• BC
    13.2k
    We don't know anything objectively. We may believe that we do but this is a delusion. Everything we know is subjective. There are two kinds of subjective truths:Truth Seeker

    You open by claiming that believing objective knowledge is a delusion. If all knowledge is subjective, how can you assert that objectivity is delusional? Maybe that's just your particular problem, not shared by other people.

    As a rule of thumb, sweeping generalities ("we don't know anything objectively") should be viewed with suspicion.
  • 180 Proof
    14.3k
    We don't know anything objectively.Truth Seeker
    False. Some obvious examples – "We know objectively" that no individual was born before her parents were born. "We know objectively" that we are natural beings whose existence is both consistent with physical laws and inseparable from nature itself. Also "we know objectively" that we cannot in any way know at any time 'all that is knowable'.

    Again ...
    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/comment/901112

    :up:
  • Truth Seeker
    644
    We don't know anything objectively.
    — Truth Seeker
    False. Some obvious examples – "We know objectively" that no individual was born before her parents were born. "We know objectively" that we are natural beings whose existence is both consistent with physical laws and inseparable from nature itself. Also "we know objectively" that we cannot in any way know at any time 'all that is knowable'.
    180 Proof

    I have no way to know that children, parents, the universe, the laws of physics, etc. are real. What if solipsism is true and I am the only being that actually exists and everything else is part of a hallucination or dream or illusion or simulation I am experiencing?
  • Truth Seeker
    644
    We don't know anything objectively. We may believe that we do but this is a delusion. Everything we know is subjective. There are two kinds of subjective truths:
    — Truth Seeker

    You open by claiming that believing objective knowledge is a delusion. If all knowledge is subjective, how can you assert that objectivity is delusional? Maybe that's just your particular problem, not shared by other people.

    As a rule of thumb, sweeping generalities ("we don't know anything objectively") should be viewed with suspicion.
    BC

    I am happy to view it with suspicion. I am almost 100% certain that solipsism is incorrect. However, in the one-in-infinity case that solipsism is correct, then only I exist and everyone and everything else is part of a hallucination or dream or illusion or simulation I am experiencing.
  • BC
    13.2k
    Solipsism isn't the issue here. What is at issue is a) a sweeping generalization (these get made about a million times a day around the world); b) why are you excluding objectivity? 2 + 2 = 4. Objectively true. Pigeons can fly, camels are mammals; objectively true. We know it's objectively true because we organized the animals on a chart. Maybe separating pigeons and camels was a subjective act when it was first done, but it's objectively true now, because we say so. You can read the chart and see what it says. Objective!

    You look at a snake and quite objectively observe, "That snake isn't going to fly anywhere." If you hand the checkout at Target a $20 bill for the total purchase of $30, the checkout will objectively observe that $20 isn't enough. Either you will objectively find $10 more in your wallet, or the checkout will call security over, and they are quite objective, as well. They'll take you into the back room and shake you down for the missing $10.
  • BC
    13.2k
    I
    What if solipsism is true and I am the only being that actually existsTruth Seeker

    Then you have bigger things to worry about than objectivity vs. subjectivity.
  • Captain Homicide
    42
    It seems like Truth Seeker keeps making the same thread about objective truth over and over even when he gets numerous thorough answers. A single ongoing thread on the subject is sufficient.
  • Truth Seeker
    644
    I agree. Ever since I watched the movie "The Matrix" I have been troubled by how to tell what is real and what is not.
  • Barkon
    112
    If you were to ask me, 'which way do I go to reach X?', and I said, 'I know, it's this way and then that way', that would be a case of me knowing objectively. In part, we don't know objectively enough, it's mostly spurring from inane mind (for a pointless reason - such as chit-chat). However, there will be times where we do know objectively, and that is my argument against the original post.
  • jkop
    706
    Ever since I watched the movie "The Matrix" I have been troubled by how to tell what is real and what is not.Truth Seeker

    Here's why we cannot be brains in a vat; https://iep.utm.edu/brain-in-a-vat-argument/
  • Lionino
    1.8k
    Well I am not sure if I have persuasive or great reasons or arguments against solipsism but I must say that I nevertheless do harbor a strong belief in the existence of the external world. Do you find solipsism to be persuasive and if so, how would you argue for it?Max2

    Long thread on that https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/14787/reason-for-believing-in-the-existence-of-the-world/p27

    You just linked an IEP article.
  • jkop
    706


    Sorry, below is Putnam's argument against global skepticism. The argument is based on the assumption that words don't magically have meanings, they have causal histories and constraints (CC) to things in order to have the meanings that they have.

