• Metaphysician Undercover
    7.8k
    The issue to address here is the question of why natural reason (meaning the innate ability of human beings to engage in reasoning) demands coherency. If propositions are inconsistent, contradictory, or otherwise incoherent, there is an inability for human reason to understand what is being stated, so some or all of these propositions need to be rejected, for the purpose of reasoning and understanding.

    However, we tend to believe that there is a reality, beyond the propositions, which is represented by them, and we will judge propositions as "true" according to some assumed ideal of correspondence. The propositions serve as descriptions of this assumed reality, produced from observation.

    If such observations produce judgements of correspondence, and true propositions, but the propositions display incoherency amongst each other, then why does natural reason demand that we reject them? The nature of reality might be that there is inconsistency inherent within it, so that one person's observation might naturally contradict another's, for example. So why does natural reason direct us toward rejection of such contradictory propositions, as if it were impossible that reality is like this, demanding that we produce coherency between the propositions, as a condition for acceptance, reasoning, and understanding? The truth might be that there is incoherency inherent within reality, and this demand for coherency which natural reason forces on us, might actually be directing us toward misunderstanding, disguised and presented to us by the innate capacity to reason, as what is required for understanding. Why ought we trust natural reason as superior to observation whenever observation gives us incoherency?
  • Philosophim
    441
    A good question. There are a few reasons for this. First coherency can allow a repeatability of positive results. Think about superstitions. I have a lucky rabbits foot, therefore lucky things will happen to me today. Maybe they did one day. And maybe you will have lucky results happen to you all day, or at least ascribe those "lucky" results to the foot.

    At that point you're missing out the real reason you had a lucky result. Maybe it was your confidence to try new things you liked. Maybe it was the fact that your natural charm got you to get the waiter to switch your seat out for a view outside of a window. If you're missing out the real reason why good results happened to you, then you're leaving it up to chance.

    The second is to avoid negative results. Lets say that I want to go paragliding but don't finish the training course because "My lucky rabbits foot will make it all work out." Perhaps it does. But you and I know that the rabbit foot had nothing to do with it, and his belief in the foot made him make a decision that could have been deadly. And of course, perhaps it doesn't work out at all.

    It is a decision to be rational however, and if someone does not experience negative consequences from being irrational, or does not ascribe their negative experiences to being irrational, many people will choose the easier path of being emotional. In this case, they will reject reason for their "superior state" of emotional opinions and biases.
  • Hanover
    5.9k
    The issue to address here is the question of why natural reason (meaning the innate ability of human beings to engage in reasoning) demands coherencyMetaphysician Undercover
    I think there's a bit of equivocation going on with the term "coherency" here. I take logical coherence as distinct from scientific coherence. If an argument is logically incoherent, it's truly incomprehensible. Logical statements that draw random conclusions and self contradictory statements would be examples.

    Scientific coherency demands consistent use of underlying principles for the explanation of results, but the lack of such coherency doesn't result in incomprehensiblility. For example, if Newtonian physics accurately explains much phenomena, but ad hoc explanations must be used to explain others, we don't stumble into confusion, but we just note our underlying principle must be wrong.

    Our demand for logical consistency is based upon what we take logic to be because if we're logically inconsistent, we are, by definition, not logical. It's what logic is.

    Our demand for scientific coherence is based upon our prior observation of the existence of consistent laws of physics, but some are willing to allow for the paranormal, which might be stupid, but it's not incomprehensible.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    7.8k
    There are a few reasons for this. First coherency can allow a repeatability of positive results. Think about superstitions. I have a lucky rabbits foot, therefore lucky things will happen to me today. Maybe they did one day. And maybe you will have lucky results happen to you all day, or at least ascribe those "lucky" results to the foot.Philosophim

    The principle 'it happened like this before, therefore it will happen like that again', is not logical, nor reasonable in any way. It might appear like induction is built on this, but it isn't really. Induction is based in numerous repetitions.

    So I don't quite understand the relationship between coherency and repeatability which you are trying to get at. Is coherency produced from repeatability, or does it, as you say allow repeatability? Repeatability, we can understand as being the necessary condition for a general principle, produced by induction.

    The second is to avoid negative results. Lets say that I want to go paragliding but don't finish the training course because "My lucky rabbits foot will make it all work out." Perhaps it does. But you and I know that the rabbit foot had nothing to do with it, and his belief in the foot made him make a decision that could have been deadly. And of course, perhaps it doesn't work out at all.

    It is a decision to be rational however, and if someone does not experience negative consequences from being irrational, or does not ascribe their negative experiences to being irrational, many people will choose the easier path of being emotional. In this case, they will reject reason for their "superior state" of emotional opinions and biases.
    Philosophim

    Now you are talking about repeatability, but I don't understand your assumed relationship between repeatability and coherency.

    I think there's a bit of equivocation going on with the term "coherency" here. I take logical coherence as distinct from scientific coherence. If an argument is logically incoherent, it's truly incomprehensible. Logical statements that draw random conclusions and self contradictory statements would be examples.Hanover

    I don't see the distinction you're trying to make. A logically incoherent statement, or argument, does not render it incomprehensible. The parts of the statement or argument, when it is analyzed, must be themselves comprehensible in order to designate the statement as incoherent. The designation of "incoherent" requires that the parts be comprehensible. So we cannot assign "incomprehensible" in any absolute sense to the incoherent statement or argument.

