My perspective on Truth...

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Reply Sat 27 Oct, 2007 11:41 am
So I'm new to the world of philosophy, but I have been thinking for quite a while now :p Wink The nature of truth seems to be of central importance to me, and I've come to some personal ideas about truth and would like to know what some other's think of them...

I doubt I'm bringing anything new to the table, but here's where I begin:

"Truth" is what remains consistant or real regardless of a person's perception of it. "Perception" of truth is relative. But in light of my view of truth, when one perception is graded against others it can vary between completely wrong and almost right.

I'll push this idea out with the example of what I believe about the planet earth. If I say the earth does not exist, I am completely wrong, at least in any practical sense of reality. If I say the earth is flat, I am wrong in the big picture but fairly accurate for a small part of it, although very wrong for others. If I say the earth is round, I am much closer to being right but still falling short of describing the whole truth of the planet's shape. I could study and learn and describe the shape with ever-increasing accuracy, but would never come to the place where I could say that I have completely described the planet earth. But regardless of what I believe about it, the planet is what it is. I also could say something more general like "the earth is in the general shape of a sphere", which in itself may be a very ture statement, but at that point I have conceded that my statement is not the complete truth but rather a gnerealization.

It appears to me that all of human knowledge, logic, and understanding fall under these principles. In short this means to me that
1. Complete truth exists.
2. I will never have complete mastery of any part of it.
3. I can move my perception closer to or further away from the truth.

So what do you think? Surprised

P.S. I think it's worth saying that I think good "Perception" of truth can vary from one person to another even though what is true remains the same. What is to my left may be to your right. That doesn't change the postition of that object, though we might need a new way of describing it's position to have a meaningful conversation.
 
Faun147
 
Reply Sat 27 Oct, 2007 06:29 pm
@NeitherExtreme,
That's a good take on truth. My take on the idea of truth, however, is on the other end of the spectrum. You see, my notion of truth is based on the idea that the non-human aspect of the universe: space, time, all matter, etc.; have no meaning what-so-ever. Meaning is a result of human perception and human thought.
We are the ones who have given the meaning of "rock" to the stones on the ground. Everything we have given words to, including "truth," carry a man-made meaning. These words in themselves carry a level of subjectivity.
Essentially, what I am saying is that truth is merely an idea; one that many of us strive to achieve as reality. There is no truth behind this wooden desk, this computer, this house. They are given meaning by me and every other human who experiences these objects.
Our thoughts are organized conceptions. When we try to think without these conceptions, words, logics, or any of the man-made forms of thought, we don't get very far. It's more raw, per se. Personally, when I try it, I begin to feel a little disoriented. It seems very chaotic, but then when you realize that chaos is also a concept, things just get messy.

Initially, it may seem, looking from my notion of truth, that we may not even have anything to strive for, as thinkers. That's far from true, however. The fact that objective reality in and of itself exists (presumably) permits objective thought, like science. If one were to carry the notion that objective truth is the most relevant, science is most certainly the way to go. If one were to stress subjective truth, art is a good facet of life to emphasize (the ability to create is essential for subjective truth). It doesn't have to be one or the other, however. Acknowledging both subjectivity and objectivity to be taken seriously is something I have found to be enlightening.
 
Arjen
 
Reply Sun 28 Oct, 2007 11:40 am
@NeitherExtreme,
I agree with you for a very large part NeitherExtreme. You thoughts remind me of a theory which exists in ethics: The Error Theory.

The error theory in short comes down to this:

The strong version of moral skepticism says that the claim that it is wrong to kill, for example, is false because ethical claims implicitly presuppose the existence of objective values, and that these do not exist. The weak form of moral skepticism, however, would go no further than saying that we are not epistemically justified in asserting that it is wrong to kill.

