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InvisibleSkorpivoMusterion
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Rationality, Objectivity and Logic
    #4783117 - 10/10/05 05:17 PM (16 years, 3 months ago)

Here is a presentation of three good olde fashioned fundamentals of textbook philosophy, for the sake of discussion and examination of the following principles of philosophy.

If you feel that any of the following philisophical principles conflict with any major concepts and/or beliefs that you hold, this may be your opportunity to testify against the fundamental theorem henceforth.
If you wish to do so, please make your postulations explicit, accurate and clear.


Rationality

"The virtue of Rationality means the recognition and acceptance of reason as one's only source of knowledge, one's only judge of values and one's only guide to action. ... It means a commitment to the principle that all of one's convictions, values, goals, desires and actions must be based on, derived from, chosen and validated by a process of thought."
Ayn Rand


Rationality is the habit of acting by reason, which means in accordance with the facts of reality. The only alternative is acting by whim, which because reality is absolute, will result in undesired consequences. This is because an action based on a belief in a particular cause-effect relationship will not occur if that relationship is invalid.

A second consequence to acting irrationally is that it undermines one's ability to act rationally in the future. By choosing to act irrationally, you are confessing your lack of trust in your own mind. The more often you do this, the more you will believe what you are practicing. You will accept that the mind is impotent, and that you cannot make the right decisions. This undercuts your ability to live, since reason is man's means of survival.

Rationality is in your self interest because the only way to achieve desired outcomes is to act according to reality. To understand reality, one must use reason consistently. Any deviation can have long term problems, since one's knowledge is often derived from one's previous knowledge. To accept a false belief once can have the effect of polluting all further knowledge, until the mistakes are cleared away and the new knowledge reevaluated.

Rationality does not mean being a perfectionist in one's thoughts and ideas. It does not require you to spend enormous amounts of time evaluating every idea. It does not require you to learn everything there is to know, to become an expert at every topic. Rationality means acting according to reason. It means accepting only that which you have reason to believe. It means using logic to weed out any contradictions. It means when you have to accept the judgment of another, you use your own mind to determine whether you should. Is the person educated in that field? Is it knowledge that someone is capable of having? From what you know about the rest of his ideas, is he someone you believe will be correct? Rationality is foremost a method of survival. It is a virtue only to the extent that it encourages one's survival.


Objectivity

Objectivity is the recognition of reality as the ultimate standard of evaluation. It is the acceptance that all knowledge is knowledge about reality. It is the only means of determining the truth. The concepts of true and false are only meaningful in reference to reality.

Objectivity is the act of referencing reality in determining the truth. It is the act of founding one's knowledge on reality, and making one's thoughts and ideas conform to it. To be objective, reality must be an explicit standard to be compared to. Objectivity is the process of actively comparing one's thoughts to reality, and this can only be accomplished if the purpose of the comparison is identified. The purpose, of course, is to set the standard for validity.

It is a common mistake to believe that one cannot be objective if one has a personal stake involved in something. The implication is that the emotion or motivation necessarily prevents one to be accurate. Since objectivity is the act of conforming one's thoughts to reality, it should be clear that this is possible regardless of any influences.

Logic

Logic is the art of conforming one's thoughts to the Law of Identity. In one respect, thoughts have to conform to the Law of Identity, as does everything else. This has to do with the nature of thoughts. Ideas have a different nature than memories, which are different from emotions. In this respect, all thoughts conform to the Law of Identity.

In a different respect, though, it requires focused action to conform to the Law of Identity. Ideas have content. This content is generated by the thinker from perceptual data. However, it may be generated incorrectly. Logic requires the content to be clear and identifiable. It requires that no contradiction exist within the idea.

Logic is used in integrating ideas as well. Again, it is the process of conforming to the Law of Identity. What this means in practice is combining information clearly, and without contradiction. It must be combined into a specific, identifiable package, that doesn't contradict itself.

Logic is the art of non-contradictory identification. It is the mental tool that sets the standard for proper thought. It is the foundation of knowledge. It is the means of understanding and clarity. Without logic, we could not distinguish between the true and the false. We could not throw out bad ideas because we could not judge them as bad. Without logic, our minds would be cluttered with so many absurdities and falsehoods that if there was some truth, it would be lost in the garbage of contradictions, fuzzy thoughts, and non-integrated mental images.

From: http://importanceofphilosophy.com/

For reference, here are the articles on:
Aristotle's Law of Identity
Standard of Evaluation





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OfflineRoseM
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Re: Rationality, Objectivity and Logic [Re: SkorpivoMusterion]
    #4783128 - 10/10/05 05:19 PM (16 years, 3 months ago)

That would make a nice forum description. :thumbup:


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OfflineDeviate
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Re: Rationality, Objectivity and Logic [Re: SkorpivoMusterion]
    #4783135 - 10/10/05 05:21 PM (16 years, 3 months ago)

"The virtue of Rationality means the recognition and acceptance of reason as one's only source of knowledge, one's only judge of values and one's only guide to action. ...

what about intuiton? there have been many instances in which i have acted on intuition and acheived desired results and many instances where i have resisted my intuition in favor of the course of action which seemed most plausable to the thought processes of my intellect and acheived undesirable results.

"the only real valuable thing is intuition" - einstein. was einstein irrational?


Edited by Deviate (10/10/05 05:22 PM)


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InvisibleSclorch
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Re: Rationality, Objectivity and Logic [Re: Deviate]
    #4783505 - 10/10/05 06:46 PM (16 years, 3 months ago)

Rationality requires a core system of beliefs/definitions/standards.

The core is the problem.


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OfflinePhred
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Re: Rationality, Objectivity and Logic [Re: Deviate]
    #4783545 - 10/10/05 06:55 PM (16 years, 3 months ago)

Many people hold that intuition is nothing more than the application of the above three principles, done subconsciously. Although you may not have been aware you were going through the process of evaluation in a logical manner, in fact you were. Or you had at some time in the past gone through a process where the parameters were so similar that your subconscious chose to short circuit the process and just spit out the "intuitive" result reflexively, much as you no longer need to consciously direct your body to pull your hand away from a hot stove -- it happens reflexively.

The problem with acting on unsupported intuition over rational decision-making is that you cannot know your reflexive subconscious process (if that is indeed what is the basis for intuition at all -- something that is still far from proven) has in fact correctly identified and differentiated all the relevant parameters in this particular situation. Your intuition may have seized upon what seems like a familiar pattern and responded automatically while failing to adjust for a very small but very important difference.

I have played backgammon for decades now and I observe this phenomenon over and over again when playing weaker players. They watch better players play in order to learn, and they play better players themselves in order to improve. The beginner may eventually notice that in a certain fairly standard opening sequence, the stronger player plays a given roll (say, a 4-2) the same way over and over. Yet when the beginner plays the same 4-2 the same way, he may soon find himself in trouble and eventually lose the game. What he has failed to notice is that the strong player plays that 4-2 the same way so often because perhaps 95% of the time his opponent has just two men back so early in the game. Perhaps the beginner has never even had an opportunity to see how the strong player would play the 4-2 if his opponent had three men back. Due to the random nature of the dice in backgammon, it is possible to play regularly for many months or even longer without seeing that specific exception to the standard 4-2 move arise. By the time it does, the beginner's instinctive (or intuitive, if you prefer) reaction on how to play the 4-2 is so deeply ingrained he makes the move effortlessly, picks up his dice, then sees his opponent steamroller him.

The reason the weaker player got himself into trouble by playing the 4-2 the way he did is that he thought the situation was the same, but this time things are slightly different. He just didn't notice the difference. Or if he did notice, he didn't consciously grasp the significance of it.

That subtle but crucial difference has led the beginner's backgammon "intuition" astray. And life often presents us with situations where the difference between what we have previously dealt with and the situation we face today is considerably more subtle than the difference between two backgammon stones and three.




Phred


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OfflinePhred
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Re: Rationality, Objectivity and Logic [Re: Sclorch]
    #4783551 - 10/10/05 06:58 PM (16 years, 3 months ago)

Quote:

The core is the problem.




Do you mean to say the determination of which core beliefs/definitions/standards (I prefer the term "axioms" myself) one should hold can be problematical, or that the very fact that there must be a core (regardless of its composition) presents a problem?

Please clarify.





Phred


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InvisibleSclorch
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Re: Rationality, Objectivity and Logic [Re: Phred]
    #4783689 - 10/10/05 07:21 PM (16 years, 3 months ago)

Quote:

Phred said:
Quote:

The core is the problem.




Do you mean to say the determination of which core beliefs/definitions/standards (I prefer the term "axioms" myself) one should hold can be problematical, or that the very fact that there must be a core (regardless of its composition) presents a problem?




Both present problems. And it's hard to say which is more responsible for the problems - the definition of the core or the core itself.

It's obvious that a faulty core of beliefs/definitions/standards can logically lead to a horrible outcome (Think Hitler - he was extremely rational with fuxored beliefs). But why is the core needed at all? All the core provides is the promise of stability (ala certainty)... and maybe that's not always a good thing.


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InvisibleSkorpivoMusterion
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Re: Rationality, Objectivity and Logic [Re: Deviate]
    #4783974 - 10/10/05 08:10 PM (16 years, 3 months ago)

But why is the core needed at all?

Sclorch wrote [Emphasis mine]: Rationality requires a core system of beliefs/definitions/standards.

