• TheMadFool
    7.1k
    Just wanted to share a few other observations:

    There's another type of coherence and it, more or less, falls under the rubric of abductive reasoning - argument to the best explanation. As a concrete example, suppose you were a detective and you've been called to a crime scene at a house. You have a hypothesis - you think the crime is an "inside job" i.e. the criminal is one of the occupants. If your hypothesis is correct then, the doors and windows of the house should show no sign of forced entry and if, in fact, this is the case, facts and hypothesis then form a coherent picture of what transpired.
  • Banno
    9.2k
    Right, now the question is what validates the desire, or need for coherency in what we say about the world.Metaphysician Undercover

    and,

    What makes it wrong, to say something inconsistent about the world, if "consistent" doesn't correspond with anything in the world?Metaphysician Undercover

    Well, (p & ~p) →q

    A contradiction implies anything. Indeed, it implies everything.

    But if you wish to work from contradictions, go right ahead. If you don't mind, I'll not be joining you.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    7.5k
    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.Mww

    I don't believe that seeing something necessitates the conclusion that it has been observed. Observation requires that the person understands and remembers what has been seen. Did you see the example I provided above? Could you address this example, I'll reproduce it below, and explain to me how you maintain your principle of whatever has been seen has been observed?

    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".Metaphysician Undercover

    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.Mww

    My argument is that some form of judgement (unconscious judgement) must be passed on sensation prior to observation. This accounts for the fact that so much sense information is received, and only a portion of this is remembered as observation. Consider another example. You are assigned the task of observing something specific. Suppose someone wants to know when a certain thing changes, or something like that, which could happen at any moment. So you observe this particular thing, focus on it, and it alone, such that you are not paying any attention to the other things in your field of vision, even though you still see them. Other things could be happening in your field of vision, you see them, but you ignore them, because you are focused on observing something specific. What I think, is that when we look around in the world, certain things attract one's attention for some reason or another, and so those things are observed by the person, but the vast majority of things going on around the person do not get observed at all, despite being present to the senses.

    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.Mww

    This would only be the case, if what you say about sensing and observation is true. But if it is true that there is a difference between sensation and observation, as I describe, then we have to account for that type of "judgement" or whatever it is, which induces us to observe only specific aspects of what we sense. This is not a conscious judgement, so it cannot be a judgement of reason. We could call it a sense of intuition, in the traditional sense of intuition, and one might trust this intuition over reason. Then the inclination to trust the laws of logic, and consequently trust reason, would be derived from a similar type of intuition.

    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.TheMadFool

    If X&Y&Z are inconsistent with each other, this does not justify the claim that the belief system is false, unless falsity is determined as inconsistency, rather than as correspondence. That is the point of the op. Each proposition might state something true (corresponding) about the world, yet logic might tell us that those statements are inconsistent. The laws of consistency are not based in correspondence, so inconsistent does not mean false, in the sense of correspondence.

    You conclude that X, Y, and Z, cannot all be true if inconsistent, but on what basis do you claim this? Perhaps your idea of what is consistent, and what is not consistent, does not provide a true representation of the world. Then being inconsistent does not necessarily mean false, because your rules of logic may not correspond with the reality of the world.
  • TheMadFool
    7.1k
    If X&Y&Z are inconsistent with each other, this does not justify the claim that the belief system is false, unless falsity is determined as inconsistency, rather than as correspondence. That is the point of the op. Each proposition might state something true (corresponding) about the world, yet logic might tell us that those statements are inconsistent. The laws of consistency are not based in correspondence, so inconsistent does not mean false, in the sense of correspondence.

    You conclude that X, Y, and Z, cannot all be true if inconsistent, but on what basis do you claim this? Perhaps your idea of what is consistent, and what is not consistent, does not provide a true representation of the world. Then being inconsistent does not necessarily mean false, because your rules of logic may not correspond with the reality of the world.
    Metaphysician Undercover

    The idea behind consistency appears to be simple. Consistency ensures that, there exists a possible world in which all propositions for a given belief system, say X, are true. If no such world exists, it's called inconsistency. The basic idea behind inconsistency is simple - it indicates that, in all possible worlds, at least one of the propositions in X is false. In other words, inconsistency is an indication that if you subscribe to belief system X, and the propositions that constitute X are inconsistent, you're actually admitting that you believe something false (the one or more false propositions that lead to the inconsistency).

    Suppose the inconsistent belief system X is made up of propositions P, Q, R, and S. X's inconsistency can be made more evident by the conjunction operation performed on P, Q, R, and S as so; P & Q & R & S which will always evaluate to false. In other words, there is no possible world in which P, Q, R, and S can all be true. To reiterate, an inconsistent set of propositions implies one or more of them is/are false.