    For example, "the square circle" is not truly incomprehensible because "square" and "circle" are each comprehensible terms. In understanding them together though, the reality of one excludes the possibility of the other, such that a person's natural reason demanding for coherency produces the appearance of incomprehensibility. Without this demand for coherency, or perceived necessity of coherency, we might talk about square circles quite naturally, as if it is completely reasonable that an object would appear as a square from one perspective and as a circle from another perspective, like the well known duckrabbit.

    The issue might be "perspective". Can one perspective, such as an individual's single mind, apprehend the same thing as both a square and a circle? Why does a mind demand that the reality of one excludes the possibility of the other? And if we say that it is potentially both, then we seem to replace "reality" with multiple possible worlds. But since the multiple worlds are just "possible", that reality is actually allowed to lurk in background, as simply undetermined.
  • Harry Hindu
    3.6k
    However, we tend to believe that there is a reality, beyond the propositions, which is represented by them, and we will judge propositions as "true" according to some assumed ideal of correspondence. The propositions serve as descriptions of this assumed reality, produced from observation.Metaphysician Undercover
    But the propositions are part of this reality that is represented. They are composed of visual scribbles and sounds that we observe, just like the the things that the propositions represent. I don't understand this inclination to set words, or language-use, and observers, up on this special pedestal separate from the world that they represent. What makes one scribble or sound a proposition and some other scribble or sound not a proposition?

    If we didn't observe (see and hear) propositions consistently between ourselves, how could we ever communicate?

    Being part of the world, observers have an effect on what they observe. The inconsistency lies in the mind of observers in the form of their different experiences with propositions and what they refer to. The world isn't inconsistent outside of our minds. Being that our minds are separate, then there are bound to be differences in our minds, and each one has a different relation with the world from it's own position. The confusion arises out of trying to understand what we are talking about - the world or our experience of the world.
  • tim wood
    5.6k
    The principle 'it happened like this before, therefore it will happen like that again', is not logical, nor reasonable in any way. [Italics added]Metaphysician Undercover

    Not reasonable in any way? Really? Not any way? You shall have to prove this, else how is anyone to suppose you're anything other than just crazy?
  • magritte
    135
    However, we tend to believe that there is a reality, beyond the propositions, which is represented by themMetaphysician Undercover

    Propositions are merely a formality of dictionary words bundled through a simple manageable logic. They are a useful tool for the practice of formal philosophy. In and of themselves propositions represent nothing whatsoever just as mathematical symbols represent nothing beyond their own formalism.

    To also add that philosophical formalisms correspond to a matching real, even material world is quite a stretch, when you think about it. It could be so, maybe or maybe not. But philosophy is in no position to then circularly derive its own primitive premises.

    To justify such theories and many more speculations of its own is what science is for. Science has over the past millennium shown that nature is quite different than what the naive imagination suggests. If it wasn't so, there would be no need for science at all -- we could just ask each other how the world is and get true answers.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    7.8k
    I don't understand this inclination to set words, or language-use, and observers, up on this special pedestal separate from the world that they represent.Harry Hindu

    It's called "human understanding", and it's separated off from the rest of the world, as a particular thing to try to understand in itself. The reason for separating it off, is not to put it on a pedestal, but to try and understand it. Since this is philosophy, human understanding is a common subject to separate off.

    I have made a further distinction, to address the role of natural reason, in comparison to observation, within human understanding.

    If we didn't observe (see and hear) propositions consistently between ourselves, how could we ever communicate?Harry Hindu

    From participation in this forum, it appears to me like there is not necessarily consistency between the way that different people interpret propositions. So I believe that communication is based in something other than consistency or coherency. I've seen people try to argue that communication requires coherency, and if you truly believe this you might present me with such an argument, but such arguments always seem to fail, so I believe that this is just an unsupported assumption.

    I think, that as described above, coherency is something demanded by an individual's mind, for the sake of that thinking person's own thoughts, not something demanded by the person for the sake of communication.

    The inconsistency lies in the mind of observers in the form of their different experiences with propositions and what they refer to. The world isn't inconsistent outside of our minds.Harry Hindu

    I don't see how you can say this, and respect your earlier premise that propositions, which are products of minds, are part of the world. If our minds are part of the world, then the inconsistencies within our minds are inconsistencies in the world.

    Not reasonable in any way? Really? Not any way? You shall have to prove this, else how is anyone to suppose you're anything other than just crazy?tim wood

    It's not reasonable because a further premise is required. The conclusion that it will rain an hour after sunrise today, because it rained an hour after sunrise yesterday is not reasonable in any way, because a further premise is required to draw that conclusion logically. That's what I meant, 'it happened like this before, therefore it will happen like that again' is not reasonable in any way, because the further premise which states the necessity of similarity must be accounted for.

    Propositions are merely a formality of dictionary words bundled through a simple manageable logic. They are a useful tool for the practice of formal philosophy. In and of themselves propositions represent nothing whatsoever just as mathematical symbols represent nothing beyond their own formalism.magritte

    Well, needless to say, I strongly disagree with this. A "symbol", by what it means to be a symbol, necessarily represents something. To say that there is a symbol which represents nothing is contradiction plain and simple. If it represents nothing it can't be called a symbol. So your assumption is not worth considering as contrary to natural reason, to begin with.
  • Philosophim
    441
    The principle 'it happened like this before, therefore it will happen like that again', is not logical, nor reasonable in any way.Metaphysician Undercover

    How do you conclude this? Now some instances of predicting the future based on the past are illogical. But will you say that predictions on physics and math are illogical? All predictions are illogical? My desire to eat an apple because I liked the taste in the past is illogical?

