At least bring common sense to the table
The study of gaining knowledge
Published on February 24, 2012 By BoobzTwo In Philosophy

Everyone I know is jam packed with information gleaned from their individual life experiences. This is one of the things that make us well … unique individuals. But there is no central knowledge base for us to use … or that we are all willing to use anyway. Information is not of itself knowledge (can be) because it is too subject to embellishments from a multitude of sources … usually from some higher authority or another. If that is the case, the first thing I would think of would be to question the veracity of that said authority … I seem to have been born a doubter. The real problems with human communications are the preconceived ideas we all have about most things we are willing to discuss. If there is a political, religious, social, racial (etc.) line you refuse to cross in your search for the truth … then you will never understand the truth behind your beliefs or gain as much knowledge as is humanly possible … after all is said and done … we are only human. What is it that causes people to put up such restrictive barriers if they are really interested in the truth??? The only thing I can see ... is the exact opposite. I prefer to do my own thinking as well and logically as I can is all.

 

Additional general reading - Stanford Encyclopedia version   http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/epistemology/


Comments (Page 1)
on Feb 24, 2012

Physician heal thyself?

on Feb 25, 2012

I seem to have been born a doubter.

Did you doubt the folks that raised you were your parents when you were 0-6 years old?  Did you assume that the breast you were suckled at was not your birth mothers? 

No one - as in NO ONE, EVER, IN HUMAN EXISTENCE, was born a doubter.  We automatically assume that things are as they should be.  That's a bit difficult to refute.

That said, the human condition causes EVERYONE to question life, their purpose, etc, if they live long enough.  If they do not, we assume them handicapped mentally.  What happens next, though, is that folks pursue a knowledge of the truth or become sidetracked with other things.  Either they learn the truth, they believe a false truth (as a result of their search), or they become distracted and forget they were seeking the truth.  This is the human experience. 

on Feb 25, 2012

pacov
Did you doubt the folks that raised you were your parents when you were 0-6 years old? Did you assume that the breast you were suckled at was not your birth mothers?
Be careful of assumptions I always say. I am well aware of the level of knowledge we are born with ... it was just a little play with words is all. That being said, I came from a very dysfunctional family, never knew my natural father (still don’t care) and never cared for my drunken step father (until much later in life). I had little confidence in my natural co-dependent mother either (ditto). Yea, I was full of doubts from a very young age (be it not zero). Then the RCC latched onto me and attempted to transform me to their way of thinking but … I was already fed up with lies, deceits and misinformation mixed with a tad of the truth just to complicate things … but for a child, I was quite adapt at knowing (feeling???) the differences. As far as 'mother’s milk' is concerned I wouldn't know because she apparently has 'inverted nipples’ (whatever that is) so I was also deprived in that area too it seems. There are seemingly many paths to adulthood but they all involve brainwashing just because there is no other reasonable way, IMO. But if one is going to claim to be a responsible adult, they have to be able to at least distinguish between the rational and the irrational and learn to deal with the real world.

on Feb 25, 2012

Sinperium
Physician heal thyself?
I am sure you didn't mean this as a compliment, so I won't treat it like one. If you don't know the difference between improving one personal data base to enable better decision making skills and just taking someone else’s word on the current subject as if it were say 'gospel' ... well, then there is something one can work on. I am not interested in playing word games any more David. The topic is supposed to be about knowledge, its validity and the veracity of the source. Whatever one does with that knowledge (or not) is up to the individual.

on Feb 27, 2012

I'm having trouble figuring out they way you speak (no offense intended), so bear with me.

The real problems with human communications are the preconceived ideas we all have about most things we are willing to discuss.

I'm not sure I really buy fully into this premise.  Certainly, those preconceived ideas can cause problems with communication, but I doubt that is the crux of what you are looking to discuss.

re: the overall topic - let me try to reiterate what I think you are saying.  You believe that religion (other things as well) can and often does cause individuals to choose not to seek the truth (or knowledg perhaps?).  EG let's say I dogmatically believe that God is a tree in my backyard and that I'm 100% sure of it.  Now, you know my claim to be a complete falsehood; however, I believe it.  At some point I had an experience that proved to me that God is a tree in my backyard.  As a result of that experience, I have decided without a doubt that my views are correct and have ceased my search for God.  So, as I reached a conclusion (albeit an incorrect one), I am no longer asking the same questions. 

