• creativesoul
    3.1k
    How does a belief become well-grounded in the absence of actively manifesting language.javra

    The same way it does within language use. It is validly inferred from pre-existing true belief, actual events, the way things are/were, and/or some combination thereof.
  • javra
    592
    The act of justification is when a speaker provides the ground for his/her belief statement to another person.creativesoul

    In my previous post I addressed what I intended by the term "to justify" as process and "justification" as an instance of this process. The concept I have in mind and have described does not require language--thought it also applies to linguistic expressions. And, so far, I have no better term for it than that of "justify/justification". I won't rewrite it, but its there.

    Linguistically, when asked, "how do you justify X?" what is typically asked is, "what are your reasons for believing X to be true?" One doesn't need to provide these reasons for the valid reasons to be there, i.e. for the belief to be well-grounded, I agree in this. But if reasoning is provided among us linguistic beings and if the reasoning is found valid, then the believed truth is then deemed to be justified--or, as I previously addressed, is "evidenced to be just/correct/right".

    Intelligent animals and toddlers don't provide the reasoning for their beliefs to themselves or to others; of course not; they have no language by which to do so. But they can infer, reason, all the same. And via their inference their beliefs can be well grounded or not.

    I guess what I'm driving at is that well-grounded-ness is always itself fallible, never infallible/absolute.This is what makes surprises possible in intelligent beings. As well as learning by trial and error.

    In due measure with intelligence there are reasons--inferences--held for certain beliefs being maintained. And it is this reasoning that I'm currently terming "justification"--again, the evidencing of being just/correct/right.

    Maybe this will better help in making sense of where we differ:

    It is validly inferred from pre-existing true belief, actual events, the way things are, and/or some combination thereof.creativesoul

    How then do you believe this non-linguistic valid inference is different from “[non-linguistically] evidencing [that concerned] to be just/correct/right”?
  • creativesoul
    3.1k
    The act of justification is when a speaker provides the ground for his/her belief statement to another person.
    — creativesoul

    In my previous post I addressed what I intended by the term "to justify" as process and "justification" as an instance of this process. The concept I have in mind and have described does not require language--thought it also applies to linguistic expressions. And, so far, I have no better term for it than that of "justify/justification". I won't rewrite it, but its there.
    javra

    I saw that. Not trying nor wanting to be pedantic about it, but while I can understand the desire to use an already existing phrase it can become quite problematic. That is particularly the case when in situations like this. We are involved in a discussion that is based upon a conventional notion. When the topic of discussion is the conventional notion of JTB, then we must maintain the standard meaning for it. That is what we're discussing afterall.

    If one wants to argue against the conventional notion, as I am doing, one must argue against the conventional notion. One cannot be expected to be taken seriously if one argues against the conventional notion of JTB by virtue of re-defining what counts as being justified and/or what counts as justification.

    That said, I can understand and fully appreciate a situation where ones finds that conventional notions are inadequate for taking account of what one wants to take account of.

    Time to coin a new phrase...

    This is all a bit irrelevant to our agreements though. Let's discuss those and take things form there.



    Linguistically, when asked, "how do you justify X?" what is typically asked is, "what are your reasons for believing X to be true?"... ...if reasoning is provided among us linguistic beings and if the reasoning is found valid, then the believed truth is then deemed to be justified--or, as I previously addressed, is "evidenced to be just/correct/right".javra

    May I first suggest something here?

    It looks to me like you are conflating truth with either belief or statements thereof in your use of "believed truth". If you drop the "truth" part and keep the "belief" part, you'd end up with the following...

    ...if reasoning is provided among us linguistic beings and if the reasoning is found valid, the belief is then deemed to be justified--or, as I previously addressed, is "evidenced to be just/correct/right".javra

    Yeah, pretty much. The key part here, as it pertains to my own critique regarding the notion of justification as it pertains to JTB, is that it is the listener who 'deems' the belief "justified". That's a problem. Think Copernicus. The listeners of his time did not deem his beliefs justified, nor true, but many of them were both.

    The underlying problem with the JTB notion of justification is clear. It is not required in order for a belief to be either well-grounded or true.

    It is required in order for a speaker to be able to talk about his/her own belief in terms of it's ground(how/why one believes what they do). It's useful as a means for helping a capable listener further discriminate between competing and/or contradictory claims. It's useful for helping a listener determine whether or not they can and/or should trust the reliability of a speaker.




    Intelligent animals and toddlers don't provide the reasoning for their beliefs to themselves or to others; of course not; they have no language by which to do so. But they can infer, reason, all the same. And via their inference their beliefs can be well grounded or not.

    I guess what I'm driving at is that well-grounded-ness is always itself fallible, never infallible/absolute.This is what makes surprises possible in intelligent beings. As well as learning by trial and error.

    In due measure with intelligence there are reasons--inferences--held for certain beliefs being maintained. And it is this reasoning that I'm currently terming "justification"--again, the evidencing of being just/correct/right.
    javra

    Of course we're fallible. There are steps we can take that decrease the likelihood of our being mistaken. The whole point of some folks' methods and philosophies are to minimize error. Methodological Naturalism comes to mind. I tend to work from it's tenets.





    How does a belief become well-grounded in the absence of actively manifesting language.
    — javra

    The same way it does within language use. It is validly inferred from pre-existing true belief, actual events, the way things are/were, and/or some combination thereof.
    creativesoul


    How then do you believe this non-linguistic valid inference is different from “[non-linguistically] evidencing [that concerned] to be just/correct/right”?javra

    Well for one, I do not find that it is possible for a non-linguistic creature to be involved in any activity that meaningfully and sensibly qualifies as 'evidencing'... not to themselves nor others. Both require the same things(the ability to take account of one's own mental ongoings - ahem, language), and a creature without language quite simply does not have what it takes to be actively involved in 'evidencing'.

    I'm not sure what you're talking about though. Try to explain this notion in terms of what it takes to do it. I mean, what is the criterion for it - which when met by some candidate or other - counts as being a case of "evidencing [that concerned] to be just/correct/right."

