• Wayfarer
    13.6k
    Cubes and the number three exist in a way not entirely dissimilar to mortgages and property.Banno

    There are a whole range of other realities whose reality we can now affirm: interest rates, mortgages, contracts, vows, national constitutions, penal codes and so on. Where do interest rates "exist"? Not in banks, or financial institutions. Are they real when we cannot touch them or see them? We all spend so much time worrying about them - are we worrying about nothing? In fact, I'm sure we all worry much more about interest rates than about the existence or non-existence of the Higgs boson! Similarly, a contract is not just the piece of paper, but the meaning the paper embodies; likewise a national constitution or a penal code.

    Once we break the stranglehold on our thinking by our animal extroversion*, we can affirm the reality of our whole world of human meanings and values, of institutions, nations, finance and law, of human relationships and so on, without the necessity of seeing them as "just" something else lower down the chain of being yet to be determined.
    Neil Ormerod, The Metaphysical Muddle of Lawrence Krauss

    * 'Animal extroversion' is an expression associated with Bernard Lonergan, arising from the conviction that the real is 'already out there now', absent any reflection on the nature of knowing. The review that this quote is taken from is germane to the topic.
  • Banno
    14.3k
    We are agreeing again.
  • Janus
    10.7k
    here are a whole range of other realities whose reality we can now affirm: interest rates, mortgages, contracts, vows, national constitutions, penal codes and so on.Neil Ormerod, The Metaphysical Muddle of Lawrence Krauss

    All of which are dependent for their existence on humanity. As to what exists independently of humans. humans and animals share an environment which is not dependent on humans, except insofar as they have changed the environment into the form it currently takes. The environment is not dependent on humans for its sheer existence, though; a fact which is amply demonstrated by the fossil record.
  • Pop
    1.4k
    An example? What specifically, in your narrow vision, are you referring to?
  • Wayfarer
    13.6k
    The environment is not dependent on humans for its sheer existence, though; a fact which is amply demonstrated by the fossil record.Janus

    'A physicist', said Neils Bohr, 'is just an atom's way of looking at itself'.
  • Janus
    10.7k
    'A physicist', said Neils Bohr, 'is just an atom's way of looking at itself'.Wayfarer

    The relevance escapes me.
  • Banno
    14.3k

    We can be certain there is no certainty!Pop

    Even you don't take your view seriously:
    :lol:Pop
  • Pop
    1.4k
    I don't take that expression seriously, obviously! But I think I made my point in regards to objective reality.
  • Pop
    1.4k
    If you are going to make comments about other people, I think it is a good idea to do so directly to their face, otherwise it is slander. I wont sue this time, but you are on notice. :cool:
  • 180 Proof
    5.7k
    I think I made my point in regards to objective reality.Pop
    And "objective reality" presupposes ...
    Anyone who denies the law of non-contradiction should be beaten and burned until he admits that to be beaten is not the same as not to be beaten, and to be burned is not the same as not to be burned. — Ibn Sina
  • Pop
    1.4k
    If you insert -"Unless they get a laugh" at the end of Sina's quote, then I would agree with it. :smile: in this instance.
  • Banno
    14.3k
    So we really didn't get anywhere.
  • Banno
    14.3k
    I wont sue this time, but you are on notice.Pop

    Making a threat of that sort was once an automatic ban.

    You are on notice.
  • Cheshire
    911
    It might turn out that 1+2 does not equal 3? Or that the Bishop does not stay on its original colour? Or even that the earth is not roughly spherical?Banno
    I don't think that's an accurate use of "might"; the number of times those ideas have not been falsified suggest they are unlikely to be an example of error that results from being subject to human error.
    Then I don't agree. These are things we know. And I think you misunderstand the perspective I am taking here. Sure, you can make up any definition for "know" that you like.Banno
    I did not sense a consensus building in this regard. I'm very familiar with the perspective and why it's maintained. Well, here we agree. It seems to be the case people have "made up" a definition and failed to improve it.
    So on your version you can know things that are not true. Fine. Time to shake my head and walk away.Banno
    Correction, in my version we must know things that are false, because it hinges on the existence of unknown errors. It is je ne sais quoi, "necessary"? I would prefer to sally forth, but as you see fit.
  • Banno
    14.3k
    we must know things that are false,Cheshire