In my opinion the same thing applies for "truth" because that which is "good" for all must contain a part "truth", or else it could never be "good" for everybody. Smile
 
NeitherExtreme
 
Reply Sun 28 Oct, 2007 12:14 pm
@NeitherExtreme,
In response to Faun147:

Hmmm... you've got me thinkng. Interesting thoughts, thanks for them, and I think what you said makes sense. I've actually gone down a similar train of thinking and got off the train somewhere around the time I got to that chaotic questioning of all reality. So I think our difference must lie in our different assumtions (which as far as I can tell is what they are) about whether there is intrinsic meaning in the unsiverse or not. So I guess you've proven me wrong in at least one spot; that line of reasoning is not where I begin. Wink

I don't know of any logic or reason that would prove one way or another which assumtion we should start from, so they both have a certain validity in my mind, and I'd love to hear why you start where you do. I'll try to give a few reasons why I start where I do. I'll try to share (1) why I disagree with your assumtion, and (2) why I agree with mine.Smile

1. When I started questioning my own existance, or the existence of anything, and I realized there was no empirical way back to "normal thinking", I decided I needed to give it up. I was questioning (in almost a paralyzing way) that which no animal or infant, indeed not even most adults, would ever dream of questioning. And given the fact that I live as if it is real, and do not know how to do otherwise, I cannot fault them. I decided that for all my logic I have become the fool. I have gone to a complete extreme (something I try to avoid) to a mode of thinking where there is no way to prove anything, not a single fact, to the human mind. Realizing this, I could go two ways. Either I could decide that reality is realative at best or nonexistent and certainly meaningless, or I could decide that this inability to "prove" is a flaw in the human mind. For me it makes more sense that my mind is flawed, as I see plenty of evidence of that. :p

2. Well, I won't really try to give all my thoughts on why I believe that life has meaning... but I'll talk about one that is still fresh in my mind since I am still processing it. I read a book (Blue Like Jazz) a few weeks ago that touched on this idea, but I've since made it my own and I'll apply it to this context. Smile

The simple version is this: It is human instinct to believe in meaning. This may sound stupid, but I think (logicaly) that the meaning vs. no meaning debate is by nature outside the bounds of reason, logic, and proof. The very claim of meaing is not imperically provable or disprovable, so the conclusion we come to on the subject (and we all operate under some conclusion wether we want to or not) must not be made by logic by itself. So where can I turn for help making this decision?

Animal instinct is an amazing and uncanny thing, sometimes to the point that is hard to believe that it exists. Salmon swimming upstream at the right time to find other salmon to mate; female penguins returning inland to their egg on the very day it hatches; tiny-brained Monarch butterflies migrating thousands of miles; the calf knowing how to stand and find it's mothers milk; and I could go on for a long time. These insticts are precise, powerful, and overwhelmingly acurate. And they are not based solely (or maybe at all) on logic. If a single salmon were to one day gain our ability to reason, it would probalby think to itself: "Why would I want to swim miles and miles, travel upstream where I could get eaten by a bear or bird, just because of this gut feeling of mine. It makes no sense. Instead I will search for a mate nearby." And that salmon would never find what it was looking for. To question the accuracy of it's own intinct on the basis of reason would be it's own downfall.

Now to humans: Developed or primative, in groups or alone, on tiny islands or in Europe, in history long past or in the present, humankind finds meanging. This is displayed in the nearly universal belief in the spiritual and the afterlife, among other things, but for now I just need to realize that they believe in meaning. Now, even if I look at the human race as nothing more than a species of animal, I must somehow logically deal with the overwhelming sense of meaning that is found in every corner of the human race. If I aproach the human as an animal, logically I must put humanity's belief in meaning in the catagory of animal instict. And, wether they got there by design or chance, we see that animal instincts are, in amazingly high percentages and inspite of the animal's lack of cognitively understanding them, accurate.

(Just to touch on the "nearly" part of my "nearly universal" in the previous paragraph: I realize that some higher thinkers throughout time, as well as some of the recent Western society have questioned the existance of meaing. But I think the majority of these people still, in one way or another, spend their thrashing about trying to fill the instictive hole left when they try to get rid of meaning. To me this seems to be further proof of the insticts existence and our need for it, but my main point lies with the bulk of humanity.)