    On my view, that may be three completely different criteria with being just and being correct both requiring language.

    Being 'right', if that is to mean forming and/or having true belief, well that one doesn't require language. At least for forming and/or having some belief. However, even with this one, I find no sensible way to talk about a language less creature 'evidencing' that sort of belief.
  • javra
    592


    Hey, thanks for the thoughtful reply.

    Yea, human language is built to connote human language dependent concepts when it comes to many a mind-associated process or attribute. Talk to some and they’ll insist that “valid inference” necessitates the use of language as well. But be this as it may.

    I’ve used “believed truth” as shorthand for distinguishing belief-that from belief-in, both of which are beliefs.

    As to the criteria for “evidencing” … again, this would get deeper into interpretations of mind than I’d like. I’ll try though: that which evidences is that which suggests the truth of. One might object in that non-linguistic beings lack our linguistic concept of truth. Clearly they lack any account of what truth is; yet, again, for lack of better terms that are ready present, I uphold they do have understandings of that which conforms to reality, i.e. of that which is true.

    I’ll provide an example (there are far better ones when it comes to lesser animals, such as those pertaining to great apes, but keeping this sufficiently common): a person’s petting a dog on the back typically evidences the person’s affection toward the dog to the dog. The dog’s memories of being petted will then evidence to the dog that the person who pets him holds affection for him. The data here non-linguistically justifies the given belief-that (haven’t yet come up with a novel term for the concept, though).

    If I’m not mistaken, seems like our primary disagreements are over the words that should be properly used. And that no proper words exist for the intended concepts. To me, however, this is not to say that the concepts are lacking or that they’re not well-grounded, to use your semantics.

    If they are well-grounded, then these currently ineffable (?) concepts do relate to the thread’s contents; this by illustrating how linguistic justification can be a more advanced, abstracted form of what occurs in pre-/non-linguistic intelligent beings so as to result in “well-grounded beliefs”. But it’s hard to debate most of this if the concepts are not understood via the words used. So, presently, I’m contingently planning on backing out of this discussion.
  • creativesoul
    3.1k


    You're more than welcome javra.

    You are free to do as you see fit with regard to this discussion, but for me at least... it looked like it had a certain potential that I've not seen for quite some time.

    I thoroughly enjoy critiquing others' and my own writings, and do appreciate valid objections. I seek them out, in fact, often. Unfortunately, they're few to be found hereabouts. That said, you didn't elaborate upon one, but hinted at it. I agree with the sentiment about some saying that valid inference requires language use. I could probably make that argument against my claim. Kudos.

    That said, we've just bee skirting around some stuff thus far. This last bit, in particular, piqued my interest...

    If I’m not mistaken, seems like our primary disagreements are over the words that should be properly used. And that no proper words exist for the intended concepts. To me, however, this is not to say that the concepts are lacking or that they’re not well-grounded, to use your semantics.javra

    I'm not even sure that we disagree here. I was just trying to help you better develop this concept/notion you've been alluding to with the terms "justification" and "justify". Best advice I can offer follows from a translation technique I like to use when folk are using terms in a way unfamiliar to myself. We can replace the term with it's definition in every instance of use. If the overall writing still makes sense, then it's an acceptable manner of speaking.

    For completely different purposes, I suggest that you could intentionally avoid the terms "justification" and "justify" but instead use the description or definition that you've called such. It may be a bit unwieldy at first, but it will result in a better conception.


    If they are well-grounded, then these currently ineffable (?) concepts do relate to the thread’s contents; this by illustrating how linguistic justification can be a more advanced, abstracted form of what occurs in pre-/non-linguistic intelligent beings so as to result in “well-grounded beliefs”. But it’s hard to debate most of this if the concepts are not understood via the words used. So, presently, I’m contingently planning on backing out of this discussion.

    This part rings very relevant and true...

    From a naturalist starting point:At conception there is no thought or belief. History shows us that our knowledge is accrued. Knowledge consists of belief. Belief is accrued. With that in mind...

    The bit above regarding justification being a more advanced form of what occurs in pre-linguistic and/or non-linguistic creatures is not at all problematic for me. In fact, it would have to be that way, or similarly so, if my own position is right.
  • creativesoul
    3.1k
    As to the criteria for “evidencing” … again, this would get deeper into interpretations of mind than I’d like. I’ll try though: that which evidences is that which suggests the truth of. One might object in that non-linguistic beings lack our linguistic concept of truth. Clearly they lack any account of what truth is; yet, again, for lack of better terms that are ready present, I uphold they do have understandings of that which conforms to reality, i.e. of that which is true.

    I’ll provide an example (there are far better ones when it comes to lesser animals, such as those pertaining to great apes, but keeping this sufficiently common): a person’s petting a dog on the back typically evidences the person’s affection toward the dog to the dog. The dog’s memories of being petted will then evidence to the dog that the person who pets him holds affection for him. The data here non-linguistically justifies the given belief-that (haven’t yet come up with a novel term for the concept, though).
    javra

    I would readily agree that language less creatures presuppose both reality and the correspondence of their own thought and belief with/to reality. I cannot, however, agree that language-less creatures have an understanding of that which conforms to reality.

