Is Unconscious Knowledge Possible?

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kennethamy
 
Reply Wed 12 Mar, 2008 07:40 am
@saiboimushi,
saiboimushi wrote:
Then let us be mysterious and deny that the phrase "does not (necessarily) represent a real state of affairs" means "is not true."


Then, I don't know what you mean by the phrase, "does not represent a real state of affairs".
 
saiboimushi
 
Reply Wed 12 Mar, 2008 11:43 am
@kennethamy,
But ... I tried to explain it in the following sentences of that very same post. Sad

I suppose I need to sit down and think about how I want to express what I'm trying to say, and then I'll come back and explain it to you guys. Hopefully.
 
saiboimushi
 
Reply Wed 12 Mar, 2008 11:50 am
@Vasska,
Vasska, I do intend to open a new thread in which we will attempt to formulate a perfect definition of man, knowledge, etc. I have a few other little posts to write first, and then we'll let the games begin. :p

Here's another analogy. When an engineer conceptualizes a design for a skyscraper, his idea of that skyscraper does not exist materially (i.e., does not represent a physical state of affairs) until the skyscraper is built. Though his idea is just an idea, it isn't false--it's just metaphysical.

Instead of saying "real state of affairs," I should have said "physical state of affairs."
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Wed 12 Mar, 2008 03:28 pm
@saiboimushi,
saiboimushi wrote:
Vasska, I do intend to open a new thread in which we will attempt to formulate a perfect definition of man, knowledge, etc. I have a few other little posts to write first, and then we'll let the games begin. :p

Here's another analogy. When an engineer conceptualizes a design for a skyscraper, his idea of that skyscraper does not exist materially (i.e., does not represent a physical state of affairs) until the skyscraper is built. Though his idea is just an idea, it isn't false--it's just metaphysical.

Instead of saying "real state of affairs," I should have said "physical state of affairs."


What would a perfect definition be? And how would it be recognized?
 
saiboimushi
 
Reply Wed 12 Mar, 2008 04:27 pm
@kennethamy,
I don't know Very Happy .... yet? :confused:

God, I love Smilies.

Ok, ok. Here's a spontaneous attempt at an answer. An architect designs a building, draws up the plans; and these plans would be recognized as (or would be viewed as representing) a building, even though the building didn't yet exist.

Now, it may happen that the building never gets built. Money might dry up, and the poor architect might one day be sleeping in a gutter somewhere--a true philosopher. But he did think of a building! Not the only building there is, but one building, one possible building. It would be perfect in the sense that it was a complete idea of a building, and was conceptualized according to the laws of engineering.
 
Glauber
 
Reply Fri 14 Mar, 2008 11:24 am
@saiboimushi,
saiboimushi wrote:
1. In order to have knowledge of a thing, a person must at least have-or be able to summon-a true mental image of it. By "true," I mean that the qualities of the image correspond exactly to the qualities of the thing that is known; i.e., the image "looks exactly like" the thing that is known.


I'm not sure if I understand what you mean by "mental image", but if I do, what about our knowledge of our sensations and feelings? For example, I know that I feel pain right now, but I don't have a mental image of pain.
 
saiboimushi
 
Reply Fri 14 Mar, 2008 11:27 am
@Glauber,
That's an excellent question. I would categorize non-visual sensations as images, though others might disagree with me.
 
Glauber
 
Reply Fri 14 Mar, 2008 11:54 am
@saiboimushi,
saiboimushi wrote:
Kennethamy, I think you're right. My fiance does, on one level, see the stapler; but she does not see that the stapler is there. How in the world do we explain this phenomenon?


Maybe Freud can explain that. This is what he calls a "faulty act". When I look at something but don't see it, certainly there's a mental process acting to prevent my perception of the object I'm looking at. Here we have the mechanism of repression acting in order to avoid mental disturbance.

According to Freud, faulty acts like this occur because the object I'm looking at would, through a chain of associations, reach repressed material, what would bring me displeasure, disturbance. So, to avoid that, the psychic apparatus does not allow me to "see" this thing that would fire the process.

But there's still another explanation. Maybe my perception is not prevented because of an unconscious association, but simply because this perception would imply, for example, the carrying out of a task. Maybe I don't see the stapler because I don't want to work anymore, and this wish tries to be fulfilled through this faulty act. Unconscioulsy, it would be something like: "Oh, the stapler is gone, I don't see it, so I don't have to work anymore".
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 15 Mar, 2008 07:06 am
@Glauber,
Glauber wrote:
Maybe Freud can explain that. This is what he calls a "faulty act". When I look at something but don't see it, certainly there's a mental process acting to prevent my perception of the object I'm looking at.


But she did see the stapler. She did not see that it was a stapler. Someone who had never seen a stapler before might look directly at a stapler, but since he does not know what a stapler is, he sees the stapler, but he does not know that he is seeing a stapler. The girl, presumably, knows what a stapler is, so that cannot be the cause of her seeing the stapler, but not knowing that she is seeing a stapler. But since she sees the stapler, she is not prevented from seeing the stapler, as you write. The question now is, why does she not see that it is a stapler, although it is a stapler she (does) see?
 
