PROVE THAT GOD DOES NOT EXIST !!!!

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Martin Dann

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May 12, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/12/99
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In article <61pR2.14384$0m3.3...@news1.mia>, ONEstar
<ONE...@galaxycorp.com> writes

I am sorry about the long delay in responding, and also that I may not
get round to answering all your other outstanding posts. No, I did not
fall off the end of the earth - thanks for asking - but I teetered on
the brink for a while. But the bad news is that here I am again! I've
done some snipping to try and shorten the post and keep the discussion
to philosophical issues. I know this sometimes offends you but hope
you'll understand.

>> >> My point is that we have no choice about the first language(s) we
>learn,
>> >> just as slaves have no choice about their predicament. We can't decide
>> >> *not* to agree to the language we learn. Slaves cannot decide not to be
>> >> slaves. Please explain the equivocation.
>
>> >I understood your point the first time, however as I indicated then, it
>does
>> >not apply. Humans can decide not to do almost anything they consciously
>> >decide not to do. (Autonomic responses aside) Language is a tool and
>humans
>> >use it to acquire not only more tools, but more relative knowledge. In
>the
>> >case of babies who begin to learn language, they imitate language long
>> >before they understand the objective relationship and eventually the
>desire
>> >for interaction submerges any other desire. The path of least resistance
>is
>> >to accept the language used in the common environmental and proceed. (If
>> >the baby only had signing as the environmental language, signing would be
>> >the language first learned.)
>
>> Of course. Which proves my point. Choice is not involved, therefore
>> agreement/consensus is not involved.
>
>Not exactly, Martin. It proves only that humans will choose to communicate
>in whatever style they are exposed to. The path of least resistance (common
>language) is still a choice whether or not you desire to acknowledge it.

Taking the "path of least resistance" implies more difficult paths which
could have been taken. What other paths, difficult or not, could a baby
realistically take? For example, I was brought up in England by English
speaking parents, in a totally English speaking environment. I do not
understand what other path than to speak English I could have chosen?
Even if there was another path, how could a pre-linguistic child make
that kind of choice?

[.....]

>> Why do they agree? How do they agree? What is it about a tree, or about
>> people observing a tree, that causes them to agree that they see a tree?
>
>The thought began thusly :"Reality is the accumulated mental representation
>of our perceptions. Many think of the accumulation of shared perceptions as
>reality, however the truth is that each have their own and no two are
>exactly alike."
>
>Perhaps this reiteration will remind us of the direction we pursue.

I think you mean the direction you pursue. I am trying to show you that
it leads nowhere! First "reality" is, by definition, opposed to the
concept of "mental representations of our perceptions". Reality is what
our perceptions are of. Second, the concept of a representation of
reality necessitates a reality which is represented. This much is
required if you meant it when you denied solipsism. Your second claim is
not evidently true. I suspect that if you ask people what they think of
reality, the vast majority will say something along the lines of, "that
which is opposed to illusion", "that which is fact or actual as opposed
to that which is fictional or imaginary". I very much doubt that many
will say "reality is accumulated shared perceptions". There are of
course people who believe that all is illusion, and perhaps some, apart
from you, who believe that all there is is the "accumulation of shared
perceptions". But these people will not make the mistake of calling this
reality. They will see that their claim entails that there is no
reality.

Further, it does not follow from your claim that "each have their own
[reality?] and no two are exactly alike" that their is no reality other
what we might think is real, and call "our reality". Even if our
perception of reality is personal, it is nevertheless a perception of
reality. Even if our perception of reality is illusory, it is our
perception that is an illusion, not reality. The fact that people have
different ideas about things does not entail that the things they have
the different ideas about are not real.

But you have said elsewhere that reality is illusion (you should really
stick to calling it "so-called reality" to avoid confusion) so it would
seem that your claims are not about perception at all, but about
imagination and subjectivity. I don't deny that these exist, but that
has nothing to do with the existence of an independent reality, or our
ability to perceive. That we know we sometimes see illusions entails
knowledge of the difference between reality and illusion, which in turn
entails knowledge of reality.
>
[......]
>
>I am sorry you translated my response in that manner, for it was not
>intended as you seem to perceive. I was merely attempting to steer our
>discourse back to the original line of thought which you seem to have
>misplaced. "Reality is the accumulated mental representation of our
>perceptions. Many think of the accumulation of shared perceptions as
>reality, however the truth is that each have their own and no two are
>exactly alike." Now, if you have some method or evidence this is not
>correct, I am sure I will refute it without a great deal of effort.

By your own admission elsewhere, this is not reality. It is what you
call "so-called" reality. And that is absolutely right - to claim that
"accumulated representations of our perceptions" has anything to do with
reality would be a nonsense. Reality is that which lies beyond any such
representation, and what it is a representation of. But see also my
discussion above.

[.....]
>
>> In what sense am I not part of reality? And I have been at pains to
>> point out that I do not accept as reality that which has been built be
>> me alone. That is not covered by the definition of reality. So what are
>> you talking about?
>
>In the sense that you are required to behold it, for it to exist as you
>behold it. A tautology of minor order and I know your love for tautology.
>Your acceptance or not of this tautology is the fulcrum for all subsequent
>observances and even your vaunted logic should be able to follow from there.
>Even the definition of the English word *reality* is a consensus and makes
>my point for me. We could call reality a
>*laiz'-du-faire*, but then you would not be in that consensus, or would you?

You say "....you are required to behold [reality], for it to exist as
you behold it". Ignoring the sarcasm, yes of course this is a tautology,
and yes of course I accept it. It is a straightforward trivial truth.
What would be more controversial would be to claim (with Berkeley) that
"I am required to behold it for it to exist". This I would deny. We
appear to be sailing past each other in the night here ONE. I have no
trouble with the fact that things for me depend on me for them to be
things for me - how could I have? But as with any tautology this makes
no point at all. As I pointed out about, and many times previously, I
deny that things which exist independently of my thoughts and ideas of
them, depend on me for their existence. I have provided an argument in
support of this elsewhere in this post.

I am not in any consensus. I know I have said this before, but... First,
I have absolutely no choice at this level but to converse with you in
the English which is natural to me - the English I had no choice but to
learn as a child. I can say "please" and "thank-you" in a few languages,
but this does not provide me with a choice - I am stuck with English.
Second, no agreement is asked or required from you or anybody in order
for me to express myself in the only language available to me. Third, of
course as I write, even in English, I have choices. Which word should I
use? How should I structure my reply? What line shall I take? None of
these things involve any more that my free will to make my own
decisions. I do not consent to anything nor do I ask you to consent to
anything. I simply use words as I have learned to use them. Perhaps
consensus would indeed be needed if, like Humpty-Dumpty in Alice in
Wonderland, we used words arbitrarily, making them mean whatever we want
them to mean. But this is not how language is used.

I can see a sense in which it *might* make sense to talk of consensus.
Wittgenstein talks of "language games". Thus, within the context in
which you are using language you will follow the rules of that
particular language game. The way the "game" is played in philosophical
debate, for example, differs from the way in which it would be played in
other circles, such as within the military, or in government. Thus it
might be argued that "playing a language game" involves consensus.
However, even here I doubt it could be called consensus. If, for
example, I wish to play a game of chess, it seems odd to me to suggest
that a consensus if required in order to do so. The rules of chess have
evolved to what they are today and I have no say in this. If I do not
accept the rules, then there is no point in me playing chess. But please
note that accepting something - the rules of the game for example - is
*not* what we mean by consensus, unless, as I say, we are to play
Humpty-Dumpty with the word.
>
>> >>, then removing a part from the whole, does not remove the whole, does
>it?
>
>> >In this particular case, the logic of math does not apply. Your
>perception
>> >of reality depends upon your senses to compile the data into the reality
>you
>> >know. Without you (and your senses) YOU will have no reality to compile.
>
>>I accept the reality exists whether I am here to observe it
>>or not. Indeed, that is part of the definition of reality - that it
>>lies beyond subjectivity.
>
>You do not not know this, and can never know this, and I do not share your
>opinion. I would care to see some evidence, however, this will not be
>forthcoming, of course. There is no part of reality, in truth, that is not
>part of subjectivism, although science has devised a method they find
>acceptably far removed from rampant subjectivism. Perhaps you refer to
>this, but still the interpretation (subjective)belongs to the individual,
>and reality is the consensus of those interpretations.

Either reality is that which lies beyond subjectivity (by definition),
or there is no reality. I don't think it is acceptable to invent your
own definition of the word. And it does not follow from the (debatable)
claim that "there is no part of reality, in truth, that is not part of
subjectivism..." that we cannot know reality. Indeed, your comment "in
truth" is a reality claim and raises an interesting paradox. You are, in
effect, claiming that the reality is that there is no reality. As you
said to me, "you do not know this and can never know this".
>
>> >> >After you no longer have any thoughts, you
>> >> >could not possibly know if she did or not for you are no longer part
>of
>> >that reality except by remembrance by others (representational theory).
>
>> >> My knowledge is irrelevant to the fact of whether she did or did not
>> >> collect the insurance (sensible theory).
>
>> >No, your knowledge is the reality you have constructed by means of your
>> >perceptions and is kin to the reality by the same manner. Without your
>> >knowledge, you can not say that her collection of the insurance is real,
>you
>> >can only surmise it will be.
>
>> Not at all. If she collects the insurance my surmise is irrelevant to
>> the fact that she has collected the insurance.
>
>The point here is that her collection is not, nor never will be real to YOU.

But that is exactly the point I am making. If (as I claim) reality is
that which exists independently of my subjective opinion, then it is
irrelevant that that which occurs after my death is not known by me. The
reality I am claiming has (by definition) nothing to do with my
awareness or ignorance of it.
>
>> >> >YOUR
>> >> >entire reality transpires with you. If you were never here at all,
>there
>> >> >would never be any reality for you to experience in the first place.
>
>> >> If I were never here in the first place, are you saying that there
>would
>> >> be no reality for *YOU* to experience?
>
>> >No, I say there will be no reality for YOU to experience.
>
>> You are making a fundamental mistake. "Reality" by definition, is that
>> which is independent of my experience of it. If I am here to experience
>> it, then I will. If not, I will not. That does not prevent you or anyone
>> else experiencing the reality. And if no-one is here to experience it,
>> then it still remains as a potential experience.
>
>There is no mistake, save that which you intend to attribute by ignorance.
>The mistake above intends that there is a reality of which, you are not a
>part. THAT is a mistake, by not made by myself. To assert if you are not
>here you will not experience reality proves more my point than yours.
>Potential is not in issue here but your *reality*, and the illusion it
>represents is.

Reality is that which is distinguished from my illusions, by definition.
Reality exists whether I am aware of it or not, by definition, and by
the argument I have presented elsewhere in this post. But as I thought
you had already agreed, when you talk of reality you mean no such thing
- you mean illusion (does this illusory reality include the illusion of
illusions, by the way? Just checking ;-)). This, of course, would
include all your claims about consensus, tangents, a creator and the
bible. All part of your illusion of reality.
>
>> >> I am not, nor have ever been, talking about *MY* reality.
>
>> >Then you can not discuss anything, for if we do not consider your
>reality,
>> >there will be no one here for you to discuss with.
>
>(No response noted, and completely understandable in light of the
>segmentation.)

I thought it was too silly a point to merit response - sorry. It does
not follow from the claim that reality is that which is real for
everyone, that there is no-one for me to discuss with.
>
>> >> I am talking about the reality that exists
>> >> independently of me, you, or anyone else.
>
>> >Then you are talking about non-sense for there is no such thing and can
>never
>> >be. There is nothing that is truly independent of anything else as all
>> >individual things are a part of the entirety of all things.
>
>> Rubbish. By that argument, if a flower dies we all die. Utter nonsense.
>> The life of an ant in Ulan Bator is entirely independent of your, or my,
>> knowledge of that ant's existence.
>
>Not really, but merely part of the reality (illusion) dies. Ulan Bator is
>now part of both of our reality (illusion) by your sharing this small
>portion. By the way, the ant is also by means of connectives which bind our
>universe, our solar system, and our world.

An illusion of a flower cannot die. The death of an illusory flower is
another illusion, so your first sentence has no meaning. Is Ulan Bator a
real place or not? My comment about Ulan Bator has nothing to do with
whether it exists or not. If you had not previously known that it was
the capital of Mongolia then you have learnt something. I fear I have
been unable to make any sense of your last sentence. Sorry.
>
>> >>The reality that means that if I were to die this instance you would
>> >continue to live and post to these newsgroups.
>
>> >How could you possibly know this? I can understand you could imagine it,
>I
>> >can readily see you could guess it to be the case, but if your were dead,
>it
>> >would never be part of your reality.
>
>> That is why I distinguish between *my* reality and "reality". Would the
>> ant in Ulan Bator that was never part of what you disingenuously call
>> "my reality" cease to exist if I did? I have seen the Mona Lisa in the
>> Louvre, in Paris. If I ceased to exist would that mean that no-one else
>> would ever be able to see it because it was no longer part of *my*
>> reality? That I would not know this is irrelevant to the fact that
>> others would.
>
>There is no reality outside of what you know because all reality is
>illusion. Even if a portion of the illusion becomes new to you and was
>known by everyone else, you can not say that it was always real, except by
>consensus.

But, ONE, reality is *by definition* opposed to illusion. What you are
saying is not that reality is illusion (which makes as much sense as
saying that "bachelors are not unmarried") but that there is no reality.
Nothing is real. You, me, God, the creation, your opinions, the
bible..... all illusion. Yes?
>
>> >Are you denying that?
>
>> >Yes, emphatically.
>
>(Another, fragment waving in the void of reason by means of segregation.)
>
>> >> >While
>> >> >you are here, the only reality you know (in a relative sense) is the
>one
>> >> >where you exist within it. Surely you can piece these three separate
>and
>> >> >distict situations together to form the framework of the idea, that
>> >reality depends upon your perception.
>
>> >> That is not the issue.
>
>> >Yes, it is pointedly at issue.
>
> >You keep saying "to you" and "your reality".
>
>I keep indicating it yes, for you must be here to have any knowledge of it.
>Without the you that is special to yourself, that *reality* (illusion you
>call real) can not exist.

You are quite right. Illusions I call real cannot exist without me. But
it is not my illusions of reality that I have been talking about. It is
reality itself, which, by definition, is independent of my illusions.
>
>> >I keep saying it, but you keep ignoring and insisting that without you
>there
>> >will continue to be the reality as you know it. (As you have often
>> >indicated, you can not possible know the reality as another knows it)
>This
>> >is not consistant and the truth is that without you, your reality (as you
>> >know it) will cease to be.
>
>> So you will cease to be if I do? Rubbish. Whatever ceases to be for me,
>> does not cease to be for you or anyone else. That is what I mean by
>> reality.
>
>We know what you mean, but you have no means to prove it. (Pun intended)

Your continued existence during my long absence provides adequate proof
that you continue to exist independently of me. You will hopefully have
to wait a little longer to be reassured of your independent existence
should I cease to be altogether!
>
>> >>I have always been claiming that there *must* be a reality independent
>of
>> >> me, and my perception of it, or you would not have existed before we
>> >> started conversing on usenet. Are you saying that?
>
>> >Your claim is non-sense in as much as you can not prove it while you are
>> >alive and maintain your representation of reality, nor can you prove it
>> >after your representation of reality is halted by death.
>
>> If I have a "representation of reality" it follows that there is a
>> reality of which I have a representation. If I cease to exist, then so
>> does my representation, but not the reality, of which you, or others, or
>> no-one might have a "representation". Right?
>
>No, it means there are contrasting stimuli you interpret as reference
>points, it does not mean your interpretation is the absolute reality. If
>those contrasting reference points, I call tangents, continue to be
>interpreted by others, that does not indicate a reality either, merely
>illusion, held together by consensus.

I would never claim that my "interpretation is the absolute reality". As
I have been trying to make clear, my interpretation is one thing,
reality is another, being the object of my interpretation. As for
"contrasting stimuli" and "reference points" I am not to sure what these
could be if not the result of perceiving objects in the real world.

I am not clear how your claim that "contrasting reference points...
[interpreted by me] continue to be interpreted by others" indicates mere
"illusion? Even if you are right that such "consensus" does not
guarantee reality then I do not see that it follows that illusion is
indicated. Consensus tells us nothing other than that there is
consensus. But my argument that we perceive a real world does not rely
on consensus. I do not require that others agree with me that I see a
tree. I do not need to, for they see it for themselves. What others can
provide is confirmation, which is not the same thing as consensus.
>
[....]
>
>> >> >This would seem to prove my point more than yours and thank you for
>it.
>> >> >What you have proved is a representational theory of reality. Those
>> >things you say you no longer perceive (by closing your eyes) still exist
>in your
>> >> >mental representation of reality (within your mental construct). The
>> >> >closing of eyes, is merely a temporary condition within that
>> >representation, induced by yourself and proves nothing more than in your
>representation of reality, you, closed your eyes.
>
>> >> Well tell me ONE, what happens when I am asleep?
>
>> >There is nothing you percieve which is real.
>
>> There is nothing I perceive at all. Perception involves sight, hearing,
>> touch, taste or smell. When I am asleep I have none of these means of
>> perception.
>
>You never dream?

Of course. And of course it is only by knowing that some perceptions
*are* real that we can know that there are perception, like dreams and
illusions, that are not real. When we dream of an apple, we are not
perceiving an apple - for there is no apple to perceive. We are
*dreaming* that we are perceiving an apple. No real perception is
involved. You are in extremely good company if you make the mistake that
we perceive thoughts, or "representations" in our minds - Socrates
(according to Plato), Descartes, Hume, Berkeley, Kant.... etc. Thoughts
(representations if you wish) can be the *result* of our perceptions,
but we do not then perceive them again - we already *have* them.

