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  #1  
Old 04-30-2006, 02:57 AM
pljames pljames is offline
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What is knowledge?

To me its, to know! But why? What does knowledge gain me personally, power,fame,knowledge itself? What do we do with it after we find it? Why do we know what we know? I know therefor...I know...what and why and questions. If I have discovered the meaning of life...perhaps mine then what? You are trying to discover you and I am trying to discover me. When we find ourselfs then what?

I love philosophy but in trying to answer the unanswerable questions and searching for the right answer for me, then what? Whats the deeper meaning of life,yours mine whos? Is their knowledge in philosophy or is philosophy knowledge? pljames
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Old 04-30-2006, 04:29 AM
Mike Dubbeld Mike Dubbeld is offline
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Thats the wrong question. Not what knowledge is but who the receiver of the knowledge is. You can put trillions of bytes of knowledge in a computer can't you? Ever wonder why one of the big questions is not 'What is important?' It is because with any reflection you will find you must then ask the question 'Important to who?' Which is just 'Who am I?'

You are not your mind. The mind is constructed of knowledge but we can take or leave knowledge. We are awareness/consciousness not our mind. We can think of something or see something but neither thinking the thing makes us the thought of the thing nor seeing a thing makes us the thing. Awareness associated with the mind. Awareness associated with the senses. Minds belong to the universe/are physical things like your toaster. So is our bodies. But we were never born and cannot die.

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Old 04-30-2006, 05:33 AM
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But how useful is this distinction between arwareness/consciousness and mind? Without these toaster-like things, how do the others exist? Our states of awareness certainly shift - consider brain damage as an extreme axample - and could be considered to be 'born' and 'die'.
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Old 04-30-2006, 06:57 AM
Mike Dubbeld Mike Dubbeld is offline
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There is no end to the absurditiy and confusion in the west from failure en masse in metaphysics. If you cannot even put words in sentences coherently to think about problems you cannot solve them. A number one problem along these lines is failure to distinguish between consciousness and the mind. They are not synonyms. If I think of a tree, I am not the thought of the tree. If I see a tree, I am not the tree. Experience of the thought of the tree is one thing. Experience of the tree via the senses is another all together. The map is not the territory. The computer simulation of a hurricane is not a hurricane. The consciousness is the experiencer. The mind does nothing more than capture conceptions/snapshots/pictures of experiences. In current psychology jargon all there is is qualia. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qualia/

In the west first Platon then Descartes perpetuated the idea 'I think, therefore I am.' Too bad no one was around bright enough to ask Descartes who it is that thinks and is. Or why not 'I eat therefore I am.' We are not our minds. Our minds are very important. Just like air, water and food. But we are not air, water and food either.

I am not interested in convincing anyone of God or soul. I need only talk about mind vs consciousness. These are not the only things that there is massive ignorance on. Half the people on FC use the words instinct and intuition synoymously also. But I digress. Of what use is knowledge without knowledge of the knower of the knowledge? It is a huge mistake drawing arbitrary boundaries between physics and metaphysics. That is why we have things like wave-particle duality. Science distancing itself from metaphysics. Metaphysics as in all of language. Something there could be no science without yet science tried to distance itself from. Mathematics is metaphysics also. A language. Structure of abstract ideas. Knower is not the known. Seer not the seen. Memories are one thing. We are another. Consciousness animates matter.

It is a fundamental limitation of the mind that it cannot know a thing without being able to compare it to another things (duality). It is also a limitation of the mind that all reality as known to it arises from agreement with other minds. If you think you are your mind, as the west has done for thousands of years, you do not like being told your limitations. The mistaken notion that we are our minds came about by Plato who originated the idea that the soul was the 'rational principle.' The essence of man was to think. So we wound up with a rational soul as opposed to a fish soul whose essence it was to swim or a bird soul whose essence it was to fly. Then Christianity perpetuated the nonsense dumbing God down to being some kind of mind and then Descartes right up to the mess language is today. Taken further, we might say 'I am angry.' Meaning, I am aware of the emotion of anger. I am not the emotion of anger. Or 'I think that's OK.' Meaning, My mind thinks that is OK. I am not my mind.

In quantum theory we have wave vs particle. Contrast that to subjective (wave) vs objective (particle). Justice is a wave/is subjective. 35 miles per hour speed limit is objective/particle. How does the wave/subjective become the particle/objective? What something is, is how we particularlize it according to our belief system. How something is objectified depends on the sum total of all past experience that has gone before the mind which is different for all minds (memories). How does a memory make something objective? Memories don't do anything any more than the stack of pictures you have of your family in your drawer. Something compares the pictures - this is uncle Throckmorton cause that is aunt Swivel. Pictures don't compare pictures.

Science is a branch of metaphysics. A subset of it. There are metaphysical 'objects' just like there are sensual objects.
The Theory of Abstract Objects - Zalta --
http://mally.stanford.edu/theory.html

Metaphysics vs. Physics

The theory of abstract objects is a metaphysical theory. Whereas physics attempts a systematic description of fundamental and complex concrete objects, metaphysics attempts a systematic description of fundamental and complex abstract objects. Abstract objects are the objects that are presupposed by our scientific conceptual framework. For example, when doing natural science, we presuppose that we can use the natural numbers to count concrete objects, and that we can use the real numbers to measure them in various ways. It is part of our understanding of science that natural laws exist (even if no one were around to discover them) and that the states of affairs that obtain in the natural world are governed by such laws. As part of our scientific investigations, we presuppose that objects behave in certain ways because they have certain properties, and that natural laws govern not just actual objects that have certain properties, but any physically possible object having those properties. So metaphysics investigates numbers, laws, properties, possibilities, etc., as entities in their own right, since they seem to be presupposed by our very understanding of the scientific enterprise. The theory of abstract objects attempts to organize these objects within a systematic and axiomatic framework.

