• Marchesk
    2k
    Idealists die don't they?Cavacava

    I think so. Berkeley's not still among us. Maybe God grew tired of perceiving him?
  • TheMadFool
    2.3k
    Uncertainty is simply a gap in our knowledge. There are many reasons for that situation.

    It could be that our mind's aren't capable of processing the amount of information required to achieve certainty. An extreme case would be the impossibility of omniscience for finite beings like us. There's just too much stuff to know.

    May be the uncertainty is imposed from the outside in contrast to what I said above. We may not have the instruments or they may be inaccurate leading to errors in our predictions.

    Also what if certainty is simply impossible to achieve. This seems to be the case with me. How can one ever be sure that what we know is the truth. There's time to consider. What if what we know is only a temporary state of the world? There's space to consider. What if what we know is confined to our Earth, our Solar system and that the rules/laws are totally different in other parts of the universe? The bigger question is how do we know if all this is not an illusion? These are unanswerable questions which leads to the fact that uncertainty is what we have to live with.

    Given this is the case we stratify our world. One obvious classification would be to physical and mental. We can increase the certainty in our knowledge of the physical world with greater ease than in the mental world. We can have better instruments and unbiased data, etc. We can play around with the level of certainty we want in knowledge - 70%, 80%. 90%. 99%.

    Uncertainty is inescapable but levels of certainty can be achieved.
  • Cavacava
    2.4k


    Well if so then thought must be contingent since the good Bishop is not still here, and there must be a here, where they are no longer at and therefore a reality that is independent of their dreams.
  • Harry Hindu
    1.2k
    Uncertainty is the knowledge that our predictions can fail. "Certainty"/"Uncertainty" seems to be one of those philosophical buzz-words that has evolved into meaninglessness. There is no "certainty"/"uncertainty". There are only predictions which can be wrong or not. We live in our predictions. Our world view is made up of predictions.
  • Cavacava
    2.4k


    So then the only certainty is contingency whose only limit is possibility.
  • Marchesk
    2k
    I'm not an idealist. Just pointing out that philosophical certainty is very rigorous. I agree that the sun will come up tomorrow, you're not a BIV, we will all die, and the universe will chug along just fine without perception.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    4.2k
    We can play around with the level of certainty we want in knowledge - 70%, 80%. 90%. 99%.

    Uncertainty is inescapable but levels of certainty can be achieved.
    TheMadFool

    How would you be certain that the level of 70%, 80%, or 90% had been achieved? Or would you be 90% certain that 70% certainty had been achieved, etc.?

    and the universe will chug along just fine without perception.Marchesk

    The universe will chug along? What does that mean?
  • TheMadFool
    2.3k
    How would you be certain that the level of 70%, 80%, or 90% had been achieved? Or would you be 90% certain that 70% certainty had been achieved, etc.?Metaphysician Undercover

    I guess we'd have to look at our instruments. A measuring scale with an error margin of +/-1% would mean we're 99% sure. Right?
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    4.2k

    No, because the margin of error is an average, so it doesn't mean that each time is 99% sure.. And there could be other factors involved which are not being measured.
  • Michael
    7k
    I guess we'd have to look at our instruments. A measuring scale with an error margin of +/-1% would mean we're 99% sure. Right?TheMadFool

    If we're dealing with statistics and have a confidence interval of 95% and a margin of error of +/-3% with a projected figure of 50% then we are 95% sure that the actual figure will be between 47% and 53%.
  • Banno
    3.1k
    I think there is a distinction to be made between certitude, which is an attitude, and certainty, which is an undoubted fact.Metaphysician Undercover
    (My italics)

    But to not doubt some given fact is to adopt a specific attitude towards it - that is, to be certain of it.

    I can't see your distinction.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    4.2k
    An attitude is a property of an individual person. I have an attitude toward a given proposition, and you may have a different attitude toward that proposition, being born and raised under different conditions. "Undoubted" implies that everyone has the same attitude toward that "fact".

    So the distinction I refer to is the difference between something which I, you, someone else, or even a group of people, have an attitude of certitude toward, and something which everyone has an attitude of certitude toward.
  • Banno
    3.1k
    Both are attitudes. So now we are in agreement.
  • Banno
    3.1k
    Jill was certain. turns out she was wrong. It turned out that what she thought was the case, wasn't.

    SO we can be certain of things other than facts.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    4.2k
    Both are attitudes. So now we are in agreement.Banno

    No, one is an attitude while the other is a generalization concerning many attitudes, stating that everyone has the same attitude. Do you not recognize the difference between an attitude and a statement saying that two people have the same attitude?

    I have an attitude, and you have an attitude. The statement that we both have the same attitude is not itself an expression of an attitude.
  • Srap Tasmaner
    2k
    I have an attitude, and you have an attitude. The statement that we both have the same attitude is not itself an expression of an attitudeMetaphysician Undercover


      (1) The Earth is flat.
      (2) I'm certain the Earth is flat.
      (3) He's certain the Earth is flat.
      (4) You, he, and I are certain the Earth is flat.
      (5) Everyone is certain the Earth is flat.

    Only (2) is an expression of an attitude, yes? Unless you want to argue that (1) is (2) in disguise...

    (1) is a statement about the Earth; (2) - (5) are statements about people, attributing attitudes to them. (2) might be a special case - if candid it counts as a report.

    Now what's the point you're making?
  • Banno
    3.1k
    Yeah. I'm lost, too.

    "I am certain" is a statement of an attitude; but "We are certain" isn't. Nor is "He is certain".
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    4.2k
    Now what's the point you're making?Srap Tasmaner

    Banno said:

    The first thing to note is that certainty is an attitude.Banno

    I said:

    I think there is a distinction to be made between certitude, which is an attitude, and certainty, which is an undoubted fact.Metaphysician Undercover

    As you pointed out, only 2), "I am certain the earth is flat", is an expression of an attitude. Therefore "everyone is certain the earth is flat" is not an expression of an attitude. And it follows that "it is an undoubted fact the earth is flat" is not an expression of an attitude because "undoubted fact" means doubted by no one. Furthermore, it follows that "certainty", which means "an undoubted fact", is not an expression of an attitude either.

    That is the argument I use to support my claim that there is a distinction between certitude (an attitude) and certainty (an undoubted fact).
  • Cavacava
    2.4k


    You suggest that certainty is an undoubted fact, but what does that entail, what is an example of undoubted fact. I doubt any undoubted facts, I think all facts are contingent, that all facts could have been otherwise. If so, does this reduce all certainty to certitude and does this mean that un-certitude is also an attitude.

    Suppose that the absolute contingency of everything is the only certainty possible, then what could be meant by saying that this is a fact except that absolute certainty can't be known.
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