    It seems that you're using this notion of 'evidencing' as a manner of talking about sufficient reason to believe... or warrant. It's commonly called "ground" for belief. Seems like nothing is lost if we swap "evidenced" and "justifies" with "grounded" and/or "warrants"...
  • javra
    592
    I thoroughly enjoy critiquing others' and my own writings, and do appreciate valid objections. I seek them out, in fact, often. Unfortunately, they're few to be found hereabouts. That said, you didn't elaborate upon one, but hinted at it. I agree with the sentiment about some saying that valid inference requires language use. I could probably make that argument against my claim. Kudos.creativesoul

    In the words of the British, buggers. I was hoping to get on with other things, but since this is intellectually stimulating …

    What I was hinting at leads back to the way all languages I’m very familiar with (roughly, two: English and the other one being largely Latin based, Romanian) are structured. They very often presuppose linguistic capacity in the cognitive attributes they specify. In a way this makes a great deal of sense: we’re addressing these concepts to ourselves, not to non-linguistic creatures. In another way, to my mind, it handicaps philosophical enquiries into what is by predisposing our abstract thought to limit itself to that realm of linguistically-dependent cognitive givens. Add to this ego-centeredness and the anthropocentrism that naturally ensues in light of the problem of other minds and, to me, there’s something of a near universal cultural bias that obfuscates the way we, humans, contemplate all things pertaining to mind, most especially non-human minds. (And, for fairness, on the other side of the isle there’s the occasional character that believes lesser animals are just as aware of things as humans are, the anthropomorphizing crowd. Me, I’m stuck somewhere in the middle between what I deem to be these two, to me not very well-grounded, extremes.)

    For example, we deem that one must first understand what “validity” and “inference” point to as words prior to being capable of engaging in valid inferences—for how can one engage in valid inferences (further complicated by the sometimes very formal structures we associate with them) when one does not know what the language-demarcated concepts are?

    Somewhat tangentially, Descartes is well reputed to have believed that lesser animals are basically mind-devoid automatons. He’s anecdotally known, for example, to have kicked a pregnant bitch while believing she held no feelings to speak of. This being only rational to him. Because only humans have feelings, i.e. emotions—not to even bring up the capacity of reasoning and, hence, of making inferences … which are worthless if not somehow evaluated for their validity in contrast to their potential falsehood. (to those who go by anatomy, just as lesser mammals have their own limbic systems, so too do they have their own cerebral cortexes, these being less developed mirror images of our own ... not to even mention analogous evolution of intelligence as can be found in octopuses)

    But this topic is to me a headache. One that should be resolved, but not a subject which data alone can resolve. To me, this issue requires reasoning concerning metaphysics—as far removed as it may sometimes be to immediate concerns. And so doing is too off-course from the thread’s intended subject—and debate via soundbites hardly does the topic justice. BTW, if at all of interest, the book Primates and Philosophers: How Morality Evolved by Frans de Waal, et al. serves as a good example of these complexities—and of the difficulty in using data to resolve the matter. IMO, it sort of all boils down to preexisting metaphysical commitments on the part of each particular philosopher or scientist. And our language certainly conveys in implicit manners many of these metaphysical commitments—to not even bring up our culture(s).

    That’s my general take in regards to language and cognitive processes—even if it is a bit too general. But if there’s something more specific that you’d like to address in terms of the capacity to reason among more intelligent non-linguistic beings, let me know what it is. Also, to the extent we differ in this just addressed outlook, I wouldn't mind finding out how.

    I’ll address some of your other replies a little later on.
  • javra
    592
    Best advice I can offer follows from a translation technique I like to use when folk are using terms in a way unfamiliar to myself. We can replace the term with it's definition in every instance of use. If the overall writing still makes sense, then it's an acceptable manner of speaking.creativesoul

    Yes, its a promising idea; still, replacing words with definitions can make communication cumbersome. The longer a definition the more cumbersome the expressions become. And I don’t have a short definition. (more on this below)

    The bit above regarding justification being a more advanced form of what occurs in pre-linguistic and/or non-linguistic creatures is not at all problematic for me. In fact, it would have to be that way, or similarly so, if my own position is right.creativesoul

    Very glad we concur here.

    It seems that you're using this notion of 'evidencing' as a manner of talking about sufficient reason to believe... or warrant. It's commonly called "ground" for belief. Seems like nothing is lost if we swap "evidenced" and "justifies" with "grounded" and/or "warrants"...creativesoul

    “Grounded” and “evidenced” are indeed synonyms. But “evidenced” seems to me to provide the process by which the conclusion is obtained—that of data and reasoning about it—whereas “grounded” does not, instead simply serving as conclusion. No?

    “Warrants”, I’ve wanted to make use of the word myself previously in this thread. Two issues that come to mind. One is that warranting has many other meanings such that when the word is used, to my ear, it does not specify reasoning as process. The second more directly concerns the thread’s subject: should propositional knowledge then be phrased as “warranted true belief”? Here again, the implication of “belief supported by reasoning to be true” seems to me to be connotatively lacking. I find that the continuum between nonlinguistic intelligent animals and adult humans should be expressible by a single terminology. Otherwise, it at the very least insinuates a division in attributes.

    Still thinking about it, though. Part of why I’ve been thought-stuttering here (yes, unbeknownst to others, I have) is that I associate “justify” with “making just” and, in turn, “just” with a metaphysical principle for that which is … well, it’s hard to express in a few words. At any rate, here I deviate from a physicalist’s framework. To laconically express it would only be poetry and to justify it … well, it’s a very long analytical philosophy I’m working on. But on a whim, I’ll try anyway. You have the intra-subjective, this being what goes on in and only in individual minds; dreams for example, among many others. Then there’s the inter-subjective: languages, cultures, etc. Then there’s the dia-subjective: givens that are, curtly expressed, equally applicable to all intra-subjectivities; i.e. physical objectivity, inclusive of its natural laws. And the last category: non-subjective reality. This last category is, for lack of a better short phrase, metaphysical objectivity; hence, equally applicable, or impartial, to all intra-subjectivities. Justness, then, is in my view a property of non-subjective reality. By all means, no justification for any of this was provided so there’s absolutely no call to take any of this seriously; I’m saying this in all earnest. But with this as background, if non-subjective reality is, and if this metaphysical objectivity is in part synonymous to justness, then to justify something is to align it with that which, firstly, is metaphysically objective (via reasoning) and, secondly, as a derivative, to that which is physically objective (via reasoning + data). I understand if this brief account isn’t making much sense; never mind if it does not seem credible. I’ve nevertheless mentioned it, however, so as to illustrate why I’m so attached to the term “justify”, i.e. to make just. It fits well into the metaphysics I’ve in mind—and, here, it does not necessarily imply either linguistic manifestations nor thought which occurs after the fact.

