• T Clark
    4.2k
    Doesn’t matter if I agree with your terminology or not. Even so, if you don’t think reason, consciousness, plays any part in the perception of your internal states, first, what part do they play other than that, and second, what does play a part in the perception of your internal states.Mww

    This is what I wrote in a previous post to try to describe what it feels like to experience an internal state in a way that isn't rational.

    Imagine one of your favorite foods - for me it's, let's say, a nice creamy fish chowder. I picture the bowl. Imagine the smell and the feel of it on my tongue - the warmth, the flavor, the feel of the chunks of haddock in my mouth. Don't label it, put it into words, think about it. Just experience it. That is non-rational.T Clark
  • Mww
    1.4k
    It is possible to know, or at least experience, how you know what you know.T Clark

    Of course, but possibility can only be shown theoretically. It is impossible for any theory to attain to an empirical proof. We don’t KNOW how we think. We don’t even KNOW if it’s thinking we’re doing. We just call it that because we don’t know what it really is, and just like any good theory, all it has to do is be internally consistent and non-contradictory with itself, which in turn can serve as no more than a mere logical justification.
    —————-

    You share your subjectivity with people all the time.T Clark

    Conventionally speaking, yes. Or so it would seem. But in fact, when you read my words, you relate them to your understanding of them. The very best you can do with that relation, is grant a commonality between what I meant when I wrote them and what they mean when you read them. There is nothing whatsoever given by the words you read that categorically and necessarily represents what I think, from the simple fact that two separate and distinct subjectivities are responsible for all meanings in general.

    That’s why I say, just because we attempt to understand each other, does not thereby give me the right to assert that what you want me to see perfectly represents what you think.
  • Mww
    1.4k
    "Reason" is no more a reification of an abstract thing than "digestion" is a reification of the process my digestive system uses to break down food for use in my body.T Clark

    I’m inclined to agree, but I’m not sure what you’re trying to say.
  • 3017amen
    1.5k


    Reading through both of our comments made me think of, how to articulate ineffable experiences:

    " But perhaps we can pinpoint the nature of the thing that can’t be expressed, or find a way to describe what it consists of. I believe that there are at least four possible candidates for a non-nonsensical answer: ineffable objects, ineffable truths, ineffable content, and ineffable knowledge."

    "From Kant onwards, philosophers’ interest in ineffable objects gave way to the idea that ineffability is a symptom of the insufficiency of language as a tool for capturing the ultimate truths of the world. Søren Kierkegaard suggested in 1844 that humans are trapped in the ‘ultimate paradox of thought’, wanting to discover things ‘that thought itself cannot think’. The arch-skeptic of reason and the Enlightenment, Friedrich Nietzsche, said in 1873 that truth was akin to an army of metaphors on the march – a host of powerful illusions, which we humans have forgotten are illusions."

    So from the above/and you-all's comments, I think that language does have its limits too. Take for example formal logic. If I say the apple is red, but upon further observation it is a mottled color of red, we don't have a specific word from language that captures that specific color (from the color wheel). So in theory it becomes logically described as red and not red, and therefore becomes a half-truth.

    Similarly, it follows that in consciousness we can impart our subjective experiences, but you could say they are too, only half-truth's because of the limitations in language.

    And the more interesting analogy would be as we change and learn about the world and our perceptions thereof, our definitions of events changes also. Kind of like listening to music. You might get something completely different out of the same song a year later... .
  • T Clark
    4.2k
    Of course, but possibility can only be shown theoretically. It is impossible for any theory to attain to an empirical proof. We don’t KNOW how we think. We don’t even KNOW if it’s thinking we’re doing. We just call it that because we don’t know what it really is, and just like any good theory, all it has to do is be internally consistent and non-contradictory with itself, which in turn can serve as no more than a mere logical justification.Mww

    When I say it's possible to experience how I know what I know, I mean that I can do it. I have done it. I'm doing it right now. I guess you can deny my experience, but it's not just me.

