Is it even possible for people to truly agree on anything?

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Reply Wed 25 Mar, 2009 01:10 am
Theoretically, if I were to take a number of people, one at a time, to look at a tree and asked each one what they see, they would all say, "A tree." I can know this would be the result without actually taking people to look at a tree through inductive logic. For example: Based on simple observations, I can reason that most, if not all people have learned to call a tree a tree. I can therefore assume that it is highly unlikely a person, asked to look at a tree and tell me what they see, would say, "A fish!"

However, if I were to then ask each one what they mean by "A tree." I would get all kinds of different answers. I can know this through deductive logic. For example, here's a simple syllogism:

Each individual possesses a unique idiopathic nature.

This unique idiopathic nature is a filter (if you will) through which a person experiences reality.

Each individual has a different interpretation of reality.

My point is, while everyone may say "A tree." I cannot be sure what they actually mean by that. The only thing I can be sure about are words and their assigned definitions, which are just more words. If this is true, and reality really is in the "I" of the beholder, how can it even be possible for people to truly agree on anything? If it is impossible for people to truly agree on anything, what are the implications?
 
Caroline
 
Reply Wed 25 Mar, 2009 01:44 am
@thing-N-ghost,
Interesting point thing-N-ghost and a good job too else life would be boring, too boring for words if we all though the same but I think what we discuss is how far someones view, thoughts, lifstyle impinges on others to the extent of it being harmful to the individual and society itself.
 
Parapraxis
 
Reply Wed 25 Mar, 2009 08:29 am
@Caroline,
Apologies for backing such a banal point using a wise-sounding paradox, but perhaps all we can agree on is to disagree?
 
rhinogrey
 
Reply Fri 27 Mar, 2009 03:20 pm
@thing-N-ghost,
thing-N-ghost wrote:
Theoretically, if I were to take a number of people, one at a time, to look at a tree and asked each one what they see, they would all say, "A tree." I can know this would be the result without actually taking people to look at a tree through inductive logic. For example: Based on simple observations, I can reason that most, if not all people have learned to call a tree a tree. I can therefore assume that it is highly unlikely a person, asked to look at a tree and tell me what they see, would say, "A fish!"

However, if I were to then ask each one what they mean by "A tree." I would get all kinds of different answers. I can know this through deductive logic. For example, here's a simple syllogism:

Each individual possesses a unique idiopathic nature.

This unique idiopathic nature is a filter (if you will) through which a person experiences reality.

Each individual has a different interpretation of reality.

My point is, while everyone may say "A tree." I cannot be sure what they actually mean by that. The only thing I can be sure about are words and their assigned definitions, which are just more words. If this is true, and reality really is in the "I" of the beholder, how can it even be possible for people to truly agree on anything? If it is impossible for people to truly agree on anything, what are the implications?

A great topic.

My epistemological position is that no one will agree upon the conclusions reached. What we have to understand is the inevitable subjectivity of these conclusions, and instead of trying to objectify them with our philosophy, we should target the actual source of objective universality in experience. Because the conclusions reached are so entrenched into prior histories, contextual information and most of all the big 'P' word -- Perspective -- that there is little one can do to reconcile with his own conclusions the conclusions of someone with a radically different worldview. I've found that in many debates, you must take on the perspective of your opponent as best you can in order to fully understand and therefore sufficiently oppose his argument. This rarely happens, and debates never reach a satisfying conclusion because it descends into a game of intellectual catch, and the ball being thrown is "perspective." With that said, I think people in general are too dogmatic to shift perspectives in debates, much less in everyday conversation; and in everyday life one shouldn't have to -- For the variety that comes with subjectivity is glorious, and part of what makes the world that great big exciting ball of adventure it is.

The way I see it is that the universal aspect of human experience is one of epistemological concern--that is, there is universality in the ways by which we come to know objects, but never in the objects in themselves. In debates we should shift our focus from the conclusions to the ways in which we reach conclusions. We must search for and find our humanity before we can transcend it.
 
Fido
 
Reply Fri 27 Mar, 2009 08:20 pm
@thing-N-ghost,
Agreeing is what we do best... Agreement makes all things possible...As Shakespeare said: when two people ride a horse, some one has to sit in front... Getting there together is the story of our existence...

rhinogrey wrote:
A great topic.

My epistemological position is that no one will agree upon the conclusions reached. What we have to understand is the inevitable subjectivity of these conclusions, and instead of trying to objectify them with our philosophy, we should target the actual source of objective universality in experience. Because the conclusions reached are so entrenched into prior histories, contextual information and most of all the big 'P' word -- Perspective -- that there is little one can do to reconcile with his own conclusions the conclusions of someone with a radically different worldview. I've found that in many debates, you must take on the perspective of your opponent as best you can in order to fully understand and therefore sufficiently oppose his argument. This rarely happens, and debates never reach a satisfying conclusion because it descends into a game of intellectual catch, and the ball being thrown is "perspective." With that said, I think people in general are too dogmatic to shift perspectives in debates, much less in everyday conversation; and in everyday life one shouldn't have to -- For the variety that comes with subjectivity is glorious, and part of what makes the world that great big exciting ball of adventure it is.

The way I see it is that the universal aspect of human experience is one of epistemological concern--that is, there is universality in the ways by which we come to know objects, but never in the objects in themselves. In debates we should shift our focus from the conclusions to the ways in which we reach conclusions. We must search for and find our humanity before we can transcend it.

The universal aspect of human experience is the form... Inside the form we relate, and agree...If you do not accept the predicate, or the rules of the form, you do not have a relationship... Having the relationship means you agree in advance to work things out...
 
rhinogrey
 
Reply Fri 27 Mar, 2009 08:31 pm
@rhinogrey,
Fido wrote:
The universal aspect of human experience is the form... Inside the form we relate, and agree...If you do not accept the predicate, or the rules of the form, you do not have a relationship... Having the relationship means you agree in advance to work things out...

