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Harv, On Your Comment To Luis!

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Posted by Richard D. Stafford, Ph.D. on August 29, 2002 15:34:36 UTC

Hi Harv,

First, you are wasting your time with Luis as, whenever he wants, he just misrepresents what others say and argues with that instead of what they say. It's just a ploy!

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Harv: The term 'bias' entered the discussion because it is evident that you hold your particular ontology (i.e., a version of psychologism) to be the correct one. It appears to have so much biased your perspective that you cannot even conceive of being wrong.
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I am afraid that complaint goes also to you.

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Harv: The question I've asked two times has not been answered ("I want to ask you again, Luis, how do you know that your (bias) is an absolutely correct bias?"). Your response indicates that you won't even question that you have a biased view, nor will you even entertain being wrong in how you analyze the foundations and fallibility of your knowledge.
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Here you bring up exactly the issue I have circumvented. Of course, I do put the whole burden right back on mathematics which I admit to depending upon; however, without mathematics (which I personally define as the invention and study of internally self consistent systems) any discussion of anything is rather a waste of time. The circumvention occurs because, using only mathematics, I can construct a completely general model of what you know which aligns quite nicely with my "ontological bias" thus that bias becomes immaterial (it is without material consequence).


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Harv: I would substitute P1 with

P1' - My sense impressions lead me to believe that there is a world 'out there' that is separate from my inner thoughts which I call 'reality'. Ultimate reality is what I perceive must really be 'out there' and I define that to mean that ultimate reality cannot be reduced to misperception, chemical imbalances in our cognitive abilities, inaccurate human theories of nature, etc.
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This is exactly the comment that moved me to post. Your use of the term "sense impressions" here is central to your inability to comprehend what I have been talking about. That term contains an enormous component of your world view and implies you are presuming a great deal. In my discussions, I always refer to my world view as an illusion created by my subconscious. If you rephrase P1 as follows and think about it for a moment, you might begin to see my complaint. I would not argue with you if you were to put P1 as:

P1' - My subconscious leads me to believe that there is a world 'out there' that is separate from my inner thoughts (my conscious awareness) which I call 'reality'. Ultimate reality is what I perceive must really be 'out there' and I define that to mean that ultimate reality cannot be reduced to misperception, chemical imbalances in our cognitive abilities, inaccurate human theories of nature (including the concept of "sense impressions"), etc., etc., etc. !

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Harv: You need others to be biased in a like minded way, otherwise you could never have any basis by which to establish a convention in logic, math, etc.
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That is why I work with mathematics. As far as I am aware, it is the only bias which even begins to approach universality.

To paraphrase you further:

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Harv: Real quickly, I would support C2 with the following crude structure:

P1' My [subconscious] leads me to believe that there is a world 'out there' that is separate from my inner thoughts which I call 'reality'. Ultimate reality is what I perceive must really be 'out there' and I define that to mean that ultimate reality cannot be reduced to misperception, chemical imbalances in our cognitive abilities, inaccurate human theories of nature, etc.

P2' Human knowledge of some aspect of ultimate reality [might be] gained if we were to possess a [method or well understood procedure which would allow us] to perfectly explain and predict any implication of [any] theory as it pertains to any conceivable observation of [any] phenomena in question (or [any question] in anyway linked to that phenomena).

P3' (Many possibilities but I'll go with this logical path), humans do not have access to all theoretical implications of any phenomena of which we possess theories. {Dick: That's fine but your defense of P3 is in essence completely circular: since QM is a theory, the "principles of QM" are an aspect of the theory} Harv: That is, even simple objects are thought [to] be governed by the principles of quantum mechanics and there are many implications in QM in which we don't have observational access (and, indeed, are prevented from having by the principles of QM).

