"Nothing can be known, not even this"

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Haven

"Nothing can be known, not even this"

Post #1

Post by Haven »

Carneades wrote:Nothing can be known, not even this!
In 159 BCE, ancient Greek skeptical philosopher Carneades made this statement in an attempt to refute the possibility of human beings having knowledge of anything, with knowledge defined as "belief that precludes the possibility of error." Carneades believed claiming knowledge of any sort was dogmatic.

For the skeptic, certitude of anything (even this statement) is impossible for humans to obtain. Instead, skeptics believe that humans can only assign degrees of probability to any proposition, granting higher probabilities to seemingly plausible propositions and granting lower probabilities to seemingly implausible propositions.

The principles behind skepticism are the fallibility of the human brain and the uncertain nature of reality. Science has demonstrated that the brain is capable of misinterpreting phenomena, creating hallucinations, and thinking irrationally.
Additionally, we do not even know what reality is: for all we know, we could be living in a computer simulation in which everything we can detect -- matter, energy, and other minds -- are all constructed from lines of computer code. Solipsism, the idea that nothing except one's own minds exists, could be true: after all, you could be a brain in a vat hooked up to a machine feeding you stimuli that causes your brain to react as if it were experiencing reality.

Skepticism appears the only truly rational response in the case of these considerations.

Debate question: is knowledge possible? Can anything be known with certitude? If so, how?

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Re: "Nothing can be known, not even this"

Post #31

Post by JoeyKnothead »

Seek wrote: Mon May 31, 2021 8:35 am
JoeyKnothead wrote: Mon May 31, 2021 8:17 am
Seek wrote: Mon May 31, 2021 6:17 am
JoeyKnothead wrote: Sun May 30, 2021 5:28 pm
Seek wrote: Sun May 30, 2021 5:06 pm ...
As one skeptic put it, ”When it really comes down to it, there is nothing that is absolutely certain, no exception.”
He said, with absolute certainty :facepalm:

But I would agree in principle.
Philosophy is about finding the most sensible explanation for the evidence. It is possible that I know something, but if I did I’ve yet to communicate it. I’ll get back to you in 100 years to tell you what I know :D
I cant even count to a hundred, much less to know I'll be around in that many years of em.


I do like that quote though... "When it really comes down to it, there is nothing that is absolutely certain, no exception.”

It's amusing in its certainty of uncertainty.
But that’s the thing. It isn’t even a certain conclusion, only a theory.
The "no exceptions" indicates its a certainty - while I accept the theory / hypothesis aspect.

As I implied, I'm on board, I just see a certain irony in the notion.
Some say it came from Memphis down in Tennessee
Or it drifted in from Georgia about 1953
Just as long as it's greasy, as long as it's fast
As long as it's pumpin' honey, it's gonna last

It's the hillbilly rock, beat it with a drum
Playin' them guitars like shootin' from a gun
Keepin' up the rhythm, steady as a clock
Doin' a little thing called the hillbilly rock
- Marty Stuart

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Re: "Nothing can be known, not even this"

Post #32

Post by Seek »

JoeyKnothead wrote: Mon May 31, 2021 9:04 am
Seek wrote: Mon May 31, 2021 8:35 am
JoeyKnothead wrote: Mon May 31, 2021 8:17 am
Seek wrote: Mon May 31, 2021 6:17 am
JoeyKnothead wrote: Sun May 30, 2021 5:28 pm
Seek wrote: Sun May 30, 2021 5:06 pm ...
As one skeptic put it, ”When it really comes down to it, there is nothing that is absolutely certain, no exception.”
He said, with absolute certainty :facepalm:

But I would agree in principle.
Philosophy is about finding the most sensible explanation for the evidence. It is possible that I know something, but if I did I’ve yet to communicate it. I’ll get back to you in 100 years to tell you what I know :D
I cant even count to a hundred, much less to know I'll be around in that many years of em.


I do like that quote though... "When it really comes down to it, there is nothing that is absolutely certain, no exception.”

It's amusing in its certainty of uncertainty.
But that’s the thing. It isn’t even a certain conclusion, only a theory.
The "no exceptions" indicates its a certainty - while I accept the theory / hypothesis aspect.

As I implied, I'm on board, I just see a certain irony in the notion.
No, the no exception means he believes nothing in life is absolutely certain, including Descartes’ cogito. He states it as a fact, but it’s clear it’s just his theoretical conclusion.

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Re: "Nothing can be known, not even this"

Post #33

Post by Seek »

All I know is that I know nothing.

