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Thread: Any certainty in the Theory of Justified True Belief?

  1. Top | #11
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    When I look up and see the reflection of a pretty blonde in the mirror, while it is true that I did not see her directly, I did see her. No? Why, because it is only the reflection I actually saw?

    When I turn about and gaze directly at her, then it’s still not the case I saw her? Because our brains could only detect a mental percept?

    I cannot sense the ground beneath me because I can only access some internal map and therefore can never be so certain that it’s impossoble to be mistaken?

    When I looked at the reflection and saw that she was blonde, I could be mistaken, but even if I am not, I cannot infallibly declare knowledge, but that (I keep saying) is no matter. Even if there is a percept between what my brain senses (an internal mental percept) and what outward things that served as sensory input, when I say (I) saw something, that encapsulates whatever my brain is capable of directly sensing). I am sensing the territory no matter the limitations my brain can receive signals from an internalized map.

    If I say I know something and am not mistaken in my justified true belief, then more times than not, I know what I say I do.

  2. Top | #12
    Elder Contributor DBT's Avatar
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    Though incomplete, our information about the world is being tested against an objective reality as we go about our daily lives...incomplete information does not mean that we know nothing, or that every aspect of the world is uncertain.

    .

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    Contributor Speakpigeon's Avatar
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    Objective reality is a subjective construct. It is at best the subjective impression different people may have that they somehow share the same subjective belief as what they subjectively believe would be other people. All objectivity is irredeemably subjective. Objectivity is a particular kind of subjectivity. You can only test your beliefs against other beliefs. Everything you come to think is at the most a process inside your brain. It doesn't go out of your brain to possibly touch the reality of things. The brain receives data and that's all it could possibly know of: data, not the real things beyond the data. It can't ascertain the source of the data or even the reality of any source. All it can do is process the data and present the data in such a way as to make sense and this is what you will be aware of, i.e. a subjective model of the outside world entirely based on the data that your brain cannot possibly verify the source of.

    Of course, we're free to believe what we want. We can believe, rationally, that the model produced by our brain is reliable and accurate. Less plausibly, we can believe that the real world outside is really like the subjective model of it presented to us by our brain. Still, believing this is already a stretch. It's called, for good reason, "naive realism". And if you accept that the actual world isn't anything like what your subjective model of it says, then what do you know of the world?

    And, yes, the lovely blonde you see walking past you is in fact all a made-up cartoon part of your subjective model. It's in fact all inside your mind. You know it as such and you know it because it is inside your mind. You don't know whatever it is, if anything, which may be the real object beyond your subjective representation.
    EB

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    Elder Contributor DBT's Avatar
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    Objective reality is that which doesn't cater or conform to anyones assumptions or beliefs, desires, hopes, fears or wishes, ie, the Universe at Large.

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    Contributor Speakpigeon's Avatar
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    Objective reality is based on what we observe. It is an inference from observation. Observations are all entirely subjective. Whatever you somehow infer is also an idea inside your mind. Sure, you want to think of it as existing outside your mind and I do to. But we shouldn't confuse what we mean (the outside world) and what we mean it with. We mean the outside world but what we mean it with is just another idea inside our mind, a subjective thing. We know the idea, not what the idea is an idea of.

    Objective facts are subjective ideas of what we think exists as inferred from our subjective observations. I see a tree, my perception is a subjective event, and I infer the existence of what we call a tree, in the outside world, an objective tree, but my idea of this objective tree is still inside my mind. You never get to know anything except subjective events. And some of these events are beliefs of an objective world. You know the belief, not the world itself, if any.

    Still, there's no problem in believing there's an outside world. Even if there isn't, things still are going as if there was one, so far at least.
    EB

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    Quote Originally Posted by Speakpigeon View Post
    Objective reality is a subjective construct. It is at best the subjective impression different people may have that they somehow share the same subjective belief as what they subjectively believe would be other people. All objectivity is irredeemably subjective. Objectivity is a particular kind of subjectivity. You can only test your beliefs against other beliefs. Everything you come to think is at the most a process inside your brain. It doesn't go out of your brain to possibly touch the reality of things. The brain receives data and that's all it could possibly know of: data, not the real things beyond the data. It can't ascertain the source of the data or even the reality of any source. All it can do is process the data and present the data in such a way as to make sense and this is what you will be aware of, i.e. a subjective model of the outside world entirely based on the data that your brain cannot possibly verify the source of.

    Of course, we're free to believe what we want. We can believe, rationally, that the model produced by our brain is reliable and accurate. Less plausibly, we can believe that the real world outside is really like the subjective model of it presented to us by our brain. Still, believing this is already a stretch. It's called, for good reason, "naive realism". And if you accept that the actual world isn't anything like what your subjective model of it says, then what do you know of the world?

    And, yes, the lovely blonde you see walking past you is in fact all a made-up cartoon part of your subjective model. It's in fact all inside your mind. You know it as such and you know it because it is inside your mind. You don't know whatever it is, if anything, which may be the real object beyond your subjective representation.
    Welcome to your first freshman bong hit. I know this will come as a shock to you, but you didn't make any of that shit up or discover it on your own. This has been well debated for millenia.

