Is knowledge something you have...

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Doreen, Jan 4, 2010.

  1. glaucon tending tangentially Registered Senior Member


    I fail to see why you think the justification component is superfluous.
    Without justification, an individual convinced of something, would thereby be 'allowed' to be in a knowledgeable state. Clearly, this is waaay too loose a criterion...

    Sure, but not in any metaphysical sense.
    I would say that the transcendence appellation simply manifests itself due to the fact that language enables us to go beyond our experiences...

    Yup.. and a silly one.
    Vocalizations contain nothing but sound waves; text contains nothing but graphics.

    Sure they can, but not fallibly so. This is why the publicity element is in play: corroboration serves as a means to identify and purge misconceptions.

    I'm interested in this conceptually.. but not sure what exactly you're getting at here.. or how it's relevant....
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  3. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    You have posted no facts. You have made claim to facts but have not supported them.
    Merely making a claim and calling it fact is insufficient.
    If you really wish to argue like that then "You are wrong. This is fact."
    See how far that line of reasoning (or lack thereof) gets us?

    And this is where everyone disagrees with you, lixluke. Ever heard of contingency in logic?

    Further, a future random event, by its very nature, can NOT be known. If it is known it is NOT RANDOM.
    So when you state that you can know a future random event you have a logical inconsistency of your own making - knowledge of something about which it is not possible to have knowledge.

    "You are wrong. Your wrongness is fact". etc.
    A future random event can not be known anywhere other than in fantasy stories. Randomness precludes knowledge of outcome.

    No, I'm not attempting to mix or mingle anything, lixluke. I am just working through your "logic" and pointing out the flaws.

    You do know Aristotle even came up with the term "contingency" precisely because what you are proposing leads to paradoxes.
    I suggest you read which should give you at least a flavour of the issues.
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  5. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Hmmm. Again, just thinking out loud...
    Reality is that which interacts with our senses. Our interpretation of those senses, however, is where the fun starts and is open to gross inaccuracy and being fooled.

    "Reflect" comes from our internalisation of the interpreted reality - a physical

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    ))process that effectively enables us to model our interpretation. [You would agree that a computer can create 3-d models of things (albeit shown to us on a 2-d screen) without those things existing in reality other than in that model?]

    As for what it is doubled in... within the processes of our brain. How we interpret it might be visually, linguistically, aurally... I don't know. Perhaps each person is different.

    Tricky to provide when I'm not too sure what is being pressed for.

    Okay - I know I exist. And this might be the only thing that one can know to an absolute level.
    Is this the sort of example you mean?

    If we dial-down the requirement for truth and work on the justification alone, then I "know" much more - but this knowledge starts from countless assumptions that may or may not be true.
    E.g. assuming gravity still holds, I know that when I drop something tangible it will fall to the floor.
    But it becomes inefficient to list the assumptions prior to stating "I know...". And I'm not sure we are even conscious of the assumptions we make.
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  7. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    I think it is actually the "true" part that Doreen considers to be superfluous - or at least misleading - rather than the justification part.
  8. lixluke Refined Reinvention Valued Senior Member

    It doesn't matter. It's all great to consider a random event in practicality. However, if you're discussing a hypothetical scenario in which it is a given that the subject knows X, then the probability of a roll really has no meaning. If it is given that the subject knows the 1d6 will land on the 3, randomness don't matter. It's a given in a hypothetical scenario.

    Sure enough, we can say all day it is impossible for somebody to know the result of a raondom roll. But consider the following hypothetical:

    A person completely believes that the 1d6 will land on the 3. Perhaps he dreamt about it. Perhaps somebody claiming to be from the future told him. Or perhaps he has some sort of precognition system for predicting future outcomes that we don't know about even though we believe it is impossible. Whatever. In any case, the person is totally certain that, betting his house on it, the 1d6 will land on the 3. Thus, he claims to know for a fact that it will land on a 3. Now this person is either correct that it will land on the 3 or incorrect that it will land on the 3. He sits at the table. Dice gets rolled, lands on the table, and it's a 3. All of these are givens in a hypothetical scenario.

