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

  1. Top | #21
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    If we make the common mistake that we are our brain’s and only privy to the beliefs we hold, it would be kind of like a Star Trek’s Moriarty not knowing whether he’s really on the ship or still on the holdeck.

    Speakpigeon doesn’t trust the other characters because they might not be real—they could just be signals forcefed to him by some evil Geordi La Forge.

    When you or I walk along the arboretum and see something large and heavy blocking our path, we walk around. When we see him walk around, we think he saw it too, but if the great mistake is made and he thinks he sees not a thing, what caused him to go around? His brain (or consciousness thereof) has access to something (but not the huge rock). There is a representative mental object that his brain has access to—or so the story goes. He feels he has no choice but to act as he trusts what his brain senses. Is there truly a door to the sick bay in front of him as he turns the corner, or is he stuck on the holodeck?

    Never mind the reasonings for why we should believe what we do. How do we test it? Remember what he said about B’s and O’s? His brain (or any of our brains) has a perimeter fence that denies observation beyond the confines of our thoughts. When your inner movie plays and your brain watches, you can’t help but hope the moving playing is a movie of real life with a trustworthy and direct feed to the outside world with no distortion.

    He thinks we really need to test that we’re not on the holodeck—and until we do, whatever it is we think we know is nothing more than what’s being piped in to us. To him, if we have to trust with no way to test, then what do we really (really) know?

  2. Top | #22
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    It, our internal model of the word based on EMR, etc, stimulating nerve cells, is being constantly tested. It doesn't matter what we believe or feel about a brick wall standing in our path, for example, it doesn't matter whether we see it or not, or deny its existence, the wall does not allow us passage, we cannot walk through it. The wall is there for everyone regardless of their subjective model of the world or what they believe or feel about it. Nobody can walk through it. The wall represents objective reality.

  3. Top | #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by fast View Post
    If we make the common mistake that we are our brain’s and only privy to the beliefs we hold, it would be kind of like a Star Trek’s Moriarty not knowing whether he’s really on the ship or still on the holdeck.

    Speakpigeon doesn’t trust the other characters because they might not be real—they could just be signals forcefed to him by some evil Geordi La Forge.

    When you or I walk along the arboretum and see something large and heavy blocking our path, we walk around. When we see him walk around, we think he saw it too, but if the great mistake is made and he thinks he sees not a thing, what caused him to go around? His brain (or consciousness thereof) has access to something (but not the huge rock). There is a representative mental object that his brain has access to—or so the story goes. He feels he has no choice but to act as he trusts what his brain senses. Is there truly a door to the sick bay in front of him as he turns the corner, or is he stuck on the holodeck?

    Never mind the reasonings for why we should believe what we do. How do we test it? Remember what he said about B’s and O’s? His brain (or any of our brains) has a perimeter fence that denies observation beyond the confines of our thoughts. When your inner movie plays and your brain watches, you can’t help but hope the moving playing is a movie of real life with a trustworthy and direct feed to the outside world with no distortion.

    He thinks we really need to test that we’re not on the holodeck—and until we do, whatever it is we think we know is nothing more than what’s being piped in to us. To him, if we have to trust with no way to test, then what do we really (really) know?
    There is no way to test it. It is a brute fact. That we can’t test it, I mean. We can only infer it. So then it becomes a question of how we support the inference (i.e., what evidence do we have)?

    As to “what do we really (really) know” that needs to be broken down. If you mean in the strict ontological sense, then “to know” means “to directly experience.” A constructed/animated analogue can only “directly experience” (if we can even call it that) its own construction. Everything else is imbued. So it’s meaningless to even use the terminology of epistemology.

    Only the body directly experiences a so-called “external” world (or what we would refer to as an “objective” world). The brain then processes all of the information gathered by the body sensory input device (which is really its primary function, with multiple different sensors providing trillions of bits of information every nano-second) and in some sort of feedback process, the animated analogue self helps the brain to strategically/critically assess the paired down information packets, if you will of literally every single instant of existence in a real-time animated fashion, with every nano-second a C + 1 redrawing (where “C” stands for “content”).

    It’s the whir of that process that we call “consciousness,” but really all it is is a nano-second delayed drawing/animation of an analogue self that has been imbued with a false autonomy; it can be placed in all manner of virtual scenarios (“maps” if you will) that the brain likewise constantly updates based on other telemetry about the body’s surroundings at any given moment.

