• Joshs
    5.4k


    We can never be radically surprised by the world.

    The words of a person who has never smoked toad venom or watched Tom Brady win a Superbowl despite being down 28-3 at the end of the third quarter.
    Count Timothy von Icarus

    Novelty is in the eye of the beholder, you would agree. There are distinct varieties of novelty, defined by their affective meaning. A joyful surprise is a very different assessment in comparison with a horrifying surprise. I want to make the bold assertion that there is nothing but novelty, and we can group its varieties into two general categories:assimilable vs unassailable. Assimilable novelty is perceived as creative satisfaction , and unassailable novelty is experienced as what is boring, frightening, confusing.

    Experiences of unintelligibility and meaninglessness represent a type of movement characterized by apparent emptiness and paralysis. Boredom, monotony, weariness and exhaustion connected with redundant experience would be, paradoxically, of the same species as the shock and trauma of dramatic otherness. As counterintuitive as it may seem, repetition of experience could only be perceived as redundant to the extent that such monotonous experience disturbs us by its resistance to intimate readability. Boredom and monotony are symptoms not of the too-predictable, but of a previously mobile, fluidly self-transformative engagement beginning to become confused, and thus seemingly barren of novelty.

    So-called wearingly redundant or vacuous experience evinces the same pathology as the shocking and disturbing because these two types of events are variants of the same condition; an ongoing dearth of coherence or comprehensibility. The confusion, incoherence and mourning at the heart of experiences of monotony and exhaustion as well as shock and surprise manifest a
    strange territory barren of unrecognizable landmarks. The `too same' and the `too other' are forms of the same experience; the terrifying mobility of the near-senseless, the impoverishment, moment to moment, of the meaning of each new event. It is AS IF the rate of repetition of novelty has been decelerated during experiences of crisis. We know that we are no longer what we were in such states, but we cannot fathom who or what we, and our world, are now; we are gripped by a fog of inarticulation. While still representing transit, such a destitution or breakdown of sense seems like an ongoing redundancy, a death of sense.

    If the affectivities of disturbance and incomprehensibility we tend to associate with significant novelty are in fact symptoms of apparent stagnation and paralysis , which sorts of affects are indications of effective novelty? The unknown, the absolutely novel, may be most intensely available to us to the degree that we anticipate the
    unanticipatable, which is only to say that a certain intimacy, continuity and gentleness pervade our most effective movement through repeated novelty. It is not affectivities of the shocking, the surprising or the strange which inaugurate our escape from the monotony and complacency of perceived authoritarian, vacuous repetition, since the latter are precisely species of the former. It is affectivities of joyful, interested engagement which express an acceleratively mobile engagement with otherness. The most stimulatingly fresh pathways imaginable are direct measures not of the confused incomprehension of disturbance but of the intimacy of familiar anticipation.
  • ENOAH
    652
    The problem lies in the possibility that "seeing," as in organic sense of sight, is one thing; a thing presumably accessible to all organisms with sight, and still "happening" by the Human Animal.

    But with the advent of uniquely human Consciousness or Mind, "seeing" is immediately displaced by "perceiving." That is, it is displaced by the Signifiers re-constructing the sensation with its Narrative.

    So we do "see" lamp, whatever that is. But seemingly immediately "Lamp" displaces our seeing, and now sensation is displaced by perception: object, linear movement, meaning, and we cannot "unsee," that perception (in its becoming--in its linear constructed Narrative form).

    As for epistemology and it's relationship to ontology in all this. The answer is, in Nature there is Truth. But that is not in the object, but only in Body see-ing. In human perception there is never Truth, but always only justifiable belief. As long as such justifiable belief is functional--remains a justifiable belief--we ordain it with so-called, small t truth.

    Knowing is never accessing Truth, but always constructing truth.

    If a traveller sees a rope ahead which she believes is a snake, in human Mind, it is a snake, until she gets close-up and declares--by her justifiable belief--that it is a rope. Both instances are constructed knowledge; neither is Truth. In Nature the object is none of the things our Narratives have evolved to construct. (See Huineng: it is neither flag nor wind, but Mind which is moving)

    All we can say regarding the Truth of this hypothetical in Reality is the Organism seeing. It is in the Organism do-ing, be-iing, see-ing , is-ing, all of which "exists" in presence, in is-ing/be-ing, which is True.

