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How can people say that you can't be sure of anything?

 
 
Reply Thu 22 Dec, 2011 01:25 pm
You can be sure that thought exists, that is at least one thing you can be sure of. Can you really think to yourself “I cannot be sure that I am thinking?" or "I don't think that I am thinking". I don't understand philosophical scepticism when it goes to the degree where people doubt everything. When someone says "you can't be sure of anything" meaning everything is in doubt, does it actually mean that because you can't prove what thoughts really are you can be unsure of it?
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Type: Question • Score: 5 • Views: 4,309 • Replies: 31
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PUNKEY
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Dec, 2011 01:50 pm
When people say, "you can't be sure of anything" they mean events, things to come, the future, plans, clinging and craving things that you have or want, etc.

That is not the same thing as an individual's thinking process.


0 Replies
 
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Dec, 2011 02:52 pm
@curiousjo,
Have you ever had a sensation of smell that you weren't certain was there? You smell something burning, but it's so faint you are not sure if it's there or just imagined.

How can you know that it is you thinking. It might be that thoughts are happening and you are perceiving them. Is the "I" thinking, or is the "I" the result of thought process?
I think the point is that for every statement of what we can be sure of, there is at least one assumption, some idea or concept that can be questioned. For instance the "I" in "I think".
curiousjo
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Dec, 2011 03:41 pm
@Cyracuz,
Yes it makes sense to not know if there is an ego but what about just thoughts on there own since they can be certain. For example you can't possibly think you are not feeling doubt when doubting is all your doing. We can know nothing about thoughts or from what if anything they are coming from yet we can be sure we are having them.
Cyracuz
 
  2  
Reply Thu 22 Dec, 2011 03:47 pm
@curiousjo,
Something happens. But what?

curiousjo
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Dec, 2011 03:50 pm
@curiousjo,
I don't mean we can be sure we are having them as if there were a 'we' or 'I' that is nessecarily having thought but that thought is ocurring.
curiousjo
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Dec, 2011 03:53 pm
@Cyracuz,
Wow that's clever. I was trying to look for the illusion but couldn't see any sign of it until it was right infront of my eyes.
0 Replies
 
Cyracuz
 
  2  
Reply Thu 22 Dec, 2011 03:55 pm
@curiousjo,
Yes, I think we have to agree that there is an experience. But as soon as you put two words together there can be room for doubt.
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Dec, 2011 04:02 pm
@curiousjo,
Only immediate experience is certain. WHILE you are experiencing an aroma, sound, sight or thought, there is no doubt. But afterwards, as soon as you remember that experience there may be doubt, i.e., all memory is questionable. Moreover, the interpretations that you add to the experince, such as "'I' think therefore I am", is questionable. But pure experience,viz.,WHILE it is happening, is the only thing that is certain.
If you argue that the experience may be illusory, even while it is happening, you are referring to an interpretation added to it, not to the experience itself.
curiousjo
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Dec, 2011 08:42 am
@JLNobody,
Even if memory is just a thought or dellusion it is still there and since memory can appear to be real whatever it is, it is appearing and it's something I cannot be at all un sure of. Whilst I sat here I stared at an object for a long time after I got the image embedded in my head I looked back at the computer screen and the memory of myself staring at the object was still there thus I found it impossible to doubt.
curiousjo
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Dec, 2011 08:44 am
@Cyracuz,
I agree experience is all we can be sure of. If we were doubting an experience then that in itself is the experience. Doubting that there is doubting going on seems insane.
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Dec, 2011 08:49 am
@curiousjo,
You can experience the experience, but as soon as you attempt to describe it, you must assume something about it.
curiousjo
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Dec, 2011 08:55 am
@Cyracuz,
What would be the assumption?
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Dec, 2011 09:04 am
@curiousjo,
To say anything you need to form a coherent sentence according to the rules of grammar. That immediately establishes a relationship between different aspects of the experience, and this relationship carries with it assumptions about the quality of the experience.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Dec, 2011 09:16 am
@curiousjo,
Right, but you are talking about the EXPERIENCE of remembering. THAT is undoubted even if it turns to be about an illusion.
jovie
 
  0  
Reply Sat 24 Dec, 2011 06:22 am
@JLNobody,
I~ we (younowho) might be able to get ~


~ The Biscutes ~


~ Out of The (I) room with an a Parade,,, but we are not sure yet,,, (hold on while i check,,, maybe.


