World's Worst Philosopher Questions Knowledge

#1
I consider myself one of the world's worst philosophers but occasionally I pause for reflection or contemplation.  Do we really know things or do we just believe we do? I wake up this morning and that thought is in my head. I'm thinking that believing something's right is more realistic than knowing something's right. I mean if only one component of reality is not what it seems then there's no way anyone can say they're categorically correct about anything. Still, wouldn't we have to know that first? Seems that knowing doesn't figure into it. It's a believer's world.....Who da thunk it?
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#2
Well, there are physical laws and mathematical proofs.  Albeit, some are idealized within closed systems, or a vacuum, which is unattainable in the real world, but in most circumstances they hold true, "at least within their regime of validity."

I think you're questioning the nature of knowledge.

Epistemology
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#3
(Feb 2, 2017 05:57 PM)Secular Sanity Wrote: Well, there are physical laws and mathematical proofs.  Albeit, some are idealized within closed systems, or a vacuum, which is unattainable in the real world, but in most circumstances they hold true, "at lease within their regime of validity."

I think you're questioning the nature of knowledge.

Epistemology

If I have to continue analyzing then I don't really know, do I? Trying to think of something that never gets analyzed but no luck. Even 1+ 1 = 2 gets looks.

Maybe all we can do at this stage is try to understand best we can. That would incorporate knowledge but because we continue to comprehend, the facts are fragile and subject to scrutiny. There always seems to be that lingering doubt associated with everything, especially when philosophers get hold of it. We seem to have enough knowledge to at least form a consensus, theory, idea, invent etc. Trouble is, knowledge keeps pouring in and old ideas are trashed on a regular basis. What was once thought to be knowledge is now in a dumpster. 

Imagine what it would be like to absolutely know beyond any doubt, proving anything is or isn't. Doesn't it stand to reason that if we knew more then there would be less for us to believe.
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#4
(Feb 2, 2017 03:53 PM)Zinjanthropos Wrote: I'm thinking that believing something's right is more realistic than knowing something's right. I mean if only one component of reality is not what it seems then there's no way anyone can say they're categorically correct about anything. Still, wouldn't we have to know that first? Seems that knowing doesn't figure into it. It's a believer's world.....Who da thunk it?

Believing is the acceptance of second-hand information, for whatever reason (tradition, inference, experiment, authority, etc). "I believe China exists even though I've never been there."

Knowing is first-hand information provided by senses and personally lived-through encounters. "I know China exists because I have visited it."

Invented standards and systems can classify an arrangement and interpretation of second-hand information as fact. "The evidence accumulated by the archeological team validates that the battle did take place at this site 400 years ago."

First-hand knowledge could still be perversely rejected, denied via escape into delusion, or suspended by argument, conspiratorial theorizing, etc. ("Even though I saw Bob stab Sally, I still don't acknowledge it.") Lack of inter-subjective consensus could also negate it. ("I witnessed and touched the green giraffe, but no one else that was present in the room did so.") Shifting to a different context or story where it doesn't seem to hold. ("But my experiential and intellectual evidence of the world is just electrochemical activity in a brain." ... "But a macroscopic object like the Moon or its corporeal material is just oscillations in a quantum field.")
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#5
(Feb 2, 2017 09:14 PM)C C Wrote:
(Feb 2, 2017 03:53 PM)Zinjanthropos Wrote: I'm thinking that believing something's right is more realistic than knowing something's right. I mean if only one component of reality is not what it seems then there's no way anyone can say they're categorically correct about anything. Still, wouldn't we have to know that first? Seems that knowing doesn't figure into it. It's a believer's world.....Who da thunk it?

Believing is the acceptance of second-hand information, for whatever reason (tradition, inference, experiment, authority, etc). "I believe China exists even though I've never been there."  

Knowing is first-hand information provided by senses and personally lived-through encounters. "I know China exists because I have visited it."  

Invented standards and systems can classify an arrangement and interpretation of second-hand information as fact. "The evidence accumulated by the archeological team validates that the battle did take place at this site 400 years ago."

First-hand knowledge could still be perversely rejected, denied via escape into delusion, or suspended by argument, conspiratorial theorizing, etc. ("Even though I saw Bob stab Sally, I still don't acknowledge it.") Lack of inter-subjective consensus could also negate it. ("I witnessed and touched the green giraffe, but no one else that was present in the room did so.") Shifting to a different context or story where it doesn't seem to hold. ("But my experiential and intellectual evidence of the world is just electrochemical activity in a brain." ... "But a macroscopic object like the Moon or its corporeal material is just oscillations in a quantum field.")

Ever think that we haven't evolved to a stage where we can know everything. Maybe we need something more than this little quantum brain we have. Perhaps it needs something added to it, a little booster. Maybe we're one mutation away from some pretty incredible stuff that will make today's humans look like primitive apes  Wink There's always room for improvement.
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#6
(Feb 3, 2017 01:41 AM)Zinjanthropos Wrote: Ever think that we haven't evolved to a stage where we can know everything. Maybe we need something more than this little quantum brain we have. Perhaps it needs something added to it, a little booster. Maybe we're one mutation away from some pretty incredible stuff that will make today's humans look like primitive apes  Wink There's always room for improvement.


Alone we're pretty stupid. But collectively we're arguably already one of E O Wilson's superorganisms. With possibly the knowledge and creative potency of a low-grade archilect (AI god).

Which is to say, if a single immortal human began its life 250,000 years ago minus any others of its kind in the world, our pessimism regarding how it would ever accomplish the feats of today entirely on its own would be aborted before ever getting to such a consideration. By virtue of that lone individual -- without the stimulations, needs, rewards / incentives, and interactions of a society -- not even being able to develop the basic concepts that would have compelled it to seek developing the highest skills, arts, scitech, and abstract models that have arisen since. After all those vast centuries he / she might still be nothing more than a feral scavenger or limited to hunter / gatherer status.

Not that human civilization could ever match the incredible processing speed of an archailect and the insights and otherwise unconsidered relational possibilities that might fall out of that and the construction projects of its henchman robots and replicating picotechnology. But setting aside the time factor and the short-sighted roadblocks / biases of our preferences, we could still someday achieve a slow version of deity-level sapience and power (without the aid of smart machines).

DANIEL DENNETT: "[...] the case that can be made for taking one species--our species--right off the scale of intelligence that ranks the pig above the lizard and the ant above the oyster. Comparing our brains with bird brains or dolphin brains is almost beside the point, because our brains are in effect joined together into a single cognitive system that dwarfs all others. They are joined by one of the innovations that has invaded our brains and no others: language. I am not making the foolish claim that all our brains are knit together by language into one gigantic mind, thinking its transnational thoughts, but rather that each individual human brain, thanks to its communicative links, is the beneficiary of the cognitive labors of the others in a way that gives it unprecedented powers. Naked animal brains are no match at all for the heavily armed and outfitted brains we carry in our heads." --The Role of Language in Intelligence
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