firstly, you can never experience the "doing" itself. You have to wait till your body sensors react (specifically the proprioception sensor) before you can experience, and know, the bodily 'movements', or what you have "done".

Secondly, "instantaneous" detection/sensing, and 'knowing' of one's experiences is not logically nor scientifically possible. There is an inevitable time gap between the real-time bodily reaction, and the conscious-time realization of said bodily reaction, even if just milliseconds. Everything that we are conscious of is therefore just "old news".

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'.

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.

Consul wrote:...and (successful) attempt to raise the arm.
Experiencing the attempt to raise the arm, is NOT causing the attempt to raise the arm.

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by Burning ghost » December 8th, 2018, 12:33 am

RJG wrote:
December 7th, 2018, 10:41 pm

Consul wrote:If you were right, we would all be purely passive and powerless listeners (or readers) rather than active speakers (or writers). And then nobody would be responsible for what s/he says (or writes).
Bingo!

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by RJG » December 8th, 2018, 10:00 am

RJG wrote:
Consul wrote:If you were right, we would all be purely passive and powerless listeners (or readers) rather than active speakers (or writers). And then nobody would be responsible for what s/he says (or writes).
Bingo!
Yes, logical truths can be especially brutal on our long held indoctrinated beliefs. -- Conscious causation is a logical impossibility. We cannot do the impossible. We cannot consciously 'cause' that which we experience. We can only consciously 'experience' that which we non-consciously 'caused' (...assuming, of course, that there are tattle-tale experiences available to tell us what we've done.).

We only experience 'experiences', and we only 'experience' experiences. That's it.

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by RJG » December 9th, 2018, 1:57 pm

Although we all seemingly accept logic as our pathway to truth ("true knowledge"), most of us do so 'only' up to a certain point. For example, as in this case of the logical impossibility of "conscious causation", most of us are psychologically unable to accept a logical truth that inevitably strips ourself of power and purpose, for fear that such an existence may not be worthy of existence. The rejection of this logic is very understandable and reasonable.

But if one's innate curiosity for truth is greater than their innate fear of existential unworthiness, then the 'acceptance' of this otherwise rejected logical truth may then be possible. When confronted with a "Danger Ahead" sign on one's path to truth, only those whose curiosity for truth is greater than their fear for safety/security, will continue on past this fearful point. Most others, will denounce this point in the pathway, and turn back around and down the previous comforting pathway, ...a very normal and expected reaction.

But for those that bravely step past this "Danger Ahead" sign (danger point), there is no need or reason to be discouraged or disillusioned of losing a power that we never had. Life's experiences, good and bad, continue nonetheless. Enjoy the good, and endure the bad. At first 'acceptance', this piece of true knowledge (logical truth) wreaks havoc on our emotions, moods, and purpose of being, much like coming off an addicting drug. But after some time, after the initial acceptance, this new piece of true knowledge yields a contentful and better understanding of reality. We feel we are no longer living in a false reality, but now we are a bit wiser, and the experiences of life, good and bad, continue nonetheless. What we've gained is a better understanding of the actions of others and ourselves. The bad guys no longer appear truly bad and deserving of punishment, and the good guys no longer appear truly good and deserving of praise. We are who we are, and we experience what we experience, ...and life is still good, (...and existence is still worthy!)

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by ktz » December 12th, 2018, 12:50 am

I hate to be the one to bump this terrible travesty of a thread, in which the OP presents a somewhat reasonable and interesting idea, but instead of giving any credence to standard tools of philosophical inquiry, chooses to defend it as "True Knowledge" by begging various questions and accusing all dissenting voices of various degrees of cultural indoctrination and/or inability to understand simple logic. I should apologize in advance for not bothering to hide my condescension in this post -- primarily because the OP's constant annoying hijacking of the conversation to proselytize his fairly unorthodox dogma of zero personal responsibility has basically precluded what I personally considered a much more interesting discussion on the nature of consciousness. That being said, I won't contest that I have already directed more than my fair share of ad homs in his direction, and will continue to do so as long as he continues to argue using bad faith techniques and waste the time of everyone caught in his trollish net.