But that said, let's say I'm actually correct and that God is a truly a tree in my backyard.  Once I've arrived at this "truth," to continue searching for God (having found God) doesn't make a lot of sense.  Or to put it another way - if my car keys were missing and I found them, it would be quite silly to continue looking for my car keys.

 

on Feb 27, 2012

pacov
But that said, let's say I'm actually correct and that God is a truly a tree in my backyard.  Once I've arrived at this "truth," to continue searching for God (having found God) doesn't make a lot of sense.  Or to put it another way - if my car keys were missing and I found them, it would be quite silly to continue looking for my car keys.

Well said...the only problem here is that science doesn't work this way, and I have a feeling Boobz (and others) will take that position...

Let us assume that quantum mechanics is the ultimate "truth" in physics...as of yet, not a single experiment has proved quantum mechanics wrong...yet that doesn't stop scientists from continuing to try and prove it wrong...

So even though we have a model that is believed to be correct (and is probably the single most cohesive/vetted model in physics), we haven't simply "stopped" the search for "truth" because we think we're done...

And this is where I think some pragmatism has to come in...we each individually do not have the time, resources, nor education to constantly be full-time philosophers or scientists trying to figure out the truth...even scientists and philosophers who do this as a living are often constrained to only a focused area of "truth seeking"...

That doesn't mean you should abandon all attempts to seek the "truth"...but if you are convinced that the tree in your backyard is God, then stop dwelling and move on to finding other truths or living your life...

That being said, I think it is worth separating passive and  active truth seeking...one may be justified in stopping their quest to find God once they determined God is the tree in their back yard...but if by chance you happen to be exposed to contradictory information, it would be foolish to let your convictions persuade you to completely ignore such information...

on Feb 27, 2012

Nicely balanced comments for a change.  Thanks.  If I can summarize the previous...

"Life is short-follow your heart, keep searching with a truly open mind and don't sweat the small stuff and what others think so much--you'll barely have time to make educated guesses of your own."

on Feb 27, 2012

Seleuceia
That being said, I think it is worth separating passive and active truth seeking...one may be justified in stopping their quest to find God once they determined God is the tree in their back yard...but if by chance you happen to be exposed to contradictory information, it would be foolish to let your convictions persuade you to completely ignore such information...

I believe I see your point, though I'm not sure everything fits neatly under passive/active truth.  I get the feeling that the OP is primarily about trying to figure out why people put up barriers to expanding their knowledge. 

Seleuceia
That doesn't mean you should abandon all attempts to seek the "truth"...but if you are convinced that the tree in your backyard is God, then stop dwelling and move on to finding other truths or living your life...

I agree.  Obviously, that's just a silly hypothetical providing an example where you might stop actively seeking knowledge because you've come to your own conclusion. 

on Feb 27, 2012

pacov
I get the feeling that the OP is primarily about trying to figure out why people put up barriers to expanding their knowledge.
Pretty much but still lacking something, hum... I can only envision such mental barriers as a protection factor … so the next question would be ‘protection from what?’ I see no reason why any sentient creature could have serious problems with bettering the old personal database. The only thing that comes to mind here is they are protecting themselves from the truth or at least what the truth could reveal or unravel. The perfect state of denial cannot be bridged by anything but a re-self-examination because it is impervious to all external stimuli.

Hypotheticals ... love em or hate them but one has to be careful of the ridiculous is all. My first pragmatic impression to the 'tree god' would be for me to cut the tree down and see what happens next (imagine that conversation %&%#). But in trying to keep with the spirit of this, I think it will ultimately lead to religion and its dogmatic practice. As to knowing or just believing one knows god ... what does that have to do with learning anything else or something you already know better? If all we had to do was deal with god or in my case without, things should proceed well between us. The real problem we could face is if we (or one of us) make the one (so far) difference between us BE the deciding factor in our dealings … then we would just be two fools trying to fool each other … foolishly.

on Feb 27, 2012

Sinperium
you'll barely have time to make educated guesses of your own
Yep … life is too short … personally be happy and fruitful while you can … whatever it takes. Old age is full of inaccurate memories, many dogmatic views and irrefutable ‘truths’ … and I call it senility. Didn't mean to be so sharp last comment, sorry.

on Feb 27, 2012

Oh I'm sure my back yard tree god would lead to some sort of religious or dogmatic practice.  I mean, odds are I'd tell someone about it.  Then it becomes a question of why the tree god revealed himself to me.  What was the purpose and so on. 

