Category Archives: philosophy

The Fall, the Downward Spiral Continues…

You don’t hear about excitement for the United States and the future anymore. That was decades ago. It has been replaced by analysis of its decline, the end of an empire, predictions of doom and gloom. Countries like China stimulate discussion of growth and it’s rise of power, numerous postulations about it overtaking as the premiere superpower in decades to come resonate through geo-political discussions.

Of course, this is normal, it’s likely the United States has peaked. Just as Rome “sank into debauchery and dissipation as a result of great wealth and luxury”, we too see the effects of this. Crassness is certainly linked to debauchery in essence, however that is just the tip of the iceberg of a population filled with undisciplined slobs who forsake the effort to gain knowledge in favor of hedonistic pleasures. Thug culture is glamorized, science scorned, all institutions that uphold the sanctity of discipline, intellectualism, knowledge, health, human services and technological advancement are all no longer trusted.
Corporations feeding propaganda to people who promote fake science, people that don’t even partake in actual science are writing “scientific articles” that in effect only reinforce the money making machines of oil companies. Masses lap it up defying all past common sense and past instances of similar propaganda techniques administered by big oil previously, pushing for leaded gasoline as one example. Billionaires feeding lies to the people, to make more billions. This is what happens when the rich become too rich, the rich aren’t upholders of justice, truth, and light, and America has had its share of corporate and individual greed, ever growing, ever becoming more powerful to control and manipulate naive minds who are exploited.
The end is in sight, the decline of wisdom and virtue replaced by narcissism, confirmation bias and crassness. A major chunk of the nations values were built on belief and religion. This crumbling of the religious structure is itself not detrimental to a disciplined, thinking, wise people, however the era of discipline has come and gone. What values to replace it? How will they know where to look? When news, academia, science the institutions of knowledge aren’t trusted what will replace it? Corporate propaganda? Billionaire’s spamming social media with propagandistic trickery that feeds on the human nature of confirmation bias?
The culture has become corrosive, eroding into a competition to find out just how outrageous, grotesque and low we can go.
While we race to the bottom, there will be those of us who fight it tooth and nail. Join us. Resist.

Perception and Conceptualization

When we see something, we construct a conceptualization of what that thing is, which is compared and contrasted automatically to things like that thing, that we already know of. When we see a human, we conceptualize the human as perhaps, a man or a woman, depending on the traits that we are focusing on. Sometimes, depending on what we see, that may not be the first thing we can conceptualize and it remains in more of a status that isn’t necessarily what we can consider to be a good conceptualization, or a good probability that the person is a man or a woman. Of course this day and age, we can’t really know if anyone is a man or a woman, but that can be a different subject. When we see a face, we note the things that we have already attributed to being that of a face, is there eyes, eyebrows, nose, lips, the face, those are perceived rather easily. It is rather striking, when one of these things are missing, because that is not the norm. However, missing an eye, missing a nose, doesn’t disqualify us from considering that face to be human. But what if this person is missing both their eyes, their mouth and their nose? Then what? Of course, we would probably have never seen anybody quite like this before. We may think they aren’t a human, perhaps they are an alien. Perhaps, they are a mannequin with no face. Do we consider this to be the same for a person who is missing a nose and an eye? Perhaps not, accidents and birth defects do happen. But I’m not sure if a person is able to live long without a face. That type of birth defect may not be acceptable or conducive to life, if there is one. I’m not sure if there is one like that, of course this is a hypothetical. I would think some of you may be googling that right now, already have, or will be.

It seems that there may be unknown qualifications that we require to consider our perception to be the same as a concept that we already are aware of.

A tree, is a tree, based on certain qualifications that we know of as a tree. Interestingly, a pine tree is very different from a maple tree. However, there still are striking similarities. Yet of course, these words and classification of this pine tree and a maple tree does have has some legitimate ontological basis for both to be considered a tree. But how about bamboo? This is very different from other trees. It is considered a type of grass in wikipedia, but it is also very different from other types of grass as well. So there is some debate on whether bamboo is a tree or a grass. But really, it doesn’t matter to much as to what it is. Neither does a pine tree being labeled a tree matter to what it is. It does only make it easier to communicate such things. Look at that tree! Well, if its a pine tree, we will know what they are referring to. But what if we never saw a pine tree? We can deduce the other person is probably referring to that tree looking thing with these large weird needles all over it, instead of leaves. That’s a tree, we might think? This process of identifying things and concepts is very much tied into our language. Our language is very much a social construct and can even be considered a social contract, if you will. Language ties in to how we perceive and conceptualize things, because through language, we form concepts that are attached to these symbols that we know as words. These symbols are attributed to real word concepts, both physical and abstract things. But these concepts and real world things, don’t always mesh. Sometimes they do, but often, there is a disconnect to the reality of the physical or abstract thing.

