• Galuchat
    663
    When I say introspection is inevitable, I mean that it is an essential feature of any kind of conscious thinking.James Laughlin
    Thanks for your elaboration, however; I think this conceptualisation is too broad.
  • Mww
    994
    But we barely notice a lot of our thoughtsCoben

    Yeah, Mother Nature has deemed it good to imbue us with a sensory overload protection mechanism on the one hand, and an internal trash collecting mechanism on the other.
  • Coben
    834
    Yeah, Mother Nature has deemed it good to imbue us with a sensory overload protection mechanism on the one hand, and an internal trash collecting mechanism on the other.Mww

    Or Mother Nature has deemed it good to make us sensory gluttons with limited attention (spans).
  • aporiap
    164
    If realizing means labeling, that's not what I'm talking about. As I said previously - No inferring, no explaining, no understanding, no attribution, no acknowledgment. Now we can add no labeling and, I suppose, no recognizing. An episode of the Simpsons comes to mind when they go to Australia.T Clark
    I'm sorry some of this is just really subtle because it's easy to assume an 'introspection' involves a factual claim about your inner life 'e.g. 'I am feeling tired'. I think the moment you begin to try concluding something about your inner life is the moment fallibility becomes possible. Otherwise, I agree you cannot be wrong with what you are plainly observing presuming you aren't trying to make sense of it or categorize it as a type of experience.
  • T Clark
    4.2k
    I'm sorry some of this is just really subtle because it's easy to assume an 'introspection' involves a factual claim about your inner life 'e.g. 'I am feeling tired'. I think the moment you begin to try concluding something about your inner life is the moment fallibility becomes possible.aporiap

    Yes, the minute I try to put my inner experience into words, that changes everything. Of course, the same is true when I observe the dog on my front lawn.
  • Jimmy
    15
    I believe introspection is one of the most valuable tools in philosophy. without creating your own perspective through your own experiences in life I believe the infinite can only expand for the better to understanding life.
  • aporiap
    164
    ^Maybe it's the same with just implicit recognizing, not just with words. To see a world of things is to already have categorized the world into objects, which involves a fallible process of reasoning, even though it's non linguistic. I've never tried to consciously 'bracket', in the husserlian sense, my categorizations of mental phenomena into mental objects but it would be an interesting exercise.
  • Coben
    834
    We are humans, we are fallible. But can one gain knowledge via introspection? yes. Can people improve their use of introspection? I think they can. I also think one uses introspection in all sorts of other methods, even if these seem outward focused and rational. We are always checking in internally and intuitively during any trying to gain knowledge process.
  • aporiap
    164
    We are humans, we are fallible. But can one gain knowledge via introspection? yes. Can people improve their use of introspection? I think they can. I also think one uses introspection in all sorts of other methods, even if these seem outward focused and rational. We are always checking in internally and intuitively during any trying to gain knowledge process.Coben

    I agree
  • Moliere
    1.7k
    I don't think knowledge is necessarily a social phenomenon. . .

    All in all, I don't think you and I are far apart
    T Clark

    I don't think we are far apart with respect to what I might term hyper-rationalists -- I take that to be the target of your thread. But the devil is in the details, especially when we are close. That's where the interesting disagreement lies, I think -- at least philosophically.

    Here's my basic take -- introspection does not yield knowledge, but is an observation of our own thought. We come to have beliefs about ourselves, but since knowledge is a social product -- we produce it together -- the beliefs we come to have about ourselves through introspection (observing our own thoughts) cannot become knowledge just by the fact that introspection is only a self observing their thoughts and moods.

    Though this line has an interesting way of throwing a wrench in my basic take:

    Two psychologists meet:
    How am I?
    You're fine, how am I?

    Some of us are so radical as not only to rely on our own introspection, but also on that of others.
    unenlightened

    And is probably related to what you say here:

    Also, what I know from introspection can be social. This thread is good evidence for that.



    So, which of these two forks sound more interesting to explore, to you? Characterizing knowledge, or intersubjective introspection?
  • god must be atheist
    588
    It should be clear where I come down.T Clark

    The planet Neptune?
  • T Clark
    4.2k
    To see a world of things is to already have categorized the world into objects, which involves a fallible process of reasoning, even though it's non linguistic.aporiap

    Let me think.....Ok, yes. But it is possible to experience the world - interior or exterior - without reasoning, without seeing it as a world of things. That's what I've been talking about when I've been discussing introspection. I've come to think that may be too narrow a view for this discussion and may have distracted from the point I am trying to make. I've said this several times in this thread and more in other threads - for me, first comes observation - no words, no reason, no processing. Then comes words, processing, reason. The words are needed when I go to explain what I've observed to myself and others.