    Iow, the brain is pushing the top hat around the Monopoly board it keeps in a separate file (along with the “Risk” board and the “Dungeons and Dragons” board and the “Candyland” board, etc., that it will instantaneously switch in—while still using the top hat—to see how to navigate through).

    So the question goes to how the body “knows” anything. When it comes to the brain/self, it’s not about directly experiencing; it’s about maps and virtual, algorithmic constructs, etc.

    How the body directly experiences is very simple. How the animated self is imbued by the brain not so simple, but evidently the case.

    Are there aliens in between the input device and the brain—or no input device to begin with—causing all of this? Possibly. But since it’s not possible to ever independently verify such a thing, the question is utterly useless.

    This is why there likely won’t ever be any extra-terrestrials. Any intelligent species that gets to this level of technology would realize that the little black box Moriarty exists in from that Star Trek episode is exactly what we will all eventually download into. Why bother with a body—or any of this universe’s perils—at all since we are already just brains in a vat? We can go anywhere, do anything already in our dream states, so we just need to take the next step to separate out the inferior material part.

  4. Top | #24
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    So many branches to this monsterous tree!

    A) I know that P is true
    Vs
    B) I’m certain (confident) that P is true
    Vs
    C) I’m certain (infallibly so) that P is true

    Let’s look at each in turn.

    ‘A’ is often said about things, but people want to deny that ‘A’ is hardly ever true when they realize ‘C’ is false. Heck, I actually agree with them in that ‘C’ is false, but that realization doesn’t cause me to deny ‘A’. If anything, I deny ‘C’ for all those things often said about.

    ‘B’ has no place in the conversation. It’s introduced so that it’s not confused with ‘C’

    ‘C’ goes by other names. For instance, when philosophizing, it’s generally the case that one who emphatically says, “but you don’t really or truly KNOWWWW,” that’s their way of denying ‘C’.

    Notice that ‘C’ includes the element of infallibility. If we’re infallible, we can’t be mistaken. But, the JTB is not a justified belief that guarentees that we cannot be mistaken. I know P when the justified belief IS true. How do we know? There’s an answer for that too, but it’s irrelevant, and if that path of reasoning was entertained and one concluded that a mistake is possible, then that too would be irrelevant. When a person has a justified belief, then with the exception of Gettier-type cases which merely point out that the necessary conditions aren’t sufficient, all that is left isn’t a requirement of infallibility and impossibility of mistake but instead the nonactuality of mistake.

    Another branch to this bulky tree:

    If there is knowledge (and I’m certainly (B) on the side of thinking there’s a lot for the having), who has it? Notice the “who.” The who is the person— not the organ that houses it.

    More slippage:

    D) the brain (or what’s inside the skull)
    Vs
    E) the entire person (brain, body, mind, toenails in serious need of clipping)
    Vs
    F) everything else that in fact will continue to exist when one dies (the rest of the objective world).

    There is no direct contact straight from D to F. So, I agree that our brain does not directly sense the objects before us.
    But, there is a direct contact (through senses) straight from E to F. That’s why I challenge the notion that we cannot directly sense the world around us.

    Any link from the brain to the outside world is an indirect link while any link from the person to the outside world is a direct link. When I see a reflection of a woman through a mirror, one may say I saw her indirectly, but when I muster the courage to turn and gaze back at her, ooh, even without direct tactile touch, I have directly sensed her presence: the beautiful and glowing radiance and ever so subtle perfume tapping at my every offactory receptor.

  5. Top | #25
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    That’s why I challenge the notion that we cannot directly sense the world around us.
    Well, that's just a category error. What is included in the word "we"? The constructed analogue self; aka, the observer? The whole body?

    I, obviously agree that the body directly experiences an objective reality. That is not the same thing, however, as what our animated selves experience, but I don't see a relevant difference.

    Other than in things like, we--so far as the animated self knows--don't see (or, I guess, experience) the infrared spectrum or the like.

    So, again, when the use of a pronoun is employed, what is actually being referenced is an illusory construct; an ongoing real-time animation that is merely imbued with just as much information as the brain deems necessary for that construct to be useful.