Without knowing how language and words, definitions can get it wrong, we will get our philosophy wrong as well. To question the definitions of words is to philosophize. Our language, being a social construct, is also a language that has formed, and informed our minds. “Think for yourself, question authority – Throughout human history, as our species has faced the frightening, terrorizing fact that we do not know who we are, or where we are going in this ocean of chaos, it has been the authorities — the political, the religious, the educational authorities — who attempted to comfort us by giving us order, rules, regulations, informing — forming in our minds — their view of reality. To think for yourself you must question authority and learn how to put yourself in a state of vulnerable open-mindedness. (A) chaotic, confused vulnerability to inform yourself.”

When one thinks for our self and questions the authority of words and languages, its usages, its common ways that people express meaning, we can possibly see how that meaning isn’t necessarily cogent to the ontology of the identity of a concept. Just what is an abstraction, what really exists, what is physical, what isn’t? What is a product of our mind and what is actually there?

What is a product of our culture and language and what is actually there?

Language has essentially forced upon us a conceptualization through linguistical standards that can cause something to come about such as a concept that doesn’t actually have any basis in reality, yet we use it as if it might. For example, a religious definition of “Free will”

I would say, people “know better” by now. By know better, I use colloquial rhetoric here. But know, and belief, are often of some sort of problematic nature in colloquial rhetoric, which I have attempted to note more thoroughly here: https://ruminationfactory.wordpress.com/…/knowing-is-not-b…/

Through questioning the ontological implications of language, we can go deeper philosophically and possibly overcome limitations from those that preceded us. Through perceptual conceptualization that is aware of the aforementioned pitfalls of language, one can perceive things in a new clearer light that may be untainted by the norms of our culture, our language, our authorities, and break free from all that may be wrong about how people think. Of course, not everything is wrong, but then again, not everything is right either. There are problems unsolved everywhere in philosophy, there are problems unsolved in science, in math, in perception, in cognition. Did Kant get everything right on synthetic and non synthetic a priori? We should not assume so much. I would argue against Kant and his description of math, as I already have elsewhere in the “think for yourself question authority thread”. To ascribe to the greats and utilize them in comparing what we actually think, as if they are weighted, might very well be considered bias. If we can think from a mind that attempts to gain independence as much as possible from the environment that we are born in, then perhaps we can perceive things in a new light, and maybe even a better light. Humanity has often herded, gone with what works. Sure things work, sure contextualization and words work, but we are not a perfect species. We have not perfected philosophy. We have not perfected our ontology. We are far from understanding the complexities of the mind, our perception processes and conceptualization process. Yes we have dug deeply into these fields, but there is always room for improvement.

Now, with conceptualization and perception being linked very much so with this social construct of language – how can we overcome the norms of our culture and go beyond? Shouldn’t we go beyond? If not a failed attempt, isn’t it worth it to try?

 

Compatibilism

As an agent who makes a choice on my own will, (unconscious thought processes however illusory they may be deemed), then the choice ought to be attributed to “me”. I am a vessel that causal determinism flows through, however I affect it. I am the unconscious biological processes that aren’t necessarily at the forefront of my consciousness. I change it. My choice is influenced by this flow of determinism, but ultimately the choice is mine. It is not the “choice” or direct causation of things that preceded me, that influenced my choice, that led to the effects of my choice. This is compatibilism, this attributes moral responsibility on us all for our actions. 

Just as when a ball falls into a pool of water, the ball is attributed with making the ripples. Perhaps the wind blew the ball into the pool, but the wind doesn’t get attributed with making the ripples. The wind couldn’t, the ripples are a product of the weight and form of the ball. The wind influenced the ball, the wind attributed to the force of the ball hitting the pool, at a certain angle at a certain speed. The pool itself and the condition it is in is also a factor of how it would be affected by the ball that was blown in by the wind, but the ball itself can be attributed with causation, just like us. 

