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Apotheosis
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Post by Apotheosis » Mon Mar 15, 2004 2:12 am

If you look at the end of that sentence, it reads 'except for knowledge of uncertainty' which makes it so it does not contradict itself.
Nevertheless, it is still part of the sentence. If we examine the sentence and look at what it is claiming to be true we see this:

Man's knowledge = uncertainty of everything

The very statement is faulty. If the only thing that man knows is his uncertainty of everything, then how does he know that he knows his uncertainty of everything? According to the statement, man cannot know, thus rendering the claim meaningless. Do you see the flaw? It has no basis, no foundation. It's like trying to build a log cabin in mid air. You lay the first piece of wood down and it simply plummets and clocks some guy on the head and kills him!

About the other part of the statement, man can know something about another's reality. He may not know everything, but he can know something.

P.S. -
Man A believes that fire puts out water. Man B hears Man A say this and also believes it. Man B may believe that water is chocolate while Man A may think water is water. They think they are talking about the same thing, but they are not. Man B misunderstands Man A, but he still believs him. In order to view the universe like another does, you would have to be that one.
That example has nothing to do with your last sentence. One is talking about misconception/miscomprehension and the other is talking about viewing another's reality.

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Post by Kalailan » Mon Mar 15, 2004 10:07 am

"One cannot completely comprehend the reality of another."
This leads to a question about the morality of the judical system.
If one cannot completely comprehend the reality of another, how can one Judge another?
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Post by Mongoose42 » Mon Mar 15, 2004 7:32 pm

threewood14 wrote:
Furthermore, the statement "man cannot know anything except for his knowledge of uncertainty" is self-destructive. It contradicts itself. For example, if it is true that man cannot know anything, then the statement saying that man cannot know anything could be false.
This statement is not only selfdestructive, but ultimately destructive. The only way to avoid the chaos and uncertainty the statement is to deny its existence or asssert the existence of absolute truth. According to the statement 2+2 can equal 9, but it is accepted as an absolute truth that 2+2 is 4. Humans deal with water and chocolate by ignoring the fact that what you call water I call chocolate. Humans ignore the arguement and assume that the definition of water being used is an absolute definition.

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Post by Apotheosis » Mon Mar 15, 2004 8:02 pm

I couldn't have said it any better myself Mongoose! Jolly good show!

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Post by threewood14 » Mon Mar 15, 2004 8:11 pm

Problem one - The statement contradicts itself.
Solution 1 - Man's only knowledge is his knowledge of uncertainty. Yes, you can argue that you cannot be certain about uncertainty. But the idea does not work that way. Maybe I have chosen poor vocabulary, but I'm not sure I have. Here is another way to look at it. The only fact one can know is that he knows nothing else. The only fact one can know involves uncertainty. Therefore, he knows for certain that he doesn't know anything else. I have tried explaining it in one sentence, but it usually refers to a run-on statement. So I tried for one sentence. the ...except for his knowledge of uncertainty was basically the only fact. The only fact man can know is that he knows nothing else. One cannot be uncertain about not knowing anything else.

Problem 2 - One can know something about another's reality
Solution 2 - Jimmy says tha he sees an apple on the table. Billy, says that he does not see an apple on the same table. Obviously, they have a different perspective on reality. How can Jimmy convince Billy that he sees an apple on the table? The first answer would of course be english. "I see an apple on the table," says Jimmy. Billy would probably agree that he does. But how would one know that Jimmy isn't lying? Also, since everyone has their own reality, everyone may have a different take on how to use english. So (and again take this literally) Billy may think that Jimmy is telling him that he wants a candy bar. Billy would probably look at him funny. The point is, if we try to view the universe as another does, we will find out that we cannot. Once we think we understand, it becomes part of own perspective of the universe.