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Old 04-30-2006, 06:35 PM
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Antone Antone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Dubbeld
It is a fundamental limitation of the mind that it cannot know a thing without being able to compare it to another things (duality).
I'm not sure you are really answering the question that pljames was asking, but I think you've raised some good points. I'm not sure I agree with the terms you use (mind versus consciousness). But the point is valid.

There is clearly a distinction between experiencing something and knowing it, for instance. A child who sees an object (such as a cat) for the first time experiences that object, but they don't know what it is. Even if they could talk, they couldn't share any intelligent thoughts about what a cat is.

The ability to understand [catness] comes about by experiencing a number of real cats. The greater the experience with various cats, the more complicated and indepth the [knowledge] of what it is to be a [cat] becomes.

Each person's [knowledge of cat] is obviously slightly unique, since it is based on a slightly different set of cats, under slightly different situations. You may know the same cat I know, but it may have scratched me while never having scratched you. This makes my perspective of that cat quite different from yours.

Each person's [knowledge of catness ] is unique, but the [ultimate truth of what catness is] is something that no single person can possibly know. Moreover, there is a distinct sense in which the child looking at a cat for the first time (with no previous knowledge) may well understand the [ultimate catness of this specific cat] better than someone who has a [well defined notion of catness]. the child sees the cat strictly with their senses--while the person with preconceived notions about cats sees the same cat at least partly with their mind. How they look at the cat (their perspective) is largely
determined by what they already know about cats instead of what is actually there before them.

Thus, for instance, they may be less aware of the way the cat smells. Because they know how cats are supposed to smell, their mind feels no compuction at blocking out this particular tidbit of data. Thus, what they smell may be (at least in part) a product of what they think they should smell rather than strictly what they actually do smell.

Eastern philosophies and religions tend to focus on becoming aware. Whereas Western philosophies tend to focus on knowledge. The thing to keep in mind is that in many ways these are mutually incompatible aspects of reality.
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Old 05-01-2006, 12:49 AM
Mike Dubbeld Mike Dubbeld is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Antone
I'm not sure you are really answering the question that pljames was asking, but I think you've raised some good points. I'm not sure I agree with the terms you use (mind versus consciousness). But the point is valid.

There is clearly a distinction between experiencing something and knowing it, for instance. A child who sees an object (such as a cat) for the first time experiences that object, but they don't know what it is. Even if they could talk, they couldn't share any intelligent thoughts about what a cat is.

The ability to understand [catness] comes about by experiencing a number of real cats. The greater the experience with various cats, the more complicated and indepth the [knowledge] of what it is to be a [cat] becomes.


Each person's [knowledge of cat] is obviously slightly unique, since it is based on a slightly different set of cats, under slightly different situations. You may know the same cat I know, but it may have scratched me while never having scratched you. This makes my perspective of that cat quite different from yours.

Each person's [knowledge of catness ] is unique, but the [ultimate truth of what catness is] is something that no single person can possibly know. Moreover, there is a distinct sense in which the child looking at a cat for the first time (with no previous knowledge) may well understand the [ultimate catness of this specific cat] better than someone who has a [well defined notion of catness]. the child sees the cat strictly with their senses--while the person with preconceived notions about cats sees the same cat at least partly with their mind. How they look at the cat (their perspective) is largely
determined by what they already know about cats instead of what is actually there before them.

Thus, for instance, they may be less aware of the way the cat smells. Because they know how cats are supposed to smell, their mind feels no compuction at blocking out this particular tidbit of data. Thus, what they smell may be (at least in part) a product of what they think they should smell rather than strictly what they actually do smell.

Eastern philosophies and religions tend to focus on becoming aware. Whereas Western philosophies tend to focus on knowledge. The thing to keep in mind is that in many ways these are mutually incompatible aspects of reality.
Hi Antone! The science forum has severely degenerated. Its not possible for any 2 minds to ever agree on anything whatsoever except to x number of decimal places for things in the universe. Thats a bold statement I am sure you will appreciate with a math background. Nor can any single mind ever agree with itself on anything whatsoever from moment to moment because we experience from moment to moment and our opinion/belief system changes in subtle ways in every instant of time. 'No one steps in the same river twice.' My red-orange becomes your orange-red at something different. The only reality possible for a mind is agreement with other minds on particular aspects of a phenomena (universe) to some number of decimal places.

The Platonic dialogue Meno is about virtue on the surface but addresses a much deeper question. Can virtue be taught? is the question in Meno. Socrates goes around with this saying that if virtue was knowledge it could be taught. Further that all virtues require knowledge. But it fails because he points out its converse - if virtue was knowledge it would be taught - but since virtue is not taught, it is not knowledge. Then he goes into a definition of knowledge that implies that knowledge is an 'every and only definition.' For example, if I ask what are even numbers, you could start giving me examples of them like 2, 4, 6 etc. But this is insufficient to classify even numbers as knowledge because you could never give an exhaustive account/complete account of what even numbers are by giving examples. If you said an even number is any number divisible by 2 that has no remainder, that is a definition that applies to every even number and only even numbers. Even numbers fall into a category of phenomena that can be categorized as knowledge.

If a man holds his infant child up to watch 2 armys on the battle field fight, and he tells the infant this is an example of the good triumphing over evil, it is an instance of a sort of virtue. But it is not knowledge. I chose this example for another reason though - it is to show that to qualify as being virtue, the audience ITSELF must be qualified. The infant is too young and will likely only remember the shiny helmets in the sun. The drug addict and dope addict are not qualified either. I could go on the show it is absurd even ask the quesion what is virtue/can virtue be taught. Virtue is in the eye of the beholder so to speak and depends on the geography, culture, time in history and political winds blowing at the time etc.

