19
   

Can you ever really know another person?

 
 
eoe
 
  2  
Reply Sat 17 Jul, 2010 12:25 pm
My husband hates when i say this but what I've learned in my years on the planet is, "you can never put anything passed someone" meaning that you never know what another person might do, how low they will sink, how desperate they may become or what they may be willing to do, under any given circumstances. I can say that my husband will never cheat on me because I know him intimately and cheating simply doesn't seem to be a part of his character but who knows what may transpire five or ten years from now? Things happen. Those you think you know evolve and change. Someone said it earlier. People can surprise the **** out of you.
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Jul, 2010 12:30 pm
@Dosed,
I'm sorry you feel that way, because I know those experiences can be very hurtful and have an enormous effect on how you view other people - with distrust often- although they do not deserve to be viewed with distrust.

Of course people cannot know other people who are actively trying to deceive them or keep secrets from them. But I will tell you this, you have got to learn to separate those who would deceive you from those who wouldn't or you will spend your life cynical and sad and distrustful of people who deserve to be trusted.

An example from my own life. My son, the honor roll student and gifted athlete who I'd never picture smoking cigarettes or pot did. Now, I was not naive (as a highschool teacher - I immediately saw all the signs - his father told me I was wrong- I wasn't). I approached my son. He lied and said nothing was going on. He tried to deceive me.

Okay, now should I automatically assume that my daughter, his little sister, will be deceptive to me in the same way? Or should I view her on her own track record?

Some people DO NOT want to be known. Some people do. I think you can know the people who want to be known. And I think we fundamentally differ in the fact that I don't believe that all human beings are ever-deceitful. I've known too many people that I know would NEVER lie to me- this doesn't mean they would never do anything to hurt me - they might. But they wouldn't lie about it.
0 Replies
 
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Jul, 2010 12:37 pm
@kennethamy,
Quote:
Of course, as in all other circumstances, there is no real possibility of perfect prediction. Not even in the physical sciences, so surely not in the case of people.


This is what I'm saying: Knowing someone can sometimes mean exactly that I know that I can never know what they will do next - or that I know that they will in fact do everything they can to try not to let me know them.

That can be part of my accurate and informed view.

Knowing does not automatically imply 'trust'.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Jul, 2010 12:39 pm
@eoe,
eoe wrote:

My husband hates when i say this but what I've learned in my years on the planet is, "you can never put anything passed someone" meaning that you never know what another person might do, how low they will sink, how desperate they may become or what they may be willing to do, under any given circumstances. I can say that my husband will never cheat on me because I know him intimately and cheating simply doesn't seem to be a part of his character but who knows what may transpire five or ten years from now? Things happen. Those you think you know evolve and change. Someone said it earlier. People can surprise the **** out of you.


Yes. There is no perfect knowledge. Not about even objects, so certainly, not about people. But were we talking about perfect knowledge or infallible knowledge? I didn't think we were. I I don't think we should think that either our knowledge is infallible or else we have no knowledge at all. This would just be a case of black or white thinking, which is fallacious. Knowledge need not be infallible to be knowledge, and the possibility of error does not show that you do not know what you think you know. Only actual error can show that. So skepticism is (as always) justified (at least some). But the kind of cynicism you express is quite different.
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Jul, 2010 12:46 pm
@aidan,
aidan wrote:

Quote:
Of course, as in all other circumstances, there is no real possibility of perfect prediction. Not even in the physical sciences, so surely not in the case of people.


This is what I'm saying: Knowing someone can sometimes mean exactly that I know that I can never know what they will do next - or that I know that they will in fact do everything they can to try not to let me know them.

That can be part of my accurate and informed view.

Knowing does not automatically imply 'trust'.