I had originally come back in here just now to suggest that OP basically lifted his Descartes critique and premise on agency, or lack thereof, from Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil without giving any credit -- if anyone's interested I'll start quoting BGE:17 and this paper regarding Nietzsche on Descartes -- before he perverts Nietzsche's conclusions into his assuasive dogma. But, then I saw this terrible travesty of a conclusion the OP has presented in summary here and can't resist a few parting shots.

Anyway, I think many of the participants in this thread have expressed an intuitive rejection of the abdication of personal responsibility in favor of a worldview where it is not possible, let alone desirable, to exert any conscious control over our lives. So let's approach this by first setting aside the flimsy circular logic and less-than-subtle insults which he is determined to use in propping up his position, since there actually does exist much more reasonable and interesting methods to support some of his initial conclusions about consciousness, determinism, and free will, as presented by Nietzsche in BGE and The Gay Science as well as guys like Sam Harris and even Oliver Sacks on occasion. I'd instead like to try and provide a conceptual framework that supports those who decline to accept the OP's incompatibilism-gone-wild conclusion using a well-studied concept from psychology known as the locus of control.

Paraphrasing Wikipedia, the locus of control is the degree to which people believe that they have control over the outcome of events in their lives, as opposed to external forces beyond their control. A person's locus of control is conceptualized on a spectrum from internal (a belief that one's life can be controlled) to external (a belief that life is controlled by outside factors which they cannot influence, or that chance or fate controls their lives). Locus of control is one of the four dimensions of core self-evaluations – one's fundamental appraisal of oneself – along with neuroticism, self-efficacy, and self-esteem.

In specific context to this thread, someone who believes that they can exercise conscious control over their actions and outcomes would have a more internal locus of control, and someone advocating that, for example, conscious causation is impossible and all events are a product of a prescripted set of experiences, would have... an external locus of control, to say the least.

Previous studies have suggested:

Those With an Internal Locus of Control:
  • Are more likely to take responsibility for their actions
  • Tend to be less influenced by the opinions of other people
  • Often do better at tasks when they are allowed to work at their own pace
  • Usually, have a strong sense of self-efficacy
  • Tend to work hard to achieve the things they want
  • Feel confident in the face of challenges
  • Tend to be physically healthier
  • Report being happier and more independent
  • Often achieve greater success in the workplace
Those With an External Locus of Control:
  • Blame outside forces for their circumstances
  • Often credit luck or chance for any successes
  • Don't believe that they can change their situation through their own efforts
  • Frequently feel hopeless or powerless in the face of difficult situations
  • Are more prone to experiencing learned helplessness
Of course I must steel myself to the subsequent pre-scripted denouncements of cultural indoctrination coming my way, just like I would if I were to post an example of Trump lying in a Fox News forum, but I do want to draw attention to the fact that there are concrete psychological risks to maintaining the OP's position on conscious causation. Note that these risks don't depend on whether conscious causation is actually possible or just an illusion, because in either case what matters is only what you choose (or are prescripted) to believe about the degree of control you have over your own life -- the belief is enough by itself to affect your outcomes, for better or for worse. But viewing the OP's position from this lens, where we first accept his extremely external locus of control in which conscious causation is impossible and none of us are ultimately responsible for anything we say or do, one can begin to see the degree of sophistication that his defense mechanisms have needed to take on in the period of time since he has shifted to this worldview. Because guys, guys. It's not his choice. Choice would require him to have an internal locus of control. So instead, it's just that conscious causation is a logical impossibility.

To be fair, an internal locus of control can also be taken to the point of delusion -- take, for example, various superstitious beliefs, or the compulsive behaviors of OCD. I do agree with the OP that we ought not worry about things we don't control -- this is a common refrain I see from professional sports players in post-game interviews, for example -- and that we ought to strive for the acceptance of reality, and taking a sympathetic and holistic view to the intentions of others. In light of these desirable skills we can begin to understand the OP without demonizing him, for example if the OP had struggled with these skills prior to acceptance of his current dogma, we can start to see why he has developed the position that he propagates here as well as in nearly every thread and comment I've seen him participate in. But that is far and away the extent of positive things I have to say about this thread or its progenitor, so I probably ought to take my own advice and understand that the OP's commitment to ignorant methods of argument is probably outside of his own locus of control, let alone mine, and so my time -- and that of any other participants in this thread -- is better spent elsewhere.
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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by Eduk » 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.
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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by chewybrian » December 12th, 2018, 6:23 am

ktz wrote:
December 12th, 2018, 12:50 am
I hate to be the one to bump this terrible travesty of a thread...