Free will has been inappropriately deemed being able to act without the influence of deterministic cause and effect, somehow. An old magical definition it seems, that doesn’t make much sense, that isn’t needed. Free will was never completely free, we are confined to our capabilities in making choices. We are confined to our conscious and unconscious capabilities, what can we even perceive as options. We all have our different abilities, different knowledge of what we can and can’t do in certain situations. We are also confined to physics and the things around us in our choices. We can’t simply just have the will to fly up into the sky on our own will. We can “will” only what is possible, and free will is essentially being able to choose between different options. As conscious human beings, we have that ability. We have the power to choose between going outside, or not going outside. If one determines our choice to be a matter of fate because it is the culmination of all of our biological and environmental conditions that “forced” us to choose, well, that isn’t really appropriate considering we are “our biological conditions”. As such, we are making the choice.

Language, the key to everything

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The one thing that gets in the way time and time again of productive discussions in philosophy is misunderstanding and a lot of that misunderstanding I see due to different levels of understanding different word meanings. Language can be very confusing with words meaning different things when people don’t utilize them understanding there are different meanings. So while someone may use a word in a proper sense, they may not necessarily understand that there are different senses of that same word that can have an entirely different meaning, and both be logically correct in the context of the discussion. When that occurs, it is imperative the author differentiate to avoid confusion. On the other hand, there are instances of a word being conveyed that really only has one sense that it must have logically been referred to, otherwise in context the author doesn’t make sense. This burden, rests upon the reader in order to understand. While it can be nice for the author to mention the definition, that can get tedious.

This can lead us to a slippery slope of defining (state or describe exactly the nature, scope, or meaning of.) every (used to refer to all the individual members of a set without exception.
used before an amount to indicate something happening at specified intervals. (used for emphasis) all possible; the utmost.)) word ( a single distinct meaningful element of speech or writing, used with others (or sometimes alone) to form a sentence and typically shown with a space on either side when written or printed.) we state.

Philosophy requires in depth thinking and master of language in order to comprehend it due to the nature of philosophy that by nature, attempts to have us arrive to the deepest level of understanding that we can. Those who know the senses of words and have mastered the senses of words will understand that there are rules to play by, rules to communicate effectively and rules to understand information to communicate effectively. I have presented two of those reasons above, I hope the readers take the time to take that to heart so that they do understand. However taking it to heart is not merely enough. Understanding language is a matter of intelligence – in that it can be very difficult if you do not process information quickly. There are over a million words in the English language. Most adults use 20,000 – 35,000 words. Each one of those words typically has multiple senses in of itself. Remember, a word is just a symbol for the larger meaning of it, which definitions only hope to convey the meaning accurately. It can be very difficult to communicate effectively but in Philosophy is extremely important.

Meaning comes from within the conveyors mind, it is a construct of a person’s understanding of not only the concept a word is referring to but also the known definitions that people utilize to communicate. As such, there are problems found in both ways of providing meaning, not necessarily understanding the concept and not understanding the definition. Things can make sense in a person’s mind but don’t to others, usually due to a failure here in these two areas. Aside from that, even if both of these are gotten right, people don’t always think logically. As such, this isn’t a problem of communication if solely this occurs, but a problem of thinking in ones mind.

Words don’t mean things, people do

“Meaning” – as defined by Merriam Webster
1.
what is intended to be, or actually is, expressed or indicated; signification; import:
the three meanings of a word.
2.
the end, purpose, or significance of something:
What is the meaning of life? What is the meaning of this intrusion?
3.
Linguistics.
the nonlinguistic cultural correlate, reference, or denotation of a linguistic form; expression.

Now sense #1 is used colloquially when referring to “the meaning of words” or “what does that word mean?” But when I state, “Words don’t mean things, people do” I am referring to sense #3. Now this is somewhat ironic in how meaning of words and meaning of people and language can get very confusing and or muddled; words and communication are dynamic, in that there are many ways words can be used metaphorically, aside from all the different senses of a words. I would contest in certain words, it is nothing short of brilliant in able to utilize these certain words “in every sense of the word” and to mean every sense of the word. By stating “words don’t mean things, people do” as in people mean things – I am in a way, can be seen as being ambiguous or dubious in my communication. The receiver of the communication could easily not understand what I am stating – it could be that they don’t know about sense #3, which is often the case when I bring this statement up to say, Joe Schmoe. They might response, “words mean things, I can look up the meaning of words in the dictionary!”. But that would be Joe Schmoe using sense #1 strictly – in a sense that “meaning” is synonymous with having a definition. I don’t like the definition of sense #1 myself, it can create problems for our frame of reference on understanding what meaning I would say, should be. It is more meaningful to utilize meaning in sense #3, I would contend.