    If I’ve just spoken out of hand by mentioning my reasons for preferring the term “justify”, my bad. I’m pretty certain we share different metaphysical dispositions and, on my part, it’s by far not the most important aspect of this thread’s discussions.

    I’m going to mull over the issue of terminology some more, though. Thanks again for your input so far.

    Unfortunately for the debate, didn't find much of anything to disagree with.
  • creativesoul
    3.1k
    What I was hinting at leads back to the way all languages I’m very familiar with (roughly, two: English and the other one being largely Latin based, Romanian) are structured. They very often presuppose linguistic capacity in the cognitive attributes they specify. In a way this makes a great deal of sense: we’re addressing these concepts to ourselves, not to non-linguistic creatures. In another way, to my mind, it handicaps philosophical enquiries into what is by predisposing our abstract thought to limit itself to that realm of linguistically-dependent cognitive givens. Add to this ego-centeredness and the anthropocentrism that naturally ensues in light of the problem of other minds and, to me, there’s something of a near universal cultural bias that obfuscates the way we, humans, contemplate all things pertaining to mind, most especially non-human minds. (And, for fairness, on the other side of the isle there’s the occasional character that believes lesser animals are just as aware of things as humans are, the anthropomorphizing crowd. Me, I’m stuck somewhere in the middle between what I deem to be these two, to me not very well-grounded, extremes.)javra

    I too find myself between these two extremes:The one side denying any and all non linguistic thought and belief based upon an utterly inadequate framework that sorely neglects to draw and maintain a meaningful distinction between thought and belief and thinking about thought and belief; and the other side neglecting to draw and maintain the equally crucial distinctions necessary for taking proper account of the complexity of belief.

    To this point, there's nothing jumping out as incommensurate to my own understanding of thought and belief. I mean, it seems trivial that there's an allusion to something you called "the problem of other minds". It seems that you're tying it to attributing human thought and belief to non human entities without offering adequate justification for those assertions. Anthropomorphism is to be avoided. To be clear here, I'm not outright denying that different creatures can form virtually the same thought and belief as humans. It's just that those are not able to be shared by them, at least not in the form of belief statements.

    Again, I think we agree here.




    For example, we deem that one must first understand what “validity” and “inference” point to as words prior to being capable of engaging in valid inferences—for how can one engage in valid inferences (further complicated by the sometimes very formal structures we associate with them) when one does not know what the language-demarcated concepts are?javra

    Yes. To such a skeptical reply, I would answer like this...

    Following the rules of correct inference.

    Does that require either knowing the rules or knowing the strict academic meaning(s) of the terms "validity" and "inference".?

    Getting burned by fire doesn't.

    A language-less creature has it's first encounter with some small form of fire. So small is this danger, in fact, that it doesn't trigger anything fearful within the creature. The creature has a bit of curiosity, and so touches the fire and feels the resulting discomfort/pain. The creature refuses to do that again. Rather, it has become - quite literally - painfully aware of what happens when you touch fire.

    On my view, this creature has formed meaningful thought and/or belief by virtue of the attribution and/or the subsequent recognition of causality. Who would deny that that creature correctly attributed causality by virtue of drawing a correlation, connection, and/or association between it's own behaviour and then ensuing pain/discomfort?

    Post hoc ergo prompter hoc?

    Does that apply to the recognition of a well-known causal chain of events?

    I think not. While it is true that just because something happens after something else it doesn't mean that the first was the cause of the other, language-less creatures can't think like that to begin with. Feeling the pain from touching fire most certainly happens afterwards.

    The fallacy applies to situations where the believing creature is offering the temporal order as ground for it's own belief. The creature didn't contemplate a temporal framework. One must contemplate a temporal framework in order to be guilty of post hoc ergo prompter hoc.

    Language less creatures can draw meaningful correlations between different things. They can acquire knowledge of what we have long since already known:Touching fire causes discomfort/pain.

    They come to know what we come to know by virtue of making the same causal connections between different things(touching fire and feeling pain).

    I concede the point and will resist talking about non linguistic logical inference. It adds only unnecessary confusion and isn't necessary. Thanks for taking me to task on it. It's not a common thing for me to write. Good conversation javra. I'll get to your latest post the next time around...

    :smile:
  • javra
    592
    I too find myself between these two extremes:The one side denying any and all non linguistic thought and belief based upon an utterly inadequate framework that sorely neglects to draw and maintain a meaningful distinction between thought and belief and thinking about thought and belief; and the other side neglecting to draw and maintain the equally crucial distinctions necessary for taking proper account of the complexity of belief.creativesoul

    I’m currently interpreting the following to be in line with your outlook, and since it fits into the thread’s subject:

    I’ve come to understand belief as the content to that which is trusted to be (including to have been and to will be). I’ve also come to find at least three categories for trust: trust-that (trusting that X in fact is; e.g. trusting that the earth beneath one’s feet is solid); trust-in (roughly, trusting that X can or will do Y; e.g. trusting in Ted’s capacity to do well in a marathon despite the uncertainty to this); and trust-between (roughly, trust existing between two or more agencies as pertains to implicitly maintained contractual obligations; e.g. Alice’s trust that Bill will not deceive her). “To believe” is to me then fully synonymous in all instances with “to trust”.

    Curious to know what criticism of this overall proposition could be offered. (I’ve addressed one potential criticism below)

    Thus understood, though, to believe is other than to think—for the latter requires connections made between givens whereas the former a) does not and b) is a prerequisite to thought’s occurrence (each associated given must be trusted in some way prior to associations between them being made).

    When one ponders one’s beliefs, one is then thinking about what one generally trusts in manners that now abstract the formerly held enactive trust/belief—this into something now apprehended by the contemplator which enactively trusts. Again, such that one must enactively trust that one’s apprehended abstractions, memories, etc. pertaining to that which one trusts are valid. That which is pondered in some existential sense now becomes other relative to that agency which is enactively trusting.