In any case one of the main failures in the west is confusing the issue of the mind with consciousness. As soon as you do that, you are in muddy water to say the least. Minds can construct an infinite number of belief systems all of which change from moment to moment. It is only by AGREEMENT that some virtue can be objectified- 35 miles per hour as a speed limit is an agreement of what a community deems is moral/safe for driving in a particular community. All the laws are this way in a free nation. Agreements. All language itself is an agreement including mathematics where there is no god that selects what set of axioms (assumptions) is divine. Therefore - muddy water at best. I could go into why it is important to use will to disassociate awareness/consciousness from the mind and the senses but that is the goal of yoga and leads to morality as well. But thats another can of worms.

The sum total experiences in life program our subconscious (memories) in such a way that we are all unique/no 2 minds have exactly the same opinion on anything whatsoever in the universe. Everything is the cause of everything. By the way, Wittgenstein says Plato's 'every and only' definition to qualify something as knowledge is too restrictive. These discussions always lead to subjective vs objective whether it involves God or not. I will use something simpler.

There are not enough words or time in the universe for you to tell me what appletaste is if I never tasted an apple. As a mind the best you can do is tell me what it is not (via negativa). Appletaste is an experience and knowledge of it cannot be conveyed by any means whatsoever other than tasteing it yourself. Appletaste no one would deny 'exists' yet there never will be an 'every and only' a priori (before experience) definition of appletaste that conveys the experience. Same with God. Headaches, joint pain, belly aches are all subjective but no one would deny they exist even though you cannot prove it/experience someone else's headahce for example. (Proprioceptors and visceral senses are the subjective senses).

Since you are mathematically oriented, one of the most interesting things about Godel's incompleteness theorem is that most things that are true cannot be proven. Is the emperor wearing clothes? If minds vote he is, that lends reality to the idea he is - especially if you express doubt that leads to your decapitation..... for all those evil non-clothe's believers....

I don't know if you have seen my explanation of left and right cerebral handling of experiences vs knowledge but I most certainly do have one. It is connected with Para/Pashyanti/Madhyama and Vaikhari in yoga. Understanding is one thing. Explanation of that understanding is a separate affair all together.

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Old 05-02-2006, 01:07 AM
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Antone Antone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Dubbeld
There are not enough words or time in the universe for you to tell me what appletaste is if I never tasted an apple.
Once again, lots of good points.
Not only can I not understand apple taste if I haven't eaten apple... but each time I eat an apple my experience of applestaste will be ever so minutely different. Partly because there will be different apples in the mix, and partly because my tastebuds change ever so slightly from one moment to the next, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Dubbeld
one of the most interesting things about Godel's incompleteness theorem is that most things that are true cannot be proven.
The way I see it, the problem here is that there are many ways to define such things as [truth] and [knowledge]
One way is to think in terms of absolute truth. By this, I mean (1) that the true notion reflects exactly the way reality is in all it's possible aspects, and (2) that we KNOW that we know this truth.

It is vaguely possible for (1) to occur, but if we don't know that we know then we don't really know anything... we simply happen to believe something that is arbitrarily true in this particular case.

I'll assume that we agree that it is impossible to know anything in this absolute way. (If you need support for this assertion ask me and I'll expand) Thus, it is a given that no formal system deals with absolute truth.

Instead, the formal theory (of Goedel's incompleteness theorem) starts with root assumptions. These root assumptions are not [true]--they are merely givens. They are what we assume to be true--not what necessarily is true.

What we think of as being [true] within the formal system is what has been proven, using the root assumptions (and logic) of the system. [Truth] means proven, but what is proven is based on something that isn't [absolutely true]. Therefore what is proven is not absolutely true either--for it is possible that our root assumptions or our logic system could be wanting. We might call the proofs of the formal theorem relative truths, because their truth is relative to the accuracy of the root assumptions, etc.

I believe that there is no reason to believe that a formal system can't be complete and consistent with respect to the relative truths it spouts--Where problems occur is when we expect these relative truths to reflect absolute truths. But it is trivially the case that nothing a formal system says can be absolutely true--so as far as I can tell, Goedel's incompleteness theorem is either trivial or wrong.

Consider: the theorem that Goedel used was G:
G is unprovable in the system.
If we consider G in absolute terms then it is self evident. This implies that it is necessarily true. But it is true in the same way that [x=x] is true. [x=x] fails to tell us anything about the nature of x. It is true in every possible case and thus is trivial information. It is true because of it's form, not because it imparts any information about [x].

By contrast, we might define [x] as [x = y + z]. But this is only a relative truth, because [y + z] is not and can never be absolutely the same thing as [x]--just as a word is never exactly the same thing as its definition. The definitons explains to us in relative terms what the word means--but the definition is not the word. It is an entirely different class of [thing], just as a set is very different from the elements in a set, (even though sets can be elements in other sets just as words are necessarily elements in any definition of another word.)

This is the distinction between knowing and being aware.
[x=x] is like being aware. We are given [x] but not information about what [x] is.
[x=y+z] is like knowledge. When we know something, we have obtained information about it, but only at the cost of preventing [what we know about x] from being (in an absolute sense) [x].
The way I see it, it makes no sense for you to pass judgement on whether [x] is true or false. It simply is (in a trivial sense) what it is--and that is [x]. It does make sense to pass judgement on my definition [x=y+z]. You may believe that this definition fits well with your own, so you may decide to pass a virdict of [true] or it may not jive, and you may pass a verdict of [false] on it. Either way, this judgment has nothing to say about [x] itself--only about whether you personally believe that my defintion is compatible with the way you define [x].