Now for my final thought: If the claim of humanity's instict is by nature not logically provable or disprovable, shouldn't I go with the averages and live out my instinct?
 
NeitherExtreme
 
Reply Sun 28 Oct, 2007 12:18 pm
@NeitherExtreme,
In response to Arjen:

Thanks for the reply; we seem to agree quite a bit on this one!
 
Faun147
 
Reply Sun 28 Oct, 2007 08:47 pm
@NeitherExtreme,
NeitherExtreme wrote:
In response to Faun147:

Hmmm... you've got me thinkng. Interesting thoughts, thanks for them, and I think what you said makes sense. I've actually gone down a similar train of thinking and got off the train somewhere around the time I got to that chaotic questioning of all reality. So I think our difference must lie in our different assumtions (which as far as I can tell is what they are) about whether there is intrinsic meaning in the unsiverse or not. So I guess you've proven me wrong in at least one spot; that line of reasoning is not where I begin. Wink

I don't know of any logic or reason that would prove one way or another which assumtion we should start from, so they both have a certain validity in my mind, and I'd love to hear why you start where you do. I'll try to give a few reasons why I start where I do. I'll try to share (1) why I disagree with your assumtion, and (2) why I agree with mine.Smile

1. When I started questioning my own existance, or the existence of anything, and I realized there was no empirical way back to "normal thinking", I decided I needed to give it up. I was questioning (in almost a paralyzing way) that which no animal or infant, indeed not even most adults, would ever dream of questioning. And given the fact that I live as if it is real, and do not know how to do otherwise, I cannot fault them. I decided that for all my logic I have become the fool. I have gone to a complete extreme (something I try to avoid) to a mode of thinking where there is no way to prove anything, not a single fact, to the human mind. Realizing this, I could go two ways. Either I could decide that reality is realative at best or nonexistent and certainly meaningless, or I could decide that this inability to "prove" is a flaw in the human mind. For me it makes more sense that my mind is flawed, as I see plenty of evidence of that. :p

2. Well, I won't really try to give all my thoughts on why I believe that life has meaning... but I'll talk about one that is still fresh in my mind since I am still processing it. I read a book (Blue Like Jazz) a few weeks ago that touched on this idea, but I've since made it my own and I'll apply it to this context. Smile

The simple version is this: It is human instinct to believe in meaning. This may sound stupid, but I think (logicaly) that the meaning vs. no meaning debate is by nature outside the bounds of reason, logic, and proof. The very claim of meaing is not imperically provable or disprovable, so the conclusion we come to on the subject (and we all operate under some conclusion wether we want to or not) must not be made by logic by itself. So where can I turn for help making this decision?

Animal instinct is an amazing and uncanny thing, sometimes to the point that is hard to believe that it exists. Salmon swimming upstream at the right time to find other salmon to mate; female penguins returning inland to their egg on the very day it hatches; tiny-brained Monarch butterflies migrating thousands of miles; the calf knowing how to stand and find it's mothers milk; and I could go on for a long time. These insticts are precise, powerful, and overwhelmingly acurate. And they are not based solely (or maybe at all) on logic. If a single salmon were to one day gain our ability to reason, it would probalby think to itself: "Why would I want to swim miles and miles, travel upstream where I could get eaten by a bear or bird, just because of this gut feeling of mine. It makes no sense. Instead I will search for a mate nearby." And that salmon would never find what it was looking for. To question the accuracy of it's own intinct on the basis of reason would be it's own downfall.

Now to humans: Developed or primative, in groups or alone, on tiny islands or in Europe, in history long past or in the present, humankind finds meanging. This is displayed in the nearly universal belief in the spiritual and the afterlife, among other things, but for now I just need to realize that they believe in meaning. Now, even if I look at the human race as nothing more than a species of animal, I must somehow logically deal with the overwhelming sense of meaning that is found in every corner of the human race. If I aproach the human as an animal, logically I must put humanity's belief in meaning in the catagory of animal instict. And, wether they got there by design or chance, we see that animal instincts are, in amazingly high percentages and inspite of the animal's lack of cognitively understanding them, accurate.