There are reasons why that is, a stating “words have definitions” is very straight forward as opposed to “words have meanings”. What does it really mean that “words have meanings”. It’s a rabbit hole in so much as it can mean quite a bit, and quite a bit more than one should be inundated with during communication. There are problems in language, because language is only a means to an end. That mean is conveying symbols (spoken or written) in a manner that hope to express the meaning of the communicator.

“Throughout human history, as our species has faced the frightening, terrorizing fact that we do not know who we are, or where we are going in this ocean of chaos, it has been the authorities — the political, the religious, the educational authorities — who attempted to comfort us by giving us order, rules, regulations, informing — forming in our minds — their view of reality. To think for yourself you must question authority and learn how to put yourself in a state of vulnerable open-mindedness, chaotic, confused vulnerability to inform yourself.” – Leary

This quote ties in that language, definitions, are constructed through and form a supposed ontology of how the world is, but this is done through other humans, popular usage so to speak. But that doesn’t mean it is right even, nor does it mean a words implications are actually real. I will leave it there to let some minds run wild, hopefully.

Think for yourself, Question Authority

“Think for yourself, question authority”

“Throughout human history, as our species has faced the frightening, terrorizing fact that we do not know who we are, or where we are going in this ocean of chaos. It has been the authorities, the political, the religious, the educational authorities who attempted to comfort us by giving us order, rules, regulations, informing, forming in our minds their view of reality. To think for yourself you must question authority and learn how to put yourself in a state of vulnerable, open-mindedness;” chaotic, confused, vulnerability to inform yourself”

There aren’t many people these days that don’t question authority. Authority is questioned every way til Sunday these days. But what that exposes is the masses questioning becomes nonsensical, comical, down right ridiculous at times. Perhaps the masses shouldn’t think for themselves. Perhaps they only question authority or at least pretend to question authority, because of this motto that now runs deep through American psyche, at least in action. The government is the least trusted institution since sliced bread. Of course, sliced bread lost all trustworthiness when we realized that .. uh, wait that’s the acid kicking in.

Ok of course they questioning authority is very popular. It wasn’t really always that way, back in good ole USA it seemed the government for the most part was doing the right thing by us and whatever the president said, well, the president said. He’s our leader, we must obey him. Wasn’t that the sentiment in the early 20th century and a little beyond?

The question now is, do the masses have the ability to think for themselves? Even when “authority” – at least the authority of thinking for themselves, questioning authority has spread like fad through the population… Now everyone’s opinion is heard on the internet.. And they still herd up in sheep like flocks. So can this population that is diseased with confirmation bias actually think for themselves? No of course not… even their contrarian viewpoints are now herded up on production lines and spewed out to them by infotainment news sources. Conspiracy theories thrive these days. A population educated on ignorance and assumptions, is what we have.

 

“When you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is and you’re life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family, have fun, save a little money. 
That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again. ”

-Steve Jobs

Which is a quote to live by. Even if you’re wrong or not smart enough. People and their systems and categorizations are flawed and or very subjective, or very easily improved upon, for one. People’s philosophies are flawed. Nobody spouted off a perfect philosophy and the more you spout off the more errors, and inaccuracies that will occur. But that doesn’t stop people like Kant, or anyone. It shouldn’t stop anyone. Unless they’re afraid of being perceived to be wrong, well, so what? That doesn’t matter, as long as you get things right along the way. Or perhaps you were right, and just misunderstood. Or perhaps you were wrong – but got more important things right. It’s just the way it is, there can always be improvement. There always should be improvement. 

In the field of philosophy there is much room for improvement. Always was. It continues constantly. There’s disagreements constantly. There’s different view points constantly. Authorities in philosophy are not people, its reason and logic.  Philosophy isn’t a science, but it led to science.  Where it didn’t lead to science, it tries to answer questions where we can only provide the most reasonable answer. Things are thought constantly that might be new, or different. There’s philosophers now writing things that don’t get much attention, because it can take time for people to get around to them, to appreciate them. I really think a mindset that wants to just bow down to the presumed authorities as probably right because they’re the authorities, as a slavish mentality.

 

“…. for American philosophers by and large see themselves, accurately enough, as cultivating one academic specialty in contrast to others–as technicians working in the realm of ideas. This means that they generally write for an audience of their fellow academics and have little interest in (or prospect of) addressing a wider public of intelligent readers. (This is another significant difference between the philosophical situation in North America and in continental Europe. American philosophy is oriented to academia and academics. By contrast, European–and especially French–philosophy is oriented to the wider culture-complex of an intelligent readership through its concern with currently controverted issues.) Moreover, “political correctness,” which has become a point of controversy on various American campuses, has made comparatively little impact among philosophers–in contrast to practitioners of such fields as legal or literary theory. Outside of rather limited circles, philosophers in America are still expected to give reasons for their contentions, rather than to paint those who dissent with the brush of fashionably attuned disapproval–let alone to resort to name calling. The high degree of its technical professionalism has tended to countervail the politicization of the field. 

