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  1. #1
    Senior Member TheLastMohican's Avatar
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    Default Rationalism, Empiricism, etc.

    This is for the discussion of your preferred method of building a proper outlook. Kiddo and I had a discussion about this on an another thread, and I wanted to move it here to stay on topic.

    At first I thought I was a rationalist, but then looked it up and discovered that it has a narrower meaning than I thought. I am actually somewhere in-between Rationalism and Empiricism, and maybe my view has a name.

    Kiddo stated that "Empiricism tempered by reason" is the pinnacle of human existence.

    I stated that being "perfectly rational" is the pinnacle of human existence (though apparently my understanding of "perfectly rational" differs from most).

    Bring on the heavy philosophy!

  2. #2
    Furry Critter with Claws Kiddo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duke of York View Post
    It is hard to define "valuing" reason or experience. Experience can mislead you, since it is not representative.
    That doesn't make any sense. Experience is our representation of reality.

    Reason, as long as it is correctly applied, is foolproof.
    Reason is only as good as the experience it is based upon. You can have foolproof reason, but it will only be true from your perceptions. It requires measurement and methodology (science) in order to develop the most foolproof representation of reality.

    What makes me not a true Rationalist is that I do not believe that reason alone can provide full understanding. The principles of reason must have basis in fact, which is proven through a large sample of experience (example: gravity is fact, because we have never seen it fail).
    Ah, it seems you are getting it. Evidence is gained only through science and observation, and those are derived from experience.

    (Speaking of that, you said my definition of empiricism was made-up and false; how so? I looked up the dictionary definition, and I did add "personal," but how does that change the meaning? You do not have experience outside of your personal experience.)
    You were making the argument that empiricism is the "world in our head" and you were doing so by arbitrarily redefining it to include the word "personal". That ignores that we share our experiences, and thus we encounter experiences that conflict with our perceptions. The rationalist, however, only values their own reasoning, and argues that since they can percieve it as perfect, it must be perfect in reality.

    I am starting a new thread, where you can continue if you like.
    I will post the link here...

    http://www.typologycentral.com/forum...tml#post164244
    I'll post this in that thread.
    Quote Originally Posted by Silently Honest View Post
    OMNi: Wisdom at the cost of Sanity.

  3. #3
    Senior Member TheLastMohican's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiddo View Post
    That doesn't make any sense. Experience is our representation of reality.


    I think you misunderstood. I was saying that experience is not a reliable representation of reality, because one person's experiences only include a small part of the total experiences of the world. Thus, basing your views on experience alone will usually lead to a wrong conclusion. I am thinking of this like the theory of probability in a coin toss. Experience might teach you that the coin lands heads up 60% of the time, but reason will tell you otherwise. Experience needs to be huge to be accurate. (It turns out we are talking about apples and oranges though; see the part about "personal" being part of the definition.)

    Reason is only as good as the experience it is based upon. You can have foolproof reason, but it will only be true from your perceptions. It requires measurement and methodology (science) in order to develop the most foolproof representation of reality.


    Hm, this depends on whether you believe there is a perfect line of reasoning. I believe that with only a small amount of knowledge you can figure out most everything if you have a full understanding of this perfect reason. Also, if you have all knowledge, you do not need reason at all. They complement each other, and the more you have of one, the less you need of the other. It sounds like you think there is no single ideal reasoning, only what we invent from our own experiences. Clarification?


    Ah, it seems you are getting it. Evidence is gained only through science and observation, and those are derived from experience.


    (Well, FYI, the only that has changed about my opinion is that I realized I do not fit the strict definition of "Rationalist.")
    I do not agree with you on this point, however. Evidence must start with some kind of experience, but it is possible to gain more evidence through reasoning that stems from that experience. I am referring to obvious correlations between whatever evidence you find and some other possible fact, which is in turn used as evidence for something else. Example: You find a fossilized T-Rex with the remains of another small dinosaur in its stomach region. Evidence is that you found it that way, and I think you don't need reason to conclude that the T-Rex ate the other dinosaur. But you could use your reasoning to conclude that the T-Rex died shortly after eating, because his digestive system did not have time to digest the dinosaur completely. You can then use this fact to build your hypothesis of how the T-Rex died, and so on. That is not a very good example, but others will come in time.

    You were making the argument that empiricism is the "world in our head" and you were doing so by arbitrarily redefining it to include the word "personal". That ignores that we share our experiences, and thus we encounter experiences that conflict with our perceptions. The rationalist, however, only values their own reasoning, and argues that since they can percieve it as perfect, it must be perfect in reality.


    Okay, so that's cleared up. I see what you mean now. Experience can represent all human knowledge if you count the experiences of other people that you learned about as being indirectly your own.
    I think we are making progress! Main barrier apparently being definitions.
    All others feel free to jump in add your opinion.

  4. #4
    Furry Critter with Claws Kiddo's Avatar
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    INTJs have a nasty habit of creating their own definitions for concepts so that they can fit into their own personal reasoning. It's a logical fallacy to do so because then those words are no longer representative of reality.