    (...shakes head and walks away)
  • Cheshire
    911
    (...shakes head and walks away)Banno
    Every measurement that has ever been taken since the beginning of measuring things has inherent error. If we can know things imperfectly, then it follows that part of what is known is false. Then, there is the problem of change. Suppose something is known by the classical definition and then it changes. Does something in the mind make this adjustment to maintain a mystical correspondence? Knowledge is either so limited by it's own definition that we can barely know anything or knowledge is imperfect like everything else humans ever did or will do.
  • bongo fury
    1.2k
    Good absolutism is recognising that within a language game there is often no choice between this and not-this. For example, the puzzle,

    [1] Tell me, do you think that a single grain of wheat is a heap?bongo fury

    requires a benignly absolutist grasp that answering in the affirmative isn't playing the game of English usage of 'heap'.

    The good absolutist (and you would think, any competent speaker) will say,

    [2] No, absolutely not.bongo fury

    Likewise with,

    • Tell me, do you agree that this is not a hand?

    or

    • Tell me, do you agree that I may move my bishop straight forwards?

    ... although these don't naturally or easily create sorites sequences.

    Good relativism is recognising that within a language game there is often a choice between this and not-this. For example,

    [1] And tell me, do you think that adding a single grain could ever turn a non-heap into a heap?bongo fury

    deserves something like

      [2] Yes, that kind of flexibility does seem intrinsic to usage of the word.

    Good relativism is also about recognising that the absolutism only holds relative to the game, which can co-exist happily with other games.

    Games can merge, of course, and then the relativity becomes complicated and might require loss of absolutism here and there.

    Science is all about merging, and reconciling and reformulating, so while it's natural to think that

    Every measurement that has ever been taken since the beginning of measuring things has inherent error.Cheshire

    it may make better sense to see the process as one of dropping or replacing or reforming whole systems of measurement that were perfectly (absolutely) stable games in their own terms, and with their own margins for error.
  • Cheshire
    911
    it may make better sense to see the process as one of dropping or replacing or reforming whole systems of measurement that were perfectly (absolutely) stable games in their own terms, and with their own margins for error.bongo fury
    Granted, if we were having a discussion on measurement there is a more nuanced position that would be appropriate. I was attempting to demonstrate that even in the case of direct empirical contact we return without perfect data; as to imply that cases that are more inferential certainly carry a higher degree of plausible deviation in correspondence to the facts. If it holds true in the best possible case for the contrary then it is likely true in a typical case. I agree though it is an awkward way of using measurement error and arguably misleading.
  • Banno
    14.3k
    Every measurement that has ever been taken since the beginning of measuring things has inherent error. If we can know things imperfectly, then it follows that part of what is known is false. Then, there is the problem of change. Suppose something is known by the classical definition and then it changes. Does something in the mind make this adjustment to maintain a mystical correspondence? Knowledge is either so limited by it's own definition that we can barely know anything or knowledge is imperfect like everything else humans ever did or will do.Cheshire

    There's a compounding of issues in that post that detracts markedly from any benefit that might accrue from writing a reply.

    To take the measurement example alone, lesson one in physics is dealing with errors. The bench is 10±0.9m long; the rock has a mass of 0.6±0.1kg, and so on. The error is part of what we know about the bench and the rock.

    And that's the point of the approach I would promote: accurate and thoughtful use of language.
  • Banno
    14.3k
    I don't understand the misattribution (I was quoting you), nor the relevance of your comment.
  • bongo fury
    1.2k
    In error, cheers.
  • Banno
    14.3k
    In error, cheers.bongo fury

    The quote or the relevance...? :wink:
  • bongo fury
    1.2k
    nor the relevance of your comment.Banno

    Everything as it should be, then.
  • Cheshire
    911
    To take the measurement example alone, lesson one in physics is dealing with errors. The bench is 10±0.9m long; the rock has a mass of 0.6±0.1kg, and so on. The error is part of what we know about the bench and the rock.Banno

    Precisely, the error in this context is a known error. It is like you say incorporated into our knowledge along with the rest of the information. Because we know it, we account for it and avoid mistakes in our knowledge.

    What do we do about the unknown errors? They are incorporated in the same fashion, but unaccounted for and yet knowledge is some how maintained as true throughout as if they were known. It doesn't sound reasonable to assume known and unknown errors result in the same quality of knowledge. Nor, is it reasonable to imagine knowledge of this sort is some mislabeled outlier.

