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Old 03-17-2010, 12:14 AM   #401
Ruv Draba
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Originally Posted by Diana Hignutt View Post
I don't disagree that we have been trained to see the same number of ducks.
No, we're trained to execute similar processes. These produce the same number, which we both agree (because it's so unwaveringly consistent) must be the number of ducks.

Our minds can 'see' a number of ducks up to a certain number (it depends on how they're arranged, but we might instantly recognise some number of haphazardly-arranged ducks between say three and ten; some savants can recognise many more like the character of Raymond in Rain Man). But after some instantly-recognisable number, we have to execute process to count them.

One of the interesting things about number, Di, is that it's culturally-independent. Our representation of number isn't, but the idea and quantity of number is. Regardless of language, number has developed independently across virtually every culture on earth. A few groups only count up to a certain number and stop, but across those numbers everyone agrees. It's remarkable that we can barter without even a language in common.

So, no, we're not all trained to see five ducks. The only people who disagree about five ducks are those who can't execute a reliable counting-process or refuse to do so.
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Old 03-17-2010, 12:46 AM   #402
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Originally Posted by DrZoidberg View Post
He he... ok, then, explain you. Why do you see yourself as just one person? Why do you see yourself as just you? Why do individuals at all exist? This isn't even philosophy, this is science.
I'm not sure whether you're asking what it's like to be me, or how people in general work. (Science by the way, is a 'how' discipline, not a 'why' discipline.) To try and answer the latter first...

How do we each see ourselves as one person? I think that we tell ourselves a fiction in which we put our actions into a strict, logical sequence underpinned by another fiction called motive. If necessary we retrofit motive to 'explain' our actions to make them look reasonable. A famous example of the latter is the hypnotist who got his subject to open an umbrella indoors and then asked why. The subject said 'to see what was inside the umbrella'.

How do we see humanity as divided into individuals? A possible explanation might be the ease of communicating within the brain (and the brain tends to consistently have the same parts), vs the speed and difficulty of communicating between brains (and those parts come and go). Also, in humanity, individuals compete for sex and food, but mostly sex. It's a big thing for us.

What's it like to be me? Imagine a world in which nobody has faces -- just blank, immobile skin with eyes and a nose and a mouth, but individuals are still distinguishable by the way they move and talk. Imagine that one day they all woke up and took pictures of emoticons, and glued them onto their nose and said 'This is my face. This is how you'll know me'. That's something like my world. I see face-pictures as largely superficial and irrelevant, and I often don't bother with them.

One thing human faces do is show emotion. We often say 'betray emotion', but in fact faces are made to display emotion -- to send constant messages to one another. If we can't see faces, we can guess at emotion through speech and behaviour, but it's indirect and secondary because it takes longer to work. (Human emotion, by the way, transmits faster than human thought -- so perhaps that's why we're so disposed to seeing individuals as emotional identities.)

Without faces, the narrative of human emotion becomes much less important. We focus instead on a narrative of behaviour. Without a face, our own emotional narrative becomes less important -- in fact, our individual emotional identity becomes largely irrelevant. We're just a point of observation and action with an occasional sense of mood.

But commonality is important... not agreement on what we can see (because different points will see different things), but commonality on what is observed and what its behaviour is.

If we have a face we can talk about 'God' and send complex face-pictures to one another. Even if we can't find a 'God' in our world, it exists for us as a bunch of face-pictures. Others can copy our face-pictures (and copying expressions stimulates emotion) and begin to share our fantasy too. In fact even while people are arguing over what 'God' means, they can be sharing exactly the same emotions, so they may agree that it exists, because their emotions feel the same. Perhaps that's partly why an important part of the God-myth is that God has our own face -- God feels as we feel. But without a face, if we talk about 'God' we actually have to go and find an object and point to it.

That's much what it's like to be me. Without an object to point to, 'God' for me is nothing more than some fantastical stories and a code for a collection of face-dances. I don't believe the stories, and I'm not terribly interested in the faces.

And our shared world... for me it doesn't have a human face. It doesn't have a face at all. Like me, it is just behaviour.

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Old 03-17-2010, 12:24 PM   #403
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Originally Posted by Ruv Draba View Post
I'm not sure whether you're asking what it's like to be me, or how people in general work. (Science by the way, is a 'how' discipline, not a 'why' discipline.) To try and answer the latter first...