    Repeatability, we can understand as being the necessary condition for a general principle, produced by induction.Metaphysician Undercover

    Yes, the claim that the future will be a certain way is always an induction. But we can have logically based inductions, and irrationally based inductions. For example, I can claim the probability of an evenly balanced coin flip will be 50% over time. This is based on the knowledge we've gleaned from the past that we assume still stands. Knowing this information, it would be irrational to predict that it is 10/90% probability for heads/tails.

    And that is the point I am trying to make. A rational assessment of the situation can allow you to avoid making a mistake. Note I was not intending to imply a guarantee. You can still make a rational choice about something, and it turns out to be wrong. But making a choice based on logic and previous knowledge gets you in a better ballpark on average than a guess that ignores or does not consider these things. Have I communicated this better? Feel free to point out if I need to clarify.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    7.8k
    How do you conclude this? Now some instances of predicting the future based on the past are illogical.Philosophim

    I just explained it in the last post. Another principle, which states the necessity of similarity is required.
  • tim wood
    5.6k
    I just explained it in the last post. Another principle, which states the necessity of similarity is required.Metaphysician Undercover
    And why not the necessity of the necessity, .., of the necessity?

    The thing either is, or it is not. If subject to infinite regress, then not. But it is, so it cannot be subject to infinite regress and must therefore be understood in some different way. Perhaps your reading of reason and reasonable are both too reductive and restrictive. And I suspect an agenda, else why think in such terms? If all you meant was the past is not a guarantee of a particular future, that's easy enough. But to deny that reason can find any connection is ludicrous on its face.
  • Harry Hindu
    3.6k
    It's called "human understanding", and it's separated off from the rest of the world, as a particular thing to try to understand in itself. The reason for separating it off, is not to put it on a pedestal, but to try and understand it. Since this is philosophy, human understanding is a common subject to separate off.

    I have made a further distinction, to address the role of natural reason, in comparison to observation, within human understanding.
    Metaphysician Undercover
    But that's the problem - trying to separate it from the world. We typically understand things based on their effects on the rest of the world or the rest of the world's effect on it. Understanding understanding entails knowing how understanding has a causal relationship with the rest of world - like how observations affect our understanding, or how humans behave as a result of their understandings.

    And understanding is about, or of, things, so trying to separate what some understanding is, from what it is about, or of, would be a misunderstanding of understanding.

    And does understanding necessarily entail the use of propositions? Does a mother deer in the woods understand the odors and sounds that it smells and hears? Based on it's behavior, it obviously understands the distinction between the smell and sounds of its offspring and the smell and sounds of a wolf. It runs from wolves, and not from its offspring.

    From participation in this forum, it appears to me like there is not necessarily consistency between the way that different people interpret propositions. So I believe that communication is based in something other than consistency or coherency. I've seen people try to argue that communication requires coherency, and if you truly believe this you might present me with such an argument, but such arguments always seem to fail, so I believe that this is just an unsupported assumption.

    I think, that as described above, coherency is something demanded by an individual's mind, for the sake of that thinking person's own thoughts, not something demanded by the person for the sake of communication.
    Metaphysician Undercover

    Communication requires a consistent understanding between two or more minds of what some scribble or sounds refers to. If your intention is to communicate with me, then your assumption is that I will interpret the scribbles on this screen in the same way that you do, so that I might catch a glimpse of your mind and its contents. Definitions in dictionaries are the consistent use of some scribble or sound. If you want to use them in a way that is inconsistent with their definition, then communicating would be difficult unless the other person has some prior experience with you using the scribble/sound in that way to know/understand/interpret in the same way that you are. In other words, communication entails the consistent understanding of what some scribble or sound points to in two or more minds. Without that, communication doesn't occur.

    Communication between two or more computers requires the consist use of protocols - the rules by which the computers communicate. If one isn't following the same set of rules communication doesn't happen.

    The inconsistency lies in the mind of observers in the form of their different experiences with propositions and what they refer to. The world isn't inconsistent outside of our minds.
    — Harry Hindu

    I don't see how you can say this, and respect your earlier premise that propositions, which are products of minds, are part of the world. If our minds are part of the world, then the inconsistencies within our minds are inconsistencies in the world.
    Metaphysician Undercover
    Like I said, "The world isn't inconsistent outside of our minds", which means that the only place the inconsistencies exist in the world is in minds. Inconsistencies occur because propositions and understanding are about, or of things, and not the things themselves, and our belief that every instance in time can be the same as some prior instance. All instances are unique and any understanding of some present or future event can only be based on prior similar instances, never the same instance.

    The world is consistent (deterministic), in that if ever the universe was re-started, it would evolve in exactly the same was as before, but each instance in time of the evolving universe is separate and distinct, however similar it may appear based on our present intention and experiences.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    7.8k
    And why not the necessity of the necessity, .., of the necessity?

    The thing either is, or it is not. If subject to infinite regress, then not. But it is, so it cannot be subject to infinite regress and must therefore be understood in some different way. Perhaps your reading of reason and reasonable are both too reductive and restrictive.
    tim wood

    Sorry tim, I just can't understand what your saying. You asked me why I think it is unreasonable to think that because it happened in the past, the same thing will happen again in the future, and I gave you my answer. I don't see how infinite regress is relevant.

    f all you meant was the past is not a guarantee of a particular future, that's easy enough. But to deny that reason can find any connection is ludicrous on its face.tim wood

    That is close to what I meant, but it doesn't quite get there. What i said is that it is not reasonable in any way, to think that what happened in the past guarantees that the same thing will happen in the future. You ought to quit trying to read some hidden agenda into what I write, then disagreeing with me based on that assumed hidden agenda.