    And what do you mean "we don't know if it's thinking we're doing." I can't figure out what that means. That's like saying "we don't know if it's swimming we're doing." As Louden Wainwright III sang:

    This summer I went swimming
    This summer I might have drowned
    But I held my breath and I kicked my feet
    And I moved my arms around

    Yup, that's swimming.
  • T Clark
    4.2k
    I’m inclined to agree, but I’m not sure what you’re trying to say.Mww

    You say reification is dangerous. I say it's the way we make give things meaning. We do it all the time. It's our normal way of operating.
  • Mww
    1.4k
    Can you give an example of something the knowledge of which is impossible?T Clark

    Not a chance. The proposition only defines a negative logical boundary.
    ——————-

    that's exactly what it is. Imagination.T Clark

    It being introspection. Therein lay the whole problem. Imagination, and by default, introspection, has no content of its own. A posteriori, perception has the content of real objects; sensibility has the content of appearance; intuition has the content of representation; understanding has the content of conceptions; cognition has the content of judgement; experience has the content of knowledge. A priori, reason has the content of logic; logic has the content of law. Imagination imports its content from any of those, which makes explicit the possibility that such content does not belong to it, hence the assertion it has no certain ground.

    Which reverts right back to the original difficulty. We do introspect, but what are we really doing when we introspect? If we introspect from the arena that lacks experience, we are merely imagining; if we introspect from the arena that has experience, we are merely reviewing. Not drawing the line between them, is where the conventional meaning of introspection gets bogged down.
    ————————-

    I can observe myself imagining ......T Clark

    Careful, there, my friend. Getting awful close to positing the dreaded homunculus. Cartesian theater, even. If I tell Daniel D. he’ll come for you tout de suite. How many observers you got between your ears anyway? You already got two. How do they ever get along with each other?
  • T Clark
    4.2k
    " But perhaps we can pinpoint the nature of the thing that can’t be expressed, or find a way to describe what it consists of. I believe that there are at least four possible candidates for a non-nonsensical answer: ineffable objects, ineffable truths, ineffable content, and ineffable knowledge."

    "From Kant onwards, philosophers’ interest in ineffable objects gave way to the idea that ineffability is a symptom of the insufficiency of language as a tool for capturing the ultimate truths of the world. Søren Kierkegaard suggested in 1844 that humans are trapped in the ‘ultimate paradox of thought’, wanting to discover things ‘that thought itself cannot think’.
    3017amen

    There is only one thing that is ineffable. You know, it's that thing. That one thing that can't be spoken. Come on, you know.... That one, indivisible, unspeakable, unimaginable, impossible thing that is not a thing. You know - the Tao, the Will, noumena. Shit. Now it's a thing.

    If I say the apple is red, but upon further observation it is a mottled color of red, we don't have a specific word from language that captures that specific color (from the color wheel). So in theory it becomes logically described as red and not red, and therefore becomes a half-truth.3017amen

    Really? You have trouble describing things that include more than one color or shade? You have trouble talking about, telling the whole truth about zebras and flags? Sorry. I got a little excited there.

    Similarly, it follows that in consciousness we can impart our subjective experiences, but you could say they are too, only half-truth's because of the limitations in language.3017amen

    Sure, but I wouldn't say "half-truth," I'd say incomplete picture. But what's wrong with that. Our experience of everything is an incomplete picture. Plato knew that. Descartes knew that. You and @Mww know that.
  • T Clark
    4.2k
    Which reverts right back to the original difficulty. We do introspect, but what are we really doing when we introspect? If we introspect from the arena that lacks experience, we are merely imagining; if we introspect from the arena that has experience, we are merely reviewing. Not drawing the line between them, is where the conventional meaning of introspection gets bogged down.Mww

    We're missing each other. The words we are using seem to mean different things to each of us. I'm not sure how to take it any further. I'll just start saying the same things over again.

