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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 » April 16th, 2019, 10:37 am

Tamminen wrote:If I believe that my neighbor is planning to kill me, and if we seek justification for my belief…
Stop right here. Firstly I hope you don't mind me pointing out the flaws in your bad logic. Here goes. -- Logical Flaw #1. We don't start with a circle and then go "seeking" for a ring-like shape. The 'ring-like shape' precedes, and is the reason/cause for the "circle". In other words, we experience (see) a ring-like shape first, and then we call it a "circle". Not the other way around! -- the "circle" only exists because of the ring-like shape.

And likewise, we don't start with a belief and then go "seeking" for a justification. The 'justification' precedes, and is the reason/cause for the "belief". In other words, we experience the justification (thought/feeling) first, and then we call it a "belief". Not the other way around! -- the "belief" only exists because of the justification.

Tamminen wrote:...we are not seeking justification for the proposition "I believe my neighbor is planning to kill me", because that proposition is what we started from, but for the proposition "My neighbor is planning to kill me".
But keep in mind, that without the pre-existing 'justification', there could/would be no propositional belief "My neighbor is planning to kill me". It is the justification that leads to the belief, ...not the other way around!

Tamminen wrote:Now if my neighbor is really planning to kill me, my belief may be justified or not depending on my having rational grounds for my belief.
Not so. Logical Flaw #2. Rationality has NOTHING to do with the EXISTENCE of justification. A 'good or bad' justification is STILL a justification. A 'red or green' (good/bad; ripe/not-ripe) apple is STILL an apple.

Tamminen wrote:If my neighbor is not planning to kill me, my belief may still be justified if I have rational grounds for it.
Again, "rationality" has no relevance to (the existence of) "justification". Justifications can be "rational" or "irrational"; perceived as good or perceived as bad.

Tamminen wrote:So belief, its justification and its truth are three different things.
Yes. These are 3 different things.

1. ALL Beliefs are considered True and Justified, otherwise it would NOT be called a "Belief".
2. ALL Circles are considered 'Ring-like' and 'Round', otherwise it would NOT be called a "Circle".

1. When a Belief is no longer Justified (or considered True), it is no longer a "Belief".
2. When a Circle is no longer Round (or considered Ring-like), it is no longer a "Circle".

Therefore JTB ("justified true belief") is as non-sensically redundant as "round ringlike circles". Contrary to our indoctrinated brain-washings, JTB is NOT "(true) knowledge", JTB is only redundantly stated (subjective) "belief"; and nothing more!

Tamminen wrote:This is called epistemology.
No offense, but your so-called "epistemology" is logically flawed, 'bad' epistemology.

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by Tamminen » April 16th, 2019, 11:46 am

@RJG, I think I almost understand what you are trying to say, but was it Deleuze who said that philosophical discussion is impossible because we speak about different things. So in this case also. I have said what I wanted to say, so have you. No fruitful way to go on, I guess.

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by RJG » April 16th, 2019, 2:15 pm

...always a pleasure arguing with you @Tamminen :) , take care good friend.

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by Consul » April 16th, 2019, 3:24 pm

Belief without objective (evidential) justification is certainly (logically&psychologically) possible, but is belief without subjective (evidential) justification—i.e. without justifiedness-for-me by virtue of my evidence for it—(logically&psychologically) possible too?
The correct answer is YES! For there can be "passional causes" of belief without evidential reasons for it that justify it.

