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Why do people care about absolute certainty?

 
 
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Sat 31 May, 2014 09:21 am
@BL0CPARTY,
BL0CPARTY wrote:

Quote:
Actually, it was a very clear way of saying that I am not certain...and will not assert that I am.


Here you have it folks: someone who is uncertain, despite all we know about physics, as to whether light travels faster than sound. Drunk


Read what I actually wrote...or is that too much for you?

Quote:
Quote:

If someone says, "I am certain there are no gods involved in the REALITY of existence"...that is no different from saying, "I am absolutely certain there are no gods involved in the REALITY of existence."

I think you are trying to create a problem...for which you will suggest you have a solution.

It's cute. Young people need that kind of thing to feel good about themselves.


Problem: people who get anxious because they can't be absolutely certain their life isn't an illusion. I've met people who've lost sleep over this.

Solution: fallibilism.

Nothing odd about that buddy.


I was almost sure you had the solution. Now...if you can actually come up with the problem! Wink

Quote:
Look up "honesty", Bloc...and try to practice some of it.


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...Oh the irony
Quote:
I did not say that at all. I said that "if we define bachelors as unmarried males"...then by definition, all bachelors are unmarried males.


Yet when I asked
Quote:
Nice find! But I'll just swap them around and say:

all bachelors are unmarried men.

Are you certain now?


...You replied:

Quote:
Absolutely certain!


So, yes. You did say that and now you're lying.


I am not lying.

I gave a complete explanation of the qualifiers...in the next post...and in the one before.

If we are defining all bachelors as men who are not married...then all bachelors are not married. It is a tautology, Bloc. You are stumbling all over the place. Regroup!


I hope you are having fun trying to worm your way out of all this, Bloc...because I am having a ball watching you try! Wink



Quote:
And I guess you didn't reply to our other contradictions because you you've dug yourself too deep. Your thought on this subject matter is too confused. Too incoherent. And you know it Wink


Nothing incoherent about what I have said.

But you are trying so hard, I almost want to help you1

Almost. Wink

Keep at it. You will eventually see the hole! It is all the space in between the walls where you are digging.
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Jun, 2014 11:18 am
I don't know that the debate is particularly constructive, but I have to agree with frank. You have chosen to redefine the word "certain."

I understand the point you are making (at least I think I do) but it may be better expressed using "reasonably certain" and "absolutely certain," this still involves manipulation of the definition of "certain" but it might get frank off your back.
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Jun, 2014 11:28 am
@Finn dAbuzz,
Finn dAbuzz wrote:

I don't know that the debate is particularly constructive, but I have to agree with frank. You have chosen to redefine the word "certain."

I understand the point you are making (at least I think I do) but it may be better expressed using "reasonably certain" and "absolutely certain," this still involves manipulation of the definition of "certain" but it might get frank off your back.


It would be even better if he used what should be used:

Certain (whether expressed as "absolutely certain" or just "certain."

OR...UNCERTAIN. "Probably, if you want; estimated, if you want...anything but "certain."

Certainty is misused often in situations where even being close to certainty is a very, very long shot.

"I am certain there is a GOD"...is an example.

"I am certain there are no gods"...is another.

"I am certain there is an afterlife after death"...qualifies.

"I am certain that when you die, you die...and nothing else is possible"...does also.

I suspect that is the area this guy is dealing with, but does not want to actually say so.

Poor people losing sleep over the meaning of bachelor...just doesn't cut it.







BL0CPARTY
 
  0  
Reply Sun 1 Jun, 2014 05:23 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
I'm happy with 'reasonably certain'. But what I must stress on this issue is that they're just words. What's not important is the words I'm using, but the meaning of them in this context. I agree that 'absolute certainty' and 'certainty' has no intrinsic different when seen through a non-contextual linguistic lens. But here I'm tackling epidemiological issues such as:

How do we know what we know?
How can we be certain we know what we know?