(Just to touch on the "nearly" part of my "nearly universal" in the previous paragraph: I realize that some higher thinkers throughout time, as well as some of the recent Western society have questioned the existance of meaing. But I think the majority of these people still, in one way or another, spend their thrashing about trying to fill the instictive hole left when they try to get rid of meaning. To me this seems to be further proof of the insticts existence and our need for it, but my main point lies with the bulk of humanity.)

Now for my final thought: If the claim of humanity's instict is by nature not logically provable or disprovable, shouldn't I go with the averages and live out my instinct?


Interesting thoughts. Your stance is just as justified at mine. I believe we have reached a point that is beyond human understanding, for now. This is due to the fact that we simply cannot know for certain whether or not we are real.

Regarding your idea of meaning: I find that nature causes things to occur for survival purposes. Communication is vital for human survival. To communicate in a most precise manner, meanings are necessary. Those meanings are encoded into words, so that we may communicate them in the most efficient way possible. As a result of this highly sophisticated survival mechanism, we create, compose, communicate, and interpret meaning.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 28 Oct, 2007 09:22 pm
@Arjen,
Arjen wrote:
I agree with you for a very large part NeitherExtreme. You thoughts remind me of a theory which exists in ethics: The Error Theory.

The error theory in short comes down to this:

The strong version of moral skepticism says that the claim that it is wrong to kill, for example, is false because ethical claims implicitly presuppose the existence of objective values, and that these do not exist. The weak form of moral skepticism, however, would go no further than saying that we are not epistemically justified in asserting that it is wrong to kill.

In my opinion the same thing applies for "truth" because that which is "good" for all must contain a part "truth", or else it could never be "good" for everybody. Smile


What does "contain a part 'truth' mean"? Suppose that breathing is good for all. How does that "contain a part 'truth'"?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 28 Oct, 2007 09:27 pm
@NeitherExtreme,
NeitherExtreme wrote:

1. When I started questioning my own existance, or the existence of anything, and I realized there was no empirical way back to "normal thinking",


Why would you question your own existence, or, rather, how could you question your existence as soon as you realized that you could not even question your existence unless you existed in order to question it? So by the act of questioning your existence, you would thereby show that it made no sense for you to question it.
 
Arjen
 
Reply Mon 29 Oct, 2007 12:30 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:
What does "contain a part 'truth' mean"? Suppose that breathing is good for all. How does that "contain a part 'truth'"?

Ethics isn't about the physical action, it is about the intent by which the physical action performed. So when I say that "good" must contain a part "truth" it means that for something to be "good" one must base oneself on "truth". I write that remark with the intent to show that for our intentions to be good we should remember that at the same time we could wish it was a universal law. It would make our intentions objective.

I'll try to clarify in a formal way after work. I must hurry now. Smile
 
Arjen
 
Reply Mon 29 Oct, 2007 01:44 pm
@NeitherExtreme,
Perhaps it would be best to point you to the ethical writings of Immanuel Kant.

Kant suggests that we should not look for what is good in, say an apple, but in the way that an apple is. Not all apples are good after all. Likewise he concludes that an action in itself can be good or bad. It is something about this action that we call good or bad. After all we could "borrow another persons bucket to carry our "borrowed" gold in or to carry water in to put out a fire.

Kant suggests that within our actions lies a ]maxim (a subjective principle or rule that the will of an individual uses in making a decision) which makes the difference between the imperatives.

1) The group whichs acts with a subjective "goal" in mind, which he calls the hypothetical imperative.
2) The group which acts only out of some form of "duty", which he calls the [categorical]Error imperative[/url].

The catergorical imperative can be summed up by the maxims which consist of these following (objective) reasonings:
a) "Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law."
b) "Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, always at the same time as an end and never merely as a means"
c) "Therefore, every rational being must so act as if he were through his maxim always a legislating member in the universal kingdom of ends."