That a believer doesn't have to believe that his belief is (evidentially) justified is demonstrated by what John Bishop calls "doxastic venture—that is, taking faith-beliefs to be true in one's practical reasoning without adequate support from one's total evidence." (Believing by Faith, 2007, p. 101)

He then asks: "Is it really possible to take a faith-belief to be true in one’s practical reasoning when one is aware that it lacks adequate evidential support?" (p. 102)

"The doxastic venture model of such faith-commitment maintains that it involves an active venture in practical commitment to the truth of faith-propositions that the believer correctly recognizes not to be adequately supported by his or her evidence.
According to the doxastic venture model, a theist’s practical commitment involves:

(1) taking it to be true (with full weight) that God exists in his or her practical reasoning; and
(2) doing so while holding that God exists (i.e. while having the belief that God exists); while yet
(3) recognizing, correctly in accordance with the relevant norms, that it is not the case that his or her total available evidence adequately supports the truth that God exists."
(pp. 106-7)

"But how could a person have the attitude that proposition p is true, while also recognizing that it is not the case that p’s truth is supported by the total available evidence? One can indeed take to be true in practical reasoning a proposition whose truth one recognizes not to be evidentially well supported: but that recognition will surely undermine any possibility of doing so believingly—that is, while actually having the belief that p is true? As noted in Chapter 2, the attitude of holding true is essentially responsive: one cannot adopt it directly at will (though intentionally acquiring it indirectly may sometimes be feasible). One typical, and functionally central, cause of the attitude of belief is rational consideration (often undeliberate and sometimes subconscious) of evidence which indicates the truth of the proposition concerned. In cases of doxastic venture, however, believers are aware of the lack of evidential support for the proposition they both hold true and take to be true in their practical reasoning. In the absence of awareness of evidential support, what could possibly cause their believing attitude?

James gives an answer to this question in ‘The Will to Believe’. In a key formulation of his essay’s central thesis, James says:

Our passional nature not only lawfully may, but must, decide an option between propositions, whenever it is a genuine option that cannot by its nature be decided on intellectual grounds ...

James’s notion of ‘our passional nature’ ‘deciding an option’ indicates how doxastic venture can indeed be psychologically possible. The responsive attitude of holding a proposition true may be elicited by causes other than the believer’s recognition, as such, of evidence for the belief’s truth under the evidential practice assumed to be applicable (which, in the limiting case of a belief which that practice counts as properly basic, amounts simply to finding its truth basically evident in experience). We may follow James in describing such non-evidential causes of beliefs as passional—though it is important to emphasize the proviso that the term ‘passional’ must here be interpreted broadly enough to include all types of causes of belief that do not consist in providing the believer with grounds (relative to the assumed correct evidential practice) for holding the proposition believed to be true.

A wide variety of possible passional causes of beliefs needs to be acknowledged. Emotions may give rise to beliefs—and not just strong emotions such as anger, fear, or admiration, but also milder emotional attitudes, such as approval and disapproval. Wishes and desires, too, can generate beliefs—the phenomenon of wishful thinking. And a belief can sometimes issue directly from the evaluative belief that the proposition concerned ought to be true or that it would be good if it were true (though, on some accounts of evaluative beliefs this reduces to a category already mentioned—namely, a belief caused by the quiet emotion of approval). In addition, people’s affections and affiliations can be causes of their beliefs—and this is particularly salient with respect to religious faith-beliefs, which often are caused by people’s immersion in or encounter with specific cultural and religious traditions. It is true, of course, that lack of evidential support for a proposition’s truth does tend, once we become aware of it, to undermine any inclination we may have had to hold the proposition true—and that general tendency is no doubt central to proper cognitive functioning. To take that tendency for a universal psychological law, however, would be a rationalist fantasy—plausibly itself an example of passionally believing that things are as one thinks they ought to be! To consciously believe that p, for some proposition p, is indeed to find oneself with the attitude towards p that it is true; but to find oneself with the attitude towards p that it is true is only typically but not necessarily to find p’s truth evident or evidentially supported. To believe is, indeed, to believe true; it is not necessarily to believe evident.

