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25th September 2006

force_of_will1:36pm: Hijacked by the Highwayman: Is the Coherant Extention of Knowledge a Philosophical Act? and other th
because...well because and gerbilsage wanted to take a poke at me over the latter part before it was given the baculum ad deletion...

These are some base definitions.

1. acquaintance with facts, truths, or principles, as from study or investigation; general erudition: knowledge of many things.
3. acquaintance or familiarity gained by sight, experience, or report: a knowledge of human nature.
4. the fact or state of knowing; the perception of fact or truth; clear and certain mental apprehension.
5. awareness, as of a fact or circumstance: He had knowledge of her good fortune.
6. something that is or may be known; information: He sought knowledge of her activities.
7. the body of truths or facts accumulated in the course of time.
8. the sum of what is known: Knowledge of the true situation is limited.

a branch of philosophy that investigates the origin, nature, methods, and limits of human knowledge.

1. a person who has special skill or knowledge in some particular field; specialist; authority: a language expert.
3. possessing special skill or knowledge; trained by practice; skillful or skilled (often fol. by in or at): an expert driver; to be expert at driving a car.

I made an assumption that a dialog about expertise in the abstract, about its form and function in society, was philosophically relevant based on the coherence of the above definitions i.e. that they all deal with knowledge and that knowledge is philosophically interesting. I'd just like to know, were did I go wrong?

1. logically connected; consistent: a coherent argument.

Knowledge, Expertise, and Social OverheadCollapse )

30th May 2006

nanikore10:16pm: Lane, existence can be a property.
I joined this community just to show Lane that he is mistaken about something. Oy vey.

How existence can be a property
(previously a model I cooked up to bug apperception with, now recycled just for i_am_lane)


a = object of experience
a'= virtual object of experience
---> = sequence of recalled experience arranged in time

Usage of the term "stratum":

"Time is the formal, a priori condition of all appearances whatsoever, and all appearances whatsoever, that is, all objects of sense, are in time and necessarily stand in time-relations. Time serves a foundational role in experience, and as such it is a “substratum,” i.e., the representation of time (our indeterminate, pure form of intuition) must be presupposed in order to represent either coexistence or succession" -apperception

The creation and use of virtual objects of experience

(absolute coming-into-existence, with broken stratum due to lack of reference)

(absolute coming-into-existence with recollection of existence of experiential object coupled with a recollection of previous nonexistence of the same object as virtual reference)

(absolute passing-out-of-existence, with broken stratum due to lack of reference)

(absolute passing-out-of-existence with recollection of nonexistence of experiential object as virtual reference coupled with a recollection of previous existence of the same object)

Stratum is preserved via a "shadowed copy" of recalled experience. When dealing with absolute coming-ins and passing-outs, the "mind" pushes out a copy to the reference time in question and does a comparison. Because this is a "shadow," it does not interfere with normal operations upon the stratum (i.e. I won't suddenly have real memories of something that did not previously exist existing in a time that it didn't or vice versa simply because I imagined such a state of affairs in order to perform a comparison of "did this thing exist/not-exist?")

Hypothetical example of application:

1. A stuffed bear suddenly appears in front of me, out of thin air.

2. In my mind I ask myself, "was this bear here a second before?"

3. What happens when I ask that question is that I recall in my mind a sort of "mental imagery of a second ago" (I don't mean literally 1.0000 second ago, and I hope people won't pick on this needle point) and-

4. "See" if that mental imagery contains the same bear.

The "bear" in that recalled/created mental imagery is what I refered to as the "virtual reference." I had a "virtual experience" (it could be said as the creation of a "virtual stratum") for the sake of comparing the virtual reference with the real one. Both of those references are of the same "bear," except one is real and the other is virtual.

The model is applied in the same way for disappearing bears.

What does this have to do with the question "Is existence a property"?

The stuffed bear in the example, prior to its absolute coming into existence, can be said to take on a "virtual existence" for the sake of mental comparison. This "virtual object" has the property of "existence" set to "false". The moment that the stuffed bear pops into existence, its property of "existence" is then set to "true". This renders it an object and no longer a virtual object.

Now, we could have all sorts of virtual objects with their property of existence set to "unknown", up to and including cabals of tree-borne snipers. Existence can be a property when virtual objects of experience are involved.

9th May 2006

nonbeing9:25am: More Epistemology

An important distinction must be made before we engage in the discussion of epistemology. Before we ask "what can be known" or "how can we know it," we have to define what we mean by knowledge. I've found that there are several types of knowledge worth noting and analyzing. The boundaries between them are always fuzzy, but it is still useful to make the distinctions.

Two prominent types of knowledge come to mind-- in my opinion, the two types most relevant to epistemological discussion: rational knowledge and intuitional knowledge.

- Rational Knowledge

Knowledge in the form of linguistic/categorical/conceptual representation of experiential reality. This is the type of knowledge that utilizes logic and reason. To possess this type of knowledge, raw perceptual experience must first be delineated into abstract classes and objects by means of symbolic designation. Relationships between these classes and objects are then analyzed and described, also through symbolic representation (be those relationships causal, logical, empirical, etc). The product of this process of discrete categorization is a linguistically-constructed paradigm. Such paradigms are judged true or false based on how accurately, precisely, and consistently they cohere with the external phenomena they purport to represent.

- Intuitional Knowledge

Knowledge in the form of feelings, instincts, or other emotional inclinations. This knowledge is also based in experiential reality, except it is notoriously difficult to articulate or communicate. The most that can usually be said about this knowledge, if a person believes she possesses it, is merely that she possesses it, but cannot explain why or how she obtained it. Reference to personal experience can often be cited as the source of intuitional knowledge, but the experiences that offer such knowledge are usually those that defy description, which is why the knowledge does also.

