• ucarr
    254
    Question

    What is the metaphysical status of a question?

    Preliminary Answer

    A question is half the fundamental structure supporting logic. Any valid question necessitates a response i.e. an answer that completes the continuity either stated or implied by the question.*

    *Such an answer need not express something that can be found within our empirical world.

    Premise – Question & Answer are the two building blocks of continuity.


    Supporting Argument

    Continuity – any series of things that bears a narrative. A series of things that bears a narrative has a beginning, middle & end. Continuity is thus temporal.

    Logic – the metaphysical glue that binds things together as a narrative. It is an emergent property of continuity.

    The rules of inference tell us that our world, both in it’s a priori and empirical modes, is a narrative & temporal reality.

    The rules of inference tell us that the innate structure of our world is a concentrical & deducible continuity of Chinese boxes.

    Application – the raw data supplied by observation gets structured into knowledge & wisdom (judgment) through articulation of useful questions.

    Premise --The dialectical method is the foundational query tool of continuity/logic/narrative.


    Main Answer

    Question, the heart of the dialectical method, metaphysically speaking, embodies the motive force that animates the process of raw data eventually becoming knowledge & wisdom.

    Note – Question is the supreme tool of science & philosophy.
  • Agent Smith
    5.2k
    Question Chicken-and-Egg Problem

    Define "question".

    The above command can be rephrased as a question: What is a question?

    This, as you can see, is itself a question but that would mean you already know what a question is (you're asking one).

    You can't define "question" without knowing what a question is but you can't know what a question is without defining "question".
  • Banno
    17.4k
    Word salad.
  • Agent Smith
    5.2k
    Word salad. — Banno

    :snicker:
  • ucarr
    254
    You can't define "question" without knowing what a question is but you can't know what a question is without defining "question".Agent Smith

    The question of question, as it expresses in your language above, appears as paradox. With this claim I'm asserting that question of question, a two-tiered construction, defines as a curious singleton that occupies two places at once.

    In our everyday experience of discrete singletons, paradox is seeming anomaly that science, with its grounding in cause_effect continuity & its emergent property, inference, works around via Zermelo-Fraenkel axiomatic set theory.

    Take note that avoidable paradox & unavoidable paradox are two very different situations.

    There is a conundrum, of ancient vintage, that examines the endless divisibility of the number line WRT walking about in the real world. If space is endlessly divisible, thus suggesting an endless journey across any interval of space, no matter how small, then how does a walking person ever get anywhere?

    The conundrum, obviously, is not about the impossibility of walking over distance. It's about the difficulty of explaining foot travel in light of the observation about the number line.

    In your Chicken-and-Egg Problem, you address defining/knowing a question.

    You don't address asking a question. Just as I can walk progressively through space, infinite number line notwithstanding, I can think progressively through question of question, circularity of reasoning notwithstanding.

    Although, at present, I can't explain the permeability of your circular reasoning conundrum, nonetheless I can observe said permeability, and thus proceed to examine fruitfully the role of question of question within logic.
  • 180 Proof
    8.7k
    :chin:
    Pertinent, though by no means unique, to philosophizing.180 Proof
    (These embedded links are questions, no?)
  • ucarr
    254
    (These links are questions, no?)180 Proof

    Serious questions. In light of QM, does the cognitive non-locality of word games signify something empirical?
  • Agent Smith
    5.2k


    Confiteur I don't know how to extricate myself from the loop formed by definition & question in re questions.

    What is a question? is an impossible question - to ask it, one must know what a question is but it also indicates the questioner doesn't know what a question is. This is the paradox.
  • ucarr
    254
    What is a question? is an impossible question - to ask it, one must know what a question is but it also indicates the questioner doesn't know what a question is. This is the paradox.Agent Smith

    Can we generalize the above thus, What is an X?

    Must we parse it likewise? To ask it, one must know what an X is, but it also indicates the questioner doesn't know what an X is.

    I, questioner = X, and I, questioner ≠ X
  • Agent Smith
    5.2k


    I suppose it has something to do with politenss and etiquette.
  • 180 Proof
    8.7k
    This "question" makes no sense.
  • 180 Proof
    8.7k
    What is a question?
    Generically, a question is an expression that consists of a variable.
  • Agent Smith
    5.2k
    I guess the paradox I mentioned in my previous posts can be "resolved" by changing the question (what is a question?) into a command (define "question"). It's kinda a cheat code to avoid/escape what is a mind-boggling loop.