    The constructions of Mind, the becoming, is never present, only settles upon a seeming presence, I.e., a justifiable belief, in its empty, fleeting, movement through constructed time.
  • ENOAH
    652
    @ludwig v

    Thank you. See my most recent post on this topic, if it is of any interest/provides further clarity
  • J
    225
    Very clear and helpful. If we can say that Hegel's view was pretty close to the idea that "reality" doesn't mean "whatever's 'out there' apart from phenomena," then I'm content. It may not even be necessary to uphold a modified correspondence theory, which has all the problems you point out (and my attempt to rephrase it was totally clumsy!).

    For what it's worth, I've always respected Susan Haack's theory of “foundherentism,” an unfortunate term for very interesting idea that tries to make a bridge between foundationalism (or realism, in this context), and coherentism. I can’t do her justice here, but her inspiration is American pragmatism, and she quotes James approvingly: “When we give up the doctrine of objective certitude, we do not thereby give up the quest or hope of truth itself.”

    This exchange has motivated me to reread her Evidence and Inquiry to see if she considers her foundherentism to be a correspondence theory; I no longer remember.
  • Banno
    23.6k
    The best new stuff is old stuff, you claim. But not in so few words.

    And as I read that I can't help but notice your need to obfuscate rather than explain.

    To profound to be of much use.
  • Tom Storm
    8.6k
    And as I read that I can't help but notice your need to obfuscate rather than explain.

    To profound to be of much use.
    Banno

    Does this mean wrote a response that for you is an unassailable novelty? :wink:
  • Lionino
    1.8k
    I did not do a disparaging remark and left — ok maybe I did :razz: In our conversation you were ping ponging between different topics without connecting them. Your OP, to start with, is vague.

    We start with a tautology:
    it is impossible to affirm something about the being or existence or reality [...] in the world without this reality being, well, affirmed, and this is an epistemic termAstrophel
    to justify the controversial (if same) statement that epistemology and ontology:
    are the same, I suspect, or mutually entailedAstrophel

    I take a hard look at what IS and I am always led to the justification of positing itAstrophel

    You give no example of "taking a hard look at what IS" neither of "justification of positing it". We are left with completely vague phrases, whose meanings could be many.

    has no business simply assuming "P is true" without itself having justificationAstrophel

    You would want to justify that by saying that epistemology is the same as ontology, but you are yet to prove it. Until now, something being true and us being justified in believing it are still separate matters, and you haven't proven otherwise.

    and this too would require justification, and it never endsAstrophel

    Is this supposed to be "How do I know that I know? And how do I know that I know that I know?". Because that would be a related though different point.

    Is my interpretation of your OP wrong? If so, please explain to me while referencing the OP. If the OP needs rewriting, go ahead.
  • Banno
    23.6k
    Maybe. Definitely means that my same old same old is the "most stimulatingly fresh pathways imaginable".
  • Ludwig V
    1.1k
    I am using Language as broadly as one can imagine, to include all images, representations, signifiers etc., if there are ceteras, stored in memory/History and structuring what we--philosophers and laity alike--think of as human experience.ENOAH
    It sounds as if Language is a real rag-bag. But I'm guessing that you are relying on the structure of signifier and signified as the common element. But, in this use, it doesn't help the effect of the way you use these concepts to smother differences that seem important to me. Pictures are very different from descriptions, just because they are representations of something; descriptions, in my unorthodox view, and not representations at all; maps and diagrams are half-way houses between the two; signalling flags are a code; they are more like words, but not the same. Words are not all of a piece either; The numeral "1" stands in a very different relationship to its signified from "horse"; "walking" signifies something very different from either - and so on. You may think the differences don't matter. We'll see.
    An important point for me is that "language" (and "logic") can seem to be something that exists in its own right, in some way and when we learn it, it does seems so. But though sentences may exist independently of speakers, in the sense that they can be written down, they are, like propositions until they are asserted or denied. The life of language is in its use by speakers and their use is what maintains or modifies it.