    But it's always and forever a product of the brain. It's Pinocchio, but it never gets to be a real boy in spite of the fact that the brain simply doesn't imbue it with that knowledge. It's Pinocchio thinking it's a real boy.

  6. Top | #26
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    Great, now I’m an illusion!

    Just illusory ole me who gets pulled over by illusory cops in illusory cars getting illusory tickets to be paid for by illusory money. Philsophy gets on my illusory nerves sometimes.

    I’m not an allusion. The word, “I” is a first person pronoun (a term) that refers to the first person (in this case, me, a person). I’m no illusion! I’m a person ... with wet shoes because I walked in a puddle of water while wearing them. Speaking of which, I need to dry them out. Couldn’t do that if they’re an illusion too. But gee, who’ll notice if everyone is an illusion?

    Maybe what I’m talking about isn’t an illusion. Maybe what you’re talking about is. So maybe, we’re not talking about the same thing. You mentioned “animated”? Sounds a lil cartoonish, but the only thing I can think of is what might be called the inner self or the syncoffany of internal films depicting for the brain what it cannot itself directly sense from the world outward of itself.

    Still, my brain (nor it’s animated friend) drove me to the store. I did that.

  7. Top | #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by fast View Post
    Great, now I’m an illusion!
    The "self" is most definitely an illusion. Or, better, illusory. This is unquestionable. We have numerous examples of how such constructs are created at will by the brain, such as in cases of dissociation under extreme trauma/stress conditions, like childhood rape or during times of war. Or, even simpler, every single night "you" enter a dream state where "you" are convinced that it's not a dream state (until "you" awaken).

    Or are you actually flying in a nuclear powered banana to Istanbul in the 1870s? No, that would be illusory, would it not? And yet your dream "self"--typically--can't tell the difference and even in the several moments after waking up remains convinced that "you" really were just flying in a nuclear powered banana to Istanbul in the 1870s.

    Maybe what I’m talking about isn’t an illusion.
    Well, once again, then, it comes down to a category error, like I said the first time. It all depends on what you're including with the word "we."

    You mentioned “animated”?
    Yes. The brain maintains a constructed "self" that is the analogue of the body/everything-about-us exactly like an animation, where it gets redrawn every nano-second (or however fast it actually is). Each time it gets redrawn, new information is added to it, only instead of it being like 24 frames per second (the way cartoon animation is), it's more like eight trillion frames per nano-second. Which is why for us there is the uncanny valley that animators haven't surmounted yet, but keep getting closer and closer precisely by adding more and more information into each frame.

    but the only thing I can think of is what might be called the inner self
    Yes, only you didn't think of it, I stated it outright.

    Still, my brain (nor it’s animated friend) drove me to the store. I did that.


    Once again, the "I" that is being referred to in that sentence is just a category. It all depends on what you are including in that category.

    If you wish to refer to the totality of the individual--i.e., its body, brain and identity/consciousness/self-awareness--in one unified whole, then you can say, "I" of course. But there is also a matter of the "self," which is constructed and maintained (aka, animated) by the brain and the fact that the brain is merely connected to the various sensory input devices, so that it never experiences any of the external world that the body does directly, which is what gives rise to the hard problem in the first place.

    And, again, we know the brain creates these illusory "selves" because there are numerous situations where the brain is damaged and such "identities" or "selves" or "personalities" whatever you wish to call them--"I's"--are broken or otherwise malfunction. And/or when you go to sleep, yet continue to experience.

    Or are you going to actually argue that dreams are not illusory?

  8. Top | #28
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    Two notions of "objective":
    Objective
    a. Existing independent of or external to the mind; actual or real: objective reality.
    b. Based on observable phenomena; empirical: objective facts.
    Definition (a) is metaphysical. We infer a metaphysical reality that we won't ever know. All we can do is believe there is an objective reality in the sense of (a).

    Only the second one, (b), corresponds to the scientific method: Based on observable phenomena; empirical.

    Pick the one you want. You're allowed to believe what you want.
    EB

  9. Top | #29
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    The self is not an illusion since we know it.

    What is illusory is to believe, as we all do, that the self is something beyond what we actually know of it.
    EB

  10. Top | #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speakpigeon View Post
    The self is not an illusion since we know it.
    Meaningless.

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