    :confused:
  • ucarr
    254
    I, questioner = X, and I, questioner ≠ Xucarr

    This "question" makes no sense.180 Proof

    Firstly, the statement normally appears to be nonsense, a point Agent Smith emphasizes. So, of course, in my translation of his paradox into my own paraphrase, the apparent nonsense is preserved. I express the paraphrase in route to examining whether Agent Smith's point is true.

    In trying to write with the economy of symbolic logic, I find no symbol denoting examines, which is how I wish my statement quoted above to be read. Thus

    I, questioner examine X, and I, questioner not examine X.

    Instead of examine as the verb, is superset (in the sense of "encompass") better?

    I, questioner ⊃ X, and I, questioner ⊅ X.
  • ucarr
    254
    I guess the paradox I mentioned in my previous posts can be "resolved" by changing the question (what is a question?) into a command (define "question"). It's kinda a cheat code to avoid/escape what is a mind-boggling loop.Agent Smith

    I believe, as you suggest, the differentiation of What is a question? and Define question is false. When I define something, I answer the question, What is it? Thus What is a question? equals Define question.

    That you acknowledge existence of a resolution of the paradox shows you believe examination of question in general is possible.

    I don't, however, rush to conclude your paradox is self-enclosed word play.

    Premises

    Undecidable ≠ meaningless

    Ambiguous ≠ unintellibible

    Generically, a question is an expression that consists of a variable.180 Proof

    Can you reconfigure this statement as a paradox?
  • ucarr
    254


    A question is the difference between two or more simultaneously occurring mental states!karl stone

    Since I don't know if this refers to the volition choosing a single focus, or the differential in vertical stacking of prioritized activities i.e. multi-tasking, I need an elaboration.
  • ucarr
    254


    :grin: Thank-you!
  • Ciceronianus
    2.4k
    What is the metaphysical status of a question?ucarr

    Which question is that?
  • ucarr
    254
    What is the metaphysical status of a question?ucarr

    Which question is that?Ciceronianus

    Casual answer - any question
    Formal answer - Socratic Method > Elenchus
  • Ciceronianus
    2.4k
    Casual answer - any questionucarr

    Rhetorical questions?
  • Ciceronianus
    2.4k


    If that's the case, then questions which aren't questions are questions. If Socrates' (which is to say, Plato's) questions are questions, of course, then I suppose rhetorical questions would have to be as well; those questions posed by Plato via his character Socrates were always intended to have a particular effect and never intended as actual inquiries. But I question whether all questions are alike, and think they vary in purpose and according to context.
  • ucarr
    254
    What is the metaphysical status of a question?
    — ucarr

    Which question is that?
    Ciceronianus

    Casual answer - any question
    — ucarr

    Rhetorical questions?
    Ciceronianus

    ↪Ciceronianus

    Yes.
    ucarr

    If that's the case, then questions which aren't questions are questions.Ciceronianus

    The grammar that syntaxes question denotes form & function that operates independent of the sub-textual intentions of the speaker/writer.

    Placing a filter over the grammar of question, such that we read it as a formal question that, in actuality, intends to make a statement, i.e. a rhetorical question, is a contextual maneuver that converts query into statement by social agreement. If this socially constructed reading of question as statement supports paradoxical word play, the grammarian of question can read it as would-be paradoxical piffle.

    ...I question whether all questions are alike, and think they vary in purpose and according to context.Ciceronianus

    If question, as signifier, possesses coherence, then a categorical examination of the grammar of question is possible & issues of speaker/writer intentions, sub-text & context are non-fatal to it.

    As a test of this claim, I ask you to parse the following definition of question so as to configure it as a definition that supports characterization of same as paradox.