    There's a compounding of issues in that post that detracts markedly from any benefit that might accrue from writing a reply.Banno
    I would call it an improvement. Generally, the matter has been tossed out based on having been wrongly concluded.

    And that's the point of the approach I would promote: accurate and thoughtful use of language.Banno
    I'll reserve thoughtful for sentimental topics; accurate to the human experience or the preferred definition?

    Good relativism is also about recognising that the absolutism only holds relative to the game, which can co-exist happily with other games.
    Games can merge, of course, and then the relativity becomes complicated and might require loss of absolutism here and there.
    bongo fury
    Science is all about merging and reconciling and reformulating..bongo fury

    So, you looked over the post and said; you know what would really clear up the confusion here. A rice heap paradox. I maintain the suspension of disbelief that one day a coherent thing will be said about language gaming.
  • bongo fury
    1.2k
    So, you looked over the postCheshire

    No, over the thread. Just pointing out that absolutism has a non-cosmic variety, from which point of view correctness is absolutely achieved, and your notion of 'inherent error' is unnecessarily cosmic.
  • Isaac
    5.3k
    An example?khaled

    Ignore @Banno's dramatics. The problem is only a mundane linguistic one. We say "I know the capital of France is Paris", we also say "I thought I knew what the capital of France was, but I didn't".

    Normal uses of the past tense conserve meaning in context. So if 'I know' were to mean something like {I'm 99% confident}, then "I knew" would mean something like {I was 99% confident}. But if you substitute those expressions into the common sentences above, they don't work. We get "I thought I was 99% confident what the capital of France was, but I wasn't". But that's not true. We were 99% confident at the time, we're just not now. So equating 'know' with confidence doesn't match our normal use, in those contexts.

    In my opinion, the normal use is best matched by assuming we're referring to a correspondence theory of truth. It's more similar to "I thought I was in love but I wasn't", we're describing our state of mind, only here we're describing the degree to which it matches/matched reality. "I know X" means that the picture I have of X matches the way X really is. So 'I knew' means the picture I had of X matched the way X really was. Substitute those meanings into our tricky sentences and they are safely conserved between tenses.

    Of course, whether we're right to have a picture-based correspondence theory of truth is another matter... but it seems to be what we're talking about with the word 'know' in those particular contexts.
  • Harry Hindu
    4.2k
    'A physicist', said Neils Bohr, 'is just an atom's way of looking at itself'.Wayfarer
    Can one atom look at itself, or can only a group of atoms look at themselves?

    From one view we are people. From another we are atoms. Is the varying size scale something real that exists independent of perception, or is it a product of different types of perceptions? If the latter, is it perceptions all the way down? If the former, then is there really a fundamental size, like atoms, or does it depend on one's perception?

    If there is no fundamental size and fundamental is in the eye of the beholder, then we are just as much people as we are atoms looking at itself.
  • Cheshire
    911
    No, over the thread. Just pointing out that absolutism has a non-cosmic variety, from which point of view correctness is absolutely achieved, and your notion of 'inherent error' is unnecessarily cosmic.bongo fury
    I don't have any reservations about achieving absolutely correct knowledge. The inherent error was more of a red herring; which arguably worked. Yes, we know plenty of things in fullest sense of the term.
  • Cheshire
    911
    Do you know things that are false?Banno
    I misread a book on cats once in such a way that I thought it said the sounds they make imitate human language. I took it in a specific sense to mean a cat in Italy or a cat in England would meow in such a way that the speech of the owner carried over into a cat accent. I told this with great interest to my former lady who repeated it to her entire family. The laughter that followed is one of my fondest memories. I have known things that were false, what is to make me believe that can no longer be the case?

    I can of course answer my question with the likely; I never really knew it, it was an imaginary experience like knowing the contents of a dream. But, this implies there is another special type of knowing where the world some how involves itself in our minds. It's easily demonstrated by observing obvious things that could almost never suffer from interpretation. But, those are never things a person would claim to know outside of an ad-hoc demonstration of knowing things. Actual knowing often suffers imperfect references and conjecture with degrees of approximation that would never suggest the whole of knowledge is true.

    Knowledge ought to be true if it's claimed to be known. I can acknowledge that much I guess.
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