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  1. #1
    Ginkgo
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    Default How Do You "Prove" an Abstract Concept?

    I recently had a discussion with my father about how things such as apologies, forgiveness, love, and other abstract concepts are "proven". For instance, one couple might have a verbal exchange of "I love you", and "I love you", and find essential meaning within this exchange. There is an interpersonal transaction that is found therein. However, for others, the proof is in the pudding. To them you are not "sorry" unless you have proven your regret by their means. It should be noted that a concrete proof never actually satiates an abstract notion in my opinion, it only satiates a personal desire. Of course, there's another route: finding consistency within the abstract concept.

    How do you, as an individual, reconcile things of this nature?

  2. #2
    facettes de la petite mor Words of Ivory's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mystic Tater View Post
    How do you, as an individual, reconcile things of this nature?
    I don't. I just spend forever mulling over them.

    It is impossible to prove such thing. They require a leap of faith to believe is - that is why they are called abstract concepts, and not concrete ones.

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  3. #3
    The Destroyer Colors's Avatar
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    Yeah, it sounds unnecessary. If abstract things need proof, it's obviously abstract (intangible) proof. You can set A = 1, but you can also set A = 6. It doesn't really follow to compare apples and oranges.

    And of course that's a silly argument, because there is nothing that is totally abstract. And for some people, the sufficient level of concrete proof of "sorry" is simply the tone of the word. For others, the accompanying gestures and facial expressions. Gifts. Length of sentiment. Restitution, etc.

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    Senior Member InsatiableCuriosity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mystic Tater View Post
    I recently had a discussion with my father about how things such as apologies, forgiveness, love, and other abstract concepts are "proven". For instance, one couple might have a verbal exchange of "I love you", and "I love you", and find essential meaning within this exchange. There is an interpersonal transaction that is found therein. However, for others, the proof is in the pudding. To them you are not "sorry" unless you have proven your regret by their means. It should be noted that a concrete proof never actually satiates an abstract notion in my opinion, it only satiates a personal desire. Of course, there's another route: finding consistency within the abstract concept.

    How do you, as an individual, reconcile things of this nature?
    This is a really difficult concept to assess - saying that you are sorry or that you love someone can be just trite statements that have no depth. They are often merely expected politenesses, or may be used as leverage/collateral to achieve a given end even if there is no true intent. The abstraction lay in how the recipient of such a statement KNOWS whether the statement is true. Indeed is the verbal statement even necessary if the recipient KNOWS that the abstract exists - although it is nice to be told that someone loves you?
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  5. #5
    Lungs & Lips Locked Unkindloving's Avatar
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    Fe, probably. I assess what others need in order to believe in a concept and how far i am willing to go to meet that need. This isn't feigned either. If i can't meet their need genuinely, then there is no point in making the attempt.
    I also assess their believability. Commonly, i'm tuned into another person's sincerity and the only time i find fault in the assessment is if i'm compromised by my own thoughts and feelings. (This could actually become an elsewhere topic)

    Everyone's proof and proof requirements do tend to vary. The things that should be kept in mind are how genuine the proof is and how reasonable the requirements are. Given this also varies due to the individual, but starting with that awareness will leave even less room for gaps in understanding.
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    Senior Member Zangetshumody's Avatar
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    It seems to me the conversation with your father was a kind of specialized case of the 'problem of other minds'... There is nothing here that calls into question the cogency of anything abstract, just whether or not a person can truly ever be satisfied that some expected sentiment is being authentically experienced in another person's psyche.

    Well, we do know for certain that at least some people are sociopaths (supposedly they learn to act normal), and worst case scenario, this is all the matrix. Otherwise if your totally clueless in the commonsense department you could read a law textbook on evidence to learn how to infer 'proof' from sets of facts, or in this case, how to read behaviour, but obviously, its not a perfect science...

    "Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd." Voltaire


    By the way, what do you mean by "finding consistency in the abstract concept"?
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    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    In relation to God I've begun to dread anyone finding proof, it could just mean that the whole of existence blinks out.

  8. #8
    Senior Member KDude's Avatar
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    In most cases, it's probably best to not worry about trying to prove anything. It all depends on what your profession may be too, or if something really important is counting on it (and if that's the case, just speak with passion..that's all you have when it comes down to it), but in daily life, you're better off embodying the ideas and concepts important to you first.. you might help others see their worth that way.

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    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    I just got this vision of a scientist in a lab some place some how comprehending God perfectly and then spontaneously combusting or something like that or worse, evidencing it to their peers with a big equation and being like "Hence, it is clear... PFFT!!! Not even time for an "Oh Shit!"

  10. #10
    Senior Member Feops's Avatar
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    An emotionally abstract concept is proven when both parties agree it's been proven.

    Really, the approval of the other party is the only thing that matters. You're not trying to prove something definative with a single answer, like the water is a certain temprature or the sky is blue, you're trying to meet some qualification set by the other.

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