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    Thread: Certainty

    1. #1
      Dionysian stormcrow's Avatar
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      Certainty

      A.J. Ayer said "Unless some things are certain, it is held, that nothing is even probable."

      It is believed that in order to have knowledge of anything, we must first have knowledge of a truth that is unquestionable and that acts as a foundation for all subsequent knowledge.

      So I wanted to discuss in this thread, what can we be certain of?

      Consider the question: Is knowledge possible? If we say no, then we are claiming to know that we don't know, which is a contradiction therefore knowledge is possible. I believe this to be a truth immune to skepticism but of course I would like to hear what you think about it.

      Please share what you can be certain of and whether or not it can pass the test of skepticism. (disclaimer: If your certainty is personal it would probably be best not to share, I would like this thread to be a discussion and an evaluation of certainty claims).
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      We would have to define knowledge, I believe.
      I'm afraid that I do not believe that we can possess true knowledge if knowledge is defined as an absolute and infallable account of reality. How much of our knowledge has changed over the years?
      Would the other option not be defined in terms of our mental synapse connections? Our brains have stored this information and accepted it as being "True" and therefore it is knowledge?

      I don't believe in such paradoxes. It is like saying that there are absolutely no absolutes. I'm not making this claim. I am saying that I believe that this is possible even if our human brains have found contradictory concepts within this idea.

      I believe we don't know, and I believe that we don't know for sure that we don't know. I believe that the laws of physics and logic allow for this.
      Or not.. I don't know.
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      ---o--- my DCs say I'm dreamy.

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      Dionysian stormcrow's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by sloth View Post
      We would have to define knowledge, I believe.
      I'm afraid that I do not believe that we can possess true knowledge if knowledge is defined as an absolute and infallable account of reality. How much of our knowledge has changed over the years?
      Would the other option not be defined in terms of our mental synapse connections? Our brains have stored this information and accepted it as being "True" and therefore it is knowledge?

      I don't believe in such paradoxes. It is like saying that there are absolutely no absolutes. I'm not making this claim. I am saying that I believe that this is possible even if our human brains have found contradictory concepts within this idea.

      I believe we don't know, and I believe that we don't know for sure that we don't know. I believe that the laws of physics and logic allow for this.
      Or not.. I don't know.
      Personally I would define knowledge as correspondence to reality if and only if our perception of reality is accurate, consistent and direct. That is debatable though. I guess we can go with Plato's definition that knowledge is justified true belief but you are right there is no universal criteria to judge the validity of knowledge, ultimately we are the final measure of knowledge so it is possible that most of our knowledge is fallible. As I stated before I believe knowledge to be possible because knowing that you cant know anything is a contradiction.

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      Haunted by entropy. Achievements:
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      Nice thread, by the way.

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      Xei
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      I'm certain that I exist. I'm certain that what I'm currently experiencing is the act of replying to your thread.

      Beyond that, I don't think I am certain of anything.

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      Knowing that you can't know anything is a contradiction, however...
      ...I don't think I know anything, but I'm not positive about that.
      ---o--- my DCs say I'm dreamy.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      I'm certain that I exist. I'm certain that what I'm currently experiencing is the act of replying to your thread.

      Beyond that, I don't think I am certain of anything.
      Not to be argumentative, but...
      You are experiencing what you BELIEVE is the act of replying to what you BELIEVE to be his thread.
      You could be hallucinating, though.
      Last edited by sloth; 05-27-2011 at 01:19 AM.
      ---o--- my DCs say I'm dreamy.

    8. #8
      Dionysian stormcrow's Avatar
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      A hallucination would still be an experience.

      I tend to go back and forth between believing that some things are certain and nothing is certain (except for uncertainty of course). I think the attempt to find certainty through language (like in my OP certainty premise) could be futile and in fact pseudo-certainty. On the other hand it would be nice if subjective experience could give us certainty but at the same time subjective experience can be refuted and is not absolute. See: Hallucinations.

      This reminds of something TS Eliot said about experience: "Every experience is a paradox in that it means to be absolute, and yet is relative; in that it somehow always goes beyond itself and yet never escapes itself."
      Last edited by stormcrow; 05-28-2011 at 09:19 AM.

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