Remember that even though I hold him in high regard, Kant's theories are only one opinion among many.

--edit--
I am unsure why, but the link isn't functioning properly. It does direct to the right page though.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Tue 30 Oct, 2007 07:27 am
@Arjen,
Arjen wrote:
Ethics isn't about the physical action, it is about the intent by which the physical action performed. So when I say that "good" must contain a part "truth" it means that for something to be "good" one must base oneself on "truth". I write that remark with the intent to show that for our intentions to be good we should remember that at the same time we could wish it was a universal law. It would make our intentions objective.

I'll try to clarify in a formal way after work. I must hurry now. Smile


I don't think that Kant was at all talking about intentions. He would certainly have agreed with the old saw that "the path to hell is often paved with good intentions". A person's intentions when he performs some action is concerned with the consequences of that action- with the consequencesd the person intends for that action to result in. And it is exactly the consequences of actions that Kant denied played any role in whether the action was right or wrong. Kant attacked consequentialism as a false moral theory. What Kant was concerned with, and what he thought was crucial in determining whether an action had, what he called, "moral worth" was what you seem to confuse with intention, namely the motive of the action. It was the motive of an action which determined the morality of the action, not its intention. For the action to have moral worth (according to Kant) the motive of the action had to be that the action was done for the sake of duty, and not for any consequences that might ensue from its performance.
 
NeitherExtreme
 
Reply Tue 30 Oct, 2007 02:30 pm
@Faun147,
Faun147 wrote:
Interesting thoughts. Your stance is just as justified at mine. I believe we have reached a point that is beyond human understanding, for now. This is due to the fact that we simply cannot know for certain whether or not we are real.

Regarding your idea of meaning: I find that nature causes things to occur for survival purposes. Communication is vital for human survival. To communicate in a most precise manner, meanings are necessary. Those meanings are encoded into words, so that we may communicate them in the most efficient way possible. As a result of this highly sophisticated survival mechanism, we create, compose, communicate, and interpret meaning.


I agree that we can't KNOW that we are real, which I guess is part of my point. While I can't prove that I am real, I would feel like I've become somewhat unreasonable to disbelieve it as all the evidence points in the other direction. Wink
In response to idea that "meaning is necessary for efficiency" (I think that's the general idea that you were stating, correct me if I'm wrong Smile): I agree that a certain degree of meaning (ie the word Apple has to mean an apple). But the universal belief in spiritual meaning (I'm not sure how else to say that) seems to me to be one of the least efficient traits of the human race. The time and energy spent by humanity on searching for this higher meaning is an enormous waste, if it is indeed a waste.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Tue 30 Oct, 2007 02:52 pm
@NeitherExtreme,
NeitherExtreme wrote:
I agree that we can't KNOW that we are real, which I guess is part of my point. While I can't prove that I am real, I would feel like I've become somewhat unreasonable to disbelieve it as all the evidence points in the other direction. Wink
In response to idea that "meaning is necessary for efficiency" (I think that's the general idea that you were stating, correct me if I'm wrong Smile): I agree that a certain degree of meaning (ie the word Apple has to mean an apple). But the universal belief in spiritual meaning (I'm not sure how else to say that) seems to me to be one of the least efficient traits of the human race. The time and energy spent by humanity on searching for this higher meaning is an enormous waste, if it is indeed a waste.


Does proving that I am real just mean proving I exist, or does it mean proving that I am not a fake or an imitation of someone or other? I can certainly prove that I am the real me with fingerprints or with DNA matches. So there is no problem in proving I am the real me, and not a fake impersonator.

If you mean, however, by proving I am real, proving that I exist, I would think that the very fact that I try to prove that I exist shows that I exist, for how could I even try to prove that I exist without existing? So, all I have to do to prove that I exist is to try to prove that I exist. Isn't that right?
 