    The idea that there's a possibility that the universe could itself be inconsistent doesn't make sense for the reason that inconsistency implies the presence of a falsehood and unless you want to construct a belief system that includes falsehoods, no inconsistent set of proposition is acceptable. Do you want there to be falsehoods in your belief system about the universe?
  • JerseyFlight
    596
    There were two astronauts in a shuttle hurling to earth. It is was inevitable they would die. One of them looked at the other and pulled a piece of paper from his pocket, "here, read this," he said with an urgent voice. The other astronaut, trembling with fear at the thought he was about to die, took the paper and read the following symbols on the page:

    X is Y of Q, but only if X is conditioned by P.
    X is the derivative of P as P itself derives from S...

    "What the fuck is this shit!," the astronaut yelled?
    "It's a very important syllogism I've been working on," he replied.

    Moments later the shuttle crashed to the earth.
  • TheMadFool
    7.1k
    Aren't we all like the guy who was working on a syllogism? Is life not a journey, a spaceflight? Don't we all put off thinking about death until it's close enough to sense it? Sorry, I don't get your point.
  • Harry Hindu
    3.4k
    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.Metaphysician Undercover
    Isn't that what "defining the meaning of words" means? If not, then what is a "definition"?

    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.Metaphysician Undercover
    I'm not sure I get what you mean here. My point was that there has to be a common understanding of what some words mean if they are to be used for communicating. That common understanding could be a dictionary, or experience with a person using certain words in a certain way. Either way, it requires experience with a dictionary or a person using words, to understand their use of them.


    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".Metaphysician Undercover
    That's the thing - I don't see a distinction. Don't you have to first understand that what you are looking at or hearing is words, and not just some scribbles or sounds? Only after that can you then try to understand what those scribbles or sounds refer to. At each point, there is no difference in the type of understanding required to understand the difference between scribbles and words and to understand how those words are used. In the case of lightning and thunder, you have to understand that it is lightning and thunder that you see and hear, and then understand from that what the presence of lightning and thunder mean.

    Understanding is simply having a set of rules for interpreting sensory data based on experience, and that goes for scribbles/voices and lightning/thunder.

    If you intended to communicate, then you would have to use words in a way that you know I would understand. If you didn't care about me understanding your use of words, then you really didn't use anything, just as you didn't use a screwdriver if you failed to turn the screw. You simply made scribbles or noises, or stripped the screw. Those scribbles and noises may mean something to you, but if your intent is to communicate, then that isn't enough. You have to understand you readers and listeners as well - like what languages that they understand and their level of competency. If not, then all you have done is make scribbles or noises.
  • Mww
    1.8k
    Observation requires that the person understands and remembers what has been seen.Metaphysician Undercover

    So you say, which is fine. I would say cognition requires one to understand, and experience is that which he remembers as having been observed in particular, perceived in general.
    —————-

    My argument is that some form of judgement (unconscious judgement) must be passed on sensation prior to observation.Metaphysician Undercover

    I suppose imagination, the unconscious faculty that transforms sensations into phenomena, could be thought as a form of judgement. But such transformation is still a consequence of perception rather than prior to it.
    ————-

    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".Metaphysician Undercover

    Whichever items are mentioned in a list merely indicates a relative impression those objects made, whether from familiarity, some arbitrary characteristic...shiny, odd-shaped, whatever. The list of cognized items will always be fewer than the list of sensed items, because the mind doesn’t bother registering those in the periphery, or those with relatively minor impression. In effect, there is always a possible list just as you’ve hypothesized, in everyday life.....when I look at the tv, the walls of the room are right there, but I don’t sense or observe them.

    On the other hand, the lists of related items could very well be different for different people, and there are people who can relate many more items on the list than others. In addition, the more time spend on sensing or observing, the more likely the list of items increases proportionally. Because of these variables, it must be the case that something other than sense or observation is responsible for relating the items on the list.

    I grant there will be a difference between the totality of the items and the items that make the list, but I don’t grant it as relating to a difference in sense vs. observation.
    —————-

    But if it is true that there is a difference between sensation and observation, as I describe, then we have to account for that type of "judgement" or whatever it is, which induces us to observe only specific aspects of what we sense.Metaphysician Undercover

    You 1: what you have noticed, or "observed", is different from what you have "sensed"
    You 2: there is a difference between sensation and observation, as I describe

    There is a difference between sensation and observation, but this is not as you described, that being the difference between what is sensed and observation. Sensation is the affect the objects we have sensed have on us...a tickle, a sound, a taste, etc. These are all sensations which merely represent objects that physiologically affect our sense organs.

    I don’t know what to do with this, now, because I’m not sure what it is you’re arguing.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    7.5k
    Consistency ensures that, there exists a possible world in which all propositions for a given belief system, say X, are true.TheMadFool

    This is incorrect. Consistency says nothing about the truth of the beliefs. One could write fictitious propositions which are completely false, but consistent, about some "possible world". Consistency does not ensure that the belief system is true. What ensures truth is that the propositions correspond with the actual world. The issue is whether or not the true propositions, ones which describe the actual world, are consistent with each other, and capable of producing one consistent "possible world". Perhaps the actual world is composed of a multitude of possible worlds which are inconsistent with each other.