The prominence of specialization gives a more professional and technical cast to contemporary American philosophizing in comparison to that of other times and places. It endows the enterprise with something of that can-do spirit that one encounters in other aspects of American life. There is something of a confidence in the power of technique to resolve the problems of the field. In this respect American philosophizing has little use for a pessimism that contents itself with a melancholic resignation to human inadequacies. Confined to the precints of higher education, contemporary American philosophy cannot easily afford sending messages that the young are not prepared to hear. 

All the same, its increasing specialization has impelled philosophy toward the ivory tower. The most recent years have accordingly seen something of a fall from grace of philosophy in American culture–not that there was ever all that much grace to fall from. For many years, the Encyclopedia Britannica published an annual supplement entitled the Book of the Year, dealing with the events of the year under such rubrics as world politics, health, music, and so forth. Until the 1977 volume’s coverage of the preceding year’s developments, a section of philosophy was always included in this annual series. Thereafter, however, philosophy vanished–without so much as a word of explanation. The year of America’s bicentennial seemingly saw the disappearance of philosophy from the domain of things that interest Americans. At approximately the same time, Who’s Who in America drastically curtailed its coverage of philosophers and academics generally. During this same time period, various vehicles of public opinion–ranging from Time to The New York Times–voiced laments over the irrelevance of contemporary philosophy to the problems of the human condition, and the narcissistic absorption of philosophers in logical and linguistic technicalities that render the discipline irrelevant to the problems and interests of nonspecialists.(21) It is remarkable that this outburst indicating popular alienation from philosophy’s ivory tower came at just the time when philosophers in the United States were beginning to turn with relish to the problems on the agenda of public policy and personal concern. The flowering of applied ethics (medical ethics, business ethics, environmental ethics, and the like), of virtue ethics (trust, hope, neighborliness, and so forth), of social ethics (distributive justice, privacy, individual rights, and so forth), and of such philosophical hyphenations as philosophy-and-society–and even philosophy-and-agriculture–can also be dated from just this period. By one of those ironies not uncommon in the pages of history, philosophy returned to the issues of the day at almost the very moment when the wider public gave up thinking of the discipline as relevant to its concerns. ”

http://www.thefreelibrary.com/American+ … a013252679

Now enjoy some mildly related music

 

 

 

On the Theory of Knowledge

In Plato’s Theaetetus, knowledge is described as as “Justified true belief”.  However, would that in turn mean that belief is not justified and possibly not true?  I contest that knowledge is not belief, that belief is not knowledge.  There is a current academic general consensus that knowledge is a subset of belief, in that both describe the mind thinking something is true.  I contest that the way the mind thinks something is true is differently, as such there is a lack of clarity by categorizing it this way.  The mind processes knowledge differently than thinking something is true.  The mind doesn’t just accept knowledge as being true, it understands it.  This is key to the nature of belief and knowledge and why after centuries of referencing JTB, it is time to drop Justified true belief altogether.  It may not be justified, it may not be belief, nor may it not be true as well, another issue that is currently controversial in the field of epistemology.

“Seeing is believing”, a common phrase most of us have probably heard.  But if you understand that perception is flawed, seeing may not be believing for all.  At times, seeing may be knowing, through certain justifications.   As someone who has seen many things that weren’t real, I disagree that seeing is believing or that some simple generalization of knowledge and belief should occur. Nor do I agree that knowing is a belief.  Our minds cannot necessarily verify what is true from our subjective perception.  The dilemma of virtual reality being a logical possibility can essentially overthrow our entire understanding of information and what “is”. Conceptual truths, are easier to be obtained through knowledge, such as math.  But physical?  We have other possibilities that knowledge, human knowledge, cannot overcome.  We do not have that objective all seeing point of view as a god may have, but we do have a justified way of understanding things to a degree sufficient for knowledge, and is safe to be considered “truth” for the most part.