    1. Assume we are brains in a vat

    2. If we are brains in a vat, then “brain” does not refer to brain, and “vat” does not refer to vat (via CC)

    3. If “brain in a vat” does not refer to brains in a vat, then “we are brains in a vat” is false

    Thus, if we are brains in a vat, then the sentence “We are brains in a vat” is false (1,2,3)
  • Truth Seeker
    644
    Here's why we cannot be brains in a vat; https://iep.utm.edu/brain-in-a-vat-argument/jkop

    Thank you for the link. What a fascinating article!
  • Lionino
    1.8k
    Quine and Putnam are the kings when it comes to bad metaphysical arguments.

    Edit: Quine is the king, Putnam is the bishop.
  • BC
    13.2k
    The Matrix film has been cited many times here in support of the "unreality of reality". It's a work of fiction; it's entertainment; it isn't philosophy lecture. Still, the idea that the world is an illusion goes back to Plato (the cave). Well, sure enough, not everything is as it seems. That's life. It doesn't add up to one big computer simulation.
  • Srap Tasmaner
    4.7k
    Ever since I watched the movie "The Matrix" I have been troubled by how to tell what is real and what is not.Truth Seeker

    Sure.

    One thing about The Matrix, like other stories about caves and evil demons and vats, is that people will be inclined to say that there are two kinds of experience presented: the one where you are being fooled by a simulation and don't know any better; and the other where you discover the true state of things, that you're in fact a coppertop in a vat, that you don't actually have a job and an apartment, that you've never even walked around, that sort of thing.

    Of course, there's nothing in the story to guarantee that this second world of experience is "the real one". It could also be a simulation, right? (Looking at you, last sentence of Ubik.) Point of fact -- The Matrix is a movie, in which both of those worlds of experience are simulated, and you observed those worlds for a while from this one. According to your experience in this movie-going world, those worlds aren't real, either of them. But what about this world where you think you've been watching a movie called The Matrix? Could also be a simulation, right?

    (Aside: this is all about what's possible, and then the simulation argument adds claims about what's likely.)

    As it happens, the consensus of scientists seems to be that your experience really is in some ways a simulation: what goes on in your mind is your brain managing your body and keeping it alive by dealing with what it counts as the environment outside your body. We get glimpses occasionally of the slippage between our mental life and the real world, and maybe that's the source of this ancient worry (not always a worry, I guess, but sometimes a hope) that it's all an illusion. There is a very real sense in which it is.

    But by and large scientists don't seem to worry much about this snake eating its own tail, science itself being some sort of mass delusion or something. Why is that? Are they just less sophisticated than philosophers? Less imaginative?

    I don't think that's it. I think the difference is actually pretty simple. For example, every schoolboy knows that there's a real sense in which the objects of the world aren't themselves colored; that's just how we see, an artifact of our visual perception system, and there are other animals who see quite differently. How do you get from this mundane, but at first somewhat unnerving, observation to The Matrix?

    Abstraction. Abstraction and generalization, of a sort philosophers indulge in but not scientists and not ordinary people (and not even philosophers except when they're doing philosophy). Scientists make pretty specific claims about how specific sorts of physical systems work, but philosophers abstract away all those specifics and ask questions about perception "in general" or experience "as such". It's pretty straightforward these days (with computers and eye-tracking technology) to demonstrate that you have a blind spot right at the center of your "visual field" and you've never noticed it and cannot notice it. It's as if philosophers take that result as a demonstration that the blind spot "might be" all-encompassing! But if it were, there'd be no sense in which any such result had been "demonstrated". You see the problem here.

    I say all this not to answer your question -- I don't think it really has an answer, and if you're really into philosophy you might find that interesting. (Is it really a properly formed question? If it isn't, how and why do we ask it? What exactly have philosophers been up to for thousands of years, and how does it differ from what they thought they were up to?) No, I bring up the science because (a) you'll hear scientifically informed arguments to the same effect, and because (b) there are people who know in some detail to what degree our experience could quite robustly be called "illusory" who somehow are not overcome with the sort of skeptical vertigo you experienced upon watching The Matrix. I think it's important to know that they aren't why they aren't, though I've only gestured at a full explanation of that, and I'm not qualified to spell it all out anyway. But keep it mind as you puzzle about reality and our relation to it.
  • Truth Seeker
    644
    I agree that the movie is a work of fiction.
  • Truth Seeker
    644
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
  • Max2
    8

    Presuming that you do dislike this particular argument from Putnam against BIV-type skepticism, could you maybe elaborate on your disagreements a bit? I have encountered this line only a couple of times and would like to discuss possible criticisms of it. I must preface this by saying that I do find Putnam's argument a bit odd as it seems to me clearly possible for us to discuss the possibility of us being BIVs even if our words might not have a well-defined referent - we seem to able to understand and intelligently talk about the situation via analogy.
  • Fire Ologist
    234


    My closest vote would be “no”.

