But of course there is a difference between the question, what justifies my belief that the fire truck is red, and why is the fire truck red.
OK, I'm with you so far.
The answer to the first is that it appears red to me and to everyone else I ask or would ask.
Oy vey... I'm afraid to ask, but does this mean that the majority can determine objective reality?
The answer to the second is that it was made or painted red. How could there be no difference? I don't understand what you are asking me to do. If you are asking me why I believe that the hypothesis that the fire truck is red is true (if it is an hypothesis) than my answer is (of course) that the fire truck looks red, and that there is no reason to believe it is not red. That is an adequate justification of the red fire truck hypothesis so far as I can see. Why do you think it is not?
All I'm saying is that there is no way to be 100% certain of the fact that the firetruck is red, unless you are willing to take it on faith. Faith in your own perception, faith in the fact that Jesus told you, or science told you, or that 4 out of 5 dentists agree. Regardless of what you are putting your faith in, if you are claiming a fact, you are claiming your faith.
I don't have to have superhuman powers to have knowledge of what you call objective reality. All I need is my normal powers of perception. That does not mean that I may not think I know that the fire truck is red, and it not be red. Of course, since I am human I may err. But, since there is no particular reason to think that I have erred, there is no reason to think I do not know that the truck is red. As I pointed out before, it does that follow that because it is possible that I am mistaken, that I am mistaken, and if I am not mistaken, then, of course, I do know that the truck is red. After all, for me to know that the truck is red it is not necessary for it to be impossible that I am wrong. It just has to be the case that I am not wrong. Now gods, I suppose cannot be wrong. Mortal can be wrong. But from the fact that I am not a god, and so cannot be wrong, why does it follow that I am wrong?
I'm not saying you are wrong, I'm saying you don't know.
You seem to think that for me to know it must be that I cannot be wrong. But that is false. For me to know it is only necessary that I am not wrong (not that I cannot be wrong, like a god). Gods may have certainty. Mortals have knowledge. That is the difference.
But you don't know if you are wrong or not.
---------- Post added 06-01-2010 at 09:19 AM ----------
Thanks! I agree with you on the crux. I think that the belief in true objectivity has so little practical backblow that no one bothers to really look at it. It's logically weak, but in a practical sense quite functional. We are so used to looking at the world as if disembodied that we have forgotten that all human life is what they call subjective. Oh, but where is the subject? Of course the subject concept is quite justified practically, but it too has logical weaknesses. An organizing abstraction. That's what it seems to me.
Stirner was an interesting character, by the way.
"Man, your head is haunted; you have wheels in your head! You imagine great things, and depict to yourself a whole world of gods that has an existence for you, a spirit-realm to which you suppose yourself to be called, an ideal that beckons to you. You have a fixed idea! Do not think that I am jesting or speaking figuratively when I regard those persons who cling to the Higher, and (because the vast majority belongs under this head) almost the whole world of men, as veritable fools, fools in a madhouse. What is it, then, that is called a "fixed idea"? An idea that has subjected the man to itself. When you recognize, with regard to such a fixed idea, that it is a folly, you shut its slave up in an asylum. And is the truth of the faith, say, which we are not to doubt; the majesty of (e. g.) the people, which we are not to strike at (he who does is guilty of -- lese-majesty); virtue, against which the censor is not to let a word pass, that morality may be kept pure; -- are these not "fixed ideas"? Is not all the stupid chatter of (e. g.) most of our newspapers the babble of fools who suffer from the fixed idea of morality, legality, Christianity, etc., and only seem to go about free because the madhouse in which they walk takes in so broad a space?" - Max Stirner
---------- Post added 06-01-2010 at 09:22 AM ----------
I have the strong impression (am I mistaken?) that, except among backwoods religionists (of whom there are far too many), the most widely held position on this question, both inside and outside the academy, is that either there is no objective knowledge at all, or else scientific knowledge (including mathematics) is objective, but nothing else is; thus, anyone like me who wishes to defend the possibility of objective, non-scientific knowledge feels acutely uncomfortable doing so (unless he or she is an idiot, which I hope I am not, even though I nearly always feel like one).
And so, like those backwoods religionists, you are adrift in a sea of uncertainty, with only your faith as a life raft preventing you from sinking into the inky depths of the nihilistic abyss. Of course, I'm still a bit confused as to why this would be considered a bad thing...:shifty:
---------- Post added 06-01-2010 at 09:43 AM ----------
What makes you think that because we perceive things, we aren't capable of knowing what is objective? Oh, and faith is belief without justification. I think you're misusing that word.
Because that's the human condition. We are incapable of omniscience, there fore we cannot perceive facts, or truths.
Well, here's a start. You say he could have guessed correctly. And while it's abundantly clear (except to you) that he didn't actually guess at all (If I look at an atlas and learn where Switzerland is located, this is not me guessing where Switzerland is located. Are you mad?) what the capital of Ecuador is, at least you admit that he could have come upon a truth.
And since he believed something, he had justification for that belief, and that something was true, he knew that something. So, it appears as though he can know things. Well, whatdaya know? Knowledge isn't impossible after all.
What was his justification? Keep peeling back the layers of justification, and eventually you will find nothing. Much like a hollow onion.
That's bull. We have good reason to believe the people and objects you mentioned exist objectively. You know that little voice of reason that made you write "as ridiculous as it sounds"? Give him a home. Start being rational here. Remember that just because it is logically possible that all that nonsense is occurring, that doesn't make any of it plausible.
Rationality is dependent on you level of knowledge. Since humans are limited on the extent of their knowledge, they cannot be perfectly rational.
For example, if I never took a geography class, I'd think the Earth was flat. That is an immensely rational statement, given my ignorance of the current trends of "truth".
By the way, if I observed you in your daily life, I'm more than sure I wouldn't find you sincerely considering any of what you just said. No, you'd go about life as it were real. Real life. Go figure!
Strawman, but I'll entertain it, as it allows me to type about Stirner! Although you are correct in your assumption that I interact with the world as though it were real, I only do so because it helps me to realize my goals. I don't have to be assured of wether what I see is real, or if I am real, etc. because it really doesn't matter to me. The reason I bring this sort of stuff up on forums is because I am afraid of literalists trying to coerce me into buying into their "truths". I find that a healthy dose of skepticism keeps me more grounded than idealists. How's that for ironic!?
"I say: liberate yourself as far as you can, and you have done your part; for it is not given to every one to break through all limits, or, more expressively, not to everyone is that a limit which is a limit for the rest. Consequently, do not tire yourself with toiling at the limits of others; enough if you tear down yours. [...] He who overturns one of his limits may have shown others the way and the means; the overturning of their limits remains their affair." - Max Stirner
To Twirlip and Reconstructo,
You guys might like "The Invisible Landscape" by Terrence and Doug McKenna. It's right on the verge of intelligible, the glossolalia of an ecstatic hallucinogenic revelations. Terrence also has some interesting/strange seminars on Youtube.