Thus, in a sense, all knowledge is necessarily relative--not absolute in nature.

And If we consider G in relative terms then it is true, but only because it is baed upon our root assumptions, which are not proven and thus are not capable of being true or false. Only of being [x], where [x] is the set
{x:x is a root assumption}.

That's my take on Goedel's theorem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Dubbeld
...I don't know if you have seen my explanation of left and right cerebral handling of experiences vs knowledge but I most certainly do have one. ... Understanding is one thing. Explanation of that understanding is a separate affair all together.
Sorry, no. I don't think I have yet. I'm working on it, I suppose.
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Old 05-02-2006, 05:46 AM
Mike Dubbeld Mike Dubbeld is offline
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Originally Posted by Antone
Once again, lots of good points.
Not only can I not understand apple taste if I haven't eaten apple... but each time I eat an apple my experience of applestaste will be ever so minutely different. Partly because there will be different apples in the mix, and partly because my tastebuds change ever so slightly from one moment to the next, etc.
Hi Antone, You're not going to believe this but as simple as what you just said is, no one has ever had enough sense to have the thought of other apple type tastes being out there. It reminds me of a joke I heard many years ago in calculus. Ms. White says Descartes was sick on his back in the hospital and he was very bored. He saw a fly on the wall and wanted to describe its motion to the nurse. That is how the Cartesian coordinate system came about....... then a guy named Mike yells out -'Yeah, and it took them 50 years to figure out the fly could travel in the 3'rd dimension also' (fly through the air).....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Antone
The way I see it, the problem here is that there are many ways to define such things as [truth] and [knowledge]
One way is to think in terms of absolute truth. By this, I mean (1) that the true notion reflects exactly the way reality is in all it's possible aspects, and (2) that we KNOW that we know this truth.

It is vaguely possible for (1) to occur, but if we don't know that we know then we don't really know anything... we simply happen to believe something that is arbitrarily true in this particular case.
Within the confines of an axiomic system/precisely worded? 1 + 1 = 2 but if I uses wave superposition 1 + 1 = 0 might also be true with perfect cancellation. With the speed of light c + c + c = c.......

Quote:
Originally Posted by Antone
I'll assume that we agree that it is impossible to know anything in this absolute way. (If you need support for this assertion ask me and I'll expand) Thus, it is a given that no formal system deals with absolute truth.
God can be but I will assume you intend to stick to the Universe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Antone
Instead, the formal theory (of Goedel's incompleteness theorem) starts with root assumptions. These root assumptions are not [true]--they are merely givens. They are what we assume to be true--not what necessarily is true.

What we think of as being [true] within the formal system is what has been proven, using the root assumptions (and logic) of the system.
I don’t think so ---

‘Most pastry chefs, amateur or otherwise, would probably answer that if you can imagine it, you can not only make it, but also write down the recipe so that anyone else can make it too. Interestingly enough, until 1931 not only pastry chefs but just about every mathematician would have agreed with this claim. But believing and knowing are radically different matters, and in that fateful year, Kurt Gödel showed conclusively that what’s true and what’s provable are just not the same thing at all—and not only in the restricted Universe of cakes. Gödel’s remarkable result, which many regard as the most profound and far-ranging philosophical result of this century, applies to the vastly broader Universe of general, everyday events.’ p20 Gödel a Life of Logic

‘Stripped to its bare essentials, what Gödel’s Theorem did was shatter forever the belief there is no difference between truth and proof. The theorem’s punch line is that there is an eternally unbridgeable gap between what’s true (and can even be seen to be true) within a given logical framework or system and what we can actually prove by logical means using that same system.’ p20 Gödel a Life of Logic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Antone
I believe that there is no reason to believe that a formal system can't be complete and consistent with respect to the relative truths it spouts--Where problems occur is when we expect these relative truths to reflect absolute truths. But it is trivially the case that nothing a formal system says can be absolutely true--so as far as I can tell, Goedel's incompleteness theorem is either trivial or wrong.
That’s not what is significant. It is not that there are not systems that are not complete and consistent. (see note 1) If you cannot even show arithmetic to be complete and consistent, how are you going to complete Hilbert’s dream of showing all of mathematics to be complete and consistent. Most things that are true cannot be proven. That is what the shocker is.

note 1 ‘—Hilbert’s dream was to find a formal system in which every mathematical truth translates into a theorem, and conversely. Such a system is termed complete. Moreover, if the mathematical structure is to avoid contradiction, a mathematical truth and its negation should never both translate into theorems—that is, be provable in the formal system. Such a system in which no contradictory statements can be proved is termed consistent. With these preliminaries in mind, we can finally describe Gödel’s wreckage of Hilbert’s Program.’ p34 Gödel a Life of Logic

Quote:
Originally Posted by Antone
Consider: the theorem that Goedel used was G:
G is unprovable in the system.
If we consider G in absolute terms then it is self evident. This implies that it is necessarily true. But it is true in the same way that [x=x] is true. [x=x] fails to tell us anything about the nature of x. It is true in every possible case and thus is trivial information. It is true because of it's form, not because it imparts any information about [x].
Noooo. All you’re doing now is guessing what Gödel showed/putting it in your own terms. Its not that it is not interesting the way you put it but this is not Gödel. This is the distinction between what is analytic and synthetic. All bachelors are unmarried men. x = x. A tautology. Bachelors like apples. Synthetic x = y + z like below synthetic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Antone
By contrast, we might define [x] as [x = y + z]. But this is only a relative truth, because [y + z] is not and can never be absolutely the same thing as [x]--just as a word is never exactly the same thing as its definition. The definitons explains to us in relative terms what the word means--but the definition is not the word. It is an entirely different class of [thing], just as a set is very different from the elements in a set, (even though sets can be elements in other sets just as words are necessarily elements in any definition of another word.)
I don’t disagree but this is simply pointing toward duality/relativism. Gödel isn’t associated with that or he may be associated with these ideas or any other but that is not what he is famous for.