But that is just what I am cautioning against. The fact that one cannot perfectly know (predict) other, surely does not justify that one "can never know what they will do next". That is clearly not true, and suggests what is called "the black or white" fallacy that in this case would be that unless you can infallibly predict what another person will do, you cannot know what they will do next. What is true is that although you cannot be infallibly right about the behavior of others, and there is always the possibility of error, that does not mean that you cannot be right about what people are going to do. For sometime we are amazingly accurate about some people. And that means that we know those people well. But the fact that we may be sometimes wrong doesn't mean that we cannot be sometimes right too. But even more important, I am happy that we seem to have come to the agreement that the test of whether someone has an accurate and informed view of others is whether one can predict to an acceptable degree of accuracy what those others will do, say, or even feel. So, at least that philosophical mystery has been cleared up.
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Jul, 2010 12:52 pm
@kennethamy,
I have to read this again and think about it. If you knew me, you'd know it was time for me to walk my dog.. Laughing Laughing .. but I also do want to reread this and respond- because I think we're saying somewhat of the same thing - it might just be a matter of degree (in terms of the level of predictability) that is causing us to seem to disagree.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Jul, 2010 01:05 pm
@aidan,
aidan wrote:

I have to read this again and think about it. If you knew me, you'd know it was time for me to walk my dog.. Laughing Laughing .. but I also do want to reread this and respond- because I think we're saying somewhat of the same thing - it might just be a matter of degree (in terms of the level of predictability) that is causing us to seem to disagree.


How would I know it was time for you to walk the dog if I knew you. I do not have the required information to know that. Of course, I don't mean by predictability the ability to predict without information. Who has that? Only a fortune teller (and even she has a crystal ball). You are committing the straw-man fallacy. That is, ascribing to me a view I do not hold, and criticizing that view rather than the view I do hold. That is cheating. You didn't really think that if I knew you that I could predict you would now walk your dog even if I had no information, now did you? I certainly hope not. But then, why would you ascribe such a silly view to me?

I don't think your former position was about levels of predictability at all. I think your former position was that predictability had nothing whatever to do with knowing another person. I think you are now just taking backward steps. But, never mind. To err is human: to forgive divine. As I said, predictability is a matter of degree. The more you can predict about a person the more you know him. It is not, of course, either that you can predict what he will do perfectly, or not at all; and neither is it that you either know another person or you do not know him at all. Both are examples of the black or white (with no shades of gray in between) fallacy.
Izzie
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Jul, 2010 01:27 pm
@aidan,
aidan wrote:

I have to read this again and think about it. If you knew me, you'd know it was time for me to walk my dog.. Laughing Laughing ..


having a little chuckle Aidan, I think your Laughing Laughing went way over the top of kennethamy's head there.





kennethamy - i believe Aidan was being humourus when she said "if you knew her", but nem'mind.

you may be thinking very philosophically, but your wording seems overly complicated and not easy to read - I mean that I have to read it over and over to try and understand what you are trying to say. I don't claim to be the sharpest knife in the draw, I'm more like a spoon, but I am reading along and pondering.
0 Replies
 
Izzie
 
  3  
Reply Sat 17 Jul, 2010 01:40 pm
@Dosed,
Dosed wrote:


People are capable of disgusting and hurtful lies. Maybe I'm a bitter and cynical bitch, but people won't ever get to me so easily again. I don't understand how "knowing" a human being is ever possible, as we are ever-changing, ever-deceitful creatures. We change and lie without even knowing it at times. I believe it's naive and dangerous to believe that you can know someone, and it can leave you blinded.


Hey Dosed -

I believe I understand what you are saying there - and actually, people don't have to just lie or deceive to be hurtful - some people who have good intentions can also hurt and that can be just as painful - when you realise that they don't know you or what would hurt you in a certain way

that's when the "how could i have been so stupid" kicks in

but we are all human, and we all make errors in judgement

thing is, you probably will let someone get to you again, maybe not in the same way, because it's really quite difficult to change who you are - and to become immune to "letting people in....

then if you open yourself up to someone else, you also open yourself up to being hurt again... you just have to try and give people a chance and learn from any prior experiences and not let the "past" rule your life... because then the past can ruin anything that happens in the future

(gosh, how jumbled did that sound) Rolling Eyes

i've uttered the same words myself recently and i reckon i'm pretty angry on the inside right now - maybe - perhaps when the anger dissipates then i might change my line of thinking again

perhaps you will too with whomever hurt you, give yourself some time

it's hard to trust your own judgement if you repeat mistakes...

but there are a lot of good people in the world and no matter how hard you try or wish, it's hard to close the world off because each and every person is an individual and should be judged on their own merits

you may be cynical now... i am too... but you just never know what's going to happen next ... we are ever changing but not everyone is going to be deceitful. Be good to yourself.