>> >Unconscious?
>
>> >Same thing as above, only this time it is not elective.
>
>> So nothing exists independently of me? The world ceases to exist for you
>> if I am unconscious?
>
>No, it ceases for you.

Indeed it does. But I note you now agree that it does not cease for you.
Thus, it would appear that you now agree with my claim that there is an
existent world independent me. Would it not be reasonable to assume that
the same applies to you - that when you are unconscious the world still
exists for me? And could we not say that this applies to each and every
existing person? Thus, must we not agree that things which exists do so
independently of you, or me, or Bill Clinton, or Tony Blair... and that
we could continue with this process until we had named every person in
the world? Now does it not follow from this that existence is
independent of all of us, for if I were the last person alive, the world
would still exist, yet we have agreed that its existence is not
dependent on me, so would continue to exist when I died? It is this
independent existence I call reality, for no matter how many different
interpretations, or representations, there are of it, or what consensus
might exist over those representations, it remains what it is. Reality
is that which is, and not the ideas about it.
>
>> >>If every
>> >> human being was spirited away from the face of the earth tomorrow,
>there
>> >> would still be a universe, bees would still collect honey from the
>> >> flowers, fish would still swim in the rivers....
>
>> >You might have a difficult time proving this theory. In fact, you could
>> >not.
>
>> I don't need to prove it. You need to prove that it cannot be so. It's
>> your theory.
>
>No, it is your theory, your assertion, that bees still collect nector, (not
>honey), but you can not prove it, only theorize it.

See my argument above.

>
>> >>etc etc. I would know
>> >> it *then* because I would not be here. But I know it now, and that's
>> >> enough.
>>
>> >YOU do not know it now, you would not know it then, and that is
>sufficient
>> >to prove your view of reality is faulty. This, of course, is enough.
>
>> Of course I know it now. Prove me wrong.
>
>It is your assertion that you know it, : "If every human being was spirited
>away from the face of the earth tomorrow, there would still be a universe,
>bees would still collect honey from the flowers, fish would still swim in
>the rivers"
>Now let us see your logic prove it.

See above.

>> >>Well, the interpretation of reality belongs to the
>> >> individual, for sure. That is enough to guarantee individuality.
>
>> >This is more like it. Then you agree that the perception of reality is
>> >illusion, and that without you to observe it, your reality does not
>exist.
>
>> No. You are making the naive mistake of confusing perception *of* X,
>> with perception *that* it is X.
>
>No, you seem to attribute error where none exist. I merely agreed with your
>statement that :"Well, the interpretation of reality belongs to the
>individual, for sure", and proceeded to the next logical placement.

Well, perhaps you proceed a little too swiftly, ONE. First, by agreeing
to my statement are you not agreeing to there being a reality to
interpret? Have you not previously denied that? But, the point I am
trying to make by distinguishing "perception *of* X" (which is the
process of perception) from "perception *that* it is X" (which is the
process of conception or cognition) is that the first is what I am
talking about when I claim that we perceive objects directly. The second
is a subsequent process, dependent on the first - that is, dependent on
our perception *of* the object. This conceptual process seems to be what
you are referring to when you talk of "contrasting points of reference".
Contrasting points of reference when talking non-cognitively can be
overcome - we can walk around the tree, view it from all angles, cut it
up and examine it if necessary. I have never denied that our
interpretation of that information is a personal process, and one,
therefore, which can result in error. But we can also be right. Our
belief that the object in front of us *is* a tree can be *true* belief -
and therefore knowledge.
>
[.....]
>
>> >What I meant to say is that there are perceptions which seem independent.
>
>> Why? What is it about a perception that makes us think it is
>> independent?
>
>It is interpreted by our mentality alone.

Such as illusions, dreams and hallucinations? You will have to explain.
Surely we interpret everything we perceive by "our mentality" - how else
do we interpret? Is this Berkeley again by any chance? Are those
independent "perceptions" (by which I presume you mean ideas or
concepts) put into our minds by God? I'd prefer you "came clean" if this
is what you mean! If not, how do they come to be there if not,
ultimately, as a result of our perceptions of the world around us?
>
>> >There is a certain duality that needs be observed if one is to exact not
>> >only his apparent position (current perception) in the universe but also
>his
>> >refined position (a projection of where one has been and is, toward where
>> >one will is likely to be.)
>
>> Give me an example.
>
>The now, as opposed to the past and present. And then the now, as in all
>time combined.

Did you mean to say "now as opposed to the past and future"? I'll assume
so, for "now" and "present" would appear to be synonymous. Before I
answer this point, though, I'd like you to explain what you mean by "all
time combined", for on the face of it, it appears to be an empty
concept.
>
>> > This duality extends itself into views that are
>> >notably dependent upon perception as well as seemingly independent when
>> >observed from an objective position.
>
>> Why should some views be "seemingly independent"? Why not accept that
>> they *are* independent? And what do you mean by an objective
>> perspective? How can there be such a thing in your universe?
>
>They belong to the individual. They are related, by the individual, thus
>they can graduate into no longer being independent but more consensus.
>Objective perspective, of the points of reference (tangents) They are
>illusions, but I must use the terms of consensus to communicate.

Again you are making a leap from the point that things are relative, to
an assumption that they must therefore be illusory. This does not
follow. It may well be that on occasion my interpretation of X is
relative to a particular time, and to my particular circumstances at
that time. But this does not mean that my interpretation of X in those
given circumstances is not unambiguously "right", and that the same
interpretation would not be made by anyone else in those circumstances.
This is what I would suggest is an objective interpretation. To say that
interpretation is subjective (in the sense that interpretations depend
on mental processes) is *not* to imply that a given interpretation is
arbitrarily personal, or that it cannot be an *objective*
interpretation.

What exactly are the "terms of consensus" you use to communicate, by the
way? I understand the concept of "conventions" of communication, but
that is a different concept altogether. Consensus implies consent, and
consent implies a conscious decision to agree with others about
something. I am not aware of having made any such decision. The way I
communicate was pretty much determined long before I had the concept of
consensus. It was determined by the nationality, language and possibly
status of my parents, and where I was born and brought up. I had no say
in that, and thus what I use to communicate was determined without my
consent.

Once again, my apologies for the long delay.
--
Martin

Martin Dann

unread,
May 13, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/13/99
to
In article <KPkT2.3454$oH.7...@news3.mia>, ONEstar
<ONE...@galaxycorp.com> writes

Some more late catching up... sorry again.

Martin:
>> Our senses are designed (either in an evolutionary or if you wish
>> creational sense) to detect "what is". Our eyes would not function
>> unless there was light. Therefore light is a "what is". Our ears would
>> detect nothing unless stimulated by vibrations in an atmosphere capable
>> of supporting such vibrations. Two more "what is's". We would feel
>> nothing unless there were something to feel, taste nothing if there was
>> nothing to taste, smell nothing if there were nothing to smell. This is
>> nothing to do with dismissing "unexpected results". If you dismiss
>> reality there *are* no results other than those you imagine.
>
>They, the senses, detect within the limitation built into them, only what is
>discernable to them. The eyes detect light only to the extent of the
>visible spectrum and *what is* is far more than that limited spectrum.
>Hearing, feeling, and the dual sense of taste/smell are similar in scope.
>The point here is that we can safely expect these senses to produce the
>tangents of so-called reality, but they can not reveal the real objects,
>entities, or situations which are beyond their scope. So called reality,
>common to most, and accurate reality are separated by the limitations of the
>senses.
>
Our senses are exactly what is required to give us the information we
need. They have developed in response to our environment and serve the
purpose required of them. The spectrum of light we detect is precisely
the spectrum of light we need to live our lives. Sure, bees, for
example, can apparently detect light into the ultra-violet, enabling
them to see colours and patterns on flowers that we cannot. But (1) we
don't need to for we don't need to know which flowers have the best
nectar, and (2) we can find out by other means (expose the flowers to
ultraviolet light and measure the resulting luminance etc). The fact
that the spectrum our senses detect is limited does not mean we cannot
know that there are real objects. It means that we see those aspects of
the real object that are within our limits. And knowing our limits, we
can make allowances for that and use our inventiveness to discover
aspects of reality that we may not initially observe. Thus we invent
spectroscopes, electron microscopes and the like. We accept that we do
not. and even possibly cannot know *everything* that there is to be
known about any particular object, but to infer from this that we can
therefore know nothing is patently false. You seem to be conflating
limitation with falsity or illusion. Not so. Limitation may mean that
there are some aspects of reality of which we have limited knowledge. It
may mean that there are some things we will never know. It does not mean
that we can have no knowledge of reality.

[....]
>
>> I am not sure why you should wish to conflate partial knowledge and
>> relative knowledge, but I have no problem with the concept that we do
>> not, and cannot know everything, this our knowledge of many things is
>> partial. Nor do I have a problem with the concept that what *I* know,
>> because of my different experiences, might differ from what *you* know.
>> If this is relative knowledge, fine. And I have no problem with your
>> comment about the arrogance of those who lay claim to knowledge they do
>> not properly have. But I note you have nothing to say about the
>> equivocation I suspect you are making between senses of knowledge which
>> are indeed genuinely relative (the kinds of non-propositional knowledge
>> I mentioned) and propositional knowledge, which, by definition, has an
>> objective truth value independent of the proposer.
>
>Conflation of the two seems quite expected to myself, due to the
>similarities of the two, as they seem almost interchangeable if not
>inseparable. Partial knowledge is relative to all other so called
>knowledge, as relative knowledge is only partial and dependent upon support
>from other adjacent areas of awareness. Please excuse my lack of comment
>concerning your separations of non-propositional and propositional
>knowledge. These terms, in concept, could very well segregate the accepted
>state of knowledge, between any two individuals, but to the individual, it
>seems to me that all knowledge is non-propositional (except when it is
>viewed as belonging to another and different from our own). The terms
>become useful only when we compare what we detect in our own reality to
>another's. I had presumed (perhaps erroneously) that we had passed this
>stage in our converse.

First, it does not follow that relative knowledge is partial. I might
know all the plants in my garden - a piece of knowledge relative to me -
and thus I would have relative knowledge that is not partial. That I do
not, of course, has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that this
knowledge is relative to me. It is because the birds pull the labels out
and my memory is not perfect. Second, it does not follow that partial
knowledge is relative. What is a part of something is not relative to it
- or if it is, the relativity has nothing to do with the fact that it is
partial. You are confusing your concepts.

I don't recall us having discussed equivocation of different senses of
knowledge before. I certainly would have noticed if you had said
something as obviously wrong as that all knowledge is non-propositional.
Can you really not see the difference between saying, "I know John
Smith" and, "This person is called John Smith"?
>
>
>The more I consider the term "propositional knowledge", the more I recognize
>your/it's conflation with the term "objective", and thereby your projected
>limitations upon this type of knowledge. To the master builder,
>non-propositional knowledge is the only material suitable for use in pyramid
>building, but we have not discussed the process of taking the raw
>propositional state of knowledge through the various *firing* processes
>which perform the transformation, nor have we discussed the methods used to
>test the final product for fitness.

To conflate "propositional knowledge" with the term "objective" would be
a very strange thing to do. Propositions are neither subjective or
objective. They may be about abstract concepts - mathematics for
example. Your analogy shows that you have not really grasped the concept
of propositional and non-propositional knowledge. The "master builder"
requires both kinds of knowledge for use in pyramid building otherwise
he would not know that it was a pyramid he was building.

I am not sure what you mean by "raw" propositional knowledge, and to
what you think it is transformed. Propositional knowledge is knowledge
*that* something is so. Non propositional knowledge is knowledge *of*
something - such as knowledge by acquaintance or by direct awareness.

So when you talk of "firing" and "transformation" are you perhaps
referring to the method by which belief becomes knowledge? Or is it
connected with your scepticism, and you are looking for a process that
imbues "raw knowledge" with Cartesian certainty? I am not sure how a
discussion about "transformation" would differ from a discussion about
"the method used to test the final product for fitness". The way we come
to knowledge *is* the test for fitness.

Assuming that your implicit question is "how do we know that our
proposition is true" - ie, that it is knowledge - let us consider the
two examples of propositional knowledge. How do we know that 3-2=1 is a
true proposition? Well if you take mathematics as a priori knowledge,
then you would simply point out that the equation follows the eternal
rules of mathematics - a priori knowledge does not require empirical
proof. However, if (as you agree below) mathematical knowledge is
empirical, then you can confirm the truth of the proposition by the very
means by which you came by this knowledge in the first place. Lay out 3
apples, remove two, and count the number remaining. Is that product now
fit?

To take a less abstract example, let us say I claim that the animal on
my windowsill is a cat. If you doubted the truth of my proposition, the
easiest way would be for you to see it for yourself (that is what
empirical knowledge is all about). If you were sceptical that what you
also saw was a cat then consideration of the taxonomy of felis
domesticus, would enable us to confirm the characteristics that define
this creature from other animals. What further would you require to
accept my proposition that the object I refer to is a cat?

[.....]
>
>> >So...you do not know an illusion. You do not know the difference between
>an
>> >illusion of something real and the reality of something. An example is
>your
>> >belief that a candle you observe in a dark room is a real candle when it
>is
>> >only a hologram. This can be taken several levels higher to where we can
>> >illustrate your observance of what you believe to be a flame and observe
>as
>> >a flame on what you believe to be the real candle from which the hologram
>> >was projected, but is only an illusion performed by theatrics. This
>would,
>> >I trust, adequately illustrate your inability to *know* the difference
>based
>> >upon sight alone. If this demonstation can be perfomed with sight, the
>> >other senses are equally subject to illusion.
>
>> Oh but I do know the difference between illusion and reality. The candle
>> hologram is a poor example. Will I burn my finger if I stick it in the
>> flame of the hologram? Will the hologram feel waxy? Will I smell the
>> smoke from the wick? Will I be able to carry the candle to another room?
>> If I switch off the lasers generating the image, will it remain? If I
>> switch on the lights, or draw back the curtains in the room will the
>> candle be clearly visible still? I can check all of these things with a
>> real candle. And if you say that my limited senses might deceive me, I
>> will reply that it is enough that my limited senses will pick the real
>> candle from the image every time without fail. The only way you could be
>> sure of fooling me would be to create an image that was exactly like a
>> real candle in every way - but something that is exactly like a real
>> candle in every way, is a real candle!
>
>We could construct a stage where you were convinced of a real candle where
>there was not one, but with certain limitations. The point being and
>centered upon the limitations of the senses, and not the illusion itself.
>Of secondary but immediate concern is that what you might think of as a real
>candle, has many properties you are not immediately aware of, thus
>emphasizing the point that so called reality is exactly what you expect.

This doesn't seem to address any of the points I made. Why can I not
make use of all my senses, my experience, and my previous knowledge of
the possibility and nature of illusion in order to test the reality of
that which appears to me to be a candle? The undoubted fact that it is
possible to create an illusion does not entail that all is illusion. I
agree that we can be fooled - and thus it is unarguable that there is
such a thing as illusion. But if there is a concept of illusion, what is
this contrasted with? Can you not see the paradox of your claim? You
claim that everything is illusion, yet you are talking of convincing me
that there is a *real* candle where there is not one. What *real*
candle? According to you there is no real candle, only the illusion of a
candle, so what is it you are trying to get me to see? The illusion of
an illusion? As you have demonstrated in the first sentence of your last
paragraph, talk of the illusion is meaningless without reference to
reality - and in order to refer meaningfully to reality we must have
experienced it.

Your second point, that the candle has properties of which I am not
immediately aware, is true, but implies that there are properties of the
candle of which I *am* immediately aware. These properties are of
necessity sufficient for me to identify it as a candle - if they weren't
I would have no concept of candle. Because there are further properties
(the chemical composition, molecular structure etc) not necessary for
our identification of the object as a candle, it does not follow that we
cannot know that it is a real candle based on the properties that *are*
immediately available to us. And I am not sure why you should think
immediacy is an issue. If the properties I am immediately aware of are
not sufficient to provide me with knowledge, I can find out the rest at
my leisure. If the only way I can be sure the X is in fact X is by
carrying out a chemical analysis, then so be it. I'll wait for that
before making any claim to knowledge.
>
[....]

>> >You have a partial control, but not a total control, thus you have again,
>> >the illusion of control, just as you have the illsuion of a reality you
>> >represent by means of the representational reality you hold as *real*.
>
>> Again you seem to think that "partial" means "illusory". It does not. I
>> know full well the limits of my control, just as I know full well the
>> limits of my senses. When I claim partial control, or partial knowledge
>> I am not claiming full control or full knowledge, therefore why say it
>> is an illusion? And when I make a proposition about reality, I am not
>> making a proposition about something in my head, I am making a
>> proposition about something external to me, whether or not I have a
>> "representation" of that reality.
>
>Yes, I deem partial as illusory, just as we know the elephant is not like a
>rope even when the portion that we are able to examine at the moment feels
>like one. When you make the proposition that the elephant is like a rope,
>it is simply because you can not detect the ways it is not like a rope. In
>other words, an illusion and a representation of reality as you behold it,
>no matter it's being external or not.