    I am using History to refer to the collective of these Signifiers operating on the Natural World beyond the individual body, and constructing Narratives beyond individual personalities, all of which moves autonomously in accordance with evolved Laws and Dynamics, is inter-permeable or accessible to Itself in spite of embodiment, is ultimately Fictional, and though it affects Realty via embodiment and the manipulation of resources into Culture, it has no access whatsoever to knowing Reality, despite all of our (Its own) efforts to prove it wrong.ENOAH
    Like language, history is a mixed bag. But that's not my main problem here. My problem is that I simply don't follow what you say and in any case, I'm not at all sure that there are laws of history. Certainly, since it normally takes the form of a narrative, which does not present us with any laws, the idea must be problematic. But the biggest issue is that much history is about people. You seem to regard it as an independent actor. It's as if you were telling me about the army going to war, rather than people going to war.

    Both these responses to you are well summarized by Astrophel when he says:
    It's Kierkegaard who complained that Hegel had "forgotten that we exist."Astrophel

    However, the opening your paragraph - "I am using History to refer to the collective of these Signifiers operating on the Natural World beyond the individual body, and constructing Narratives beyond individual personalities," is very promising. But then you conclude with "it has no access whatsoever to knowing Reality, despite all of our (Its own) efforts to prove it wrong." Either you mean by "reality" what you mean by "natural world" or you don't. If you do mean the same, you are contradicting yourself; if you don't, I have no idea what you mean.

    If its Reality you want, just breathe.ENOAH
    This is a jewel. I know I could argue that if I obediently breathe, language has put me in touch with reality. But you remind me of the Zen masters who will reply to questions like "what is reality?" by offering you a cup of tea. Perhaps we should share one and stop worrying so much. Or am I misunderstanding you?

    All we can say regarding the Truth of this hypothetical in Reality is the Organism seeing. It is in the Organism do-ing, be-iing, see-ing , is-ing, all of which "exists" in presence, in is-ing/be-ing, which is True.ENOAH
    I can just about get my head around this. But you said earlier:-
    But with the advent of uniquely human Consciousness or Mind, "seeing" is immediately displaced by "perceiving." That is, it is displaced by the Signifiers re-constructing the sensation with its Narrative.ENOAH
    I don't see why you can't count perceiving as just one of the activities of human beings. Good, bad or indifferent as signifiers may be, they are also real and part of reality.
    The key point to grasp, I think, is this. Language is part of the world. The world was there first and language developed in it. It is as real and natural as anything else in the world.
  • ENOAH
    652
    TheLudwig V


    Besides my ambiguous terminology, there is a further aggravating factor to my speech. That is, I am ultimately proposing it too is Fictional. I think that problem applies to everything, and that it is resolved by recognizing its function, not its Truth-status, is its/the purpose (of inquiry etc). Leave that for another time.


    Rather than trying to itemize your concerns by highlighting them as quotes, allow me to save space (and effort) by responding to what I see as three ideas requiring clarification. Language, History, Nature (although the last may end up being addressed within the Bodies of the first two)

    Language. Signifier is probably the best word to describe what I am trying to express. I'm proposing that human mind--unique in Nature (lets assume)--is not a Natural-part of the world-structure. Assume our Sciences are correct, Nature is made of matter. Language is not the same as a Rabbit’s teeth or a bone, as real and natural as anything else in the world. If it (and Mind which I am proposing to be structured of it) exist as a Reality distinct from Nature, it must be something like a Spirit. But if you think this is a stretch...At one hypothetical moment in prehistory, the human organism was still using its images stored in memory, organically to trigger responses (feelings or actions) appropriate to survival. However, eventually, I guess given the complexity of our Brains, this process of Signifiers in memory (stored as "images" of smells, textures, sights, sounds etc) grew to such a surplus "size" that Laws emerged to structure the dynamics (again, admittedly vague terms). At the same time, these Laws were outwardly manifesting in small "l" language as grammar, logic, reasoning, the Narrative form, eventually math etc. While "internally," these Laws were governing thought and experience: difference necessarily emerged to resolve issues of use of these once organic, now dynamic Signifiers. Time emerged "internally" the Dialectical process, settlement/synthesis, the application of meaning onto everything (Signifiers must signify), the Subject "I" the "other". These are fleeting constructions, empty nothings which trigger every human body to feel and act. Displacing the Real aware-ing Organism which is Real and Natural and "finds" "itself" (no self--self is constructed) in breathing; in being. And these are input into every human child by what we have called socializing (etc.). Just observe, as Lacan did, the assimilation of the Subject "I" into the juvenile organism, perhaps marking the moment of inescapable displacement.