Dosed
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Jul, 2010 01:58 pm
@Izzie,
I believe you totally get what I'm saying. Thank you for your response!
0 Replies
 
CalamityJane
 
  2  
Reply Sat 17 Jul, 2010 02:06 pm
I perfectly understood what kennethamy wanted to convey (and I am not the native speaker here Very Happy).

Dosed wrote:


People are capable of disgusting and hurtful lies. Maybe I'm a bitter and cynical bitch, but people won't ever get to me so easily again. I don't understand how "knowing" a human being is ever possible, as we are ever-changing, ever-deceitful creatures. We change and lie without even knowing it at times. I believe it's naive and dangerous to believe that you can know someone, and it can leave you blinded.


Yes, people hurt us and we're deceived by them and we will learn to read the
signs better and better and become more experienced in reading people.
You're entitled to your suspicion and to your anger, Dosed, but in time, this
emotion shall pass too and you will learn to trust again.

The new person in your life has a right of not being held responsible for your previously hurtful relationships, he deserves your trust and faith until he proves you otherwise. Chances are that your next relationship will be more mature as you're more experienced in what to look for and what not and you will have learned more about yourself and be able to read signs better respectively act on "red flags" before you get involved.
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Jul, 2010 02:11 pm
@kennethamy,
Quote:
How would I know it was time for you to walk the dog if I knew you. I do not have the required information to know that. Of course, I don't mean by predictability the ability to predict without information. Who has that? Only a fortune teller (and even she has a crystal ball). You are committing the straw-man fallacy. That is, ascribing to me a view I do not hold, and criticizing that view rather than the view I do hold. That is cheating. You didn't really think that if I knew you that I could predict you would now walk your dog even if I had no information, now did you? I certainly hope not. But then, why would you ascribe such a silly view to me?


Kenneth - I was joking. And if you knew me, you'd know that I do that sometimes.

Laughing Laughing (another joke).

I'm making myself predictable to you now - does that mean you know me?

Because I was thinking about this on my walk. If you say 'knowledge of a person=some yet to be determined level of predictability (which I am not totally disagreeing with) do you believe that the ability to predict accurately about someone necessarily= knowledge of that person?

Because I might be able to tell you who someone will vote for, what they would eat for breakfast, whether or not they will go to church, and how assiduously they study for tests - does that mean I 'KNOW' them- even if I've never met them?

Because I can tell you those things about some of the people on this forum and I don't feel that I know them at all-I've never met them.
On the other hand, there are people I feel I know on a soul to soul level and I can't tell you whether they eat breakfast at all or not- much less what they have. It's never come up - it's not what's important about me KNOWING them.

And to what degree do you have to be able to predict someone's actions to say that you KNOW them? If you say someone is philanthropic, and will give to charity, is that enough or do you have to be able to specify whether they'll give to Aid for Children or Oxfam?

I think the reason predictability is so low on my list of aspects of 'knowing' someone is because I actually enjoy knowing less predictable people. All I have to know is that when the rubber hits the road they'll be there for me - and they know the same - I'll be there for them. Knowing what they'll do next at any given moment is not so important to me.
HexHammer
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Jul, 2010 02:12 pm
@Dosed,
I belive we can get to understand people very well, either by profiling/psycology or having a close relation ship and the person being psycotic, normal people usually don't reveal their inner selfish thoughts which often are vulgar and such.

Also it's difficult to excatly describe one self with exact terms and pharses.
I'v met many who have in an honest way tryed to describe themselves, and never really being able to hit 100% accuracy.