    Likewise, to think is also in similar manner different than thinking about thought—for the thought one thinks about is that which is apprehended by the thinker.

    BTW, in conjunction with the aforementioned, one then can also classify trust as being innate (e.g., a calf’s innate trust that it must stand and run as quickly as it can); learned (e.g., one’s learned trust that Earth circles the sun and not the other way around); or enactive (e.g., one’s consciously held trust whenever some uncertainty is consciously discerned).

    Thus understood, beliefs can be innate, learned, or enactively held. Animals not capable of any significant degree of intelligence will be largely guided by innate trust/beliefs that cannot be altered—save by processes of biological evolution acting out on the life or death of individuals relative to a given species (or, such as is the case with ants, individual colonies/cohorts). The more intelligent the animal the more learned trust/belief it will hold a capacity to gain via enactive trust/belief that later on become tacitly remembered. When it comes to humans, we’re intelligent enough to be capable of sometimes altering both our learned trust/belief and, less often, our innate trust/belief via our enactive trust/beliefs.

    So it’s known: The major criticism that I know of concerns the way in which trust is typically thought of in English speaking communities, as strictly pertaining to agency in relation to other agencies (cf. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trust_(emotion)). But I believe (trust) that this is too narrow a demarcation of what is ontically occurring—brought about by how English conceptualizes reality via words’ connotations. For example, in Romanian (harkening to Latin) there is no linguistic disparity between trust and belief—both being addressable via the word “cred” (as per credo); and to have trust in another agency can (but is not necessarily) specified by “in-cred-ere” (akin to “to entrust”). Hence, “I believe you” gets translated as “te cred” [whereas “I believe in you” translates into “am incredere in tine”]; this while “I believe that […] gets translated as “cred ca […]”. To me this serves as one reason/example for why a more universal aspect of belief-as-trust is ontically present in mind processes than that which English specifies.

    OK, all this is a mouthful. But then, propositional knowledge can roughly be expressed as “well-grounded trust-that that is true”. Criticisms of the aforementioned, wherever applicable, would again be welcomed.
  • Cheshire
    47
    No, not a straw man: Why do you appraise it as nonsense—this if it is a believed truth that is justified to the satisfaction of its bearers?javra

    Ok, so I reread the matter and probably will have to again, because the examples used to make your point are a bit awkward. I have a cat and I enjoy it's fluffy indifference to my affections, but on no occasion do I defer to it on matters of scientific inquiry. If I asked anyone a question and their answer included a reference to what their cat was currently doing I would call into question any answer they gave going forward. Because, whether their conclusions are correct becomes a matter of happenstance.

    I believe it's an attempt to reduce my rather generalized concept of knowledge to be so weak as to include the answers given by mad men concerning the weather, which seems strawman-y at the least. It's not what you intended based on your response, but I struggle with producing a better interpretation. No fault implied.
  • javra
    592


    My reason for presenting it in the way that I did was, largely, to illustrate the difference between justified / well-grounded beliefs (in the latter example) and those that are not (in the first example). Maybe a better example should be used; all the same: In both the before and after versions, the same two basic realities are at play: a cat is out in the yard and satellites are up in the sky. In the before version, though, there is no rational connection between these facts and the held known. In the latter (granted that it’s a very strange cat which only goes outdoors on fully sunny days), the same two facts are now rationally associated with the affirmed known.

    The way I’ve asked the question, “if it’s a believed truth that is justified (or warranted) to the satisfaction of its bearers”, then intends to get at more significant examples of knowledge. Such as knowledge of reality being as materialism, or idealism, or Cartesianism affirms it to be. Which, if any, actually knows how reality in fact is? (it could be something apart from these three choices) If it’s asserted that they all in fact know how reality is, then is reality inherently contradictory? Or is knowledge indifferent to truth? And so on … but in all cases, the respective belief-that will be justified/warranted to the satisfaction of its bearers—just that it will not be deemed justified by those of contradictory positions, due to what these latter will perceive as inherent contradictions in the positions addressed (or some other rational fallacy).

    I know the aforementioned probably confuses things a bit. But, again, what else can knowledge be if not a belief whose reasons for being are rationally associated and that is in fact true?

    Alternatively, isn’t this why so called mad men are so labeled: their explanations for why they believe what they do are not rationally sound?
  • creativesoul
    3.1k
    ...if there’s something more specific that you’d like to address in terms of the capacity to reason among more intelligent non-linguistic beings, let me know what it is. Also, to the extent we differ in this just addressed outlook, I wouldn't mind finding out how.javra

    There are some differences in our frameworks. I think it would be helpful here to revisit our agreements and then offer an overall outline for the purposes of keeping our vein of thought and thus the discussion on the path of discovering what all thought and belief have in common. This is a nod to something you mentioned earlier about metaphysical work needing to be done.

    We're using the same methodology, it seems to me. That's huge, because I'm looking to further hone my own position, and it seems that you're doing the same. That said, I'm planning on addressing the general outlook you've offered...
  • creativesoul
    3.1k
    I’m currently interpreting the following to be in line with your outlook, and since it fits into the thread’s subject:

    I’ve come to understand belief as the content to that which is trusted to be (including to have been and to will be). I’ve also come to find at least three categories for trust: trust-that (trusting that X in fact is; e.g. trusting that the earth beneath one’s feet is solid); trust-in (roughly, trusting that X can or will do Y; e.g. trusting in Ted’s capacity to do well in a marathon despite the uncertainty to this); and trust-between (roughly, trust existing between two or more agencies as pertains to implicitly maintained contractual obligations; e.g. Alice’s trust that Bill will not deceive her). “To believe” is to me then fully synonymous in all instances with “to trust”.

    Curious to know what criticism of this overall proposition could be offered. (I’ve addressed one potential criticism below)
    javra

    Which of these kinds of belief is not existentially dependent upon language? I cannot see how any of this belief content is existentially possible with a language less creature. I'm working from the premiss that at conception there is no thought or belief. With that understood, the belief content you're offering directly above seems far too conceptual and/or language laden to be existentially prior to language.

