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Epistemology Is Sufficient. Ontology Is Bias (not A Typo)

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Posted by Luis Hamburgh on August 18, 2002 00:50:33 UTC


>>>"Every statement, everything you say about anything . . . all stem from an ontological bias"

Suddenly youíre calling ontology a bias. An admirable maneuver (and probably not a typo, as youíve used this new phrase at least half a dozen times), but if you donít mind, or wish to amend your position, I think Iíll stick to your original definition: "Ontology is simply a discussion of 'what is'."

No matter the linguistic legerdemain; I can accept any label & accompanying concept to encompass reality, be it "ontology," "epistemology," "psychologism" or "voodoo." But you wouldnít make it so simple. No, you assert that our ability to know ontology (epistemology) is separate from ontology itself! I mean, if ontology is "simply a discussion of 'what is'," then why should we even possess the term "epistemology" unless we premuse something else is out there, doing a better job at contemplating 'what is' than we?

If you can never discuss "ontology" beyond our ability to know (and thus describe) "ontology," your insistence upon "epistemology" is an assertion that our own consideration of reality is inferior to another consideration of reality that doesn't exist unless there is someone else to effect this very consideration. Remember, knowledge requires sentience, and if we cannot know ontology beyond the limits of epistemology, then separating the two concepts is ipso facto an assumption of God.

After all, if we cannot know a thing beyond our ability to know that thing, then how in the world can we keep a straight face and say that we know there is something beyond our capacity to know? The only way your line of thinking can maintain a logical equilibrium is if you presume reality is beyond our ultimate ability to know it.

(There. I've beat the dead horse three times tonight.)

The more you respond to this objection of mine, the more it seems to me that you cannot escape this logical snare. Bias or basis, one philosophical "action-category" is appropriate for the balanced consideration of the philosophical "thing-category" (reality), not two. When you split our knowledge into itself and our ability to know knowledge, you're creating a train of thought that looks suspiciously like a circle. Youíre forced to build any and every stance from a premise that will always arrive back at itself.

>>>"How can you be so sure that your biases are absolutely correct?"

According to my version of the English language, "bias" is never correct (maybe you have committed this typo throughout the post?). Indeed, the division of knowledge into ontology and epistemology IS bias. Ideally, the pursuit of science continues without confusing itself with such biases.

A personal basis for knowledge is only a philosophical problem for those who can't assimilate the notions we're not perfect and reality appears to be perfect. But remember -- reality is only perfect insofar as it matches our own description of it.


P.S. I'm starting two week-long business trips tomorrow, so in all likelihood I'll be "out" of this forum until next weekend or the one before Labor Day. Cheers!

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