    We can only infer information about our world. We call this (inaccurately), "knowledge." So what? Every sentient/self-aware being has a fundamental choice to make due to a simple, brute fact: the observer can't know (i.e., directly experience) the observed. We must either accept that our senses are more-or-less accurately relating an objective reality, or don't accept it.

    Those who don't accept it can only do so academically, however, because, no matter what, they are acting as if they live in an objective reality in countless ways, so unless all they do is sit in a corner rocking back and forth with their eyes closed their entire lives, they will automatically be reacting as if they live in an objective reality.

    So, what are we basing the ability/efficacy to infer upon? Likewise, a myriad of different elements. All kinds of known brain disorders and physically based cognitive effects evidence how our brains--nearly across the board--process/distort reality, like natural and drug-induced hallucinations (and what kind of drug gives what kind of hallucination); dreams, and how it is that, while in a dream "we" are rarely aware that it's a dream and yet the second we wake up from a dream, we are suddenly, somehow, aware that we were dreaming (thus implying that there is some sort of meta-mechanism involved); and all manner of identity/memory/malfunction like alzheimer's and dementia and schizophrenia and DID/Multiple Personality and PTSD, etc, etc., etc.

    Iow, there is literally a mountain of empirical evidence, including shared responses/consensus and even something as simple as watching your dog suddenly start barking whenever another dog is on a TV screen. If you break that down, that alone means that a dog's brain is equally "fooled" by our technology that creates "reality" in ones and zeroes and millions of tiny color pixels turning on and off with a screen "refresh" rate every 60 times per second, to the point where a dog can not just recognize another dog, but feel it is so real that it must take up position like it would if that dog were actually in the room.

    Think about that for a moment. It's one thing for humans--an entire unique species, more-or-less--to have developed technology that allows us to mimic our reality, but the same technology acting in the same manner for us also allows a completely different species to react in the same manner, regardless of the fact that what they're actually looking at is millions of tiny light projectors turning on and off and changing colors millions of times per second.

    For me, that alone is incontrovertible proof that we exist in an objective reality. Is it first dependent upon my accepting that there is, in fact, a "dog" creature that exists independently of my subjective experience of that "dog" creature? Yes, but again, that goes back to the fundamental--PRIME--question we must all individually answer.

    Why in the world would another species see what we see in our technological reconstruction of reality--itself mimicking what our brains evidently do; i.e., reduce the infinite amount of information into a "redacted" or "truncated," I guess, reflection of it--unless there actually is an objective reality that both species can independently assess as the same and is being in any way accurately reconstructed?

    We are all "brains in vats," it's just that the "vat" is actually a skull. And yes, in theory, we--the constructed self--have no way of confirming whether or not it's all just some matrix-like machine manipulating our senses or not, but at the same time, as with our dream states, we do seem to have some sort of innate capacity to determine our objective conditions. Call it "telemetry;" call it whatever you want, but the brain/body is directly connected to the trillions of bits of information that the brain/body directly experiences as a physical condition of existing in a quantum universe.

    So what we're really talking about is the constructed self; the animated analogue that our brains maintain and update and augment and imbue with literally everything and use now primarily for social interaction, but were evidently created initially--however many tens of thousands of years ago in our evolution-- for survival purposes; for strategic abstract problem solving scenarios.

    In short, the brain/body experiences; the constructed analogue self is imbued by the brain with a drastically edited down version of any given experience (like a low resolution video) for the purposes of general feedback and social interaction and that's basically where we will always be.

    Whoop dee fuckin do. Why this ever goes beyond freshman bong sessions is anyone's guess, but it always does in some form of argument from incredulity; like we're all supposed to just go, "WOW! Ok, everyone stop what they're doing. Reality is a construct!"

    Yeah, we know. And...?
    Last edited by Koyaanisqatsi; 07-06-2019 at 06:53 PM.

  7. Top | #17
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    I can (and do) directly experience the outward objective world.

    My brain cannot do that no more than can my brain drive itself to the local convenience store, but I can.

    My brain cannot directly experience the outward objective world. It’s not like it can reach out and touch the objects of the outer objective world. Perhaps the brain can detect only the snapshot-like inner percepts (the map), but I (oh, the great me) can and does so with great ease.

    The limitations of one is not the limitations of the other—at least it’s not a 1:1 ratio. Of course, there can be no me without a brain, but there is more to me than my brain. I have a body with senses—senses that sense the world. There is no medium between me and the outer objective world—unlike the brain which can only directly sense inner things.

    My brain doesn’t know things. My eyes don’t see things. My ears don’t hear things. I know things. I see things. And yes, I hear things, but don’t take that the wrong way, lol.

    When I speak of the objective world, that’s different than if I’m speaking of the subjective world—or the mental immaterial mind that IS SAID TO exist because of the quite material and physical functioning brain (and central nervous system). Language massively complicates things. I do believe the mind exists, but I have a rather broad scope for the term. The construct used to describe this realm exists, but don’t let me go down that road.