Anyway, I don't deal with people based on their religious affiliation or some other generalization.  I deal with them and relate to them as individuals.  As such, its not so limiting if I have a friend that is of any religion or an atheist or what have you.

With regards to religion or politics, etc, I don't have much respect for people that come across as talking heads.  Eg folks that just recite ad nauseum things they've heard others say.  I certainly believe that if you follow any religion, the reason for doing so shouldn't be something as simple as "my parents did and I do as a result."  Certainly, there are more than a few folks that were brought up in the church this way, for instance, but when you reach a certain age, I'd hope questions like "why and I here" and "why do I go to church all the time" and so are asked.  And then, after searching, be able to answer questions like that. 

Anyway, I'm not sure if there is much of a hang up here, though.  Based on your background, boobzTwo, what really motivates the OP?  I think, if asked, we'd all say that we prefer to do our own thinking.  Not that we all do all of the time, ofc, and that we can't lean on those who have come before us.  I'm just wondering if something in particular has you frustrated about folks not being able to "think out of [a] box."

on Feb 27, 2012

Seleuceia
Reply #6  Seleuceia
Well said and is pretty applicable to me (IMO). String theory (I was going to be a math major) is where it is at now though ... I just wish I understood the mechanics better. I read and pretend to learn and at least end up with a reasonable working understanding ... I think hahaha.

on Feb 27, 2012

I'm just wondering if something in particular has you frustrated about folks not being able to "think out of [a] box."
Yea I guess there is I just haven't put my finger on it. My (OP) was selfishly intended to get me away from religion for a bit as that is not high up on my likable list of topics. I guess I am afflicted with some sadomasochistic tendencies, my best excuse hahaha. But over the past year, I have learned how to actually identify myself in much broader real world terms than just another atheist (my starting point). Now I am quite comfortable with my views albeit I would change much of what I expressed and especially my delivery had I the chance to start anew ... but I don't.

 

Oh I'm sure my back yard tree god would lead to some sort of religious or dogmatic practice. I mean, odds are I'd tell someone about it. Then it becomes a question of why the tree god revealed himself to me. What was the purpose and so on.
I don't think this is the only result that could take place. It really doesn't even depend on you or your 'tree' beliefs. It might even be nice for everyone to have their own tree god to pall with. But when an intruder comes to you (or any of us with our trees) and tells us individually and collectively that we are all wrong because of their belief in a one god fits all perspective, well that is not going to bode any good will or rapport. And this doesn’t even take into consideration the ‘proof’ (for lack of a better word) for this foreign belief. The problem really has nothing to do with believing in god (or not) … but is does have everything to do with believing in god in just the right way. I lose all my logical input at this point is all?

 

on Feb 28, 2012

Ah the never ending search for truth....

 

But can you truly know Truth if you experience it?  or is it just a perspective?  interesting. 

on Feb 28, 2012

BoobzTwo
Yea I guess there is I just haven't put my finger on it.

BoobzTwo
ut when an intruder comes to you (or any of us with our trees) and tells us individually and collectively that we are all wrong because of their belief in a one god fits all perspective, well that is not going to bode any good will or rapport.

I think you hit the nail on the head there.  I'd wager a lot of the problem is in how the information is conveyed.  Consider if I created a new post called "pacov - witness of the tree god."  Within the op, I expound on divinity of the tree god, provide my own testimony about said tree god, and then begin to call all other religions false.  Now, folks will either think me crazy and pick on me a bit or they will likely be offended and defend their beliefs.  Or take it the other way.  I start a post called there is no god and go into detail as why I might believe that to be true.  Some will surely jump on the bandwagon in support; others will strongly disagree.  This too, will raise ire, and likely result in a few parties "internet yelling" at each other.  The only thing usually gained by things like this is getting a knowledge of who around holds such and such belief.  Beyond that, I doubt much knowledge is transferred.

Anyway, even if you have an open mind, if the information being conveyed is done in an offensive way, folks aren't all that likely to respond positively or accept the "knowledge."  However, if an idea is controversial to you or something that you wouldn't normally be inclined to believe (or even discuss), developing rapport and perhaps empathy makes the difference. 

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