Anyway, I think many of the participants in this thread have expressed an intuitive rejection of the abdication of personal responsibility in favor of a worldview where it is not possible, let alone desirable, to exert any conscious control over our lives..

In specific context to this thread, someone who believes that they can exercise conscious control over their actions and outcomes would have a more internal locus of control, and someone advocating that, for example, conscious causation is impossible and all events are a product of a prescripted set of experiences, would have... an external locus of control, to say the least.

Previous studies have suggested:...

To be fair, an internal locus of control can also be taken to the point of delusion...
I don't think Epictetus would take offense, but you seem to be restating his cornerstone premise:
Some things are in our control and others not. Things in our control are opinion, pursuit, desire, aversion, and, in a word, whatever are our own actions. Things not in our control are body, property, reputation, command, and, in one word, whatever are not our own actions.

The things in our control are by nature free, unrestrained, unhindered; but those not in our control are weak, slavish, restrained, belonging to others. Remember, then, that if you suppose that things which are slavish by nature are also free, and that what belongs to others is your own, then you will be hindered. You will lament, you will be disturbed, and you will find fault both with gods and men. But if you suppose that only to be your own which is your own, and what belongs to others such as it really is, then no one will ever compel you or restrain you. Further, you will find fault with no one or accuse no one. You will do nothing against your will. No one will hurt you, you will have no enemies, and you not be harmed.
If people take nothing else from Stoicism, this alone can pay huge dividends. If you simply understand and accept what is in your control and what is not, this is the express lane to wiping away all the preconceptions, rationalizations, and lazy ways of thinking that cause us so much trouble.

You probably don't get angry and shake your fist at the clouds when it begins to rain, and neither should you be similarly upset by the actions or opinions of others, or anything else which is actually outside your control. In the example of this train wreck of a thread, don't enter the discussion with the preconception that others will see as rational what you see as such, and you won't be upset when they don't.

I won't sit and watch a crappy soap opera when the remote is at hand, and I can easily switch over to "The Rockford Files". Similarly, we should never accept our own negative behaviors and bad habits when we have control over them ready at hand. Your opinions, actions, desires and aversions are yours to control at all times. I don't mean a physical urge, like being hungry, but rather the choice of what you will eat or when.

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.

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RJG
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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by RJG » December 12th, 2018, 8:13 am

Ktz, where in your long winded response did you offer a non-condescending rational refutation to my argument? This a philosophy forum, isn't it? ...or did I stumble into the feel-good fairy tale forum?

If you are uncomfortable with respectfully discussing the possibility of the impossibility of free-will (conscious causation), then you are probably in the wrong place. It seems that you prefer to spend your long-winded response on besmirching my character, rather than logically refuting my argument. I understand your 'dislike' of my view, but not your immature condescension of it.

If the notion of the impossibility of conscious causation is too much for you handle and to discuss respectfully and rationally, then I suggest you seek out a safe-place forum that will agree with your hurt feelings.

This is a philosophy forum? ...right???

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by Belindi » December 12th, 2018, 8:16 am

ktz, Learned and sophisticated use of reason in the form of critical judgement by a brain-mind in good working order is what crowns the individual with internal locus of control.

RJG wrote of
the impossibility of conscious causation
. True, there is never absolute conscious causation however there are degrees of conscious causation which ktz called " internal locus of control".

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by Burning ghost » December 12th, 2018, 10:54 am

RJG -

If hou polish a turd it’s still a turd.

Note: Referring to your “character”. If you feel belittled we’re not to blame because by our own standards we have no “responsibility” for our words. Ou cnanot have it both ways yet you seem not only surprised, but also wronged when people point this out overn and over and over ... of course you could try and do what I asked but I imagine you’re either too damn lazy or bloody-minded to look at what I asked for so you’ll revert to asking me what it was as you usualy do in order not to answer or provide any substance to what you say.