Getting back to belief I contest that knowledge is not justified true belief, but as wiki states:

Knowledge is a familiarity, awareness or understanding of someone or something, such as facts, information, descriptions, or skills, which is acquired through experience or education by perceiving, discovering, or learning. Knowledge can refer to a theoretical or practical understanding of a subject. It can be implicit (as with practical skill or expertise) or explicit (as with the theoretical understanding of a subject); it can be more or less formal or systematic. In philosophy, the study of knowledge is called epistemology; the philosopher Theaetetus famously defined knowledge as “justified true belief“, though “well-justified true belief” is more complete as it accounts for the Gettier problems.

 

Please note this definition has no requirement to be “believed” as is orthodoxy in the field of epistemology, also please note there is no requirement of knowledge to be “truth” as is orthodoxy.  Knowledge has commonly been rendered as justified true belief in most corners of epistemology, or have seriously considered or implemented it in their model of understanding human nature.

Bertrand Russell explains “Knowledge is incompatible with accidentally true belief. That is to say, if an agent S is lucky that her belief P is true, S does not know P. This feature of knowledge was made explicit by Bertrand Russell (1948: 170) and, more famously, by Edmund Gettier (1963) who demonstrated that a justified true belief (JTB) is insufficient for knowledge.”

http://www.iep.utm.edu/safety-c/

Both Russell and Gettier fall short of stating knowledge is incompatible, or “true belief” as well.

I contest that belief is never justified.  I contest that belief is not a step towards knowledge.  I contest that understanding, logic and reason is the prerequisite for knowledge.  Once that is obtained, a state of knowing “becomes”. I don’t agree that it is a state of “believing”.    While knowing and believing in the mind may be of the same”feeling” that something is true, I do not think conflation of belief and knowledge is acceptable for these concepts, nor do I find it comprehensible to think that it is acceptable upon deeper analysis.

This is not just of a epistemological concern, but also a linguistical concern.

Webster defines belief as:

be·lieved be·liev·ing

  1. intransitive verb
  2. 1a:  to have a firm religious faith b:  to accept something as true, genuine, or real <ideals we believe in><believes in ghosts>

  3. 2:  to have a firm conviction as to the goodness, efficacy, or ability of something <believe in exercise>

  4. 3:  to hold an opinion :think<I believe so>

  5. transitive verb
  6. 1a:  to consider to be true or honest <believe the reports><you wouldn’t believe how long it took>b:  to accept the word or evidence of <I believe you><couldn’t believe my ears>

  7. 2:  to hold as an opinion :suppose<I believe it will rain soon>

With that, there is great acceptance that all knowledge is also believed.  Because both knowledge and belief  is “accepted as true” as noted in definition 2. 1b

However, why does that mean that knowledge is also belief?  Knowledge is accepted as true, for good reason.  Knowledge is not merely accepted it as true, it is understood.  If someone asked, “Do you know, or do you believe that 1+1=2”, the answer for most should be know.  If someone merely believes that 1+1=2, then they imply that they don’t have understanding of how 1+=1=2.  If one says, I know and believe 1+1=2, why would you bother to state you believe?  Doesn’t having understanding and knowledge that 1+1=2 disqualify it from being merely accepted as true?  Accepting something as true implies an assumption. You don’t understand that it is true.  Now if you understand something is true, is it merely accepted?  I contest that anyone can accept anything, just as anyone can believe anything. The fact that acceptance occurs does not justify us to conflate knowledge as beliefs, for good reason that I will present towards the end of this thesis.

 

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy states the following on belief:

“Contemporary analytic philosophers of mind generally use the term “belief” to refer to the attitude we have, roughly, whenever we take something to be the case or regard it as true. To believe something, in this sense, needn’t involve actively reflecting on it: Of the vast number of things ordinary adults believe, only a few can be at the fore of the mind at any single time. Nor does the term “belief”, in standard philosophical usage, imply any uncertainty or any extended reflection about the matter in question (as it sometimes does in ordinary English usage). Many of the things we believe, in the relevant sense, are quite mundane: that we have heads, that it’s the 21st century, that a coffee mug is on the desk. Forming beliefs is thus one of the most basic and important features of the mind, and the concept of belief plays a crucial role in both philosophy of mind and epistemology. The “mind-body problem”, for example, so central to philosophy of mind, is in part the question of whether and how a purely physical organism can have beliefs. Much of epistemology revolves around questions about when and how our beliefs are justified or qualify as knowledge.”

Please note specifically, “many of the things we believe, in the relevant sense are quite mundane: that we have heads…”Also please note “Contemporary analytic philosophers of mind generally use the term “belief” to refer to the attitude we have, roughly, whenever we take something to be the case or regard it as true.”

