Could there ever be an end to knowledge?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by wegs, Aug 14, 2016.

  1. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    I think that I might know what you're talking about here. lol

    Can math solve for uncertainty, though? As I read through this thread, the one common idea that seems to be woven throughout, is that we are not entirely certain of the answer.
     
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  3. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    That is true, but only at quantum scale.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncertainty_principle
     
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  5. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Mathematics cannot solve for uncertainty in all cases. The Uncertainty Principle in Quantum Mechanics is not the only example. Chaos Theory is another (the one about the butterfly's wing leading to a tropical storm, etc etc). The "Three Body Problem" is a third. No doubt there are many other examples.

    It seems that the behaviour of the physical world cannot, even in theory, be exactly determined by mathematical calculation.
     
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  7. Counter Registered Senior Member

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    I believe it is possible to know everything, but my question would be is it possible to exist forever?? Someone who exists forever would surely know everything.
     
  8. geordief Registered Senior Member

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    There is no connection between the effects seen in chaos theory and the effects seen in quantum mechanics ,is there?

    Chaos theory can not be applied in that area at all ?(it almost seems like the polar opposite )

    If it was possible to have a FOR at the quantum level could there be any theoretical space for anything like chaos theory?

    Does the phrase "FOR at the quantum level" have any meaning or potential meaning?

    ps wasn't the 3 body problem solved eventually?
     
  9. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    Why do you think they would know everything just because they live forever? They could live for eternity in one small corner of the universe and never experience what goes on elsewhere.
    Just because 0.111... recurring is infinite in length does not mean that any of the individual digits are > 1.
     
  10. geordief Registered Senior Member

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    Are we the same person from one moment to the next?
     
  11. Counter Registered Senior Member

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    ...even if I lived in a small corner of the universe and did not know what was happening elsewhere, I would know the same as everyone else.
     
  12. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

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    Why do you believe this?

    Nope.

    Why? How?
    You stated "did not know what was happening elsewhere" - so, for starters, you wouldn't know that.
     
  13. Counter Registered Senior Member

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    But we ALL know the same!
     
  14. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

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    No.
     
  15. Counter Registered Senior Member

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  16. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

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    Oh. That was possibly best-argued rationale I've ever come across.
    So you prefer to stick with wishful thinking rather than reality.
    If, as you claim, we all know the same, then why do we have car mechanics (or doctors, or ...)?
    Surely, if we all know the same then we can fix our own cars/ diagnose our illnesses.
    Why bother with school?[1]

    Offhand I can't think of a single thing that everyone knows.

    1 Apparently some people didn't, but that's by the by.
     
  17. geordief Registered Senior Member

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    What are the
    Ask Leonard
     
  18. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    All knowing the same is not equivalent to knowing all there is to know.
     
  19. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    No indeed, no connection between QM and Chaos Theory. As I understand it, Chaos Theory is strictly speaking fully deterministic, but applies to systems in which infinitesimally small differences in starting conditions result in wildly different final outcomes. Thus making it impossible in practice to determine outcomes. So not related to intrinsic uncertainty, which is what QM successfully predicts.

    You have a point about the 3 body problem. My understanding is that indeed it did finally get an analytical solution (some Finnish bloke?), but one involving a converging series that converges so slowly that it is quite useless, even with a supercomputer. So again impossible to solve exactly in practice. So I see these as all different ways in which mathematics does not enable exact solutions of physical problems.

    You'll have to help me by explaining what FOR stands for.
     
  20. geordief Registered Senior Member

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    I agree about the 3 -body solution. I thought (=assumed ) it had been solved in decent if complicated formula. I was obviously mistaken.

    Sorry I thought FOR was a common abbreviation for Frame of Reference.

    Is the concept of an FOR used or potentially usable in QM ? (I know you are not an expert in QM but you know more than me)
     
  21. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    When we talk about ''knowing everything''...are we defining that as actually understanding ''everything'' or merely being aware of it? The term ''knowing'' means different things to different people. You could say ''I know of quantum theory...'' but you might not be able to explain it very well to someone else. Is knowledge merely ''knowing'' information, or is it actually understanding it enough to be able to teach someone else about it? Hmmm.

    If we agree that it's the latter, then no way any human being could ever know everything.
     
  22. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

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    You answered your own question: knowing of quantum theory isn't the same as knowing quantum theory.

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  23. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    lol I suppose so.

    So, back to the original question, could there ever be an end to knowledge? If we go with merely knowing ''of'' things, then probably not, but knowing things enough to explain them to others, then yes. Or we could have a hypothetical scenario where every human being alive right now has the learning capacity and IQ to ''understand'' all possible things, there still could be an end to knowledge, because as the universe evolves and changes, new things will be discovered about it and thus even the brightest person, couldn't 'know it all.' Not even you, Dywyddr lol

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