    Let's go to the point where he is sitting on the chair. Does he have knowledge that the 1d6 will turn up a 3 when it hits the table? He clearly believes it will. And clearly, indeed it will. His belief that it will turn up a 3 isn't incorrect. Therefore, his belief isn't a misconception. In fact, there is no difference between me claiming to know for a fact that 1 + 1 = 2 and him claiming to know for a fact that the 1d6 will land on 3. He's correct because it is a given in the scenario. I claim to be correct regarding my proposition because it is impossible for me to claim that 'something I consider to be true' is incorrect.

    Considering the givens in the scenario, none can disagree that he is correct. In my case, it is likely that none will disagree that I'm correct. So we can all probably agree that we are both correct regarding our propositions. Both of us are nothing more than subjects observing actuality, and drawing conclusions from our observations. What ever it is that the person observered to draw a correct conclusion regarding actuality doesn't matter. What matters is that his conclusion regarding the truth of his overvation is the truth. Thus, he possesses knowledge. Is this incorrect? If so, how?

    Now I can sit here all day, and say that I know for a fact it is impossible for me to predict the future. I can even sit here and say that I know for a fact that it is impossible for anybody to predict the future. Somebody else might disagree, and say that it is possible for a person to predict the future. Either he is incorrect, or he knows someting I don't, and I am incorrect. Before I would ever agree with him, I would need some sort of material that would compel me to do so (what I would refer to as acceptable justification/evidence/proof/verification).
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2010
  9. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    I am not talking of a hypothetical scenario in which it is a given that the subject actually knows X. The scenario is merely one of the subject claiming to know X.
    Even you admit and understand that there is a difference - with the former requiring the claim to be true in actuality.

    So the person is making a claim to know that the 1d6 will land on 3.

    But once again you create a straw man - either deliberately or through genuine failure to understand.

    In this scenario you are assuming the outcome - i.e. you are predetermining the outcome of the roll and applying it a previous claim.
    BUT UP TO THE POINT OF ROLLING there is no outcome - there is no truth/false quality to the event.
    Can you not see this?
    Can you not see that it is only AFTER rolling the 1d6 that the belief becomes either knowledge or misconception - and only because you have the justification of observing the result?

    Not in my scenario it's not - only in your straw man.
    My scenario is asking whether it is knowledge BEFORE the outcome of the roll is given.

    And your ego seems to prevent you from listening to the flaws in your claims.

    It is a moot scenario - one of your own devising and a straw man.

    This is incorrect.
    The point being made, which you appear to fail to comprehend through an apparent inability to grasp the nature of contingency, is that UP TO THE POINT of the outcome of the contingency there can be no knowledge - only belief.

    If the truth/false quality of an event has not been determined, how can one have anything more than just a claim to knowledge - i.e. a belief. Up to the point of the event occuring there is no truth/false quality with respect to a claim. Therefore there can be no knowledge.

    You have stated that knowledge = a claim of knowledge that is true in actuality, and that misconception = a claim of knowledge that is false in actuality.
    Without either a true- or false-in-actuality quality to an event, then you do not have all the requirements that even you state are required for knowledge / misconception.
    Therefore you are left with nothing more than "a claim of knowledge", which is merely a belief.

    As said - go and read about contingency in logic.

    And this doesn't even address the requirement for justification that I also disagree with you on - but we'll get on to that in due course no doubt.
  10. lixluke Refined Reinvention Valued Senior Member

    Once again, you take the entire post out of context. You're responding to things without reading the last point that they leads to. The lines have no meaning without the context of the entire post.

    The subject CANNOT possess knowledge until he makes a determination. A belief is a conclusive determination. Prior to the roll, the subject has determined that the dice will land on the 3. Regardless of whether or not the dice will land on the 3 in actuality, the subject has already made the determination that it will do so.