    You said:
    We don't know anything objectively. We may believe that we do but this is a delusion. Everything we know is subjective.Truth Seeker

    I assume you assumed that it is a mind or at least a human consciousness that would claim to know anything at all.

    So 1: There is a mind.

    I assume you mean by objectively, knowing something about a world that is independent of the mind, but reflected from the world into the mind accurately. Objective knowledge would be knowledge one mind could know just like other minds could know.

    So 2: There is a world independent of the mind.

    And 3: There is in fact no accurate connection possible between a mind and the world.

    These are three objective facts you’ve posited. Mind, separate world, and no accurate connection.

    I, as a subject, know 1 and 2 subjectively - but what I subjectively know is that my mind is in a larger world apart from my mind, so I have knowledge of objective facts.

    So I don’t see why we need to assert fact 3 (no accurate connection) when we’ve already asserted accurately that there are minds and there is a world apart from the mind. Objectivity is there before me and I can only participate in it through exploration and discovery, or not.
  • Captain Homicide
    42
    I don’t know how much your mind has been changed over the course of these threads but The Matrix aside what kind of plausible answer would you find convincing as to reality and truth being real? You can’t expect certainty regarding fundamentally unknowable concepts.
  • Fire Ologist
    234
    Shared subjective truthsTruth Seeker

    You have mind one over here, and mind two over there. If they are to share anything at all between them, they need some object to share.

    We don’t get to name things “objective” or “subjective” without some thing to name.

    That’s objective. The subject is just where we place the object. But objectivity is the assumption on which anything follows - thought, speech between two minds, logic, illogic, anything.

    The denial of objectivity (mind independent reality) in itself makes all speech and thought meaningless. So shared “subjectivity” would be proof of the existence of objectivity, otherwise nothing would be shared and we’d all be totally alone, cut off from everything, able to doubt the fact of anything else.

    Maybe I am the only thing that ever existed and I’m all alone talking to no one. So if that seems plausible, then no need to discuss the objective fact that I am the only one who ever existed because… hello? Anyone see the object ?
  • ENOAH
    494
    but what I subjectively know is that my mind is in a larger world apart from my mind, so I have knowledge of objective facts.

    So I don’t see why we need to assert fact 3 (no accurate connection)
    Fire Ologist

    But if that "subjective knowledge of objective facts," is itself not what it proclaims with the word "knowledge." (I am already with you that this is seeming like a twisted "argument," veering off course from conventional logic and reasoning. I submit that that cannot be avoided. In fact, that it cannot be avoided, coincidentally supports the very twisted argument)

    Knowledge itself, needs first to pass the test that it is what we conventionally think it is, a revealing, discovering, uncovering of facts/data/truths. "I can only participate in it through exploration and discovery...". I currently don't believe that to be the case.

    If the "objects" of "knowledge" are

    "constructed and projected" by (no.1) mind, following an autonomous conditioned process of "dialectic"

    and are at best representations of the so called objective world, and not "discoveries" following exploration of the real world independent of Mind (no.2)

    then we are back to having no connection possible between mind and the objective world (no.3).

    My addendum to that is,

    1. some intuitively or reasonably read things like sollopsism, nihilism, etc. From no.3. But we are the real world independent of Mind. We need not bridge the gap between mind and Reality, because we, as beings, organisms, like the rest, are that reality. Only mind desires access giving rise to this and all discourse with its projections.

    2. within the domain of Mind, the question becomes, are we utterly alienated subjects, or is there "shared subjectivity." And to that I say, Mind is one and in its domain subject/object do not point to separate beings, each with its own "in itself" etc. Rather they are mechanisms functioning, and projecting "selves"/thises and thats/not this but thats/and objects out of selves, not I but It.