NeitherExtreme
 
Reply Tue 30 Oct, 2007 04:13 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:
Does proving that I am real just mean proving I exist, or does it mean proving that I am not a fake or an imitation of someone or other? I can certainly prove that I am the real me with fingerprints or with DNA matches. So there is no problem in proving I am the real me, and not a fake impersonator.

If you mean, however, by proving I am real, proving that I exist, I would think that the very fact that I try to prove that I exist shows that I exist, for how could I even try to prove that I exist without existing? So, all I have to do to prove that I exist is to try to prove that I exist. Isn't that right?

Sorry bout the confusion, by real I mean existence.Smile I'm still very new to the acutual discussion of philosophic ideas, and I'm still learning how to state things so that I am clear to others, not just myself.Wink

And about your second question: I hadn't forgoten you... I was working on a new thread to deal with that topic. Smile
http://www.philosophyforum.com/forum/epistemology/658-proof-existence.html#post5623
 
PoPpAScience
 
Reply Thu 1 Nov, 2007 08:49 pm
@NeitherExtreme,
NeitherExtreme wrote:
So I'm new to the world of philosophy, but I have been thinking for quite a while now :p Wink The nature of truth seems to be of central importance to me, and I've come to some personal ideas about truth and would like to know what some other's think of them...

I doubt I'm bringing anything new to the table, but here's where I begin:

"Truth" is what remains consistant or real regardless of a person's perception of it. "Perception" of truth is relative. But in light of my view of truth, when one perception is graded against others it can vary between completely wrong and almost right.

I'll push this idea out with the example of what I believe about the planet earth. If I say the earth does not exist, I am completely wrong, at least in any practical sense of reality. If I say the earth is flat, I am wrong in the big picture but fairly accurate for a small part of it, although very wrong for others. If I say the earth is round, I am much closer to being right but still falling short of describing the whole truth of the planet's shape. I could study and learn and describe the shape with ever-increasing accuracy, but would never come to the place where I could say that I have completely described the planet earth. But regardless of what I believe about it, the planet is what it is. I also could say something more general like "the earth is in the general shape of a sphere", which in itself may be a very ture statement, but at that point I have conceded that my statement is not the complete truth but rather a gnerealization.

It appears to me that all of human knowledge, logic, and understanding fall under these principles. In short this means to me that
1. Complete truth exists.
2. I will never have complete mastery of any part of it.
3. I can move my perception closer to or further away from the truth.

So what do you think? Surprised

P.S. I think it's worth saying that I think good "Perception" of truth can vary from one person to another even though what is true remains the same. What is to my left may be to your right. That doesn't change the postition of that object, though we might need a new way of describing it's position to have a meaningful conversation.


NeitherExtreme, this the second time I have read this, and consider it a great overview of what most of the "Main Stream Philosophers" are saying, and have said in the past. Truth, will always be spoken and written of, in the "Perspective of the Viewer". And the real truth will always be pure. This leaves us with the continuing pursuit of a more refined truth. But leaves us with the humility, that we must work with the best perspective we have.
 
Arjen
 
Reply Fri 2 Nov, 2007 12:01 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:
I don't think that Kant was at all talking about intentions. He would certainly have agreed with the old saw that "the path to hell is often paved with good intentions". A person's intentions when he performs some action is concerned with the consequences of that action- with the consequencesd the person intends for that action to result in. And it is exactly the consequences of actions that Kant denied played any role in whether the action was right or wrong. Kant attacked consequentialism as a false moral theory. What Kant was concerned with, and what he thought was crucial in determining whether an action had, what he called, "moral worth" was what you seem to confuse with intention, namely the motive of the action. It was the motive of an action which determined the morality of the action, not its intention. For the action to have moral worth (according to Kant) the motive of the action had to be that the action was done for the sake of duty, and not for any consequences that might ensue from its performance.