    Before proeceeding, it's important to understand the offset of time. In this moment, the dice is located in a different moment in a particular state. In our language, we use the phrase "will be" instead of "is". This is just language. The dice, located in the future, is or isn't a 3.

    Basically you are saying that a subject, who has already determined it will be a 3, cannot determine it will be a 3 until the dice is rolled. What I am saying is:
    You can only deem that a subject's determination/conclusion/belief is contingent upon visual perception of the state of the dice, if and only if truth is relative.

    Take 2 similar scenarios.
    1. Dice is rolled in the box where we cannot see its state.
    2. Dice will be rolled in the future.
    (In both scenarious, we can say that the state of the outcome is outside of our current visual perception.)

    In both scenarious, Subject 1 has determined the outcome.
    1. Dice inside the box is 3.
    2. Dice will be rolled a 3.

    Subject 2 has different requirements for drawing his conclusion.
    1. Does not possess belief that the dice in the box is a 3. Needs to see state of dice before making determination.
    2. Does not possess belief that the dice will land on 3. Needs to see state of dice before making determination.

    Subject 1 has already drawn his conclusion prior to any visual perception. He may continue on with his life without ever visually perceiving the outcome. But let's say he does perceive the outcome.

    Subject 1 visually perceives the outcome, and concludes that a 4 is showing. He states that his original conclusion was incorrect.

    Subject 2 visually perceives the outcome, and concludes that a 3 is showing. He states that subject 1's original conclusion was correct.

    In this case, the one who possesses knowledge is the one who's conclusion is in line with what the dice is actually showing. Of course, what the dice is showing in actuality has not been given in this scenario.
  11. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

    That is absolutely nothing but pure gibberish and double-talk. TOTALLY false logic and completely useless for anything.
  12. lixluke Refined Reinvention Valued Senior Member

    How so? Is the dice not in a state outside of the subject's visual perception? Did not the subject make a determination regarding the state of the dice outside of his visual perception? Is not the subject's determination either congruent or incongruent to the dice's actual state? Do you disagree that there is a relationship between the state of truth in actuality and the subject's perception of truth in actuality?

    I personally don't think that Sarkus is aware of the implications of the statements he is making. In his scenario, it is a given that the state of the 1d6 is outside of the subject's visual perception. In his scenario, he stated that the subject has already determined that the 1d6 is showing a 3. Then he stated that it is impossible for the subject to make that determination until he actually visually perceives the state of the 1d6. This does not logically follow. If it is impossible for the subject to make a determination without visually perceiving the state of the 1d6, then it cannot be a given that the subject has determined that the 1d6 is a 3 without visually perceiving it.

    His conclusion is that a subject who iss compelled by visual perception to believe that the dice shows 3 possesses knowledge. Meanwhile, a subject who is compelled by some form of justification other than visual perception does not possess knowledge.

    Is it not possible for a subect to be completely certain that X is true if X is not-true in actuality?
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2010
  13. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    No, I'm not taking things out of context. You just confuse yourself into thinking that.
    Your one response to having a flaw in your position pointed out to you is that the person must be taking your comments out of context. It grows tiresome.


    Go and read up about contingencies.

    No I'm not saying that at all. Hence it is another strawman.

    Flawed - the scenarios are not the same. The first is not a future contingent, just a lack of information of existing states.

    Again, go and read about contingencies in logic and come back to the table when you have done so.

    If you have nothing else to offer other than repeating your same demonstrably fallacious logic then I would suggest you move on from this discussion. I have grown tired of showing why your understanding is flawed only for you to come back with a strawman argument.
  14. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    That is not my conclusion at all. :shrug:

    Go and read up about future contingencies in logic.

    I have further concluded that you don't actually understand much of what people respond to you with, and instead make some vague guess along the lines of an argument you have a counter for. They're commonly called strawmen.
  15. Doreen Valued Senior Member

    That's because I don't. I see the 'true' part to be superfluous. I am actually surprised you don't agree.