For purposes of the discussion, I have thus coined the terms, 'absolute certainty' (that which it is impossible to doubt), with 'certainty' (that which it is silly to doubt). If I didn't define them as such, I would have to give context to the word 'certainty' every time I use it. And that would be confusing and repetitive.
0 Replies
 
BL0CPARTY
 
  0  
Reply Sun 1 Jun, 2014 05:34 pm
@Frank Apisa,
Now it makes sense why your thought seems so confused. You're under the perception I'm some pesky atheist with some hidden agenda in regards to the god debate. Frankly, I don't care about god in this discussion. It's a purely epidemiological issue.

Here's some background reading if you want to get some knowledge on the topic and hopefully make some insightful arguments.

Munchhausen trilemma:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%BCnchhausen_trilemma

Brain in vat:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brain_in_vat

...And my position to solve the above conundrums, fallibilism:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallibilism
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Jun, 2014 06:16 pm
@BL0CPARTY,
BL0CPARTY wrote:

Now it makes sense why your thought seems so confused.


My thoughts are not confused. If they seem that way to you...you really ought investigate why you think them to be so. You are wrong here.


Quote:
You're under the perception I'm some pesky atheist with some hidden agenda in regards to the god debate.


I have no idea at all whether you are an atheist or a theists or something else. And I have no evidence upon which to base a meaningful guess. I have not suggested in any way that you are one or the other.

You are wrong here.



Quote:
Frankly, I don't care about god in this discussion. It's a purely epidemiological issue.


Interesting.

Please tell us about the matters that are keeping people awake nights because they cannot determine if they are certain or absolutely certain.


Quote:
Here's some background reading if you want to get some knowledge on the topic and hopefully make some insightful arguments.

Quote:
Munchhausen trilemma:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%BCnchhausen_trilemma

Brain in vat:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brain_in_vat

...And my position to solve the above conundrums, fallibilism:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallibilism


If you want to continue this discussion...I would love to have it continue. But let's you and I discuss it...rather than you presenting a syllabus for me to contemplate. I already have knowledge on the topic...and I have already made some insightful arguments. If they are too complex for you to understand, just ask for help. Someone here will almost surely help.
BL0CPARTY
 
  0  
Reply Sun 1 Jun, 2014 06:28 pm
@Frank Apisa,
Quote:
Interesting.

Please tell us about the matters that are keeping people awake nights because they cannot determine if they are certain or absolutely certain.



Not knowing if their world and everything they thought was true is actually an illusion. That's what keeps them up at night, since they can't be absolutely certain their world is not an illusion.

Quote:
I already have knowledge on the topic

Okay, then what's your solution to the Munchhausen trilemma good sir? Surely anyone who claims to have knowledge on the topic of epistemology would have some meaningful opinion about the Munchhausen trilemma, since it's one of the contemporary issues modern epistemology is faced with. I eagerly await your response.
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Jun, 2014 02:51 am
@BL0CPARTY,
BL0CPARTY wrote:

Quote:
Interesting.

Please tell us about the matters that are keeping people awake nights because they cannot determine if they are certain or absolutely certain.



Not knowing if their world and everything they thought was true is actually an illusion. That's what keeps them up at night, since they can't be absolutely certain their world is not an illusion.


There is absolutely NO WAY whatever that anyone can be certain that the world is not an illusion.

Why anyone would spend a restless night about that is beyond me...and why anyone would think the supposed difference between "certain" and "absolutely certain" about that might make a difference...sounds bizarre.



Quote:

Quote:
I already have knowledge on the topic

Okay, then what's your solution to the Munchhausen trilemma good sir? Surely anyone who claims to have knowledge on the topic of epistemology would have some meaningful opinion about the Munchhausen trilemma, since it's one of the contemporary issues modern epistemology is faced with. I eagerly await your response.


Await it all you want, Bloc. But why anyone would bring that question to an Internet forum that regularly handles questions about how best to break the news to Mom that she is not as good a lay as Sis...which Dad backs up...is beyond me.

Stop with the nonsense, Bloc.

Man up.

Your suggestion that there is a difference between being certain and being absolutely certain was childish...and expanding it to include other nonsense does not make it less childish.
BL0CPARTY
 
  0  
Reply Mon 2 Jun, 2014 03:13 am
@Frank Apisa,
Quote:
There is absolutely NO WAY whatever that anyone can be certain that the world is not an illusion.


