25
   

Must Scientific Knowledge Be Considered Relative?

 
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Nov, 2011 09:23 am
@wandeljw,
I don't see how defining knowledge about Reality as socially grounded makes it any less significant. Knowledge to me is human understanding about Reality shared by human beings in human terms.
wandeljw
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Nov, 2011 09:36 am
@JLNobody,
Social factors play a role, but this role should not be over-emphasized. There is reality independent of social constructs.
0 Replies
 
wandeljw
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Nov, 2011 09:39 am
@fresco,
fresco wrote:

"Facts" are social constructions. They are selected statements of "significance" and statements are by definition social acts.


How reality is communicated involves social construction. But reality itself exists independently (in my opinion).
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Nov, 2011 01:06 pm
@wandeljw,
Well ....hopefully my many years of postings here are sufficient to explain why that is untenable and why I argued for a redefinition of "existence" (later to find that Heidegger had been on the same track). But irrespective of either of us, I suggest you need to be able to make sense of Einstein's celebrated...
Quote:
Reality is an illusion,albeit a persistent one.

...for your own peace of mind.
wandeljw
 
  2  
Reply Sun 6 Nov, 2011 01:17 pm
@fresco,
Smile I simply think that Einstein enjoyed making witticisms. Do you think that this remark represents Einstein's actual position on reality?
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Nov, 2011 01:40 pm
@wandeljw,
Considered as a general aspect of "relativity" this makes philosophical sense.....there are no "absolute" reference frames, only locally agreed ones ( which points to "the social").
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Nov, 2011 04:08 pm
@fresco,
Agreed. The Buddha said something very similar. But Wandeljw's point is understandable insofar as it refers to humanity's use of socially constructed means to "point to" things that "seem" separate. The separation is--while ontologically unfounded--an important aspect of our Grand Dillusion. Of the persistence of our "Reality."
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Nov, 2011 04:13 pm
@wandeljw,
I don't think Einstein would be frivilous about something so important.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  3  
Reply Mon 7 Nov, 2011 12:26 pm
@wandeljw,
wandeljw wrote:

Smile I simply think that Einstein enjoyed making witticisms. Do you think that this remark represents Einstein's actual position on reality?
Quite right. Fresco likes to trot out this quotation on a fairly regular basis, as if this kind of argumentum ad verecundiam settles the matter. In fact, I'm surprised it took him so long to include it in this thread. You're starting to slip, old man!

But, of course, Einstein was having his little jest when he quipped that reality is a persistent illusion. Most likely he was referring to the Berkeleyan notion that to be is to be perceived ("esse est percipi"). Einstein must have reasoned that, if reality is an illusion, it's a remarkably persistent one. That makes sense, given that Einstein was undoubtedly a firm believer in an existence apart from the observer.
wandeljw
 
  2  
Reply Mon 7 Nov, 2011 12:57 pm
@joefromchicago,
My color-coded edition of The Life of Einstein has that particular saying in pink (meaning that Einstein scholars are less certain of its authenticity).
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Nov, 2011 01:06 pm
@wandeljw,
Well, even if Einstein were making light, he was doing so regarding a profound truth. That is to say, he should have been serious. Mr. Green
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Nov, 2011 01:14 pm
@joefromchicago,
Okay genius, try this one....
Quote:
Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.

Or maybe this one...
Quote:
As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain, as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.

joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Nov, 2011 02:37 pm
@fresco,
I still like the Einstein quotation better. Those lack the self-deluded harrumph of triumphalism that invariably accompanies your use of the Einstein squib.
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Nov, 2011 02:50 pm
@fresco,
"As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain, as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality."
Oh please tell me--a mathematical illerate-- that Einstein said that. I've had a hard week.
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Nov, 2011 02:54 pm
@JLNobody,
Not to change the subject too much, but I love the saying that "If you want to make God laugh tell him your plans.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Nov, 2011 02:54 pm
@JLNobody,
Not to change the subject too much, but I love the saying that "If you want to make God laugh tell him your plans.
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Nov, 2011 04:10 pm
@joefromchicago,
Quote:
I still like the Einstein quotation better

Question
They are all from Einstein.

joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Nov, 2011 04:21 pm
@fresco,
fresco wrote:

Quote:
I still like the Einstein quotation better

Question
They are all from Einstein.

Maybe.
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Nov, 2011 04:25 pm
@JLNobody,
Yes, the interesting point about that one is Einstein's opposition to probabilistic Quantum Theory which one might have thought reflected that quotation. On the other hand Einstein's concept of "observer" changed over the years and we therefore cannot be sure whether his view of "reality" also shifted.
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Nov, 2011 06:13 pm
@fresco,
He did believe in chance--as possibly reflected in the fact that he married his first cousin.
 

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