    It seems to me it is just new experiences, not somewhere beyond experiences. Unless you are making a claim for transcendence.

    I would say that counters a weak argument for containment, but OK.
    It can do that, but it does not necessarily do that.

    I'll get back to this one.
  16. Doreen Valued Senior Member

    This is very odd. How did you verify that human error - memory and by a bureaucrat were not involved - in your birth date? To 100%, that is.

    Justification looks at the process building up to the belief - though often done after the belief is formed to bolster it - and 'application' I would say is the way the belief unfolds. Having a proposition in mind is not knowledge to me.

    It seems like it can, according to mirror experiences. Many would say it mirrors things.

    That set would probably include most scientists in this forum. I think most are realists who think that knowledge mirrors reality - iow things, out there, with properties that are inherent in those things. A few of the physicists might, I say might, get itchy around the issue of properties and perhaps a few, with certain interpretations of some quantum phenomena get really itchy in general....but overall, the set you just created, I would say, is rather large.

    Can you tell me what a realist phenomenalist is, and please use the words 'things' 'perception' somewhere in there, unless you feel it would distort the description.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2010
  17. Doreen Valued Senior Member

    I would say the 'fun' begins in sensing. I mean we are upright mammals with a certain set of senses, evolved for a certain set of skills. Hence our sensing is hardly neutral or objective way before we even get to interpreting - not that I think a clear boundary between sensing and interpreting can be made. Further the way we think about things - iow interpretation - is overwhelmingly guided by metaphors related to being mammals relating to objects - a subset of the physical.

    In all this I am presuming the scientific model and using physical, as well as I can, in the sense you use it. It may seem like I am 'arguing' or even 'disagreeing' but in actual fact I am trying to clarify your position. Using language, as well as I can guess, how you might, and bringing in science, not necessarily the way you might, but in ways that should not be paradigmatically offensive to you.

    of what is out there: things, for example? Parallel to my posts with you I have been discussing this with Glaucon. It might be too early for you to read each other's posts - heck, I'd like to make sure you don't collaborate. At this point it is unclear whether you agree with each other. If you don't agree, I think it gets interesting. But we'll see.

    Honestly, I have trouble with these things. I would even guess that the computer could, via hologram, show us in three D. But the space between and behind my eyes begins to hurt when I try to fully understand this.

    I meant more like....
    am I doubling the tree, out there? for example.

    No. I mean it's a fair example. But the words 'I' and 'exist' are about as messy as little words can be. I was thinking something more along the lines of where you seemed to be circling with perception and interpretation.

    Actually for most of this 'belief' works fine. I am more interested in the ontology of belief - including the subset of knowledge - than in dealing so much with justification. I like us tending to keep to knowledge because we will tend to stand by whatever our interpretations are with knowledge more. I want people to stand their ground if I begin to press on some idea about what belief and knowledge are. Rather than suddenly say
    Oh, well I don't know - which is not the issue.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2010
  18. lixluke Refined Reinvention Valued Senior Member


    Me: The subject CANNOT possess knowledge until he makes a determination. A belief is a conclusive determination. Prior to the roll, the subject has determined that the dice will land on the 3.

    Sarkus: Strawman. Period. No explanation.

    Did you not state that prior to the roll, the subject has determined that the dice will land on the 3? Did you not state that regardless of whether or not the dice will land on the 3 in actuality, the subject has already made the determination that it will do so? Explain this so that it makes sense.

    Every one of your responses thus far either states that my points are strawman or whatever. Yet you have not once demonstrated any of the reasoning behind your disagreement with my posts.

    So here are some simple questions about your scenario without terminology of belief, knowledge, etc.

    1. Does the state of the 1d6 exist outside of the subject's perception?

    2. Is it a given that the subject was compelled to a conclusion about the state of the 1d6 without actually perceiving it?

    3. Is it necessary for the subject to visually perceive the state of the 1d6 in order for the his conclusion about it to be congruent with it?