Not so. Why should I claim that an elephant feels like a rope when all I
have felt is a part of the elephant? That is not illusion, that is false
judgement. If, after feeling the rest of the elephant I claim it still
feels like a rope, I probably am suffering from some kind of delusion,
for under normal circumstances, no-one would make such a claim. People
make mistakes, make false claims, and hasty judgements based on
insufficient evidence, but this does not mean that all judgements are
illusory, or that all representations are not as we behold them. One
might more correctly say that an elephant's tail feels like a rope. That
would be an observation about a "partial" elephant yet would not be an
illusion, surely?

[.....]

>> I'm sure we've had the discussion of evil and good before, but you seem
>> to have changed your position somewhat. I seem to remember you claiming
>> that there was a continuum between good and evil with what counted as
>> good or evil being temporally relative in some way. I disagree, though,
>> about evil merely being lack of good. Lack of good is neutral. Things
>> can be neither good nor evil. An evil act is as positive an act as a
>> good act, one being positively bad and the other positively good. One
>> can fail to be good without being evil.
>
>Neutrality represents a balance of evil and good, more than it represents
>good without evil. To be good without any evil at all, we simply term
>*good*. The valuation twixt good and evil is assigned all things I am aware
>of, but perhaps you have some illustration in mind. Actions seem to fall in
>a category by result, although there are many other variables to consider.

You are talking about two different concepts. There may well be actions
of which we might say that the good and evil balance out, but that is
not the same as saying that they are neutral. Activities which are
morally neutral are neither good nor evil. That is quite a different
thing from saying good *and* bad.

Further, if as you say evil is merely the lack of good, and there is no
such thing as a neutral action (in my sense), then it follows that an
action which is *not* evil must be good (you say as much yourself). And
an action which has no evil in it whatsoever must be the ultimate good.
Now I suggest that my saying "Martin" when answering the question, "what
is your given name" is an action containing no evil whatsoever, and thus
(according to your definition) is an act of ultimate goodness (this is
not to say that *I* contain no evil, but that my particular action does
not). I suggest that morally neutral acts such as answering with my
name, scratching my head, or performing bodily functions are not neutral
because they contain good and evil in balance, but because they are
actions to which it is inappropriate to ascribe moral values.

I would also suggest that when we judge something good, we are not
making a negative judgement about the lack of evil, we are making a
positive judgement about the extent to which virtue is being displayed.
--
Martin

ONEstar

unread,
May 13, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/13/99
to

Martin Dann

> I am sorry about the long delay in responding, and also that I may not
> get round to answering all your other outstanding posts. No, I did not
> fall off the end of the earth - thanks for asking - but I teetered on
> the brink for a while. But the bad news is that here I am again! I've
> done some snipping to try and shorten the post and keep the discussion
> to philosophical issues. I know this sometimes offends you but hope
> you'll understand.

We are most pleased you have returned as the level of intelligence and
replies by those who remained have not seen your equal. We wish you balance
and strength as you retrurn from the brink.

The choices at that level of development are slim but not non-existant. Not
speaking at all is also a choice, though few there are who make that choice
as desires are better communicated than left unpublished. Choice made later
in life, are greater and the selection (choice) to speak in a given tongue
are once again more a given than a choice, however still there are choices.

> [.....]

There is the reality of the common man, or so-called reality and then there
is the reality which is beyond mankind's ability to perceive, or true
reality. From the perspective of one who can senses all the things that
humans can not, plus all the things that humans can perceive, the so-called
reality that humans can grasp is surely an illusion. Now, that said, we can
venture further into your theory that any representation is conditional upon
a reality that does exist. I agree there is a foundational reality that
must be for there to be a representation, however that foundation is not
seen or sensed accurately by the limited perceptions of humans, thus it is
not a true reality to them. So then , what is reality? It depends more
upon which size frog in which size pond, it is viewed from. The absolute
truth where there is absolute knowledge is true reality, and anything
(perception) below that must be considered not real by means of the wider
scope.


> Further, it does not follow from your claim that "each have their own
> [reality?] and no two are exactly alike" that their is no reality other
> what we might think is real, and call "our reality". Even if our
> perception of reality is personal, it is nevertheless a perception of
> reality. Even if our perception of reality is illusory, it is our
> perception that is an illusion, not reality. The fact that people have
> different ideas about things does not entail that the things they have
> the different ideas about are not real.

Again, the various degrees of cognizance, awareness, knowledge and
intuition, defines, if not constructs, corresponding degrees of so-called
reality.
The absolute reality is the goal, and relative knowledge the only path.

> But you have said elsewhere that reality is illusion (you should really
> stick to calling it "so-called reality" to avoid confusion) so it would
> seem that your claims are not about perception at all, but about
> imagination and subjectivity. I don't deny that these exist, but that
> has nothing to do with the existence of an independent reality, or our
> ability to perceive. That we know we sometimes see illusions entails
> knowledge of the difference between reality and illusion, which in turn
> entails knowledge of reality.

I think they have much to do with reality as they flavour and colour our
perceptions to the point we define much of oour universe by means of these.
Surely you will agree that in the absolute reality, there are included
emotions, colours and all the various subjective feelings that limited
humans manitain as well as the stark contrast of absolute light and dark.

> [......]

> >I am sorry you translated my response in that manner, for it was not
> >intended as you seem to perceive. I was merely attempting to steer our
> >discourse back to the original line of thought which you seem to have
> >misplaced. "Reality is the accumulated mental representation of our
> >perceptions. Many think of the accumulation of shared perceptions as
> >reality, however the truth is that each have their own and no two are
> >exactly alike." Now, if you have some method or evidence this is not
> >correct, I am sure I will refute it without a great deal of effort.

> By your own admission elsewhere, this is not reality. It is what you
> call "so-called" reality. And that is absolutely right - to claim that
> "accumulated representations of our perceptions" has anything to do with
> reality would be a nonsense. Reality is that which lies beyond any such
> representation, and what it is a representation of. But see also my
> discussion above.

Absolute reality, as known by absolute knowledge, is reality. Less than
that, in any venue may be called reality but falls short. Thus my use of
the term "so-called" reality for many refer to the concrete as reality over
the abstract.

> [.....]

You are not independent of anything thus your denial is meaningless. All
humans and all things in this universe are connected, and while you may find
it difficult to fully grasp, the universe fairly cries this out in all
quadrants of experience. Once this fact is acknowledged, the connectivety
decrees you are required to be part of it, in the time segment that is you,
thus it can truly be said that for the universe to exist (as it is) you must
be.


> I am not in any consensus. I know I have said this before, but... First,
> I have absolutely no choice at this level but to converse with you in
> the English which is natural to me - the English I had no choice but to
> learn as a child. I can say "please" and "thank-you" in a few languages,
> but this does not provide me with a choice - I am stuck with English.
> Second, no agreement is asked or required from you or anybody in order
> for me to express myself in the only language available to me. Third, of
> course as I write, even in English, I have choices. Which word should I
> use? How should I structure my reply? What line shall I take? None of
> these things involve any more that my free will to make my own
> decisions. I do not consent to anything nor do I ask you to consent to
> anything. I simply use words as I have learned to use them. Perhaps
> consensus would indeed be needed if, like Humpty-Dumpty in Alice in
> Wonderland, we used words arbitrarily, making them mean whatever we want
> them to mean. But this is not how language is used.

Exactly my point. A word in a language is used to mean what the consensus
agrees thats it means.

> I can see a sense in which it *might* make sense to talk of consensus.
> Wittgenstein talks of "language games". Thus, within the context in
> which you are using language you will follow the rules of that
> particular language game. The way the "game" is played in philosophical
> debate, for example, differs from the way in which it would be played in
> other circles, such as within the military, or in government. Thus it
> might be argued that "playing a language game" involves consensus.
> However, even here I doubt it could be called consensus. If, for
> example, I wish to play a game of chess, it seems odd to me to suggest
> that a consensus if required in order to do so. The rules of chess have
> evolved to what they are today and I have no say in this. If I do not
> accept the rules, then there is no point in me playing chess. But please
> note that accepting something - the rules of the game for example - is
> *not* what we mean by consensus, unless, as I say, we are to play
> Humpty-Dumpty with the word.

There are certain conventions used in political, military, scientific,
religious, circles as well as many more, and we may refer to these as
language specific to those respective circels, however, my point concerning
consensus was more the manner in which a word is defined by the majority
within a language group.

Yes, perhaps I did invent a viewpoint if not a new definition, however it
does appear to me that the word reality, is oft misused. If we can assume
that absolute reality is the condition of absolute knowledge then we have a
common frame of reference and a point from which we can observe all other
realities as lacking.

> >> >> >After you no longer have any thoughts, you
> >> >> >could not possibly know if she did or not for you are no longer
part
> >of that reality except by remembrance by others (representational
theory).

> >> >> My knowledge is irrelevant to the fact of whether she did or did not
> >> >> collect the insurance (sensible theory).

> >> >No, your knowledge is the reality you have constructed by means of
your
> >> >perceptions and is kin to the reality by the same manner. Without
your
> >> >knowledge, you can not say that her collection of the insurance is
real,
> >you can only surmise it will be.

> >> Not at all. If she collects the insurance my surmise is irrelevant to
> >> the fact that she has collected the insurance.

> >The point here is that her collection is not, nor never will be real to
YOU.

> But that is exactly the point I am making. If (as I claim) reality is
> that which exists independently of my subjective opinion, then it is
> irrelevant that that which occurs after my death is not known by me. The
> reality I am claiming has (by definition) nothing to do with my
> awareness or ignorance of it.

That would not be reality at the nonce, but mere conjecture.

> >> >> >YOUR entire reality transpires with you. If you were never here at
all,
> >there would never be any reality for you to experience in the first
place.

> >> >> If I were never here in the first place, are you saying that there
> >would be no reality for *YOU* to experience?

> >> >No, I say there will be no reality for YOU to experience.

> >> You are making a fundamental mistake. "Reality" by definition, is that
> >> which is independent of my experience of it. If I am here to experience
> >> it, then I will. If not, I will not. That does not prevent you or
anyone
> >> else experiencing the reality. And if no-one is here to experience it,
> >> then it still remains as a potential experience.

> >There is no mistake, save that which you intend to attribute by
ignorance.
> >The mistake above intends that there is a reality of which, you are not a
> >part. THAT is a mistake, by not made by myself. To assert if you are
not
> >here you will not experience reality proves more my point than yours.
> >Potential is not in issue here but your *reality*, and the illusion it
> >represents is.

> Reality is that which is distinguished from my illusions, by definition.

In the grand scale of absolute reality, what you distinguish is illusion.
In the relative reality that is so-called, I am sure you have a case.

> Reality exists whether I am aware of it or not, by definition, and by
> the argument I have presented elsewhere in this post. But as I thought
> you had already agreed, when you talk of reality you mean no such thing
> - you mean illusion (does this illusory reality include the illusion of
> illusions, by the way? Just checking ;-)). This, of course, would
> include all your claims about consensus, tangents, a creator and the
> bible. All part of your illusion of reality.

All part of the illusion we behold and oft times refer to as reality, yes.

> >> >> I am not, nor have ever been, talking about *MY* reality.

> >> >Then you can not discuss anything, for if we do not consider your
> >reality, there will be no one here for you to discuss with.

> >(No response noted, and completely understandable in light of the
> >segmentation.)

> I thought it was too silly a point to merit response - sorry. It does
> not follow from the claim that reality is that which is real for
> everyone, that there is no-one for me to discuss with.

It follows that for the discussion to exists it must be part of YOUR
reality, thus my assertion remains cogent.

> >> >> I am talking about the reality that exists
> >> >> independently of me, you, or anyone else.

> >> >Then you are talking about non-sense for there is no such thing and
can
> >never be. There is nothing that is truly independent of anything else as
all
> >> >individual things are a part of the entirety of all things.

> >> Rubbish. By that argument, if a flower dies we all die. Utter nonsense.
> >> The life of an ant in Ulan Bator is entirely independent of your, or
my,
> >> knowledge of that ant's existence.

> >Not really, but merely part of the reality (illusion) dies. Ulan Bator
is
> >now part of both of our reality (illusion) by your sharing this small
> >portion. By the way, the ant is also by means of connectives which bind
our
> >universe, our solar system, and our world.

> An illusion of a flower cannot die. The death of an illusory flower is
> another illusion, so your first sentence has no meaning. Is Ulan Bator a
> real place or not? My comment about Ulan Bator has nothing to do with
> whether it exists or not. If you had not previously known that it was
> the capital of Mongolia then you have learnt something. I fear I have
> been unable to make any sense of your last sentence. Sorry.

Mere words do not create nor destroy, and illusions, become both greater and
smaller as we progress through our chains of perceptive awareness. You seem
to be aware of the separation twixt the concrete reality and the mentally
fabricated but do you realize the sphere of reality that includes them both?
I was merely trying to establish the undeniable connection of all things by
that last sentence.

> >> >>The reality that means that if I were to die this instance you would
> >> >continue to live and post to these newsgroups.

> >> >How could you possibly know this? I can understand you could imagine
it,
> >I can readily see you could guess it to be the case, but if your were
dead,
> >it would never be part of your reality.

> >> That is why I distinguish between *my* reality and "reality". Would the
> >> ant in Ulan Bator that was never part of what you disingenuously call
> >> "my reality" cease to exist if I did? I have seen the Mona Lisa in the
> >> Louvre, in Paris. If I ceased to exist would that mean that no-one else
> >> would ever be able to see it because it was no longer part of *my*
> >> reality? That I would not know this is irrelevant to the fact that
> >> others would.

> >There is no reality outside of what you know because all reality is
> >illusion. Even if a portion of the illusion becomes new to you and was
> >known by everyone else, you can not say that it was always real, except
by
> >consensus.

> But, ONE, reality is *by definition* opposed to illusion. What you are
> saying is not that reality is illusion (which makes as much sense as
> saying that "bachelors are not unmarried") but that there is no reality.
> Nothing is real. You, me, God, the creation, your opinions, the
> bible..... all illusion. Yes?

Yes, Martin and that definition is limited to the perceptions (limited)
common to mankind. We must work past the common view if we are to expand
our knowledge to include the austere.

> >> >Are you denying that?

> >> >Yes, emphatically.

> >(Another, fragment waving in the void of reason by means of segregation.)

> >> >> >While you are here, the only reality you know (in a relative sense)
is the
> >one where you exist within it. Surely you can piece these three separate
> >and distict situations together to form the framework of the idea, that
> >> >reality depends upon your perception.

> >> >> That is not the issue.

> >> >Yes, it is pointedly at issue.

> > >You keep saying "to you" and "your reality".

> >I keep indicating it yes, for you must be here to have any knowledge of
it.
> >Without the you that is special to yourself, that *reality* (illusion you
> >call real) can not exist.

> You are quite right. Illusions I call real cannot exist without me. But
> it is not my illusions of reality that I have been talking about. It is
> reality itself, which, by definition, is independent of my illusions.

Reality itself, you do not know, thus your referral to it is as nebulous as
the reality you believe you perceive. The result is that any reference to
reality is void.

> >> >I keep saying it, but you keep ignoring and insisting that without you
> >there will continue to be the reality as you know it. (As you have often
> >> >indicated, you can not possible know the reality as another knows it)
> >This is not consistant and the truth is that without you, your reality
(as you
> >> >know it) will cease to be.

> >> So you will cease to be if I do? Rubbish. Whatever ceases to be for me,
> >> does not cease to be for you or anyone else. That is what I mean by
> >> reality.

> >We know what you mean, but you have no means to prove it. (Pun intended)

> Your continued existence during my long absence provides adequate proof
> that you continue to exist independently of me. You will hopefully have
> to wait a little longer to be reassured of your independent existence
> should I cease to be altogether!

Not at all, I was a mere shadow of myself in your absense. <smile>

> >> >>I have always been claiming that there *must* be a reality
independent
> >of me, and my perception of it, or you would not have existed before we
> >> >> started conversing on usenet. Are you saying that?

> >> >Your claim is non-sense in as much as you can not prove it while you
are
> >> >alive and maintain your representation of reality, nor can you prove
it
> >> >after your representation of reality is halted by death.

> >> If I have a "representation of reality" it follows that there is a
> >> reality of which I have a representation. If I cease to exist, then so
> >> does my representation, but not the reality, of which you, or others,
or
> >> no-one might have a "representation". Right?

> >No, it means there are contrasting stimuli you interpret as reference
> >points, it does not mean your interpretation is the absolute reality. If
> >those contrasting reference points, I call tangents, continue to be
> >interpreted by others, that does not indicate a reality either, merely
> >illusion, held together by consensus.

> I would never claim that my "interpretation is the absolute reality". As
> I have been trying to make clear, my interpretation is one thing,
> reality is another, being the object of my interpretation. As for
> "contrasting stimuli" and "reference points" I am not to sure what these
> could be if not the result of perceiving objects in the real world.

Again, you do not know the absolute reality, and thus know only a small
portion and then only your representation of it. They are the result of
your limited perceptions of objects in the world you call real.

> I am not clear how your claim that "contrasting reference points...
> [interpreted by me] continue to be interpreted by others" indicates mere
> "illusion? Even if you are right that such "consensus" does not
> guarantee reality then I do not see that it follows that illusion is
> indicated. Consensus tells us nothing other than that there is
> consensus. But my argument that we perceive a real world does not rely
> on consensus. I do not require that others agree with me that I see a
> tree. I do not need to, for they see it for themselves. What others can
> provide is confirmation, which is not the same thing as consensus.

Your argument is only consensus alone. You require the words agreed upon by
the consensus to mean what the consensus agrees they mean in order to arrive
at your argument. You must perceive all things that you perceive and refer
to them as does the consensus for those perceptions to relate. Confirmation
is merely another form of consensus.

> [....]

> >You never dream?