Which is why people lose sleep, which is the problem.
Which is why people should think it's silly to think that way, which is the solution I've been proposing.

What's your solution to the problem, Frank?

Quote:
Await it all you want, Bloc. But why anyone would bring that question to an Internet forum that regularly handles questions about how best to break the news to Mom that she is not as good a lay as Sis...which Dad backs up...is beyond me.

Stop with the nonsense, Bloc.

Man up.

URL: http://able2know.org/reply/post-5680732


So before you claimed:

Quote:
I already have knowledge on the topic


...But it now appears you're alien to even the basic terminology and arguments used in this topic. You have thus resorted to calling the topic 'nonsense' and too complex for the forum, which is more suited to answering questions such as:

Quote:
questions about how best to break the news to Mom that she is not as good a lay as Sis...which Dad backs up...


Way to degrade A2K, Frank. Surely that says something about someone with 28k posts in the said forum?

Quote:
Your suggestion that there is a difference between being certain and being absolutely certain was childish...and expanding it to include other nonsense does not make it less childish.


No, but staying up at night because the world might be an illusion is childish nonsense. Can we agree on this?
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Jun, 2014 03:31 am
@BL0CPARTY,
BL0CPARTY wrote:

Quote:
There is absolutely NO WAY whatever that anyone can be certain that the world is not an illusion.


Which is why people lose sleep, which is the problem.
Which is why people should think it's silly to think that way, which is the solution I've been proposing.

What's your solution to the problem, Frank?


I would simply stop pretending there is a problem. The only reason you think there is a problem seems to be because you came up with the "solution" of asserting that there is a difference between "certain" and "absolutely certain."

There is no problem...there is no need for a "solution", Bloc.

Quote:
Quote:
Await it all you want, Bloc. But why anyone would bring that question to an Internet forum that regularly handles questions about how best to break the news to Mom that she is not as good a lay as Sis...which Dad backs up...is beyond me.

Stop with the nonsense, Bloc.

Man up.

URL: http://able2know.org/reply/post-5680732


So before you claimed:

Quote:
I already have knowledge on the topic


...But it now appears you're alien to even the basic terminology and arguments used in this topic. You have thus resorted to calling the topic 'nonsense' and too complex for the forum, which is more suited to answering questions such as:

Quote:
questions about how best to break the news to Mom that she is not as good a lay as Sis...which Dad backs up...


Way to degrade A2K, Frank. Surely that says something about someone with 28k posts in the said forum?


If you do not realize that A2K REGULARLY handles questions of this sort...you simply do not know very much about A2K. It also handles some interesting discussions...and I have participated in those discussions which accounts for the number of posts you see.

No big problem there.

And the fact that I "have knowledge on" a particular topic does not mean that I am able to deal with every aspect of it.

In any case, you are attempting a diffusion here. You realize your original thoughts are absurd...and you want to divert from them.

Go back to your original post...and defend it...rather than making nonsense up and attempting to get me to defend that nonsense.


Quote:


Quote:
Your suggestion that there is a difference between being certain and being absolutely certain was childish...and expanding it to include other nonsense does not make it less childish.


No, but staying up at night because the world might be an illusion is childish nonsense. Can we agree on this?


We can agree that staying up at night because the world might be an illusion is childish nonsense.

How many people on the planet can you name who do that?

Bloc...you are manufacturing a problem because you think you have a delightful solution...if only the problem would exist.

There is no problem...your "solution" is an absurdity.

Just acknowledge that...and you will feel better. Then maybe you can go on to something that actually has some substance for which discussion is appropriate.


BL0CPARTY
 
  0  
Reply Mon 2 Jun, 2014 04:31 am
@Frank Apisa,
Quote:
There is absolutely NO WAY whatever that anyone can be certain that the world is not an illusion.


And why is it not a problem that some people are worried by this?

Quote:
In any case, you are attempting a diffusion here. You realize your original thoughts are absurd...and you want to divert from them.