JoVe and JeSuS
.
0 Replies
 
Fido
 
  0  
Reply Sat 24 Dec, 2011 06:48 am
@curiousjo,
curiousjo wrote:

You can be sure that thought exists, that is at least one thing you can be sure of. Can you really think to yourself “I cannot be sure that I am thinking?" or "I don't think that I am thinking". I don't understand philosophical scepticism when it goes to the degree where people doubt everything. When someone says "you can't be sure of anything" meaning everything is in doubt, does it actually mean that because you can't prove what thoughts really are you can be unsure of it?
The same escape from reason is required to believe everything as to doubt everything; but from my experience people do not believe everything, or doubt everything, that their escapes from reason are never complete just as their escapes to reason are never complete..
0 Replies
 
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Dec, 2011 07:18 am
@Cyracuz,
Cyracuz wrote:

Have you ever had a sensation of smell that you weren't certain was there? You smell something burning, but it's so faint you are not sure if it's there or just imagined.

How can you know that it is you thinking. It might be that thoughts are happening and you are perceiving them. Is the "I" thinking, or is the "I" the result of thought process?
I think the point is that for every statement of what we can be sure of, there is at least one assumption, some idea or concept that can be questioned. For instance the "I" in "I think".
It is ideas, forms, that we doubt when we doubt because it is by forms/ideas that we realize what before is only phenomena...Scent is one of those qualities always attached to its cause as in: Smells like a rose, or stinks like crap... There are times when scent as a phenomenon does not reach the level of an action state, of reproducing in our minds the action to which it is attached... Then our minds can race between meanings as never before, and we can get a sense of how much the sense of smell can, and perhaps once did contribute to our survival... Back when I hunted the deer as I always did, one on one, and stalking, I always laid off the meat products because deer have such sensitive noses... A Vietnam veteran told me back then that Charlie said they could smell the Americans before they could see them because of the great amount of meat we ate... I believe what he said, and the noses of deer are that much more sensitive than our own... If you could smell everyone who bore you ill will you would always be on your guard, and ready to run... We are better at a distance... We are very tuned to facial recognition and expression awareness... Our ears are not much, but we get much out of the words we hear, and use elements in our environment to make sounds and music....

We have to be aware, intellectually of the choice of words people use, because whole classes of people can express perfect emnity to others in the calmest of voices, and with the most peaceful of expression... I am not saying people should be paranoid, but if Americans were to read some history of their political parties they would recognize much of what they hear as code that is repeated like a montra to milign one group and cheer another in their injury of the first...The never come out and say that this law or anther is designed to help this group at the expense of another... They say this group should be helped because they need and are worthy of help...

To reply to the op; those who continually question their thoughts and senses are at a distinct disadvantage since they would be better served using their thoughts and senses to observe their environments for signs requiring attention... We must presume that there are so few philosophers because nature selects for people who can react and act rather than becoming mired in reflection...
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Dec, 2011 05:20 pm
@Fido,
Yes, Fido. When we attempt to escape from reason we generally do so for the sake of reason--as an attempt to be reasonable.
0 Replies
 
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Dec, 2011 06:47 pm
@Fido,
Quote:
It is ideas, forms, that we doubt when we doubt because it is by forms/ideas that we realize what before is only phenomena...


But phenomena "before" are merely more forms/ideas.

Quote:
Scent is one of those qualities always attached to its cause as in: Smells like a rose, or stinks like crap


Have you never smelled something you couldn't identify?
I worked in a kindergarten once, and one day I caught a whiff of something I thought was hot food cooking, but when I got closer I was able to identify the smell. It was coming from a used diaper that someone was changing off an infant.

It seems to me you think that most of our reality is centered around vision, or that the major part of a human being's awareness is visual awareness. You say, "our ears are not much".
I think that audio impressions make up at least as much of the total awareness as visual impressions. There are many things that are better done by ear. Vision only covers half your surroundings at any time. Hearing covers everywhere, even surfaces we cannot see through.

Quote:
To reply to the op; those who continually question their thoughts and senses are at a distinct disadvantage since they would be better served using their thoughts and senses to observe their environments for signs requiring attention


I believe that it is possible to act on one's own thoughts and sense inputs and still question these things. I agree that it doesn't serve to become mired in reflection, but that does not mean we have to just pick a belief and stick with it. I think that those who do not continually question their beliefs and their perspective on reality are at a disadvantage, because they can become hateful and mired in their doctrine as the world gradually passes beyond it. As always, a middle ground is probably the way to go. We must trust enough to act, but question enough to learn.
 

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