How do we each see ourselves as one person? I think that we tell ourselves a fiction in which we put our actions into a strict, logical sequence underpinned by another fiction called motive. If necessary we retrofit motive to 'explain' our actions to make them look reasonable. A famous example of the latter is the hypnotist who got his subject to open an umbrella indoors and then asked why. The subject said 'to see what was inside the umbrella'.

How do we see humanity as divided into individuals? A possible explanation might be the ease of communicating within the brain (and the brain tends to consistently have the same parts), vs the speed and difficulty of communicating between brains (and those parts come and go). Also, in humanity, individuals compete for sex and food, but mostly sex. It's a big thing for us.
You said it's possible to see the world as it really is, to see it objectively without inserting into a narrative. But if your brain doesn't invent you (a fantasy of you as an individual) you wouldn't have anything to pin your experiences on. To put it in another way, if you saw the world as it really is, the novel of your story wouldn't have a main character. Without a main character the narrative of your life wouldn't make any sense. Without the illusion of you you wouldn't be capable of anything but living in the now and reacting to stimuli, like an amoeba for example.

I fail to see how this idea of seeing the world as it really is would work, even hypothetically? What's the scientific theory behind it? I mean, there surely has to be some neurological underpinning for the ideas?
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Old 03-17-2010, 12:30 PM   #404
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Old 03-17-2010, 12:47 PM   #405
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Originally Posted by DrZoidberg View Post
You said it's possible to see the world as it really is, to see it objectively without inserting into a narrative.
Dr Z, a while back you equated 'objectivity' with 'reality' and I didn't mention it then, but to me they don't connect.

Objectivity to me means 'observation independent of observer's beliefs'. 'Reality' is some ideal of 'ultimate truth'. I don't use the latter word much myself because I'm not sure it means. I also don't like how it gives us this silly excluded middle argument of 'everything is subjective' vs 'there is a knowable reality'.

In fact I think we have a shared experience that is quite objective, and very stable but only partly known which for convenience we may call 'reality' though we're happy for our knowledge about it to change. I don't think we need a term for 'ultimate truth', and I have no idea how we would recognise it if we saw it. To my mind, total subjectivity vs. reality is a false dichotomy of idealistic extremes. I think we have something else; quite different.

I think I've already demonstrated that perception can be independent of belief, and it's quite consistent with growing knowledge too. As to how that fits into your preferred story of how minds should work, I'm afraid I can't help you; that story means nothing to me, and I'm unclear why you like it. But I can say that I don't need a narrative about myself to count ducks. I don't even need a name for myself, or my own long-term memory, or most of my vocabulary. I simply need a duck-counting process and a decision to count them. The 'reason' for the decision (if there is one) plays no part in the counting process or its outcome, so why is it relevant?

Hope that helps somehow.

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Old 03-17-2010, 01:15 PM   #406
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Originally Posted by Ruv Draba View Post
I said: to see it as it reliably is. The reliability of our perceptions is evident through the independent confirmation of the perceptions of others, and also through numerous kinds of records. My definition of objectivity was simply that the beliefs of the observer do not play a part in the understanding of the observed. I said nothing about 'reality' -- that would appear to be an ideal that you introduced, and I don't know why you did.

I think I've already demonstrated that perception can be independent of belief. As to how that fits into your preferred story of how things should work, I'm afraid I can't help you; that story means nothing to me. But I can say that I don't need a narrative about myself to count ducks. I simply need a duck-counting process and a decision to count them. The 'reason' for the decision (if there is one) plays no part in the counting process.
But the duck counting, carries different meanings to the different people counting. We embody everything around us with meanings, based on what they mean to us. There is no such things as only ducks. A duck is loaded with everything from Donald Duck, to duck soup to autumn walks by the water. Even though both of us count the ducks and get the same number, we have counted different things. A veterinarian would of course see a third thing.

We will use that number to create various scenarios in our heads, and those scenarios will have different outcomes based on what we attach to it. If we didn't have a scenario in mind, we obviously would bother counting them to begin with. So yes, you need a narrative around the ducks to count them, regardless if you acknowledge this or not.

By establishing that two people who count the same ducks reach the same number, I don't think proves anything. I fail to see how it supports your position.