    4. Does the subject's conclusion about the state of the 1d6 after visual perception of it have an effect on the state of the 1d6? (Meaning if the subject concludes that it is a 4 after visual perception, then it is a 4 in actuality. Thus, it is a 4 in actualty because the subject visually perceived it as a 4. Thus, it would be impossible for it to be a 3 in actuality if the subject concluded it was a 4 after visual perception.)

    Please stop responding to posts over and over again without providing explanations behind your responses. I'm the only one here providing explanations for my responses, and the only one getting warnings for not explaining my responses.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2010
  19. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Depends on what you define as "sensing". I would say that a robot can sense - but it does not interpret beyond the programming it has been given. A sense is just a method of perception, is it not?
    Neutral by whose standards?
    Such as? Can you provide example of such a metaphor, for clarification?

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    "Things"? What is a "thing"? Is a process a thing? I would say so. Others might say not.
    I'll need to reread your posts with glaucon - but unfortunately I have been... er... somewhat sidetracked :/ Hopefully no more (as from this post) but my self-restraint with such matters does not have a good track record... like an open wound that you just need to keep picking at.

    Why? Such things can give wonderful insights into the way our own brains may work. If an entire 3d-world can exist "virtually" as nothing more than a series of 0s and 1s (really just microscopic differences in the material of the hardware memory), some processes and a bit of interpretation...
    And a computer is just memory, procedures, and the hardware to enable it. Sound familiar?
    Doubling? I would say no, at least not every aspect of it, clearly. You will merely identify some of the qualities and your brain will be able to recreate "virtually" a tree with those qualities (shape, colour, smell etc). When you see something else with the qualities that match those of the tree in your memory you will identify what you see as "a tree". You might even claim to "know" that it is a tree through the matching process. Naturally what you see will be unlikely to match exactly, but your brain will have a procedure to filter the memory of stored combinations of qualities to get the closest match for your purposes and/or required level of certainty.
  20. Doreen Valued Senior Member

    I would not say the robots senses are objective. They are probably point vantage, indirectly or directly modeled on our sense or animal senses. Their programming would have interpretations of data as objects - of interest or hindrance. Though I could argue that they are not senses in the sense that human senses are. There is no experiencer NOT adding an interpretation - as far as we know. No image forms anywhere with visual sensors, unless it is passed on to us.

    The old ideas about knowledge was that it was objective, disembodies, transcendent and like symbolic logic. One could weed out culture and all distortions. This just does not match up with cognitive brain science nor the language we use.

    Time metaphors tend to be based on motion in space. More forward or backward in time. One travels in time. Time flows. We reached the endpoint of the conversation.
    Is there a difference between things and processes. Can you give me some examples?
    Now there's a metaphor.

    Why do I get pain behind my eyes when I try to think of that? I dunno. You must have something like that. Figuring out how to do a rubik's cube while not touching it. Some more complicated problems in topology. Ever read G. Spencer Brown's Laws of Form? I mean, something must crimp your brain up by being tough for it to imagine. If not you gotta audit some course in organic chem or queer theory just to find the edge.

    I don't think we break down to digital. Just my intuition.

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    I'd go more for the holonomic brain theory end, as long as we are speculating.

    I don't think we are like computers. I do not think we function on programming. I will try to find a nice article I read refuting this. I am not saying we could not construct an AI. But I do not think it will be programmed like today's computers only with a huge ram or something. It will have to be raised and taught and will not have a hard drive like our PCs.

    simplified doubling. a sketch, as it were.
    .Thanks, I'll have to mull on this.
  21. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Hmmm - I would tend separate out the programming and the sensing. And when you say "no image forms"... this really depends on what you consider an image to be.
    Given that what we "see" is merely photons hitting our own visual sensors, is not an image merely a series of 0s and 1s, to continue the computer analogy? Imagine a photo in a jpeg file... this is just binary information. Amending the photo merely changes the binary information. To the computer the image is always just 0s and 1s; it is only us that requires the H/W to be able to convert the 0s and 1s into a format that we can use.