    Hey @3017amen, any thoughts?
  • Galuchat
    792
    A Cognitive Psychologist would call ineffable knowledge: tacit knowledge, a type of empirical knowledge.

    Using only Philosophy (logical investigation) in a discussion pertaining to the human mind, while ignoring the relevant Sciences (empirical investigation) is akin to constructing a building with only a hammer.

    You may end up with a few cohesive components, but the construct will be unsound.
  • Mww
    1.4k
    That is non-rational.T Clark

    Ehhhh....maybe, maybe not. Philosophically, reason is just skipping all the steps from which the experience arose, and bringing the end result back into your attention. If you’d never ever had a bowl of chowder, or anything like it, you wouldn’t have any of those feelings to draw from, but you could still manufacture them from imagination.

    On the other hand, there is an explanation over and above rationality. It states that feelings are not cognitions, hence are not governed by the logical laws or rules for it. Pain or pleasure, which are what all feelings reduce to, are not judged as experience is judged. So it is not philosophically incorrect to say that bowl of chowder illicited certain feelings, which are not themselves governed by rationality, so could be called non-rational in the strictest sense.
  • Mww
    1.4k
    The words we are using seem to mean different things to each of us.T Clark

    LOL. Yeah....you shoulda seen all the stuff I backspaced out on “perception”.

    Thanks for the interesting foray into the sublime.

    Peace.
  • 3017amen
    1.5k


    I know I'm missing some other pieces, but here are some distinction's that emerged:

    Introspection- an activity that draws from experience. That experience comes from both conscious and subconscious data [base]. This results in a kind of self-awareness. And that knowledge can still be thought of as completely novel/new to the subject-person nonetheless (but not a priori knowledge).

    Intuition- a relatively abstract concept, an incomplete cognition, and thus not directly experienceable (Kant of course spoke to this). And is a type of a priori knowledge.

    Subjectivity- knowledge that I have that technically know one else can have. Thus experience will always be unique to that individual due to many factors including space-time (getting older gaining experience and knowledge about the world). Loosely, thus the phrase 'you don't know till you walk in that person's shoes' is partly correct.

    Objectivity-universally true regardless of what anyone else thinks. Almost has an independent existence in some ways.

    That's just a cursory read lol....
  • T Clark
    4.2k


    I didn't really think this thread would go far when it started, but it has turned out to be really helpful for me. Having to explain, or at least try to explain, things to others really helps bring things together.
  • Mww
    1.4k


    Close enough.
  • aporiap
    196
    I wouldn't say introspection is a source of knowledge; all the knowledge comes a posteriori ultimately but it certainly allows for sifting through and identifying what is sound true fact vs what is not. It's more a tool for gaining knowledge but not the source of knowledge.

    I would distinguish between introspection and feelings, thoughts, beliefs or other mental objects because those things are still experiential/empirical. Identifying those things internally is still an empirical process -- you are recognizing facts about your inner life. The actual reasoning process/introspection is not the same thing.
  • 3017amen
    1.5k


    I forgot...I might add an important footnote:

    Sharing subjective experiences (knowledge from introspection) with one another is not without its virtues or merit. T Clark ( and other's) you alluded to this I think. Thus we can gain knowledge through 'corroboration' or verifying similar experiences that we have, (with each other by trying to describe them).

    It may not be 'Objective' knowledge in the true sense of the meaning, yet can be * inferred* as an important truth nonetheless. Nothing too revelatory or novel there lol... .

    Share any thoughts if you have them... ?
  • T Clark
    4.2k
    I wouldn't say introspection is a source of knowledge; all the knowledge comes a posteriori ultimately but it certainly allows for sifting through and identifying what is sound true fact vs what is not. It's more a tool for gaining knowledge but not the source of knowledge.aporiap

    When I observe the outside world with my senses, e.g. a dog sitting on my lawn, is that observation a source of knowledge or a tool for gaining knowledge? In my view, introspection is an observation that is internal rather than external. I'm going to stick with "source of knowledge," but let's not get into a back and forth about it. I don't think it really matters.