C2' Hence, we are not capable of fully knowing [ultimate] reality
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Absolutely true! At any moment, we only have a limited portion of "ultimate reality" to work with! What I refer to as "knowable data"! What is even of deeper significance here is that we have no way of determining the difference between that data and the erroneous stuff our subconscious has led us to believe: that portion of the information we build theories out of which is just a figment of our imagination (the class I refer to as "unknowable data")

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Harv: in that case we still have the problem of dealing with implications of implications, the practicality of us having access to all observable implications, etc.
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I deal directly with the problem of the fact that we only have a limited portion of "ultimate reality" to work with and am astounded that you have no interest in following the logic of that procedure. Your concern seems always to be the idea that such issues cannot be thought of.

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Harv: The problem is that you are missing P1' and the phrase 'ultimate reality'. The use of the term 'ultimate' is necessary since it precludes a theoretical understanding that is not fully reduced within the context of structured theory. This is important since a schizophrenic might misperceive objects along the lines consistent with P1', and attribute those delusional images as 'knowing reality'.
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I could not agree more!

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Harv: Without taking into consideration the inability in knowing ultimate reality, you can easily misconstrue the nature of human knowledge. {True!} ... The problem here is that there is no acceptable benchmark for instrumental notions to be accepted (i.e., is it experimental success at prediction? is it theoretical success of explanation? is it the outgrowth of technology? etc - who decides?).
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That is something I think is worth discussing!

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Harv: Frankly, I cannot think of any premise that I ultimately know is correct (even this one).
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I can not argue with that at all. So all that is left is that we do the best we can with what we can agree on! Mathematics and its implications???

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Harv: "I think you're running into a mental obstacle. Your predisposition to the whole psychological effect of 'logic' -- i.e., your succumbing to the emotional appeal of 'logic' -- is much stronger than your capacity to step back and distinguish the constituents of the particular psychological effect itself. We wish to sense something beyond a disordered reality because we don't want to face the fact that maybe we're just in an illogical world. Hence, we impose a logical laws for reality 'logic' which I think is just a tautological spiral of self-preserving psychology."
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I do not argue with that; however, at least the possibility of agreement exists! If the possibility of agreement does not exist, why should we talk?

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Harv: It sounds great at first, but there's a whole quagmire of problems that rear their face when you analyze it deeper.
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Ok, then let's drop the issue and go for agreement instead. (Now you could say nuts can agree with one another and I would say that is true, they can - but how often do they?)

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Harv: In the case of conceptual schemes as they apply to meaning and speculation, it is possible to undermine a particular layer if a more important layer is being threatened. For example, if there were a stark contradiction to one's particular Creationist layer, then someone facing that circumstance might have to change their current conception of creation, or they might have to accept a different kind of logic, or buy into rhetoric of Creationists, etc. For those who have enough exposure to rational thinking, they might find it difficult to buy into rhetoric, and they might find it even more difficult to buy into invalidating the kind of reasoning/logic they utilize to interpret the world, therefore they might go shopping for a different conceptual interpretation on the subject of creation. Maybe they will reject religion altogether, or maybe they will simply become theistic evolutionists or intelligent design proponents, etc. The point is that a superceding layer of conceptual schematic importance has undermined their former conceptual scheme. In this way, it is possible to be one over to another ontological side which formerly provided meaning and formerly was the means by which one made speculations of the world.
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Now my position is that all you say is well and good; however, I have not the competence to judge the correctness of such things, I must leave that to my subconscious. I give my life over to my subconscious; I do what ever seems to be the best thing at the time and have been quite successful with that approach. It is my opinion that anyone who thinks they can solve such things on a conscious level is deluding themselves. Very little can actually be understood on a conscious level and that fact should be paramount in your mind. Tautologies are important because the are able to reduce long involved arguments to nuggets which can be comprehended on a conscious level. With a tautology, if you accept the nugget as true then all that follows is true. If you don't then it's not! It's all as simple as that!

Sorry to disturb you -- Dick

PS -- Luis has utterly no concept of what I am talking about in my paper. I doubt he has understood anything there in contained.

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