Can rationality exist and operate in the absence of a core?
And moreover, is it possible for one to function without a core/center?
Or is it entirely inevitable?

I've known for people to have a weak core, particularly in adolescents who've become stunted in their growth, maturity and overall personal[ity] development. It seems the result of this tends to be a neurotic, scrambled person with hardly any real "aim". By that same token, neurosis can also be caused by failure of personal growth.

Either way, these disorders with underdeveloped cores obviously aren't very conducive to the above three principles of philosophy. But perhaps there is a different situation whereby a non-existant core is non-pathological... Or perhaps not.




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InvisibleSclorch
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Re: Rationality, Objectivity and Logic [Re: SkorpivoMusterion]
    #4784052 - 10/10/05 08:27 PM (16 years, 3 months ago)

Not so much a non-existant core as a less rigid one. An amorphous blob of uncertain limits instead of rules carved in stone.

I've often argued that the wise man did not build his house upon the rock. Rather, he kept moving his tent across the ever-shifting sands.


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InvisibleSkorpivoMusterion
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Re: Rationality, Objectivity and Logic [Re: Sclorch]
    #4786602 - 10/11/05 11:03 AM (16 years, 3 months ago)

That's very Taoistic. In fact you reminded me of an exact chapter in the Tao Te Ching, where something very similar was written to what you said, about the proverbial Sage.
I'd share it, but unfortunately I purchased the uber-miniature version of the book, and can't seem to find it in my miniature-library. :crankey:





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Offlinecrunchytoast
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Re: Rationality, Objectivity and Logic [Re: SkorpivoMusterion]
    #4788787 - 10/11/05 09:39 PM (16 years, 3 months ago)

Quote:

That would make a nice forum description.



personally i'm happy the admins avoided any metaphysical statements when describing this forum.

Quote:

"The virtue of Rationality means the recognition and acceptance of reason as one's only source of knowledge, one's only judge of values and one's only guide to action. ... It means a commitment to the principle that all of one's convictions, values, goals, desires and actions must be based on, derived from, chosen and validated by a process of thought."
Ayn Rand




what about the external world impinging on the senses?

Quote:

Rationality means acting according to reason. It means accepting only that which you have reason to believe. It means using logic to weed out any contradictions.




this begs the question, how do you know for a fact that reality isn't essentially contradictory?

Quote:

It means when you have to accept the judgment of another, you use your own mind to determine whether you should. Is the person educated in that field? Is it knowledge that someone is capable of having? From what you know about the rest of his ideas, is he someone you believe will be correct?

none of these inferences which necessarily make your conclusions right or wrong.

Quote:

Rationality is foremost a method of survival. It is a virtue only to the extent that it encourages one's survival.




what makes survival intrinsically good? this sounds more like a subjective value statement to me, than an intrinsic quality of the universe.

Quote:

Objectivity is the recognition of reality as the ultimate standard of evaluation.




reality does not evaluate, it just is. people evaluate.

Quote:

It is the acceptance that all knowledge is knowledge about reality. It is the only means of determining the truth. The concepts of true and false are only meaningful in reference to reality.




yet preferring truth to falsehood is a value judgment- and while truth may arguably be more objective than falsehood, the preference of one over the other is hardly objective at all.

Quote:

Objectivity is the act of referencing reality in determining the truth. It is the act of founding one's knowledge on reality, and making one's thoughts and ideas conform to it.




how could one wilfully do this if rationality were intrinsic to the nature of universe? IOW external referencing wouldn't be a choice, it would simply happen. that fact that rationality can be chosen shows that there is more to the universe than rationality itself.

Quote:

It is a common mistake to believe that one cannot be objective if one has a personal stake involved in something. The implication is that the emotion or motivation necessarily prevents one to be accurate. Since objectivity is the act of conforming one's thoughts to reality, it should be clear that this is possible regardless of any influences.




then why do people lie when they have something at stake? why do people lie to themselves when their vanity is at stake? how does a person ever know for sure than any given statement is not a lie (even statements they themselves generate)- how can anyone know anything at all with any certainty whatsoever?

Quote:

Logic is the art of conforming one's thoughts to the Law of Identity. In one respect, thoughts have to conform to the Law of Identity, as does everything else. This has to do with the nature of thoughts.




me, i have contradictory thoughts all the time, such as "i am sick of eating rice every day this week/damn this rice is good." one can find many paradoxes in poetry for example. also, what about the particles from quantum physics that can be in more than one location at once?

Quote:

Logic is used in integrating ideas as well.




does a painter necessarily use logic when capturing an emotion on canvass?

Quote:

It is the means of understanding and clarity. Without logic, we could not distinguish between the true and the false.




what about using empirical evidence to distinguish true and false?

anyway, how can anything be known for certain?

Quote:

We could not throw out bad ideas because we could not judge them as bad. Without logic, our minds would be cluttered with so many absurdities and falsehoods that if there was some truth, it would be lost in the garbage of contradictions, fuzzy thoughts, and non-integrated mental images.




which may indeed be how the mind operates. i think emotion is the sole determinant of human behavior, not reason. rationality itself is but one emotive expression.


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OfflinePhluck
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Re: Rationality, Objectivity and Logic [Re: crunchytoast]
    #4788838 - 10/11/05 09:47 PM (16 years, 3 months ago)

does a painter necessarily use logic when capturing an emotion on canvass?


does a computer use logic when it crashes and spews out a bunch of garbled madness?

There are certain patterns in all forms of art, and the processes that make the brain what it is act logically. A moutain range may look beautiful and stir up all kinds of illogical emotions, but it's your brain, shaped by the forces of physics, just as the mountain range was, that makes that judgement. Emotions don't seem logical because they're a system that slowly fell into place over time, not something that was designed with a specific goal in mind.


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OfflinePhluck
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Re: Rationality, Objectivity and Logic [Re: crunchytoast]
    #4788849 - 10/11/05 09:49 PM (16 years, 3 months ago)

what makes survival intrinsically good?

Nothing. However, it shaped what we are. Survival means a new trait can live on and be reproduced. Survival means diversity can happen.


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Offlinecrunchytoast
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Re: Rationality, Objectivity and Logic [Re: Phluck]
    #4788969 - 10/11/05 10:08 PM (16 years, 3 months ago)

Quote:

the processes that make the brain what it is act logically.




maybe the processes that make the brain simply are what they are, and our understanding of these processes take logical forms. any "beauty", "order", or "rationality" that we attribute to the universe for being what it is, is always something our minds make up after the fact. "2+2=4" well that's rational. but we'd be saying the same thing if "2+2=5".

furthermore, our understanding of reality is always changing. take the brain. our understanding of the brain has mutated many times over the centuries and will continue to do so. yet the brain always acts according to "rational principles"; today we say it's the laws of physics. yet the laws of physics are not the universe itself, but merely today's understanding of the universe. what's rational at one moment is irrational the next. logic is not an intrinsic quality of the universe but a projection of the mind.

Quote:

There are certain patterns in all forms of art



really? what patterns?

Quote:

what makes survival intrinsically good?

Nothing. However, it shaped what we are. Survival means a new trait can live on and be reproduced. Survival means diversity can happen.




why does what shaped us have to necessarily be good? many people are shaped by traumatic experiences for example. what's good about new traits living on and being reproduced? the greatest "evils" in history were perpetuated by tyrants whose ancestors survived the centuries. as for diversity, what's intrinsically good about that?

don't get me wrong, i think it's great for you to hold these values. but i don't believe there's anything objective about them.


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InvisibleSkorpivoMusterion
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Re: Rationality, Objectivity and Logic [Re: crunchytoast]
    #4791875 - 10/12/05 11:06 AM (16 years, 3 months ago)

"The virtue of Rationality means the recognition and acceptance of reason as one's only source of knowledge, one's only judge of values and one's only guide to action. ... It means a commitment to the principle that all of one's convictions, values, goals, desires and actions must be based on, derived from, chosen and validated by a process of thought."
Ayn Rand

what about the external world impinging on the senses?


Not sure what you?re trying to say here. Please elaborate.


Rationality means acting according to reason. It means accepting only that which you have reason to believe. It means using logic to weed out any contradictions.

this begs the question, how do you know for a fact that reality isn't essentially contradictory?


Simply because Reality exists in a certain way.
A contradiction arises when two ideas each make the other impossible. Contradictions don't exist in reality because reality simply is as it is and does not contradict itself. Only our evaluations of reality can contradict each other.


Rationality is foremost a method of survival. It is a virtue only to the extent that it encourages one's survival.

what makes survival intrinsically good?


Sorry, perhaps I missed something here. Could you please point out for me, where it says that?


this sounds more like a subjective value statement to me, than an intrinsic quality of the universe.


Objectively, survival is neither good nor bad ? it just is as it is.  Survival is an integral mechanism of the Universe. Anyway this isn?t relevant, so I?ll digress.


Objectivity is the recognition of reality as the ultimate standard of evaluation.

reality does not evaluate, it just is. people evaluate.


Does it say that reality evaluates? It says that it is a standard of evaluation. If I said a Ruler is a standard of Metric Evaluation, that means that it can be used to evaluate and measure certain metrics ? not that the ruler itself performs these actions.


It is the acceptance that all knowledge is knowledge about reality. It is the only means of determining the truth. The concepts of true and false are only meaningful in reference to reality.

yet preferring truth to falsehood is a value judgment- and while truth may arguably be more objective than falsehood, the preference of one over the other is hardly objective at all.