One could argue that the ideas are the same. But there is a chance that one misunderstands another. Although this chance is small and usually unnoticed, it still exists and therefore creates an uncertainty in the way we look at another's preception of the universe. In order to view the universe like another does, we would have to be that person.
He may not know everything, but he can know something.
If you do not know everything about one simple idea, how could you know it for certain?
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Post by Apotheosis » Tue Mar 16, 2004 3:11 am

Problem one - The statement contradicts itself.
Solution 1 - Man's only knowledge is his knowledge of uncertainty. Yes, you can argue that you cannot be certain about uncertainty. But the idea does not work that way. Maybe I have chosen poor vocabulary, but I'm not sure I have. Here is another way to look at it. The only fact one can know is that he knows nothing else. The only fact one can know involves uncertainty. Therefore, he knows for certain that he doesn't know anything else. I have tried explaining it in one sentence, but it usually refers to a run-on statement. So I tried for one sentence. the ...except for his knowledge of uncertainty was basically the only fact. The only fact man can know is that he knows nothing else. One cannot be uncertain about not knowing anything else.
I see what you are trying to say; however, it is simply not true that the only thing that man knows is that he knows nothing but the fact that he knows nothing! Your entire claim is built on thin air. There is no foundation for your claims. What you said cannot be proven, it is impossible to do so. Your logic keeps going in circles and has no base. It is like I said before, it's like trying to build the foundation for a house on top of thin air. It can't be done. You try to lay the cement and it simply pours all over some unfortunate person's head! It plainly doesn't work! Here's my reasoning as to why: If man's knowledge consists solely of the fact that he knows nothing else, then how can he justify that he knows for sure that he knows nothing but the fact that he knows nothing? He cannot justify it. He cannot prove it. Therefore, this entire statement has been built on a faulty foundation, thus rendering it meaningless.
Problem 2 - One can know something about another's reality
Solution 2 - Jimmy says tha he sees an apple on the table. Billy, says that he does not see an apple on the same table. Obviously, they have a different perspective on reality. How can Jimmy convince Billy that he sees an apple on the table? The first answer would of course be english. "I see an apple on the table," says Jimmy. Billy would probably agree that he does. But how would one know that Jimmy isn't lying? Also, since everyone has their own reality, everyone may have a different take on how to use english. So (and again take this literally) Billy may think that Jimmy is telling him that he wants a candy bar. Billy would probably look at him funny. The point is, if we try to view the universe as another does, we will find out that we cannot. Once we think we understand, it becomes part of own perspective of the universe.

One could argue that the ideas are the same. But there is a chance that one misunderstands another. Although this chance is small and usually unnoticed, it still exists and therefore creates an uncertainty in the way we look at another's preception of the universe. In order to view the universe like another does, we would have to be that person.
The truth of the matter is, there are certain absolute definitions of English words. We all must assume that everyone is using these absolute definitions when we speak or write. Even though we cannot be 100% sure, there is an extremely high probability that everyone who speaks English uses the absolute definitions. This probability is so high that we know "for sure" that everyone means what he or she means. Ask yourself this: Why would someone use definitions of English words that no one else accepts as true? It would not benefit that person in any way, shape or form. It would just be plain old dumb!

Now for the second part of my response. The example with Billy, Jimmy and the candy bar had nothing to do with your next sentence. You are confusing misconception with viewing something from another's point of view. In order to make my next point, I sort of need to back up a bit. To start off, there is only one reality that exists in this universe. That which is, is. There is no denying reality. Reality is and will always be real. The way one detects what is real is by his or her senses (touch, smell, taste, sight, and hearing). All people, provided that they have no defects, have the same instruments or means of detecting reality. Our brains all function the same way, provided that there are no defects, as well. Therefore, an apple to person A is the same thing as an apple to person B, provided that there are no imperfections with the senses of both people. Person A and B will both perceive an apple to be a fruit. They will see the apple, taste the apple, feel the apple, smell the apple, and hear the apple in the same exact ways. Now, perspective and opinion only come into play when it comes down to choosing how to deal with reality (making choices) or choosing how to or what to accept as the truth. Okay, so lets formulate a hypothetical situation.