Exactly! Quite right! The dreamed apple tastes just as sweet and it is not
until you "remember" the fact that you dreamed it, that it became anything
less than real to you. Thank you once more for proving my point.

> >> >Unconscious?

> >> >Same thing as above, only this time it is not elective.

> >> So nothing exists independently of me? The world ceases to exist for
you
> >> if I am unconscious?

> >No, it ceases for you.

> Indeed it does. But I note you now agree that it does not cease for you.
> Thus, it would appear that you now agree with my claim that there is an
> existent world independent me. Would it not be reasonable to assume that
> the same applies to you - that when you are unconscious the world still
> exists for me? And could we not say that this applies to each and every
> existing person? Thus, must we not agree that things which exists do so
> independently of you, or me, or Bill Clinton, or Tony Blair... and that
> we could continue with this process until we had named every person in
> the world? Now does it not follow from this that existence is
> independent of all of us, for if I were the last person alive, the world
> would still exist, yet we have agreed that its existence is not
> dependent on me, so would continue to exist when I died? It is this
> independent existence I call reality, for no matter how many different
> interpretations, or representations, there are of it, or what consensus
> might exist over those representations, it remains what it is. Reality
> is that which is, and not the ideas about it.

Correct, however it is YOUR reality we were discussing.


> >> >>If every
> >> >> human being was spirited away from the face of the earth tomorrow,
> >there would still be a universe, bees would still collect honey from the
> >> >> flowers, fish would still swim in the rivers....

> >> >You might have a difficult time proving this theory. In fact, you
could
> >> >not.

> >> I don't need to prove it. You need to prove that it cannot be so. It's
> >> your theory.

> >No, it is your theory, your assertion, that bees still collect nector,
(not
> >honey), but you can not prove it, only theorize it.

> See my argument above.

OK

> >> >>etc etc. I would know
> >> >> it *then* because I would not be here. But I know it now, and that's
> >> >> enough.

> >> >YOU do not know it now, you would not know it then, and that is
> >sufficient to prove your view of reality is faulty. This, of course, is
enough.

> >> Of course I know it now. Prove me wrong.

> >It is your assertion that you know it, : "If every human being was
spirited
> >away from the face of the earth tomorrow, there would still be a
universe,
> >bees would still collect honey from the flowers, fish would still swim in
> >the rivers"
> >Now let us see your logic prove it.
>
> See above.

OK

There is an absolute reality, that I know must exist although I am want to
discover it.
There is the illusion of so-called reality that is apparent and I am found
within it.

> [.....]

> >> >What I meant to say is that there are perceptions which seem
independent.

> >> Why? What is it about a perception that makes us think it is
> >> independent?

> >It is interpreted by our mentality alone.

> Such as illusions, dreams and hallucinations? You will have to explain.
> Surely we interpret everything we perceive by "our mentality" - how else
> do we interpret? Is this Berkeley again by any chance? Are those
> independent "perceptions" (by which I presume you mean ideas or
> concepts) put into our minds by God? I'd prefer you "came clean" if this
> is what you mean! If not, how do they come to be there if not,
> ultimately, as a result of our perceptions of the world around us?

I am not sure of your question, thus I am unsure of what answer you require.

> >> >There is a certain duality that needs be observed if one is to exact
not
> >> >only his apparent position (current perception) in the universe but
also
> >his refined position (a projection of where one has been and is, toward
where
> >> >one will is likely to be.)

> >> Give me an example.

> >The now, as opposed to the past and present. And then the now, as in all
> >time combined.

> Did you mean to say "now as opposed to the past and future"? I'll assume
> so, for "now" and "present" would appear to be synonymous. Before I
> answer this point, though, I'd like you to explain what you mean by "all
> time combined", for on the face of it, it appears to be an empty
> concept.

Yes I meant to say what I said, the now is not the same as the present. The
present is considered to be those things that flow along in time with our
perception of it and my use of the "now" includes all time past and present
and future. I realize your dislike for private language however it is
justified in this case.


> >> > This duality extends itself into views that are
> >> >notably dependent upon perception as well as seemingly independent
when
> >> >observed from an objective position.

> >> Why should some views be "seemingly independent"? Why not accept that
> >> they *are* independent? And what do you mean by an objective
> >> perspective? How can there be such a thing in your universe?
> >
> >They belong to the individual. They are related, by the individual, thus
> >they can graduate into no longer being independent but more consensus.
> >Objective perspective, of the points of reference (tangents) They are
> >illusions, but I must use the terms of consensus to communicate.

> Again you are making a leap from the point that things are relative, to
> an assumption that they must therefore be illusory. This does not
> follow. It may well be that on occasion my interpretation of X is
> relative to a particular time, and to my particular circumstances at
> that time. But this does not mean that my interpretation of X in those
> given circumstances is not unambiguously "right", and that the same
> interpretation would not be made by anyone else in those circumstances.
> This is what I would suggest is an objective interpretation. To say that
> interpretation is subjective (in the sense that interpretations depend
> on mental processes) is *not* to imply that a given interpretation is
> arbitrarily personal, or that it cannot be an *objective*
> interpretation.


What is correct, in the perspective of the present always changes when
considered from the viewpoint of the future. Thus we may assume that what
is currently percieved as correct (when the whole is considered) is not.

> What exactly are the "terms of consensus" you use to communicate, by the
> way? I understand the concept of "conventions" of communication, but
> that is a different concept altogether. Consensus implies consent, and
> consent implies a conscious decision to agree with others about
> something. I am not aware of having made any such decision. The way I
> communicate was pretty much determined long before I had the concept of
> consensus. It was determined by the nationality, language and possibly
> status of my parents, and where I was born and brought up. I had no say
> in that, and thus what I use to communicate was determined without my
> consent.

I believe this point is covered elswhere in the post.

> Once again, my apologies for the long delay.

We are very glad you have returned. <smile>

ONE


ONEstar

unread,
May 15, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/15/99
to

Martin Dann

> Some more late catching up... sorry again.

No apology needed, most of us do have lives apart from the detailed efforts
witnessed in these newsgroups.

Yes, the senses give us a remarkable array of "what we need" yet they do not
give us the ability to discern the spirit in an objective fashion. I
suspect this lack was by design as it requires spirit developement within
the individual to acquire spiritual discernment. We invent many mechanicals
to detect and measure what we as humans can not, however those devices fall
severely short when it comes to anything of spirit nature. Thus, so-called
reality, as measured by these methods falls short of the reality that is
absolute and too our knowledge of that absolute reality. If there is indeed
conflation, on my part, it is not intended to confuse however may be an
neccessary *evil* considering the extent of ignorance that must exist in our
state of relative knowledge.

> [....]

I am in apology for not recognizing your position in this matter, however it
is confusing to myself. Any part (of or relating to the whole) of any
knowledge is relative (part of a specified quantity as opposed to the entire
magnitude) to any other part by accepted defintion, and relative knowledge
merely means it is not absolute.

> I don't recall us having discussed equivocation of different senses of
> knowledge before. I certainly would have noticed if you had said
> something as obviously wrong as that all knowledge is non-propositional.
> Can you really not see the difference between saying, "I know John
> Smith" and, "This person is called John Smith"?

If one states: "This person is called John Smith"? then it follows that one
knows the person is called John Smith. If one also calls the person John
Smith, the it follows that one knows John Smith. You can see that there is
similarity, however I suspect you wish to quibble over the miniscule in this
regard and really, I do not see much point in that.

Yes, it appears we talk in similar veins of thought in this.

> Assuming that your implicit question is "how do we know that our
> proposition is true" - ie, that it is knowledge - let us consider the
> two examples of propositional knowledge. How do we know that 3-2=1 is a
> true proposition? Well if you take mathematics as a priori knowledge,
> then you would simply point out that the equation follows the eternal
> rules of mathematics - a priori knowledge does not require empirical
> proof. However, if (as you agree below) mathematical knowledge is
> empirical, then you can confirm the truth of the proposition by the very
> means by which you came by this knowledge in the first place. Lay out 3
> apples, remove two, and count the number remaining. Is that product now
> fit?

This knowledge applies very well to apples, but is less suited for things of
spiritual concern.

> To take a less abstract example, let us say I claim that the animal on
> my windowsill is a cat. If you doubted the truth of my proposition, the
> easiest way would be for you to see it for yourself (that is what
> empirical knowledge is all about). If you were sceptical that what you
> also saw was a cat then consideration of the taxonomy of felis
> domesticus, would enable us to confirm the characteristics that define
> this creature from other animals. What further would you require to
> accept my proposition that the object I refer to is a cat?

I understand your proposition and the subsequent test, however I do not see
how it applies where your physical senses are not able to make the test
against those things of spirit order, thus I detect a bit of seclusion from
reality in favour of the so-called reality in regard to knowledge as
defined.

> [.....]

Illusion has many levels and some of them are called reality by those who
*test* them by the means of measurement available to them. What most humans
mean when they report something is real, is that is appears to have the
properties that are consistant with things concrete rather than abstract.
In emotions however, what is real is usually deemed so by observed (more
concrete) actions than words, ideas, or claims but the emotion could very
well be real without any action available for review whatsoever. I suspect
another might term this latter emotion then an illusion, however once again
the ambiguity of language rears it's ugly head.

> Your second point, that the candle has properties of which I am not
> immediately aware, is true, but implies that there are properties of the
> candle of which I *am* immediately aware. These properties are of
> necessity sufficient for me to identify it as a candle - if they weren't
> I would have no concept of candle. Because there are further properties
> (the chemical composition, molecular structure etc) not necessary for
> our identification of the object as a candle, it does not follow that we
> cannot know that it is a real candle based on the properties that *are*
> immediately available to us. And I am not sure why you should think
> immediacy is an issue. If the properties I am immediately aware of are
> not sufficient to provide me with knowledge, I can find out the rest at
> my leisure. If the only way I can be sure the X is in fact X is by
> carrying out a chemical analysis, then so be it. I'll wait for that
> before making any claim to knowledge.

The fact remains that it may be a candle, by having all the properties
sufficient for one to define it as a candle, but it may have other
properties which seem to define it as a paperweight, or a doorstop, or any
other number of things. Here we fall into the black hole of time and
reasoning where usage determines the definition if not the reality where the
usage occurs. Reality you say? I say illusion.

> [....]

It is illusion, although you favour mincing words for your point's sake.
For years many suffered the illusion of a flat earth and created a myriad of
implications to support it as well as those who advanced the earth was the
center of the universe.
We have discovered the error in such a way as to dispel the illusion, or
error (if you choose) however the facts bear out the position. A mistake,
yes, but also an illusion that it was so thus we see how partial knowledge
can be and often is illusory. My contention to bring us into focus, is that
we have mere partial knowledge concerning our universe, and that at some
point our current thoughts concerning it's nature will also be found
illusory, or if you would rather, in error.

> [.....]

> >> I'm sure we've had the discussion of evil and good before, but you seem
> >> to have changed your position somewhat. I seem to remember you claiming
> >> that there was a continuum between good and evil with what counted as
> >> good or evil being temporally relative in some way. I disagree, though,
> >> about evil merely being lack of good. Lack of good is neutral. Things
> >> can be neither good nor evil. An evil act is as positive an act as a
> >> good act, one being positively bad and the other positively good. One
> >> can fail to be good without being evil.

> >Neutrality represents a balance of evil and good, more than it represents
> >good without evil. To be good without any evil at all, we simply term
> >*good*. The valuation twixt good and evil is assigned all things I am
aware
> >of, but perhaps you have some illustration in mind. Actions seem to fall
in
> >a category by result, although there are many other variables to
consider.

> You are talking about two different concepts. There may well be actions
> of which we might say that the good and evil balance out, but that is
> not the same as saying that they are neutral. Activities which are
> morally neutral are neither good nor evil. That is quite a different
> thing from saying good *and* bad.

My point was then and still remains that there is a sliding scale of
valuation concerning what is good, or evil and that which is neutral falls
between them.

> Further, if as you say evil is merely the lack of good, and there is no
> such thing as a neutral action (in my sense), then it follows that an
> action which is *not* evil must be good (you say as much yourself). And
> an action which has no evil in it whatsoever must be the ultimate good.
> Now I suggest that my saying "Martin" when answering the question, "what
> is your given name" is an action containing no evil whatsoever, and thus
> (according to your definition) is an act of ultimate goodness (this is
> not to say that *I* contain no evil, but that my particular action does
> not). I suggest that morally neutral acts such as answering with my
> name, scratching my head, or performing bodily functions are not neutral
> because they contain good and evil in balance, but because they are
> actions to which it is inappropriate to ascribe moral values.

Questions, or answers in themselves pose no valuation (not even neutral) in
the context, but it is the motive behind them that is valued as good or
evil. We do not usually attribute a stone as either good or evil until it
is acted upon in some manner.

> I would also suggest that when we judge something good, we are not
> making a negative judgement about the lack of evil, we are making a
> positive judgement about the extent to which virtue is being displayed.

Relative terms apply in a relative manner, and so too does our use of the
terms of good and evil. When we say something is good, we really mean it is
more good than it is evil.

ONE

Martin Dann

unread,
May 16, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/16/99
to
In article <SpA_2.14149$Fw3.4...@news1.mia>, ONEstar
<ONE...@galaxycorp.com> writes

>
>
>
>We are most pleased you have returned as the level of intelligence and
>replies by those who remained have not seen your equal. We wish you balance
>and strength as you retrurn from the brink.

Thank-you. With luck I shall eventually be my old self again, but
whether this is a good thing or not is debatable!

[....]

>> >> Of course. Which proves my point. Choice is not involved, therefore
>> >> agreement/consensus is not involved.

>> >Not exactly, Martin. It proves only that humans will choose to
>> >communicate in whatever style they are exposed to. The path of
>> >least resistance (common language) is still a choice whether or not
>> >you desire to acknowledge it.

>> Taking the "path of least resistance" implies more difficult paths which
>> could have been taken. What other paths, difficult or not, could a baby
>> realistically take? For example, I was brought up in England by English
>> speaking parents, in a totally English speaking environment. I do not
>> understand what other path than to speak English I could have chosen?
>> Even if there was another path, how could a pre-linguistic child make
>> that kind of choice?

>The choices at that level of development are slim but not non-existant. Not
>speaking at all is also a choice, though few there are who make that choice
>as desires are better communicated than left unpublished. Choice made later
>in life, are greater and the selection (choice) to speak in a given tongue
>are once again more a given than a choice, however still there are choices.

We are left with a simple disagreement - I see no choice, you see slim
choice, although you do not explain how that could be, or what other
choice I, for example, might have had. Could I, at the age of a few
months, have made a decision which would have relied on the concept of
language, and the understanding of alternative path? How many people do
you know of, not being psychologically or physically damaged, who chose
not to learn any language as a child? Or chose never to speak? It is
part of human nature to communicate. That's the kind of creatures we
are. We have no more choice about language than we do about eating and
sleeping. Your slim choice is no choice in reality. Certainly not enough
on which to base your philosophy of consensus.
>
>> [.....]

"Reality" which is beyond mankind's ability to perceive is fantasy. It
is irrelevant, for if it is beyond our ability to perceive it can never
have a place in our lives - seeking it is a waste of time. It is quite
wrong to claim that because some hypothetical all seeing entity could
see more that us, that what we see is illusion. That is an illegal step.
When I look at a drop of pond water under a microscope I see that it is
filled with microscopic creatures, whereas when I look at it with the
naked eye it is just a drop of water. That does not mean that the drop
of water is an illusion. It is not. It is a real drop of water about
which more can be discovered if we look more closely.

>> Further, it does not follow from your claim that "each have their own
>> [reality?] and no two are exactly alike" that their is no reality other
>> what we might think is real, and call "our reality". Even if our
>> perception of reality is personal, it is nevertheless a perception of
>> reality. Even if our perception of reality is illusory, it is our
>> perception that is an illusion, not reality. The fact that people have
>> different ideas about things does not entail that the things they have
>> the different ideas about are not real.
>
>Again, the various degrees of cognizance, awareness, knowledge and
>intuition, defines, if not constructs, corresponding degrees of so-called
>reality.
>The absolute reality is the goal, and relative knowledge the only path.

The various degrees of cognisance, awareness, and knowledge define the
extent of our knowledge and understanding of reality. Reality precedes
our knowledge of it and cannot therefore be defined by our knowledge, as
you recognise by your last sentence. I would rephrase that as "complete
knowledge is the goal, and partial knowledge the path by which we build
to that goal".

>
>> But you have said elsewhere that reality is illusion (you should really
>> stick to calling it "so-called reality" to avoid confusion) so it would
>> seem that your claims are not about perception at all, but about
>> imagination and subjectivity. I don't deny that these exist, but that
>> has nothing to do with the existence of an independent reality, or our
>> ability to perceive. That we know we sometimes see illusions entails
>> knowledge of the difference between reality and illusion, which in turn
>> entails knowledge of reality.
>
>I think they have much to do with reality as they flavour and colour our
>perceptions to the point we define much of oour universe by means of these.
>Surely you will agree that in the absolute reality, there are included
>emotions, colours and all the various subjective feelings that limited
>humans manitain as well as the stark contrast of absolute light and dark.

Emotions, imagination and subjectivity are real enough, but we should be
careful not to equivocate on senses of "real" and "reality". It is a
fact that humans imagine, but *what* they imagine is not reality.