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Re:

Post #34

Post by bluegreenearth »

Ionian_Tradition wrote: Wed Mar 14, 2012 8:13 pm
Haven wrote:
Ionian_Tradition wrote: To dream or to hallucinate is to experience. To experience one must first possess awareness. It may be true that my interpretations regarding that which I experience could be flawed, but the awareness which allows me to experience in the first place is not, and never was, contingent upon the accuracy of my perceptions. The fact that I experience at all, demonstrates that I am at the very least aware. The absence of experience is the absence of awareness. So long as I experience, I possess awareness to some degree. This I can know in full.
I wouldn't call hallucinations "awareness," because to be aware is to be cognizant of reality. If one thinks she is having experiences that do not correspond to reality, one cannot say that she is aware. If someone is unconscious and dreaming, is he aware? No, he is not aware of reality.
Awareness of experience does not necessitate that experience accurately reflect reality. To experience is to be aware of an experience, whether or not we accurately interpret our experiences as a faithful representation of reality is another matter entirely. So long as I've experienced something, I possess awareness of that experience. Can you offer an example of a form of conscious experience that does not necessitate awareness of the experience itself?
I agree. I can have absolute knowledge that a thing I've labeled as "I" and "me" necessarily exists in some capacity for it to experience awareness of having an experience regardless of whether this experience is a hallucination, a dream, a virtual reality simulation, an external reality, etc. If anyone wants to argue that this thing labeling itself "I" and "me" could be mistaken in believing it has some form of existence, then they will have to explain how it would be logically possible for such a thing to make the mistake in the first place if it does not exist for it to have done anything at all.

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Re: Re:

Post #35

Post by Seek »

bluegreenearth wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 2:41 pm
Ionian_Tradition wrote: Wed Mar 14, 2012 8:13 pm
Haven wrote:
Ionian_Tradition wrote: To dream or to hallucinate is to experience. To experience one must first possess awareness. It may be true that my interpretations regarding that which I experience could be flawed, but the awareness which allows me to experience in the first place is not, and never was, contingent upon the accuracy of my perceptions. The fact that I experience at all, demonstrates that I am at the very least aware. The absence of experience is the absence of awareness. So long as I experience, I possess awareness to some degree. This I can know in full.
I wouldn't call hallucinations "awareness," because to be aware is to be cognizant of reality. If one thinks she is having experiences that do not correspond to reality, one cannot say that she is aware. If someone is unconscious and dreaming, is he aware? No, he is not aware of reality.
Awareness of experience does not necessitate that experience accurately reflect reality. To experience is to be aware of an experience, whether or not we accurately interpret our experiences as a faithful representation of reality is another matter entirely. So long as I've experienced something, I possess awareness of that experience. Can you offer an example of a form of conscious experience that does not necessitate awareness of the experience itself?
I agree. I can have absolute knowledge that a thing I've labeled as "I" and "me" necessarily exists in some capacity for it to experience awareness of having an experience regardless of whether this experience is a hallucination, a dream, a virtual reality simulation, an external reality, etc. If anyone wants to argue that this thing labeling itself "I" and "me" could be mistaken in believing it has some form of existence, then they will have to explain how it would be logically possible for such a thing to make the mistake in the first place if it does not exist for it to have done anything at all.
I don’t think reality can be understood. I don’t think you are able to communicate anything you truly know. When I say I exist, that’s just my subjective perception of my knowledge. Do you understand? You can know something without being able to objectively turn it into words. If I am right about something I know when I type something, I don’t know that because I have to rely on my subjective perception to perceive what I know and turn it into words.

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Re: Re:

Post #36

Post by bluegreenearth »

Seek wrote: Sat Jun 19, 2021 4:13 pm I don’t think reality can be understood. I don’t think you are able to communicate anything you truly know. When I say I exist, that’s just my subjective perception of my knowledge. Do you understand? You can know something without being able to objectively turn it into words. If I am right about something I know when I type something, I don’t know that because I have to rely on my subjective perception to perceive what I know and turn it into words.
I agree that we cannot know what our metaphysical reality might be. I would also agree that I cannot know with absolute certainty that you exist, but you can know with absolute certainty that you exist.

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Re: Re:

Post #37

Post by Seek »

bluegreenearth wrote: Sat Jun 19, 2021 4:31 pm
Seek wrote: Sat Jun 19, 2021 4:13 pm I don’t think reality can be understood. I don’t think you are able to communicate anything you truly know. When I say I exist, that’s just my subjective perception of my knowledge. Do you understand? You can know something without being able to objectively turn it into words. If I am right about something I know when I type something, I don’t know that because I have to rely on my subjective perception to perceive what I know and turn it into words.
I agree that we cannot know what our metaphysical reality might be. I would also agree that I cannot know with absolute certainty that you exist, but you can know with absolute certainty that you exist.
That assumes two things: That I exist as a consciousness separated from your perception, and that I know I can communicate this knowledge. Neither is true.