The validity of intuitional knowledge is often criticized by those who adhere to scientific dogma, on the grounds that it cannot be represented in a neat string of symbols. However, intuitional knowledge is invariably the foundation of all forms of rational knowledge, for the following reason:

Given any rational paradigm, there must exist a set of axioms (or "self-evident" truths) upon which the rest of the knowledge contained within the paradigm is based. In any branch of mathematics or physical sciences, all theorems that constitute the higher levels of knowledge can be traced back to axioms that are simply accepted as fact without further question. These axioms cannot be broken down or explained in simpler terms like the higher theorems can.

So how is it that we "know" these axioms are true? Intuitionally. No rational explanation can be given for why "x = x," yet it is universally accepted as a foundational mathematical axiom. It is our intuition that tells us x = x, that it could not be possible for x to be equal to anything other than itself. It would be absurd, wouldn't it? Any mathematician or scientist would agree. But none of them could ever give an explicit, logical reason for why they agree. "Why" is simply not a question that can be asked of an axiom. Hence, while axioms subtend rational knowledge, the knowledge of the axioms, themselves, is not rational.

There is something to be said about why "x = x" seems self-evidently true-- however, it isn't something rational. It is based in experience. Have you ever encountered a scenario in which a thing, at some given, fixed point in time and space, was not itself? Has any human being ever encountered such a scenario? No. Experience-- both subjective and intersubjective, both personal and historical-- has shown us that, time and time again, x will continue to equal x. Will x always equal x? Our intuition says it will, but rationally, we have no claim over such knowledge. We are forced to trust that this knowledge will continue to be true only insofar as it has never failed to be false, and we have no conception of what it would mean for it to be false.

3rd May 2006

nonbeing12:52pm: Essence

There is a concept that has plagued philosophy since its inception, a concept I personally find not merely irrelevant, but utterly incomprehensible, incoherent, and, worst of all, altogether incapable of clear definition. That concept is "essence."

What is a thing, "in itself?" What is a thing "intrinsically?" What is there to be known of a thing beyond how that thing "merely appears" to we observers? These questions have been asked time and time again, and I, for one, would like to know just what the philosopher is actually asking.

What does one mean by the "essence" of a thing? I can think of no description of a thing's "essence" that would not, in one form or another, employ attributes, properties, or other observed/designated qualities of that thing-- in other words, aspects of that thing's appearance.

Consider how an inquiry concerning the "essence" of some thing, X, might proceed:

Philosopher 1: What is X, in itself?
Philosopher 2: Well, X has such-and-such physical properties directly accessible by our senses.
P1: I didn't ask how X appears to our senses, I asked what X essentially is.
P2: Well, X also has a great many physical properties I could describe to you that are indirectly accessible-- that is, through mediate observation with scientific instruments-- and these properties can be detailed in a formal manner, often with mathematical precision.
P1: You still haven't answered my question.
P2: Okay... well, X has a number of designated functions-- that is, depending on who you ask, they will describe to you some desired end or goal, and tell you how X can be utilized in actualizing that possibility.
P1: I did not ask you anything about the properties, either directly or indirectly observable, of X, nor did I ask you what possible functions X can fulfill. I am asking you what X is.
P2: There is, I suppose, the collection of all ideas, emotions, memories, or other mental reactions X could possibly elicit in a person who interacts with it. There are the individual conceptions of X, which will most likely differ between different participants in different contextual experiences of X, though they will also, most likely, all be similar enough to assume that the X in question has consistent qualities.
P1: Concepts are just another layer constructed on appearance. I want to know what X essentially is, independent of all observances, interactions and conceptions!
P2: Okay, man, I have no fucking idea how to answer you. Your question, itself, precludes any possible description I could attribute to X, since the only things I can ever say about X are no more or less than those things derived from either the perception of X or the experience of interacting with X. You seem to be asking me something about X that cannot possibly be communicated, insofar as I can only communicate things about X that I, or someone else, has ascertained about X through some experience or contemplation with or about X! For fuck's sake, man, what do you want to know?
P1: It's a simple question, don't be a dick.

This is why I do not understand what is meant by "essence." Put simply, as Philosopher #2 pointed out, there is nothing I can possibly communicate about a thing that doesn't fit into one of the following categories:

1. It is a quality of the thing directly perceivable.
2. It is a quality of the thing indirectly perceivable (perceivable with the aid of instruments).
3. It is a function of the thing.
4. It is a mental construct of the thing-- some particular thought associated with the thing-- constituted of elements of one or more of the previous 3 categories.

So, tell me-- what the hell is a thing, in itself?

Furthermore, if there are things-in-themselves in either the form or noumena sense, is there anything useful, practical, or at all applicaple to phenomenal experience that can be said of these things? Or is essence simply a concept used to affirm that "yes, X does, in fact, exist. Period."

(reposted from philosophy with some modifications based on the dialectic already discussed there)

30th April 2006

preludemaggot6:05pm: What do you guys think of the "superman" idea Friedrich Nietzsche speaks about in a book of his. i am still debating in my head about it.

28th April 2006

wc_helmets11:33am: Ontological existence for God
When inquiring about ontology and being, if one is affirmative in ontological inquiry (the antithesis being "why study that stupid shit, man"), one must also have formulated an existence of God. To be logically consistent, this belief in "God" must also in some way lean toward the affirmative.

1) When being affirmative in the belief in being, in the belief that 'is' actually has a meaning to it, one belives in a concept which is somehow intrinsic to the object but never material. This belief can be described in numerous ways, but this is the essentials.

2) This definition of belief (edit: being, not belief) also fulfills the definition of 'God'.

It is logically inconsistent to take either belief only.

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