>> [......]
>
>> >I am sorry you translated my response in that manner, for it was not
>> >intended as you seem to perceive. I was merely attempting to steer our
>> >discourse back to the original line of thought which you seem to have
>> >misplaced. "Reality is the accumulated mental representation of our
>> >perceptions. Many think of the accumulation of shared perceptions as
>> >reality, however the truth is that each have their own and no two are
>> >exactly alike." Now, if you have some method or evidence this is not
>> >correct, I am sure I will refute it without a great deal of effort.
>
>> By your own admission elsewhere, this is not reality. It is what you
>> call "so-called" reality. And that is absolutely right - to claim that
>> "accumulated representations of our perceptions" has anything to do with
>> reality would be a nonsense. Reality is that which lies beyond any such
>> representation, and what it is a representation of. But see also my
>> discussion above.
>
>Absolute reality, as known by absolute knowledge, is reality. Less than
>that, in any venue may be called reality but falls short. Thus my use of
>the term "so-called" reality for many refer to the concrete as reality over
>the abstract.

Well no, "reality" is reality, "absolute reality" is a metaphysical
idealistic concept which bears little resemblance to reality. In my
view, it is for people who wish to apply special meanings to words like
"reality" and "knowledge" to indicate that when they use the words, and
accept that there is a perfectly sound and unadulterated sense of those
words in common usage. In other words it is not for me to add "so
called" to reality, but for you to add "absolute" or "special" to them,
showing that you are not using the words in their usual or proper sense.

>> You say "....you are required to behold [reality], for it to exist as
>> you behold it". Ignoring the sarcasm, yes of course this is a tautology,
>> and yes of course I accept it. It is a straightforward trivial truth.
>> What would be more controversial would be to claim (with Berkeley) that
>> "I am required to behold it for it to exist". This I would deny. We
>> appear to be sailing past each other in the night here ONE. I have no
>> trouble with the fact that things for me depend on me for them to be
>> things for me - how could I have? But as with any tautology this makes
>> no point at all. As I pointed out about, and many times previously, I
>> deny that things which exist independently of my thoughts and ideas of
>> them, depend on me for their existence. I have provided an argument in
>> support of this elsewhere in this post.
>
>You are not independent of anything thus your denial is meaningless. All
>humans and all things in this universe are connected, and while you may find
>it difficult to fully grasp, the universe fairly cries this out in all
>quadrants of experience. Once this fact is acknowledged, the connectivety
>decrees you are required to be part of it, in the time segment that is you,
>thus it can truly be said that for the universe to exist (as it is) you must
>be.

My denial that I am required to behold something for it to exist has
nothing to do with my dependence or independence. From the fact that I
am a part of the universe as it exists at the moment it does not follow
that the universe is dependent on my existence. The universe is not a
fixed, unchangeable thing, it is a dynamic, constantly changing thing.
My part, your part, anyone's part in it is contingent, not necessary,
thus it follows that my existence is not necessary for the continued
existence of the universe.

>> I am not in any consensus. I know I have said this before, but... First,
>> I have absolutely no choice at this level but to converse with you in
>> the English which is natural to me - the English I had no choice but to
>> learn as a child. I can say "please" and "thank-you" in a few languages,
>> but this does not provide me with a choice - I am stuck with English.
>> Second, no agreement is asked or required from you or anybody in order
>> for me to express myself in the only language available to me. Third, of
>> course as I write, even in English, I have choices. Which word should I
>> use? How should I structure my reply? What line shall I take? None of
>> these things involve any more that my free will to make my own
>> decisions. I do not consent to anything nor do I ask you to consent to
>> anything. I simply use words as I have learned to use them. Perhaps
>> consensus would indeed be needed if, like Humpty-Dumpty in Alice in
>> Wonderland, we used words arbitrarily, making them mean whatever we want
>> them to mean. But this is not how language is used.

>Exactly my point. A word in a language is used to mean what the consensus
>agrees thats it means.

If it is your point that we have no choice about the language we use,
and that this language precedes our existence and use of it, then yes, I
am making your point. If you wish to call this consensus, then Humpty-
Dumpty would be proud of you.

>> I can see a sense in which it *might* make sense to talk of consensus.
>> Wittgenstein talks of "language games". Thus, within the context in
>> which you are using language you will follow the rules of that
>> particular language game. The way the "game" is played in philosophical
>> debate, for example, differs from the way in which it would be played in
>> other circles, such as within the military, or in government. Thus it
>> might be argued that "playing a language game" involves consensus.
>> However, even here I doubt it could be called consensus. If, for
>> example, I wish to play a game of chess, it seems odd to me to suggest
>> that a consensus if required in order to do so. The rules of chess have
>> evolved to what they are today and I have no say in this. If I do not
>> accept the rules, then there is no point in me playing chess. But please
>> note that accepting something - the rules of the game for example - is
>> *not* what we mean by consensus, unless, as I say, we are to play
>> Humpty-Dumpty with the word.
>
>There are certain conventions used in political, military, scientific,
>religious, circles as well as many more, and we may refer to these as
>language specific to those respective circels, however, my point concerning
>consensus was more the manner in which a word is defined by the majority
>within a language group.

I'm not sure that we disagree about the way the words we use have
meaning. It is just your inappropriate use of the word "consensus" I
object to. The meaning of a word is in its use. People use words not by
agreement or consensus, but by habit, custom or convention. These are
not the same as agreement and consensus. Consensus entails consent.
Habits, customs and conventions are followed.

[....]

>> Either reality is that which lies beyond subjectivity (by definition),
>> or there is no reality. I don't think it is acceptable to invent your
>> own definition of the word. And it does not follow from the (debatable)
>> claim that "there is no part of reality, in truth, that is not part of
>> subjectivism..." that we cannot know reality. Indeed, your comment "in
>> truth" is a reality claim and raises an interesting paradox. You are, in
>> effect, claiming that the reality is that there is no reality. As you
>> said to me, "you do not know this and can never know this".
>
>Yes, perhaps I did invent a viewpoint if not a new definition, however it
>does appear to me that the word reality, is oft misused. If we can assume
>that absolute reality is the condition of absolute knowledge then we have a
>common frame of reference and a point from which we can observe all other
>realities as lacking.

ONE, there is no "absolute reality". There is no "absolute knowledge".
These are hypothetical concepts, idealistic inventions of human minds.
There is a reality of which we have at first little knowledge, then
partial knowledge, and if we are lucky, perhaps complete knowledge. But
even if complete knowledge is not possible, it does not follow that the
knowledge we have is illusory.

[....]

>> But that is exactly the point I am making. If (as I claim) reality is
>> that which exists independently of my subjective opinion, then it is
>> irrelevant that that which occurs after my death is not known by me. The
>> reality I am claiming has (by definition) nothing to do with my
>> awareness or ignorance of it.
>
>That would not be reality at the nonce, but mere conjecture.

No, conjecture (by me) relies of my existence. Reality does not.

[....]

>> Reality is that which is distinguished from my illusions, by definition.
>
>In the grand scale of absolute reality, what you distinguish is illusion.
>In the relative reality that is so-called, I am sure you have a case.

"The grand scale of absolute reality" is a hypothetical construct which
has no relevance to the distinction between reality and illusion. The
idea of "absolute reality" adds nothing to our understanding of what is
real and what is imaginary (used in their normal senses) and is a prime
candidate for Mr Occam's razor.

>> Reality exists whether I am aware of it or not, by definition, and by
>> the argument I have presented elsewhere in this post. But as I thought
>> you had already agreed, when you talk of reality you mean no such thing
>> - you mean illusion (does this illusory reality include the illusion of
>> illusions, by the way? Just checking ;-)). This, of course, would
>> include all your claims about consensus, tangents, a creator and the
>> bible. All part of your illusion of reality.
>
>All part of the illusion we behold and oft times refer to as reality, yes.

I am relieved to hear that you now accept your position on the creator
as illusory. I am sure our old friend Wen-King would be interested to
hear that, after all the effort he put in to getting you to recognise
the possibility of illusion!

>> >> >> I am not, nor have ever been, talking about *MY* reality.
>
>> >> >Then you can not discuss anything, for if we do not consider your
>> >reality, there will be no one here for you to discuss with.
>
>> >(No response noted, and completely understandable in light of the
>> >segmentation.)
>
>> I thought it was too silly a point to merit response - sorry. It does
>> not follow from the claim that reality is that which is real for
>> everyone, that there is no-one for me to discuss with.
>
>It follows that for the discussion to exists it must be part of YOUR
>reality, thus my assertion remains cogent.

I don't understand. While I exist of course reality is real for me. Why
should you think that a claim that reality is not dependent upon me
entails that I can have no part in reality?

>> >> The life of an ant in Ulan Bator is entirely independent of your,
>> >>or my, knowledge of that ant's existence.

>> >Not really, but merely part of the reality (illusion) dies. Ulan
>> >Bator is now part of both of our reality (illusion) by your sharing
>> >this small portion. By the way, the ant is also by means of
>> >connectives which bind our universe, our solar system, and our
>> >world.

>> An illusion of a flower cannot die. The death of an illusory flower is
>> another illusion, so your first sentence has no meaning. Is Ulan Bator a
>> real place or not? My comment about Ulan Bator has nothing to do with
>> whether it exists or not. If you had not previously known that it was
>> the capital of Mongolia then you have learnt something. I fear I have
>> been unable to make any sense of your last sentence. Sorry.

>Mere words do not create nor destroy, and illusions, become both greater and
>smaller as we progress through our chains of perceptive awareness. You seem
>to be aware of the separation twixt the concrete reality and the mentally
>fabricated but do you realize the sphere of reality that includes them both?
>I was merely trying to establish the undeniable connection of all things by
>that last sentence.

But I do indeed deny the "undeniable connection of all things". The ant
in Ulan Bator has no connection with the pelagic plankton of the north
Atlantic ocean. To say that they are connected because they happen,
contingently, to be part of the universe at a specific moment does not
establish the kind of connection you require.

>> >> That is why I distinguish between *my* reality and "reality". Would the
>> >> ant in Ulan Bator that was never part of what you disingenuously call
>> >> "my reality" cease to exist if I did? I have seen the Mona Lisa in the
>> >> Louvre, in Paris. If I ceased to exist would that mean that no-one else
>> >> would ever be able to see it because it was no longer part of *my*
>> >> reality? That I would not know this is irrelevant to the fact that
>> >> others would.

>> >There is no reality outside of what you know because all reality is
>> >illusion. Even if a portion of the illusion becomes new to you and was
>> >known by everyone else, you can not say that it was always real, except
>by
>> >consensus.

>> But, ONE, reality is *by definition* opposed to illusion. What you are
>> saying is not that reality is illusion (which makes as much sense as
>> saying that "bachelors are not unmarried") but that there is no reality.
>> Nothing is real. You, me, God, the creation, your opinions, the
>> bible..... all illusion. Yes?
>
>Yes, Martin and that definition is limited to the perceptions (limited)
>common to mankind. We must work past the common view if we are to expand
>our knowledge to include the austere.

How? You have insisted that our limitations do not allow this. If you
are suggesting that there are ways we *can* get past our limitations,
you will have to explain why that does not apply in the case of our
knowledge of the world about us - and you will have to explain how
exactly we come by knowledge not available to our "limited" senses.

[...]

>> >Without the you that is special to yourself, that *reality* (illusion you
>> >call real) can not exist.

>> You are quite right. Illusions I call real cannot exist without me. But
>> it is not my illusions of reality that I have been talking about. It is
>> reality itself, which, by definition, is independent of my illusions.

>Reality itself, you do not know, thus your referral to it is as nebulous as
>the reality you believe you perceive. The result is that any reference to
>reality is void.

You tell me I do not know reality. You imply by that, that you do know
reality (for how else can you refer to it?). How? Or is your reference
to it equally void?

[....]

>> Your continued existence during my long absence provides adequate proof
>> that you continue to exist independently of me. You will hopefully have
>> to wait a little longer to be reassured of your independent existence
>> should I cease to be altogether!
>
>Not at all, I was a mere shadow of myself in your absense. <smile>

<chuckle> I doubt it!

[.....]

>> >> If I have a "representation of reality" it follows that there is a
>> >> reality of which I have a representation. If I cease to exist, then so
>> >> does my representation, but not the reality, of which you, or others,
>or
>> >> no-one might have a "representation". Right?

>> >No, it means there are contrasting stimuli you interpret as reference
>> >points, it does not mean your interpretation is the absolute reality. If
>> >those contrasting reference points, I call tangents, continue to be
>> >interpreted by others, that does not indicate a reality either, merely
>> >illusion, held together by consensus.

>> I would never claim that my "interpretation is the absolute reality". As
>> I have been trying to make clear, my interpretation is one thing,
>> reality is another, being the object of my interpretation. As for
>> "contrasting stimuli" and "reference points" I am not to sure what these
>> could be if not the result of perceiving objects in the real world.

>Again, you do not know the absolute reality, and thus know only a small
>portion and then only your representation of it. They are the result of
>your limited perceptions of objects in the world you call real.

OK, but it does not follow from this that what I do perceive is
illusion. It is part of reality, and the longer and harder I look, the
closer to complete knowledge I will become.

>> I am not clear how your claim that "contrasting reference points...
>> [interpreted by me] continue to be interpreted by others" indicates mere
>> "illusion? Even if you are right that such "consensus" does not
>> guarantee reality then I do not see that it follows that illusion is
>> indicated. Consensus tells us nothing other than that there is
>> consensus. But my argument that we perceive a real world does not rely
>> on consensus. I do not require that others agree with me that I see a
>> tree. I do not need to, for they see it for themselves. What others can
>> provide is confirmation, which is not the same thing as consensus.

>Your argument is only consensus alone. You require the words agreed upon by
>the consensus to mean what the consensus agrees they mean in order to arrive
>at your argument. You must perceive all things that you perceive and refer
>to them as does the consensus for those perceptions to relate. Confirmation
>is merely another form of consensus.

Well no, it isn't. When you confirm that your usenet handle is ONE, you
are agreeing to nothing, and are part of no consensus. Different
concepts. And even if you were right about my argument consisting of
words agreed on by consensus, that has no bearing on the validity of the
argument.

>> >> >> Well tell me ONE, what happens when I am asleep?

>> >> >There is nothing you percieve which is real.

>> >> There is nothing I perceive at all. Perception involves sight, hearing,
>> >> touch, taste or smell. When I am asleep I have none of these means of
>> >> perception.

>> >You never dream?

>> Of course. And of course it is only by knowing that some perceptions
>> *are* real that we can know that there are perception, like dreams and
>> illusions, that are not real. When we dream of an apple, we are not
>> perceiving an apple - for there is no apple to perceive. We are
>> *dreaming* that we are perceiving an apple. No real perception is
>> involved. You are in extremely good company if you make the mistake that
>> we perceive thoughts, or "representations" in our minds - Socrates
>> (according to Plato), Descartes, Hume, Berkeley, Kant.... etc. Thoughts
>> (representations if you wish) can be the *result* of our perceptions,
>> but we do not then perceive them again - we already *have* them.

>Exactly! Quite right! The dreamed apple tastes just as sweet and it is not
>until you "remember" the fact that you dreamed it, that it became anything
>less than real to you. Thank you once more for proving my point.

If your point is that it is a mistake to talk of perceiving
"representations" then I am pleased to make it for you. Or perhaps your
point is that the concept of dreams and illusions is dependent on a
concept of reality with which to compare such dreams and illusions? In
which case I am again happy to make this point for you. I should be
surprised, however, for I thought you rejected reality as being "so-
called" and no more than illusion. Perhaps you are beginning to stumble
into the light out of the darkness of your cave of scepticism?

>> >> >Unconscious?

>> >> >Same thing as above, only this time it is not elective.

>> >> So nothing exists independently of me? The world ceases to exist for
>you
>> >> if I am unconscious?

>> >No, it ceases for you.

>> Indeed it does. But I note you now agree that it does not cease for you.
>> Thus, it would appear that you now agree with my claim that there is an
>> existent world independent me. Would it not be reasonable to assume that
>> the same applies to you - that when you are unconscious the world still
>> exists for me? And could we not say that this applies to each and every
>> existing person? Thus, must we not agree that things which exists do so
>> independently of you, or me, or Bill Clinton, or Tony Blair... and that
>> we could continue with this process until we had named every person in
>> the world? Now does it not follow from this that existence is
>> independent of all of us, for if I were the last person alive, the world
>> would still exist, yet we have agreed that its existence is not
>> dependent on me, so would continue to exist when I died? It is this
>> independent existence I call reality, for no matter how many different
>> interpretations, or representations, there are of it, or what consensus
>> might exist over those representations, it remains what it is. Reality
>> is that which is, and not the ideas about it.

>Correct, however it is YOUR reality we were discussing.

No we weren't. We were discussing reality. I have made this clear on a
number of occasions. However, if you agree with the above then you agree
that reality has nothing to do with my personal ideas of it, so the
concept of *my* reality, or *your* reality makes no sense. This much you
must agree if you accept that the above argument is "correct".

This is just an unsupported assertion of your position. I am
disappointed that you made no attempt to deal with my argument, which is
a direct contradiction to your position. In other words, you need to do
a little analysis and show where my argument above is wrong. Then you
need to support your own position with arguments to show why you hold it
to be true, for it is not obviously so.

>> [.....]

>> >> >What I meant to say is that there are perceptions which seem
>independent.

>> >> Why? What is it about a perception that makes us think it is
>> >> independent?

>> >It is interpreted by our mentality alone.

>> Such as illusions, dreams and hallucinations? You will have to explain.
>> Surely we interpret everything we perceive by "our mentality" - how else
>> do we interpret? Is this Berkeley again by any chance? Are those
>> independent "perceptions" (by which I presume you mean ideas or
>> concepts) put into our minds by God? I'd prefer you "came clean" if this
>> is what you mean! If not, how do they come to be there if not,
>> ultimately, as a result of our perceptions of the world around us?
>
>I am not sure of your question, thus I am unsure of what answer you require.