Preferences and judgments are indeed subjective, and while there is always some element of subjectivity in our preferences and judgments, more objective metrics can be used. Agreed. Not sure if whether you are simply conversing or trying to refute the premise of the quoted sentences, because what you mentioned doesn?t conflict with the sentence in consideration.


Objectivity is the act of referencing reality in determining the truth. It is the act of founding one's knowledge on reality, and making one's thoughts and ideas conform to it.


It is a common mistake to believe that one cannot be objective if one has a personal stake involved in something. The implication is that the emotion or motivation necessarily prevents one to be accurate. Since objectivity is the act of conforming one's thoughts to reality, it should be clear that this is possible regardless of any influences.

then why do people lie when they have something at stake? why do people lie to themselves when their vanity is at stake?


The paragraph has not made any claims whatsoever to any sort of impossibility. Rather, it points out that which is possible, contrary to common thought.  Simple as that.


how does a person ever know for sure than any given statement is not a lie (even statements they themselves generate)- how can anyone know anything at all with any certainty whatsoever?


Are you implying that it isn?t possible for objectivity to be exercised with what information is available at-hand?


Logic is the art of conforming one's thoughts to the Law of Identity. In one respect, thoughts have to conform to the Law of Identity, as does everything else. This has to do with the nature of thoughts.

me, i have contradictory thoughts all the time, such as "i am sick of eating rice every day this week/damn this rice is good." one can find many paradoxes in poetry for example. also, what about the particles from quantum physics that can be in more than one location at once?


See second response.


Logic is used in integrating ideas as well.

does a painter necessarily use logic when capturing an emotion on canvass?


They certainly can.


It is the means of understanding and clarity. Without logic, we could not distinguish between the true and the false.

what about using empirical evidence to distinguish true and false?


From dictionary.com:
em?pir?i?cal  adj.
1. a)Relying on or derived from observation or experiment: empirical results that supported the hypothesis.
b)Verifiable or provable by means of observation or experiment: empirical laws.
          2. Guided by practical experience and not theory, especially in medicine.

To distinguish from true and false, Logic can certainly be used.


how can anything be known for certain?

Well, take the fact that water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

How is this known for certain? Observation.


We could not throw out bad ideas because we could not judge them as bad. Without logic, our minds would be cluttered with so many absurdities and falsehoods that if there was some truth, it would be lost in the garbage of contradictions, fuzzy thoughts, and non-integrated mental images.

which may indeed be how the mind operates.


:toomuchacid:


i think emotion is the sole determinant of human behavior, not reason.


The sole determinant?  Oh please. Stop with the black and white thinking and use some rationality. It is as important to understand with the feelings as well as with the intellect. Both must develop together and equally in order to maintain balance. A person dominated by his intellect is a repetitious tape-recorder. An individual commanded by his emotions is an unpredictably erupting volcano.


rationality itself is but one emotive expression.


Not quite.




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Re: Rationality, Objectivity and Logic [Re: SkorpivoMusterion]
    #4791992 - 10/12/05 11:53 AM (16 years, 3 months ago)

You saved me quite a bit of typing, Skorp. Well done.

I will disagree with your concession "It is as important to understand with the feelings as well as with the intellect. Both must develop together and equally in order to maintain balance. A person dominated by his intellect is a repetitious tape-recorder. An individual commanded by his emotions is an unpredictably erupting volcano," however. It is important to recognize the fact that emotions are not tools of cognition. Emotions provide no information whatsoever about the situation you are observing other than the fact that observing (or thinking about) that situation makes you smile or cry or frown or whatever.

There are times where a decision can be made through reliance on emotions with no negative consequences -- should I buy pink curtains or green curtains? I think I'll go with green because green makes me feel peaceful and pink makes me feel ridiculous.

But in any situation where there is a serious decision that needs to be made -- should I buy stock in IBM or use that same money to buy Bluebunny Power Tools Corporation stock, it would be an error to buy Bluebunny solely on the basis that bunnies make you smile and blue is your favorite color. The way you feel about bunnies and the color blue is entirely irrelevant to the determination of which company is more likely to provide you a profit.



Phred


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Offlinecrunchytoast
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Re: Rationality, Objectivity and Logic [Re: SkorpivoMusterion]
    #4792017 - 10/12/05 12:00 PM (16 years, 3 months ago)

Quote:

"the recognition and acceptance of reason as one's only source of knowledge"
what about the external world impinging on the senses?
Not sure what you?re trying to say here. Please elaborate.




the quote states that reason is the only source of knowledge; if this is true, then the external world impinging on the senses is not a source of knowledge.  this is counter-intuitive for me; how about you?

Rationality means acting according to reason. It means accepting only that which you have reason to believe. It means using logic to weed out any contradictions.

this begs the question, how do you know for a fact that reality isn't essentially contradictory?

Quote:

Simply because Reality exists in a certain way.
A contradiction arises when two ideas each make the other impossible. Contradictions don't exist in reality because reality simply is as it is and does not contradict itself. Only our evaluations of reality can contradict each other.




again, how do you know a contradiction is necessarily impossible?  and how do you know reality is not contradictory?  it seems like you're just stating that reality is this certain way; that doesn't make it that way.  i have given examples of stable, reality-based, contradicting thoughts: "me, i have contradictory thoughts all the time, such as "i am sick of eating rice every day this week/damn this rice is good." one can find many paradoxes in poetry for example. also, what about the particles from quantum physics that can be in more than one location at once?"

Quote:

Objectively, survival is neither good nor bad ? it just is as it is.



:thumbup: we're on the same page here.
i want to go a little bit farther and state that rationality is a value system, as it prefers some statements over others- non-contradictory vs. contradictory statements for example- yet one kind of statement is not truly better than the other one.

Quote:

Objectivity is the recognition of reality as the ultimate standard of evaluation.
reality does not evaluate, it just is. people evaluate.
Does it say that reality evaluates? It says that it is a standard of evaluation. If I said a Ruler is a standard of Metric Evaluation, that means that it can be used to evaluate and measure certain metrics ? not that the ruler itself performs these actions.




individual people evaluate the world based on the standards of their preferences.  a ruler is not an evaluating tool, it is a measuring device.  IMO e-valu-ation implies value, which is subjective.

Quote:

It is the acceptance that all knowledge is knowledge about reality. It is the only means of determining the truth. The concepts of true and false are only meaningful in reference to reality.
yet preferring truth to falsehood is a value judgment- and while truth may arguably be more objective than falsehood, the preference of one over the other is hardly objective at all.
Preferences and judgments are indeed subjective, and while there is always some element of subjectivity in our preferences and judgments, more objective metrics can be used. Agreed. Not sure if whether you are simply conversing or trying to refute the premise of the quoted sentences, because what you mentioned doesn?t conflict with the sentence in consideration.




my argument is that rationalism can not be an intrinsic quality of the universe, since it's a system of evaluating different statements based on subjective criteria (such as truth is better than falsehood).

Quote:

Objectivity is the act of referencing reality in determining the truth. It is the act of founding one's knowledge on reality, and making one's thoughts and ideas conform to it.

It is a common mistake to believe that one cannot be objective if one has a personal stake involved in something. The implication is that the emotion or motivation necessarily prevents one to be accurate. Since objectivity is the act of conforming one's thoughts to reality, it should be clear that this is possible regardless of any influences.




how can a person know for certain that they know something?  everything is conjecture.

Quote:

how does a person ever know for sure than any given statement is not a lie (even statements they themselves generate)- how can anyone know anything at all with any certainty whatsoever?
Are you implying that it isn?t possible for objectivity to be exercised with what information is available at-hand?




it's possible, but there's no way of knowing if you're right or wrong at the end of it.

Quote:

Logic is used in integrating ideas as well.
does a painter necessarily use logic when capturing an emotion on canvass?
They certainly can.



but they don't necessarily do so.

Quote:


em?pir?i?cal adj.
1. a)Relying on or derived from observation or experiment: empirical results that supported the hypothesis.
b)Verifiable or provable by means of observation or experiment: empirical laws.
2. Guided by practical experience and not theory, especially in medicine.
To distinguish from true and false, Logic can certainly be used.





that's true, it can be used.  yet it yields no certainties.  furthermore it's not necessary to use logic with empirical evidence.  even if we were to assume that logic is a valuable tool, it would not be the only valuable tool.  "i see red" yet i see no deductions.

Quote:

how can anything be known for certain?
Well, take the fact that water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
How is this known for certain? Observation.



yet even something as taken-for-granted as gravity was re-visioned as recently as last century with relativity.  what's beautiful about science IMO is that it makes no statements with absolute certainty, but allows for the perpetual evolution of its theories and hypotheses.


Quote:

i think emotion is the sole determinant of human behavior, not reason.

The sole determinant? Oh please. Stop with the black and white thinking and use some rationality.




i stand by my statement 100%.  IMO it's an old myth in our culture that intellect and emotions are separate things that perpetuates much of contemporary neuroscience (but not all).  if you ask me, it's precisely why we haven't been able to create artificial sentience.  the computer is a system of symbols that have no meaning for the computer itself.  what it lacks is a way of grounding its knowledge, for its knowledge to have any meaning for it.  if you ask me, emotions and intellect necessarily fall on a single spectrum.

rationality- you make it sound like there's two places for the ego to inhabit- emotion and the rational.  yet no person will be rational who has no motivation to be.  plainly, rationality is one kind of motivated behavior.  it's caught up in motivation/emotion/desire just as everything else in our consciousness.  rationality is a subset of emotion; a small island in an ocean of madness.