The strength of science, and the scientific method is that it does its best to eliminate as much confusion of the narrative as possible. But if you've read any scientific report, or book on science they read with the same structure as any novel. Without a narrative even science would be gibberish. Our brains cannot escape this way to take in information about the world. This doesn't discount science. I think the language of science is the most precise way to describe anything, to allow knowledge to be transferred as well as possible between minds. But it does emphasize the limits of language.

When you observe something you need to convert each observation into language before you can even begin to grasp it with your mind. Do you see the problem?

And then you've got the thing that we're emotional rather than rational beings. The power of information, (yes, even stuff you tell yourself) lies in how it effects us as individuals emotionally. How we feel about that which we observe will effect what it means to us, and the importance we attach to it, right? This puts demands on form and content beyond agreeing on how many ducks are on the lake. More importantly you can't escape the narrative of your life.
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Old 03-17-2010, 02:40 PM   #407
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Even though both of us count the ducks and get the same number, we have counted different things. A veterinarian would of course see a third thing.
No, because prior to counting ducks, we agree on what is the standard for recognising a duck. So whatever a duck might signify to us at other times, what we count is just what conforms to the standard. So we get a situation where we agree precisely on what the word 'duck' represents in our shared world. If in addition we wish to imbue it with personal associations, we can and it won't stop us counting them. But if we don't -- if it's just a duck to us -- that's fine too.

All of this means that there's a reliable, objective world to share. If we want to add to that objective world with beliefs then of course we can. But if we try and have our beliefs replace the objective world we can do that too -- in our own minds -- but it may not be sensible to anyone but us; it won't stop objective methods from working for others; and it won't stop others from thinking we're daft for pretending that our beliefs are somehow more reliable than objective procedure when they're clearly not.
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if you've read any scientific report, or book on science they read with the same structure as any novel.
I used to write scientific reports and they're nothing like novels. Certainly, report-writing didn't prepare me for novel-writing and story-writing didn't prepare me for report-writing. They're nothing alike.

A novel is an emotional journey. It has characters that undergo conflict and transformation. A typical scientific report has some context, an objective, some assumptions, an approach, some results, some conclusions, and some proposed next steps. There may be no conflict at all, there usually isn't a character and there are seldom any emotions. I can't swear that you don't read it like you do a novel, but I can swear that I don't, and I certainly don't conceive it or write it like one.
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When you observe something you need to convert each observation into language before you can even begin to grasp it with your mind. Do you see the problem?
There is no problem. Many people have reactions that can be measured in tenths of a second; many people can solve familiar problems in about the same time. But articulating sentences, even in one's mind, can take well over half a second. Conclusion: our decision-making is sometimes faster than speech. Just because we have speech and emotion associated with our decisions does not mean that either need cause our decisions.
Quote:
And then you've got the thing that we're emotional rather than rational beings.
I believe that you are. I believe you've decided that everyone else is. But perhaps not everyone thinks like you on every task?

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Old 03-17-2010, 03:22 PM   #408
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Originally Posted by Ruv Draba View Post
No, we're trained to execute similar processes. These produce the same number, which we both agree (because it's so unwaveringly consistent) must be the number of ducks.

Our minds can 'see' a number of ducks up to a certain number (it depends on how they're arranged, but we might instantly recognise some number of haphazardly-arranged ducks between say three and ten; some savants can recognise many more like the character of Raymond in Rain Man). But after some instantly-recognisable number, we have to execute process to count them.

One of the interesting things about number, Di, is that it's culturally-independent. Our representation of number isn't, but the idea and quantity of number is. Regardless of language, number has developed independently across virtually every culture on earth. A few groups only count up to a certain number and stop, but across those numbers everyone agrees. It's remarkable that we can barter without even a language in common.

So, no, we're not all trained to see five ducks. The only people who disagree about five ducks are those who can't execute a reliable counting-process or refuse to do so.
People taking hallucigens might, for example, see an infinite number of ducks (trust me on this one ). They have chemically altered their brains to perceive reality in a different manner, or perhaps to perceive a different reality.

No one has to tell me the power of numbers. But the mystical equation remains:

0 = 1 = infinity

There are secrets in numbers as well.

In my mind, the universe is God, the self expression of the cosmic awareness, and everything is a part of that.

Honestly, I'm not really sure why I still am coming to this thread. You won't convince me, and I won't convince you. I admit the possibility of error, bias, and coincidence for the magickal in the world. You won't waver from your objectivism. Which, of course, is fine. If you're happy being sure of everything in the universe, I applaud your intelligence and insight, however, I feel that you might just be missing something. And, I hope that's fine too.