    To reiterate, an inconsistent set of propositions implies one or more of them is/are false.TheMadFool

    If "true" is defined according to correspondence with the reality of the world, then another premise is required to produce this conclusion. That premise would be the proposition that the reality of the world cannot be described with inconsistent premises. How can we know whether this proposition is true or not.

    The idea that there's a possibility that the universe could itself be inconsistent doesn't make sense for the reason that inconsistency implies the presence of a falsehood and unless you want to construct a belief system that includes falsehoods, no inconsistent set of proposition is acceptable. Do you want there to be falsehoods in your belief system about the universe?TheMadFool

    This is only the case if you remove correspondence as a defining feature of truth and falsity. If you do this, then any imaginary possible world which is consistent is a true world. Otherwise you equivocate with your use of "falsehood".

    Isn't that what "defining the meaning of words" means? If not, then what is a "definition"?Harry Hindu

    Defining a word is to give a definition which will be adhered to within a logical argument or a similar use. This is a prescriptive venture. It prescribes how the word will be used and interpreted. What the dictionary gives us is a description of how words are generally used.

    I'm not sure I get what you mean here. My point was that there has to be a common understanding of what some words mean if they are to be used for communicating. That common understanding could be a dictionary, or experience with a person using certain words in a certain way. Either way, it requires experience with a dictionary or a person using words, to understand their use of them.Harry Hindu

    Your use of "common understanding" doesn't make any sense to me. Individual people understand, and have an understanding. But the way I understand things is different from the way that you understand things. Yet we can communicate. So I think your proposition, that a "common understanding" (which appears incoherent to me) is required for communication, is false.

    That's the thing - I don't see a distinction. Don't you have to first understand that what you are looking at or hearing is words, and not just some scribbles or sounds? Only after that can you then try to understand what those scribbles or sounds refer to.Harry Hindu

    I believe that this is intuitive. Everything we sense and observe, lightening, thunder, the ground, buildings, sky, words, is intuitively received as having significance or meaning. This is why I have requested a difference between sensation and observation. When we sense things, there is a huge magnitude of events happening all at the same time, and we instinctually prioritize the significance of the various things, and observe those assumed to have importance.

    At each point, there is no difference in the type of understanding required to understand the difference between scribbles and words and to understand how those words are used. In the case of lightning and thunder, you have to understand that it is lightning and thunder that you see and hear, and then understand from that what the presence of lightning and thunder mean.Harry Hindu

    I think there is a big difference between conscious understanding, reasoning, and the unconscious, intuitive, assigning of importance to sensations.

    So you say, which is fine. I would say cognition requires one to understand, and experience is that which he remembers as having been observed in particular, perceived in general.Mww

    OK, so I would place observation in the same category as cognition. There seems to be a grey area, a division lacking demarcation, which we often refer to habitually, between conscious reasoned thought (cognition), and unconscious brain activity. I'd say that this is derived from our habit of separating human beings from other animals, as equipped with a special type of mental capacity which the other animals do not have. Since we have established this division "man is a rational animal", we talk about mental capacities as if there is a divide between this and that type of activity. We wouldn't say that other animals engage in reasoning, cognition, or even observation. But to argue that other animals do, is to obscure that proposed division.

    However, I believe that this way of dividing the different mental activities is not representative of reality. In reality, each of these activities crosses back and forth between that proposed divide, consisting of aspects of each, reasoned thought, and animalistic instinct, and this habit of dividing mental activities as if some are distinctly reasoned thought, and others are distinctly brute instincts is an incorrect representation. So if we look at a divide between conscious (chosen) and unconscious (instinctually driven) activities, (perhaps the biological division of voluntary and involuntary actions), we would see that human beings and other animals engage in both. And if we were to take just the conscious (voluntary) actions, we would see that a large part of the inclination toward such actions is based in the involuntary. so it's not a proper division. This would mean, that as much as we want to separate "reason" out, and place it as conditioned by itself only, there is a fundamental part of it which is firmly planted in natural instinct.

    I suppose imagination, the unconscious faculty that transforms sensations into phenomena, could be thought as a form of judgement. But such transformation is still a consequence of perception rather than prior to it.Mww

    Based on what I wrote above, I have reason to question our understanding of judgement. We categorize judgement as a feature of conscious, reasoned decision, a product of cognition. However, it is quite clear from the example of seeing the multitude of things, that some type of decision, choice, or selection, is being made at the unconscious, involuntary level. How do we describe, or refer to this type of selection, or judgement, if the common use of all these words is conditioned by that traditional separation, to refer to the product of human reasoning alone? If it is actually the case that this type of activity, decision, choice, selection, or judgement, extends throughout all living activities to the most basic life forms, then we need to reassess the traditional division between a reasonable judgement and a non-reasonable judgement, to determine what constitutes a reasonable judgement.