Glauber
 
Reply Sat 15 Mar, 2008 11:42 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:
But since she sees the stapler, she is not prevented from seeing the stapler, as you write.


If you read my last post again you'll see that I wrote "see" between quotation marks. When the mechanism of repression acts, it does not prevent the image of the stapler to be formed mentally, but this "not seeing" is something like a disconnection between that image and any meaning it may have in the psychic life of the observer. In other words, the "not seeing" is a disconnection between the image and its meaning, so the observer looks at something but doesn't "see" it.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 15 Mar, 2008 11:54 am
@Glauber,
Glauber wrote:
If you read my last post again you'll see that I wrote "see" between quotation marks. When the mechanism of repression acts, it does not prevent the image of the stapler to be formed mentally, but this "not seeing" is something like a disconnection between that image and any meaning it may have in the psychic life of the observer. In other words, the "not seeing" is a disconnection between the image and its meaning, so the observer looks at something but doesn't "see" it.


Maybe he does not see it as a stapler, if that is what you have in mind by "meaning". I don't think staplers have much "meaning" in the life of most of us. I think that distraction is a more plausible explanation.
 
de Silentio
 
Reply Sat 15 Mar, 2008 12:36 pm
@saiboimushi,
On the stapler argument, the human mind can only compute so many things at one time, and being focused on something makes it so the mind cannot compute everything that the senses are 'picking up'. Knowing what objects are in the outside world requires the mind and the senses. It does not matter if the light from the stapler is entering the womans eye (how some of you have defined 'seeing'), if it is not being registered by the mind, she is not going to know that it is there.
 
Glauber
 
Reply Sat 15 Mar, 2008 03:16 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:
Maybe he does not see it as a stapler, if that is what you have in mind by "meaning". I don't think staplers have much "meaning" in the life of most of us. I think that distraction is a more plausible explanation.


No, that's not what I said. I'm using the word "meaning" in a more philosophical fashion. By "meaning" I don't mean "important" or something like that in the popular sense.

And "distraction" may be an explanation only when we are not looking for the object. But if I'm searching the stapler, look at it but don't "see" it, this is not distraction, and that's what Freud has shown us. "Distraction" was a good excuse we were free to use before Psychoanalysis, but not anymore.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 15 Mar, 2008 03:41 pm
@Glauber,
Glauber wrote:
No, that's not what I said. I'm using the word "meaning" in a more philosophical fashion. By "meaning" I don't mean "important" or something like that in the popular sense.

And "distraction" may be an explanation only when we are not looking for the object. But if I'm searching the stapler, look at it but don't "see" it, this is not distraction, and that's what Freud has shown us. "Distraction" was a good excuse we were free to use before Psychoanalysis, but not anymore.


So what does "meaning" in a "more philosophical fashion" mean? Anything? Psychoanalysis is a better excuse? I still like distraction myself.
 
Dustin phil
 
Reply Sat 15 Mar, 2008 04:43 pm
@kennethamy,
I would like to contribute the below to this thread.

Quote:


[CENTER]Knowledge
by Walter Russell

Knowledge is cosmic. It belongs to the still Light of the positive principle. It never can become a property of the two negations which constitute this mirage universe of matter in motion.

To "know all things" means to have all knowledge of the Whole One Idea of the cosmos as CAUSE. It does not mean knowledge of created things which are effect of cause. The whole Cosmic Idea is simple. It can be known by anyone of average intelligence. Its bewildering complexities lie in effect of cause.

Man cannot know transient effect. He can KNOW cause only. He can but comprehend effect. Man cannot know a sunset sky, for example, but he can comprehend it if he knows its cause. Knowledge is, therefore, limited to cause.

All knowledge exists. All mankind can have it for the asking. It is within man, awaiting his awareness of its all-presence.

Knowledge cannot be acquired by the brain from without; it must be "recollected" from the conscious of Self. Gradually dawning conscious awareness is but gradual recollection of the all-knowing which has always been within man.

Man cannot acquire knowledge from books or schools. He can but acquire information that way, but information is not knowledge until it is recognized by the spiritual consciousness of man, just as food is not the nourishment for the body until it becomes a part of the bloodstream. Information gained by motion of the senses must be returned to the stillness of the Source before it becomes knowledge.

For the same reason man cannot acquire knowledge from the so-called "facts of matter," for there are no facts of matter in a universe of transient matter in motion. All matter in motion is but a series of illusions which deceive man into drawing wrong conclusions.

It is impossible for man to draw right conclusions from his observation of matter in motion until he has acquired the ability to translate dynamic effect back to cause. This he can only do through decentration to the One Light of his conscious awareness of the Source of all knowledge. Until he knows WHY of effect and its deceptions, he has no knowledge whatsoever upon which he can rely. He has naught but unreliable information.

Information concerning the body, for example, does not give knowledge concerning the cause of body, or of the body's relationship to the universe. Information of birth and death of the body, on the assumption that the body is Self, never can lead to knowledge that body is not Self, or that Self is immortal.