    Reason alone cannot create evidence. Reason only considers alternative possibilities from the available evidence and notes consistency. Therefore, reason is completely limited to the quantity and quality of experience. Reason also doesn't test whatever possibilities it derives, so it has no means of providing proof with which to substantiate evidence. Methodology and measurement are used to both increase the quantity and quality of experience and to experiment therefore providing proof with which to substantiate evidence. Your view is flawed because you believe with limited knowledge, you could perfectly reason out the entire world.

    Take for example the belief of spontaneous life. People used to observe maggots crawling from meat and frogs crawling out from the mud and so they reasoned that flies were created from rotting meat and frogs were created from mud. They had a piece of knowledge based on observation, "Flies found on meat, and frogs found in mud" but they incorrectly reasoned. Only via experimentation was this belief that had lasted for centuries able to be overturned, because the reasoning seemed so infallible. In fact all of our progress has been through science and the subsequent reasoning and testing of our experiences.

    Reason is only the tool of experience, and it cannot exist separate from it. Even in your own example. How would someone know that a dinosaur could eat another dinosaur unless they had observed animals eating other animals before? Reason is learned from our experience and it is limited by it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Silently Honest View Post
    OMNi: Wisdom at the cost of Sanity.

  5. #5
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    The pinnacle of human existence is embracing your instincts. Everything else is just a waste of living time. Rationality is just a tool to get more of what you want.

    Nietzsche had it right.

  6. #6
    Senior Member TheLastMohican's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiddo View Post
    INTJs have a nasty habit of creating their own definitions for concepts so that they can fit into their own personal reasoning. It's a logical fallacy to do so because then those words are no longer representative of reality.
    You sound pretty down on INTJ's. This is still an amicable debate, right? On the subject, I don't really have any choice but to form my own definitions of some of these terms; the dictionary definitions are too vague when the philosophy gets detailed. I can't very well find the "reality" of the word; it is just a word, without an ideal concept of its meaning backing it up. So what we have to do here is make sure we are talking about the same thing.

    Reason alone cannot create evidence. Reason only considers alternative possibilities from the available evidence and notes consistency. Therefore, reason is completely limited to the quantity and quality of experience. Reason also doesn't test whatever possibilities it derives, so it has no means of providing proof with which to substantiate evidence. Methodology and measurement are used to both increase the quantity and quality of experience and to experiment therefore providing proof with which to substantiate evidence. Your view is flawed because you believe with limited knowledge, you could perfectly reason out the entire world.

    Take for example the belief of spontaneous life. People used to observe maggots crawling from meat and frogs crawling out from the mud and so they reasoned that flies were created from rotting meat and frogs were created from mud. They had a piece of knowledge based on observation, "Flies found on meat, and frogs found in mud" but they incorrectly reasoned. Only via experimentation was this belief that had lasted for centuries able to be overturned, because the reasoning seemed so infallible. In fact all of our progress has been through science and the subsequent reasoning and testing of our experiences.

    Reason is only the tool of experience, and it cannot exist separate from it. Even in your own example. How would someone know that a dinosaur could eat another dinosaur unless they had observed animals eating other animals before? Reason is learned from our experience and it is limited by it.
    I find that this point about the role of reason is very difficult to prove either way. I do not agree with your view, but I can understand how your points support it. I am thinking also of the fact that reason and imagination has been used to form rather foreign concepts that we have never experienced, and can only attempt to understand in abstract terms. Think of wormholes, singularity, etc. The more I think about the logical process, I more I find the line between reason and experience blurred. Most reason is simply a restatement of evidence drawn experience, but there are some things that experience cannot be applied to (in any way that I can think of, that is).

  7. #7
    Boring old fossil Night's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maverick View Post
    The pinnacle of human existence is embracing your instincts. Everything else is just a waste of living time. Rationality is just a tool to get more of what you want.
    Everyone should pay attention to this.

  8. #8
    Senior Member TheLastMohican's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Night View Post
    Everyone should pay attention to this.
    I was struck by the absurdity of it all. Does anyone actually agree with it?

  9. #9
    Boring old fossil Night's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duke of York View Post
    I was struck by the absurdity of it all. Does anyone actually agree with it?
    Existence is absurd.

    Developing instruments towards its explication, moreso.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Night View Post
    Everyone should pay attention to this.
    Yes, I love to make blanket, cliché, statements

    Actually, I'm going to precise my position. We should embrace are instincts aslong as we don't stop anybody else from doing so and we respect people's boundaries and rights. Or else, social life would be a living chaos.

    The pinnacle of human existence consists in finding what is truly good for you and accepting who you are. Embrace your so called "irrationality" aslong as it doesn't have negative consequences for your life or others (it's all in our interest to ascribe to this as social beings).

    So, I believe epicurism tempered by rationalism is the pinnacle of human existence.

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