    Whichever items are mentioned in a list merely indicates a relative impression those objects made, whether from familiarity, some arbitrary characteristic...shiny, odd-shaped, whatever.Mww

    Right, so can we say that the impression which the objects make is relative to some type of "judgement" (using quotes to signify an idiosyncratic use of the word referring to an instinctual, unconscious form of decision) of importance or some other type of significance? That different people will notice different things is indicative of a fundamental individuality in such "judgements". Perhaps, this individuality, this difference, is a fundamental feature of such instinctual "judgement", and we only learn through conditioning, to make judgements which are consistent with what others would make in the same situation. So we, as human beings, produce an artificial ideal, "a judgement which is consistent with what others would choose", and call this "reason", despite the fact that it is reasonable, do to the underlying individuality, to make a judgement which is different from others.

    I grant there will be a difference between the totality of the items and the items that make the list, but I don’t grant it as relating to a difference in sense vs. observation.Mww

    The use of terminology here is extremely vague, so I won't fuss over the proposed division between sense and observation. The point was to show that there must be some mechanism of choice or selection at this level. Consequently, there is "judgement", at the unconscious level. And any form of judgement must be grounded in some sense of importance or significance, so there must be a reason why some people would observe or notice some items, out of the vast multitude, and other people would notice other items.

    Sensation is the affect the objects we have sensed have on us...a tickle, a sound, a taste, etc. These are all sensations which merely represent objects that physiologically affect our sense organs.Mww

    The problem here, is that we cannot proceed through the conscious mind, to determine the effect which sensation has on the unconscious part of our being. With the conscious mind, we get to the point of the affect which sensations have on the conscious mind. But much of the interaction between the objects sensed, and the sensing being is carried out at the unconscious level. so we cannot access that interaction through the conscious mind. Therefore we cannot make any conscious judgements concerning the unconscious "judgements" which are carried out at that level through this procedure. To limit "the affect the objects have" to the consciously apprehended affect, is a mistake. .
  • Harry Hindu
    3.4k
    Defining a word is to give a definition which will be adhered to within a logical argument or a similar use. This is a prescriptive venture. It prescribes how the word will be used and interpreted. What the dictionary gives us is a description of how words are generally used.Metaphysician Undercover
    Which is to say what the word generally means, and how it is commonly understood, or interpreted. All of these terms are compatible with each other, so we seem to be understanding each other and agreeing as we are using different words that have similar meanings to reiterate what the other is saying.

    Your use of "common understanding" doesn't make any sense to me. Individual people understand, and have an understanding. But the way I understand things is different from the way that you understand things. Yet we can communicate. So I think your proposition, that a "common understanding" (which appears incoherent to me) is required for communication, is false.Metaphysician Undercover
    Exactly, YET we communicate. So how do you explain communication without a common understanding, or way of interpreting scribbles and sounds?

    I believe that this is intuitive. Everything we sense and observe, lightening, thunder, the ground, buildings, sky, words, is intuitively received as having significance or meaning. This is why I have requested a difference between sensation and observation. When we sense things, there is a huge magnitude of events happening all at the same time, and we instinctually prioritize the significance of the various things, and observe those assumed to have importance.Metaphysician Undercover
    It seems to me that you can't sever the interpretation from the sensation - as if sensations just occur without the addition of its interpretation. The brain subconsciously interprets the sensory data and filters it before you even become aware of it in your conscious mind. The conscious part of the mind seems to be an extra layer of fault-tolerance - interpreting sensory data and interpreting it in a social context, like for communication.

    I think there is a big difference between conscious understanding, reasoning, and the unconscious, intuitive, assigning of importance to sensations.Metaphysician Undercover
    Well, that begs the question: What is consciousness?
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    7.5k
    So how do you explain communication without a common understanding, or way of interpreting scribbles and sounds?Harry Hindu

    Communication is a very complex subject and I'm not ready to try to explain how it works.

    It seems to me that you can't sever the interpretation from the sensation - as if sensations just occur without the addition of its interpretation. The brain subconsciously interprets the sensory data and filters it before you even become aware of it in your conscious mind. The conscious part of the mind seems to be an extra layer of fault-tolerance - interpreting sensory data and interpreting it in a social context, like for communication.Harry Hindu

    Right we're in agreement here. That subconscious interpretation, which you say that the brain does, requires some sort of "judgement" is what I've been arguing. We cannot call it reasoning because reasoning is limited to conscious judgements. So i wonder what kind of principles are being applied in this subconscious interpretation.
  • TheMadFool
    7.1k
    This is incorrect. Consistency says nothing about the truth of the beliefs. One could write fictitious propositions which are completely false, but consistent, about some "possible world". Consistency does not ensure that the belief system is true. What ensures truth is that the propositions correspond with the actual world. The issue is whether or not the true propositions, ones which describe the actual world, are consistent with each other, and capable of producing one consistent "possible world". Perhaps the actual world is composed of a multitude of possible worlds which are inconsistent with each other.Metaphysician Undercover

    Your description of consistency is correct. All that's essential is that some possible world exist where all propositions being considered are true.