Nor can information concerning the material body alone, its chemistry and its functionings, heal the body. Bodies manifest life, but life is cosmic. Life is not in the body. Life is spirit, and spirit is still. Life is not chemistry or germ of matter. To heal the body so that it can manifest life of the spirit Self of the body, one must give the unbalanced body the balance of the spirit. Knowledge of the Light alone can do this. All the information in the world will not heal a body unassisted by the Light in him who heals and in him who is being healed.

[/CENTER]
 
Glauber
 
Reply Sat 15 Mar, 2008 05:22 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:
So what does "meaning" in a "more philosophical fashion" mean? Anything? Psychoanalysis is a better excuse? I still like distraction myself.


No, it doesn't mean "anything". These words are yours, not mine. "Meaning" is not an easy term to explain, but in Philosophy it may be defined as what a sign, object, statement or symbol refers to or represents.

The meaning of a stapler may be, for example, a reference to some of the ideas or concepts people may have about staplers, such as mental pictures of it.

And Psychoanalysis is not an excuse, but an explanation. And you are free to like whatever you want, but I don't know why in the world you are expressing your personal preferences in a Philosophy forum, instead of discussing the subject and showing your arguments and refuting what you disagree with. Have you ever read Freud? What are your arguments against his explanation of the faulty acts?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 15 Mar, 2008 07:33 pm
@Glauber,
Glauber wrote:
No, it doesn't mean "anything". These words are yours, not mine. "Meaning" is not an easy term to explain, but in Philosophy it may be defined as what a sign, object, statement or symbol refers to or represents.

The meaning of a stapler may be, for example, a reference to some of the ideas or concepts people may have about staplers, such as mental pictures of it.

And Psychoanalysis is not an excuse, but an explanation. And you are free to like whatever you want, but I don't know why in the world you are expressing your personal preferences in a Philosophy forum, instead of discussing the subject and showing your arguments and refuting what you disagree with. Have you ever read Freud? What are your arguments against his explanation of the faulty acts?


I like distraction not because I prefer it, but because it is a less complex explanation than the Freudian which, in any case, I find incomprehensible. The term "stapler" does not refer to the idea of "stapler'. The idea of stapler is what the term, "the idea of stapler" refers to.

It seems to me that if in philosophy "meaning" is not an easy word to explain, then it would be better not to use it until you understand what it means. And, certainly, you should not expect others to understand what it means unless you understand it well enough to be able to explain it to them.
 
Glauber
 
Reply Sun 16 Mar, 2008 11:59 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:
I like distraction not because I prefer it, but because it is a less complex explanation than the Freudian which, in any case, I find incomprehensible.


Ok, so that's your "reason": you like what is less complex, without being able to refute or even to understand more complex explanations. My friend, that's not Philosophy.

Distraction is certainly a less complex explanation, and also more superficial and, in many cases, the wrong one. I'm really sorry if you have ever tried to read Freud but didn't understand him. Few authors are so clear, and I think that one who doesn't understand him will understand nobody else in this world.

kennethamy wrote:

It seems to me that if in philosophy "meaning" is not an easy word to explain, then it would be better not to use it until you understand what it means. And, certainly, you should not expect others to understand what it means unless you understand it well enough to be able to explain it to them.


I didn't make up this definition. That's the way it is defined in a dictionary of Philosophy, and even the author of the dictionary says it is a difficult term to define. He should have heard your advices before publishing his book.

I can now realize that you have no idea what the whole trend of Philosophy is about. I won't discuss with you anymore. As a student of Philosophy I think it's wiser to avoid engaging emotional discussions. If you "like" or "prefer" this or that without showing arguments, I can do nothing, for that's not Philosophy.
 
de Silentio
 
Reply Sun 16 Mar, 2008 12:28 pm
@saiboimushi,
Glauber, since you are done with kennethemy, perhaps you wouldn't mind picking up the discussion with me.

From what I understand, and I am no expert in this matter, one has to be careful when they use Freud in an argument. Hasn't much of what he put forth been shown false? Maybe this is not the case with Mechanism Repression.

Also, It's interesting that you bring meaning into the discussion. I just read an overview of Wittgenstein, and your definition of meaning seems much like the definition that he put forth in his Tractatus. Which he then went back and refuted.

Quote:

In other words, the "not seeing" is a disconnection between the image and its meaning, so the observer looks at something but doesn't "see" it.


For this to be the case, wouldn't the observer have to loose the meaning of what a stapler is? This doesn't seem like a plausible thing to happen, for the observer has, I assume, experienced staplers many times in their life, and they will eventually find the stapler, which would imply that they once again have the meaning. Or is this where your Freudian Repression comes in, but then we are resting on Freud's psychoanalysis being correct.
 
saiboimushi
 
Reply Sun 16 Mar, 2008 01:32 pm
@de Silentio,
Wow. Walter Russell's ideas eerily resemble the metaphysics of Mary Baker Eddy. Thanks, Dustin, for posting that excerpt, since I've never heard of Russell before. He's definitely unconventional, but he's also full of fascinating insights.
 
 

 
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