    But that's the problem - trying to separate it from the world. We typically understand things based on their effects on the rest of the world or the rest of the world's effect on it.Harry Hindu

    Sure, but we also typically separate one from the other, in the attempt to understand the mix, like separating the sugar from the water to understand the solution. It's often called analysis. So for example, we'd separate the cause from the effect, in an attempt to understand the event, which consists of both. I don't see how you characterize understanding through analysis as "the problem".

    And understanding is about, or of, things, so trying to separate what some understanding is, from what it is about, or of, would be a misunderstanding of understanding.Harry Hindu

    I think this is nonsense. It makes complete sense to talk about "understanding" in a general sense, and determine characteristics which are proper to it, regardless of the particulars involved in an instance of understanding a particular thing.

    And does understanding necessarily entail the use of propositions? Does a mother deer in the woods understand the odors and sounds that it smells and hears? Based on it's behavior, it obviously understands the distinction between the smell and sounds of its offspring and the smell and sounds of a wolf. It runs from wolves, and not from its offspring.Harry Hindu

    I don't see how any of this is relevant to the op.

    Definitions in dictionaries are the consistent use of some scribble or sound. If you want to use them in a way that is inconsistent with their definition, then communicating would be difficult unless the other person has some prior experience with you using the scribble/sound in that way to know/understand/interpret in the same way that you are. In other words, communication entails the consistent understanding of what some scribble or sound points to in two or more minds. Without that, communication doesn't occur.Harry Hindu

    I think that if you took a serious look at the way words are actually used, you'd see that meaning is provided by the context of usage, not dictionaries.

    Communication between two or more computers requires the consist use of protocols - the rules by which the computers communicate. If one isn't following the same set of rules communication doesn't happen.Harry Hindu

    You are removing yourself further and further from the subject of the op. The op concerned the use of words in human understanding. You took one step away from this to talk about the use of words in human communication. Now you've taken a step even further away, to talk about communication between computers.

    Like I said, "The world isn't inconsistent outside of our minds", which means that the only place the inconsistencies exist in the world is in minds. Inconsistencies occur because propositions and understanding are about, or of things, and not the things themselves, and our belief that every instance in time can be the same as some prior instance. All instances are unique and any understanding of some present or future event can only be based on prior similar instances, never the same instance.

    The world is consistent (deterministic), in that if ever the universe was re-started, it would evolve in exactly the same was as before, but each instance in time of the evolving universe is separate and distinct, however similar it may appear based on our present intention and experiences.
    Harry Hindu

    That's some assertion, but I don't believe it. And since you speak as if it's the absolute truth, we probably don't have much to discuss.
  • Harry Hindu
    3.6k
    I think that if you took a serious look at the way words are actually used, you'd see that meaning is provided by the context of usage, not dictionaries.Metaphysician Undercover
    Then what use is a dictionary? Is not a dictionary a use of words within a certain context, like defining the meaning of words?

    The op concerned the use of words in human understanding. You took one step away from this to talk about the use of words in human communication. Now you've taken a step even further away, to talk about communication between computers.Metaphysician Undercover
    And I already showed that words are just scribbles and sounds. What makes some scribble or sound useful for understanding, and others not useful for understanding? If we can use sounds to understand things that arent sounds, then why cant we use any sound, like sounds that arent spoken words, to understand something. For instance, hearing and seeing someone say "it's going to rain" vs hearing thunder and seeing lightning, both sounds and visuals provide you with the same understanding - that it is going to rain. Propositions are just a particular type of visual and sounds.
  • Mww
    1.9k
    Why ought we trust natural reason as superior to observation whenever observation gives us incoherency?Metaphysician Undercover

    We trust reason over observation because reason is conditioned by itself, whereas observation is conditioned by Nature.

    Observation, being a strictly passive, unconscious mental activity, is not responsible for incoherency, such being the domain of judgement.

    It follows that even if judgement, a product of reason, occasionally leads the thinking subject astray, it is rarely the case, and even if there is a case, it is reason alone that has the ability to rectify its own mistakes.
    ————

    It makes complete sense to talk about "understanding" in a general sense, and determine characteristics which are proper to itMetaphysician Undercover

    Absolutely. Although, treating understanding as a fundamental human cognitive faculty, doesn’t really warrant scare quotes, Nietzsche’s “inverted goat’s feet”. No reason to be scared of it, or doubt its reality.

    Worthy subject matter, anyway.
  • ssu
    3.5k
    The nature of reality might be that there is inconsistency inherent within it, so that one person's observation might naturally contradict another's, for example.Metaphysician Undercover
    That's not how we start it.

    We don't assume inherent inconsistency in nature. We don't make sense of nature with inconsistencies.

    If we observe something that seems to us inherently inconsistent, we simply make the conclusion that we don't know what happens. That it's a mystery to us at least for now and we hope an answer is found later.

    Hence, if quantum mechanics seems inconsistent with classical mechanics, we simply cherish it as we do now: that it's consistent that it looks at first inconsistent.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    7.8k
    Is not a dictionary a use of words within a certain context, like defining the meaning of words?Harry Hindu

    It is a use of words, but the dictionary does not define the meaning of words. It gives guidance, in the form of a general representation of how words are commonly used. So the dictionary definitions are similar to inductive conclusions, descriptions of how words are commonly used. But if we look at them as inductive conclusions, they are very faulty, not acceptable induction at all, by scientific standards.