    You have mind one over here, and mind two over there. If they are to share anything at all between them, they need some object to share.Fire Ologist

    The object they "share" is itself, Mind, not a thing but a dynamic process moving as History, stationed within billions of fully permeable loci, because bodies provide the infrastructure and feedback for conditioning, the feelings, and the means for action. And embodiment cause the subject to stand in displacing the Body, creating the long evolving illusion that we are separated and our self identity and all of its object associations are real. But only the Body is real; a being in the real world independent of Mind.

    The denial of objectivity (mind independent reality) in itself makes all speech and thought meaningless.Fire Ologist

    Yes and that's why mind evolved such illusions as subject/object, because mind is speech. We have subject/object, and all qualities to make speech "real"; not the other way of viewing it; not subject/object must be real because we speak.
  • Fire Ologist
    234
    Hey Enoah.

    But if that "subjective knowledge of objective facts," is itself not what it proclaims with the word "knowledge." (I am already with you that this is seeming like a twisted "argument," veering off course from conventional logic and reasoning. I submit that that cannot be avoided. In fact, that it cannot be avoided, coincidentally supports the very twisted argument)ENOAH

    But further, by saying this, it is a fact for you, me and all minds - so we know something objective about minding. We can’t escape the objective either - argument twists again - again the paradox rears its ugly head.

    Knowledge itself, needs first to pass the test that it is what we conventionally think it is, a revealing, discovering, uncovering of facts/data/truths. "I can only participate in it through exploration and discovery...". I currently don't believe that to be the case.ENOAH

    All I would say to that is that, I agree that 3000 years has not been long enough apparently for written “knowledge” to be easy to find, anywhere, but I disagree that knowledge needs to first pass any test. If we have any test in mind that would certify knowledge, we already know something certified that might judge whether knowledge passes or fails the test. Knowing itself tests reality. It usually fails, but no absolute rule one needs to follow that says we cannot seek to discover something with this “knowing” sense that is minding.
    then we are back to having no connection possible between mind and the objective world (no.3).ENOAH

    Yes but take out the world and think about when mind 1 connects with mind 2 (as we sometimes do on this forum). Maybe we don’t know if what we say here reflects the mind independent world when we speak of some third thing, but when mind 1 agrees with mind 2, then mind 1 knows the object in mind 2’s mind. So mind 1 knows of two things: mind 2 and the object it expresses in agreement.

    Mind 1 says “2+2= the idea I have.”
    Mind 2 says “you mean 17-3.”
    Mind 1 says “I agree” and so does mind 2.
    So minds 1 and 2 know if an object that is out in the world as it is in their own mind, as it is in the other mind. And mind 3 says, “you mean the square root of sixteen don’t you.” Yes, without saying the object simply and clearly (as most objects in minds are not so easy to point at as what 3+1 equals), the object is known as distinct from each subject that knows it as demonstrated by each subject that says it differently while pointing to the same object in the world.

    So I can see why inter subjectivity is a tempting solution to talking about objectivity, but it is window dressing attempting to avoid epistemological and critical approaches to all knowledge, and merely clouds a clear picture of an objective, subject independent world through which the subjects communicate.

    The denial of objectivity (mind independent reality) in itself makes all speech and thought meaningless.
    — Fire Ologist

    Yes and that's why mind evolved such illusions as subject/object, because mind is speech. We have subject/object, and all qualities to make speech "real"; not the other way of viewing it; not subject/object must be real because we speak.
    ENOAH

    Here is where we disagree. The very fact that we can disagree or agree means that to each of us, there is an objective world that we each measure ourselves and each other against. “Mind evolved such illusions” is something to think about, but nowhere near a conclusion if we can use these illusions to communicate from one mind through an internet connection, into a screen, through language all the way, so far away to… another mind. Minds can’t know other minds are operating without some medium connecting them, and that can only be mind independent. Even if the objective world is constructed by minds, this world can be shared which means it isn’t only in one mind, and therefore, the objective world is still there, has to be there.

    Or you think you are possibly totally alone, not event meaning anything you say to yourself.

    If you reply to me that you deny any objective medium is known, and I acknowledge back to you that I disagree with you, you’ve proven to yourself that my mind is out there in an illusion as an objective fact - which then means you can’t honestly say to yourself that all you know is an illusion.
  • Truth Seeker
    644
    My position has changed totally from what I said in my original post in this thread. By reading the replies I have become convinced that we can know some things objectively.
  • Truth Seeker
    644
    I agree with you. There is no reasonable ground for solipsism.
  • Truth Seeker
    644
    I think there is a world independent of my mind. There are also other human bodies and minds. We can form very accurate models of our environment using our sensory perceptions.
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.