Go back to your original post...and defend it...rather than making nonsense up and attempting to get me to defend that nonsense.


Nope. I still defend them. I'm just bored of your confusing and incoherent account of how you can be certain 'all bachelors are unmarried males' by arbitrarily incorporating 'qualifiers'. Refer to this post of mine if it clears anything up:

Quote:
I'm happy with 'reasonably certain'. But what I must stress on this issue is that they're just words. What's not important is the words I'm using, but the meaning of them in this context. I agree that 'absolute certainty' and 'certainty' has no intrinsic different when seen through a non-contextual linguistic lens. But here I'm tackling epidemiological issues such as:

How do we know what we know?
How can we be certain we know what we know?

For purposes of the discussion, I have thus coined the terms, 'absolute certainty' (that which it is impossible to doubt), with 'certainty' (that which it is silly to doubt). If I didn't define them as such, I would have to give context to the word 'certainty' every time I use it. And that would be confusing and repetitive.


And finally.

Quote:
We can agree that staying up at night because the world might be an illusion is childish nonsense.

Quote:
I would simply stop pretending there is a problem. The only reason you think there is a problem seems to be because you came up with the "solution" of asserting that there is a difference between "certain" and "absolutely certain."

There is no problem...there is no need for a "solution", Bloc.


I think we could be eventually getting somewhere here. Why is the possibility of the world and all the truths we thought we truth being an illusion, not a problem to you?
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Jun, 2014 10:13 am
@BL0CPARTY,
I'm virtually "certain" that we live in a probabilistic universe. We are more realistic thinking in terms of probabilities rather than possibilities.
0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Jun, 2014 11:14 am
@BL0CPARTY,
BL0CPARTY wrote:

Quote:
There is absolutely NO WAY whatever that anyone can be certain that the world is not an illusion.


And why is it not a problem that some people are worried by this?


If you actually know people who are worried to the point of not being able to sleep because the entire of REALITY may be nothing more than an illusion... the best thing you can do is to simply say to them, "Get a life!"

Fact is, I doubt very much that people being deprived of sleep because of concerns that REALITY may be an illusion. I think you have just invented this.

Good luck with it.




Quote:
Quote:
In any case, you are attempting a diffusion here. You realize your original thoughts are absurd...and you want to divert from them.

Go back to your original post...and defend it...rather than making nonsense up and attempting to get me to defend that nonsense.


Nope. I still defend them. I'm just bored of your confusing and incoherent account of how you can be certain 'all bachelors are unmarried males' by arbitrarily incorporating 'qualifiers'.


There is nothing incoherent about it at all. If the qualifier is: "We are defining all bachelors as unmarried males"...then one can be absolutely certain that all bachelors are unmarried males. It is a tautology.

But you seem to lack whatever it is might make you acknowledge that.

So...enjoy your trip into la la land. I am CERTAINLY enjoying watching you do what you are doing.
Wink



Quote:
Refer to this post of mine if it clears anything up:

Quote:
I'm happy with 'reasonably certain'. But what I must stress on this issue is that they're just words. What's not important is the words I'm using, but the meaning of them in this context. I agree that 'absolute certainty' and 'certainty' has no intrinsic different when seen through a non-contextual linguistic lens. But here I'm tackling epidemiological issues such as:

How do we know what we know?
How can we be certain we know what we know?

For purposes of the discussion, I have thus coined the terms, 'absolute certainty' (that which it is impossible to doubt), with 'certainty' (that which it is silly to doubt). If I didn't define them as such, I would have to give context to the word 'certainty' every time I use it. And that would be confusing and repetitive.


Nope...doesn't clear anything up except that you can be almost terminally stubborn if you set your mind to it, Bloc.

Quote:
And finally.

Quote:
We can agree that staying up at night because the world might be an illusion is childish nonsense.

Quote:
I would simply stop pretending there is a problem. The only reason you think there is a problem seems to be because you came up with the "solution" of asserting that there is a difference between "certain" and "absolutely certain."

There is no problem...there is no need for a "solution", Bloc.


I think we could be eventually getting somewhere here. Why is the possibility of the world and all the truths we thought we truth being an illusion, not a problem to you?