Abortion can mean murder and it can mean pro-choice. What it means depends on the audience. The word represents one or more definitions. How we choose to interpret/which definition we select is arbitrary logically. Even with only one definition, that definition varies from one belief system to the next.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Antone
This is the distinction between knowing and being aware.
[x=x] is like being aware. We are given [x] but not information about what [x] is.
Noooo, I’m sorry, I don’t agree with that because what you are saying there is that to be aware you must be aware of something. No meditator will agree with that and it also implies you don’t distinguish between what is awareness of something and attention of it. For your purposes you can define anything any way you like but it is a failed approach from my perspective where I must distinguish between awareness and attention and those distinctions are very important also.

I am sure you mean it in the sense Socrates does where you know virtue when you see it but you cannot give a definition of it a priori. You can be aware of something virtuous/experience an instance of virtue/appletaste but without the ability to give it an ‘every and only’ definition like even numbers it is not knowledge. This shows me an aspect of my own ideas that I need to take a look at. The distinction between attention and experience (being aware) as related to knowledge. I can be aware of something/be experiencing appletaste but that is not knowledge in an ‘every and only’ sense. That’s not something that can be placed in a set. Attention of something is giving it a name and list of its characteristics. It is a mind thing. It is experiencing the set of characteristics in the mind under the phenomena’s label. I can list all day what appletaste is not/its characteristics as known to the mind but that will never convey appletaste experience. A list of characteristics of something does not qualify as knowledge of it. Very interesting. Appletaste is not lemon taste. It is not grape taste. It is not…. Does not give me knowledge of appletaste. It only gives me what appletaste is not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Antone
[x=y+z] is like knowledge. When we know something, we have obtained information about it, but only at the cost of preventing [what we know about x] from being (in an absolute sense) [x].
Incorporating it into our particular belief system/’coloring’ it/biasing it. Know

Quote:
Originally Posted by Antone
The way I see it, it makes no sense for you to pass judgement on whether [x] is true or false. It simply is (in a trivial sense) what it is--and that is [x]. It does make sense to pass judgement on my definition [x=y+z].
It does if you want it to be understood by another mind. In other words, irregardless of what it is, without agreement with another mind, what do you have? All words are agreements between minds on what something is. What something is as known to the mind can only be understood in terms of what it is not. By comparing it to another thing. (not grape taste, not tangerine taste….) What is significant about that is that this shows a fundamental limitation of the mind. Another fundamental limitation of the mind is the requirement of it for agreement by another mind for something to be true. Without external means, nothing is true to a mind. Agreement is the only reality a mind can ever know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Antone
You may believe that this definition fits well with your own, so you may decide to pass a virdict of [true] or it may not jive, and you may pass a verdict of [false] on it. Either way, this judgment has nothing to say about [x] itself--only about whether you personally believe that my defintion is compatible with the way you define [x].

Thus, in a sense, all knowledge is necessarily relative--not absolute in nature.
That’s true but like Microsoft Technical Support, it is equally useless. Further, this relativeness is itself relative and subjective. Do not tell me ‘its all relative.’ Formal logic has its limitations. The Aristotelian Excluded Middle in Formal Logic holds that there is all, none, and some. With some being anything from 1% to 99% each of which is equally meaningful. I don’t know about you but I say 99 dollars is better than 1 dollar. Formal logic has it such that all adjectives are equally meaningless by the same notion. I like tyranny. You like democracy. Equally good. Like I like roses and you like tulips – equally good. It is based on deduction which is supposed to be certainty. But there is no certainty in the Universe. So formal logic has problems and is why informal logic is used when it comes to adjectives and opinion.

Informal logic is based on induction/inference and not certainty but probability. Whether an umbrella is ugly or not depends on a vote taken by minds. Not on any formal logical criterion. Not on axioms. The emperor is wearing clothes if minds AGREE he is. Statistical reality. Adjectives are voted upon is the constitution of most of what minds call reality. Formal logic is inappropriate for subjective things and most things are subjective (wave). They involve a target audience as to whether something is true. Not F = ma. Smith shot Jones does not find the jury deliberating over any equations. Most things formal logic is inappropriate for in fact it is only appropriate to use it for mathematics and geometry or the immutable laws of nature.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Antone
And If we consider G in relative terms then it is true, but only because it is baed upon our root assumptions, which are not proven and thus are not capable of being true or false. Only of being [x], where [x] is the set
{x:x is a root assumption}.

That's my take on Goedel's theorem.
That’s not what Gödel is about as far as I am concerned. What you are talking about is relativity/duality. I don't relate what Godel said to duality/the relative nature of the universe although I don't see why not. Its just that Godels Incompleteness theorem showed most things that are true are not provable. In the words of Stephen Hawking --

‘Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem’

‘In 1931 the mathematician Kurt Gödel proved his famous incompleteness theorem about the nature of mathematics. The theorem states that within any formal system of axioms, such as present day mathematics, questions always persist that can neither be proved nor disproved on the basis of the axioms that define the system. In other words, Gödel showed that there are problems that cannot be solved by any set of rules or procedures. Gödel’s theorem set fundamental limits on mathematics. It came as a great shock to the scientific community, since it overthrew the widespread belief that mathematics was a coherent and complete system based on a single logical foundation, Gödel’s theorem, Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, and the practical impossibility of following the evolution of even a deterministic system that becomes chaotic form a core set of limitations to scientific knowledge that only came to be appreciated during the twentieth century.’ p139 The Universe in a Nutshell.