    What makes some scribble or sound useful for understanding, and others not useful for understanding? If we can use sounds to understand things that arent sounds, then why cant we use any sound, like sounds that arent spoken words, to understand something. For instance, hearing and seeing someone say "it's going to rain" vs hearing thunder and seeing lightning, both sounds and visuals provide you with the same understanding - that it is going to rain. Propositions are just a particular type of visual and sounds.Harry Hindu

    The so-called sounds and scribbles are used with intent, as symbols, and that means that they are associated with something else. We do use other things, like in your example. I didn't say that understanding is limited to the use of words. I was talking about a specific type of understanding, which I called "natural reason".

    We trust reason over observation because reason is conditioned by itself, whereas observation is conditioned by Nature.Mww

    I don't quite understand the distinction here, perhaps you could expound. What do you mean with "conditioned by itself"? There is a reason why I used "natural reason", to establish reason as something natural rather than an illusionary concept of reason as something self-created.

    Observation, being a strictly passive, unconscious mental activity, is not responsible for incoherency, such being the domain of judgement.Mww

    This seems sort of contradictory, a strictly passive activity. Don't you think that there is judgement inherent within observation? Observation consists of noticing some things as important or significant, but also disregarding others as insignificant or unimportant.

    It follows that even if judgement, a product of reason, occasionally leads the thinking subject astray, it is rarely the case, and even if there is a case, it is reason alone that has the ability to rectify its own mistakes.Mww

    So I would say that there is judgement which is not a product of reason. Such judgements might or might not appear to be reasonable judgements, in a different sense of "reason", like a reasoned judgement might still appear to be unreasonable in that other sense, when the reasoning is judged as unsound.

    Although, treating understanding as a fundamental human cognitive faculty, doesn’t really warrant scare quotes, Nietzsche’s “inverted goat’s feet”. No reason to be scared of it, or doubt its reality.Mww

    I'm not familiar with "scare quotes", I use the quotes to emphasize the word as referring to a thing, a concept, such as "reason" above. Another tradition might be to capitalize the word, Reason.
  • Pinprick
    452


    The idea of coherency only exists if there are prior observations of the phenomena being observed currently. If you observe a completely novel experience, then you won’t know if your observation is coherent or not, as there is no baseline to judge it by.

    If you have prior observations/experiences, then the default assumption is coherency (which also implicitly assumes determinism). The reason for this, I would assume, is because more often than not this assumption is correct. It’s an effective assumption to make while navigating the world and trying to understand it.

    If we observe something that contradicts our assumed coherency, then the logical thing to do is to try to develop a theory that explains both the incoherent and coherent observations. If that cannot be accomplished, then the only options left are to discard the observation as some illusion, determine that the novel observation plays by a different set of rules for some reason (which you would then go in to try and explain), or to repeat the observations if possible and hope you can gain some better insight into what exactly is going on.

    The bottom line is that observations drive, or determine, reason. When the two clash, it is reason that must become flexible or malleable in order to accommodate our observations.
  • magritte
    135
    The idea of coherency only exists if there are prior observations of the phenomenaPinprick

    In science or in philosophy?
  • Pinprick
    452
    In science or in philosophy?magritte

    Both. In all areas of life.
  • tim wood
    5.6k
    What i said is that it is not reasonable in any way, to think that what happened in the past guarantees that the same thing will happen in the future.Metaphysician Undercover
    No, this is what you wrote:
    The principle 'it happened like this before, therefore it will happen like that again', is not logical, nor reasonable in any way.Metaphysician Undercover
    Two different statements.

    And above you introduced the need for an additional premise.
    It's not reasonable because a further premise is required.... 'It happened like this before, therefore it will happen like that again' is not reasonable in any way, because the further premise which states the necessity of similarity must be accounted for.Metaphysician Undercover
    It is this need that leads to an infinite regress: the need for the need,..., for the need.... When actually all that's needed is a reasonably accurate use of language, without bizarre and outrageous claims. However, you have made a partial correction by adding "guarantee," but you still have the problem with "is not reasonable in any way." And just this is what you have to demonstrate. Here's your test case. "It rained here yesterday." Now you have to show why it "is not reasonable in any way" to suppose that it will rain here again.
  • Mww
    1.9k
    Don't you think that there is judgement inherent within observation?Metaphysician Undercover

    Inherent in? No. Consequential to, certainly, with respect to time. Judgement presupposes that which is to be judged, either a posteriori perception on the one hand, or a priori thought on the other. We can think and arrive at a judgement without perceiving, but we cannot perceive and arrive at a judgement without thinking.
    ————-

    What do you mean with "conditioned by itself"?Metaphysician Undercover

    Reason is a prime human asset, along with the moral constitution. Reason conditioned by itself just means there is nothing else required for reason to function as that asset, other than the compendium of cognitive faculties incorporated within it. Things are required to reason about, of course, but not to function.

    Reason doesn’t create itself, but it does create its own objects. Consciousness, the ego, the self....a myriad of representations that are nothing but objects of reason.

    But it’s all speculative metaphysics, so......grain of salt here, dump truck full there.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    7.8k
    The idea of coherency only exists if there are prior observations of the phenomena being observed currently. If you observe a completely novel experience, then you won’t know if your observation is coherent or not, as there is no baseline to judge it by.Pinprick

    I don't agree with this. I think that each experience is novel. I've never had two experiences the same before, though I've experienced deja vu, but I really can't even imagine the possibility of living through the same thing twice. I recognize deja vu as just a feeling, and not really having the same experience twice. With the nature of time and spatial existence being as it is, it seems completely impossible to have the same experience more than once. So quite clearly, coherency must be based in something other than prior observations of the same thing.

    The idea of coherency might be derived from observations though. Maybe after many observations we start to derive a notion of what is and isn't possible, and coherency is based in this sort of inductive conclusion concerning possibilities.