I try to keep it simple but don't always succeed. My apologies. Your
point about perceptions which seem independent, and your further
response that they are "interpreted by our mentality alone" raises the
question of where these perceptions come from. I was reminded of
Berkeley's claims that some ideas are placed in us by God and wondered
if this would be your explanation? Otherwise, how do you account for
them?


>
>> >> >There is a certain duality that needs be observed if one is to exact
>not
>> >> >only his apparent position (current perception) in the universe but
>also
>> >his refined position (a projection of where one has been and is, toward
>where
>> >> >one will is likely to be.)
>
>> >> Give me an example.
>
>> >The now, as opposed to the past and present. And then the now, as in all
>> >time combined.
>
>> Did you mean to say "now as opposed to the past and future"? I'll assume
>> so, for "now" and "present" would appear to be synonymous. Before I
>> answer this point, though, I'd like you to explain what you mean by "all
>> time combined", for on the face of it, it appears to be an empty
>> concept.
>
>Yes I meant to say what I said, the now is not the same as the present. The
>present is considered to be those things that flow along in time with our
>perception of it and my use of the "now" includes all time past and present
>and future. I realize your dislike for private language however it is
>justified in this case.

Yes, Humpty-Dumpty strikes again. Your use of "now", being private, has
no shared usage, and is therefore meaningless in communication with
anyone but yourself. That's the problem with private languages.

No, that is not logical. It is not necessary that a fact we can know now
must always remain a fact if we are to claim knowledge of it now. I can
claim it as a fact that at noon today the sun was shining. I can claim
it as a fact that at midnight it is not. That it may be shining again
tomorrow does not invalidate my claim *now*. You exist now (normal
usage) but will not do so in 100 years - at least not in your present
corporeal form <smile>. This has no relevance for the claim that you
exist now. The viewpoint of the future is irrelevant. What we know now
we know now. What we will know then does not have to be the same thing -
indeed, it cannot.

[....]


Cheers,
--
Martin

Jim Pierce

unread,
May 17, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/17/99
to

Martin Dann <md...@j39to56.demon.co.uk> wrote in message
news:n7r3XAAq...@j39to56.demon.co.uk...

> We are left with a simple disagreement - I see no choice, you see slim
> choice, although you do not explain how that could be, or what other
> choice I, for example, might have had. Could I, at the age of a few
> months, have made a decision which would have relied on the concept of
> language, and the understanding of alternative path? How many people do
> you know of, not being psychologically or physically damaged, who chose
> not to learn any language as a child? Or chose never to speak? It is
> part of human nature to communicate. That's the kind of creatures we
> are. We have no more choice about language than we do about eating and
> sleeping. Your slim choice is no choice in reality. Certainly not enough
> on which to base your philosophy of consensus.

Hello Martin! I thought I would butt in here... if I may. I think what is at
work is that there is the possibility that someone could have chosen not to
learn any language early on. Just what that sort of thing might "look like"
is beyond a Wittgensteinian like me! At least, the logical possibility is
there! Further, I think the above point goes part and parcel with the thesis
of Solipsism and the argument against having a "private language". The idea
being that if I happen to be the only mind, then is there really any
communication going on when I speak? Interestingly enough, should we count
any sort of "talking to oneself" as communication? Witty says "NO" in the
Investigations and for good reasons, I think. I also want to point out that
there may be a difference between what counts as "communication" and what
may be a "language". It is not the case that what is communication is
language, too. Some will not regard grunts, clicks, and whistles as language
but surely such can be used in communication. I think it smart here to be
careful of what we might mean by "language" don't you?

> "Reality" which is beyond mankind's ability to perceive is fantasy. It
> is irrelevant, for if it is beyond our ability to perceive it can never
> have a place in our lives - seeking it is a waste of time. It is quite
> wrong to claim that because some hypothetical all seeing entity could
> see more that us, that what we see is illusion. That is an illegal step.
> When I look at a drop of pond water under a microscope I see that it is
> filled with microscopic creatures, whereas when I look at it with the
> naked eye it is just a drop of water. That does not mean that the drop
> of water is an illusion. It is not. It is a real drop of water about
> which more can be discovered if we look more closely.

Here, here! But let's be careful, shall we! Neither you or Onestar have
defined "reality" beyond a few platitudes. Further, both of you seem to be
confusing what is real with what exists. Unicorns are real but don't exist.
What exists is necessarily real, but what is real may not exist. (Think
Unicorn!) To explain this further, a concept is real, but may not have an
instance (or, instantiation). So for example, we do have a concept of a
unicorn as a being having such and such features; but, there are no
instances of the concept in the world. Likewise, we have certain concepts of
God, but there are no reasons (AFAIK) to think there are any instances of
the concept! Indeed, the concept of God (the Judeo-Christian concept) is
incoherent. At any rate, it would be instructive if both you and Onestar
drag out a few definitions of "reality" and the like!

> The various degrees of cognisance, awareness, and knowledge define the
> extent of our knowledge and understanding of reality. Reality precedes
> our knowledge of it and cannot therefore be defined by our knowledge, as
> you recognise by your last sentence. I would rephrase that as "complete
> knowledge is the goal, and partial knowledge the path by which we build
> to that goal".

The above seems confused, imho. For example, how can we be in a position to
know that "reality precedes out knowledge" without pain of contradiction? If
we had such knowledge, then presumably we would know just what preceded out
knowledge. Of course, that is absurd!

>Well no, "reality" is reality, "absolute reality" is a metaphysical
> idealistic concept which bears little resemblance to reality. In my
> view, it is for people who wish to apply special meanings to words like
> "reality" and "knowledge" to indicate that when they use the words, and
> accept that there is a perfectly sound and unadulterated sense of those
> words in common usage. In other words it is not for me to add "so
> called" to reality, but for you to add "absolute" or "special" to them,
> showing that you are not using the words in their usual or proper sense.

Hmmm.... "absolute reality" is NOT a metaphysical idealistic concept.
Perhaps you could quote an idealistic philosopher in support of your
position? Recall that in Idealism there is no such thing as "absolute
reality" apart from some Berklian view of God. Then even here reality is
perspectival. Also, your appeal to commonsenism is applauded, but I don't
think it will go very far! Simply consider the average reading level in the
United States (for example) and I think you will at once see the need to
utilize philosophical jargon! What is "special" to an 8th grader may not
hold the same conotation we want to use in our philosophy.

I like the remainder of your response to Onestar. (Not that that should mean
anything!) I think I will end here. Cheers!

Jim

Martin Dann

unread,
May 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/19/99
to
In article <60m%2.14969$t7.42...@news2.mia>, ONEstar
<ONE...@galaxycorp.com> writes
>
>Martin Dann

[....]

You have introduced a new element - spirit - but you do not say what
this is, and why it should be relevant to this discussion. You do not
show that spirit is a part of reality, ie that it *can* be discerned in
an "objective" fashion. I would suggest that if "reality" is perceived
only by a representation of reality in our minds, and (as you argue) can
only at best be "so-called" reality, then there is even less
justification to make claims about knowledge of anything of a "spirit
nature". Further, even if you could show the existence of this "spirit
nature" you would have to show how a non-corporeal spirit world could
have any logical or practical connection with the that which I would
call the "real" world. Otherwise you cannot claim that lack of ability
to perceive the spirit world has any effect on my claim that we can know
the real world.

>> [....]

No, I apologise to you, for I assumed that when you spoke of "relative"
knowledge you meant relative to the person having that knowledge. I got
this impression from your comment such as the above about comparing
"what we detect in our own reality to another's". In this sense, of
course, the knowledge which I have that is relative to me is not
necessarily partial, or if it is, not simply because it is relative to
me. However, you appear to be using the sense of "relative" which is
opposed to "absolute" - a different sense, so clearly we need to be
careful not to equivocate. In that event your earlier comment that we
have passed this stage of the discussion is right, although we are still
left with a fundamental disagreement a) that there is any such thing as
"absolute knowledge" and b) even if there is it does not follow that
knowledge which falls short of absolute knowledge is illusion.

>> I don't recall us having discussed equivocation of different senses of
>> knowledge before. I certainly would have noticed if you had said
>> something as obviously wrong as that all knowledge is non-propositional.
>> Can you really not see the difference between saying, "I know John
>> Smith" and, "This person is called John Smith"?
>
>If one states: "This person is called John Smith"? then it follows that one
>knows the person is called John Smith. If one also calls the person John
>Smith, the it follows that one knows John Smith. You can see that there is
>similarity, however I suspect you wish to quibble over the miniscule in this
>regard and really, I do not see much point in that.

I don't think you understand this yet. Your first sentence is simply
wrong. If I say "this person is called John Smith" I am making a claim
to (propositional) knowledge. It does not follow from this that the
person is called John Smith. If they *are* called John Smith then my
proposition is correct and I do have this piece of propositional
knowledge. This is why it is called propositional knowledge - because
the claim is in the form of a proposition which can be shown to be right
or wrong.

Your second sentence is also wrong, and demonstrates that you really do
not understand the distinction. Let us say you are at a convention, and
all the delegates are wearing labels with their names on. You see
someone you have never met before, or even heard of, with a label on
their lapel reading "John Smith". Would it follow that you now know John
Smith? Would you say to him, "Ah, John Smith, I know you!". Wouldn't
that rather surprise him? I think at least a few drinks together in the
bar would be required, and even then you wouldn't be able to claim that
you knew him very well!

I was trying to make a distinction between non-propositional knowledge,
which may well be relative, and propositional knowledge which is not. As
you are claiming that all knowledge is relative (in some sense or other
- I am now pretty confused), and appear to be ignoring or denying
propositional knowledge, I did not think it was a "quibble over the
minuscule".

>> To conflate "propositional knowledge" with the term "objective" would be
>> a very strange thing to do. Propositions are neither subjective or
>> objective. They may be about abstract concepts - mathematics for
>> example. Your analogy shows that you have not really grasped the concept
>> of propositional and non-propositional knowledge. The "master builder"
>> requires both kinds of knowledge for use in pyramid building otherwise
>> he would not know that it was a pyramid he was building.

>> I am not sure what you mean by "raw" propositional knowledge, and to
>> what you think it is transformed. Propositional knowledge is knowledge
>> *that* something is so. Non propositional knowledge is knowledge *of*
>> something - such as knowledge by acquaintance or by direct awareness.
>
>> So when you talk of "firing" and "transformation" are you perhaps
>> referring to the method by which belief becomes knowledge? Or is it
>> connected with your scepticism, and you are looking for a process that
>> imbues "raw knowledge" with Cartesian certainty? I am not sure how a
>> discussion about "transformation" would differ from a discussion about
>> "the method used to test the final product for fitness". The way we come
>> to knowledge *is* the test for fitness.
>
>Yes, it appears we talk in similar veins of thought in this.

Good. Do I take it that this applies to all three paragraphs above?


>
>> Assuming that your implicit question is "how do we know that our
>> proposition is true" - ie, that it is knowledge - let us consider the
>> two examples of propositional knowledge. How do we know that 3-2=1 is a
>> true proposition? Well if you take mathematics as a priori knowledge,
>> then you would simply point out that the equation follows the eternal
>> rules of mathematics - a priori knowledge does not require empirical
>> proof. However, if (as you agree below) mathematical knowledge is
>> empirical, then you can confirm the truth of the proposition by the very
>> means by which you came by this knowledge in the first place. Lay out 3
>> apples, remove two, and count the number remaining. Is that product now
>> fit?
>
>This knowledge applies very well to apples, but is less suited for things of
>spiritual concern.

I am glad that you accept now that I can have knowledge of the real
world - well, of apples anyway, but even that is a major step forward. I
have made no claims about what may be required for "spiritual concerns",
for they are of no relevance to any of the claims about knowledge I have
made. "Spiritual concerns" will not help me to know how many apples I
have.


>
>> To take a less abstract example, let us say I claim that the animal on
>> my windowsill is a cat. If you doubted the truth of my proposition, the
>> easiest way would be for you to see it for yourself (that is what
>> empirical knowledge is all about). If you were sceptical that what you
>> also saw was a cat then consideration of the taxonomy of felis
>> domesticus, would enable us to confirm the characteristics that define
>> this creature from other animals. What further would you require to
>> accept my proposition that the object I refer to is a cat?
>
>I understand your proposition and the subsequent test, however I do not see
>how it applies where your physical senses are not able to make the test
>against those things of spirit order, thus I detect a bit of seclusion from
>reality in favour of the so-called reality in regard to knowledge as
>defined.

Why do I need to make any "test against those things of spirit order"?
What has that got to do with my knowledge that it is a cat? Or the
knowledge I claim to have of the rest of the real world? What has the
spiritual got to do with reality? If you dismiss the real world as
illusory because our perception of it is "limited", then what must we
say of "things of spirit order"? Surely we have even less grounds for
any knowledge claims in that sphere!

[.....]

re the candle hologram illusion:

How do we distinguish between these levels of illusion? Remember, your
claim is that *all* we perceive is a representation in our mind, and
that you have agreed that we have no way of knowing that there is
anything that this representation represents. Thus all these many levels
of illusion are the result of our perception of a representation which
must be the same in all cases if the illusion is successful. But if you
are right that we can never see beyond this representation, we have no
possible means of ever knowing that the representation is an illusion,
or an illusion of an illusion, or a so-called reality.... and so on. In
fact, all talk of illusion is meaningless, for our perception is always
of the same thing (the representation). So the illusion of the candle is
as "real" as the "real" candle, for you can never know what the
identical representations are representations of (that one is a "real"
illusory candle, and the other is an illusion of an illusory candle). I
am more fortunate. I can tell a hologram from the real thing, because I
cut out the middle man <smile>.

>> Your second point, that the candle has properties of which I am not
>> immediately aware, is true, but implies that there are properties of the
>> candle of which I *am* immediately aware. These properties are of
>> necessity sufficient for me to identify it as a candle - if they weren't
>> I would have no concept of candle. Because there are further properties
>> (the chemical composition, molecular structure etc) not necessary for
>> our identification of the object as a candle, it does not follow that we
>> cannot know that it is a real candle based on the properties that *are*
>> immediately available to us. And I am not sure why you should think
>> immediacy is an issue. If the properties I am immediately aware of are
>> not sufficient to provide me with knowledge, I can find out the rest at
>> my leisure. If the only way I can be sure the X is in fact X is by
>> carrying out a chemical analysis, then so be it. I'll wait for that
>> before making any claim to knowledge.
>
>The fact remains that it may be a candle, by having all the properties
>sufficient for one to define it as a candle, but it may have other
>properties which seem to define it as a paperweight, or a doorstop, or any
>other number of things. Here we fall into the black hole of time and
>reasoning where usage determines the definition if not the reality where the
>usage occurs. Reality you say? I say illusion.

Because a candle might be used as a paperweight or a doorstop, it is an
illusion? ONE, if it has all the properties necessary to identify it as
a candle, then it is a candle - because that is what a candle is! If you
then place the candle on a bundle of papers and say, "Aha, you are
wrong, it is a paperweight, so the candle is an illusion", I would have
to smile sweetly at you, and point out as gently as I could that it was,
in fact, a candle you were using as a paperweight. No illusion. If,
however, it *was* a paperweight made of porcelain in the image of a
candle, then it would not have all the properties necessary to identify
it as a candle, would it?

You call it "mincing words for your point's sake", I call it argument to
make my point. Ho hum - whatever.

Yes, I would rather say "in error", because being in error is not the
same thing as illusion. However, while there is a difference between
mistaken belief and illusion, and belief that the earth is flat is the
former, let us for the sake of the point you are trying to make call it
illusion. And yes, I would say that in this sense people were under the
illusion that the earth was flat. They did not, however *know* this.
They wrongly believed it. If they claimed to know, it was a false claim.
(Don't forget that long before all the silliness in the middle-ages of
flat earths and geocentricism, not only had the ancient Greeks known
that the earth was not flat, but they had calculated its circumference
to a remarkable degree of accuracy.) It is an illegal move from saying
that people can be wrong, to saying that they can never be right.

Do you note the further paradox raised by your position, by the way? You
call belief that the earth was flat an illusion, implying that we now
know better. But how, if all knowledge is illusion, can we claim to know
better? According to you our concept of the earth as an oblate spheroid
must also be an illusion. So why single out flat earth belief, which you
cannot know to be any more or less of an illusion than spherical earth
belief? If you *do* know this, how?

Then you do not observe the judgements of your fellow man very closely -
unless you are saying that this is how things *should* be, regardless of
how things are?


>
>> Further, if as you say evil is merely the lack of good, and there is no
>> such thing as a neutral action (in my sense), then it follows that an
>> action which is *not* evil must be good (you say as much yourself). And
>> an action which has no evil in it whatsoever must be the ultimate good.
>> Now I suggest that my saying "Martin" when answering the question, "what
>> is your given name" is an action containing no evil whatsoever, and thus
>> (according to your definition) is an act of ultimate goodness (this is
>> not to say that *I* contain no evil, but that my particular action does
>> not). I suggest that morally neutral acts such as answering with my
>> name, scratching my head, or performing bodily functions are not neutral
>> because they contain good and evil in balance, but because they are
>> actions to which it is inappropriate to ascribe moral values.
>
>Questions, or answers in themselves pose no valuation (not even neutral) in
>the context, but it is the motive behind them that is valued as good or
>evil. We do not usually attribute a stone as either good or evil until it
>is acted upon in some manner.