Quote:

It is as important to understand with the feelings as well as with the intellect. Both must develop together and equally in order to maintain balance.




balance implies conflict, and i have no doubt that intellect and emotions often conflict- but do they necessarily conflict?

Quote:

A person dominated by his intellect is a repetitious tape-recorder.



yet the tape-recorder is the way he is because of his emotions; like the person with OCD who relapses on her mother's death; or the person who devotes himself to the study of math when the rest of his life lets him down.

Quote:

An individual commanded by his emotions is an unpredictably erupting volcano.




that sounds like anger.  if i am angry at someone, yet i like to think of myself as a compassionate person because of my particular identity needs, maybe it's possible for me to express my anger without being hurtful?  emotions will appropriately regulate a person's actions, spontaneously, if that person has integrated emotion X with whichever other emotions are relevant to the issue at hand.


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Offlinecrunchytoast
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Re: Rationality, Objectivity and Logic [Re: crunchytoast]
    #4792025 - 10/12/05 12:07 PM (16 years, 3 months ago)

Quote:

But in any situation where there is a serious decision that needs to be made -- should I buy stock in IBM or use that same money to buy Bluebunny Power Tools Corporation stock, it would be an error to buy Bluebunny solely on the basis that bunnies make you smile and blue is your favorite color. The way you feel about bunnies and the color blue is entirely irrelevant to the determination of which company is more likely to provide you a profit.




when i make decisions like this, and i think about what stock to buy, all sorts of emotions come up- for example, i see a company with look price-to-book ratio and that makes me want to buy it, since i know that, in the past, such companies tend to outperform the rest of the stock market. yet i feel fearful when i learn that the company has lots of debt and negative cashflow. the reason i feel fear is because i believe that lots of debt and negative cashflow are potential problems. i don't buy. yet if i had repressed my fear, the cognition implicit in that fear would have had no meaning for me, and i would have exposed myself to unnecessary risk.

but you make a good point that not every single emotion is applicable in every single way, when thinking about an issue.


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Re: Rationality, Objectivity and Logic [Re: crunchytoast]
    #4792173 - 10/12/05 12:40 PM (16 years, 3 months ago)

Quote:

when i make decisions like this, and i think about what stock to buy, all sorts of emotions come up- for example, i see a company with look price-to-book ratio and that makes me want to buy it, since i know that, in the past, such companies tend to outperform the rest of the stock market. yet i feel fearful when i learn that the company has lots of debt and negative cashflow. the reason i feel fear is because i believe that lots of debt and negative cashflow are potential problems. i don't buy. yet if i had repressed my fear, the cognition implicit in that fear would have had no meaning for me, and i would have exposed myself to unnecessary risk.




Either you are overstating your case or your decision making process differs from my own. I don't decline to buy Bluebunny out of fear that I will lose my money, I decline because I can see its potential downside outweighs its potential upside. There is neither "fear" nor "joy" involved in my evaluation. Recognizing that a stock is likely to underperform is not equivalent to being "fearful" of it -- I'm not afraid of Bluebunny in any way shape or form. I would undoubtedly feel unhappy over losing my nest egg if I bought Bluebunny and the stock tanked, but I don't spend the effort I do on researching what to do with my nest egg in order to avoid experiencing the emotion of unhappiness, I expend the effort so I don't end up destitute. Huge difference.

Reality is a harsh mistress. Emotions are no aid to correctly apprehending reality.




Phred


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Re: Rationality, Objectivity and Logic [Re: Phred]
    #4792403 - 10/12/05 01:31 PM (16 years, 3 months ago)

Quote:

Either you are overstating your case or your decision making process differs from my own.




i would say that it's similar, but i think our vocabularies are different.

Quote:

I don't decline to buy Bluebunny out of fear that I will lose my money, I decline because I can see its potential downside outweighs its potential upside.




IOW it's a "bad bet" ?

Quote:

There is neither "fear" nor "joy" involved in my evaluation. Recognizing that a stock is likely to underperform is not equivalent to being "fearful" of it -- I'm not afraid of Bluebunny in any way shape or form. I would undoubtedly feel unhappy over losing my nest egg if I bought Bluebunny and the stock tanked, but I don't spend the effort I do on researching what to do with my nest egg in order to avoid experiencing the emotion of unhappiness, I expend the effort so I don't end up destitute. Huge difference.




a subtle but minor difference IMO. ending up destitute as a possible future is something "bad" in your eyes- i would say, ending up destitute is something you dislike, and may even fear for all i know. i believe that when a person dislikes something, feelings like fear or revulsion or digust occur to them when they consider that thing, even if these feelings are accompanied by verbal expressions, such as "buying this stock would jeopardize my nest egg."

like, if i hate spiders, and i find a spider crawling up my arm, i will be filled with disgust or fear or some other displeasure.

Quote:

Reality is a harsh mistress. Emotions are no aid to correctly apprehending reality.




i'm not going to disagree; but i will say that a motivation is the only thing that determines how a person acts, and furthermore that rationality is but a subset of motivation.

i think emotions are the result of experience interacting with our motivations in pleasant or unpleasant ways. so even thoughts about hypothetical events have emotional meanings.


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Re: Rationality, Objectivity and Logic [Re: Phred]
    #4792426 - 10/12/05 01:36 PM (16 years, 3 months ago)

furthermore rationality provides no absolute knowledge. you may buy a stock only the have all of the company's factories destroyed by earthquakes.


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Re: Rationality, Objectivity and Logic [Re: crunchytoast]
    #4792446 - 10/12/05 01:42 PM (16 years, 3 months ago)

Quote:

crunchytoast said:
furthermore rationality provides no absolute knowledge.  you may buy a stock only the have all of the company's factories destroyed by earthquakes.




Well, let's not expect the impossible, now. :smirk:

Furthermore, I do believe that wise and aware investor would take such possibillities into consideration. :wink:

Seriously, though, what mechanism do you wish to employ to attain absolute knowledge, or an real knowledge at all? :confused:

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Re: Rationality, Objectivity and Logic [Re: fireworks_god]
    #4792552 - 10/12/05 02:05 PM (16 years, 3 months ago)

i don't believe in absolute knowledge. real knowledge- i want to say that real knowledge is anything that gets called knowledge. even the belief in a flat earth was real knowledge at one point, in the sense that people who held that belief would have said "i know that the earth is flat". yet it was not absolute knowledge.

the way i understood the original post was a position that stated: the world is rational, and humans can absolutely know the truth, if they go follow the rules of rationality.

whereas it seems to me rationality is something rationalists indiscriminately attribute to experience after it happens. "i made a mistake? guess it turns out i wasn't being rational after all." rationality is like a mirage that you keep walking toward but never reach.


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Re: Rationality, Objectivity and Logic [Re: crunchytoast]
    #4792656 - 10/12/05 02:28 PM (16 years, 3 months ago)

"the recognition and acceptance of reason as one's only source of knowledge"
what about the external world impinging on the senses?


the quote states that reason is the only source of knowledge; if this is true, then the external world impinging on the senses is not a source of knowledge. this is counter-intuitive for me; how about you?


Sensory input is not equivalent to knowledge.
Knowledge is the mental grasp of the facts of reality. It is the awareness of the identity of particular aspects of reality. It is not just an awareness of reality, but an understanding of it. It is a successfully formed conclusion about some aspect of reality. An example of knowledge is the identification of the law of gravity. It is a characteristic of reality that is identified and understood.
And only reason can collect sensory data into something meaningful, which is clear and definable.


Rationality means acting according to reason. It means accepting only that which you have reason to believe. It means using logic to weed out any contradictions.

this begs the question, how do you know for a fact that reality isn't essentially contradictory?


See below.


Simply because Reality exists in a certain way.
A contradiction arises when two ideas each make the other impossible. Contradictions don't exist in reality because reality simply is as it is and does not contradict itself. Only our evaluations of reality can contradict each other.


again, how do you know a contradiction is necessarily impossible?


A contradiction is not impossible. I?ve already mentioned that our evaluations of reality can contradict each other. I repeat, reality simply is as it is and does not contradict itself.


"me, i have contradictory thoughts all the time, such as "i am sick of eating rice every day this week/damn this rice is good." one can find many paradoxes in poetry for example. also, what about the particles from quantum physics that can be in more than one location at once?"


If you think you have found a contradiction, then check your premises. Either you're mistaken about it being a contradiction or one of the contradicting concepts has been improperly formed.
If the content of your knowledge contains contradictions, then some of your knowledge is in error. Because in order to be successful in reality one must know reality, success requires correct knowledge. It is therefore important to continually search for and root out contradictions in your knowledge in order to make sure that your knowledge corresponds to reality. The two primary methods for doing this are logic, the art of non-contradictory identification, and integration.


Objectivity is the recognition of reality as the ultimate standard of evaluation.
reality does not evaluate, it just is. people evaluate.
Does it say that reality evaluates? It says that it is a standard of evaluation. If I said a Ruler is a standard of Metric Evaluation, that means that it can be used to evaluate and measure certain metrics ? not that the ruler itself performs these actions.


individual people evaluate the world based on the standards of their preferences


Not always.


a ruler is not an evaluating tool, it is a measuring device. IMO e-valu-ation implies value, which is subjective.