    If you have prior observations/experiences, then the default assumption is coherency (which also implicitly assumes determinism). The reason for this, I would assume, is because more often than not this assumption is correct. It’s an effective assumption to make while navigating the world and trying to understand it.Pinprick

    The problem I see here is that you do not seem to be differentiating between experience, and observation. Observation is to take note of what has been experienced, so it requires a task of memorizing. Imagine that something has just happened, you've experienced it. You think it's significant so you want to remember it, therefore you take mental notes, observations. It's very difficult to imagine the whole scenario of what occurred, and memorize this, so I tend to put things into words, and this helps me to remember. The strategy I use is to maintain coherency in my description, otherwise when i try to remember at a future time, I will be confused as to what really happened, because my own description won't make sense to me. Sometimes though, it might be difficult to be coherent, especially if the event was fast and it's difficult for me to follow exactly what happened. However, I will feel a need to remember what happened with a coherent description, and this might incline me toward making up some things, just to produce coherency, and help me understand the event which I am trying to remember, so that I can remember it. But then I'm not actually remembering what I experienced, because my observations are tainted by the make believe which I had to add, in order to understand what I saw.

    If we observe something that contradicts our assumed coherency, then the logical thing to do is to try to develop a theory that explains both the incoherent and coherent observations. If that cannot be accomplished, then the only options left are to discard the observation as some illusion, determine that the novel observation plays by a different set of rules for some reason (which you would then go in to try and explain), or to repeat the observations if possible and hope you can gain some better insight into what exactly is going on.

    The bottom line is that observations drive, or determine, reason. When the two clash, it is reason that must become flexible or malleable in order to accommodate our observations.
    Pinprick

    Why do you contradict yourself here? First you say that if consistency cannot be produced, the only thing to do is to discard the observation as illusion. Then you say when observation and reason clash, "it is reason that must become flexible" to accomodate observations.

    Here's your test case. "It rained here yesterday." Now you have to show why it "is not reasonable in any way" to suppose that it will rain here again.tim wood

    Just as I said, to reasonably draw that conclusion we need another principle, a principle which supports the idea that what happened yesterday will happen today. This principle is not drawn from experience because we experience each day as different from every other day. And there is no implied infinite regress, just a need for that principle which would support the conclusion as a reasonable conclusion.

    Inherent in? No. Consequential to, certainly, with respect to time. Judgement presupposes that which is to be judged, either a posteriori perception on the one hand, or a priori thought on the other. We can think and arrive at a judgement without perceiving, but we cannot perceive and arrive at a judgement without thinking.Mww

    I suppose we may be using "observation" in different ways. To me, observation implies judgement having been past on the acts of sensation, such that a decision as to what will be remembered out of all that has been sensed, has been made. The content of sensation is much more expansive than the content of observation, so something intermediate between sensation and observation must narrow the field. The complete magnitude of all that is sensed is not contained in observation. If this is not a form of judgement, which narrows sensation to observation, then what is it?

    Reason is a prime human asset, along with the moral constitution. Reason conditioned by itself just means there is nothing else required for reason to function as that asset, other than the compendium of cognitive faculties incorporated within it. Things are required to reason about, of course, but not to function.

    Reason doesn’t create itself, but it does create its own objects. Consciousness, the ego, the self....a myriad of representations that are nothing but objects of reason.

    But it’s all speculative metaphysics, so......grain of salt here, dump truck full there.
    Mww

    Let's assume that what you say about reason here is true. Your claim that reason ought to be trusted over sensation was supported by this principle. But how does that make sense? Reason, being conditioned only by itself, would have the capacity to produce any sort of fantasy, any imaginary thing. But sensation is condition by nature, and is therefore grounded in some sort of reality. If this is a true portrayal of reason, why on earth should reason be more trustworthy than sensation?
  • Pinprick
    452
    I don't agree with this. I think that each experience is novel. I've never had two experiences the same before, though I've experienced deja vu, but I really can't even imagine the possibility of living through the same thing twice. I recognize deja vu as just a feeling, and not really having the same experience twice. With the nature of time and spatial existence being as it is, it seems completely impossible to have the same experience more than once. So quite clearly, coherency must be based in something other than prior observations of the same thing.Metaphysician Undercover

    Well, it depends on how general you want to be. I had in mind things like causation, or gravity. You have certainly observed one object cause another object to move on more than one occasion. My point being that due to this consistency in experience (or observation if you prefer) we come to have certain expectations of how the world works. We then experience incoherency when these expectations are not met.

    The problem I see here is that you do not seem to be differentiating between experience, and observation. Observation is to take note of what has been experienced, so it requires a task of memorizing.Metaphysician Undercover

    I’m not, but it’s because whatever difference there is between them seems to not make a difference. Also, I didn’t have in mind anything complex. I was thinking more along the lines of natural physical laws. In which case, the memorization seems to be done unconsciously, or is arrived at intuitively in some way. I remember an experiment that showed that very young children (infants?) were capable of experiencing surprise/shock. This was to show that we are able to form expectations at a very young age, which implies the ability to learn about the environment presumably through “memorizing” observations.

    Why do you contradict yourself here? First you say that if consistency cannot be produced, the only thing to do is to discard the observation as illusion.Metaphysician Undercover

    I listed two other options as well (try to explain the observation using different rules, or try to replicate the experience).