My best to all.

It's been fun, it's been real, it's been real fun. Terrific thread. Lot's of great stuff in here. Thanks!
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Old 03-17-2010, 04:16 PM   #409
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Originally Posted by Ruv Draba View Post
No, because prior to counting ducks, we agree on what is the standard for recognising a duck. So whatever a duck might signify to us at other times, what we count is just what conforms to the standard. So we get a situation where we agree precisely on what the word 'duck' represents in our shared world. If in addition we wish to imbue it with personal associations, we can and it won't stop us counting them. But if we don't -- if it's just a duck to us -- that's fine too.
I think you're doing it way too easy for yourself. I very strongly doubt agreeing on standards is even possible. It's not like we have any control over our sub-conscious. We can agree with our conscious mind but at the same time disagree with our subconscious, and insert all kinds of crap and interpretations that do not belong, right? How could you possibly know you're not doing this?
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Old 03-17-2010, 04:33 PM   #410
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I very strongly doubt agreeing on standards is even possible.
It's done routinely in the sciences (e.g. in biological classification), government and industry (e.g. chemical standards, food standards, pharmaceutical standards, engineering standards, survey standards, geological standards, meteorological standards, standards of weights and measures).

I'm happy to explain how it happens if you want, but it's commonplace.

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We can agree with our conscious mind but at the same time disagree with our subconscious, and insert all kinds of crap and interpretations that do not belong, right? How could you possibly know you're not doing this?
In industry, people who agree to standards also agree to a process of independent audit that confirms the standards have been adhered to. They are required to document each step in a way that lets auditors check what they did. (That's part of my job actually: to help organisations set standards, and to apply assurance for standards that have been adopted.)

Auditors are trained to check meticulously, to spot errors, they're rewarded for finding them and punished for overlooking them or crying wolf. A similar thing happens in the scientific peer review process.

We can't always trust our own application of standards, and we can't trust friends to check for us, but a system where an adversary checks on us is very effective.

By contrast though, many mystics, religious types and idealists in general tend to hate the idea of an adversary reining them in. They surround themselves instead with people who only agree with them, who share the same biases, who've invested in friendships and mutual support-groups, and gurus who make their living from propagating an unchallenged delusion. Then they're shocked to find that the outside world considers their evidence biased and their methods sloppy. But in fact such methods are sloppy -- even if the parties are (as is often the case) well-intended and sincere.

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Old 03-17-2010, 04:58 PM   #411
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Originally Posted by Ruv Draba View Post
It's done routinely in the sciences (e.g. in biological classification), government and industry (e.g. chemical standards, food standards, pharmaceutical standards, engineering standards, survey standards, geological standards, meteorological standards, standards of weights and measures).

I'm happy to explain how it happens if you want, but it's commonplace.
Did you just try to change the subject, as if I wouldn't notice? You've got balls, I'll give you that

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In industry, people who agree to standards also agree to a process of independent audit that confirms the standards have been adhered to. They are required to document each step in a way that lets auditors check what they did. (That's part of my job actually: to help organisations set standards, and to apply assurance for standards that have been adopted.)

Auditors are trained to check meticulously, to spot errors, they're rewarded for finding them and punished for overlooking them or crying wolf. A similar thing happens in the scientific peer review process.

We can't always trust our own application of standards, and we can't trust friends to check for us, but a system where an adversary checks on us is very effective.

By contrast though, many mystics, religious types and idealists in general tend to hate the idea of an adversary reining them in. They surround themselves instead with people who only agree with them, who share the same biases, who've invested in friendships and mutual support-groups, and gurus who make their living from propagating an unchallenged delusion. Then they're shocked to find that the outside world considers their evidence biased and their methods sloppy. But in fact such methods are sloppy -- even if the parties are (as is often the case) well-intended and sincere.
I agree there is a degree in quality between knowledge gathered from using scientific methodology that follows academic standards. But from there you are taking a giant leap and claim that humans have access to any objective knowledge or objective truth. This is what you have left to explain.