    You mention works of fiction and that the propositions contained therein are necessarily false and yet consistent. This is also correct for the same reason - there need only be one possible world in which all propositions in a fictional work are true to satisfy the condition of consistency.

    That "consistency does not ensure that the belief system is true" is, again, right on the money. All that the test of consistency can do is to show us that there's at least one possible world in which all propositions in a given belief system are true. It doesn't mean that that possible world in which all propositions in a belief system are true is this, our, world
  • TheMadFool
    7.1k
    To reiterate, an inconsistent set of propositions implies one or more of them is/are false.
    — TheMadFool

    If "true" is defined according to correspondence with the reality of the world, then another premise is required to produce this conclusion. That premise would be the proposition that the reality of the world cannot be described with inconsistent premises. How can we know whether this proposition is true or not.
    Metaphysician Undercover

    Sorry for the multiple posts but my last reply to this comment was inadequate.

    First, you agree that if a given set of propositions, cal it S, is inconsistent implies that there is no possible world where all of them are true.

    Second, if you agree to the above, you have to agree that if S is an inconsistent set of propositions, one or more of the propositions in S are false.

    Third, if you think all of the above are true then, any set of propositions, call it R, that describes reality and is inconsistent will contain at least one false proposition. Too, that the set R is inconsistent implies that there's no possible world in which all the constituent propositions of R are true. Doesn't this mean that even in this world, not all the propositions of R will be true i.e. you'll have at least one proposition in R that's false. Do you want to belief system which has falsehoods? No! If so, you simply can't accept a description of reality that's inconsistent.
  • TheMadFool
    7.1k
    This is only the case if you remove correspondence as a defining feature of truth and falsity. If you do this, then any imaginary possible world which is consistent is a true world. Otherwise you equivocate with your use of "falsehood".Metaphysician Undercover

    Again, my previous reply was not up to mark.

    There are two things to consider:

    1. The definition of truth as a correspondence between reality and the words that are used to decribe reality.

    So far so good.

    2. Then there's the notion of consistency/inconsistency.

    The correspondence theory of truth defines what truth is. That's that.

    The notion of consistency informs us whether a given belief system is acceptable in the sense it's possible that all propositions in it can be true at the same time. If this is impossible then we know that given belief system is inconsistent and in every possible world at least one of the propositions of that belief system is going to be false.

    The two, the correspondence theory of truth and the concept of consistency/inconsistency are independent of each other. The correspondence theory is an agreed upon meaning of truth and consistency/inconsistency is a description of the relationship between given propositions.

    Coming to your statement: "if we remove correspondence as a defining feature of truth and falsity...any imaginary world which is consistent is a true world". I get what you mean. You mean to say that the correspondence criterion decides whether something is true/not and if that were not the case, every world in all possible worlds would be identical in all respects, including truth.

    However, consistency/inconsistency doesn't depend on the actual truth of propositions. In fact this is why we use truth tables to identify them - every possibility is taken into account. Ergo, no theory or definition of truth is relevant to consistency/inconsistency.
  • Mww
    1.8k
    Lots of good stuff in there, but I’ll limit myself in return.

    I would say cognition requires one to understand.....
    — Mww

    OK, so I would place observation in the same category as cognition.
    Metaphysician Undercover

    I won't fuss over the proposed division between sense and observation.Metaphysician Undercover

    The second is fine; whatever reason there may be to fuss over the division between sense and observation is semantic, and doesn’t interfere too seriously with the technicalities. But if observation is suggested as having similar characteristics....being in the same category.....as cognition, we are met with an insurmountable technical inconsistency, for cognition makes explicit an understanding, but observation holds no such requirement, insofar as it is common enough to sense that for which there is no immediate recognition. In other words, cognition implies knowledge, mere observation does not.

    But I think I understand your groundwork: if there is an “unconscious” form of judgement at the one end of the cognitive sequence, which has been mentioned as imagination, and a “conscious” form of judgement at the other, which has been mentioned as judgement proper, then it follows that the outputs of these forms of judgement will have something in common between them. This may very well work, except for the realization that nothing in the unconscious mode can be anything but purely theoretical, from which follows necessarily that our observation, if categorized as proceeding from “unconscious” judgements, can also be nothing more than theoretical. But they are not, nor can they be, and still keep with the hope of empirical knowledge, as humans indulge themselves in it. One doesn’t theorize hearing a siren; he actually, truly, and with apodeictic certainty, hears a siren.
    ——————-

    I believe that this way of dividing the different mental activities is not representative of reality.Metaphysician Undercover

    It’s not supposed to represent reality; it only represents the compendium of faculties contained in a possible methodology used by humans in particular, to understand the reality in which they find themselves.
    ——————-

    between conscious reasoned thought (cognition), and unconscious brain activity. I'd say that this is derived from our habit of separating human beings from other animalsMetaphysician Undercover