    But why does this make our senses non-neutral?
    And in what way does knowledge being objective not match up to cognitive brain science nor language? I'm not in disagreement, I'd just like you to expand on it, if possible?
    Okay. Got you. We experience life temporally, so our language has developed with that experience in mind (again the use of "temporal" words in experience and developed).

    No - I can't - as to me a process is a thing.
    I was merely trying to clarify that to me a "thing" can mean more than just the old fashioned "tangible" object.
    I certainly struggle to understand some things. And yes, organic chemistry was one - it never quite clicked inside my brain. But can't say it ever induced pain behind my eyes, possibly 'cos I never considered it something I needed to understand - so there was no need to let it "hurt" (until I opened my exam marks

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    Sure - I wasn't suggesting we were digital - 'twas merely an analogy to show how something simple (0s and 1s) can result in the vastly complex.
    I agree with you almost entirely. But when you consider that programming is just a means of inserting processes into the system, then I do not really see us as any different to computers - some core memory, vastly complex processes, and some hardware for input / outputs.
    AI is already being developed that does not have huge RAM. RAM merely provides a source of information, not intelligence. Neural nets appear to be the best means of achieving AI so far - which just so happen to model the way our brain is thought to work. And yes, these neural nets need to learn.

    One example I saw somewhere was a neural-net that was being taught how to identify camouflaged vehicles in wooded areas.
    It was shown pictures and it came to a conclusion of whether or not there was a camouflaged vehicle there.
    It would analyse the pictures in a multitude of ways, looking for patterns, and start with 50/50 guesses as to whether there was any vehicle there or not. Slowly, as it was shown more pictures, it would hone the patterns it was looking for that would give away the presence of a vehicle.

    After a while it was achieving remarkable success with the pictures it was being shown and they thought they had cracked it. Until they began showing it some new sets of photos - and it struggled.
    And then they realised that all the photos they had previously shown the "AI" that had camouflaged vehicles in it were taken on clear blue-sky days, and all the cases where there were no vehicles had been overcast - and all the neural-net had done was establish that blue-sky meant vehicle, grey sky meant no vehicle.

    Anyhoo - off topic, I know - but your comment made me recall this.

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  22. Doreen Valued Senior Member

  23. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Forgive me, I am merely using the digital nature of computers as an analogy. How our brains actually operate in this regard is not something I am educated in - but I tend to use computers as a good starting point for ideas - as I do not see too much of a difference in the fundamentals.
    And I hope I'm not being patronising when I say that parallel processing and referential systems are commonplace (even in mechanical systems) - simple feedback loops, for example.
    Agreed - "colour" is just an interpretation of the wavelength of the light hitting our eyes. While we will both hopefully interpret the same wavelength as, say, "green", I have no idea if my mental image (for want of a better phrase) of green is the same as yours. I'm not talking of colour blindness, though: we will certainly point to the same colour on a chart, but your experience of the colour might be very different to mine. But we both label that experience the same: "green".
    But while the experience might be different (e.g. you may see "green" as different to the way I see it) would you not say that the cause of that experience - i.e. the light waves of a certain frequency / that which is "sensed" - is objective?
    I think I understand you. But is there any way to test this idea, practically?
    At least how I understand it might happen - at least in a way that makes sense to me. A neuroscientist might have a very different understanding.
    Your example makes sense to me also - but I haven't quoted it, to save space.

    Hmmm - I'd say that our senses have evolved to only sense certain things, but the sense itself is still objective - i.e. we can only filter what is sensed at the interpretation stage.
    Apologies - I don't seem to follow. :/
    If only we knew what time was

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    Possibly. A process implies the temporal - and certainly our experience of the thing is a process - our modelling, our envisaging, our sensing etc. But whether all things are processes... I wouldn't commit to that without further thought and convincing.
    But I agree...
    ... not a line I would try.

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