Mainly when questioning one self, you can't get past your rationallity center, down to your selfish desires, as your selfish desires are manipulated by hormones wich is impossible to simulate by rational thoughts.
BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Jul, 2010 02:13 pm
@CalamityJane,
After my first marriage it took 27 years and knowing my current wife for 21 years before I could even thinking about getting remarried.

CalamityJane
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Jul, 2010 02:15 pm
@BillRM,
Well, you're more special than others, BillRM
aidan
 
  2  
Reply Sat 17 Jul, 2010 02:20 pm
@HexHammer,
Quote:
having a close relation ship and the person being psycotic, normal people usually don't reveal their inner selfish thoughts which often are vulgar and such.

I think this is very, very true (if I understand what he's saying).

Some people with mental illness don't have the same filters and you get to know their inner thoughts and lives much more quickly than people who have those filters.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Jul, 2010 02:30 pm
@aidan,
aidan wrote:

Quote:
How would I know it was time for you to walk the dog if I knew you. I do not have the required information to know that. Of course, I don't mean by predictability the ability to predict without information. Who has that? Only a fortune teller (and even she has a crystal ball). You are committing the straw-man fallacy. That is, ascribing to me a view I do not hold, and criticizing that view rather than the view I do hold. That is cheating. You didn't really think that if I knew you that I could predict you would now walk your dog even if I had no information, now did you? I certainly hope not. But then, why would you ascribe such a silly view to me?


Kenneth - I was joking. And if you knew me, you'd know that I do that sometimes.

Laughing Laughing (another joke).

I'm making myself predictable to you now - does that mean you know me?

Because I was thinking about this on my walk. If you say 'knowledge of a person=some yet to be determined level of predictability (which I am not totally disagreeing with) do you believe that the ability to predict accurately about someone necessarily= knowledge of that person?

Because I might be able to tell you who someone will vote for, what they would eat for breakfast, whether or not they will go to church, and how assiduously they study for tests - does that mean I 'KNOW' them- even if I've never met them?

Because I can tell you those things about some of the people on this forum and I don't feel that I know them at all-I've never met them.
On the other hand, there are people I feel I know on a soul to soul level and I can't tell you whether they eat breakfast at all or not- much less what they have. It's never come up - it's not what's important about me KNOWING them.

And to what degree do you have to be able to predict someone's actions to say that you KNOW them? If you say someone is philanthropic, and will give to charity, is that enough or do you have to be able to specify whether they'll give to Aid for Children or Oxfam?

I think the reason predictability is so low on my list of aspects of 'knowing' someone is because I actually enjoy knowing less predictable people. All I have to know is that when the rubber hits the road they'll be there for me - and they know the same - I'll be there for them. Knowing what they'll do next at any given moment is not so important to me.


You are confusing two different senses of "know". There is the sense of "know" which means, "being acquainted". So if I just met you one time, then I would know you in the sense of being acquainted with you. But, as you now see, we were not talking about knowing another person in the sense of simply being acquainted with that person. We were talking about knowing someone in the sense we have now made clear, being able to predict what he will do, feel, or think. It is possible to know someone in the sense we have been talking about (although not usual) without having some acquaintance with that person. For example, some historians may claim (at least) that although they were not acquainted with Shakespeare, they know him in the sense we are talking about. Whether that claim is true, and to what extent it might be true is, of course, a different matter. But, as I just pointed out, it would be unusual to know someone (in the sense we are talking about) if we were not (at least) acquainted with the person.

I think the reason predictability is so low on my list of aspects of 'knowing' someone is because I actually enjoy knowing less predictable people.

That might be a good reason for not realizing that predictability is the criterion of knowing someone, but it is just an awful reason for rating it low as a criterion of knowing others. It would be like saying that I rate the presence of oxygen as a necessary condition for combustion because I don't like chemical whose names begin with the letter, "O".