    No need for such derivation. It is quite obvious there is an unconscious aspect of human mental activity, right? I mean.....we are never aware of the output of sensation and the input to the brain, yet when we stub our left toe we never jerk our right foot. Might this be your “unconscious” judgement?
    ———————

    The problem here, is that we cannot proceed through the conscious mind, to determine the effect which sensation has on the unconscious part of our being.Metaphysician Undercover

    Correct, which is why we theorize scientifically, and speculate metaphysically, on what is going on unconsciously. Everything between sensation and understanding is speculative, re:, unconscious, including appearance, intuition, space, time, imagination, phenomena, ending with conception. While one guy’s guess is as good as another’s, it helps to have as few explanatory gaps as possible.
    ——————-

    To limit "the affect the objects have" to the consciously apprehended affect, is a mistake. .Metaphysician Undercover

    Perhaps. But we both accept that we know things. If nothing else, the best we could say is we both sometimes make exactly the same mistake. And if everybody makes exactly the same mistake, we might as well call such mistakes, knowledge.
  • Harry Hindu
    3.4k
    We cannot call it reasoning because reasoning is limited to conscious judgements. So i wonder what kind of principles are being applied in this subconscious interpretation.Metaphysician Undercover
    This is an unwarranted assertion. What is it about consciousness that makes reasoning limited to it? To answer this we need a proper definition of consciousness.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    7.5k
    However, consistency/inconsistency doesn't depend on the actual truth of propositions. In fact this is why we use truth tables to identify them - every possibility is taken into account. Ergo, no theory or definition of truth is relevant to consistency/inconsistency.TheMadFool

    If this is the case, then why do we give consistency any esteem? According to the op, many would give greater esteem to consistency than to correspondence. This may be due to the fact that it is usually much more difficult to determine correspondence than it is to determine correspondence.

    The second is fine; whatever reason there may be to fuss over the division between sense and observation is semantic, and doesn’t interfere too seriously with the technicalities. But if observation is suggested as having similar characteristics....being in the same category.....as cognition, we are met with an insurmountable technical inconsistency, for cognition makes explicit an understanding, but observation holds no such requirement, insofar as it is common enough to sense that for which there is no immediate recognition. In other words, cognition implies knowledge, mere observation does not.Mww

    Again, if we follow this route of investigation we might just fall into a pit of deceptive definitions, defining a term in such a way so as to support an already adopted epistemology. So we now have an issue with the definition of "understanding". For me, there is no problem defining "understanding" such that "observation" requires understanding. How could one remember, and observe, what has occurred without some sort of understanding of what has occurred. Animals understand, perhaps insects understand, but I don't think plants have any understanding. But plants don't even sense. So we might link sensation as necessarily correlated with understanding. But if we ask which is prior to other other, as a necessary condition for the other, I would say that some sort of understanding is required for sensation.

    As I described in my last post, I think this comes down to an issue of "judgement" as the defining feature of these terms. Understanding requires some sort of "judgement". And sensation requires "judgement", as the judgement is used to filter the vast array of information available, such that the organism recognizes only the information which is "judged" as important or significant to it. If we ask, do plants make "judgements", I'd have to answer yes. Consider a seed. It will lie dormant for an extended period of time. Then, with the correct combination of environmental conditions, temperature, moisture, and light, it will germinate. Isn't this a case of "judgement"? We could almost say that it is a case of sensing without sense organs. Bear in mind, that a physicalist might argue that a thermostat senses the temperature. In philosophy, there is a tradition of shaping one's definitions to be consistent with one's metaphysics.

    But I think I understand your groundwork: if there is an “unconscious” form of judgement at the one end of the cognitive sequence, which has been mentioned as imagination, and a “conscious” form of judgement at the other, which has been mentioned as judgement proper, then it follows that the outputs of these forms of judgement will have something in common between them. This may very well work, except for the realization that nothing in the unconscious mode can be anything but purely theoretical, from which follows necessarily that our observation, if categorized as proceeding from “unconscious” judgements, can also be nothing more than theoretical. But they are not, nor can they be, and still keep with the hope of empirical knowledge, as humans indulge themselves in it.Mww

    It's not that the observations themselves (as basic sensations) are theoretical, (because theory is only produced by a rational conscious mind), but what we say about the observations is theoretical. This is because we only have access to our observations through our rational mind, so as i described earlier, when we go to memorize something, we put it into words.

    This displays the need to distinguish between the prior and the posterior in our definitions. Observation is prior to theory, because theory is built upon rational thinking employing human language, and observation is more primitive to that. However, within observation we can assume that there is something employed which is similar to theory, but we probably ought not call it "theory", because theory is posterior to observation, if we adhere to a strict definition of theory. Likewise, in my use of the term "judgement", we really ought not say that a seed makes a judgement. It provides more clarity to restrict that term to reasoned judgement of a conscious mind. But then we need a term to refer to what the seed is doing when it decides to germinate. if we do not create these terms, we have the ambiguity which allows the determinist to say that what the seed is doing, is the exact same thing as what the thermostat is doing.