Minds Machines and Gödel
http://users.ox.ac.uk/~jrlucas/mmg.html --

‘However complicated a machine we construct, it will, if it is a machine, correspond to a formal system, which in turn will be liable to the Gödel procedure [260] for finding a formula unprovable-in-that- system. This formula the machine will be unable to produce as being true, although a mind can see that it is true. And so the machine will still not be an adequate model of the mind. We are trying to produce a model of the mind which is mechanical---which is essentially "dead"---but the mind, being in fact "alive", can always go one better than any formal, ossified, dead, system can. Thanks to Gödel's theorem, the mind always has the last word.’

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Old 05-02-2006, 04:30 PM
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Formal Systems

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minds Machines and Gödel
‘However complicated a machine we construct(to mimic the mind), it will, if it is a machine, correspond to a formal system, which in turn will be liable to the Gödel procedure [260] for finding a formula unprovable-in-that- system. This formula the machine will be unable to produce as being true, although a mind can see that it is true. And so the machine will still not be an adequate model of the mind. We are trying to produce a model of the mind which is mechanical---which is essentially "dead"---but the mind, being in fact "alive", can always go one better than any formal, ossified, dead, system can. Thanks to Gödel's theorem, the mind always has the last word.’
Some interesting conclusions follow from the truth of the above.

It is as good a rebuttal to "physicalism" as I have seen. Short and sweet. Froclown needs to explain to us why the above is false.

Physicalist cosmologies that do not include mind are "incomplete" from the getgo.

galatomic
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Old 05-02-2006, 05:29 PM
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Mike, stop complicating things.

Antone, stop trying to outplay Mike, because you can't.
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Old 05-03-2006, 06:43 AM
Mike Dubbeld Mike Dubbeld is offline
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Thats right. 'I want to be an airborne ranger. Live a life of sex and danger.... Neuroscience. Be all you can be. Like a machine. (opps formal logical system)

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Old 05-04-2006, 12:03 AM
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Old 05-04-2006, 12:05 AM
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Posted by galatomic
Quote:
Originally Posted by Minds Machines and Gödel
‘However complicated a machine we construct(to mimic the mind), it will, if it is a machine, correspond to a formal system, which in turn will be liable to the Gödel procedure [260] for finding a formula unprovable-in-that- system. This formula the machine will be unable to produce as being true, although a mind can see that it is true. And so the machine will still not be an adequate model of the mind. We are trying to produce a model of the mind which is mechanical---which is essentially "dead"---but the mind, being in fact "alive", can always go one better than any formal, ossified, dead, system can. Thanks to Gödel's theorem, the mind always has the last word.’
Interesting, but the way I see it, you've got this more-or-less backwards.

Our minds ARE operating formal systems. That's why two different people are capable of looking at the same thing and both can think that they KNOW DIFFERENT AND APPARENTLY INCOMPATIBLE things about it--but obviously, one of them has to be in "error".

In a very real sense, I believe it is the essential nature of the formal system that makes this possible--for the actual rules of the formal system are devoid of meaning--it is only the interpretation that we give to those rules that we can say has an actual meaining.

To create a thinking machine, all we need to do is create a system that has two formal systems, each of which serves as a feedback loop for the other. (When I say ALL that's being sarcastic, of course, for there are lots of other things that are involved: for example, it would also be necessary for the two systems to work on reciprocal concepts--for example, one would have to be based on absolute logic, the other based on relative logic. Which I believe the evidence strongly suggests is exactly what our brains/minds do.)

Point is... The job of the second formal system is to assign meaning to the symbolic output of the first formal system, vice versa. Thus, the process becomes a self-generating feedback loop.

In my opinion, it is precisely this strategy that is responsible for giving our brains/minds the ability to think and assign meaning, etc.
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Old 05-04-2006, 12:49 AM
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Antone, what does this last post say about our absolute 'free will'?
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Old 05-04-2006, 03:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Dubbeld
I don't think so---

...But believing and knowing are radically different matters, and ... Kurt Gödel showed conclusively that what’s true and what’s provable are just not the same thing at all
That's what I just said, so what do you mean you don't think so?

I said it in a slightly different way, but it's still basically saying the same thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Dubbeld
...If you cannot even show arithmetic to be complete and consistent, how are you going to complete Hilbert’s dream...
First, I've very informally developed a theory about the foundation of mathematics which I believe might be capable of being successfully transferred into a strictly formal system--although that's a little above my current skill level--and if this could be accomplished I believe that it might be accurate to consider the results both accurate and complete. This is accomplished by embracing what I believe are the many reciprocal aspects of numbers--as well as the inherent notion that what the system is representing is not absolute and unvarying truth--as is apparent by my definitions of various things. In a sense, my definitions themselves contain the paradoxical aspect of reality--and thus the paradoxical necessarily results disappear.