It is the motive behind them I am talking about. The point is that in
the example above there is no evil motivation, and therefore it must be
all good. You have not addressed this. But I am pleased to see that you
are now acknowledging that your original claim that "The valuation twixt
good and evil is assigned all things I am aware of..." was a little
hasty.

>
>> I would also suggest that when we judge something good, we are not
>> making a negative judgement about the lack of evil, we are making a
>> positive judgement about the extent to which virtue is being displayed.
>
>Relative terms apply in a relative manner, and so too does our use of the
>terms of good and evil. When we say something is good, we really mean it is
>more good than it is evil.


We? I am always wary when people try to tell me what I "really mean" (I
note you continue to use the language of reality, by the way!). I
"really mean" no such thing when I say that something is good. Perhaps
you do. If so, I find it a very odd way of looking at things.

Cheers,
--
Martin

ONEstar

unread,
May 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/19/99
to

> Martin Dann
> Jim

Martin, your post did not appear upon my server, so I take the liberty of
responding by means of Jim's which replied to yours. Please excuse my
netiquet should this be found unappealing.


You are partially correct. Communication and language are general terms
which infer a general conveyance of information. There are specific regions
of the brain which convey information (gathered by means of sensory
stimulation) to other regions of the brain which collate the information
into a cohesive format ultimately understood by the collection of memories
called the mind. IN this manner, the individual does indeed, have a
language (communication) which is private, secret, and apart from all
others. Wittgenians unite and fight as they will, this fact remains. Shall
we argue the minutia ad nauseum?

> > "Reality" which is beyond mankind's ability to perceive is fantasy. It
> > is irrelevant, for if it is beyond our ability to perceive it can never
> > have a place in our lives - seeking it is a waste of time. It is quite
> > wrong to claim that because some hypothetical all seeing entity could
> > see more that us, that what we see is illusion. That is an illegal step.
> > When I look at a drop of pond water under a microscope I see that it is
> > filled with microscopic creatures, whereas when I look at it with the
> > naked eye it is just a drop of water. That does not mean that the drop
> > of water is an illusion. It is not. It is a real drop of water about
> > which more can be discovered if we look more closely.
>
> Here, here! But let's be careful, shall we! Neither you or Onestar have
> defined "reality" beyond a few platitudes. Further, both of you seem to be
> confusing what is real with what exists. Unicorns are real but don't
exist.
> What exists is necessarily real, but what is real may not exist. (Think
> Unicorn!) To explain this further, a concept is real, but may not have an
> instance (or, instantiation). So for example, we do have a concept of a
> unicorn as a being having such and such features; but, there are no
> instances of the concept in the world. Likewise, we have certain concepts
of
> God, but there are no reasons (AFAIK) to think there are any instances of
> the concept! Indeed, the concept of God (the Judeo-Christian concept) is
> incoherent. At any rate, it would be instructive if both you and Onestar
> drag out a few definitions of "reality" and the like!

Reality is fleeting and difficult to fixate due to it's dynamic nature, thus
I tend to such qualifiers as *so-called* and *absolute* to describe the
ambiguous and nebulous definition which describes things as "fixed"
"permanent" or "immovable" when in fact, they do not appear to be. (The
earth was not permanently flat, but transformed to a sphere, although a
"flat-earth" was, at one time, mankind's reality.) I realize that the
reality of the earth's surface did not change but mankind's representational
*reality* (so-called reality) concerning it, surely did.

> > The various degrees of cognisance, awareness, and knowledge define the
> > extent of our knowledge and understanding of reality. Reality precedes
> > our knowledge of it and cannot therefore be defined by our knowledge, as
> > you recognise by your last sentence. I would rephrase that as "complete
> > knowledge is the goal, and partial knowledge the path by which we build
> > to that goal".

> The above seems confused, imho. For example, how can we be in a position
to
> know that "reality precedes out knowledge" without pain of contradiction?
If
> we had such knowledge, then presumably we would know just what preceded
out
> knowledge. Of course, that is absurd!

Not exactly. We may discover a new system and adopt the knowledge into our
knowledge base. The truth is that the system may or may not have existed
prior to the given time-line of that particular knowledge base, however for
it to have been newly discovered, it must exist, and in that sense be real.
Martin's position is cogent.

> >Well no, "reality" is reality, "absolute reality" is a metaphysical
> > idealistic concept which bears little resemblance to reality. In my
> > view, it is for people who wish to apply special meanings to words like
> > "reality" and "knowledge" to indicate that when they use the words, and
> > accept that there is a perfectly sound and unadulterated sense of those
> > words in common usage. In other words it is not for me to add "so
> > called" to reality, but for you to add "absolute" or "special" to them,
> > showing that you are not using the words in their usual or proper sense.

> Hmmm.... "absolute reality" is NOT a metaphysical idealistic concept.
> Perhaps you could quote an idealistic philosopher in support of your
> position? Recall that in Idealism there is no such thing as "absolute
> reality" apart from some Berklian view of God. Then even here reality is
> perspectival. Also, your appeal to commonsenism is applauded, but I don't
> think it will go very far! Simply consider the average reading level in
the
> United States (for example) and I think you will at once see the need to
> utilize philosophical jargon! What is "special" to an 8th grader may not
> hold the same conotation we want to use in our philosophy.

Common sense is the consensus of reality, while absolute reality is not yet
beheld.
We may communicate in whatever convention is appropriate and understood in
order to appeal to our position.

> I like the remainder of your response to Onestar. (Not that that should
mean
> anything!) I think I will end here. Cheers!

Your views are noted, and we welcome further interaction.

ONE

Martin Dann

unread,
May 20, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/20/99
to
In article <8G603.157$XR1....@news.uswest.net>, Jim Pierce
<nospam/jpie...@uswest.net> writes

>
>Martin Dann <md...@j39to56.demon.co.uk> wrote in message
>news:n7r3XAAq...@j39to56.demon.co.uk...
>
>> We are left with a simple disagreement - I see no choice, you see slim
>> choice, although you do not explain how that could be, or what other
>> choice I, for example, might have had. Could I, at the age of a few
>> months, have made a decision which would have relied on the concept of
>> language, and the understanding of alternative path? How many people do
>> you know of, not being psychologically or physically damaged, who chose
>> not to learn any language as a child? Or chose never to speak? It is
>> part of human nature to communicate. That's the kind of creatures we
>> are. We have no more choice about language than we do about eating and
>> sleeping. Your slim choice is no choice in reality. Certainly not enough
>> on which to base your philosophy of consensus.
>
>Hello Martin! I thought I would butt in here... if I may.

Hello Jim - you may indeed.

> I think what is at
>work is that there is the possibility that someone could have chosen not to
>learn any language early on. Just what that sort of thing might "look like"
>is beyond a Wittgensteinian like me! At least, the logical possibility is
>there! Further, I think the above point goes part and parcel with the thesis
>of Solipsism and the argument against having a "private language". The idea
>being that if I happen to be the only mind, then is there really any
>communication going on when I speak? Interestingly enough, should we count
>any sort of "talking to oneself" as communication? Witty says "NO" in the
>Investigations and for good reasons, I think. I also want to point out that
>there may be a difference between what counts as "communication" and what
>may be a "language". It is not the case that what is communication is
>language, too. Some will not regard grunts, clicks, and whistles as language
>but surely such can be used in communication. I think it smart here to be
>careful of what we might mean by "language" don't you?

If you are a good Wittgensteinian you will relate the meaning of the
word "language" to its usage within the particular language game being
played ;-). You will also understand that meanings of words cannot be
pinned down by dictionary type definitions, themselves collections of
more words which require definition. In the context of my discussion
with ONE, I guess we are more concerned with the collections of words
and sentences used to make propositions about the world. I personally
would not reject the idea of non-linguistic communication, although
whether one called this "language" would depend on how remote if was
from our normal usage of the word (but see Wittgenstein's discussion of
language and communication in "The Brown Book"). Although we talk, for
example, of "body language", we do so (I believe) in a metaphorical
sense. Certainly I would agree that there is no such thing as a private
language.

>
>> "Reality" which is beyond mankind's ability to perceive is fantasy. It
>> is irrelevant, for if it is beyond our ability to perceive it can never
>> have a place in our lives - seeking it is a waste of time. It is quite
>> wrong to claim that because some hypothetical all seeing entity could
>> see more that us, that what we see is illusion. That is an illegal step.
>> When I look at a drop of pond water under a microscope I see that it is
>> filled with microscopic creatures, whereas when I look at it with the
>> naked eye it is just a drop of water. That does not mean that the drop
>> of water is an illusion. It is not. It is a real drop of water about
>> which more can be discovered if we look more closely.
>
>Here, here! But let's be careful, shall we! Neither you or Onestar have
>defined "reality" beyond a few platitudes. Further, both of you seem to be
>confusing what is real with what exists. Unicorns are real but don't exist.
>What exists is necessarily real, but what is real may not exist. (Think
>Unicorn!) To explain this further, a concept is real, but may not have an
>instance (or, instantiation). So for example, we do have a concept of a
>unicorn as a being having such and such features; but, there are no
>instances of the concept in the world. Likewise, we have certain concepts of
>God, but there are no reasons (AFAIK) to think there are any instances of
>the concept! Indeed, the concept of God (the Judeo-Christian concept) is
>incoherent. At any rate, it would be instructive if both you and Onestar
>drag out a few definitions of "reality" and the like!

Well, over the many months, if not years that ONE and I have been
discussing these issues, I am sure we have considered what we mean by
reality, and have dragged out a few definitions, even if we have not
agreed on them. None of them as far as I remember entail "existence" in
the physical sense of existence you seem to imply above. However, I
cannot agree with your analysis. "Unicorns are real but don't exist",
you say. But this is clearly not so, unless you wish to conflate the
concept of a unicorn with a unicorn itself. It is not the unicorn that
is real, but the concept of it. The unicorn does not exist and thus is
not real. The concept of it does and thus is real. What if I said that I
have a concept of not only a real unicorn, but a real unicorn that
actually exists? Would that existence then be real? (You may recognise
this as the basis of the Anselm/Descartes ontological argument for the
existence of God, which makes exactly this illegal move).

My definition of reality? You may call it a platitude, but "how things
actually are" seems to cover it nicely. This, I believe, is standard
philosophical usage. Thus reality is contrasted with "that which is
not", "that which we think or imagine" and "that which appears to be".

>
>> The various degrees of cognisance, awareness, and knowledge define the
>> extent of our knowledge and understanding of reality. Reality precedes
>> our knowledge of it and cannot therefore be defined by our knowledge, as
>> you recognise by your last sentence. I would rephrase that as "complete
>> knowledge is the goal, and partial knowledge the path by which we build
>> to that goal".
>
>The above seems confused, imho. For example, how can we be in a position to
>know that "reality precedes out knowledge" without pain of contradiction? If
>we had such knowledge, then presumably we would know just what preceded out
>knowledge. Of course, that is absurd!

So what are you saying here - that nothing is real until it is known?
You are clearly a ONEstarian on this issue! He constantly insists that
what is real, is what is real *for me* (or him or you etc), whereas I
insist that reality, by definition, is independent of me or of my
knowledge of it. For example, the ninth planet in our solar system
existed (ie was real) in 1929. And in 1829. And indeed before humans
walked on the face of the earth. Yet the planet we now call Pluto was
not discovered (ie known) until 1930. Thus the reality of that
astronomical object preceded our knowledge of it. Are you saying that
Pluto only came into existence in 1930? I think that what you are doing
in your paragraph above, is taking my claim that "reality precedes our
knowledge of it" to be the same as saying "knowledge of reality precedes
our knowledge of it". It is not. That would be nonsense, but that is not
what I was saying. If you accept that that which exists is necessarily
real, and you accept that there are things which exist about which we
have no knowledge yet, then you must accept that reality precedes
knowledge.


>
>>Well no, "reality" is reality, "absolute reality" is a metaphysical
>> idealistic concept which bears little resemblance to reality. In my
>> view, it is for people who wish to apply special meanings to words like
>> "reality" and "knowledge" to indicate that when they use the words, and
>> accept that there is a perfectly sound and unadulterated sense of those
>> words in common usage. In other words it is not for me to add "so
>> called" to reality, but for you to add "absolute" or "special" to them,
>> showing that you are not using the words in their usual or proper sense.
>
>Hmmm.... "absolute reality" is NOT a metaphysical idealistic concept.
>Perhaps you could quote an idealistic philosopher in support of your
>position? Recall that in Idealism there is no such thing as "absolute
>reality" apart from some Berklian view of God.

On the contrary, "absolute" is a term used by idealists. It is "the one
independent reality of which all things are an expression". Kant
described "absolute grounds for understanding" as "ideals only".
However, closer to ONE's views, I suspect, is Hegel's definition of the
Absolute as "spirit"!
.


> Then even here reality is
>perspectival. Also, your appeal to commonsenism is applauded, but I don't
>think it will go very far! Simply consider the average reading level in the
>United States (for example) and I think you will at once see the need to
>utilize philosophical jargon! What is "special" to an 8th grader may not
>hold the same conotation we want to use in our philosophy.

I am not quite sure of your point here. I was not so much appealing to
common sense (although I have been known to do so - I do not reject, but
treat with caution philosophical views which fly in the face of common
sense: what seems ridiculous often is ridiculous) but to the use of
language, and in particular the equivocation between different sense of
a word. I would still argue that if you are going to use a word in a way
which is not common usage (within the language game you are playing)
then it is for the user to make that clear.


>
>I like the remainder of your response to Onestar. (Not that that should mean
>anything!) I think I will end here. Cheers!

Thank you.

And cheers to you.
--
Martin

Jim Pierce

unread,
May 20, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/20/99
to

Martin Dann <md...@j39to56.demon.co.uk> wrote in message
news:yqyiDCAz...@j39to56.demon.co.uk...

Thank you for the great response... moving forward...

> If you are a good Wittgensteinian you will relate the meaning of the
> word "language" to its usage within the particular language game being
> played ;-). You will also understand that meanings of words cannot be
> pinned down by dictionary type definitions, themselves collections of
> more words which require definition.

Ah, yes and there you are correct, I think. However, I think what is
interesting to note is that Wittgenstein (and you touch upon this later on
in this paragraph with mention of "The Blue and Brown Books") sees language
as proceeding along rules, but not rules as those found in a calculus.
*Usage* is important to meaning in so far as talk proceeds along a rule
which assures the "hearer" can understand the use of our word. An
interesting aside, in reading Witty I catch a glimmer of the idea that
language is the canon of successful communication. At any rate, I think
Witty would see a dictionary as containing the intension of a word, but
intensions are not to be taken as having the same sort of precision a math
construct does.

> In the context of my discussion
> with ONE, I guess we are more concerned with the collections of words
> and sentences used to make propositions about the world. I personally
> would not reject the idea of non-linguistic communication, although
> whether one called this "language" would depend on how remote if was
> from our normal usage of the word (but see Wittgenstein's discussion of
> language and communication in "The Brown Book"). Although we talk, for
> example, of "body language", we do so (I believe) in a metaphorical
> sense. Certainly I would agree that there is no such thing as a private
> language.

Interestingly enough, I wonder what a "proposition" is supposed to be. For
the most part I take the view that a proposition is the meaning of a
sentence. So, sentences are neither true or false, but meanings can be. I
think this helps somewhat with problems of reference (or extension), I, too,
do not reject wholesale the idea of non-linguistic communication and have
taken a step further to include such things as "non-verbal communications"
into the realm of language. I also agree that there is no such thing as a
private language... in fact, it seems rather odd, on the surface! How would
one communicate they have a "private language"? Once they taught some of
their language game it would cease to be "private"! Further, if Jones tells
me he has a "private language" how am I supposed to understand what is being
said to me? Am I to understand he has a personal gibberish he vocalizes
occasionally while under a stupor? That, perhaps, he utters words to himself
that only he can understand? Private language arguments aside, the sheer
lack of utility of such is enough to ask why we would want to count what
Jones does as language!

> Well, over the many months, if not years that ONE and I have been
> discussing these issues, I am sure we have considered what we mean by
> reality, and have dragged out a few definitions, even if we have not
> agreed on them.

Yes, please pardon me. I was too hasty in my judgement. Of course, much of
being hasty is due to the limitations of reading "threads"! :)

> None of them as far as I remember entail "existence" in
> the physical sense of existence you seem to imply above.

Is there such a thing as non-physical existence? What would that look like?

> However, I
> cannot agree with your analysis. "Unicorns are real but don't exist",
> you say. But this is clearly not so, unless you wish to conflate the
> concept of a unicorn with a unicorn itself. It is not the unicorn that
> is real, but the concept of it. The unicorn does not exist and thus is
> not real. The concept of it does and thus is real. What if I said that I
> have a concept of not only a real unicorn, but a real unicorn that

> actually exists? Would that existence then be real? (You may recognize


> this as the basis of the Anselm/Descartes ontological argument for the
> existence of God, which makes exactly this illegal move).