    Then you say when observation and reason clash, "it is reason that must become flexible" to accomodate observations.Metaphysician Undercover

    This is meant to refer to those other two options. My point is just that if we are going to make an attempt at understanding something that seems to contradict our preconceived notions (natural reason), then we must alter those notions because we cannot change the actual phenomenon.
  • Daniel
    228


    If such observations produce judgements of correspondence, and true propositions, but the propositions display incoherency amongst each other, then why does natural reason demand that we reject them?Metaphysician Undercover

    I don't think natural reason demands the rejection of incoherent propositions. Incoherent propositions are rejected when proven incoherent. Therefore, it is the action of observing which forms the basis for the rejection of incoherent propositions.

    If I say there is only one star in the universe, it is not natural reason which leads me to believe that there is more than one star in the universe; it is the act of experiencing and observing that there is more than one star in the universe which rejects the incoherent proposition.

    The rejection of incoherent propositions is only possible by experiencing a phenomenon which after being observed renders them incoherent.

    The nature of reality might be that there is inconsistency inherent within it, so that one person's observation might naturally contradict another's, for example.Metaphysician Undercover

    I don't think that two different, observations about the same thing can be completely contradictory; they might disagree in certain aspects but never contradict each other (they are about the same thing). If they are observations about different things, then they cannot be contradictory, at all.

    If our minds are part of the world, then the inconsistencies within our minds are inconsistencies in the world.Metaphysician Undercover

    I'd say that if our minds are part of the world, then the inconsistencies in the world are inconsistencies within the mind (if there are any true inconsistencies in the world), and not the other way around as you stated it (your mind is not the only thing there is).
  • Banno
    9.8k
    The truth might be that there is incoherency inherent within reality,Metaphysician Undercover

    Coherence is found in what we say, not in how things are.

    Things just are the way they are. If what we say about them is inconsistent, then we've said it wrong. There will be another way of talking that will remove the inconsistency.
  • Srap Tasmaner
    2.7k
    I'm not familiar with "scare quotes"Metaphysician Undercover

    Please don't take offense, but this is too beautiful not to rip ungraciously from its context.
  • JerseyFlight
    782
    Coherence is found in what we say, not in how things are. Things just are the way they are. If what we say about them is inconsistent, then we've said it wrong. There will be another way of talking that will remove the inconsistency.Banno

    Here here, "Knowledge unconditionally presupposes that the reality known exists independently of the knowledge of it, and that we know it as it exists in this independence." Prichard
  • Mww
    1.9k
    I suppose we may be using "observation" in different ways.Metaphysician Undercover

    Perhaps. For me, everything in its place: sound sensation is hearing, tactile sensation is feeling, olfactory sensation is smelling.....sight sensation is seeing, and that which is seen is observed. We do not observe the smell of frying bacon, we do not taste B-flat, and we do not hear the sight of fast-moving clouds.

    To me, observation implies judgement having been past on the acts of sensation, such that a decision as to what will be remembered out of all that has been sensed, has been madeMetaphysician Undercover

    From the above, it is clear any sensation has its possible judgement, but their respective sources, hence the conceptions under which they are subsumed, will be completely different. Observation directly requires extension of matter in space, for instance, but the sensation of sound only directly requires changes in air pressure, which is not required by extension.

    Judgement passed on sensation, rather than being mere observation, is empirical knowledge. Sensation upon which a judgement is not forthcoming, insofar as we must admit to an “I don’t know” about it, still manifests as an experience. Aesthetic judgements, on the other hand, those having to do with non-cognitive feelings, or the sublime, are just the opposite, insofar as, while possibly motivated by experience, are not themselves judgements of experience, thus knowledge with respect to them is given immediately.

    Obviously, empirical judgements are susceptible to change with sufficient subsequent experience, but aesthetic judgements are not so susceptible, being grounded in the subject’s innate sense of quality, re: Hume’s “missing shade of blue” gedankenexperiment.
    —————-

    Reason, being conditioned only by itself, would have the capacity to produce any sort of fantasy, any imaginary thing.Metaphysician Undercover

    Yep. Self-control is not intrinsic to reason. We can certainly imagine anything we like, except the logically impossible. Which is ironic, because only reason gives the laws of logic, which reason then uses to control itself. So perhaps we trust reason over sensation because reason belongs to us, is present constantly, and if we didn’t trust it, we couldn’t claim to know anything whatsoever, including the very same laws of logic, the principles of mathematics, and even our own selves, which is absurd.

    Nevertheless, if one chooses to trust sensation over reason, he will be at a complete loss as to explaining what the sensation actually represents, unless he reasons about it, which puts him right back to trusting reason over sensation.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    7.8k
    Well, it depends on how general you want to be. I had in mind things like causation, or gravity. You have certainly observed one object cause another object to move on more than one occasion. My point being that due to this consistency in experience (or observation if you prefer) we come to have certain expectations of how the world works. We then experience incoherency when these expectations are not met.Pinprick

    This type of generalization seems to be the common response here. But no one has told me, and I can't figure out, how it relates to coherency. I was defining coherency as consistency within logical structures, lack of contradiction between propositions, etc.. You seem to be saying that incoherency is when something isn't the way that you expect it to be, referring to inductive generalizations to support your expectations. So you are assigning "incoherency" to situations when things are inconsistent with the way you expect them to be. But this is really a lack of correspondence, it's not a lack of coherency, in the sense of "coherency" that I meant.

    I think that this is a different issue. The notion that things ought to correspond with our expectations, the expectations having been produced from inductive generalizations, is somewhat different from the notion that such generalizations ought to be consistent with themselves. The latter is what I am talking about as "coherency". The difference becomes more evident if we replace "generalizations" with principles of procedure, application, or principles for moral conduct in the latter case. Then it becomes very clear how we can have incoherent, contradictory principles of procedure.