    Other people in this discussion who otherwise seem to agree with me draw the line elsewhere. They talk about introspection as including the bare, unprocessed observation and the reasoning together as one phenomenon. I assume they see it as all part of one process, as you seem to. That difference may have distracted from the main theme of this thread for me - the value of looking inside ourselves for information.
  • T Clark
    4.2k
    I don't think we are far apart with respect to what I might term hyper-rationalists -- I take that to be the target of your thread.Moliere

    I didn't really have any targets. I wanted to talk about the subject of introspection to clarify in my mind my own personal experiences. I wanted to hear other people's opinions. This grew out of a recent thread about what it feels like to know something. There's a lot of silly talk about what knowing means (justified true belief theory as the prime example) that I find evaporates when I look at how it really works while I'm thinking. It struck me how often I talk about my experience of how mental processes work in my posts. From responses I've gotten, that appears to be alien to a lot of people on the forum and, I assume, in general.

    As to where to go from here, I think I've gotten out of it what I wanted. The thread has almost 200 posts. I generally find that about 100 is the right number before all I do is repeat myself, which I have been doing for quite a while.
  • Moliere
    1.7k
    There's a lot of silly talk about what knowing means (justified true belief theory as the prime example) that I find evaporates when I look at how it really works while I'm thinking. It struck me how often I talk about my experience of how mental processes work in my posts. From responses I've gotten, that appears to be alien to a lot of people on the forum and, I assume, in general.T Clark

    I don't know if it's totally alien, though of course all of our experiences are likely different to some degree too -- and its this mixture of agreement and disagreement that produces some confusions and difficulties in talking about such things as how we come to think, how we come to know, and so forth -- plus some more basic operating beliefs too, I'd wager.

    I think you're onto something, though, in saying that there's a lot of silly talk that evaporates when we look at how it all really works. I like this approach a lot. But, in part why I wouldn't go so far as to call this knowledge, what we perceive doesn't necessarily have the same structure or feelings associated -- that doesn't mean it can't be insight, of course, nor that it is fruitless to share what we perceive when we just look how it works, bracketing away beliefs about the world about us.

    As to where to go from here, I think I've gotten out of it what I wanted.T Clark

    Cool. :) I think that my interests were perhaps more tangential to yours, then. I think I was coming at this from the perspective of "OK, having established this, that, and the other, then. . . "
  • T Clark
    4.2k
    Cool. :) I think that my interests were perhaps more tangential to yours, then. I think I was coming at this from the perspective of "OK, having established this, that, and the other, then. . . "Moliere

    It was a helpful and enjoyable thread for me.
  • unenlightened
    3.9k
    So, which of these two forks sound more interesting to explore, to you? Characterizing knowledge, or intersubjective introspection?Moliere

    I'll take both at once. One cannot talk about knowledge without using introspection, because knowledge is interior. I can know shit without introspection, but I cannot know that I know shit.

    And you know that I know that I know, because I just told you, and vice versa, and there's the intersubjective, which is how we decide what knowing is in the first place.
  • Moliere
    1.7k
    I'll take both at once. One cannot talk about knowledge without using introspection, because knowledge is interior. I can know shit without introspection, but I cannot know that I know shit.

    And you know that I know that I know, because I just told you, and vice versa, and there's the intersubjective, which is how we decide what knowing is in the first place.
    unenlightened

    Under this parsing I agree that I cannot know that I know things, and perhaps that is the absurdity -- but bear with me a moment. I hope to highlight that there are valuable aspects of the mind which are not-knowledge -- that knowledge, while valuable, isn't all that is valuable. So I might substitute something like philosophical talk about knowledge as being insightful, while not strictly being knowledge.

    And I think I'd like to say that knowledge is not internal -- but our insight of knowledge is, because insight only comes from belief and introspection and sharing with one-another, through the power of language. Rather, knowledge is what we build together by acting -- so belief is clearly involved, but knowledge is a social product whereby we act together.

    And, on top of all this, it would mean that there is no knowledge of the mind at all. But perhaps that's just something floating in the back of my mind that's not entirely applicable.
  • unenlightened
    3.9k
    Under this parsing I agree that I cannot know that I know things,Moliere

    Well I don't know who you agree with, but it ain't me. I say a cat knows when there is a mouse in the mouse-hole. It has the belief, justified by smell. It will never make a knowledge claim though, coz it can't. I can, because I have language and insight.

    And I think I'd like to say that knowledge is not internalMoliere

    Well I think I'd like to take it that have said it, and ask you what you mean. What do you mean?

    Knowledge may be stored in books, fossils, etc, but books nor fossils don't know shit.

