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Buddhism - Four Noble Truths - Suffering

 
 
hue-man
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Apr, 2009 09:15 am
@Aedes,
Aedes wrote:
You don't seem to be following what I'm saying.


What I meant to ask was -- you still don't believe that we have access to objective truth?

Aedes wrote:
I do believe that. But how is what I believe synonymous with objective truth?


I am saying that the sentence, "I am sitting on a chair and typing right now", is an objective statement that is absent of individual sentiment or opinion. It is a fact. I'm not saying that belief is synonymous with objective truth. I'm saying that to believe in an objective statement is to accept the objective truth of such a statement.

Aedes wrote:
Right. And insofar as science employs a finite number of observations, a finite number of subjects, a finite number of scientists, but is unable to control for a nearly infinite number of potential variables, science will never be able to deliver us a truth that meets your definition.


I don't think you understand what I mean by objective truth. When I say objective I mean ": of, relating to, or being an object, phenomenon, or condition in the realm of sensible experience independent of individual thought and perceptible by all observers : having reality independent of the mind." That is all that I mean. You are confusing my statement of objective truth with a statement of the absolute certainty of knowledge.
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Apr, 2009 09:46 am
@hue-man,
hue-man wrote:
What I meant to ask was -- you still don't believe that we have access to objective truth?
Truth is what it is. But so long as we are not omniscient, our apprehension of truth will be neither complete nor objective. The "objective truth" of something can be surmised by our confidence in the supportive data, but it can never be actually known.

hue-man wrote:
I am saying that the sentence, "I am sitting on a chair and typing right now", is an objective statement that is absent of individual sentiment or opinion. It is a fact.
An objective statement is not the same as an objective truth. If you said "I am sitting on the moon and typing right now", that statement would have the same absence of sentiment or opinion, yet would NOT be a fact.

And insofar as my conception of you sitting on a chair typing is what's in question, I can say that based on my understanding and experience of chairs, keyboards, and the internet I find it completely plausible that your statement is true. But that is not an objective fact -- that is something I surmise.

hue-man wrote:
I'm saying that to believe in an objective statement is to accept the objective truth of such a statement.
But as I've shown with the moon, the structure of an objective statement doesn't make it true -- the plausibility of such a statement is contingent upon its content. If you said subjectively "I hate sitting on this crappy chair," and then said "I am sitting on the moon," the first statement would be subjective and the second objective. But the first would be believable and the second not.

hue-man wrote:
I don't think you understand what I mean by objective truth. When I say objective I mean ": of, relating to, or being an object, phenomenon, or condition in the realm of sensible experience independent of individual thought and perceptible by all observers : having reality independent of the mind." That is all that I mean.
Well, to have reality independent of the mind can only be ascertained if you have a point of view that is independent of the mind. Having a billion "observers" does not of logical necessity ordain a perceptible thing as having "reality independent of the mind". But it does increase our confidence about the likely truth of agreement among these observers.

hue-man wrote:
You are confusing my statement of objective truth with a statement of the absolute certainty of knowledge.
That's because you're the only person I've ever seen draw a distinction between the two. If you mean "objective truth" in a sort of functional way, which it seems you do, then that's fine but that's not truly objective truth (i.e. truth independent of our judgement as such).
Zetherin
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Apr, 2009 10:53 am
@Kage phil,
hue-man,

The differentiation attempting to be made here is between "objective truth" and "intersubjectively agreed upon objective propositions". Aedes is noting we do not have access to the former, but this does not mean he isn't taking into account the latter. Of course he realizes the latter exists, understanding your example of smaller objects being attracted to larger objects (in terms of mass). Sure, we do regard this as knowledge. But, here's what I believe you're not considering: One can have justified, true belief in something and still be incorrect. You must consider that we have had justified, true belief in many things over the centuries and have been incorrect; knowledge is tentative, our understanding of the world around us is tentative [An example being: Medieval mathematicians believed we could square a circle]. As much as we *believe* we have a grasp on everything, we could be completely wrong.

As for "objective truth", I'm not entirely even sure what it refers. A truth implies a consciousness experiencing, does it not? A truth wouldn't exist without a consciousness experiencing any more than a word would exist without a language. And a consciousness experiencing implies some level of subjectivity. I understand the argument could be made that even without a consciousness experiencing, a "truth" could just... be. But, well, I wouldn't call this a "truth" at all. Hm.
hue-man
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Apr, 2009 11:42 am
@Zetherin,
Zetherin wrote:
hue-man,

The differentiation attempting to be made here is between "objective truth" and "intersubjectively agreed upon objective propositions". Aedes is noting we do not have access to the former, but this does not mean he isn't taking into account the latter. Of course he realizes the latter exists, understanding your example of smaller objects being attracted to larger objects (in terms of mass). Sure, we do regard this as knowledge. But, here's what I believe you're not considering: One can have justified, true belief in something and still be incorrect. You must consider that we have had justified, true belief in many things over the centuries and have been incorrect; knowledge is tentative, our understanding of the world around us is tentative [An example being: Medieval mathematicians believed we could square a circle]. As much as we *believe* we have a grasp on everything, we could be completely wrong.