If you drop two ice-cream cones on the ground, the one with less dirt on it isn't the perfect ice-cream cone devoid of any flaws or dirt. That is the kind of logic conclusion you are making. You do see this don't you?
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Old 03-17-2010, 05:01 PM   #412
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People taking hallucigens might, for example, see an infinite number of ducks (trust me on this one ). They have chemically altered their brains to perceive reality in a different manner, or perhaps to perceive a different reality.
Let's agree that the counting process precludes the taking of hallucinogens, or poking out one's eyes with a stick or people who can't remember the order of numbers, or who have an abject terror of ducks, or indeed anything that anyone thinks beforehand is likely to mess with the consistent execution of the process.

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I feel that you might just be missing something.
I can enjoy fantasy without the need to turn myself into a fantasy character, so I don't feel that I'm missing anything important. Indeed, if I did choose to flatter myself by turning my life-story into a fantasy epic, I feel that I'd lose a great deal of my understanding and appreciation of the world around me, and I think that others would consequently (and perhaps quite rightly) trust me less.

Is it perhaps yourself who is avoiding something? From the article of paranormal researcher Susan Blackmore, helpfully first introduced by BenBradley, in which she describes a quarter-century of testing paranormal practitioners, and constantly showing them the failures of their own claims:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Susan Blackmore, Why I Have Given Up
In all these cases the people involved stuck to their own familiar paradigms - and here the much over-used word ‘paradigm’ is quite apposite (Kuhn, 1962). When the results were not as they expected they did not consider the possibility that their whole paradigm was false, but instead preferred to patch it up with ad hoc explanations for every failure.
I agree with you though; it is interesting. Thank you for your contributions, Diana.
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Old 03-17-2010, 05:11 PM   #413
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Since you're warmed up to Susan Blackmore, Ruv I thought I'd mention her "Conscoiusness, Very short introduction". She spells out pretty much what I've said:

http://www.amazon.com/Consciousness-...8829541&sr=8-2

I recommend it. It's excellent.
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Old 03-17-2010, 05:21 PM   #414
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Did you just try to change the subject, as if I wouldn't notice?
Not at all. You expressed doubt that standards could possibly work... as I understood it you felt that subconscious gremlins would inevitably sneak self-interested errors in. I perceived that you didn't know much about standards, and tried to show you how they work, and how pervasive they are.

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I agree there is a degree in quality between knowledge gathered from using scientific methodology that follows academic standards. But from there you are taking a giant leap and claim that humans have access to any objective knowledge or objective truth. This is what you have left to explain.
What do you imagine scientific standards are based on? Why are they so reliable? They're reliable because scientists work very hard to remove sources of conscious and unconscious bias from their observations. The consequence is that as long as experimental designs are properly reviewed, they yield information independent of the beliefs of the observer. I call that objective information, and to the extent that objectively-observed facts are truth (and if they're not truth then it's hard to imagine what is), I'm happy if we call them objective truth.

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Old 03-17-2010, 06:02 PM   #415
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Not at all. You expressed doubt that standards could possibly work... as I understood it you felt that subconscious gremlins would inevitably sneak self-interested errors in. I perceived that you didn't know much about standards, and tried to show you how they work, and how pervasive they are.

What do you imagine scientific standards are based on? Why are they so reliable? They're reliable because scientists work very hard to remove sources of conscious and unconscious bias from their observations. The consequence is that as long as experimental designs are property reviewed, they yield information independent of the beliefs of the observer. I call that objective information, and to the extent that objectively-observed facts are truth (and if they're not truth then it's hard to imagine what is), I'm happy if we call them objective truth.
If I didn't let you get away with changing the subject last post it's hardly going to work in this one is it? If you won't answer my questions then I'm out.
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Old 03-17-2010, 07:19 PM   #416
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If I didn't let you get away with changing the subject last post it's hardly going to work in this one is it? If you won't answer my questions then I'm out.
Dr Z, I believe that I have answered your questions fully and faithfully in every case. I don't undertstand your recent accusations, or why they're occurring now. Perhaps you need to define some terms you're using so I can more clearly see what you intend?

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Old 03-17-2010, 09:37 PM   #417
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Dr Z, I believe that I have answered your questions fully and faithfully in every case. I don't undertstand your recent accusations, or why they're occurring now. Perhaps you need to define some terms you're using so I can more clearly see what you intend?
Ok, I'll make it as succinct as I possibly can.

How is objective knowledge possible for humans?