Doxastic venture is psychologically possible, then, because the responsive attitude of holding a proposition true can have a non-evidential, passional, cause. But a further condition is also necessary: those passional causes have to be able to sustain belief even though the believer recognizes that the truth of the proposition believed lacks adequate evidential support. Indeed, for doxastic venture to be possible, it must be possible for the passional cause of the relevant belief to motivate the believer to venture to take it to be true in his or her practical reasoning despite recognizing its lack of evidential support. Passional causes for holding a proposition true, that is, have to be able to become passional motivations for the mental action of taking the proposition to be true with full weight in practical reasoning. Only if all these conditions are contingently met will the psychic resources be available for a person to make a doxastic venture.

To illustrate. Imagine someone who is passionally caused to hold it true that God exists—say, through being formed or moved by encounter with a theistic religious tradition. Suppose also that she comes to think that God’s existence is not established on the evidence—perhaps, indeed, that it could not be so established. Provided it is contingently the case that the passional cause of her belief can motivate her to commit herself to its truth in her practical reasoning despite her recognition of its lack of evidential support, she has the psychic resources to make, if she chooses, a doxastic venture in favour of God’s existence. To make that venture she takes the proposition that God exists to be true in her practical reasoning, letting herself do so with the commitment that goes with holding that content true, this attitude being sustained by passional motivation."


(Bishop, John. Believing by Faith: An Essay in the Epistemology and Ethics of Religious Belief. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007. pp. 113-6)

Also see: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/faith/#FaiDoxVen
"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 Bluemist » April 16th, 2019, 10:28 pm

Consul wrote:
April 16th, 2019, 3:24 pm
Belief without objective (evidential) justification is certainly (logically&psychologically) possible, but is belief without subjective (evidential) justification—i.e. without justifiedness-for-me by virtue of my evidence for it—(logically&psychologically) possible too?
The correct answer is YES! For there can be "passional causes" of belief without evidential reasons for it that justify it.
. . .
John Bishop ... Also see: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/faith/#FaiDoxVen
I see many accounts of faith as acceptance of social, cultural, or religious commitments, commitments made to acquiesce to social standards. Faith superposed by society on the individual is different from personal faith originating from deep-seated psychological trust (not rational 'belief') arising from a psychological need to have faith in something or someone, or in God. (Buber, I and Thou, for example)

Expressed religious faith is in contrast to personal, mostly unexpressed, even inexpressible, feelings, urges, desires and dispositions. These inexpressible pre-dispositions and leanings are not subject to philosophical arguments because the vehicle of philosophy is rational language.

Personal rational opinions may be expressible as propositions and for this reason alone may be the subject of rational philosophical argument. (Plato's 'particulars')

For our discussion, the nature of belief ought to be clear enough to see which of these three, or perhaps some other kind of belief, is meant.
What may be called justification depends on our choice.

In the first instance, above, society justifies our belief.

The second case is fully self-justifying. It is so primal, so basic, that there is nothing that could serve as philosophical justification. We would have to appeal to other independent factors, such as our biological makeup, or physical state, or some environmental force.
If you don't believe in telekinesis then raise your right hand :wink:

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by devans99 » May 20th, 2019, 2:54 pm

Absolute knowledge is meant to be impossible to obtain; all deductive reasoning stems from axioms and thus stands or falls on the strength of those axioms. I beg to differ:

If you can show:

X AND Y = true
X AND ~Y = true

Then X is unconditionally true. IE X becomes absolute knowledge dependant on no prior axioms.

Similarly, if you show:

X AND Y = false
X AND ~Y = false

Then by exhaustion of the probability space, we can absolutely conclude that X is false.

Example:

X= Presentism
Y= Start of Time

Presentism and a start of time are impossible (needs creation ex nihilo without time)

Presentism and no start of time is impossible (an infinite regress of moments is impossible)

So Presentism is impossible is absolute knowledge

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by RJG » May 21st, 2019, 8:05 am

Devans99, the best this could be is a "logical" truth/knowledge, not an "absolute" truth/knowledge. But in this case, the above so-called logic is invalid; it is not mathematically coherent, and therefore not even a logical truth.