That can be seen as the point of of Goedel's theorem. You express this in a slightly different way--and perhaps one that is a little more true to letter of Goedel's work, while my working is based on my interpretation of his work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Dubbeld
Most things that are true cannot be proven. That is what the shocker is.
I agree with this except for the part about it being shocking. That was my point! It shouldn't be shocking. It's just plain common sense, if you ask me. That's why I said Goedel's work is trivial or wrong. In the sense that it is right, it's just common sense. In the sense that it is wrong (if it accutally is) then it is wrong because you must lower your expectations in order to obtain anything meaningful.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Dubbeld
Noooo. All you’re doing now is guessing what Gödel showed/putting it in your own terms. Its not that it is not interesting the way you put it but this is not Gödel.
I agreee, I definitely put things into my own terms... and then I made comments about it that are proably not shared by Goedel or any other logician or mathematician... Again, that was the whole point of writing what I wrote. If I had nothing new or interesting to say about it I wouldn't have bothered to say anything about it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Dubbeld
Gödel isn’t associated with that...
Don't misunderstand me, please... I'm not claiming that this is what Goedl said... or what he meant to imply. It is very much my own distinct spin on the whole issue. Again, that was the point of sharing.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Dubbeld
Noooo, I’m sorry, I don’t agree with that because what you are saying there is that to be aware you must be aware of something. No meditator will agree with that and it also implies you don’t distinguish between what is awareness of something and attention of it.
Name anything that you can be aware of without being [aware of something]. (Keep in mind that all concepts are Some things.)

And why do you assume no mediator would agree with me?

There is in fact a sizable (and growing) body of data that strongly seems to support the notion that it is impossible to think (in any meaningful way) without being able to sense at least some things.

Why do you think that people in isolation tanks have such vivid dreams and hallucinations. It is their own body's way to [sense some thing]. (again, concepts are things--and in fact it has been shown that in many ways the mind is virtually incapable of distinguishing between what is actually experiences and what has only been very vividly imagined.)
These people also have serious lapses in their cognitive functioning. (Why do you think that is? I would suggest that it is precisely because they've lost so much of the ability to sense the world around them--and although their imagination helps some it is far from adequate as a substitute for [perceptual awareness of things].

I could give other arugments and supporting evidence, but I think that's enough for now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Dubbeld
...I must distinguish between awareness and attention and those distinctions are very important also.
You can be aware of something without paying attention to it consciously. Although I would argue that you cannot be aware of something without paying attention to it at a subconscious level.

I'm not sure why you feel it is important to make the distinction between these words in this instance. To me it seems obvious--but trivial.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Dubbeld
You can be aware of something virtuous/experience an instance of virtue/appletaste but without the ability to give it an ‘every and only’ definition like even numbers it is not knowledge.
I don't like socrates language usage... i.e. virtuous, but I think I know what you're getting at.

Let me try to clarify my position: To a person who has never been aware of [appletaste] the [experience of apple taste] does not exist. They literally have no concept for it. Thus, the first time they taste an apple, all they have is the experience or awareness of [appletaste].

They are told that what they ate was an [apple], and they are told that when they put things in their mouth they [taste] that thing. Thus, they come to realize that the experience they had was [appletaste]. The actual experience, however, is something completely different from their [concept that that experience should be identified as the taste of apple].

This is the distinction between knowing and simply being aware. That first taste when there were no concepts attached was unadulterated [awareness]--without knowledge. And when we imagine what an apple tastes like without actually experiencing it, that is unadulterated [knowledge]--without awareness.

Clearly, the lines are commonly blurred between these two aspects. For instance, if the person tasting apple for the first time is told that what they are holding is an apple, then they have some pre- [knowledge] along with their awareness the first time they experience [appletaste]. Because they know what it is they're tasting.

The [knowledge] that we use to define the experience of [appletaste] is based on the set of [appletaste experiences] that we have had. Suppose for instance that we are told that we are drinking [apple juice], but the juice is actually [pear juice]. Our [knowledge] of [appletaste] will reflect this inaccurate picture of physical reality--because it is based on an inaccurate set of experiences.

But how do we define reality: by our knowledge about what it is. In essence, the main reason we don't call a pear an apple is because we have a body of
[knowledge] that tells us that it is a pear. But why do we define a [pear] as a [nonapple] when a [Golden Delicisous] and a [Granny Smith] are both called [apples]? The [taste of a Golden Delicisous] is as different from the [taste of a Granny Smith] as it is from the [taste of a pear]. Thus, what makes something [apple] or [not apple] is the body of [knowledge] that we have about it.
Quote:
As I like to say:

Of course it is circular! Every truth is circular in nature. If it wasn't circular it couldn't be true. In fact, the main difference between a truth and a paradox is that with a truth the circularity is so intuitively obvious that we find it easy to ignore the circularity, whereas with a paradox, the circularity is so obvious to our rational minds that we find it easier to ignore the truth.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Dubbeld
I can be aware of something/be experiencing appletaste but that is not knowledge in an ‘every and only’ sense. That’s not something that can be placed in a set.
According to my way of thinking, [Knowledge] does NOT exist in an ‘every and only’ sense. I have not tasted every apple, and so I obviously do not have an experience of what every apple might taste like. And since our knowledge is defined by our set of experiences, I can NOT knowanything in this way.

However, because I have highly developed pattern recognizing skills and because there is a stong tendency for all apples have what might be called a [distinctly apple taste], I can make highly accurate logical deductions about what is an [apple] and what is [not an apple].

When I taste a new apple, however, I do NOT know that I am tasting [appletaste]. I only believe that I am tasting [appletaste] based on my highly reliable skills of logical deduction--and the family similarity between the taste of all apples.

What I'm tasting could be chemicals, however, which are designed to mimic the taste of an apple--and not [appletaste] at all. Thus, this ‘every and only’ sense doesn't exist in any practical sense.