I have no idea what you mean.
 
Fido
 
Reply Fri 27 Mar, 2009 08:56 pm
@rhinogrey,
rhinogrey wrote:
I have no idea what you mean.

Forms are the universal quality in human experience.... We do not change ourselves, because we cannot... When we change, we do not change the essential person, because that is based upon biolgical needs... What we change is forms, and we all do it, and we all exist in many forms at the same moment... And I trust, that even in great forms like religions and nations, that we relate to all people one at a time, with the form providing a structure, and we cannot escape them... If we can talk to some one there is the form... We can only be more formal and less formal...We cannot relate totally without form...
That is what I mean...
 
rhinogrey
 
Reply Fri 27 Mar, 2009 09:03 pm
@thing-N-ghost,
I think you and I might be saying similar things with different words, though. I would say the 'form' originates from the conscious mind. Do you disagree?
 
Fido
 
Reply Fri 27 Mar, 2009 09:21 pm
@thing-N-ghost,
Forms as ideas are a representation of reality... We also use forms to recreate our reality, as when we use the idea/form of a house to build a house...Or use the form/idea of government to create a government.... Essentially, all forms are forms of relationship... And, yes, forms are how we grasp reality...In the sense of kant, that knowledge is judgement, each form is a judgement...If we say, the sky is blue, we have invoked a minimum of three forms to define a certain situation, which is again, a judgement... The language we both understand is a form, for example essential to the relationship...It is practically simple, and theoretically complex beyond belief... Fortunately we do not have to understand forms to use them...If we want to grasp all human behavior, and all human history I think we must have a practical understanding of forms...Look at the Declaration of Independence...Jefferson and the founding fathers seemed to share a practical understanding of forms, so they also had a correct estimation of human behavior in relation to forms...That is what I mean...
 
Thunkd
 
Reply Sat 4 Apr, 2009 09:35 pm
@thing-N-ghost,
thing-N-ghost wrote:
My point is, while everyone may say "A tree." I cannot be sure what they actually mean by that. The only thing I can be sure about are words and their assigned definitions, which are just more words. If this is true, and reality really is in the "I" of the beholder, how can it even be possible for people to truly agree on anything?


I agree that you can't really be sure what someone means when they say "A tree", some may mean part of a forest, some may mean a home for birds, some may mean a source for lumber. However, we have social conventions of what the word tree means, and these correspond to our experience of reality sufficiently for us to communicate. If you tell me there is a tree there, I can deduce a general idea of what you mean and the implications of what it may mean for me. My understanding will not be perfect and will not fully coincide with yours, but it's good enough to be useful for both of us. I can tell you to take a left at the tree, or to cut down the tree, or to describe the tree to me, and you'll be able to respond appropriately.

There is also a hidden notion in the phrase "for people to truly agree on anything" It presupposes that there is a "truth" to what something is that is more than just the collections of perceptions that we have about it.
 
YumClock
 
Reply Tue 21 Apr, 2009 11:13 pm
@thing-N-ghost,
Reincarnation is possible. Eventually, if the universe lasts long enough, a being with your exact DNA sequence will reappear somewhere in the universe.
Perhaps, a bit more likely, the exact same neurons will fire in two people's brains at the exact time.
Thus, they have the same image of something.

Point of post: It's extremely unlikely.
 
grimm psykos
 
Reply Tue 21 Apr, 2009 11:49 pm
@thing-N-ghost,
Yumclock: despite the fact that currently, if we exist as we exist currently for the entire duration of the existence of the universe, it is possible that two beings with the exact DNA sequences may exist... first of all there is the whole nature v. nurture argument, where - through environmental/cultural/social/technological differences - two people with the same DNA would be extremely different. This is the same argument that people use in response to the morality of cloning (in terms of, would you clone your best friend/mom/dad/significant other if they died so that you could have them back.)

Second of all, DNA is constantly changing. This is shown through the recombination of DNA during sexual reproduction, where some traits will die out, and others will form... even the genetic disorders (for example, Huntington's, Alzheimer's...) that affect our genes change with each generation. Therefore it is not possible for two people to have exactly identical DNA. There will be at least one base difference.

I digress. Possible for people to truly agree on something? Yes. If they are of the same opinion, even if they have different motivations, then they are agreeing. Actually, the combinations of their opinions would create a stronger argument toward their opinion. Also, there are some that agree without verbalizing. The likelihood that there are at least two people amongst a large group that agree, even if one agrees without verbalizing, is great.

Point: it's a matter of opinion.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 23 Apr, 2009 08:45 am
@YumClock,
YumClock wrote:
Reincarnation is possible. Eventually, if the universe lasts long enough, a being with your exact DNA sequence will reappear somewhere in the universe.
Perhaps, a bit more likely, the exact same neurons will fire in two people's brains at the exact time.
Thus, they have the same image of something.

Point of post: It's extremely unlikely.



Hmmm. I agree with a lot of people that the Earth is round. And that it is now about 10:45 am in the eastern part of the United States.
 
Ultracrepidarian
 
Reply Sun 26 Apr, 2009 03:49 am
@kennethamy,
While I basically agree (opps) that definitions matter, I don't think having completely identical definitions is the only kind of agreement. It is a rather difficult to know exactly how one defines one's own concepts let alone convince someone else of yours, although people do accomplish it all the time, and it is often necessary to do professionally.

So, yes, it is possible and happens all the time. If it is dissimilar defintions which you think make true communication of ideas possible, then doesn't agreeing (sorry) on a common definition resolve that problem?
 
 

 
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