The only "absolute" truth/knowledge is that "experiencing exists". The content of ones experiences can NEVER be "absolutely" certain, although the experiencing itself of this content is absolutely certain and undeniable/undoubtable, and is therefore considered "absolute knowledge".

The 'experiencing' of something is much more certain than the 'something' itself.

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by devans99 » May 21st, 2019, 9:55 am

RJG wrote:
May 21st, 2019, 8:05 am
Devans99, the best this could be is a "logical" truth/knowledge, not an "absolute" truth/knowledge. But in this case, the above so-called logic is invalid; it is not mathematically coherent, and therefore not even a logical truth.
Can you explain why it is not 'mathematically coherent'? I was not aware I was doing any maths...

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by RJG » May 21st, 2019, 11:55 am

devans99 wrote:Can you explain why it is not 'mathematically coherent'? I was not aware I was doing any maths…
I'm referring to the logical structure of your argument, it doesn't "add up" (i.e. your premises don't lead to your conclusion). Here is your argument:

P1. X and Y are impossible.
P2. X and ~Y are impossible.
C1. Therefore, "X is impossible" is an "absolute knowledge".

This argument is "mathematically incoherent" (aka invalid); as the premises don't lead to the conclusion.

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by devans99 » May 21st, 2019, 12:37 pm

RJG wrote:
May 21st, 2019, 11:55 am
I'm referring to the logical structure of your argument, it doesn't "add up" (i.e. your premises don't lead to your conclusion). Here is your argument:

P1. X and Y are impossible.
P2. X and ~Y are impossible.
C1. Therefore, "X is impossible" is an "absolute knowledge".

This argument is "mathematically incoherent" (aka invalid); as the premises don't lead to the conclusion.
I think you are getting confused:

X and Y = false
X and ~Y = false

The only logical possibility that fits the above two statements is that X is false. Maybe another example will help:

X= God is omnipotent
Y= Energy is conserved

If energy is conserved, then God cannot create energy so he is not omnipotent

If energy is not conserved, that implies energy creation that God cannot stop, so he is not omnipotent.

Not a particularly great example but the general idea is we have deduced that God is not omnipotent without using any axioms, IE it qualifies as absolute knowledge. We have done this by eliminating all the possibilities (energy is considered/energy is not conserved).

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by RJG » May 21st, 2019, 10:55 pm

Sorry Devans, I'm going to depart this conversation, as I don't have the energy to decipher your logic/reasoning. Take care friend.

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by Sculptor1 » May 26th, 2019, 5:32 pm

devans99 wrote:
May 21st, 2019, 12:37 pm

If energy is conserved, then God cannot create energy so he is not omnipotent

If energy is not conserved, that implies energy creation that God cannot stop, so he is not omnipotent.

Not a particularly great example but the general idea is we have deduced that God is not omnipotent without using any axioms, IE it qualifies as absolute knowledge. We have done this by eliminating all the possibilities (energy is considered/energy is not conserved).
But if energy is conserved, that would not make the creation of new energy impossible. It could be that all the energy that god creates is conserved once created, unless he chose to destroy it at will.
You might argue that the energy that is present in the Universe was originally created by god, and is conserved, being the nature of energy by gods design. Should god wish to destroy some energy then, as an omnipotent god would do so regardless of energy conservation.
The real problem here would be not gods ability to create conservable energy, or destroy it, no , the problem would be how would god desire or will to do so? As that would imply that god has desires, or needs. Such a god cannot be omnipotent

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by devans99 » May 28th, 2019, 3:44 am

Sculptor1 wrote:
May 26th, 2019, 5:32 pm
The real problem here would be not gods ability to create conservable energy, or destroy it, no , the problem would be how would god desire or will to do so? As that would imply that god has desires, or needs. Such a god cannot be omnipotent
I cannot imagine any creature without desires or needs; that would be most unnatural. I think all intellects work basically the same way so we can put ourselves in God's shoes. There you are mind the size of a planet and all on your own. Would you not be extremely bored extremely quickly? You'd maybe have some fun with inanimate matter but you'd soon get bored. A toy like the universe is the next step; think of it as a giant game of Conway's game of life; the stars are the energy sources for life, the planets the living surfaces for life. God just did all the calculations and set of the Big Bang to get the game underway.