    And collectively...

    Which brings me to History. While this Signifier based autonomously evolving structure was displacing Real Organic aware-ing with its Narratives--now I cannot see a lamp without seeing Lamp; or better, Body no longer (is) see-ing; now "I" am "seeing" Lamp--and as it began manifesting in the world as small l language; so too did it begin manifesting as Culture. Yes, it, Language (the Signifier Structure) Mind, History: one autonomously moving System, ontology Fiction, yet constructing Civilizations, and personal anxiety. None of which is Real; all of which is never True, irredeemably alienated from True, but because it is believed (that justified belief settling upon true part of the Dialectic) it has moved bodies and built mountains. All authored by One human Fiction manifesting in billions of loci, but it is a shared and open system. Just because the bubbles near China are not the same as the bubbles near California, doesnt mean its not one Ocean. Not a perfect analogy but then none is.


    I do believe that the instances in which I appeared contradictory may have been addressed herein. However, I might take another look.


    By all means, I appreciate your input, but do not wish to drain you. Please do not feel obligated out of courtesy (a courtesy I have read in your voice) to engage further.
  • ENOAH
    652
    you remind me of the Zen masters who will reply to questions like "what is reality?" by offering you a cup of tea. Perhaps we should share one and stop worrying so much. Or am I misunderstanding you?Ludwig V

    Here's one I neglected to address. Whether or not you misunderstood me, I cannot fairly say, owing to the ambiguity of my language, which, notwithstanding your skilled efforts, will inevitably leach into your responses.

    However, we are close to some capital T Truth in the way you brought up Zen. Whether in the mind of your hypothetical Zen master it is intellectually formulated thus way or not, his reply to what is reality, for instance, with, as you say "a cup of tea," illustrates many of the points under review.

    1. Foolish question given the forum of questioner, answered, and resources used by both has no access to Reality

    2. The power of something like Irony and absurdity might awaken you to what is Real. As if it is a cup of tea or any object constructed by and known only as mediated by fiction.

    3. If the master simply offers a cup of tea silently, she is illustrating that reality is in thevpresentvparticiple verb, be-ing, do-ing

    There are et ceteras but I'm not willing to exert more effort, trusting that you get the
    gist.

    The call to breathe was not delivered as some cute koan. It is affirming, if you want to crack the nut of Being, you cannot do it by knowing, but only in Being (the animal you are).
  • Astrophel
    479
    We start with a tautology
    it is impossible to affirm something about the being or existence or reality [...] in the world without this reality being, well, affirmed, and this is an epistemic term
    — Astrophel
    to justify the controversial (if same) statement that epistemology and ontology
    are the same, I suspect, or mutually entailed
    Lionino

    You have to put your thinking cap on, Lionino. Note first that the OP says epistemology and ontology are the same or mutually entailed. To say "it is impossible to affirm something about the being or existence or reality" is meant simply as a standard way to talk about something being what it "IS", but in order to posit something like this, one needs to "affirm" that it is true. And to affirm something is an epistemic event. You see this? In other words, in order for something about existence to be affirmed, whether it is existence "as such" or some property, or really, anything at all, one has to state this is the case. And stating it to be the case, requires justification. Again: Tell me what you think the nature of existence is, and you find that you are telling me, and so "the telling" is propositional, and you have thereby committed yourself to an epistemology. This is analytic: Whatever existence is is bound analytically to the saying it is.

    This is why Wittgenstein refused to talk about "the world" or the nature of ethics, value. He knew that these were "mystical" or transcendental, and to speak of them made no sense. Unless, that is, existence is taken as "equiprimordially" complex, as Heidegger did. He affirmed there is no such thing as "a simple primordial ground." Looks to me like he agrees with Witt.

    Anyway, this should be clear. To affirm something IS as a claim about philosophical ontology, must BE a claim. And this is epistemic, claims that things "are" the case.


    You give no example of "taking a hard look at what IS" neither of "justification of positing it". We are left with completely vague phrases.Lionino

    But the theme is ontology! What IS is meant to be a matter of philosophical inquiry into the nature of being. The title is "on the matter of epistemology and ontology."