So far each time I've brought it up you've changed the subject, and acted as if I have been asking about scientific methodology. This is a hell of a lot deeper than that, and rests on limits of human perception.
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Old 03-17-2010, 10:15 PM   #418
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How is objective knowledge possible for humans?
A good question. And, of course, a very, very old one -- predating science by quite a stretch of time.
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Old 03-17-2010, 10:30 PM   #419
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Ok, I'll make it as succinct as I possibly can.

How is objective knowledge possible for humans?

So far each time I've brought it up you've changed the subject, and acted as if I have been asking about scientific methodology.
That's the point. Scientific methodology is the most reliable way to get objective knowledge.
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This is a hell of a lot deeper than that, and rests on limits of human perception.
How do you propose measuring the limits of human perception?
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Old 03-17-2010, 10:42 PM   #420
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One might get into a philosophical argument of whether objective knowledge is possible, but I know how to count ducks, and Ruv does too, and I bet a lot of others in this thread do too who might even claim otherwise.

We know how many people there are to feed, how many ducks a person eats per week to be reasonably well-fed, and using this magic thing called arithmetic we can figure out how many ducks we need for a meal. I'm even willing to include people who don't know how to count.

One might prove that objective knowledge is impossible, but we can sure get close enough to know how many ducks there are and whether we can feed everyone (presuming the drinking water isn't laced with something mind-altering).

I'm reminded of the mathematician and the engineer. They both approached a woman asymptotically. The mathematician never touched her. The engineer got close enough for all practical purposes.
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Old 03-17-2010, 10:45 PM   #421
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I'm reminded of the mathematician and the engineer. They both approached a woman asymptotically. The mathematician never touched her. The engineer got close enough for all practical purposes.
I'm reminded of the chestnut about economists, but applicable in other situations: "Sure, it works in practice. But does it work in Theory?"
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Old 03-17-2010, 11:07 PM   #422
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That's the point. Scientific methodology is the most reliable way to get objective knowledge.
I didn't know there was any way to get objective knowledge? Let alone a more or less reliable way. Objective knowledge is by its nature perfect and flawless, ie axiomatic. Whatever method we use must be 100% reliable. The error tolerance must be 0%. If there is even the slightest chance that our knowledge is not perfect, then it isn't objective knowledge, but ordinary old sordid house-hold subjective knowledge.

Subjective knowledge on the other hand can be more or less reliable.

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How do you propose measuring the limits of human perception?
That's just it isn't it? We know that human perception is fallible. There's no shortage of known human perception biases and flaws. We can compensate for those we know, and those that are predictable. But what about those we don't know? The brain is complicated and we haven't worked out yet how it's choice algorithms work. Ignorance is a double handicap. If we knew what it was we don't know about human perception we might perhaps be able to compensate for it. But as long as psychology continues to produce unrepeatable results, I'm afraid measuring the limits of human perception will be problematic. That doesn't mean we shouldn't try, but I think we're stuck with a subjective understanding of the world, and can only do our best to keep the variance to a minimum. That's why science is so good. But to say that it gives us objective knowledge, is overselling it a wee bit, isn't it?

The project to agree on axioms of knowledge, ie objective knowledge is called Neo-Positivism. It's pretty much a dead project today. It ran out of steam sometime in the 1930'ies. There has become somewhat of a revival within theoretical mathematics, and it remains to be seen if they can get some results this time around. But I wouldn't crown them winners just yet.
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Old 03-17-2010, 11:10 PM   #423
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So, Perfect Objectivity is God? Perfect Science is God?

Hmmm?

What? I'm back in this damned thread?
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Old 03-17-2010, 11:25 PM   #424
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That's the point. Scientific methodology is the most reliable way to get objective knowledge.
No, that's the trick here that some of my dear colleages are missing:

Scientific methodology is the most reliable way to get objective knowledge that can be gotten by scienctific method. That does not preclude other types of knowledge or their value.

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How do you propose measuring the limits of human perception?
I don't believe in limits to human perception, theoretically, of course.
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Old 03-17-2010, 11:28 PM   #425
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No, that's the trick here that some of my dear colleages are missing:

Scientific methodology is the most reliable way to get objective knowledge that can be gotten by scienctific method. That does not preclude other types of knowledge or their value.



I don't believe in limits to human perception, theoretically, of course.
Which is why I am (or was for a couple of decades, anyway) a scientist and yet belong to a religious group that is, at base, a bunch of mystics. And I'm not, as far as I can tell, schizophrenic.
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