There is such a thing as numerical value, in mathematics. The ruler analogy stands.


Preferences and judgments are indeed subjective, and while there is always some element of subjectivity in our preferences and judgments, more objective metrics can be used. Agreed. Not sure if whether you are simply conversing or trying to refute the premise of the quoted sentences, because what you mentioned doesn?t conflict with the sentence in consideration.

my argument is that rationalism can not be an intrinsic quality of the universe, since it's a system of evaluating different statements based on subjective criteria (such as truth is better than falsehood).


Honestly, I don?t know where you?re getting that rationalism is itself an intrinsic quality of the Universe.


Objectivity is the act of referencing reality in determining the truth. It is the act of founding one's knowledge on reality, and making one's thoughts and ideas conform to it.

It is a common mistake to believe that one cannot be objective if one has a personal stake involved in something. The implication is that the emotion or motivation necessarily prevents one to be accurate. Since objectivity is the act of conforming one's thoughts to reality, it should be clear that this is possible regardless of any influences.


how can a person know for certain that they know something?


Observation, reasoning, objectivity, logic and rationality, for starters. When should one be certain? When all knowledge supports the conclusion, and none denies it. If one has a valid reason for doubting something, one should not be certain. If one, for instance, knows there are facts that are unknown, and important in validating the knowledge, one should not be certain. If, however, one believes that all of the relevant information is known, and it all points to the knowledge being true, one should be certain.

everything is conjecture.


Is that right?
From dictionary.com:
con?jec?ture
n.
1.) Inference or judgment based on inconclusive or incomplete evidence; guesswork.
2.) A statement, opinion, or conclusion based on guesswork: The commentators made various conjectures about the outcome of the next election.
Enough said.


Are you implying that it isn?t possible for objectivity to be exercised with what information is available at-hand?

it's possible, but there's no way of knowing if you're right or wrong at the end of it.


Depends on what situation we?re really speaking about and I?m not psychic enough to know what you?re talking about underneath your blanketing statement. Perhaps I should enlist in the Sylvia Browne Academy.


furthermore it's not necessary to use logic with empirical evidence.


In some cases it is ? particularly in the medicinal field.


even if we were to assume that logic is a valuable tool, it would not be the only valuable tool.


Certainly, logic is not the only valuable tool there is. For instance, we also have objectivity, logic, reason, knowledge, perception, concepts, definitions, words, integration, values, deduction, induction and focus, to name several.


yet even something as taken-for-granted as gravity was re-visioned as recently as last century with relativity. what's beautiful about science IMO is that it makes no statements with absolute certainty, but allows for the perpetual evolution of its theories and hypotheses.


Certainty is contextual. It is based on one's current knowledge. It is possible to be certain, and still be wrong. Human beings are not omniscient. They can form conclusions, but there is the possibility of error. Humans need knowledge, though, and need a basis for accepting knowledge as true. They cannot live constantly doubting every piece of knowledge. To survive, they must be able to accept knowledge as true, and act accordingly.
The term certainty is often used to describe knowledge without the possibility of doubt. This is omniscience. It is an improper use of the term.


?i think emotion is the sole determinant of human behavior, not reason.?
The sole determinant? Oh please. Stop with the black and white thinking and use some rationality.

i stand by my statement 100%. IMO it's an old myth in our culture that intellect and emotions are separate things that perpetuates much of contemporary neuroscience (but not all). if you ask me, it's precisely why we haven't been able to create artificial sentience. the computer is a system of symbols that have no meaning for the computer itself. what it lacks is a way of grounding its knowledge, for its knowledge to have any meaning for it. if you ask me, emotions and intellect necessarily fall on a single spectrum.

rationality- you make it sound like there's two places for the ego to inhabit- emotion and the rational.



I never made any claims as to any such dichotomization. You stated that ?emotion is the sole determinant of human behavior.?, to which I am disagreeing with. Emotion is a determinant of our behavior, as is our intellect. The spectrum upon which the emotion and intellect fall, can be aptly named consciousness, which in itself is already a nebulous subject, so I?ll digress.


It is as important to understand with the feelings as well as with the intellect. Both must develop together and equally in order to maintain balance.

balance implies conflict, and i have no doubt that intellect and emotions often conflict- but do they necessarily conflict?


Balance implies conflict? Call me crazy, but I thought balance implies harmony, whereas non-balance implies conflict.




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Re: Rationality, Objectivity and Logic [Re: Phred]
    #4792734 - 10/12/05 02:42 PM (16 years, 3 months ago)

You saved me quite a bit of typing, Skorp. Well done.

My pleasure.

I will disagree with your concession "It is as important to understand with the feelings as well as with the intellect. Both must develop together and equally in order to maintain balance. A person dominated by his intellect is a repetitious tape-recorder. An individual commanded by his emotions is an unpredictably erupting volcano," however. It is important to recognize the fact that emotions are not tools of cognition. Emotions provide no information whatsoever about the situation you are observing other than the fact that observing (or thinking about) that situation makes you smile or cry or frown or whatever.

I should've been more clear. It is Emotional Intelligence, not strictly reactive-emotions that I'm speaking of here. Emotional intelligence is valuable in social and interactive situations, as well as intrapersonal cases. One who is dominantly high in his IQ but inordinately low in his EQ, will typically have a certain level of difficulty in social life or intimacy but excell in academics and intellectual pursuits, and vice versa.
[Pardon the hyperbolic statements regarding tape-cassettes and volcanoes.]

I agree though, emotions aren't tools of cognition.



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Re: Rationality, Objectivity and Logic [Re: SkorpivoMusterion]
    #4792857 - 10/12/05 03:09 PM (16 years, 3 months ago)

A high EQ, can cause as many social problems as a low EQ.

Just 'cause you're right, doesn't mean the majority will agree.


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Re: Rationality, Objectivity and Logic [Re: SkorpivoMusterion]
    #4792878 - 10/12/05 03:17 PM (16 years, 3 months ago)

I'm a scientist. I'm all for using logic, reason, and the (above all else) the evidence of my senses to form my world view.

This, however:
Quote:

It means a commitment to the principle that all of one's convictions, values, goals, desires and actions must be based on, derived from, chosen and validated by a process of thought.



is more than a bit silly. Values, convictions, and desires can be rationallized or studied rationally (with questionable success to date), but aren't fundamentally rational.

Beyond that, I think there is room for mystical experience. I'm not so proud as to believe that I can figure out what the world is all about in my lifetime, or to believe that I have access to a truely objective world view.


Beyond that, many of the concepts we deal with in day-to-day life are arbitrarily defined, or unclearly defined. In many cases, it is hard to apply logic because the law of identity relies on the belief that our concepts actually correlate to objectively real objects - which is frequently not the case.

Two examples are the the unclear boundry and the ineffable.

In biology, organisms are perpetually reclassified because their relations are not clearly known or - in many cases - not fundamentally liable to a heirarchical or ancestral classification because of the various methods of genetic recombination. Or again, we may look at organisms as seperate which can be confusing from a metabolic standpoint when resources are shared between them - as in mycorrhizal fungi and trees. This last point also brings up the question of physicall seperation. Mycorrhizae frequently physically penetrate the cells of plants - ie., there's fungus in a plant cell. Although most plants can survive without fungus, some - such as orchids - cannot. And again, there are other endosymbionts - including chloroplasts and mitochondria - that have different heredities than the surrounding organism.

An interesting - and widely appreciated - boundry question is that of abortion. Assuming we all agree that murder is wrong, there becomes a quesiton of when a foetus becoms a human, or gains whatever it is that makes killing people wrong. This basically comes down to a question of boundry: at what point in the incremental development of a human does a person become a person?

Basically, this means there are certain arguments - which frequently occur in day to day life - that aren't liable to logic because their terms are either flawed or unclear.

Logic is also generally not useful when attempting to communicate the ineffable. Certain concepts are inherently hard to define or consider logically despite wide acceptance of their importance. These include love and mystical experience.


In any case, I think the ability to think and reason is great, but it doesn't define who we are as people, nor does it wholly define how we (in either an empirical or normative sense) relate to the world.


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Re: Rationality, Objectivity and Logic [Re: SkorpivoMusterion]
    #4792913 - 10/12/05 03:22 PM (16 years, 3 months ago)

i want to say that real knowledge is anything that gets called knowledge.


Say what you want. If I merely state ?water freezes at 102 degrees Fahrenheit? as knowledge, it doesn?t become knowledge. Knowledge is based in facts of reality.


even the belief in a flat earth was real knowledge at one point,


Belief and Knowledge are not the same thing.


the way i understood the original post was a position that stated: the world is rational


Again, perhaps I missed something. Would you kindly show me where you get this from?


and humans can absolutely know the truth, if they go follow the rules of rationality.


This is an over-generalized statement. Humans can know truth[s] when they use rationality. Plain and simple.


whereas it seems to me rationality is something rationalists indiscriminately attribute to experience after it happens. "i made a mistake? guess it turns out i wasn't being rational after all." rationality is like a mirage that you keep walking toward but never reach.


Sigh. I will repeat: Rationality is the habit of acting according to reason. You seem to have some outlandish perceptions of what rationality is.



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Re: Rationality, Objectivity and Logic [Re: phi1618]
    #4795071 - 10/12/05 10:21 PM (16 years, 3 months ago)

Basically, this means there are certain arguments - which frequently occur in day to day life - that aren't liable to logic because their terms are either flawed or unclear.