Attitude can simply be described as, the way we think or feel about something.  I  contest that the way we think or feel can vary from individual to individual.  I am under no requirement to think and feel like anyone else, nor are you.  While generally there are a lot of similarities in the way people think and feel – there is also the inability to actually experience the way another thinks and feels.  Love, may be perceived differently from every single person to the next, same as any perception of colors.  This subjective experience is part of what makes us human; we only attempt to relate to each other by sharing language that describes the similarities we think and feel.  But that does not mean they are the same. A state of knowing however, is not reliant upon “attitude”. The requirement to be in a state of knowing is having knowledge, and knowledge is justified.  It is understood through reason and logic.   Belief is not understood, it is merely an “attitude” of accepting something as true.

How do you distinguish that. There is belief, possible belief? Knowledge, possible knowledge in people. People seem to be very confused as to what they think they know, what they think they believe, and what they actually know and what they actually believe.

I blame poor philosophy on the matter to some extent and an ivory tower dilemma of sorts. People aren’t taught a very coherent understanding of knowledge, in so much as facts are well “believed”, in orthodoxy of epistemological philospohy, yet knowledge is also true in orthodoxy of epistemological philosophy if one considers that knowledge is acceptance of something being true, as is a belief. They know there’s a difference between knowledge and belief and epistemology muddles it through a confusing fashion that doesn’t really get to the core of how we think in ways I already mentioned, in that knowledge is not acceptance but understanding of something as true. So things get muddied between belief and knowledge. Does it mean anything really at times, when we know beliefs are very different from knowledge, but then anyone can just say all knowledge and science is just belief and argue down to some justification of why knowledge isn’t really justified.

But I contest that knowledge is known and understood because of the attitude of knowledge being very different from the attitude of belief. Knowledge isn’t acceptance of something as true, it is much more than that. So Theaetetus has a reasonable sentiment that knowledge is justified true belief and we have come a long way since then and realize that is not true, that justification is very much so problematic in epistemology as a whole and that a concise clear philosophy of epistemology is lacking, a lot due to elitism that has built upon itself in a muddy way for the masses.

Many of my opposition in academia will say its not muddy because they may understand it perfectly, and I would agree they do based on their subjective definition of belief being something accepted to be true as knowledge is, but they miss the mark here as previously contested.  As well as that, there we are with the masses of people saying knowledge is belief or that belief is knowledge and truth is neither, or truth is knowledge or that belief. All of this disagreement I suspect has its roots in inept academic elitism that compounds confusion through lack of clarity and brevity, so the people are not guided on how to think properly because it can’t be really explained in a coherent manner to many people. Something like Theaetetus could easily relate to the masses. But academic epistemology has lacked in defining anything as coherent as that in so much as the broader stroke. It also doesn’t focus on the more important aspects of how knowledge isn’t so much of a belief as has been conveyed, or a belief at all- it instead focuses on how knowledge is a belief and builds off that, because, well, Theaetetus said so. So how epistemology defines knowledge differs from how I presented the definition of knowledge. People see things as knowledge, then are disproven. People see things as belief and think its knowledge. Who are they to turn to, people that think knowledge is a belief for understanding?  There is a better way and a more intelligent way and I contest it can come down to providing a different epistemological framework that discards JTB, discards truth as a requirement for knowledge and puts belief in some reptilian inept form of stupidity that it should be. Also lay it out in a very clear manner that doesn’t consist of overlapping of knowledge, belief, truth and opinion as it currently is in the field, all finding ways to find similarities just because they have already all been deemed similar with JTB, which doesn’t do us any good in parsing our own thoughts I contest.

I see it as simply easiest to think that:

Belief is not knowledge, anything can believe anything they want without any justification whatsoever. Anything can be believed to be true.

Knowledge is not belief, proper justification, reason and logic is required, it a state of understanding, comprehension. Most of it is likely truth, however our subjective experience cannot allow us to say all knowledge is truth.

Doubt is not a belief, but a state of uncertainty, neither belief or knowledge.

Opinion is not a belief, but an extension of our values.

Clear, concise, not muddied, proper justification of  what is knowledge, belief, opinion and truth for this theory will have to follow.  Of course, this must be logical and reasonable to create such a schism between belief, knowledge and truth as I propose, but I see viability and have yet to see an impossibility to prevent this from occurring.

So, knowledge as belief,  in the manner orthodoxy in academia is a misconception due to not separating what we already know, the mind in how it handles knowledge and belief.  I suspect this has often been overlooked by many contemporary analytic philosophers because they do realize the mind handles belief and knowledge differently, yet we consider it a subset nonetheless.  We know we have been wrong about knowledge as well, so in hindsight classify it as belief, but that knowledge was justified, reasonable, and had its place as knowledge at the time.  This confuses the population as well as doesn’t score a direct hit on the state of mind processing knowledge, if such a state of mind is able to be identified even.