    The first suggestion is almost acceptable...

    I cannot be convinced that a language less creature is capable of believing/trusting that the earth beneath it's feet is solid, unless that belief can be formed by virtue of a language-less creature drawing correlations between different things(including but not limited to itself), and all of those things exist in their entirety prior to being part of the creature's correlation.

    Regarding the belief-that approach...

    The belief that approach fails to draw and maintain the distinction between belief and reports/accounts thereof, which is part and parcel to neglecting the distinction between thought and belief and thinking about thought and belief. A belief statement always follows the words "belief that". It's always propositional in form. The belief that approach targets statements of belief. The belief that some statement/proposition or other is true.

    The content of non linguistic belief cannot be propositional. Propositions are existentially dependent upon language. Non linguistic thought and belief cannot have propositional content.
  • creativesoul
    3.1k
    Thus understood, though, to believe is other than to think—for the latter requires connections made between givens whereas the former a) does not and b) is a prerequisite to thought’s occurrence (each associated given must be trusted in some way prior to associations between them being made).javra

    Here you've invoked the need for trust/belief prior to associations between things. I replace trust/belief with presupposing the existence thereof. All correlation presupposes the existence of it's own content regardless of subsequent further qualification(s). That would be the presupposition of correspondence to fact/reality inherent to all belief.
  • javra
    592
    I cannot be convinced that a language less creature is capable of believing/trusting that the earth beneath it's feet is solid, unless that belief can be formed by virtue of a language-less creature drawing correlations between different things(including but not limited to itself), and all of those things exist in their entirety prior to being part of the creature's correlation.creativesoul

    My more justified answers to your posts are contingent on a number of metaphysical conclusions. I’ll try to do my best to reply without embarking upon these.

    Trust to me is itself a process of awareness heavy embedded in metaphysical issues. Trying to define trust in the broadest manner possible while skipping all these, I get roughly this definition: a disposition—be it a) genetically instinctive, b) learned and stored within memory and one’s unconscious, or else c) consciously maintained and utilized—of so called “psychological” (and not epistemic) certainty toward what was, is, or will be.

    So:

    Suppose an animal which has not acquired a trust that the earth is solid beneath its feet were to walk upon quicksand. Why would it have done this if not for its innate (genetically instinctive) trust that the earth beneath its feet is solid?

    I’ll keep this short since there’s a lot here that could be disagreed with; including a philosophy of mind which addresses a) innate, genetically inherited behaviors/dispositions, b) the unconscious were tacit memories and learned behaviors are stored, and c) conscious awareness (with the latter being perpetually interwoven with the two former). Although this isn’t metaphysics, it’s still a rather contentious subject, and my understandings of trust heavily rely upon the overall understanding of mind just addressed.

    I’m mainly wanting to see the extent to which there’s common ground so far as concerns understandings of what trust is.

    ps.

    Here you've invoked the need for trust/belief prior to associations between things. I replace trust/belief with presupposing the existence thereof. All correlation presupposes the existence of it's own content regardless of subsequent further qualification(s). That would be the presupposition of correspondence to fact/reality inherent to all belief.creativesoul

    To me, this very presupposition you address is one of maintained trust that, namely trust that there is a "correspondence to fact/reality". And here, I'd uphold this to be an innate (or genetically inherited) trust.
  • Cheshire
    47
    The way I’ve asked the question, “if it’s a believed truth that is justified (or warranted) to the satisfaction of its bearers”, then intends to get at more significant examples of knowledge.javra

    Don't you have to torture the meaning of "justified" in order to maintain this position?" By saying to the satisfaction of its bearers" it seems to erase justification's implied rational characteristics.

    My reason for presenting it in the way that I did was, largely, to illustrate the difference between justified / well-grounded beliefs (in the latter example) and those that are not (in the first example).javra

    And the result of this trespass is a new variable. The 'Grounding'; which feels nice intuitively, but have we solved a problem here or created one? What does a belief alone mean to us now? The answers given randomly to binary questions, but held without discern-able reason?

    No sir, you put justification back where you found it and play with your own toys.
  • Cheshire
    47
    In which case, why should I believe you in lieu of proper justifications for this? Due to an authoritarian commandment?javra

    Why should you believe that in all the things you know at least one is a mistake? I would maintain you accept it based on the law of identity.
  • Cheshire
    47
    As I’ve indicated in my previous posts on this thread, all our held beliefs of what is true are—I argue—susceptible to error, hence to being wrong. Though this in no way entails that they are. Until they’re falsified in so being, there’s no reason to believe that they are wrong.javra

    I think there's reason to be certain at least some of them are wrong and by trying to falsify our beliefs we eliminate our errors and our knowledge improves or specifically becomes a better approximation to ideal knowledge. Without this assumption of unknown error we are left guarding beliefs when we should be testing them. It's a subtle, but significant difference in positions.
  • javra
    592
    Don't you have to torture the meaning of "justified" in order to maintain this position?" By saying to the satisfaction of its bearers" it seems to erase justification's implied rational characteristics.Cheshire

    Can rational justification be infallible, i.e. perfectly secure form all possible error? I don’t believe it can. This does lead into a major quandary in philosophy, but, if its untrue, can anyone here supply evidence of an infallible justification (e.g., such that all premises and means of justifying are themselves evidenced to be perfectly secure from all possible error)?

    Otherwise, it seems to me that all justification will be deemed sufficient for its intended purposes when it satisfies those for which the justification is provided (be it one’s own self or others to which its expressed).

    So the issue of how and when knowledge is deemed to be, such as in relation to the examples previously provided, still remains.

    But I acknowledge the issues become increasingly more complex the further they become enquired into; to me, it inevitably leads into metaphysical positions concerning various aspects of reasoning, such as those of the three basic laws of thought.

    And the result of this trespass is a new variable. The 'Grounding'; which feels nice intuitively, but have we solved a problem here or created one? What does a belief alone mean to us now? The answers given randomly to binary questions, but held without discern-able reason?