Logic is also generally not useful when attempting to communicate the ineffable. Certain concepts are inherently hard to define or consider logically despite wide acceptance of their importance. These include love and mystical experience.


Question:
Do you believe these statements to be logical?



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Re: Rationality, Objectivity and Logic [Re: SkorpivoMusterion]
    #4795146 - 10/12/05 10:36 PM (16 years, 3 months ago)

Logic can only be applied to clear and definite ideas.
Relatively few ideas are clear and definite.
... you can do the math.


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Re: Rationality, Objectivity and Logic [Re: phi1618]
    #4795186 - 10/12/05 10:43 PM (16 years, 3 months ago)

Quote:

Logic can only be applied to clear and definite ideas.
Relatively few ideas are clear and definite.




Incorrect. In actual fact there are far more situations amenable to logical analysis than situations which are not. I challenge you to support your assertion by providing five scenarios to which logic cannot be applied.




Phred


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Re: Rationality, Objectivity and Logic [Re: phi1618]
    #4795242 - 10/12/05 10:51 PM (16 years, 3 months ago)

No, here's a better way of putting it...

Classical logic depends on two laws:
Every statement is either true or false (or not true).
No statement can be both true and false (or not true).


These conditions clearly don't apply to such statements as "I love Amanda".
The situation is unclear with such statments as "Pluto is a planet", although this objection is piddling and purely semantic.
Further, there are plenty of situations in catagorizing knowlege where it is difficult to use logic because our knowlege is flawed in some more fundamental way - as in the catagorization of organisms.


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Re: Rationality, Objectivity and Logic [Re: phi1618]
    #4795416 - 10/12/05 11:19 PM (16 years, 3 months ago)

Quote:

These conditions clearly don't apply to such statements as "I love Amanda".




How do you see that? If a person who loves Amanda says "I love Amanda", that person may be making a true statement or he/she may be making an untrue statement. The fact that the person to whom the statement is made may have a hard time deciding whether to believe the statement doesn't change the truth or untruth of the statement, it just means the person to whom the statement is made has no way of verifying it.

It isn't a question of logic being inapplicable, it's a question of determining the validity of one of the steps in a logical chain of thought, i.e.

a) I love Amanda
b) I happily assist people I love


c) therefore I will happily assist Amanda



What is wrong with c) from a logical perspective?





Phred


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Re: Rationality, Objectivity and Logic [Re: Phred]
    #4795532 - 10/12/05 11:36 PM (16 years, 3 months ago)

The problem is that it is unusual to have absolutely clear feelings about sombody with whom you're in a close relationship.


It is very likely that simultaniously both love and emphatically do not love Amanda, and this was the intent of my statement.


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Re: Rationality, Objectivity and Logic [Re: SkorpivoMusterion]
    #4796598 - 10/13/05 03:40 AM (16 years, 3 months ago)

"Belief and Knowledge are not the same thing."
"This is an over-generalized statement. Humans can know truth[s] when they use rationality. Plain and simple."
"Human beings are not omniscient. They can form conclusions, but there is the possibility of error."

if there's always a possibility of error, then a person can never know that they know anything.  therefore, there is effectively no difference between belief and knowledge, except in terms of an unknowable criterion.

and i would go a step further and say, if the criterion is unknowable, it effectively doesn't exist.  and if there is effectively no difference between belief and knowledge, there is no real difference between them...

Quote:

Certainty is contextual. It is based on one's current knowledge. It is possible to be certain, and still be wrong. Human beings are not omniscient. They can form conclusions, but there is the possibility of error. Humans need knowledge, though, and need a basis for accepting knowledge as true. They cannot live constantly doubting every piece of knowledge. To survive, they must be able to accept knowledge as true, and act accordingly. The term certainty is often used to describe knowledge without the possibility of doubt. This is omniscience. It is an improper use of the term.




wow, my very favorite paragraph so far!  while i believe that the "proper" use of language is defined by how each speaker uses it- that's a different argument- i will happily oblige you here, and call my use of certainty- "certainty2"- so there's no confusion.

yes, all knowledge implies doubt- but then it's not really certain2 knowledge is it?  i believe this realization has earth-shattering implications for the rationalist-

if doubt is at the root of all reason, yet the rationalist ignores the doubt- i think that says a lot about rationality.

again, why do you say the rationalist ignores doubt?
Quote:

Humans need knowledge, though, and need a basis for accepting knowledge as true. They cannot live constantly doubting every piece of knowledge. To survive, they must be able to accept knowledge as true, and act accordingly.




hmm, so humans need to go through life without perpetual doubt...  yes!  absolutely!  it's this sort of emotional need (even if it's a need for an illusion) that's at the foundation of rationality- and not some unshakeable premise, such as you would find at the beginning of some proof for the truth of rationality.  as you pointed out, no premise is unshakeable- in your words
Quote:

It is possible to be certain, and still be wrong. Human beings are not omniscient.




at the very root of rationality is this non-rational thing, doubt, and an emotional need for the dissipation of the doubt.  and that is why i say rationality is but one kind of irrationality- its root is irrational.

what that leaves, fundamentally, is rationality as a kind of practice:
Quote:

Rationality is the habit of acting according to reason.




yes!  it is a practice, a habit, a way of acting- it holds no metaphysical truth; it's a way of acting (among others), with no rational foundation; on the contrary, rationality, as any other system of knowledge, has doubt at its fundations; and this doubt must be swept under the rug (along with any metaphysical pretensions), for a person to practice it.

Quote:

It is the awareness of the identity of particular aspects of reality. It is not just an awareness of reality, but an understanding of it. It is a successfully formed conclusion about some aspect of reality. An example of knowledge is the identification of the law of gravity. It is a characteristic of reality that is identified and understood.




but which may be totally abandoned in a in a century, just as the gravity of previous times has been abandoned.  i mean, how do you know with absolute certainty2 that your knowledge of gravity isn't simply a belief?

Quote:

again, how do you know a contradiction is necessarily impossible?

A contradiction is not impossible. I?ve already mentioned that our evaluations of reality can contradict each other. I repeat, reality simply is as it is and does not contradict itself.  Because in order to be successful in reality one must know reality, success requires correct knowledge. It is therefore important to continually search for and root out contradictions in your knowledge in order to make sure that your knowledge corresponds to reality. The two primary methods for doing this are logic, the art of non-contradictory identification, and integration.




what i don't get is how a person can know beforehand whether two things contradict?  sure, sometimes you can apply deduction, and you might find some contradiction, bang problem solved (in the sense of, a meaningless action with no claims to metaphysical truth takes place).

but more often than not, you're going to hold onto these evaluations, until bam, one day, empirical evidence shows up and it turns out there was a contradiction you werent aware of.  then the rationalist back-tracks and says, 'well gee, i wasn't being rational in the first place.  see, my conclusions were mistaken here and and here, it's so obvious how irrational i was being.'  the hindsight of rationalism is 20/20...  sadly its only application to the future is conjectural.  (see below for discussion of "conjectural".)

Quote:

Honestly, I don?t know where you?re getting that rationalism is itself an intrinsic quality of the Universe.




does the universe conform to the law of identity, in your opinion?

if not, then what would be the use of applying the law of identity to subjective beliefs?  why would that necessarily be worthwhile in any way?

Quote:

how can a person know for certain that they know something?

Observation, reasoning, objectivity, logic and rationality, for starters. When should one be certain? When all knowledge supports the conclusion, and none denies it. If one has a valid reason for doubting something, one should not be certain.




i'm saying there is always a valid reason for doubt: humans are not omniscient, and there may always be something they don't know.  what humans take for knowledge always may turn out to be mere beliefs.

Quote:

If one, for instance, knows there are facts that are unknown, and important in validating the knowledge, one should not be certain. If, however, one believes that all of the relevant information is known, and it all points to the knowledge being true, one should be certain.




how can one ever know with 100% certainty2 that all the relevant facts are known?

Quote:

everything is conjecture.


Is that right?
From dictionary.com:
con?jec?ture
n.
1.) Inference or judgment based on inconclusive or incomplete evidence; guesswork.
2.) A statement, opinion, or conclusion based on guesswork: The commentators made various conjectures about the outcome of the next election.
Enough said.




i'm not sure what your point is here.  i'm arguing that there is no absolute knowledge; nothing can be known for certain2; if i'm right, then i think it naturally follows that all knowledge is guesswork, right? :confused:

Quote:

it's possible, but there's no way of knowing if you're right or wrong at the end of it.

Depends on what situation we?re really speaking about and I?m not psychic enough to know what you?re talking about underneath your blanketing statement. Perhaps I should enlist in the Sylvia Browne Academy.




of course i don't really expect you to read my mind, skorpivo.  perhaps i was unclear.  i'm speaking in general, with no particular case in mind.  i'm saying in every single case there is no way of knowing with absolute certainty2 that a person is right or wrong.

no knowledge is absolute.

Quote:

furthermore it's not necessary to use logic with empirical evidence.

In some cases it is ? particularly in the medicinal field.




yet doctors are always making mistakes.  case in point.  to repeat, logical interpretation of empirical evidence yields no guarantees.

Quote:

balance implies conflict, and i have no doubt that intellect and emotions often conflict- but do they necessarily conflict?