    What is a question?
    Generically, a question is an expression that consists of a variable.
    180 Proof

    I think the logic supporting the general grammar of question, as defined above is
    What Xa? ⇒ Xb, if Xa & Xb = Xab
  • Ciceronianus
    2.4k
    Placing a filter over the grammar of question, such that we read it as a formal question that, in actuality, intends to make a statement, i.e. a rhetorical question, is a contextual maneuver that converts query into statement by social agreement. If this socially constructed reading of question as statement supports paradoxical word play, the grammarian of question can read it as would-be paradoxical piffle.ucarr

    I'm not sure whether you're saying, in that case, that rhetorical questions are, or are not, questions for your purposes (unless you maintain that purpose has nothing to do with whether or not there is a question--because there is only one true question or form of question). Nor am I sure whether you're addressing grammar, or metaphysics, or if they're one and the same.

    What about questions asked during the cross-examination of a witness? Are those really questions? The lawyer often knows the answer which will be given.

    then a categorical examination of the grammar of question is possibleucarr

    So, it's grammar we're concerned with?
  • 180 Proof
    8.7k
    I question whether all questions are alike, and think they vary in purpose and according to context.Ciceronianus
    Without question. :smirk:

    Generically, a question is an expression that consists of a variable.
    — 180 Proof

    Can you reconfigure this statement as a paradox?
    ucarr
    A question is an expression that consists of
    a variable? :eyes:
  • ucarr
    254
    I'm not sure whether you're saying...that rhetorical questions are, or are not, questions for your purposes...Ciceronianus

    I'm trying to get sharp focus on whether question plays a principal role in information transfer -- rather like Messenger RNA. If so, might this be an underlying principle & core function of question? Moreover, as we have it from one of our great pillars,

    “…we are obliged to inquire how it is possible for there
    to be no philosophy; and in inquiring we philosophize, for inquiry is
    the cause of Philosophy.”
    -Aristotle

    Through the lens of this quote, we can surmise such a core function being the lynchpin of philosophy as a whole. Let us, then, recede context, with all of its hubristic self-importance, including sub-textual intentions, into the background for the moment.

    ...unless you maintain that purpose has nothing to do with whether or not there is a question--because there is only one true question or form of question...Ciceronianus

    The word denotes something. If someone maintains this denotation is completely plastic within the ecosystem of context, then question has no essential function & meaning. I doubt Aristotle would sanction such a conclusion, as it posits the philosophical center of gravity amidst the swirling currents of atmospheric word play. Not a suitable instrument for examining the good life.

    Nor am I sure whether you're addressing grammar, or metaphysics, or if they're one and the same.Ciceronianus

    I believe grammar & syntax are probative material for mounting a metaphysical premise with supporting argument but, no, I don't think they're equivalent to metaphysics. The relationship is more like grammar & syntax as the foot soldiers, preparing the battlefield for a great cataclysm wherein King meets King in contest.

    then a categorical examination of the grammar of question is possible
    — ucarr

    So, it's grammar we're concerned with?
    Ciceronianus

    Grammar & syntax are, at present, town criers who can best tell us important things we'd like to know about our newly burnished noble, Lord Question.

    A question, if it's pertinent to the answer it seeks, shares a link with said answer that is a variant of the transitive property.

    I think I want to put this forward as the premise of my conversation here.
  • ucarr
    254
    Generically, a question is an expression that consists of a variable.180 Proof

    A question is an expression that consists of
    a variable? :eyes:
    180 Proof

    I'm puzzled by your skepticism toward a statement you originally quoted as a general description of question.

    I think it's a good definition. It makes clear how question is rooted in a curious juxtaposition of the known & the unknown.

    Ignorance is the parent of knowledge
    Knowledge is the parent of ignorance

    Lord Question, I suspect, plays a key role in the shuttle diplomacy between knowledge & ignorance.
  • Agent Smith
    5.2k
    We should ask teachers & professors what a question is (re tests, quizzes, exams).

    1. What is gravity? (interrogative)

    2. Define gravity. (command)

    3. Gravity is a _________ (fill in the blank)

    4. Gravity is (MCQ)
    a. A type of apple
    b. Einstein's cat
    c. A force
    d. All of the above
    e. None of the above

    A question, as per Shannon Information Theory, is a conjunctive proposition (vide supra 4, MCQ).
  • 180 Proof
    8.7k
    You asked for me to "reconfigure" my previous description of "a question" into a "paradox" – thus, the question-mark. Paradoxical, no?
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