That is very accurate of you. I intended to write just that, but your way with words seems to work out better then mine. Thanks.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Fri 2 Nov, 2007 06:25 am
@NeitherExtreme,
NeitherExtreme wrote:
Sorry bout the confusion, by real I mean existence.Smile I'm still very new to the acutual discussion of philosophic ideas, and I'm still learning how to state things so that I am clear to others, not just myself.Wink

And about your second question: I hadn't forgoten you... I was working on a new thread to deal with that topic. Smile
http://www.philosophyforum.com/forum/epistemology/658-proof-existence.html
#post5623



That's fine. But words count a lot in philosophy. And writing clearly counts a lot too. People often do what you do and think (or at least say) that Kant is talking about intentions when he is talking about motives. Or, more likely, they do not distinguish between intentions and motives. But to believe that Kant is talking about the agent's intentions rather than motives is to make a hash of his moral philosophy.
 
Faun147
 
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2007 02:05 pm
@NeitherExtreme,
NeitherExtreme wrote:
I agree that we can't KNOW that we are real, which I guess is part of my point. While I can't prove that I am real, I would feel like I've become somewhat unreasonable to disbelieve it as all the evidence points in the other direction. Wink
In response to idea that "meaning is necessary for efficiency" (I think that's the general idea that you were stating, correct me if I'm wrong Smile): I agree that a certain degree of meaning (ie the word Apple has to mean an apple). But the universal belief in spiritual meaning (I'm not sure how else to say that) seems to me to be one of the least efficient traits of the human race. The time and energy spent by humanity on searching for this higher meaning is an enormous waste, if it is indeed a waste.


If you have some philosophical evidence that shows that we are real, I certainly want to see it. While we have perception, which essentially takes place in our mind, the possibility of reality as we know it could be an illusion.

All of this contemplation is based off the axiom that "reality as we know it is real." Regardless of whether or not reality is deceptive, it is the primary medium of life. All action perceived by us takes place in this reality. That is why in matters regarding action, such an axiom tends to be a given (regardless of the thinkers belief/assumptions).

On your other idea presented: My point wasn't regarding efficiency in particular, but survival. My idea was rooted from an evolutionary standpoint. Our language capability is one of the main factors that separate us from animals. When human beings began civilizations, thus cultures, we put ourselves beyond physical survival. We became capable of designating our own belief structures because practicality became less and less of a priority. Belief in a higher being is a result of our inquisitive nature- the same root philosophy was founded from. Religion has been seen by many as a primitive form of philosophy. Where religion explains things via belief, philosophy explains things via wisdom. Both religion and philosophy supply us with metaphysical explanation, which in turn provides us with ethics; identity; guidance in choice; and perceptions on the most important matters.


(To clear things up, in this post, when I mention reality I refer to reality as perceived. Existence, on the other hand, is leveled down to simply existing. Everything we perceive exists, whether as an illusion or as something that is real, or what ever it may be. Existence is my only certainty. Reality, on the other hand, could be deceptive.)
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2007 07:22 pm
@Faun147,
Faun147 wrote:
If you have some philosophical evidence that shows that we are real, I certainly want to see it. While we have perception, which essentially takes place in our mind, the possibility of reality as we know it could be an illusion.



I don't know whether we could be an illusion (after all, who would be the "we" who are the illusion?) but why would the mere possibility that something is an illusion be any reason for thinking that it was an illusion, and therefore, not real? Would the possibility that you were a female be any reason for thinking you were not a male (if you were a male)?
 
NeitherExtreme
 
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2007 08:20 pm
@NeitherExtreme,
I think some of this might go back to what kennethamy was saying about accurate language.I served on a civil jury not long ago, and our charge in deliberation was akin to weighing the matter on a scale deciding which side seemed more probably acurate, even by "one grain of sand" is what they kept saying. This stands apart from a criminal trial where it is suposed to be proved beyond a "reasonable doubt". I think we often get confused in conversations when we bring our unspoken version of what "evidence" or "proof" would be. As far as I see, there seem to be 3 major versions:
1- more likely than not
2- most likely (beyond a reasonable doubt)
3- beyond all possible doubt
Does this make any sense? Is there a general consensus on what words should describe which ideas?
 
 

 
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