"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?

Angel

Post #21

Post by Angel »

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.
If we start off with humans being finite beings then we really can't know anything, absolutely. There's no way we can verify that what you say will stand the test of time, forever.

If you're a projection in someone's dream, then I question if you're really aware. I've had dreams where I was talking to a friend and this friend was talking with me which you can call an experience in a sense. But since that friend is just in my dream, is that friend aware even if they can see me and speak with me?

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Post #22

Post by Ionian_Tradition »

Angel 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.
If we start off with humans being finite beings then we really can't know anything, absolutely. There's no way we can verify that what you say will stand the test of time, forever.

If you're a projection in someone's dream, then I question if you're really aware. I've had dreams where I was talking to a friend and this friend was talking with me which you can call an experience in a sense. But since that friend is just in my dream, is that friend aware even if they can see me and speak with me?
Whether or not your friend possess awareness is more or less irrelevant to the point, which is that you yourself possess awareness by virtue YOUR OWN experience. While it cannot be known that your friend is truly aware, it can be fully known that you, as a result of your ability to experience, are truly aware. This will be enough to demonstrate that the assertion "nothing can be known" is false.

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

Post #23

Post by pax »

Haven wrote:
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?
His statement makes as much sense as: There is absolutely nothing absolute, or intolerance is intolerable.

We can know things in two ways: (1) with reasonable certainty, and (2) with moral certainty.

However, if that guy is right and I really can't know anything, then I am going back to my Zelda game.

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Post #24

Post by His Name Is John »

Every belief relies on a faith of some sort.

Faith in cause and effect.

Faith in logic and reason.

Religion just appears to be more open about their faith aspects.

Edit: However I would like to say I agree with pax, that statement is almost paradoxical. I am sure Chesterton wrote something funny about a statement similar (I can't remember for the life of me what it was though...) and I am fairly sure it was the first ever Chesterton quote I heard.
“People generally quarrel because they cannot argue.�
- G.K. Chesterton

“A detective story generally describes six living men discussing how it is that a man is dead. A modern philosophic story generally describes six dead men discussing how any man can possibly be alive.�
- G.K. Chesterton

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

Post #25

Post by Seek »

Haven wrote: Wed Mar 07, 2012 2:13 pm
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?
I take Carneades' position. I believe nothing is truly known. I base this on my personal experience but also of my experience with others. Yet people get angry on social media forums when I try to explain this. There is no absolute knowledge, only interpretations. Humans are fundamentally subjective. It is virtually impossible for us to be completely objective about anything. As one skeptic put it, ”When it really comes down to it, there is nothing that is absolutely certain, no exception.”

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

Post #26

Post by JoeyKnothead »

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.
Discovery is finding things that exist.
Invention is using things discovered.

Create that path and engineer a metamorphosis.

- William

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

Post #27

Post by Seek »

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.
Sure. Radical skepticism is in my opinion the most reasonable view of knowledge from our experiences.

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

Post #28

Post by Seek »

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

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

Post #29

Post by JoeyKnothead »

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.
Discovery is finding things that exist.
Invention is using things discovered.

Create that path and engineer a metamorphosis.

- William

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

Post #30

Post by Seek »

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.

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