    Instead, let us turn from the metaphysical to the epistemological. My stance (on the metaphysical side) is that the world is out there. If there was no actual planet, where would the trees grow to undergo that fancy photosynthesis thingy that allowed dinosaurs to breath? On the epistemological side, while my brain doesn’t know stuff, I (that would be me, not the necessary organ for there to be me) do know things.

    However, could I be mistaken? Not likely, but definitely a logical possibility. But like I keep saying, a possibility of mistake does not matter. An analysis of the JTB Theory of Knowledge yields a necessary truth condition, but what’s important is not that the belief MUST be true. What’s important is that the belief IS true.

    That I’m not mistaken (not that I cannot be mistaken) is the key. If we hold the bar for something to be knowledge so high that mistakes can’t even be logically possible, then I dare say that how fluent non-philosophizing speakers of language use the term is quite different.

    See, this is what happens. We have to stay within the rails. As soon as we get in the grip of a theory, we take certain words and broaden their scope to extremes. Yes, I do know my name. No, I am not imbued with God-like certainty. But, that’s just it; I don’t have to prove that mistake is an impossibility.

    If fifty thousand people have a justified belief for what their name is, it’s acceptable to claim knowledge. When it turns out that one of the fifty thousand people’s belief was false, then notice:

    49,999 cases of a justified true belief and
    1 case of a justified false belief.

    So, he thought he knew but didn’t. The JTB theory of knowledge isn’t an epistemological road map that will help out the next set of fifty thousand people who also so happens to have one mistake maker in the crowd.

    Now, you want to deny that anyone actually knows. Well, they do know: 49,999 of them anyway.

    It’s curious, even if our brains could directly sense the objective world we are all apart, that doesn’t negate the possibility of mistake.

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    Elder Contributor DBT's Avatar
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    Our brain is an aspect of the physical world detecting other aspects of the physical world, EMR waves, patterns, etc, and forming an internal representation of that information, be it an accurate mental representation or not, it is being tested by the world at large as we negotiate our way through it.

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    Elder Contributor DBT's Avatar
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    Subjective and Objective

    ''Subjective and objective are adjectives that describe two different ways of knowing.

    Objective refers to objects and events in the world that anyone can, in principle, observe. Subjective refers to feelings and experiences that depend on the individual's own particular viewpoint and traits.''

    Objective knowledge.

    Anyone can look through a telescope; therefore, looking through a telescope provides objective knowledge (see, however, Hetherington, 1983) and see that the planet Jupiter has moons around it. In the 16th century, Galileo (Figure 1) pointed his primitive telescope at Jupiter and was the first person to see these moons.

    His opponents in the great debate that was raging over the nature of the universe could have looked through the telescope and seen the same thing, but they refused. They wanted to preserve their belief in an eternally changeless and perfect universe which remained just as God had created it. To preserve this belief, they applied the way of knowing about the world they understood: logical argumentation rather than objective observation. Galileo was acting as a modern scientist; his opponents were not.

    Bias and objectivity.

    Objectivity includes the idea of the absence of bias in observation. Unfortunately, no individual can be fully unbiased, no matter how hard s/he tries. Everyone comes with preconceptions, preferences, desires, etc., which they often cannot even recognize they have and often have a very hard time shedding them, when the biases are pointed out. The scientific enterprise approaches the goal of being unbiased by the debate between people having different sets of biases.''

    The Objective Reality

    ''The objective reality is the collection of things that we are sure exist independently of us. Every person is able, in principle, to verify every aspect of the objective reality. Anything that cannot be verified in this way is not part of the objective reality. The 20m tall ironbark tree in my neighbour's yard is part of the objective reality. It's presence can be verified by any person by simply looking at it, or a surveyor determining its position, by taking a photo of it etc. Moreover, the absence of the tree would imply that the tree does not belong to the objective reality.

    Recall that the sensation of seeing the colour red lies in our subjective world. To make a direct comparison with the objective reality first note that the colour of light is related to the light's wavelength, i.e. the distance between adjacent waves that the light is made of. Now consider a device, called a spectroscope, for measuring the wavelength of light in terms of a small fraction of a metre. Such a device can be used to establish objectively that a beam of light is red based solely on the measured value of the wavelength. The wavelength value can be checked and verified (or otherwise) by any person. When technicians compare their measurements of the wavelength they are comparing elements of the objective reality and not sensory information.''

  10. Top | #20
    Mazzie Daius fromderinside's Avatar
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    Reality is. Objective reality is what one thinks is objective reality is either by accepting that which may be gathered observation, experience, and experimental results presented as current theory or a summation of one sensing what is about one as processed by one. IOW there are two extreme possibilities, general objective reality and personal objective reality, implying there are a number of other possibilities between them.

    What we seem to be arguing about is whether what one has determined or what one's species has determined is objective reality.

    Seems to me that if we accept that language requires common agreement which can be justified by most everyone using it then the superior of the two positions is that of general objective reality.

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