"Nothing can be known, not even this"

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Haven

"Nothing can be known, not even this"

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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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bluegreenearth wrote: Sun Jun 20, 2021 2:07 pm
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.
No. Philosophical skeptics believe that nothing can be known, without exception.

You’re conflating truth and knowledge. Just because something is true doesn’t mean you know it’s true. In order for you to know something, it has to be perceived by the mind. Knowledge is mental awareness of objective truth based on complete information.

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Post #42

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Seek wrote: Sun Jun 20, 2021 3:00 pm No. Philosophical skeptics believe that nothing can be known, without exception.

You’re conflating truth and knowledge. Just because something is true doesn’t mean you know it’s true. In order for you to know something, it has to be perceived by the mind. Knowledge is mental awareness of objective truth based on complete information.
How it would be logically possible for me to be mistaken in thinking I know I exist if I do not exist to make the mistake in the first place?

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Post #43

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bluegreenearth wrote: Sun Jun 20, 2021 6:20 pm
Seek wrote: Sun Jun 20, 2021 3:00 pm No. Philosophical skeptics believe that nothing can be known, without exception.

You’re conflating truth and knowledge. Just because something is true doesn’t mean you know it’s true. In order for you to know something, it has to be perceived by the mind. Knowledge is mental awareness of objective truth based on complete information.
How it would be logically possible for me to be mistaken in thinking I know I exist if I do not exist to make the mistake in the first place?
I see. So you don’t want to admit you don’t know anything. Just because I exist doesn’t mean I know it. It requires perception by the mind, and I’m not certain I’m perceiving my own existence right now. I either know that I exist, or I don’t. I can’t tell you which is true right now.

Thoughts are just thoughts. They don’t represent knowledge of any kind.

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Post #44

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Seek wrote: Mon Jun 21, 2021 2:41 am I see. So you don’t want to admit you don’t know anything. Just because I exist doesn’t mean I know it. It requires perception by the mind, and I’m not certain I’m perceiving my own existence right now. I either know that I exist, or I don’t. I can’t tell you which is true right now.

Thoughts are just thoughts. They don’t represent knowledge of any kind.
If you are not certain you are perceiving your own existence right now, what would the alternative be? I can understand how something that doesn't experience awareness of self could exist but not know it exists. What I'm having trouble understanding is how something that does exist with self awareness could not know it exists. How is it logically possible for you to be self-aware but without knowledge of your own existence? Seems like a contradiction because I understand self-awareness to be knowledge of self existence. Please elaborate.

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Post #45

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bluegreenearth wrote: Mon Jun 21, 2021 2:56 am
Seek wrote: Mon Jun 21, 2021 2:41 am I see. So you don’t want to admit you don’t know anything. Just because I exist doesn’t mean I know it. It requires perception by the mind, and I’m not certain I’m perceiving my own existence right now. I either know that I exist, or I don’t. I can’t tell you which is true right now.

Thoughts are just thoughts. They don’t represent knowledge of any kind.
If you are not certain you are perceiving your own existence right now, what would the alternative be? I can understand how something that doesn't experience awareness of self could exist but not know it exists. What I'm having trouble understanding is how something that does exist with self awareness could not know it exists. How is it logically possible for you to be self-aware but without knowledge of your own existence? Seems like a contradiction because I understand self-awareness to be knowledge of self existence. Please elaborate.
I don’t know that I’m self-aware. Maybe I am. It is entirely possible to exist without being consciously aware of that existence.

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Post #46

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Seek wrote: Mon Jun 21, 2021 5:01 am
I don’t know that I’m self-aware.
Doesn't your use of the pronoun "I" show that you are indeed self-aware?


Tcg
To be clear: Atheism is not a disbelief in gods or a denial of gods; it is a lack of belief in gods.

- American Atheists


Not believing isn't the same as believing not.

- wiploc


I must assume that knowing is better than not knowing, venturing than not venturing; and that magic and illusion, however rich, however alluring, ultimately weaken the human spirit.

- Irvin D. Yalom

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Post #47

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Tcg wrote: Mon Jun 21, 2021 5:11 am
Seek wrote: Mon Jun 21, 2021 5:01 am
I don’t know that I’m self-aware.
Doesn't your use of the pronoun "I" show that you are indeed self-aware?


Tcg

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Post #48

Post by Seek »

Tcg wrote: Mon Jun 21, 2021 5:11 am
Seek wrote: Mon Jun 21, 2021 5:01 am
I don’t know that I’m self-aware.
Doesn't your use of the pronoun "I" show that you are indeed self-aware?


Tcg
Without assumptions nothing can be stated.

The Pyrrhonists’ solution was to suspend judgement altogether.

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Post #49

Post by Tcg »

Seek wrote: Mon Jun 21, 2021 6:40 pm
Tcg wrote: Mon Jun 21, 2021 5:11 am
Seek wrote: Mon Jun 21, 2021 5:01 am
I don’t know that I’m self-aware.
Doesn't your use of the pronoun "I" show that you are indeed self-aware?


Tcg
Without assumptions nothing can be stated.

The Pyrrhonists’ solution was to suspend judgement altogether.
I have no idea how this is related to my question. Could you explain the connection?


Tcg
To be clear: Atheism is not a disbelief in gods or a denial of gods; it is a lack of belief in gods.

- American Atheists


Not believing isn't the same as believing not.

- wiploc


I must assume that knowing is better than not knowing, venturing than not venturing; and that magic and illusion, however rich, however alluring, ultimately weaken the human spirit.

- Irvin D. Yalom

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Post #50

Post by Seek »

Tcg wrote: Mon Jun 21, 2021 8:42 pm
Seek wrote: Mon Jun 21, 2021 6:40 pm
Tcg wrote: Mon Jun 21, 2021 5:11 am
Seek wrote: Mon Jun 21, 2021 5:01 am
I don’t know that I’m self-aware.
Doesn't your use of the pronoun "I" show that you are indeed self-aware?


Tcg
Without assumptions nothing can be stated.

The Pyrrhonists’ solution was to suspend judgement altogether.
I have no idea how this is related to my question. Could you explain the connection?


Tcg
The mind is just a collection of thoughts. It doesn’t need to ”know” something in order to exist. I define knowledge as mental awareness of objective truth. ”I exist” is a candidate for objective truth, but I don’t think I know that. In order for you to know that you have to observe it. Otherwise an infinite monkey can accidentally type 1+1=2 even though it is not founded in knowledge. Knowing something means there’s no way in hell you’re wrong about something. There are ontological nihilists, who believe our existence is fake.

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