    You would want to justify that by saying that epistemology is the same ontology, but you are yet to prove it. Until now, something being true and us being justified in believing it are still separate matters, and you haven't proven otherwise.Lionino

    The OP is not a dissertation. It does state that the two are analytically bound: what IS must bestated to BE. Try to prove the contrary. Am I saying that my cat IS language? Yes and no. It is a huge and fascinating issue. It is saying that whatever "lies outside of language" is impossible to affirm, and once it is affirmed, it is affirmed by being brought into a language context, and understood. Consider that this cat of mine "as I see it" is ontologically complex, stabilized as a cat by my long history of experiences with cats and cat contexts. The seeing the cat cannot just be a simple primordiality, like Descartes' res extensa. Proof for this? Simple. Ask what a cat IS, and see how much language issues forth. That is not res extensa.

    Is this supposed to be "How do I know that I know? And how do I know that I know that I know?". Because that would be a related though different point.

    Is my interpretation of your OP wrong? If so, please explain to me while referencing the OP. If the OP needs rewriting, go ahead.
    Lionino

    The point is to see that affirming something is true ALWAYS begs the question. "P is true" is never a stand alone singularity. Take the statement "Francis has ten coins in his pocket." This is true, for all practical purposes, and we talk like this all the time. But ask about the assumptions in place in the saying and we discover the questions never end. It is not about the facts being dubious, but about the terms themselves being indeterminate. Making sense of coins, pockets, coins being in pockets, people who have coins in their pockets is part and parcel of a vast language matrix that makes sense of things in contexts, and these contexts have their sense in other contexts, and there is never an end to the search for some final vocabulary that is "of the world itself outside of language." "P is true" is really "P's truth is indeterminate."
    Then there is the other, related, problem with knowledge claims. How does epistemic connectivity actually work? Keeping in mind that causality that delivers "data" to the eye, the ear, delivers nothing at all. At the end of a causal chain of events, the final event is entirely other than the first. If not causality, then what? I am particularly fond of this way of looking at it because of its simplicity. One doesn't need Kant's "how are synthetic apriori judgments possible." Just look at the plain facts and things go south instantly.
  • jkop
    712


    A mental state supervenes on a physical state, meaning that the same type of experience can arise under different physical conditions.

    However, the relation between seeing the lamp and the lamp is a direct causal relation. When you turn off the lamp, the change causes a corresponding change in your visual experience.

    The hallucinatory lamp, however, is not part of what causes the hallucination. Nor is it caused by the lamp, which might as well be absent. Under the influence of drugs or disorder, I suppose that memories or knowledge of past experiences of a lamp can be mistaken for experiences in the here and now. At least that's what the brain may have at its disposal when the lamp is absent.
  • J
    225
    I was getting at a different question about causality -- not whether the lamp causes the perception (in sense-1) of the lamp, but whether the supervenience relation is also causal. To put it another way, you use the phrase "experience can arise" to describe what happens when we go from a physical brain state to a mental state; my question was whether this arising is a causal relation. I think you can have supervenience without causation.

    But now we're definitely off-topic, so I'll just say thanks for the response!
  • jkop
    712
    Asked what something is, and there is language "ready to hand" for deployment.Astrophel

    Do you really think the world wears its symbolic possibilities "on its sleeve" so to speak? Or are these possibilities generated in social environments, making an alinguistic worldAstrophel

    Right, languages are socially constructed symbol systems. Moreover, symbolic representations are asymmetric. However, it doesn't follow that the possibility to answer what something is is thereby confined to symbolic possibilities that supposedly make the task impossible. Nor must we assume that the world wears its symbolic possibilities on its sleeves.

    For example, the principle of composition enables us to describe the world in unlimited ways. I don't know of a good reason to believe that none of them could ever correspond to the ways the world is.
  • Astrophel
    479
    Right, languages are socially constructed symbol systems. Moreover, symbolic representations are asymmetric. However, it doesn't follow that the possibility to answer what something is is thereby confined to symbolic possibilities that supposedly make the task impossible. Nor must we assume that the world wears its symbolic possibilities on its sleeves.

    For example, the principle of composition enables us to describe the world in unlimited ways. I don't know of a good reason to believe that none of them could ever correspond to the ways the world is.
    jkop

    But then, all you can say that can provide a possible alternative construal of what the world is, is done in language.