Balance implies conflict? Call me crazy, but I thought balance implies harmony, whereas non-balance implies conflict.




i believe you are crazy, just like every other human being on this planet!  perhaps madness is the inescapable constant of consciousness, of which rationality is but one form.

re: balance, i would say balance implies harmony between essentially conflicting parts.  as i understand your view, if emotion rises beyond intellect, that's a problem, because they should be in balance.  yet i would argue that emotion and intellect not essentially conflictual, and balance is moot in relation to them.

maybe a better description than a continuum is a coextensive plane: emotion and intellect are coextensive; each expression of consciousness has an emotional aspect, and an intellectual one.


--------------------
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Edited by crunchytoast (10/13/05 03:44 AM)


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InvisibleSkorpivoMusterion
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Re: Rationality, Objectivity and Logic [Re: crunchytoast]
    #4798692 - 10/13/05 03:22 PM (16 years, 3 months ago)

By Certain2, you are referring to omniscience, correct?



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Re: Rationality, Objectivity and Logic [Re: phi1618]
    #4799039 - 10/13/05 04:53 PM (16 years, 3 months ago)

Assuming we all agree that murder is wrong, there becomes a quesiton of when a foetus becoms a human, or gains whatever it is that makes killing people wrong.

If the premise is flawed then nothing that follows will make sense.


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Re: Rationality, Objectivity and Logic [Re: SkorpivoMusterion]
    #4801366 - 10/14/05 01:01 AM (16 years, 3 months ago)

Quote:

By Certain2, you are referring to omniscience, correct?




more or less. i'm referring to the absolute guarantee that only omniscience could provide.

ps. welcome back swami!


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Re: Rationality, Objectivity and Logic [Re: phi1618]
    #4802784 - 10/14/05 10:58 AM (16 years, 3 months ago)

Classical logic depends on two laws:
Every statement is either true or false (or not true).
No statement can be both true and false (or not true).
These conditions clearly don't apply to such statements as "I love Amanda".


What you said in the above quote is not a correct version of the laws of logic. And the example you gave is a good one for showing this.

"Every statement is either true or false [or not true]" is an incorrect statement of the Law of the Excluded Middle. You should have added: "at a given time and in a given respect." That is the form given it by Aristotle.

Similarly, "No statement can be both true and false [or not true]" should have been extended to say: "at the same time and in the same respect," in order to be a correct statement of the Law of Contradiction.

Consider the sentence: "I love Amanda." When is this being said? In what respect does the person love Amanda? Who is "I"? None of these are specified. You may love Amanda today but not tomorrow, so you're saying it is true at one time, but not at another. You may love Amanda for her passionate sense of life, but not love her for her lack of personal hygiene, so you're saying it is true in one respect, but not at another. You may love Amanda, while I do not love Amanda - so in respect of your feelings for her, it is true, while in respect of my feelings for her, it is false.

Now, look back at how the LEM and the LOC apply to "I love Amanda." At a given time and in a given respect [which must be specified], "I love Amanda" is indeed either true or false - and not both. And "I love Amanda" cannot be both true and false at the same given time and respect.

Failing to realize the time and respect must be specified so that the specific meaning of a statement is clearly understood before truth or falsity can be attributed to it is one of the most basic errors in understanding the laws of logic. If your logic textbook or professor did not make this issue clear to you, you should ask for your money back.




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Edited by SkorpivoMusterion (10/14/05 09:42 PM)


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Re: Rationality, Objectivity and Logic [Re: crunchytoast]
    #4802920 - 10/14/05 11:53 AM (16 years, 3 months ago)

if there's always a possibility of error, then a person can never know that they know anything.


We can know things with degrees of certainty, but not to the point of omniscient certainty. I?ve cleared this up before. We know with utmost non-omniscient certainty that water does not freeze at 102 degrees Fahrenheit, for instance.


therefore, there is effectively no difference between belief and knowledge, except in terms of an unknowable criterion.


Nonsense. Belief is synonymous to opinion, whereas knowledge is rooted in observation and learning. For example, I do not need to believe that the sun rises and sets everyday. I know it does.


Certainty is contextual. It is based on one's current knowledge. It is possible to be certain, and still be wrong. Human beings are not omniscient. They can form conclusions, but there is the possibility of error. Humans need knowledge, though, and need a basis for accepting knowledge as true. They cannot live constantly doubting every piece of knowledge. To survive, they must be able to accept knowledge as true, and act accordingly. The term certainty is often used to describe knowledge without the possibility of doubt. This is omniscience. It is an improper use of the term

all knowledge implies doubt- but then it's not really certain2 knowledge is it? i believe this realization has earth-shattering implications for the rationalist-


You?re stating that the fact that knowledge without the possibility of doubt is impossibility because we are not omniscient is earth-shattering for rationalists?


if doubt is at the root of all reason,


Doubt as in skepticism is a root of reason, but not the sole root by any means. As such, your corollary does not follow:


yet the rationalist ignores the doubt- i think that says a lot about rationality.

[See Above]


again, why do you say the rationalist ignores doubt?


Rational humans disregard irrational doubts, i.e., doubting every piece of knowledge.


Humans need knowledge, though, and need a basis for accepting knowledge as true. They cannot live constantly doubting every piece of knowledge. To survive, they must be able to accept knowledge as true, and act accordingly.
hmm, so humans need to go through life without perpetual doubt... yes!


Yes. This is to say, humans need to go through life in the company of rationality.


absolutely! it's this sort of emotional need (even if it's a need for an illusion) that's at the foundation of rationality


Rationality stems from the strive to survive. It is because of man?s discovery of his rationality that we are where we are today, amongst others. See third response down below.


not some unshakeable premise, such as you would find at the beginning of some proof for the truth of rationality . as you pointed out, no premise is unshakeable- in your words


Whiskey Tango Fox, Over.


It is possible to be certain, and still be wrong. Human beings are not omniscient.

at the very root of rationality is this non-rational thing, doubt,


See fourth response.


an emotional need for the dissipation of the doubt.


Our instinctual drive to survive is encoded in our Limbic brain, amongst our other instinctive mechanisms, such as our prurient urges. They are not subject to rational OR emotional thought. [In layman?s terms, it gives us the feeling of what?s important, but it cannot read, for instance] They may be behaviorally overridden, but the urges still remain. The need for rationality stems from survival, not emotions, which are secondary or tertiary, but not primary.


and that is why i say rationality is but one kind of irrationality- its root is irrational.


Your  misconceptions of rationality say nothing about rationality and only about yourself.


what that leaves, fundamentally, is rationality as a kind of practice:


You sound as if you?ve just discovered this. Interesting. Glad to see you?re making progress.


Rationality is the habit of acting according to reason.

yes! it is a practice, a habit, a way of acting 


?And? Thinking itself IS an act[ion], i.e. the act of thinking. Moving along?


it holds no metaphysical truth;


First and foremost, metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that examines the nature of reality, including the relationship between mind and matter, substance and attribute, fact and value. Rationality is most definitely a tool of cognition to be used in the discovery of metaphysical truth[s].


It is the awareness of the identity of particular aspects of reality. It is not just an awareness of reality, but an understanding of it. It is a successfully formed conclusion about some aspect of reality. An example of knowledge is the identification of the law of gravity. It is a characteristic of reality that is identified and understood.

but which may be totally abandoned in a in a century, just as the gravity of previous times has been abandoned.


Irrelevant.
[What-ifs are irrelevant. What is relevant is the actuality here and now.  And I would call into question the actual degree of certainty regarding prior theories of gravity, as I may not be as erudite on this particular facet of knowledge as you are. Perhaps you would be kind enough to share the details on this..]


i mean, how do you know with absolute certainty2 that your knowledge of gravity isn't simply a belief?


Knowledge is not synonymous with beliefs.


what i don't get is how a person can know beforehand whether two things contradict?


For something to be perceived as contradictory, presupposed concepts or opinions regarding incompatibility would be required.


you're going to hold onto these evaluations, until bam, one day, empirical evidence shows up and it turns out there was a contradiction you werent aware of. then the rationalist back-tracks and says, 'well gee, i wasn't being rational in the first place. see, my conclusions were mistaken here and and here, it's so obvious how irrational i was being.'


You seem to be equating subjective inaccuracy to a means/target for irrational behavior. This is erroneous. I can rationally approach and attempt to decipher a mathematical equation, but if I find that one of my answers are incorrect, this does not mean that my behavior has been irrational. Again, I have already said that it is possible to form conclusions, with the possibility of an error.  Furthermore, if my behavior were entirely irrational, I would never arrive at the correct answer to the equation ? until I started becoming more rational, which is to say, more reasonable.


Honestly, I don?t know where you?re getting that rationalism is itself an intrinsic quality of the Universe.

does the universe conform to the law of identity, in your opinion?


That question is a bit askew. Reality itself doesn?t ?conform? to the Law of Identity. Essentially, the Law of Identity ?conforms? to Reality. The Law of Identity is an establishment of what has been proven about a nature of the Universe.


what would be the use of applying the law of identity to subjective beliefs?

For instance, if I believed that burning Bibles is my duty to a god that I call Allah, because Christianity is the religion of evil warmongers and a threat to my religion, then the knowledge that this particular book is solid, dry, and flammable ? all characteristics of it?s own identity ? would be applicable, for me to carry out such a subjective belief.


why would that necessarily be worthwhile in any way?


Because of the subjective belief that doing such would be efficacious ? in that hypothetic scenario.


how can a person know for certain that they know something?