What you're talking about might be called ultimate knowledge. It is the accurate reflection of the way everything really is. But the sum total of what we can say about it is analogous to the equation [x=x]. It is what it is. Ultimate reality (or truth) is ultimate reality. But as soon as we try to put what it is into "words" or "personal experiences" we change it into [knowledge] which is distinctly relative--because it has to be slightly different for each and every person.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Dubbeld
Attention of something is giving it a name and list of its characteristics. It is a mind thing. It is experiencing the set of characteristics in the mind under the phenomena’s label.
I believe that what you are calling [attention] is the same thing (or very similar) to what I am calling [knowledge]. This [knowledge] is defined by what we attend to. If we ignore something, we can be aware of it without knowing anything about it.

In fact, recognizing that we are [aware of something] about which we have no [knowledge] is often the first step towards discovery of a new science. That science develops as we define what it is we are aware of, and build up a new and unique foundation of [knowledge]. Once we have developed this [body of knowledge] others can come along and learn it--and if they don't think it reflects what they experience accurately enough they can try to produce a uniquely different [body of knowledge]. When we pass judgment on which [body of knowledge] is [true] and which is [not true] what we are really doing is making an assessment about which [body of knowledge] has a better one-to-one correspondence with our own personal [knowledge].

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Dubbeld
It does if you want it to be understood by another mind.
Why? What you understand is our shared ability to recognize patterns. Generally speaking, the fact that I might have a minutely different set of [apple taste experiences] does not limit your ability to understand what I mean by [appletaste]. But not every [bit of knowledge] is shared, as is shown by the funny definitions that children often have of words. (In the movie The World According to Garp, the main character's son misunderstood a word and calls [graduate students] gradual students... and the [under tow] is the under toad. We all have our own versions of these misunderstandings... some big and some small. That's why you called it [attention] while I called in [knowledge]. This is an example of the two of us having a different set of terms for the same (or a very similar) [concept].
Quote:
Sorry, it's a little difficult to keep our terms straight. But ultimate knowledge is basically the same thing as being aware of something, since ultimate knowledge (i.e. x=x) is that of which we are aware.
(Now then, if we work from the assumption that it is the same concept), then it clealry makes NO sense for you to pass a judgment on the [ultimate knowledge] on which I have chosen to structure my [personal body of knowledge]--because in the end it is the same [ultimate knowledge] as you are using. If you call mine false, but say that yours is true then you are contradicting yourself.

On the other hand, it does make sense for you to pass a judgment on my [personal body of knowledge]. Your claim that it is false may be based on a misunderstanding of some kind--but it still makes sense, because (1) my personal body of knowledge can be [false] as well as [true]--whereas [ultimate knowledge] can only be true. Therefore passing judgement is meaningless. And (2) my [body of knowledge] may not have a very good one-to-one correlation with your [body of knowledge].

The think to keep in mind is that when we speak of something being true, what we almost always mean is that it has a one-to-one correlation to our own [knowledge] not that it has a perfect one-to-one correlation to [ultimate knowledge].

As a word, the latter meaning is essentially useless and trivial, because we have know way of knowing what [ultimate truth] is--as soon as we come to "know' it, it ceases to be [ultimately true].

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Dubbeld
Do not tell me ‘its all relative.’ Formal logic has its limitations. The Aristotelian Excluded Middle in Formal Logic holds that there is all, none, and some. With some being anything from 1% to 99% each of which is equally meaningful. I don’t know about you but I say 99 dollars is better than 1 dollar.
First, I would never wish to say that "it's all relative".
It's all a mixture of [relative and absolute]. It doesn't matter which of these you choose, without the other it is almost totally meaningless.

Yes, I'd rather have 99 dollars too, but this does not prove your point--it is in fact a counterproof, if anything. Think about it!

If all is $100, and none is $0.00, then both $1 and $99 are some. But your point was that they are not the same thing... so why follow LEM and treat them both as if they were the same thing?

Interestingly, there is a sense in which we can say that calling $1 and $99 the same thing (i.e. some) is [relative in nature]... because the term [some] has a number of possible values, all distinctly different. But it can also be understood as [absolute in nature], because what we are defining is a single (absolute) term. A thing is ether [some] or it is [not some] there are not variations or shades of gray. Thus, an [absolute aspect] and a [relative aspect] necessarily exist together. If you took either one away, it would become impossible to accurately express the true nature of the situation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Dubbeld
Formal logic has it such that all adjectives are equally meaningless by the same notion... So formal logic has problems and is why informal logic is used when it comes to adjectives and opinion.
I've developed a form of logic that I have no doubt could be easily formalized (I'm currently working on that--the informal presentation is already fairly well worked out) and which does handle adjectives with the greatest of ease, thank you very much.

What is required is to give up our notions that an adjective refers to an absolute--that along with a few very simple changes in the axioms (or root assumptions) and everything falls neatly into place. Or so say I.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Dubbeld
Informal logic is based on induction/inference and not certainty but probability... Not on any formal logical criterion.
In this sense, I believe that probability is just another name for relativity. If you formalized the [relative aspects] and give them logical criterion, (along with the absolute aspects, of course) then you'd have a system that has no trouble being both formal and dealing with adjectives. (And you'd also have to define the reciprocal relationships between the relative aspect and the absolute aspect, of course, so that you could define the process of changing perspective from one to the other. But that's essentially a natural outcome of the simple changes in the axioms that I mentioned earlier.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Dubbeld
I don't relate what Godel said to duality/the relative nature of the universe although I don't see why not. Its just that Godels Incompleteness theorem showed most things that are true are not provable.
No disagreement here.
As I said, what I'm trying to express is my own ideas, not Goedel's ideas... I'm simply using Goedel's ideas and using them as a springboard. And this does indeed require a certain level of [creating my own new body of knowledge] around the traditional interpretation of Goedel's theorem.
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