Fact #1: There is a table in the center of a room. This room is the entire universe.

Fact #2: There is an apple on the table.

Fact #3: There are two people in the room - Person A and Person B (both have no defects with their brains or any of their senses) These two people are the only two things in the room besides the apple and the table.

Person A sees an apple on the table. Person A accepts this to be a true fact. He also accepts this to be his own personal reality since he has detected the apple with his senses. However, he is not certain whether or not this is the real reality since he has not communicated with anyone else as of now.

Person B sees an apple on the table. Person B accepts this to be a true fact. He also accepts this to be his own personal reality since he has detected the apple with his senses. However, he is not certain whether or not this is the real reality since he has not communicated with anyone else as of now.

Person A, using absolute English definitions, says to Person B: "I see an apple on the table."

Person B hears these sounds, and recognizes them as English words. His brain translates these words into ideas which he can perceive and think about. Person B then formulates a response, and, using absolute English definitions, says to Person A: "I see an apple on the table as well."

Person A hears these words and thinks to himself, there really must be an apple on the table. I have detected it and he has detected it, therefore there is an apple on the table, in real or actual reality.

Person B concludes the same thing.

Now, what does this mean? It means that it is possible for one to understand another person and to comprehend a portion of his reality. After all, absolute reality can only be formulated via the exchanging of people's own perceptions of reality.
He may not know everything, but he can know something.
If you do not know everything about one simple idea, how could you know it for certain?
Your response to my statement does not make sense.

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Post by threewood14 » Wed Mar 17, 2004 12:18 am

He cannot justify it. He cannot prove it. Therefore, this entire statement has been built on a faulty foundation, thus rendering it meaningless.
I think that in order to prove something, you must have to show it in an infinite amount of times. For example, in order to prove that all bojects within x distance from the earth fall towards the earth by means of gravity. Now you would have to drop an infinite amount of things from x distance or less from the earth to prove that this statement is true. Let us say that this is in fact done perfectly. Therefore the statement that all objects fall to the earth si true.

Now lets take it to my statement. "The only fact that man can know is that he knows nothing else..." Okay, we must demonstrate this to work in an infinite amount of cases in order to prove it. In order to prove this statement, we would have to prove an infinite amount of things wrong. This can be done! I can say that there is an apple on the table. The uncertainty in the position of the apple times the uncertainty in the velocity of the apple times the mass of the apple can never be smaller than a certain quantity. This quantity is extremely small and is called Plank's constant. Noe before I continue, I must explain what a second really is. A second is a measurement of time at the rate man sees it at. It can also act as numbers. For example, 1 second = 1 - 2. There are an infinite amount of rational numbers between 1 and 2. Just like there are an infinite amount of point in time in one second. Okay, back to the apple. The apple is resting on the table for an infinite amount of points in time. The more accurately we know the position of the apple, less the accurately we can know the velocity. So, let us assume that we know the position of the apple exactly. Then it would be impossible for us to konw its velocity. In other words, there is an infinite amount of uncertainty. Since there are an infinite amount of point in time, we do not know something an infinite amoun for points in time therefore we proved an infinite amoun of things wrong. Man can know with certainty that he knows nothing else.
Even though we cannot be 100% sure, there is an extremely high probability that everyone who speaks English uses the absolute definitions. This probability is so high that we know "for sure" that everyone means what he or she means. Ask yourself this: Why would someone use definitions of English words that no one else accepts as true? It would not benefit that person in any way, shape or form. It would just be plain old dumb!
Yes, we cannot be certain to know if everyone is using the same definitions of english words. We know this already. And yes the probablity is so high that we accept that everone uses the same definitions. But this also leaves an extremely small chance that two may misunderstand each other when speaking english.