It looks as if we are getting clearer about the issue as we go on. Which is a major purpose of philosophizing, since an important part of philosophizing is making the obscure clear. In fact, it is very often true that (as in the present case) when a philosophical problem is clarified, the problem itself is solved (or may, "dissolved" is a better word for what happen, since the problem stems from obscurity, and goes away when the obscurity goes away.
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Jul, 2010 02:53 pm
@kennethamy,
Quote:
You are confusing two different senses of "know". There is the sense of "know" which means, "being acquainted". So if I just met you one time, then I would know you in the sense of being acquainted with you. But, as you now see, we were not talking about knowing another person in the sense of simply being acquainted with that person. We were talking about knowing someone in the sense we have now made clear, being able to predict what he will do, feel, or think.

I'm not talking about acquaintances. I've only listed three people that I feel I 'KNOW' through and through in my whole life. I do not feel that I really KNOW the man I was married to, because he didn't want to or wasn't comfortable being known. I do not feel that I totally KNOW my children (at this point) because they're teenagers/young adults and they do not want to be fully KNOWN (right now - hopefully they'll come back to letting me know them later).

I've said over and over again that it is a rare and wonderful thing - but I believe that it can happen on rare occasions, while acquaintances are a dime a dozen and an everyday occurrence.

Quote:
That might be a good reason for not realizing that predictability is the criterion of knowing someone, but it is just an awful reason for rating it low as a criterion of knowing others. It would be like saying that I rate the presence of oxygen as a necessary condition for combustion because I don't like chemical whose names begin with the letter, "O".

No, I'm saying that it's not a criteria that I specifically have to be able to have, as I personally enjoy unpredictable people. Part of the joy of me knowing them is that I know they will always surprise me.
But I also understand that that's not true for other people.

I guess that's what I'm trying to explain -that people can know others in different ways for different reasons. I have one sister who though I can tell you exactly what she's doing at any given moment, because I grew up with her and she's predictable- inside, I feel that we don't really know each other at all.

On the other hand, I have a friend that I met three years ago. I have no idea where he is right now. All I know is that he'll get back to me at one point or another. But inside - I feel that I know him and he knows me - moreso than my sister with whom I shared a room for eighteen years and a history for over forty.

Does everyone have to come to the same conclusion in philosophy? Can more than one view be right?


0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Jul, 2010 03:02 pm
@kennethamy,
Quote:
Which is a major purpose of philosophizing, since an important part of philosophizing is making the obscure clear. In fact, it is very often true that (as in the present case) when a philosophical problem is clarified, the problem itself is solved (or may, "dissolved" is a better word for what happen, since the problem stems from obscurity, and goes away when the obscurity goes away.

Pompous waffle!

Different aspects of "know" are a simple matter of linguistics, as in the French distiction between savoir (to know a fact) and connaitre (to know a person).

And "knowing a person" in the sense of the OP, cannot be divorced from the presumed context in which it is uttered..i.e. when the asker has been "surprised" or "wrong" with respect to a supposedly familiar other.
0 Replies
 
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Jul, 2010 03:08 pm
@Dosed,
Dosed wrote:
So you don't think that the parents who believe they "know" their honor roll student is not doing drugs are not naive? Or the husband who believes he "knows" his wife is not cheating, even though all of his friends are telling him so isn't blinded just a little? Or me, the person who overestimates a friendship and when it becomes something more believes that my friend would never lie about their feelings, because I know him. He wouldn't do that to me. He's my friend. People are capable of disgusting and hurtful lies. Maybe I'm a bitter and cynical bitch, but people won't ever get to me so easily again. I don't understand how "knowing" a human being is ever possible, as we are ever-changing, ever-deceitful creatures. We change and lie without even knowing it at times. I believe it's naive and dangerous to believe that you can know someone, and it can leave you blinded.


the worse part is, people don't know themselves well enough not to hurt others

i figured out around my late twenties that i'm rubbish at relationships, i
ve hurt folks in the past, so i basically just decided to opt out, i never wanted kids so it's no big deal, and really i'm not a bad guy, i like help people and am quite personable, but i know i'm selfish about me and my time, and that can't work in a relationship, so i just stay away from them, and am quite happy, it's not for everyone that's for sure i see those multiple failed marriage folks and i think, hello, maybe a relationship isn't for you
0 Replies
 
 

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