    I would distinguish between introspection and feelings, thoughts, beliefs or other mental objects because those things are still experiential/empirical. Identifying those things internally is still an empirical process -- you are recognizing facts about your inner life. The actual reasoning process/introspection is not the same thing.aporiap

    I have been making a distinction between introspection and "feelings, thoughts, beliefs, or other mental objects." Introspection is the act of observing those mental objects in myself.
  • T Clark
    4.2k
    Sharing subjective experiences (knowledge from introspection) with one another is not without its virtues or merit. T Clark ( and other's) you alluded to this I think. Thus we can gain knowledge through 'corroboration' or verifying similar experiences that we have, (with each other by trying to describe them).3017amen

    Yes, I learn more about myself when I learn from others. Then again, learning more about others is also valuable in its own right. Understanding other people is a good thing.
  • 3017amen
    1.5k


    Excellent!!

    ... Hence why philosophy should allow itself not to necessarily stay pigeonholed, and to access tools from both sides of the aisle as the case may be. To that end, in some ways your OP term "introspection" almost begged parsing those kinds of concerns viz Psychology. Or at least required one to spread the love at least partially in that direction.

    I hate the drop a book title but The Psychology of Being is one of my favorites... . In it, it asks certain Existential questions so that we can 'introspect' accordingly... . And brings to light the pluses and minuses of dichotomizing things too much

    Life is about relationships.
  • Judaka
    482

    True, it is not ideal to use introspection instead of statistics and science, history and politics.. etc. I value understanding and knowing about these things greatly but introspection is like these things in that the way you are is real and true. It is a source of information about how you are and how people are. Rationality is unlike those things because, without those things, you may be dealing in fantasy and hypothesis.

    The true value of introspection is knowing your role in the creation of "the world" as it is known by you. Beyond truth is perspective as how you are is reflected in how you see the world, to try to know the world without knowing yourself is to ignore your biases and position in it. It would be an absurd undertaking in my mind. If your mood is dark then the world is a miserable place, if you're in love then the world is singing, it can be that basic but it can also be incomprehensible in complexity once factors are taken into consideration alongside each other.

    Knowledge must be processed and interpreted and within this process the world once again undergoes transformations. Philosophy is not based on statistics or knowledge, it's based on interpretations. How we interpret has everything to do with us and what kind of person we are, what kind of life we've lived and are living. What we're paying attention to and what answers we've come to in the past.

    It comes down a lot to context but I find ignorance is less often a result of lack of knowledge as it is people seeing the world in a particular way based on what kind of person they are without being aware of it (or possibly caring). Politically, philosophically and so on, it's easier to construct worldviews based on your biases and experiences than to know yourself and how that relates to how you see the world.
  • aporiap
    196
    When I observe the outside world with my senses, e.g. a dog sitting on my lawn, is that observation a source of knowledge or a tool for gaining knowledge? In my view, introspection is an observation that is internal rather than external. I'm going to stick with "source of knowledge," but let's not get into a back and forth about it. I don't think it really matters.
    I'm sorry I misunderstood the claim here. I still would say it's a method of obtaining knowledge not a source; the 'dog sitting on the lawn', that fact, is sourced from the outside world. But I wont talk about it more.

    I think you should test your introspection. How many times do you get it wrong when considering how you introspect things to be or turn out which have a matter of fact answer? I think personally it's clear it isn't a valid source because of the amount of times my introspection doesn't work for me; I typically need to modify my first intuitions or introspections with reasoning
  • Mww
    1.4k
    It is a source of information about how you are and how people are.Judaka

    Introspection is a source of information that shows.....
    .....how I am, absolutely:
    .....how other people are, I can’t accept. Well, introspection show them how they are, but it won’t show me how they are.