    No sir, you put justification back where you found it and play with your own toys.
    Cheshire

    Don’t know if you’ve been keeping track of the conversations on the thread; I added the “grounded” part due to them. For simplicity of argument, however, I’ve no issue with sticking to the concept of “justification” as traditionally understood.

    And stop it with the “sir”, mon senior. We’re all brats here, me thinks. :smile: [or maybe this was just you being a brat just like the rest us :razz: ]

    Why should you believe that in all the things you know at least one is a mistake? I would maintain you accept it based on the law of identity.Cheshire

    You’d have to explain this better for me to understand. Are you alluding to the law of noncontradiction?

    I think there's reason to be certain at least some of them are wrong and by trying to falsify our beliefs we eliminate our errors and our knowledge improves or specifically becomes a better approximation to ideal knowledge. Without this assumption of unknown error we are left guarding beliefs when we should be testing them. It's a subtle, but significant difference in positions.Cheshire

    As stated, I can find this disposition warranted. Nevertheless, what I was attempting to emphasize is that there’s no need to become paranoid about being wrong about any particular upheld known—not until there’s some evidenced reason to start believing it is, or at least might be, wrong. But yes, remaining at least somewhat open to the possibility is part and parcel of the epistemological stance I maintain: fallibilism (or, a specific form of global skepticism that, unlike Cartesian skepticism, is not doubt-contingent).
  • Cheshire
    47
    Don’t know if you’ve been keeping track of the conversations on the thread; I added the “grounded” part due to them. For simplicity of argument, however, I’ve no issue with sticking to the concept of “justification” as traditionally understood.javra

    Can rational justification be infallible, i.e. perfectly secure form all possible error? I don’t believe it can. This does lead into a major quandary in philosophy, but, if its untrue, can anyone here supply evidence of an infallible justification (e.g., such that all premises and means of justifying are themselves evidenced to be perfectly secure from all possible error)?javra

    Rational justification doesn't imply infallibility, so falling short of infallibility does not leave a thing unjustified.

    Otherwise, it seems to me that all justification will be deemed sufficient for its intended purposes when it satisfies those for which the justification is provided (be it one’s own self or others to which its expressed).javra

    And here lies the issue I have and repeat. All justification can not be said to be sufficient based on the criteria of any given audience. Can it appear as such? certainly, but this is no fault of the concept of justification. An argument can't said to be justified because of who is judging it.

    So the issue of how and when knowledge is deemed to be, such as in relation to the examples previously provided, still remains.javra

    The issue remains if we continue to subscribe to JTB in a dogmatic framework. I don't find justification to be the best measuring stick for the quality of knowledge. So, I'm a bit indifferent to how well somethings been justified. I would rather know that it had been criticized and remained unfalsified.

    You’d have to explain this better for me to understand. Are you alluding to the law of noncontradiction?javra

    No, I probably could try to; but I was alluding to the third law of thought. "What is, is." The fact you posses an unknown error in your knowledge is simply a matter of being human subject to error. So, there is no need to state it from a position of authority any more than stating other obvious undoubted things.

    As stated, I can find this disposition warranted. Nevertheless, what I was attempting to emphasize is that there’s no need to become paranoid about being wrong about any particular upheld known—not until there’s some evidenced reason to start believing it is, or at least might be, wrong. But yes, remaining at least somewhat open to the possibility is part and parcel of the epistemological stance I maintain: fallibilism (or, a specific form of global skepticism that, unlike Cartesian skepticism, is not doubt-contingent).javra

    Well, stating that the error is unknown to the individual implies to me at least that we aren't discussing a single upheld known, but rather the set of upheld known. So, I suppose I agree. I'm thinking we may be doing the same dance to different songs.

    You seem to find that where our justification is subject to error our true beliefs fall short of knowledge.

    I'm really just skipping the middle man and suggesting our definition of knowledge falls short of reality. Because either our apprehension of what is true or our justification for what is true will be subject to error so long as we are human. I think we nearly agree.
    .
  • Cheshire
    47
    And stop it with the “sir”, mon senior. We’re all brats here, me thinks. :smile: [or maybe this was just you being a brat just like the rest us :razz: ]javra

    Yes, I was having a bit of fun.
  • javra
    592
    Rational justification doesn't imply infallibility, so falling short of infallibility does not leave a thing unjustified.Cheshire

    But of course.

    And here lies the issue I have and repeat. All justification can not be said to be sufficient based on the criteria of any given audience. Can it appear as such? certainly, but this is no fault of the concept of justification. An argument can't said to be justified because of who is judging it.Cheshire

    Yes and no. But here, to approach the matter from a different angle, we'd start addressing the issue of universals. Justness, or the property of being just, is only found within individual minds; yet, it is impartially applicable to all minds, regardless of what the particular mind might want to make of it. So the the universal of justness is a universal standard by which all judgements, be they rational or irrational, are measured. And the decision to deem something sufficiently justified rests upon the mind(s) concerned.

    Though I already know the concept of universals is a big and contentious issue. But this is my take.

    BTW, tangentially, I venture that lesser animals do not appraise the world via what we recognize as logical contradictions. If so, than the universals of the law of identity, non-contradiction, and excluded middle applies to them as well. Again, making such ubiquitous universals technically be ubiquitous universals. Its a supposition, but I find merit in it all the same.

    I don't find justification to be the best measuring stick for the quality of knowledge. So, I'm a bit indifferent to how well somethings been justified. I would rather know that it had been criticized and remained unfalsified.Cheshire

    Remaining unfalsified is itself a form of judgment as pertains to justification: the means used to appraise something as unfalsified will themselves be a form of justification. But this aside:

    If one upholds that all justification and appraisals of truth are fallible, then by what (rational) means does one discern what is and is not in fact wrong if not via justifications? (an answer here is sincerely wanted)

    No, I probably could try to; but I was alluding to the third law of thought. "What is, is." The fact you posses an unknown error in your knowledge is simply a matter of being human subject to error.Cheshire

    The third law of thought is that of the excluded middle, which naturally follows those of identity and noncontradiction. (for technical purposes, this when the qualifier of "in the same way and at the same time" is applied)

    More importantly: How does it follow that some given which is liable to error is therefore erroneous?