    One doesn’t theorize hearing a siren; he actually, truly, and with apodeictic certainty, hears a siren.Mww

    But this isn't really true, is it? The person might hear a sound, interpreted as a siren, like a recoding perhaps, and assume that it is an actual siren. It really does not make sense to say that hearing the siren is a real and actual hearing a siren, and not a theorized hearing a siren, because there is theory within the concept of "siren", and also the concept of "hearing". So how could hearing a siren possibly be anything other than a theorized hearing a siren?

    No need for such derivation. It is quite obvious there is an unconscious aspect of human mental activity, right? I mean.....we are never aware of the output of sensation and the input to the brain, yet when we stub our left toe we never jerk our right foot. Might this be your “unconscious” judgement?/quote]

    Yeah, I think that serves as a good example. So consider reflex actions for a moment, as an example. It really is inappropriate to say that there is a "judgement" involved with reflex actions. However, how could we describe such actions without some reference to a sort of preconditioned influence toward a decision to act?
    Mww
    Perhaps. But we both accept that we know things. If nothing else, the best we could say is we both sometimes make exactly the same mistake. And if everybody makes exactly the same mistake, we might as well call such mistakes, knowledge.Mww

    This doesn't make a good epistemology though. it's nothing more than mob mentality. If everyone seems to be doing it, then it must be correct, "knowledge".

    This is an unwarranted assertion. What is it about consciousness that makes reasoning limited to it? To answer this we need a proper definition of consciousness.Harry Hindu

    Well, I don't think so really. All we need is a proper definition of "reason". The more specific term is defined in relation to the more general, but a definition of the more general defining feature is usually not necessary. So for example, we might define "human being" through reference to the more general, "mammal". A definition of "mammal" may or may not be called for. We define "mammal" in reference to "animal", and a definition of "animal" may or may not be called for. Likewise, if we define "reason" in reference to consciousness, a definition of consciousness may or may not be required.
  • TheMadFool
    7.1k
    If this is the case, then why do we give consistency any esteem? According to the op, many would give greater esteem to consistency than to correspondence. This may be due to the fact that it is usually much more difficult to determine correspondence than it is to determine correspondence.Metaphysician Undercover

    Consistency is important for the reason that if an inconsistency is detected then, there's a hidden contradiction and that's bad, right.

    Let me give you an example. Imagine I subscribe to theism (T) and materialism (M). As part of theism, god is considered immaterial (I)

    1. M.........premise (part of my belief)
    2. T...........premise (also part of my belief)
    3. T > I.....premise (if theism then god is immaterial)
    4. I > ~M...premise (if god immaterial then materialism false)
    5. T > ~M....3, 4 HS
    6. ~M...........2, 5 MP
    7. M & ~M....CONTRADICTION
    8. Either ~M Or ~T

    Statement 7 reveals the inconsistency, a contradiction, and implied theism and materialism are incompatible in the sense both can't be true. If you believe one, the other must be false. All in all, inconsistency checking ensures that there are no contradictions or falsehoods in your beliefs.
  • creativesoul
    8.7k
    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.Metaphysician Undercover

    It does not.

    All sorts of people engage in reasoning despite having self-contradictory(incoherent )beliefs. Some refuse to even consider the self-contradiction even when the incompatible beliefs are picked out and compared/analyzed side by side.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    7.5k
    Consistency is important for the reason that if an inconsistency is detected then, there's a hidden contradiction and that's bad, right.TheMadFool

    That is the point, to determine whether contradiction truly is bad. If reality is such, that contradiction is required to accurately describe it, then how can we say that contradiction is bad?

    All in all, inconsistency checking ensures that there are no contradictions or falsehoods in your beliefs.TheMadFool

    Again, this is to define "falsehood" as inconsistency. But if reality is such that inconsistencies are the result of true descriptions of our natural world, how can you say that inconsistency represents falsehood?

    It does not.

    All sorts of people engage in reasoning despite having self-contradictory(incoherent )beliefs. Some refuse to even consider the self-contradiction even when the incompatible beliefs are picked out and compared/analyzed side by side.
    creativesoul

    Sure, but we label these people as unreasonable. This is the two different uses of "reason" I referred to already. There is "reason" which refers to when a person uses some thinking capacity to work out a problem, working from some sort of premises to a conclusion. Then there is "reason" which refers to conventional rules of logic, by which we would judge an individual's use of reason, as valid or not. On a judgement of not valid, we would say that the person's reason is unreasonable.

    You appear to be saying that within an individual's own tendency to reason (and this is what I called natural reason), a person would allow the existence of contradiction. I disagree. I think that if the person recognizes the contradiction as such, the reasoning would not be accepted by the person. But I agree that such self-contradiction and incoherency does exist, though it is not recognized as such by the person who holds those beliefs. What appears to others as incoherency is actually rationalized within the mind of the person who holds those beliefs such that it does not appear as incoherent to that person.