Why IS IT a problem for you?

For me...I intend to live my life as though there is no illusion...and there is no GOD.

So...THERE IS NO PROBLEM FOR ME.

Once again...why is it a problem for you?
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  2  
Reply Mon 2 Jun, 2014 01:11 pm
We don't suffer (that existential discomfort called "dukkha" in Buddhism) because we suspect the world is an illusion. It turns out that we suffer because the world as we normally define it--especially the notion that our egos are at its center--is illusory but we must behave, for everyday practical purposes, as if it were real.
0 Replies
 
neologist
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Jun, 2014 05:51 pm
I submit that 'absolute certainty' is a functional redundancy, and that certainty implies absolutism.
Empirical or epistemological certainty, on the other hand, is falsifiable and therefore relative, the accompanying adjective serving as a limit.

I should add that certainty is often defined by the beholder.
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Jun, 2014 06:24 pm
@neologist,
neologist wrote:

I submit that 'absolute certainty' is a functional redundancy, and that certainty implies absolutism.
Empirical or epistemological certainty, on the other hand, is falsifiable and therefore relative, the accompanying adjective serving as a limit.

I should add that certainty is often defined by the beholder.



I suggest that "certainty" apparently ALWAYS is defined by the beholder, Neo...which is its fatal flaw.

Bloc apparently wants to assert certainty in areas where there can be no certainty. And he has come up with the gimmick of differentiating between "certainty" and "absolute certainty"...as a device which he thinks will allow him to proclaim certainty where there is none.

Interesting way of approaching the issue.

And quite honestly, asking for certainty when the REALITY cannot conclusively be established...is doomed to failure.

But working within what may be an illusion...as though the possible illusion does not exist...allows for what can legitimately and logically be called knowledge. I can know my name; I can know where I am; I can know that I am typing at my keyboard; I can know the capital of France is Paris...and that sort of thing.

Without the qualifier that we are just using the convention that the illusion does not exist (or doesn't matter)...it all turns to mush.

But so what! In order for us to talk and discuss...we must make that qualification.


neologist
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Jun, 2014 07:29 pm
@Frank Apisa,
Frank Apisa wrote:
I suggest that "certainty" apparently ALWAYS is defined by the beholder, Neo...which is its fatal flaw.
I was avoiding tautology.
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Jun, 2014 10:46 pm
@neologist,
I think I said earlier that the feeling of certainty is what we usually seek. In our metaphysical philosophical moments we might seek "absolute certainty" which to me is an idle pursuit. In practical terms what we should pursue is an extremely high degree of probablity.
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Jun, 2014 03:14 am
@JLNobody,
JLNobody wrote:

I think I said earlier that the feeling of certainty is what we usually seek. In our metaphysical philosophical moments we might seek "absolute certainty" which to me is an idle pursuit. In practical terms what we should pursue is an extremely high degree of probablity.


I think that is what most people "pursue." But the notion that somehow doing so makes the problem less...is naive.

There are people who insist on presenting items as having a "high degree of probability"...that truly do not.

We have all seen people present "There almost certainly is a GOD." What is being asserted is that the notion, "there is a GOD" has a high degree of probability.

We have also seen people present "There almost certainly are no gods." What is being asserted is that the notion, "there are no gods" has a high degree of probability.

Both are suspect...and probably present personal bias as opposed to actual estimates of probability. The factors needed to truly calculate the probability that there are gods and the probability that there are no gods...IS NOT AVAILABLE. The factors used to derive the probability estimates are suspect, at best.

And often people will present what they see to be items with a high degree of probability...as certain.

In what may possibly be an infinite and eternal existence..."a high degree of probability" is very far from "certain."
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Jun, 2014 03:10 pm
I've been watching this thread for signs of somebody realizing the pragmatists' point that the seeking of "absolute certainty" is just as problematic as the searching for "God". Both are absolutist concepts. What we call "knowledge" amounts to an expression of our confidence in a belief which serves a particular purpose, and purposes can range from the psychological to the scientific. Pragmaticists have no trouble sleeping !
 

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