I never said that knowledge (justified true belief) couldn't be wrong. I am being misunderstood here. I've already stated that knowledge (justified true belief) is a provisional and practical concept. Synthetic propositions are always subject to doubt and continued testing. If our knowledge turns outto be wrong then it is no longer justified true belief because it is then known to be false. This really has nothing to do with my point about objectivity.

Zetherin wrote:
As for "objective truth", I'm not entirely even sure what it refers. A truth implies a consciousness experiencing, does it not? A truth wouldn't exist without a consciousness experiencing any more than a word would exist without a language. And a consciousness experiencing implies some level of subjectivity. I understand the argument could be made that even without a consciousness experiencing, a "truth" could just... be. But, well, I wouldn't call this a "truth" at all. Hm.


No, no, no . . . An objective truth needs a conscious mind in order to be experienced, an objective truth does not need a conscious mind in order to exist. That is the point that I'm trying to make.
0 Replies
 
Zetherin
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Apr, 2009 11:51 am
@Kage phil,
Quote:
I never said that knowledge (justified true belief) couldn't be wrong. I am being misunderstood here. I've already stated that knowledge (justified true belief) is a provisional and practical concept. Synthetic propositions are always subject to doubt and continued testing. If our knowledge turns outto be wrong then it is no longer justified true belief because it is then known to be false. This really has nothing to do with my point about objectivity.
Ok, then what exactly is the issue being raised between you and Aedes? It seems everyone is on the same page, then.

Quote:
No, no, no . . . An objective truth needs a conscious mind in order to be experienced, an objective truth does not need a conscious mind in order to exist. That is the point that I'm trying to make.
I understand what you mean by it (objective truth), but, as I noted, it confuses me (I detailed why it confuses me). I guess the only issue I can see here is that you believe we have access to this "objective truth" and Aedes does not. And I'm out on the sidelines because I really don't even have an understanding of the concept. If something isn't being rationalized, how can it be a truth? Isn't the word by it's very nature subjective? I presume you're using "objective truth" with "just is"; the way reality "just is". But if noone were around to experience it, you'd still call it a "truth"?
hue-man
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Apr, 2009 11:53 am
@Aedes,
I'm trying to come to a consensus with you, because I believe that most of this debate is due to semantics and misinterpretation. This has gone on for way too long.

"of, relating to, or being an object, phenomenon, or condition in the realm of sensible experience independent of individual thought and perceptible by all observers : having reality independent of the mind."


Having reality independent of the mind simply means that objective truth does not need a conscious perception of it in order to exist. It will exist regardless of whether it is perceived or not.

I didn't say that an objective statement was the same as an objective truth. I'm saying that your belief in an objective statement entails your acceptance of the statement as being true. Are you honestly trying to understand what I'm saying or are you just preparing a counter argument while you read what I type?
0 Replies
 
Zetherin
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Apr, 2009 11:56 am
@Kage phil,
Quote:
I didn't say that an objective statement was the same as an objective truth. I'm saying that your belief in an objective statement entails your acceptance of the statement as being true. Are you honestly trying to understand what I'm saying or are you just preparing a counter argument while you read what I type?
How do we have access to "objective truth", then, if our objective statements are just accepted truth propositions (which you agree are tentative)?

And I edited my post before you replied, by the way. I'm not quite sure who the last question was aimed at. I haven't provided any counter argument, just trying to clarify.
0 Replies
 
hue-man
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Apr, 2009 12:00 pm
@Zetherin,
Zetherin wrote:
Ok, then what exactly is the issue being raised between you and Aedes? It seems everyone is on the same page, then.

I understand what you mean by it (objective truth), but, as I noted, it confuses me (I detailed why it confuses me). I guess the only issue I can see here is that you believe we have access to this "objective truth" and Aedes does not. And I'm out on the sidelines because I really don't even have an understanding of the concept. If something isn't being rationalized, how can it be a truth? Isn't the word by it's very nature subjective? I presume you're using "objective truth" with "just is"; the way reality "just is". But if noone were around to experience it, you'd still call it a "truth"?


I think that the debate between me and Aedes is mostly due to semantics and misinterpretation.

I understand why you may be confused, but I think it's because you're over-thinking the concept, which us philosophers have the tendency to do. Words are like symbols that we use to verbally describe reality. Whether we are around to use terms like truth to describe it does not have an impact on whether that reality will exist or not.
Zetherin
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Apr, 2009 12:10 pm
@hue-man,
hue-man wrote:
I think that the debate between me and Aedes is mostly due to semantics and misinterpretation.

