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  1. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Liquid_Laser View Post
    I do not understand these two statements taken together. You say are saying that the facts exist whether or not we know them, but I shouldn't be concerned with what I can and can't know? Put together this means that I shouldn't be concerned with the facts, which means I shouldn't be considered with the truth.
    I mean to say that there is no practical difference between thinking that an idea is true and knowing that an idea is true (or even pretending that an idea is true), since knowing confers no special benefit over and above thinking. The traditional definitions of "knowledge" have surprisingly little to do with the facts or the truth, and can be safely ommitted without important consequence. If you would prefer to redefine "knowledge" then please do so, but nothing depends upon terminology.
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  2. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by cafe View Post
    A spherical lollipop with a chewy chocolate-ish center.
    Well, that is a must-buy when I return to the US. Thank you. One day, perhaps, I will finally answer that question.
    A criticism that can be brought against everything ought not to be brought against anything.

  3. #53
    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nocturne View Post
    Well, that is a must-buy when I return to the US. Thank you. One day, perhaps, I will finally answer that question.
    We can hope, but you'll probably bite it as soon as it gets soft enough, just like everyone else does. Still, if anyone could, it would be you! I believe in you!
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  4. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    We can hope, but you'll probably bite it as soon as it gets soft enough, just like everyone else does. Still, if anyone could, it would be you! I believe in you!
    *cue training montage*
    A criticism that can be brought against everything ought not to be brought against anything.

  5. #55
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Should be clarified that in pursuit of truth we should be first and foremost concerned with what is 'true' or what corresponds with the facts. What is useful should have no bearing upon our inquiry into what is true. That is a wholly seperate question. It is a mistake to attempt to infer how likely a statement is to be true based on its ostensible usefulness.

    As for the correlation between the two, it should be stated that not always true statements are more useful than the false for reasons provided by nocturne (this allows us to organize our activities around the facts.)

    First and foremost, as aforementioned, if you are a politician it will be more useful to you to lead others to embrace a false notion so they could be more easily manipulated. Yet this presupposes you knowing the truth (and thus organizing your activity around the facts) and them being deprived of this.

    This is not a statement in favor of a possibility of an advantage of ignorance of what is true, but only a reinforcement of the claim that knowing the truth is more beneficial than otherwise.

    The maudlin and feeble minded people are best off not knowing the truth, as they simply cannot handle it. Some may argue that 'positive thinking' has its merits. For example, that it is better to think you're going to get the job before an interview when in reality you may have no idea. Or that if you're to die in 5 hours, its best that you do not be informed. This is because they will likely have an intense emotional reaction which will carry a disastrous impact on their whole lifestyle and in effect prevent them from effectively organizing their activities around the facts. Being informed of the unpleasant truth will not even allow them to do that, as they will distort their view of the situation to better fit their vision of what appears to be more pleasant. In short, the whole point of telling them the truth is to make sure that they be informed so they could take advantage of such knowledge and organize their activities around the facts. This will not happen. Not only will they fail to register the 'truth' but you will also destroy them. Doesn't make any sense at all to see truth as a utility in this case.

    For the maudlin and the feeble minded, this is indeed so, yet it is best that the tough-minded individual be informed of what the truth is no matter how unfavorable it may seem to him at first.

    So to summarize, I should say that for a rational and tough-minded person, it is always better to know the truth. For most people, not so much, its best that they be lied to. Because even if they did know the truth, they just aren't sharp enough to take advantage of it like the three of us in this discussion may.

    These are the grounds for my earlier claim.


    As for the correlation between the two, it should be stated that not always true statements are more useful than the false for reasons provided by nocturne (this allows us to organize our activities around the facts.)
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  6. #56
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    I think when you post the results of your research, you should use your old owl avatar.
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  7. #57
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nocturne View Post
    I mean to say that there is no practical difference between thinking that an idea is true and knowing that an idea is true (or even pretending that an idea is true), since knowing confers no special benefit over and above thinking. The traditional definitions of "knowledge" have surprisingly little to do with the facts or the truth, and can be safely ommitted without important consequence. If you would prefer to redefine "knowledge" then please do so, but nothing depends upon terminology.
    To all this we should add that thinking an idea to be true when in reality it is false should not count as knowledge.

    To address LL's point, I think he meant to say that we can never conclusively know what is true. As for example, at one point we had no idea that Newton's universe was false, but now we do. Maybe most things we consider true today will be shown to be false at a later time.