See you in 2020 ... maybe time will humble you a tad - judging by the past 5-6 years I’m not exactly overly optimistic.
AKA badgerjelly

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chewybrian
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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by chewybrian » December 12th, 2018, 11:35 am

RJG wrote:
December 12th, 2018, 8:13 am
Ktz, where in your long winded response did you offer a non-condescending rational refutation to my argument? This a philosophy forum, isn't it? ...or did I stumble into the feel-good fairy tale forum?

If you are uncomfortable with respectfully discussing the possibility of the impossibility of free-will (conscious causation), then you are probably in the wrong place. It seems that you prefer to spend your long-winded response on besmirching my character, rather than logically refuting my argument. I understand your 'dislike' of my view, but not your immature condescension of it.

If the notion of the impossibility of conscious causation is too much for you handle and to discuss respectfully and rationally, then I suggest you seek out a safe-place forum that will agree with your hurt feelings.

This is a philosophy forum? ...right???
Very well... I will try now to attack only your argument. You seem to begin with the idea that thoughts must be experienced to exist, and that this implies, to you, that thoughts are only experienced, and never authored or controlled by the thinker. I assume you think (no pun intended) that they come from the subconscious or unconscious, then. Is this what you assert? To reach your conclusion, I suppose you think we have no control over any aspect of our subconscious or unconscious, and they both act of their own accord, or in some random or caused way totally out of reach of our consciousness. Is this what you are saying?

Your stance of seems to be the conclusion of this train of thought, then. But, the logic only works when and if the reader assents to the premises upon which it is built. I don't assent to your premise, so I don't feel the need to follow along to the conclusions you draw from it. Many folks have raised objections to these premises, and you seem to run back to 'logical impossibility' rather than addressing their concerns thoughtfully. I hope, instead, that you might take the time to address my concerns thoughtfully.

1-Do we know for a fact that our unconscious, subconscious and conscious thought processes do not work together? Intuitively, it makes sense that they would. We are all on the same team, right? And, we often run on autopilot, performing basic tasks like breathing, standing in place or walking across a spectrum of awareness, from totally involuntary to a peripheral vision type of awareness without any focus. Yet, the conscious mind can take control at any point. Doesn't all of this point to the idea that these systems are not separate, but overlap? If I decide right now to take a deep breath, my conscious mind takes over an unconscious process, so the overlap seems self-evident in that case, implying that more overlap could exist.

2-What about subconscious work that occurs to resolve a problem put aside by the conscious mind? I may forget someone's name, and give up trying to remember, only to have the name 'emerge' to me a bit later. I had pushed it out of my conscious mind, yet the subconscious took the ball and solved it for me. My conscious mind wanted to know that name. If it did not, one presumes it would never have come to mind later. So, did I not 'author' the emergence of the idea of the name, through my conscious wish to know it? Like a boss directing work, I am responsible for the thought if I asked or ordered my subconscious to work on it.

3-If my conscious mind can never author a thought, do you the contend that my subconscious or unconscious is capable of anything which appears to be achieved by my conscious mind? Can my unconscious play chess? As it occurs to me that I should use the bishop to take your rook, is this emerging from my unconscious? What do you think happens, if anything, at the level of consciousness, other than observation? Does our conscious mind at least choose from alternatives presented to it, or can it only observe?

4-How do we know that we do not author and experience thoughts simultaneously? Back to the example of the bicycle ride... As I ride a bicycle, I also have the experience of riding a bicycle. There is no conflict or flaw in logic there for most people. I believe my conscious mind is authoring the ride, and experiencing the ride, and I don't think the riding emerges from my subconscious. Similarly, it is not impossible (for many people) to think that they both author and experience their thoughts. It seems reasonable to say that memories must be accessed, but that novel thoughts can be directed by the conscious mind. So, do you attribute decisions, speaking, physical movements and such to the conscious mind? Don't we experience these things as we work through them, then?

Please, if you will, respond to all four points. I do not make any as an attack on your logic, but rather on the premises upon which you build the logic, mainly the idea that I can not author a thought. You, and you alone, seem to be arguing in this thread from a supposed position of certainty. The heavier burden of proof is therefore upon you. Like everyone else (as far as I've seen), I am only arguing that there is doubt about the way consciousness works. Thus, the burden is quite small for me to try to show that doubt exists. Surely you must see that an attack on the premise requires a refutation of the attack to defend the premise, rather than a return to the logic, which needs no defense.

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