I understand why you may be confused, but I think it's because you're over-thinking the concept, which us philosophers have the tendency to do. Words are like symbols that we use to verbally describe reality. Whether we are around to use terms like truth to describe it does not have an impact on whether that reality will exist or not.


Understood.

Please answer this:

How do we have access to "objective truth", then, if our objective statements are just accepted truth propositions (which you agree are tentative)?
hue-man
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Apr, 2009 12:42 pm
@Zetherin,
Zetherin wrote:
Understood.

Please answer this:

How do we have access to "objective truth", then, if our objective statements are just accepted truth propositions (which you agree are tentative)?


I don't know that truth propositions are tentative, in the sense that we can never be certain of them. I just think that a synthetic proposition is always open to questioning and inquiry, especially scientific hypotheses and theories. We can, however, be certain of scientific facts in the sense that we can be certain about anything. Scientific facts are the only objective truths that we can be certain of.

That last post was directed at Aedes' last post, not yours.
0 Replies
 
Zetherin
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Apr, 2009 03:49 pm
@Kage phil,
You typed:

Quote:
I don't know that truth propositions are tentative, in the sense that we can never be certain of them.
Then you typed:

Quote:
I never said that knowledge (justified true belief) couldn't be wrong
It's been demonstrated we can never be 100% certain (in terms of what we *know*). In fact, most scientific propositions (if not all) carry with them a certain level of uncertainly.

Quote:
I just think that a synthetic proposition is always open to questioning and inquiry, especially scientific hypotheses and theories. We can, however, be certain of scientific facts in the sense that we can be certain about anything. Those are the objective truths that we can be certain of.
Yes, we can *feel* these objective propositions are certain if we'd like. But, as you note, everything is always up to question, no matter how *certain* we feel we are. The reason why it isn't preferred to use "objective truth" is because the absolute best we can do is come to intersubjective agreement within a certain time in history, believing whatever to be knowledge. To obtain "Objective truth" would imply we can transcend consciousness, feeling, thought, and all human foibles. We wouldn't be alive, let alone human. We would just be, and besides some metaphysical belief system, that doesn't seem probable or possible. This is what Aedes is referring when he says we don't have access to "objective truth".

All this really is just semantic wrangling, because what I just noted, "come to intersubjective agreement within a certain time in history" is synonymous with what you consider "objective truth". We're on the same page, I think we (Aedes and then I) were just taking it one further.
hue-man
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Apr, 2009 04:57 pm
@Zetherin,
Zetherin wrote:
You typed:

Then you typed:

It's been demonstrated we can never be 100% certain (in terms of what we *know*). In fact, most scientific propositions (if not all) carry with them a certain level of uncertainly.

Yes, we can *feel* these objective propositions are certain if we'd like. But, as you note, everything is always up to question, no matter how *certain* we feel we are. The reason why it isn't preferred to use "objective truth" is because the absolute best we can do is come to intersubjective agreement within a certain time in history, believing whatever to be knowledge. To obtain "Objective truth" would imply we can transcend consciousness, feeling, thought, and all human foibles. We wouldn't be alive, let alone human. We would just be, and besides some metaphysical belief system, that doesn't seem probable or possible. This is what Aedes is referring when he says we don't have access to "objective truth".

All this really is just semantic wrangling, because what I just noted, "come to intersubjective agreement within a certain time in history" is synonymous with what you consider "objective truth". We're on the same page, I think we (Aedes and then I) were just taking it one further.


Objectivity is not "intersubjective agreement within a certain time in history". I'm not talking about knowledge (justified true belief). I'm talking about the actual vs. the ideal. The former's existence is mind-independent and the latter's 'existence' is mind-dependent. Here's some examples of my access to objective truth -- it is objectively true that I am a homo sapien that is sitting on a chair and typing. It is also objectively true that the earth revolves around the sun. You and Aedes are assuming that because our access to information is through the use of the mind, we somehow cannot know anything thats existence is independent of our perception of it. I really don't think that I can articulate myself anymore.
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Thu 23 Apr, 2009 04:07 am
@Kage phil,
Quote:
The former's existence is mind-independent


Surely the existence of anything 'mind independent' is hypothetical, is it not? Isn't this what Kant meant by 'ding an sich', thing-in-itself, which he always held is not experienced or known by us.

Personally I think your allegiance to 'absolute objectivity' is an article of faith or an expression of something you believe or would like to believe, not a statement of fact.
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Thu 23 Apr, 2009 04:41 am
@hue-man,
hue-man;59496 wrote:
You and Aedes are assuming that because our access to information is through the use of the mind, we somehow cannot know anything thats existence is independent of our perception of it. I really don't think that I can articulate myself anymore.
We can know the aspects of something that are NOT independent of the mind. But we can only surmise any aspect that IS independent of it.