I agree God can't be omnipotent. But as long as he can satisfy his desires/needs and do anything else at the same time, that is not a reason for ruling out omnipotence. Instead:

- Could God create a stone heavier than he could lift?
- Could God create a copy of himself?

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by Sculptor1 » May 28th, 2019, 5:22 am

devans99 wrote:
May 28th, 2019, 3:44 am
Sculptor1 wrote:
May 26th, 2019, 5:32 pm
The real problem here would be not gods ability to create conservable energy, or destroy it, no , the problem would be how would god desire or will to do so? As that would imply that god has desires, or needs. Such a god cannot be omnipotent
I cannot imagine any creature without desires or needs; that would be most unnatural.
Two things. Viruses have no neural equipment to desire, yet they are "living" and natural.
Second, God is beyond nature.
The question becomes. If god has pan-omni properties then god can have no desire, since desire need for something you do not have. Spinioza's god for this reason is more like a virus, than a human.
I think all intellects work basically the same way so we can put ourselves in God's shoes. There you are mind the size of a planet and all on your own. Would you not be extremely bored extremely quickly?
No. To be bored is to be lacking. God lacks nothing.
You'd maybe have some fun with inanimate matter but you'd soon get bored. A toy like the universe is the next step; think of it as a giant game of Conway's game of life; the stars are the energy sources for life, the planets the living surfaces for life. God just did all the calculations and set of the Big Bang to get the game underway.
Nope. God is not the sort of thing that needs toys or fun. As far as Spinoza and, incidentally Einstein were concerned god is the energy, the matter, and the laws by which they work.
I agree God can't be omnipotent. But as long as he can satisfy his desires/needs and do anything else at the same time, that is not a reason for ruling out omnipotence. Instead:

- Could God create a stone heavier than he could lift?
- Could God create a copy of himself?
These are all things that require conscious activity and a mind. Since weird **** like this never happens, and the world and the universe where it resides is consistent in its laws, being in no way capricious, and in no way caring or thoughtful; if you want to have a god in the system you might just as well call it nature.

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by devans99 » May 28th, 2019, 11:12 am

Sculptor1 wrote:
May 28th, 2019, 5:22 am
Two things. Viruses have no neural equipment to desire, yet they are "living" and natural.
Second, God is beyond nature.
The question becomes. If god has pan-omni properties then god can have no desire, since desire need for something you do not have. Spinioza's god for this reason is more like a virus, than a human.
Interesting. And if God desires to have desires but can't, then he is not omnipotent. I believe all intelligent life will be similar; the universe shows signs of fine tuning for life. That requires a mathematical intelligence of some form who calculated the initial conditions required to lead to a life supporting universe.
Sculptor1 wrote:
May 28th, 2019, 5:22 am
Nope. God is not the sort of thing that needs toys or fun. As far as Spinoza and, incidentally Einstein were concerned god is the energy, the matter, and the laws by which they work.
I believe its likely that God engineered energy, matter and some of the laws of physics. Spacetime looks like a construct to me.
Sculptor1 wrote:
May 28th, 2019, 5:22 am
These are all things that require conscious activity and a mind. Since weird **** like this never happens, and the world and the universe where it resides is consistent in its laws, being in no way capricious, and in no way caring or thoughtful; if you want to have a god in the system you might just as well call it nature.
We are not in equilibrium. All natural systems tends towards equilibrium unless they have a conscious agent within them. It is God that is the conscious agent; he arranged for the expansion of the universe to prevent a gravitational equilibrium as well as all the other fine tuning of the universe we have evidence for.

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