I see your point. It resembles what Hume had to say about the ontological
argument. But, I am not really combining the concept with the thing itself.
What I am saying is that while concepts don't exist (I am a Nominalist by
night when I am not doing customer service by day!) they are real. To
illustrate my point there is nothing which suggests that there is a color we
speak of as "red" or any other color for that matter. We see color precisely
due to our construction. As it turns out in quantum mechanics (or at least
my misunderstanding of it!) the so-called "secondary and primary qualities"
of John Locke are products of perception. So, the tactile sensations we feel
of things which are solid are real enough, but the object we perceive is not
"solid" in itself. Basically, we have a concept of "color". Instances of the
concept are experienced through our sensory apparatus, but we can't point to
any single instance independent of a perspective. I'll have more to say
below when we start talking of the "ninth planet". The point here is that I
can (and have) experience instances of the concept Unicorn. All I need to do
is see a poster which has a "Unicorn" depicted on it. Or see the shape of a
Unicorn. Built into the concept of "Unicorn" is that none exist, but that
don't make them any less real! :) In a nut shell, (with many modifications
along the way) I will say that reality is defined as the realm of
perception. That which "exists" are those things which are not contingent
upon perception for their reality. Do we know of such things? Kant says no!
Hence the need for the Transcendental Idealism.

> My definition of reality? You may call it a platitude, but "how things
> actually are" seems to cover it nicely. This, I believe, is standard
> philosophical usage. Thus reality is contrasted with "that which is
> not", "that which we think or imagine" and "that which appears to be".

Well, no it really doesn't cover it nicely. I think the Cartesian legacy of
radical skepticism has born that much out all too well! As I point to above,
how things "actually are" is a matter of perspective. We shouldn't take this
too far, though. I firmly believe that what exists affects our perceptions;
otherwise we wouldn't have them. The point here is that things like "phantom
pains" and "seeing red" are perspectival, but no less real. I certainly do
not think that I will find an mind-independent instance of the concept red
anywhere and certainly the "phantom pain" an amputee experiences is real
enough but the body member no longer exists! How things actually are will be
a matter of what the community says is "real". I think it is the community
of language users. I suppose if I was Dr. Doolittle "how things are" would
have a sort of microscopic flavor to it when compared to what my peers
thought of as what things are.

> So what are you saying here - that nothing is real until it is known?

Yes.

> You are clearly a ONEstarian on this issue! He constantly insists that
> what is real, is what is real *for me* (or him or you etc), whereas I
> insist that reality, by definition, is independent of me or of my
> knowledge of it.

I would insist (if I could!) that what is *real* is a matter of perspective
and that we can judge for pragmatic purposes what is real based upon what
the community experiences. We cannot go far with, "This is real for One, and
real for Martin and what is real for Martin is not real for One and...." The
color you experience may very well be the same color I experience because
there is a composition you and I share as continuants (as beings who exist
independently of any perspective). What is interesting though, Martin, is
just what you would have named yourself if you had been the only existing
individual? Now, if you had named yourself "Martin" and mistakenly thought
you are the "Omega Man", then those individuals who watched you at night you
were unaware of would have gone completely by you! They exist, but are not
real from your perspective. Why? Because you have no knowledge of them.
Likewise, they call you "human" but "Martin" is not real for them, since
they have no knowledge of "Martin". We use many things to individuate
objects and only those objects which have been individuated are real.

>For example, the ninth planet in our solar system
> existed (ie was real) in 1929. And in 1829. And indeed before humans
> walked on the face of the earth. Yet the planet we now call Pluto was
> not discovered (ie known) until 1930. Thus the reality of that
> astronomical object preceded our knowledge of it. Are you saying that
> Pluto only came into existence in 1930? I think that what you are doing
> in your paragraph above, is taking my claim that "reality precedes our
> knowledge of it" to be the same as saying "knowledge of reality precedes
> our knowledge of it". It is not. That would be nonsense, but that is not
> what I was saying. If you accept that that which exists is necessarily
> real, and you accept that there are things which exist about which we
> have no knowledge yet, then you must accept that reality precedes
> knowledge.

A few things at work in the above. Prior to the discovery of the planet
"Pluto" it existed, but was not real. In other words an object which existed
(and still does!) spun around in an orbit and the individuals on the third
planet had not yet individuated it! It was not real to them. If there had
been an alien spacecraft flying circles around Pluto they would have
knowledge of Pluto, and the object would be real for them, but it certainly
wouldn't have been a reality for us. Indeed, if the basic construction of
the alien species differed dramatically from ours, then there perspective of
the object we call "Pluto" might be so far removed from our own that we
could not recognize it as "reality"! This goes to my earlier point. Given
what I have stated so far I am just being consistent when I say it is absurd
to think that knowledge precedes our knowledge of it. I think that what
exists precedes our knowledge of it. It certainly is not the case that if
what exists is necessarily real that "there are things which exist about
which we have no knowledge yet, then [...] reality precedes knowledge".
Surely, it is possible that some existent things are beyond the scope of our
knowledge (and hence reality), but other species have knowledge of them, so
they are "real". Indeed, if you lost a limb and experienced "phantom pains"
how could I say they are not "real" simply because you no longer have the
limb in place?

> On the contrary, "absolute" is a term used by idealists. It is "the one
> independent reality of which all things are an expression". Kant
> described "absolute grounds for understanding" as "ideals only".
> However, closer to ONE's views, I suspect, is Hegel's definition of the
> Absolute as "spirit"!

Hmmm... I think I covered my butt when I remarked upon the "Berklian view of
God"! ;) We agree. My point is that we should not take what the term
"absolute" means to the Realist as being the same as what it means to the
Idealist.

> I would still argue that if you are going to use a word in a way
> which is not common usage (within the language game you are playing)
> then it is for the user to make that clear.

Agreed. And I really do like ending on such positives!

Cheers!

Jim


ONEstar

unread,
May 21, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/21/99
to

Yes, I do not assert that spirit is part of your reality, as for it to be
part you would need to observe it, which I discern by means of your
inferrences, you do not. The nature of spirit phenomenon precludes
objective observation, thus your affection for the *practical* physical
reality. Representational reality allows many levels of interaction,
although for it to manifest itself to an individual, they must make room for
it. I do not think you intend now, nor shall allow room for it, thus your
reality remains as limited as you choose.

> >> [....]

A) If we agree there is relative (partial) knowledge, (and we must) then it
logically follows there is a greater knowledge which is comprised of all
knowledge that is knowable. Let us agree there is absolute knowledge.
B) If we recognize the limitations of our physical senses, then we may
correctly discern that advanced sensory techniques would yeild a more
accurate depiction not only in the physical, but the mental, emotional, and
spiritual aspects as well.

> >> I don't recall us having discussed equivocation of different senses of
> >> knowledge before. I certainly would have noticed if you had said
> >> something as obviously wrong as that all knowledge is
non-propositional.
> >> Can you really not see the difference between saying, "I know John
> >> Smith" and, "This person is called John Smith"?

> >If one states: "This person is called John Smith" then it follows that


one
> >knows the person is called John Smith. If one also calls the person John
> >Smith, the it follows that one knows John Smith. You can see that there
is
> >similarity, however I suspect you wish to quibble over the miniscule in
this
> >regard and really, I do not see much point in that.

> I don't think you understand this yet. Your first sentence is simply
> wrong. If I say "this person is called John Smith" I am making a claim
> to (propositional) knowledge. It does not follow from this that the
> person is called John Smith. If they *are* called John Smith then my
> proposition is correct and I do have this piece of propositional
> knowledge. This is why it is called propositional knowledge - because
> the claim is in the form of a proposition which can be shown to be right
> or wrong.

(Reply in cohesive format below.)

> Your second sentence is also wrong, and demonstrates that you really do
> not understand the distinction. Let us say you are at a convention, and
> all the delegates are wearing labels with their names on. You see
> someone you have never met before, or even heard of, with a label on
> their lapel reading "John Smith". Would it follow that you now know John
> Smith? Would you say to him, "Ah, John Smith, I know you!". Wouldn't
> that rather surprise him? I think at least a few drinks together in the
> bar would be required, and even then you wouldn't be able to claim that
> you knew him very well!

(Reply in cohesive format below)

> I was trying to make a distinction between non-propositional knowledge,
> which may well be relative, and propositional knowledge which is not. As
> you are claiming that all knowledge is relative (in some sense or other
> - I am now pretty confused), and appear to be ignoring or denying
> propositional knowledge, I did not think it was a "quibble over the
> minuscule".

I suspect you are conflating *propositional knowledge* which is commonly
presented and transmitted by information processes in the neural system of
men, with *phenomenal knowledge* ( the knowledge of qualia ) which appears
to transcend information processes in brain. The basis of knowledge is
either true or false which can only be discerned by justification, which is
not a constant, nor consistant. All propositional knowledge is relative for
it is merely partial and it is for that reason alone it can be said to
propose. (There is nothing mankind knows about in totality) In short,
mankind has no method for determining how much knowledge he does not have,
thus he must realize that all knowledge that he does have is relative to the
absolute.

> >> To conflate "propositional knowledge" with the term "objective" would
be
> >> a very strange thing to do. Propositions are neither subjective or
> >> objective. They may be about abstract concepts - mathematics for
> >> example. Your analogy shows that you have not really grasped the
concept
> >> of propositional and non-propositional knowledge. The "master builder"
> >> requires both kinds of knowledge for use in pyramid building otherwise
> >> he would not know that it was a pyramid he was building.

> >> I am not sure what you mean by "raw" propositional knowledge, and to
> >> what you think it is transformed. Propositional knowledge is knowledge
> >> *that* something is so. Non propositional knowledge is knowledge *of*
> >> something - such as knowledge by acquaintance or by direct awareness.

> >> So when you talk of "firing" and "transformation" are you perhaps
> >> referring to the method by which belief becomes knowledge? Or is it
> >> connected with your scepticism, and you are looking for a process that
> >> imbues "raw knowledge" with Cartesian certainty? I am not sure how a
> >> discussion about "transformation" would differ from a discussion about
> >> "the method used to test the final product for fitness". The way we
come
> >> to knowledge *is* the test for fitness.

> >Yes, it appears we talk in similar veins of thought in this.

> Good. Do I take it that this applies to all three paragraphs above?

No, for I suspect you have taken a tangent to the intent of our discourse,
into murky lanes where the converse often travels headlong into oncoming
traffic where fatality in disagreement occurs. To say that
non-propositional knowledge is merely knowledge *of* something, and opposed
to propositional knowledge which is that something is so, is like comparing
a mountain to a hill. They both rise from the surrounding landscape, but
the only real difference is that one is larger than the other. More
knowledge does not conflate to absolute knowledge but is merely the pathway
to achieve it. As you can clearly discern, I have no fondness for these
terms and feel they are meaningless and miniscule in the grand scale of
truth in the theory of knowledge

> >> Assuming that your implicit question is "how do we know that our
> >> proposition is true" - ie, that it is knowledge - let us consider the
> >> two examples of propositional knowledge. How do we know that 3-2=1 is a
> >> true proposition? Well if you take mathematics as a priori knowledge,
> >> then you would simply point out that the equation follows the eternal
> >> rules of mathematics - a priori knowledge does not require empirical
> >> proof. However, if (as you agree below) mathematical knowledge is
> >> empirical, then you can confirm the truth of the proposition by the
very
> >> means by which you came by this knowledge in the first place. Lay out 3
> >> apples, remove two, and count the number remaining. Is that product now
> >> fit?

> >This knowledge applies very well to apples, but is less suited for things
of
> >spiritual concern.

> I am glad that you accept now that I can have knowledge of the real
> world - well, of apples anyway, but even that is a major step forward. I
> have made no claims about what may be required for "spiritual concerns",
> for they are of no relevance to any of the claims about knowledge I have
> made. "Spiritual concerns" will not help me to know how many apples I
> have.

Allow me to correct the course here. You may quite possibly have relative
knowledge of apples, oranges or the world so-called as real, but do not have
absolute knowledge of anything. That relative knowledge, may bear the
labels of empirical, propositional, or a priori but remains relative none
the less. Your spiritual knowledge seems somewhat lacking, by your own
addmission so I shall refrain from comment upon it or even if you have
apples.

> >> To take a less abstract example, let us say I claim that the animal on
> >> my windowsill is a cat. If you doubted the truth of my proposition, the
> >> easiest way would be for you to see it for yourself (that is what
> >> empirical knowledge is all about). If you were sceptical that what you
> >> also saw was a cat then consideration of the taxonomy of felis
> >> domesticus, would enable us to confirm the characteristics that define
> >> this creature from other animals. What further would you require to
> >> accept my proposition that the object I refer to is a cat?

> >I understand your proposition and the subsequent test, however I do not
see
> >how it applies where your physical senses are not able to make the test
> >against those things of spirit order, thus I detect a bit of seclusion
from
> >reality in favour of the so-called reality in regard to knowledge as
> >defined.

> Why do I need to make any "test against those things of spirit order"?
> What has that got to do with my knowledge that it is a cat? Or the
> knowledge I claim to have of the rest of the real world? What has the
> spiritual got to do with reality? If you dismiss the real world as
> illusory because our perception of it is "limited", then what must we
> say of "things of spirit order"? Surely we have even less grounds for
> any knowledge claims in that sphere!

You fall into the trap of *concrete* thinking, and it was not of my design.
The proposal may read that all things are more of spirit than of matter, and
that matter is only a representation in the physical by means of resonance
in the spirit. Surely you can not be so limited as to discount these
solutions.

> [.....]

Representation becomes partially justified when it behaves consistantly in a
prescribed manner. The less consistant a representational reality becomes
the less justified mankind beholds that reality. While the scale of
representational knowledge is observable, said knowledge remains partial, or
relative. You have no power over your perceptions, thus you have no
knowledge that is absolute. Under certain conditions, you may indeed know a
hologram to be, in other conditions you would not and you would certainly
not if science could bestow the same physical properties to the hologram, as
to what you anticipate as real (so-called).

Only if the porcelain burned <smile> However, what if the porcelain
appeared as wax, with every one of the properties of wax, plus one property
you could not detect by means of your limited senses. The porcelain could
not be said to be wax, although it could be construed as wax-like, and
surely your delusion of identity, would then be an illusion. The same
process could be used with subsequent definitions for porcelain, wicks,
tapers and the like. I would not be smiling, at your deception, but maybe
explain so that your knowledge was greater.

> >> [....]

Ahhh, then we disagree about the condition where erroneous thought presents
illusion even in light of the conditions and illustration presented. I
suspect that if you actually understood the point, it would clarify
representational reality beyond your scepticism and we could not have that,
now, could we? As you are well aware, in your extensive studies, belief is
the basis of knowledge. Belief can be accurate or in error, and only when
greater truth is discerned can it be realised as either. By the by, Job
related the earth was round long before the Greeks repeated the news, quite
remarkable those Greeks to measure the distance to the horizon then
calculate the projected circumference. The Egyptians had been doing so for
years but not quite so accurately.


> Do you note the further paradox raised by your position, by the way? You
> call belief that the earth was flat an illusion, implying that we now
> know better. But how, if all knowledge is illusion, can we claim to know
> better? According to you our concept of the earth as an oblate spheroid
> must also be an illusion. So why single out flat earth belief, which you
> cannot know to be any more or less of an illusion than spherical earth
> belief? If you *do* know this, how?

The *how* is not important at this phase, but the illusion is so in all
human physical interaction. The distances of space are computed using
relative and sequential time in the mass/time constant of the planet,
however the speed of light and time is relative to gravity, thus the
distances computed can not be accurate. Just another illusion to add to the
many we *know* of.

> >> [.....]

No, I merely observe and report. My fellow man is free to report as well.
I assume there may some difference of opinion, but have found that is
generally due to an incomplete understanding of either the issue or the
relationship as presented.

It is the motivational aspect I was in reference with as well. For there to
be a valuation of good or evil, there must first be, said motivational
aspect. Nothing is valued as good, unless it first gives some reason for
that value to be attached. My position has not changed in this and the
valuation twixt good and evil is assigned all things I am aware of for all
things have some motivational aspect and evil is merely the lack of good.
The sun is good, when it makes the crops grow, but it is evil when
it burns them. Motivational values preclude the relative state of being.

> >> I would also suggest that when we judge something good, we are not
> >> making a negative judgement about the lack of evil, we are making a
> >> positive judgement about the extent to which virtue is being displayed.

> >Relative terms apply in a relative manner, and so too does our use of the
> >terms of good and evil. When we say something is good, we really mean it
is
> >more good than it is evil.


> We? I am always wary when people try to tell me what I "really mean" (I
> note you continue to use the language of reality, by the way!). I
> "really mean" no such thing when I say that something is good. Perhaps
> you do. If so, I find it a very odd way of looking at things.


I did not intend to include yourself in my outlook. I have learned from
your repeated negations our motives vary substantially, thus your valuation
shall surely differ. The *we* that was presented as so-called "*really*
meaning " was of a more intimate nature and we have oft times been referred
to as odd, which I warmly welcome considering what mankind often refers to
as *normal*.

ONE


Martin Dann

unread,
May 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/22/99
to
In article <0xw03.4892$pk.12...@news1.mia>, ONEstar
<ONE...@galaxycorp.com> writes

>
>> Martin Dann
>> Jim
>
>Martin, your post did not appear upon my server, so I take the liberty of
>responding by means of Jim's which replied to yours. Please excuse my
>netiquet should this be found unappealing.

No problem - it's just a little difficult to tell whether you are
responding to me, Jim or both of us. I'll respond as though you are
addressing my points (as we have both responded to Jim separately)


>
>> > We are left with a simple disagreement - I see no choice, you see slim
>> > choice, although you do not explain how that could be, or what other
>> > choice I, for example, might have had. Could I, at the age of a few
>> > months, have made a decision which would have relied on the concept of
>> > language, and the understanding of alternative path? How many people do
>> > you know of, not being psychologically or physically damaged, who chose
>> > not to learn any language as a child? Or chose never to speak? It is
>> > part of human nature to communicate. That's the kind of creatures we
>> > are. We have no more choice about language than we do about eating and
>> > sleepi