    I'm really just skipping the middle man and suggesting our definition of knowledge falls short of reality. Because either our apprehension of what is true or our justification for what is true will be subject to error so long as we are human. I think we nearly agree.Cheshire

    Here's a crucial point in which we disagree: that our awareness of what is ontic is liable to error does not then entail that there is nothing ontic. Hence, the distinction between operational knowledge and ideal knowledge. Until infallible appraisal of truth and justification can be made, we will not be able to obtain ideal knowledge (there's a caveat to this, but it applies only to one metaphysical given which is itself a-rational: that which just is; and the obtainment of ideal knowledge of it also requires a literal eradication of distinction between itself and all forms of subjectivity ... this only as a hypothetical of what might be possible in principle; its a trite issue but I've mentioned this hypothetical exception for maintained accuracy all the same. Please don't mind this part if it doesn't make sense or apply to your concerns as pertains this thread's issues of knowledge). Again, until then, we only have operational knowledge of what is, which itself is meaningless without the standard of ideal knowledge ... by which it can become potentially falsified.

    Hence, until you evidence why the possibility of being wrong about X entails that one is wrong about X, that which we operationally know can well be fully conformant to reality.

    If you find yourself disagreeing, then please evidence how fallibility entails the necessary presence of error.
  • Cheshire
    47
    Here's a crucial point in which we disagree: that our awareness of what is ontic is liable to error does not then entail that there is nothing ontic.javra

    I actually I do agree, but would add that we may not ever know if it is actually ontic, because of this liability. Simply put, objective truth may be possible, but knowing when it occurs might not be.

    Just my quick answer. I intend to give your entire response the attention it deserves.
  • javra
    592
    Two things to assist in your reply. (I probably won't be around for a day or two)

    I actually I do agree, but would add that we may not ever know if it is actually ontic, because of this liability.Cheshire

    The proposition that there is nothing ontic directly entails the following: it is ontic that there is nothing ontic; thereby concluding in both A and not-A at the same time and in the same way. If we allow for one logical contradiction, such as this one, to be valid/just then it would lead into a type of ubiquitous unintelligibility—for anything could then potentially only be valid only if logically contradictory. We are therefore stuck with the law of noncontradiction for as long as we want anything to remain intelligible to us. Thereby necessitating that we mandatorily accept that there in fact is something ontic. This too is not infallible, but I propose it is not falsifiable either. (Having read up on it some, I’m not big on dialetheism for this reason—which is upheld due to a lack of justification for the law of noncontradiction.)

    So we then can "unfalsifiedly" know that something ontic is. But as to the details, such as in our knowledge of what is ontic being accurate, yes: we remain fallible with sometimes lesser degrees of certainty. Still, again, this does not entail that we are thereby wrong.

    Simply put, objective truth may be possible, but knowing when it occurs might not be.Cheshire

    Implicit in this sentence, hence proposition, hence thought is an assumption of held ideal knowledge. If it weren’t, I don't see how this would be an issue. We do operationally know when we are in possession of objective (which I interpret to mean what I previously specified as “ontic”) truth. This, again, because our beliefs of what is ontically true are well justified to us and, in the process, not falsified as in fact so being objectively true. But as to holding an ideal knowledge of this, this cannot be had till infallible truths and infallible justifications can be provided. (It’s a bit of a quantum leap, I imagine, between the assumption that we can hold absolute/ideal/objective/infallible/indubitable/etc. knowledge (for which truth—if not also justification—with the same qualifiers is required) and a justified conviction that such a thing is not, at least presently, possible to obtain for anything whatsoever.*)

    Again, we cannot infallibly know anything. Be we can and do fallibly know very much--some of which, such as 1 + 1 = 2, is currently unfalsifiable by any means we can currently think of.

    I mentioned these two points, in part, because your stances seem to me to present a kind of slippery slope toward Pyrrhonianism. This is where, roughly expressed, it is deemed warranted to not hold any beliefs due to all epistemological criteria being fallible. But then, if so held, the very act of debating would be a bit hypocritical.

    ------

    * In thinking of a possible criticism for what I've stated: Instead of something along the lines of "I know that I know nothing", replace with, "I/we fallibly know that I/we infallibly know nothing".
  • creativesoul
    3.1k


    Do you have a standard by which you determine what counts as non linguistic thought and/or belief content? If so, what is it and how did you arrive at it? If not, by what means are you determining what counts as being non-linguistic?
  • javra
    592


    Wikipedia defines thought as encompassing a “goal oriented flow of ideas and associations that leads to a reality-oriented conclusion.” Granting this definition (imperfect though it might be), whether thought requires language and, if not, when it does and when it doesn’t is, to me, again, ultimately grounded upon metaphysical presuppositions. And I currently do not want to engage in debate over metaphysical presuppositions. If this is too abstract, one issue is that of whether or not thought is teleological. And language to me is at the very least one form of highly developed thought. But, again, I find that answering your questions requires complex, metaphysics-contingent answers—which I’d rather not presently discuss.
  • creativesoul
    3.1k
    Ok. I'm much less interested than I was. That was a direct relevant question. The entire project hinges upon the answer.
  • Blue Lux
    480
    The wisest is who knows that he knows nothing.
  • javra
    592
    The wisest is who knows that he knows nothing.Blue Lux

    Oh yea, well:

    Once there was a man --
    Oh, so wise!
    In all drink
    He detected the bitter,
    And in all touch
    He found the sting.
    At last he cried thus:
    "There is nothing --
    No life,
    No joy,
    No pain --
    There is nothing save opinion,
    And opinion be damned."
    — Stephen Crane

    :razz:

    Who wants to be wise, anyway. :smile:
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