    As an addition, I can say understanding is a source of information that shows me how I am. Understanding is a faculty that exists necessarily, so if I gain something from that which already exists, why do I need to invent a supplemental faculty that does the same thing? Does’t everyone generally understand himself? And even if he doesn’t in some case, wouldn’t he need to come to some understanding, even if he drew his information from introspection?

    Redundancy is usually a good thing in physical systems, but not so much in rational systems.
  • 3017amen
    1.5k
    As an amusing anecdote, in my 'daily professional walk' I engage with a smile (part of law of attraction) , and when I tell people " Happy Monday " for instance, they look at me like I just grew a horn on my head. And then I always reply....' yeah well I lie to myself every morning'. LOL
  • Judaka
    482

    Introspection is the study of the self, sometimes for the sake of understanding and sometimes self-improvement or fixing problems. I understand many things but that doesn't mean I can't study more and learn more; as it is with introspection. In that manner, are most people "experts" on themselves? If your answer is "yes" then introspection becomes a little redundant, my answer would not no and so it's a little more useful. I don't think people are good judges of themselves, I think people lie to themselves and create interpretations for reasons that they don't understand. Is that true or isn't it, I won't debate that but if you don't see it that way then your perspective will be different.


    Introspection is a source of information that shows.....
    .....how I am, absolutely:
    .....how other people are, I can’t accept. Well, introspection show them how they are, but it won’t show me how they are.
    Mww

    I do know about humans from science, statistics, history and so on, I also know a lot about dogs. I've owned dogs in the past, I've watched shows on dogs, I've read about them. I will never have the experience of being a dog though, so much about them is beyond what I can understand because of that. Same as how most men find men easier to understand compared to women, it's the same thing.
    One reason for that is because men are men, to understand other men isn't that hard. So is introspection for a man, not also a study into all men? It can be the same for all kinds of things. It is fine if you do not see it that way, though, I think everyone has learned this way to varying extents. I find that after having any deep conversation with someone, the time they've spent looking inwards always shows. Views on things that came from within are profound, there's truth while views that come from speculation and theory often just seem idealistic and ill-founded. Not saying those are the only two options but sometimes in philosophy that's how it is.
  • Swan
    175
    It absolutely is. But it's highly susceptible to bias. Do it wisely, or it won't be that effective.
  • Coben
    1.4k
    Introspection is a source of information that shows.....
    .....how I am, absolutely:
    .....how other people are, I can’t accept. Well, introspection show them how they are, but it won’t show me how they are.
    Mww
    I think you can get information about others via introspection. It can show you the effects others have on you - obviously suceptible to bias. This info could be used later in discussions with others who have had contact with that person. And also, if you have 'worked on yourself' for a long time, you may have a decent handle on your biases, having previously cross-checked with others. You might be able informed by introspection after and during contact with someone begin to analyze their behavior and words given what you notice about the effects of being around them, about what happens when they do or say X. And have some trust in those conclusions. Oh, he plays dominance games, I wondered why I felt defensive around him. The latter felt state - defensive - one you noted via introspection. Of course some people will be better at this than others. But your reactions to the world, which can be explored and the understanding deepened via introspection, can give you information about things outside you.

    r
  • Galuchat
    792
    It appears that introspection is frequently confused, or conflated, with metacognition.

    Knowledge may be based on metacognition and/or experience, which entails imagination and/or reflection (introspection, observation, or empathy), respectively.
  • Coben
    1.4k
    If this was a response, in part, to me, let me clarify. I don't think from introspection alone one can get knowledge of others. I think it can be used with other cognitive processes to get information. Certainly one could have a more purely outwardly focused study of one's neighbor and get information about him. He picks up his newpaper at 12 I note after observation. The time is exactly the same each day. And so on observing more facets of this person's life.

    My point was that introspection offers information that can also lead to knowledge of others, but it would need to be, yes, coupled with cognitive processes that are not introspection.
  • Galuchat
    792
    If this was a response, in part, to me, let me clarify.Coben
    It wasn't.
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