    Meaning is constructed "out of" contextuality. One is tempted to say the world "causes" us to have language, but even here, the term 'cause' has it meaning entirely in generative complex of other terms. And there is something truly right about this. Take the simple causal idea I have been pushing about things in the world and knowledge claims. Causal sequences "convey" or "deliver" nothing. The one end is entirely other than the other in such a sequence. So even if you are working with such a simple intuitive causal model (the kind of thing simply assumed by everyday thinking and science), it has to hit you that in the general assumptions about the way the world works, knowledge never happens.

    Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent. But what is knowledge if not spoken, thought, written? Instinctual knowledge? Well, "instinct" is a word. Certainly, it is derived after many years of research into the psyche, animal or otherwise, but this research, as being about a language-independent world, cannot step out of language to affirm this world. And even when one digs into the parts and principles of language itself, one is in the very domain of language. No way out! For cognition, understanding, knowledge. Derrida said, if I can recall the quote, words don't stand for things; they "stand in" for "things". A bit like saying We stand in for things.

    Language is our existence.
  • Astrophel
    479

    Just to add, I am reminded of Foucault in an introductory book. Molloy is dying:

    Foucault associates himself
    with the modernist voice of Beckett’s Molloy: ‘I must go on; I can’t
    go on; I must go on; I must say words as long as there are words, I
    must say them until they find me, until they say me . . .’ (Samuel
    Beckett, The Unnameable, quoted in DL, 215).


    Those dying words are striking, to me. Just look at all the wonder and surprise and terror, all given to oneself by oneself in "the saying." Obviously this is not the abstraction of language, its rules and vocabularies. This is the "real" rub: the world's existence apart from what can be said: it not nonsense to say it, but we cannot "say" why it is not nonsense. This is the madness of philosophy's final "word" by my thinking. We have entered the Buddhist's world of extraordinary disclosure, which is why Buddhist and Hindu texts are so enigmatic. Putting down language puts down much, much more than "simple words," for words never were just words; they give experience structure and familiarity.
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    2.1k


    I don't know if I totally followed all of that, but I do think it's true that lack of novelty or its maximization end up having interesting similarities. From the frame of information theory, we could say that a code of just 1s or just 0s can hold no information. The opposite end of the spectrum would be a truly random process. There, you have potentially infinite new information. However, being truly random, the information you get never tells you anything about the source producing it — it's predictively useless. So, in either case there is a strange inability to use the signal to say things about the source (aside from it lacking all variance or being truly random).

    There are a few things like this, e.g. the way in which maximal order or chaos become fatal to complexity, same with total lack of interconnectivity and total interconnectivity.

    But I'm not sure about "authoritarian." States, bosses, churches, and parents can be authoritarian, but experiences and novelty? I can see how a loss of intelligibility could interfere with freedom, with self-determination. However, "authoritarian" to me is indictive of some sort of social external restraint. Loss of intelligibility would be more a threat to reflexive freedom/self-determation, no?
  • jkop
    712
    But then, all you can say that can provide a possible alternative construal of what the world is, is done in language.Astrophel

    Its infinite possibilities should be enough.

    If there would be no difference between beliefs and perceptions, and if you would be stuck in a world of language, then you wouldn't know that there is a world and have no reason to lament the supposed limits of language. Yet you do know, but argue against it.
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    2.1k


    If there would be no difference between beliefs and perceptions, and if you would be stuck in a world of language, then you wouldn't know that there is a world and have no reason to lament the supposed limits of language. Yet you do know, but argue against it.

    An oft missed point. If appearances are the only reality then there is no meaningful appearance/reality distinction.

    With language, this often seems to go back to the idea that the meanings of words must be (partially) grounded in social practice and rules. That's a fine thesis, but it should prompt the further question: "what determines social practices and rules?" Strangely, some people seem to miss this question, and this is how you end up with word meanings that are fully divorced from the world — language as a barrier to intelligibilities rather than a tool for actualizing them.

    Or, it becomes fully self-refuting in some versions:

    Why can't we know what determines social practices and rules?

    "Because we would have to know this in terms of words, which are only defined by social practices and rules."

    And how do we know that words are totally defined in terms of social practices and rules?

    Answer: because of more words.

    But then the impenetrable barrier between us and the causes of rules and social practices turns out to also lie between us and knowledge of the fact that words actually are given their meanings solely by rules and social practices, so this too must be impossible to know. But now our grounds for the impossibility of knowledge itself seems hidden behind an impermeable barrier.