Observation, reasoning, objectivity, logic and rationality, for starters. When should one be certain? When all knowledge supports the conclusion, and none denies it. If one has a valid reason for doubting something, one should not be certain.

i'm saying there is always a valid reason for doubt: humans are not omniscient,


We?ve already differentiated between standard certainty and omniscient certainty. The absence of omniscience can be a source of doubt ? but ultimately, this is simply to be disregarded, so that we can be certain with what we are able to attain standard certainty about. As was pointed out before: It would be irrational to constantly doubt every piece of knowledge.


and there may always be something they don't know.


Irrelevant. Conclusions can still be and still are formed regardless of the unknown.


what humans take for knowledge always may turn out to be mere beliefs.


Not quite. The anatomical difference between knowledge and beliefs obviate this.


If one, for instance, knows there are facts that are unknown, and important in validating the knowledge, one should not be certain. If, however, one believes that all of the relevant information is known, and it all points to the knowledge being true, one should be certain.

how can one ever know with 100% certainty2 that all the relevant facts are known?


Facts are, by definition, that which is known. Your question is akin to asking how one can know with certainty that water is liquid.


everything is conjecture.

Is that right?
From dictionary.com:
con?jec?ture
n.
1.) Inference or judgment based on inconclusive or incomplete evidence; guesswork.
2.) A statement, opinion, or conclusion based on guesswork: The commentators made various conjectures about the outcome of the next election.
Enough said.


i'm not sure what your point is here.


The point is: By definition, not everything is conjecture.


i'm arguing that there is no absolute knowledge;


And where was it said that there IS absolute knowledge?


nothing can be known for certain2;


Nothing can be known with omniscient certainty, correct. This is irrelevant, as we are not omniscient, and therefore must focus on what is known for certain.


i'm saying in every single case there is no way of knowing with absolute certainty2 that a person is right or wrong.


See above.


no knowledge is absolute.


Overlooking the irrelevancy of this; where are you getting the interpretation that knowledge itself is absolute?


furthermore it's not necessary to use logic with empirical evidence.

In some cases it is ? particularly in the medicinal field.

[correction mine:] yet some doctors have made mistakes.


Yet doctors have not made mistakes.


i believe you are crazy, just like every other human being on this planet! i believe you are crazy, just like every other human being on this planet!


:toomuchacid:



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Edited by SkorpivoMusterion (10/14/05 11:59 AM)


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Offlinecrunchytoast
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Re: Rationality, Objectivity and Logic [Re: SkorpivoMusterion]
    #4805247 - 10/14/05 11:57 PM (16 years, 3 months ago)

Quote:

therefore, there is effectively no difference between belief and knowledge, except in terms of an unknowable criterion.

Nonsense. Belief is synonymous to opinion, whereas knowledge is rooted in observation and learning. For example, I do not need to believe that the sun rises and sets everyday. I know it does.




so you don't believe that the sun rises and sets every day or you do?  all knowledge is a belief; not all belief is knowledge.

..

regarding the part of your post responding to my comments about the foundations of rationality- i think you and i are quibbling over the meaning of knowledge- for my part i've been using knowledge in a way that implies a belief that could never change, whereas you seem to view knowledge as a tentative thing.  'we know the temperature water freezes at' - even though this 'truth' cannot be known with utmost certainty, since there's always the possibility of error.

sadly, i think this is just a superficial disagreement, in the sense that it's about the way the word is used, that yields two different readings of "rationalism."  you have your preferences and i have mine.


Quote:

Nothing can be known with omniscient certainty, correct. This is irrelevant, as we are not omniscient, and therefore must focus on what is known for certain.



i don't think it's irrelvent; it's at the crux of the two interpretations of knowledge.

Quote:

everything is conjecture.

Is that right?
From dictionary.com:
con?jec?ture
n.
1.) Inference or judgment based on inconclusive or incomplete evidence; guesswork.
2.) A statement, opinion, or conclusion based on guesswork: The commentators made various conjectures about the outcome of the next election.
Enough said.

i'm not sure what your point is here.

The point is: By definition, not everything is conjecture.



i'm not sure what part of the definition you're looking at.  if error is always possible, then aren't rational conclusions essentially guesswork? :confused:

Quote:

The absence of omniscience can be a source of doubt ? but ultimately, this is simply to be disregarded, so that we can be certain with what we are able to attain standard certainty about. As was pointed out before: It would be irrational to constantly doubt every piece of knowledge.




if there's a possibility that the knowledge is mistaken, then i think it's rational to doubt that knowledge.

Quote:

Furthermore, if my behavior were entirely irrational, I would never arrive at the correct answer to the equation ? until I started becoming more rational, which is to say, more reasonable.



a million monkeys, typing away at a million typewriters... they might be able to come up with an answer.

Quote:

Your misconceptions of rationality say nothing about rationality and only about yourself.




ouch.
:frown:


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Edited by crunchytoast (10/14/05 11:59 PM)


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Re: Rationality, Objectivity and Logic [Re: SkorpivoMusterion]
    #4805672 - 10/15/05 01:14 AM (16 years, 3 months ago)

People seem to like throwing the word 'belief' around. 'Belief' is the conviction in an actuality of some sort. "This is how things are."

I'm in nearly constant doubt of EVERYTHING. Did that just 'really' happen? Am I a bodyless brain being stimulated by electrodes in some lab? Whats all this shit about Heisenburgs law? Von Neumann?
My doubt of reality extends to everything else. If I can't be sure of reality, what can I be sure of?
Living my life like this, all I seem to have is varying degrees of probability.

And, uh...

Reason without evidence (such as Vitalism) can be completely incorrect.


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Re: Rationality, Objectivity and Logic [Re: SkorpivoMusterion]
    #4806516 - 10/15/05 06:32 AM (16 years, 3 months ago)

Rationality, Objectivity and Logic often fall short...


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Re: Rationality, Objectivity and Logic [Re: BlueCoyote]
    #4806593 - 10/15/05 08:59 AM (16 years, 3 months ago)

Quote:


Rationality, Objectivity and Logic often fall short...




Please elaborate. Fall short of what?

Do they fall short of providing the tools required to live your life? Are they not up to the task of providing knowledge?

If they do fall short at doing X, what do you propose we use in their place?




Phred


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Offlinecrunchytoast
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Re: Rationality, Objectivity and Logic [Re: Phred]
    #4806716 - 10/15/05 10:59 AM (16 years, 3 months ago)

Quote:

If they do fall short at doing X, what do you propose we use in their place?




the original poster gave definitions of these things that exceed what is usually thought of as philosophical rationalism, sort of mixing and matching between philosophical empiricism and philosophical rationalism.

from dictionary.com-

em?pir?i?cism ( P ) Pronunciation Key (m-p?r-szm)
n.
The view that experience, especially of the senses, is the only source of knowledge.

ra?tion?al?ism ( P ) Pronunciation Key (rsh-n-lzm)
n.
Reliance on reason as the best guide for belief and action.
Philosophy. The theory that the exercise of reason, rather than experience, authority, or spiritual revelation, provides the primary basis for knowledge.

yet another alternative to rationalism is absurdism; it's a philosophy that sadly, is completely excluded from this forum and it's name. personally i like a variety of viewpoints.

empiricism is also a good alternative to rationalism; it's more in line with the "objectivity" definition of the original post, although, i'm tempted to quibble with this use of the word "objective", since experience (accrording to a subject-object conceptualization) is the intersection of objects with subjects.

consider consistency vs contradiction: in logic, if you have two contradicting statements, you must throw one out. but in real life "i love amanda, i don't love amanda" can go together if they're consistent. there's no reason to throw one out. the statements themselves contradict if you read them literally, but may be consistent empirically.

another way of postulating an alternative is to say there's an emotional basis behind everything (including reason). thus, while i can't know for sure if i will get run over by a car if i step in front of it- fear grips me and stops me in my tracks.

IMO this view is also compatible with empiricism, because emotions are based in experience.

edit:
Quote:

Do they fall short of providing the tools required to live your life? Are they not up to the task of providing knowledge?



consider the following hypothetical: a person, for whatever reason, concludes from using their reason that they can fly, and they should jump off a large building. yet some emotion deep down, that they cannot articulate, makes them fear this strange logic. while reason points in one direction (try to fly off high buildings)- something else, technically irrational from their point of view, pulls in the other direction, and they choose the wiser course.


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"consensus on the nature of equilibrium is usually established by periodic conflict." -henry kissinger


Edited by crunchytoast (10/15/05 11:08 AM)


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OfflineBlueCoyote
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Re: Rationality, Objectivity and Logic [Re: Phred]
    #4807066 - 10/15/05 01:19 PM (16 years, 3 months ago)

crunchy, thnx...
Phred, in short, fall short of describing the reality of our existence.
That for one, has reason, that we have not discovered everything yet, so intuition is one thing, a scientist still uses, to get his exploration on its way. Also it inspires personal imaginations about the bigger interrelations.
Intuittion, for one example is, what still falls short of the laws of rationality, objectivity and logic...

For the other, ratio., obectivism and logic tend to fed us with satisfaction, without us asking for more questions. Therefor, another meaning could hide behind an objective surface easily, for what we would not ask for, because all questiones were answered rationaly, obectively and logically....
you know, for example murderers love to hide behind those 'obvious' conclusions :wink:


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Though lovers be lost love shall not  And death shall have no dominion
......................................................
"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."Martin Luther King, Jr.
'Acceptance is the absolute key - at that moment you gain freedom and you gain power and you gain courage'


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