How can you teach someone to communicate the exact same way that everyone else does. Let us say there is a baby, Jill. How can Jill learn to speak the language english? We could point to an apple and say the words 'apple' to Jill. She would probably over time understand that the word apple represents that object. There is a small chance that she would misunderstand the word apple because she was looking past the apple at a toaster oven. In fact, every time someone tries to point to an apple and explain to her what is is, there might be a toaster oven behind it every time! Although this chance is small and usually ignored, it still exists. Jill would think that a toaster oven is an apple in english. There is an even smaller chance that Jill would misunderstand the meanings of all english words. This could be done for bread, eggs, stoves, pencils, paper, etc...There is also a chance that people would communicate to Jill in a way that she thinks she understand what they are trying to tell her and the responses she gives them always makesome sense to them. This chance is so small, that no one even bothers to think about it. (Except of course for people like us lol). If Jill tried to define words, she could look them up in the dictionary. She does not understand the dictonary completely! This just does not work for english, but also for every way of communicating! THe chance is small but it still exists... This creates an extremely small uncertainty in the way we talk to each other.
To start off, there is only one reality that exists in this universe. That which is, is. There is no denying reality. Reality is and will always be real. The way one detects what is real is by his or her senses (touch, smell, taste, sight, and hearing).
I agree that there is one reality. It is the positions of energy in the universe, period. But it is possible that people view the universe in different ways. Obviously, these are the senses.
All people, provided that they have no defects, have the same instruments or means of detecting reality. Our brains all function the same way, provided that there are no defects, as well. Therefore, an apple to person A is the same thing as an apple to person B, provided that there are no imperfections with the senses of both people.
You are already assuming something! You are assuming that everone views the universe in the same way! There is a chance that people do not view the universe in the same way. It look at a wall. It is blue to me. If I could view the universe the same way you view the universe but keep my memory of what colors are to me through my own eyes, the wall wold be orange. Obviously, my eyes are different than yours. We could compare the wall to various objects thta are also blue, but we would both view them very similarly and conclude that they are both 'blue.' But blue si english and there is a chance that our views on what 'blue' means could be extremely different. This is explained above.

I know you say that if we assumed that our eyes were exactly the same, we would view blue the same. But we cannot assume when talking about our own universe. You described a fantasy universe.
Person A, using absolute English definitions, says to Person B: "I see an apple on the table."

Person B hears these sounds, and recognizes them as English words. His brain translates these words into ideas which he can perceive and think about. Person B then formulates a response, and, using absolute English definitions, says to Person A: "I see an apple on the table as well."

Person A hears these words and thinks to himself, there really must be an apple on the table. I have detected it and he has detected it, therefore there is an apple on the table, in real or actual reality.

Person B concludes the same thing.

Now, what does this mean? It means that it is possible for one to understand another person and to comprehend a portion of his reality. After all, absolute reality can only be formulated via the exchanging of people's own perceptions of reality.
As explained above, we cannot be certain that two are communicating with the same language even though this chance is soooooo small. We have to bring the situation inot our universe. We cannot assume that they both have the same eyes. If you assume something, there is no way that you can be certain. Why wold you assume something if you are not certain? An assumption is basically something that makes sense from the start and there is enough evidence to convince someone of normal intellect (relativly speaking).
Now, what does this mean? It means that it is possible for one to understand another person and to comprehend a portion of his reality. After all, absolute reality can only be formulated via the exchanging of people's own perceptions of reality.
Ya I quoted twice but who cares. It is the most important part! As explained 3 empire state buildings above, one cannot be certain that he is communicating the same way another is. There is a chance that they have a different take on english or what ever language they are using. Some in truth, there is also a chance that every word may be misunderstood! In other words, the reality is that they cannot perfectly communicate with each other. If this rare thing occurs, then person B cannot comprehend person A. If every word spoken from them is misunderstood, then they cannot exchange their perspective on the universe. This is possible in our universe. But in order to view the universe exactly the way other does, we would have to have the exact chemical make up, the exact position in space time, and the exact velocity. EXACTLY! This is impossible. Two particles cannot share the exact position in space time (dont get into branes and calabi yau manifolds). They can colide, but they cannot have the exact position, mass and velocity. One can have his own view of the universe, but no two can have the exact same one.