With what do we "know" if not with the mind?
0 Replies
 
hue-man
 
  1  
Reply Thu 23 Apr, 2009 07:04 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs wrote:
Surely the existence of anything 'mind independent' is hypothetical, is it not? Isn't this what Kant meant by 'ding an sich', thing-in-itself, which he always held is not experienced or known by us.

Personally I think your allegiance to 'absolute objectivity' is an article of faith or an expression of something you believe or would like to believe, not a statement of fact.


This sounds like an argument for idealism (especially when you mentioned Kant) and absolute skepticism. That's the only way a philosopher can call objectivity (mind-independent existence) an article of faith. Both idealism and absolute skepticism have lost the battle for a reason.
0 Replies
 
Eudaimon
 
  1  
Reply Thu 23 Apr, 2009 10:14 am
@Kage phil,
This discussion has gone far from its intial topic Smile.
But as long as you started speaking about objective truth, I should like to remember the father of materialism - Epicurus. He taught that everything that senses discover us is truth. And I also doubt that we can reject this, just because here we take something that we understood from externals (even the very idea that senses may lie) to be real and something dubious. But he also spoke that visions of an insane are also true. Does it mean that we have many realities? Or that my reality is only my reality?
I should like to hear your opinions.
hue-man
 
  1  
Reply Thu 23 Apr, 2009 10:52 am
@Eudaimon,
Eudaimon wrote:
This discussion has gone far from its intial topic Smile.
But as long as you started speaking about objective truth, I should like to remember the father of materialism - Epicurus. He taught that everything that senses discover us is truth. And I also doubt that we can reject this, just because here we take something that we understood from externals (even the very idea that senses may lie) to be real and something dubious. But he also spoke that visions of an insane are also true. Does it mean that we have many realities? Or that my reality is only my reality?
I should like to hear your opinions.


An insane person's hallucinations are not reality, but distortions of it. These hallucinations and delusions of reality can be explained in physical terms. That's why the ideal (idealism) is an inadequate explanation for material (or physical) events and instances.
Eudaimon
 
  1  
Reply Thu 23 Apr, 2009 11:21 am
@hue-man,
hue-man wrote:
An insane person's hallucinations are not reality, but distortions of it. These hallucinations and delusions of reality can be explained in physical terms. That's why the ideal (idealism) is an inadequate explanation for material (or physical) events and instances.

Try to explain to an insane that what he feels is distorted reality and what thou feelst (and he doesn't) is "real" reality.
hue-man
 
  1  
Reply Thu 23 Apr, 2009 11:25 am
@Eudaimon,
Eudaimon wrote:
Try to explain to an insane that what he feels is distorted reality and what thou feelst (and he doesn't) is "real" reality.


I'm not a psychologist or a neurologist, and fortunately, I don't encounter insane people in my day to day life. lol
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Thu 23 Apr, 2009 04:59 pm
@Kage phil,
Sure there is a difference between delusion, hallucination and veridical perception. But you can't dismiss the constructive role of consciousness in the creation of perception of objects. The thing perceived and the act of perception are always seamlessly conjoined.
Quote:
Both idealism and absolute skepticism have lost the battle for a reason.


Well maybe you are correct in the sense that these philosophical positions were defined in the past. Maybe. But surely you are aware that many believe that quantum physics has undermined the idea of absolute objectivity and of philosophical objectivism? I think the notion that reality is composed of absolute objects was really shot down with the discovery of quantum mechanics. It has been definitely shown that on the sub-atomic level, many 'objects' do not 'exist' until they are measured. Which leads many to wonder if they really are 'existing objects' in the everyday sense of the term.

I don't believe that this means that reality 'exists in the mind'. As soon as you say 'in the mind', the listener will try and form a concept of 'what is the mind in which this occurs?'. Invariably, this become an image of something 'going on inside your head'.

However, mind, or consciousness, being that which synthesises all the raw sense data and computes it as 'existing object' and the like, is never, and cannot be, an object of perception. There is no such 'thing' as consciousness. Sure, some materialists will feel that they have 'explained' consciousness, but who or what is doing the explaining? We cannot be object to ourselves. (This is what David Chalmers calls the 'hard problem of consciousness', correctly in my view.)

The belief you have in absolute objectivity is in fact a religious belief that developed in the West, as a result of the development of Western scientific and religious thought. It is the flipside of Protestantism. It is characteristic of a specific religious outlook, namely, the religion of secularism, and the idea that Truth is ultimately objective, and the Science is the only valid means of discoveing truth, and the only true knowledge is scientific knowledge.

Just so long as we're clear about that.
 

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