    Multidirectional, dynamic, many to many relationships are possible to model. I think an extra level of difficulty is encountered here though when there is a commitment to austere nominalism (or a default to nominalism spurred on by the desire to "avoid metaphysics.") Any attempt to think through the relationships between signs and referents is liable to be significantly more confusing without essences or universals, and this probably a larger problem if nominalism has been embraced only implicitly.
  • ENOAH
    652
    But now our grounds for the impossibility of knowledge itself seems hidden behind an impermeable barrier.Count Timothy von Icarus

    Or is it that that barrier, i.e. language, is not (just) describing what we know, but constructing it? It is, in that case, the root/structure/nature of knowledge is not hidden at all. What makes it "hidden" is our ultimately false belief that it is something beyond/outside of/before/transcendent to its own structure and beyond its own "tools."

    The "truth" about human knowledge (unique to us among all of the species we have encountered) is that it is constructed by and out of representations, and thus cannot be Real Truth, since the latter, presumably exist(ed)/by nature remains, in the present. We cannot have access to what happened, what is, what will be, we can only re-present these things. And that is knowing.

    Epistemology, Ontology, even theology, physics and biology, are not means to uncovering available Truth. They are means/constructions to re-present/construct how things function from the perspective of the inquirer, and the functioning, both of which are necessarily restricted to said re-presenting and simply cannot uncover/disclose/discover.

    So, finally, on topic: epistemology does provide "knowledge." And there are no barriers. It's just that it cannot disclose Truth; and that's where the barrier is.
  • ENOAH
    652
    If appearances are the only reality then there is no meaningful appearance/reality distinction.Count Timothy von Icarus

    There is a meaningful distinction. Appearances are the doings of human Mind, Reality is accessible to the rest of Nature, in the doing and being of reality; not in the knowing, a thing invented by Mind
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    2.1k


    There is a meaningful distinction

    I'm inclined to agree with you here. My point relates to those who would make the claim that there is only appearance.

    That said, I have to ask, is your statement above a "Real Truth?" It would seem that, based on your criteria, you cannot have access to such a truth, making your claim merely "a thing invented by the mind."
  • ENOAH
    652


    Unfortunately for our unquenchable desire for "truth", you are correct. Mine too is an invention of Mind.

    But so is Love, and Peace and E=MC² and look what treasures they have generated for Mind.
  • Johnnie
    19
    If a proposition represents some state of affairs, then one has to say what it means for something to be a state of affairs, and this would itself be done cast in more propositions. Then the post modern madness hits the fan”

    „The search for such a correspondence is logically absurd, Hegel argued, since every such search must end with some belief about whether the correspondence holds, in which case one has not advanced beyond belief”

    This kind of argument runs through the thread and, as someone pointed out, it ties into overall confusion between statements and facts.

    It doesn’t follow that if something is a statement then it’s a belief. It can be knowledge or deliberate fiction. What foundatonalists claim is that there are statements whose truth is directly known to the subject. The task of providing justification of each sentence is futile. But it's no threat to ontology and not an argument for replacing it with epistemology.

    I would say it's very probable that knowledge is not a set of sentences or a formal system in the mind. Because if it was, it would be possible to formalize in this system a Godel sentence "this sentence is unprovable in the system". And its truth is rather obvious, but the system is not able to derive it, even assuming foundationalism. That's a basic reasoning behind Ajdukiewicz argument against transcendental idealism from Godel's incompleteness.

    Once again, understanding is not a formal system if we're able to assess the truth of Godel sentences and we are. And the other hint is Tarski's undefinability theorem. We need a notion of a model, or a world to which the sentences conform. And their truth can be consistently defined in this model-theoretic setting. We all know there's a need for an infinite regress of meta-linguistic definitions in order to define stuff like truth and existence. But it's not an argument against realism. If anything, it's an argument against formalism or nominalism, if we are able to employ a notion of truth, we're operating outside of the given formal system. So my answer to the regress of justification you guys posed would be that understanding is (at least) an imperfect copy of reality, and reality is not a set of sentences. My intuition is reverse to yours. When we make an attempt at justification, at finding the necessary preconditions of knowledge, we're doing ontology of mind. Assumptions about existence, truth and quantifcation are all there.
  • ENOAH
    652
    Derrida said, if I can recall the quote, words don't stand for things; they "stand in" for "things". A bit like saying We stand in for things.Astrophel

    Yes, as in, what we* are is just a stand-in(s) [for things]. Not what we breathlessly pursue, the thing itself.
    *we, referring to those selves we live through, Mind, not our Bodies.