    I think it is an intuitive, innate tendency, to reject contradiction and incoherency, when recognized as such, as unintelligible. It may be the case, that if it is deemed necessary in order to understand the reality of our world, we might be educated, or habitualized, to allow such incoherency, as part of our training in formal logic, but I would not accept the proposal that the reverse is the case. That is, I would not accept that the natural tendency of a human being is to accept contradiction and incoherency, and it is only through training and education that we learn to reject this.
  • TheMadFool
    7.1k
    That is the point, to determine whether contradiction truly is bad. If reality is such, that contradiction is required to accurately describe it, then how can we say that contradiction is bad?Metaphysician Undercover

    A contradiction is "bad" because, to give an analogy, it's like writing down a proposition on a blank piece of paper and then erasing it. If I say P and then follow it up by saying ~P and P = "God exists" then it amounts to this: God exists. It's as good as not saying anything at all.

    Again, this is to define "falsehood" as inconsistency. But if reality is such that inconsistencies are the result of true descriptions of our natural world, how can you say that inconsistency represents falsehood?Metaphysician Undercover

    Inconsistency has nothing to do with the definition of falsehood. Allow me to explain (as best as I can). Imagine there are two definitions of truth and falsity: 1. Correspondence, 2. Pragmatic. Whether I use definition 1 or definition 2 doesn't matter for inconsistency is simply the situation in which you say something and then take back what you said. Refer to what I said about contradictions.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    7.5k
    A contradiction is "bad" because, to give an analogy, it's like writing down a proposition on a blank piece of paper and then erasing it. If I say P and then follow it up by saying ~P and P = "God exists" then it amounts to this: God exists. It's as good as not saying anything at all.TheMadFool

    A proposition without context is meaningless. So the terms in your example, "God", and "exists" need to be defined. Otherwise saying "God exists" says nothing at all in the first place, so negating it changes nothing.

    Inconsistency has nothing to do with the definition of falsehood. Allow me to explain (as best as I can). Imagine there are two definitions of truth and falsity: 1. Correspondence, 2. Pragmatic. Whether I use definition 1 or definition 2 doesn't matter for inconsistency is simply the situation in which you say something and then take back what you said. Refer to what I said about contradictions.TheMadFool

    Then inconsistency has nothing to do with falsehood, and your statement:
    All in all, inconsistency checking ensures that there are no contradictions or falsehoods in your beliefs.TheMadFool
    is a misunderstanding.
  • TheMadFool
    7.1k
    A proposition without context is meaningless. So the terms in your example, "God", and "exists" need to be defined. Otherwise saying "God exists" says nothing at all in the first place, so negating it changes nothing.Metaphysician Undercover

    Well, put it in whatever context you wish but the fact that you're cutting off the very branch you're sitting on remains unchanged.

    is a misunderstandingMetaphysician Undercover

    :chin: The concept of inconsistency has nothing to do with the definition of truth/falsity. All it reveals is that you're, in logical terms, taking one step forward (affirming a proposition) and taking one step backward (denying the proposition you just affirmed), essentially you're just standing at one spot without making any progress.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    7.5k
    Well, put it in whatever context you wish but the fact that you're cutting off the very branch you're sitting on remains unchanged.TheMadFool

    Actually I see your descriptions as cutting off the branch your sitting on. You want to define truth in relation to correspondence, yet you keep insisting that falsehood can be demonstrated by inconsistency. This divorces falsehood from a lack of truth, associating it with inconsistency.

    The concept of inconsistency has nothing to do with the definition of truth/falsity.TheMadFool

    Then why do you keep saying that falsehood can be determined by inconsistency? That is inconsistency within your argument. You claim that inconsistency has nothing to do with truth or falsity, then you proceed to argue that inconsistency demonstrates falsehood. So it is you who makes a step forward, by recognizing that truth and falsity have nothing to do with inconsistency, then you'll make a step backward right to the point of where you entered this discussion, and claim that inconsistency demonstrates falsehood.

    Perhaps we need to separate "true" from "false" such that they are not the opposite or negation of each other. We could say that true is corresponding, and false is inconsistent. Then lack of, or deficiency, in correspondence does not mean false, even though corresponding means true, and consistency does not necessitate true, even though inconsistent necessitates false.
  • creativesoul
    8.7k
    You appear to be saying that within an individual's own tendency to reason (and this is what I called natural reason), a person would allow the existence of contradiction. I disagree.Metaphysician Undercover

    I am saying that people hold contradictory beliefs.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    7.5k

    Well yeah, but there's a difference between holding beliefs that someone else recognizes as contradictory, and holding beliefs which you yourself recognize as contradictory. Only the latter would be an instance of accepting incoherency. I think we might be able to train ourselves to accept incoherency, but it's contrary to natural reason, so we'd probably need some very strong arguments to persuade us into doing this.
  • creativesoul
    8.7k
    Smith cannot believe both, that he will get the job, and that someone else will get the job.
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