 

There may be some relevance of how this has occurred and how knowledge is also a belief in the psyche of the general population, that being that we are all under cultural and very greatly, religious subjugation the past 2,000 years.  In turn, there is good cause to consider there is linguistic subjugation.  For example “Oh my god”, is not a literal call out to god, it is an exclamation of awe or disbelief, so to speak.

 

A great deal of our population has the belief that beliefs are sacred.  “We shouldn’t make fun of other people’s beliefs” you might hear.  Yet, if an unpopular belief rises to the mainstream, these same people might be making fun of it.  People who believe in aliens, who believe 9/11 was an inside job, who believe in all sorts of conspiracy theories, or that aliens exist, get ridiculed incessantly, or that there are multiple gods.  The problem is, when it comes to a belief in a widely accepted God, it’s sacred.  No you can’t make fun of that.  This is when the rules apply.  I contest, criticism of beliefs is exactly what is needed. I see the possibility that the very nature of the concept of knowledge and belief may be conflated due to the sanctity of beliefs the past 2,000 years in the English Language.

 

When a believer is confronted with criticism, they will begin to shift their belief as knowledge.  Suddenly, as a defense mechanism, they “know” that god exists.  It’s no longer a claim that it is believed.  Well that’s when things get hairy and cognitive dissonance kicks in.  They begin willfully thinking that they believe God exists and know God exists at the same time.  This causes them great discomfort and while engaging in a discussion about this, you will see their emotional pain rise out of this, they will get upset, they begin to feel attacked.  These are all defense mechanisms for an ultimately inept way of thinking, conflating beliefs as knowledge.

1. Knowledge is not a belief

2. Beliefs are not knowledge

3. Religion, faith, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Greek Mythology, Jainism, Taosim, are beliefs, not knowledge.

4. I can believe anything I want, just because massive quantities of people believe the same thing, doesn’t give it anymore credibility, logically.  Yet people, not consciously, think it’s ok, I suspect.  I did, in the past at least.  This essentially, is a myopic thought process, which reeks of a logical fallacy known as“Argumentum ad Populum”:

Beliefs are in many ways not a good thing to have.  Faith on the other hand, is a lot like hope, we have faith that we will do good on a test, etc.  Faith, I would say, is a good thing to have, but lets not conflate it with a belief as well.  Belief’s in the context I am referring to, are thinking that something(s) are true, without knowing that they are true.  I content that there is nothing good that can come of this.  If you are right about your belief, you are lucky.  But why act before knowing?  Why believe you know, before you actually know? Take into account all things before hand.  Yes, probability is a factor, but know that you do not know and proceed accordingly.  Knowing that you do not know is half the battle many times.  It will not cause a need for defense mechanisms, or coping with what you thought was true, turns out to be wrong.

This is how belief’s ought to be criticized, to either solidify them, or knock them down.  If a belief can withstand criticism, then perhaps we will find merit in it.  If not, we will find nonsense, pain, and anguish, that come about as a result of defense mechanisms.  Beliefs are not sacred, anyone who things that is an enemy of rational thinking. an enemy of truth.  People believe all sorts of crazy things, yet we should  question them, criticize them, in a way that doesn’t hurt their ego, necessarily, however difficult that may be, but in a way that helps people think, to help them understand.  When it comes to anything, don’t believe, just know that you do not know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why don’t you appreciate Philosophy?

Philosophy is the root of all knowledge. The scientific method in itself is a philosophy. For most every subject of academia, the nth degree”  is a PhD. A PhD is a Doctorate in philosophy of _____ (insert subject). So if you have a Doctorate, or PhD in Math, you are a doctor of the philosophy of math, essentially.  Complete comprehension and demonstration of comprehension of the subject.  Without philosophy, every subject is aimless, useless. They may not have even arisen. Philosophy encompasses and controls every single subject matter in academia; it also encompasses and controls every tidbit of understanding humans have. It is in turn the root of wisdom, a means to gain understanding.

To apply philosophy you must utilize logic and reason; You must not use belief. Belief is where philosophy ends and turns into religion. With belief anyone can believe whatever they want and there is no standard.

Question everything.  Know when you don’t know.  Utilize your knowledge to go further in every facet of your life.  Think hard, think deeply, think logically.