    Concerning this particular example, Liquid Laser also maintained that Newton's universe was a shadow, or only a small portion of Einstein's. From this we infer that he did not contradict what we now know to be true, but merely that it was incomplete.

    Thus, to sum it up, theories that we have no reason to regard as false at the moment should be currently held to be true. We think/know this, but we cannot certify that. (This again, is what LL seemed to be getting at). Ideas that we now view as true may be altered in the future because they are false or need to be further expounded upon.

    Thus, the distinction I believe Liquid Laser had in mind was the following, can we really rest comfortable with an idea (say that we KNOW it is the truth), when we are well aware that it could later be shown to be false?

    Does not seem so, we should not say that we 'KNOW' it to be true, we should only say that we 'THINK' that it is true for now.

    However, I would disagree with this claim. For the time being we can rest comfortable with what we know so long as the knowledge appears to be reliable. This is where the idea of 'usefulness' comes in. We never know if an idea is true for sure, but if we have good reasons to believe that it is true, we can treat it as if we knew for sure that it is true.

    Such an attitude, however, should not prevent us from further researching the problem and being open to ideas which may contrave what we currently hold to be true.

    So to sum it up, no there isn't a distinction between 'knowing and thinking' for things to be true. As we can rest confident with an idea when we have reasons to believe it reliable, despite that it may be refuted in the future.
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  8. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueWing View Post
    Should be clarified that in pursuit of truth we should be first and foremost concerned with what is 'true' or what corresponds with the facts. What is useful should have no bearing upon our inquiry into what is true. That is a wholly seperate question. It is a mistake to attempt to infer how likely a statement is to be true based on its ostensible usefulness.
    The pragmatist would argue that in the absence of any method of confirming that a true theory has been discovered, we should instead abandon that aim and simply concentrate on discovering useful theories. Of course, this is an ethical argument and concerns what the aim of scientific investigation ought to be, not an argument about the essential nature of science. The rebuttal is simple: the absence of a method of confirming that a true theory has been discovered does not preclude the discovery of a true theory, since the truth does not depend upon our search for it. However, the issue of truth and usefulness are not 'wholly seperate' questions, as you acknowledge elsewhere, because true theories are also useful theories.

    First and foremost, as aforementioned, if you are a politician it will be more useful to you to lead others to embrace a false notion so they could be more easily manipulated. Yet this presupposes you knowing the truth (and thus organizing your activity around the facts) and them being deprived of this.
    You are correct. To spread falsehoods may be useful for the politician, but only if it is true that the ideas being spread will be useful for him/her. I left that issue dangling intentionally for anyone reading to mull over. EDIT: In other words, it is not useful for the politician to act upon a falsehood any more so than anyone else, but it may be useful for the politician to get others to act upon a falsehood.

    So to summarize, I should say that for a rational and tough-minded person, it is always better to know the truth. For most people, not so much, its best that they be lied to. Because even if they did know the truth, they just aren't sharp enough to take advantage of it like the three of us in this discussion may.
    Well, that is a peculiar take on the situation.
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  9. #59
    Glowy Goopy Goodness The_Liquid_Laser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nocturne View Post
    I mean to say that there is no practical difference between thinking that an idea is true and knowing that an idea is true (or even pretending that an idea is true), since knowing confers no special benefit over and above thinking. The traditional definitions of "knowledge" have surprisingly little to do with the facts or the truth, and can be safely ommitted without important consequence. If you would prefer to redefine "knowledge" then please do so, but nothing depends upon terminology.
    So you are saying that I shouldn't be concerned with whether or not I can know truth, but I should pursue truth regardless of whether or not it is possible to know it? Does that sum up what you've said so far?

    Consequently from this pursuit of truth I will also discover ideas that are useful. But if I only pursue ideas that are useful, I may never discover true ideas. Therefore the only way to know both is to pursue knowledge of truth.
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  10. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Liquid_Laser View Post
    So you are saying that I shouldn't be concerned with whether or not I can know truth, but I should pursue truth regardless of whether or not it is possible to know it? Does that sum up what you've said so far?
    If you are interested in rational argument; scientific, metaphysical and ethical investigation, and the pursuit of truth, then there is little gained by concerning yourself with "knowledge" as it is traditionally defined. Wield reason effectively and exert your critical faculties for your desired ends, and you might just end up thinking many true things while "knowing" very little.

    Consequently from this pursuit of truth I will also discover ideas that are useful. But if I only pursue ideas that are useful, I may never discover true ideas. Therefore the only way to know both is to pursue knowledge of truth.
    Something like that.
    A criticism that can be brought against everything ought not to be brought against anything.

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