I can’t tell you if I know anything or not.

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Re: Re:

Post #38

Post by bluegreenearth »

Seek wrote: Sat Jun 19, 2021 5:19 pm
bluegreenearth wrote: Sat Jun 19, 2021 4:31 pm
Seek wrote: Sat Jun 19, 2021 4:13 pm I don’t think reality can be understood. I don’t think you are able to communicate anything you truly know. When I say I exist, that’s just my subjective perception of my knowledge. Do you understand? You can know something without being able to objectively turn it into words. If I am right about something I know when I type something, I don’t know that because I have to rely on my subjective perception to perceive what I know and turn it into words.
I agree that we cannot know what our metaphysical reality might be. I would also agree that I cannot know with absolute certainty that you exist, but you can know with absolute certainty that you exist.
That assumes two things: That I exist as a consciousness separated from your perception, and that I know I can communicate this knowledge. Neither is true.

I can’t tell you if I know anything or not.
I can experience the thought that I exist and experience myself attempting to communicate my thought to what I perceive to be another person (i.e. you) but can't know if this other person I am perceiving (i.e. you) actually exists to have received my attempted communication. Does that seem reasonable enough or is my reasoning still in error?

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Re: Re:

Post #39

Post by Seek »

bluegreenearth wrote: Sun Jun 20, 2021 1:20 pm
Seek wrote: Sat Jun 19, 2021 5:19 pm
bluegreenearth wrote: Sat Jun 19, 2021 4:31 pm
Seek wrote: Sat Jun 19, 2021 4:13 pm I don’t think reality can be understood. I don’t think you are able to communicate anything you truly know. When I say I exist, that’s just my subjective perception of my knowledge. Do you understand? You can know something without being able to objectively turn it into words. If I am right about something I know when I type something, I don’t know that because I have to rely on my subjective perception to perceive what I know and turn it into words.
I agree that we cannot know what our metaphysical reality might be. I would also agree that I cannot know with absolute certainty that you exist, but you can know with absolute certainty that you exist.
That assumes two things: That I exist as a consciousness separated from your perception, and that I know I can communicate this knowledge. Neither is true.

I can’t tell you if I know anything or not.
I can experience the thought that I exist and experience myself attempting to communicate my thought to what I perceive to be another person (i.e. you) but can't know if this other person I am perceiving (i.e. you) actually exists to have received my attempted communication. Does that seem reasonable enough or is my reasoning still in error?
I don’t blame you for your perception, but I’m a philosophical skeptic and doubt anything can really be communicated since we sre bound to our inherently subjective perceptions of our realities.

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Re: Re:

Post #40

Post by bluegreenearth »

Seek wrote: Sun Jun 20, 2021 1:30 pm
bluegreenearth wrote: Sun Jun 20, 2021 1:20 pm
Seek wrote: Sat Jun 19, 2021 5:19 pm
bluegreenearth wrote: Sat Jun 19, 2021 4:31 pm
Seek wrote: Sat Jun 19, 2021 4:13 pm I don’t think reality can be understood. I don’t think you are able to communicate anything you truly know. When I say I exist, that’s just my subjective perception of my knowledge. Do you understand? You can know something without being able to objectively turn it into words. If I am right about something I know when I type something, I don’t know that because I have to rely on my subjective perception to perceive what I know and turn it into words.
I agree that we cannot know what our metaphysical reality might be. I would also agree that I cannot know with absolute certainty that you exist, but you can know with absolute certainty that you exist.
That assumes two things: That I exist as a consciousness separated from your perception, and that I know I can communicate this knowledge. Neither is true.

I can’t tell you if I know anything or not.
I can experience the thought that I exist and experience myself attempting to communicate my thought to what I perceive to be another person (i.e. you) but can't know if this other person I am perceiving (i.e. you) actually exists to have received my attempted communication. Does that seem reasonable enough or is my reasoning still in error?
I don’t blame you for your perception, but I’m a philosophical skeptic and doubt anything can really be communicated since we sre bound to our inherently subjective perceptions of our reality.
It seems reasonable to be skeptical of whether anything can really be communicated externally or not. Regardless, I can know with absolute certainty that I exist, even if I cannot be sure if I am communicating that thought externally.

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