One cannot view the universe the same way another can because they wold have to be exact to the other person!

I think my statement is perfect now...

"The only fact man can know is the fact that he knows nothing else except for his definitions and/or obsevations of the universe."
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Post by Apotheosis » Wed Mar 17, 2004 2:41 am

I hate to say it, but I think you are being sort of hippocritical. You, like me, have created multiple, hypothetical contingencies and/or scenarios in hopes to prove a point. However, you cannot prove your initial statement (since you would have to come up with infinite examples according to you), so any arguments or statements made using the initial one as a base would prove to be incorrect. Furthermore, you have mentioned many ideas and concepts in the subject of physics, particularly the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, the Brane Theory, bits and pieces of Quantum Mechanics, and the Exclusion Principle. There are; however some problems with this. Quantum Mechanics and the Uncertainty Principle deals only with subatomic particles. It has no direct bearing on philosophy or things that are above the molecular level. Also, you seem to have based a lot of your assumptions on these principles as well. The truth of the matter is, these theories are not true when talking about perception of reality or communication with other life forms. It seems to me that the foundation for your entire argument is based solely on these concepts, when, in fact, they do not give any solid support or evidence to help you prove your point. I suggest that we start with a solid foundation first before building a house on top of it. This was one of the things Rene Descartes tried to do. He tried to create a solid, strong foundation from which things could be built on top of in the philosophical world (I think therefore I am / Cogito ergo sum).
I think my statement is perfect now...

"The only fact man can know is the fact that he knows nothing else except for his definitions and/or obsevations of the universe."
I shall end my reply with this:

I think that with your final statement you may have accidently murdered your entire, original thesis! What you have just said means that man can know things and can be certain and can understand the reality of others! Let me reiterate what I said via a few simple phrases:

The only thing that man can know is his definitions and observations of the universe.

Man's reality and universe is comprised entirely of definitions and observations.

Man's knowledge is unlimited, thus he can know things and it is possible for him to know everything.

Lets me rephrase this: We can be certain and know particular things.

In conclusion, you have basically just proved what everyone knows in his or her subconscience, but is not aware of. Everyone deep down knows that knowledge is possible as well as certainty and comprehension of another's reality, but has neglected it or taken it for granted. Not to sound rude, but this is such an obvious thing that no one really thinks about it unless they begin to question everything as we have and do. But congratulations nonetheless! You unknowingly proved something that we all know but are unaware of! Good work, your statement is perfect! :D

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Post by Raya » Wed Mar 17, 2004 10:48 am

Now this is what I like to see!

I mean, some would say that this debate was all done before in the Classical Period of ancient Greece (the Sophists vs the Socratics). And that is why I must especially commend you (in spite of my earlier intrusions :oops:) for debating the topic using your own thoughts and examples, rather than just slinging references at each other.
After all, this board was started precisely for that purpose, to allow people to 'practice' philosophy. There is something so much richer about thinking it through, undergoing the debate and coming to a conclusion yourself, than just reading about it. :)
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Post by threewood14 » Wed Mar 17, 2004 3:35 pm

Whoo, what a ride. Thank god it is over. I have one last thing.
The only thing that man can know is his definitions and observations of the universe.

Man's reality and universe is comprised entirely of definitions and observations.

Man's knowledge is unlimited, thus he can know things and it is possible for him to know everything.
I do not think man's knowledge is unlimited because in order to do that, he would have to view the universe from an infinite amount of points which would require and infinite amount of time.

And yes I did kill my thesis lol. It kind of makes you wonder if god is laughing at us because we are having 'lame' discussions. But, o well, it is all relative...
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