    I’m not, but it’s because whatever difference there is between them seems to not make a difference.Pinprick

    Of course it makes a difference. If you scan the horizon with your eyes for a few seconds, and there are hundreds of different things out there, and you turn around, then I ask you what did you see, you could list off a view items. Whether you list off these items, or those items, is a big difference, because it indicates that what you have noticed, or "observed", is different from what you have "sensed". The only reason why you would say that it doesn't make a difference, is if you were trying to support the false premise that sensation and observation are the same thing.

    This was to show that we are able to form expectations at a very young age, which implies the ability to learn about the environment presumably through “memorizing” observations.Pinprick

    OK, maybe there is a correlation between "expectations", which refers to an assumption of correspondence, as described above, and "coherency", defined as logical consistency. I really don't see it though, and the problem is this. Coherency might be at the base of expectation. Expectation, as a motivator for action might be naturally shaped, or conformed by coherency, in order to prevent us human beings from being inclined toward many different inconsistent actions. However, such coherency is pragmatic only, it prevents the human being from trying to do contrary or inconsistent things, things which would interfere with, or hinder each other. Now, what supports this need for coherency? What validates the assumption of interference? You'd say that it is those generalizations, and correspondence with them, but such generalizations are known to be faulty and unreliable. That's why a child must be educated, to dispel the expectations that the child has, at a very young age, replacing them with more true expectations.

    This is meant to refer to those other two options. My point is just that if we are going to make an attempt at understanding something that seems to contradict our preconceived notions (natural reason), then we must alter those notions because we cannot change the actual phenomenon.Pinprick

    Sure, but "phenomenon", as referring to how the world appears to a person, through sensation, might not be a very good representation of how the world actually is. This problem is indicated by the difference between sensation and observation, and the example above. The aspects of the world which are noticed, or observed by us, are only a very small portion of what is sensed, and this small portion constitutes the phenomena. So if we want to learn about how the world actually is, we must apply some principles derived from something other than the phenomena.

    I don't think natural reason demands the rejection of incoherent propositions. Incoherent propositions are rejected when proven incoherent. Therefore, it is the action of observing which forms the basis for the rejection of incoherent propositions.Daniel

    I don't agree with this. Propositions are proven to be incoherent by demonstrating inconsistency like contradiction. This is done through appeal to definition. There is no need to refer to observation for this proof, only a rule of non-contradiction is required. Proof that such a rule ought to be applied might require empirical demonstration, but that's a different issue.

    If I say there is only one star in the universe, it is not natural reason which leads me to believe that there is more than one star in the universe; it is the act of experiencing and observing that there is more than one star in the universe which rejects the incoherent proposition.Daniel

    Incoherency, as I meant to define in the op, is a relationship between propositions, or the terms within a proposition. So there would be incoherency between these two propositions "there is one star in the universe", and "there is more than one star in the universe", but neither one is itself incoherent. Likewise, a self-contradicting proposition would demonstrate incoherency within itself. The act of observing numerous stars leads to the rejection of "there is one star in the universe", on the basis of a failure to correspond, not on the basis of incoherency.

    I don't think that two different, observations about the same thing can be completely contradictory; they might disagree in certain aspects but never contradict each other (they are about the same thing). If they are observations about different things, then they cannot be contradictory, at all.Daniel

    Of course two observations of the same thing might contradict. One person might say, that object is small, and another might say that it is big.

    Coherence is found in what we say, not in how things are.Banno

    Right, now the question is what validates the desire, or need for coherency in what we say about the world. Unless there is something in the world, which corresponds with "coherency", the world ought to be represented as incoherent, in order for us to have a true, corresponding representation of the world. Why would we demand coherency within our descriptions and representations of the world, when these are meant to correspond with the world, and there is no such thing as coherency in the world? What does "coherency" represent, which makes it so valuable, if it doesn't correspond with anything in the world?

    If what we say about them is inconsistent, then we've said it wrong.Banno

    What makes it wrong, to say something inconsistent about the world, if "consistent" doesn't correspond with anything in the world?
  • TheMadFool
    7.9k
    If propositions are inconsistent, contradictory, or otherwise incoherent, there is an inability for human reason to understand what is being stated, so some or all of these propositions need to be rejected, for the purpose of reasoning and understanding.Metaphysician Undercover

    To my understanding, only truths matter - there's no sense in knowing falsehoods; after all, falsehoods are a liability rather than an asset unless, of course, you're a politician, in which case, falsehoods have huge payoffs

    Anyway, consider the situation where you have a belief system, T, that consists of the propositions, say X, Y, and Z. Suppose then that these 3 propositions are inconsistent in the sense that it's impossible for all three of them to be true at the same time. In other words the conjunction X & Y & Z evaluates to false i.e. the belief system T, as a whole, is false.

    Too, note that a false belief system like T above is useless for further inference because in a sound argument all premises must be true but because X, Y and Z form a set that is inconsistent, that can never be the case. No sound arguments can follow from inconsistent premises - no sound arguments, no knowledge.

    The nature of reality might be that there is inconsistency inherent within it,Metaphysician Undercover

    The usual suspect when someone makes such comments is quantum physics and the most common law reported as being violated is the law of non-contradiction but, as far as I can tell, the difference between the quantum world and the world at our scale is as great as that between the world of inanimate matter and the living world. In other words, thinking an electron is like, say, a pebble or a chair -something that can't be in two places at the same time - is probably a monumental mistake, as much of a mistake as thinking biochemistry applies to rocks.
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