    And to tie it back in, stand-ins cannot have or be Truth. They're stand-ins. Everything stand-ins "do" is a representation; an often multi-generational re-re-presentation, including all of the knowing and subsequent adopting, then ordaining with "truth;" when we've constructed a representation for Truth and we all "know" most of what we ordain does not fit that representation.
  • Astrophel
    479
    With language, this often seems to go back to the idea that the meanings of words must be (partially) grounded in social practice and rules. That's a fine thesis, but it should prompt the further question: "what determines social practices and rules?" Strangely, some people seem to miss this question, and this is how you end up with word meanings that are fully divorced from the world — language as a barrier to intelligibilities rather than a tool for actualizing them.Count Timothy von Icarus

    It is not as if it's all language. Rather, it is all interpretation. The many impositions that intrude into my world are value intrusions, meaning I care about things. The language is essentially pragmatic and pragmatism is a forward looking structure of our existence. To have a knowledge relationship with the world is to draw from the past and anticipate the future. So what IS my cat? It is, in the occurrent event of encountering it, an "if...then..." structured body of possibilities that comprise my memory of my cat, and cats in general, and environments in which they can be aggressive or congenial, and so on, that spontaneously come into play.

    The "being" of my cat is the default possibilities that come into play when I see my cat, and all "seeing" is essentially pragmatic. I know everything on my desk, which means I am familiar with these things. The question is, what is familiarity? Clearly, it is something that is repeated over and over and doesn't change in some essential ways, so when I see it, deal with it, it responds in anticipated ways. This should sound familiar, for it is the scientific method: repeatable results, consistent outcomes; this is the way we live in the world, and this is what language does for us. We are all scientists with every step we take, confirming in this step that solid concrete will provide a certain resistance to the step, as has been demonstrated in countless "experiments" of walking.

    This is the reason why we will never be "divorced" from the world, nor will we understand what it is in the res extensa of things, things being over there, as they are, stand alone existing or being real. Knowledge claims are simply not of that nature. They are pragmatic.

    On the other hand, it is not as if the "world as such" is a nonsense concept (as Rorty would have it), referring to a world that is "there" independently of pragmatic context. As I see it, in this transcendental imposition the world makes us endure and deal with, there is one survivor of the "pragmatic reduction" I just spoke of. This is value-in-being.

    That is a long story. The qualia "yellow" as such means nothing and its presence is exhaustively accounted for in our pragmatic dealings with the color. But ethics and aesthetics! This is whole different kettle of fish.
  • Astrophel
    479
    If there would be no difference between beliefs and perceptions, and if you would be stuck in a world of language, then you wouldn't know that there is a world and have no reason to lament the supposed limits of language. Yet you do know, but argue against it.jkop

    Perhaps you would find agreement with what I said to Count Timothy von Icarus. I would add to that, this: It is not that thee is no world to "know." But knowing does not give one the kind of "ontological" intimacy you seem to be suggesting. To knowledge, the world will remain transcendental. There is my cat, that lamp, that fence post over there, and here am I. Nothing is going tp bridge that distance, no matter how one theorizes epistemic relations. I know that they exist, but I don't know what that means. This is because language is pragmatic: in perceptual events I DEAL with the world, and meaning is bound up in this.

    But then, what is, as I see it, that insistence that something is there in some uncanny and impossible sense of the Real? It isn't the fence post that delivers this to me from its being. IT is over there, but this intimation of real Being is somehow IN the "presence" of the encounter. Where does this come from? It comes from me, the perceiver. This "sense" of "absolute being" is me.
  • Astrophel
    479
    It doesn’t follow that if something is a statement then it’s a belief. It can be knowledge or deliberate fiction.Johnnie

    No, this is not the claim. The claim is that if something is a belief, it is a proposition. This may not hold for the pigeons outside my window, but their existence is not ours.
  • Banno
    23.6k
    well, no, it means that my responses to him must seem to him to be novel.
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