    Rather, knowledge is what we build together by acting -- so belief is clearly involved, but knowledge is a social product whereby we act together.Moliere

    Well I'd start from the usual meaning of JTB rather than try and persuade folks that they mean something else, unless you want to be an internal eliminatist or something. We use knowledge to build bridges but we build them out of something more substantial.

    Language allows states of mind to become abstractions that can function as elements of thought - the word "thought" there becomes an element in the thought that contains it. This is what allows for introspection. (The same can happen with other mental terms of course, knowledge, emotion, introspection, pig-headedness, etc.)
  • Moliere
    1.7k
    What do you mean?

    Knowledge may be stored in books, fossils, etc, but books nor fossils don't know shit.
    unenlightened
    Well I'd start from the usual meaning of JTB rather than try and persuade folks that they mean something else, unless you want to be an internal eliminatist or something. We use knowledge to build bridges but we build them out of something more substantial.unenlightened

    I hope you'll forgive some creative stretching here. These are ideas I've played with awhile without getting anywhere.


    I'd like to start from a position that makes knowledge fundamental, rather than the constituent bits like JTB. Why? Because truth is redundant, so adds nothing to knowledge, belief is an intentional state towards a proposition, but knowledge is not merely propositional, and justification is a matrix of aesthetic standards which are institutionalized -- and so actually seem to take away from what we mean by knowledge in a commonsense way. Or, perhaps a better way of saying it -- it just seems to me that JTB is philosophically fraught, so it is better to simply observe knowledge and go from there in answering what it is - to use the term I used earlier, to "bracket" out the usual sort of philosophical baggage that comes with discussions of knowledge and instead just look at instances of it and come to some kind of beginning of an explanation for what it is. (Like lot of philosophical questions I have usually many lines of thought going on at once. I'm trying to hold some things still here to move forward rather than just flounder in a quagmire)

    It seems to me that knowledge is invariant to belief -- I can believe true and false things, but to know is not to believe, but comes with competency. When I adjust the knob on a machine just *this* much I know that I we are likely to reduce the output of our pump by about 10 mL, which is what is needed for production today. I know within the context of doing things with others. When asked if I know something I am being asked to help guide a person through the steps of a procedure.

    I am trying to frame this in a way that is not eliminative of the internal, though -- rather, preserving the internal as something beyond knowing, and something which is not knowledgable -- or, at least, if there is knowledge it is a relation to something external. Hence why I thought maybe the better word would be "insight". Not quite knowledge. But still meaningful and worthwhile.

    Language allows states of mind to become abstractions that can function as elements of thought - the word "thought" there becomes an element in the thought that contains it. This is what allows for introspection.unenlightened

    I'd like to follow Levinas on this one. Language is the only tool by which we can share our interior space with another while still retaining it as ours and respecting them as theirs. Abstractions, on the other hand, allow us to subsume the other under the guise of knowledge, under categories which turn the other into a sort of tool to be used. But if there is no knowledge of the internal, then all we have left with is our knowledge of language which allows sharing, but not categorizing.

    So introspection, by this, would require language -- but there'd be a kind of language-less experience that is still our own.
  • unenlightened
    3.9k
    I don't think we are that far apart. Cat knows about mice. Has mouse-hunting competence. Has a language-less experience of its own. In that senes of belief that requires articulation of a creed, Cat does not believe, but in that sense of competently waiting by the mouse-hole for the mouse to appear it knows exactly what it is about.

    Language is the only tool by which we can share our interior space with another while still retaining it as ours and respecting them as theirs. Abstractions, on the other hand, allow us to subsume the other under the guise of knowledge, under categories which turn the other into a sort of tool to be used. But if there is no knowledge of the internal, then all we have left with is our knowledge of language which allows sharing, but not categorizing.Moliere

    If I tell you I am uncomfortable with this use of language, I don't think I am sharing my internal space with you. I'd complain to the moderators if you were getting inside my head.

    Again, you say [if] "there is no knowledge of the internal", but how could you possibly know that - how could you talk at all about the internal, having no knowledge of it?
  • Moliere
    1.7k
    Again, you say [if] "there is no knowledge of the internal", but how could you possibly know that - how could you talk at all about the internal, having no knowledge of it?unenlightened

    That's a good question. At least for me to ponder on. Every answer I've run through right now seems superficial. Something like poetry? But the philosopher would reply that the poet is only working and expressing what they know or have come to know. What about music? A technical capacity, which is clearly where I was coming from with respect to knowledge. And merely saying "insight" is just a rebranding of the word "knowledge" without answering this question with some sort of meaningful response, something to do with the method of talking.

    I could go the other way and say there are two types of knowledge. But I want to think on this more. Just posting to say I'm not sure I'll have a response anytime soon.
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