Let us work together to concur on how to prove that something exists.
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17-12-2015, 02:14 PM
Let us work together to concur on how to prove that something exists.
I have some ideas on how humans prove to themselves that something exists in reality outside their mind.

For example -- and I am not being funny, to prove the existence of the nose in our face, you and I each touch our respective nose, and then we touch each other's nose, and we thus are certain that you and I have a nose in our face.

What do you say?

Please, if you see something you feel not acceptable in my posts, please tell me in details what it is, and I will try to write it again so that you will not anymore complain.
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17-12-2015, 02:46 PM
RE: Let us work together to concur on how to prove that something exists.
I am not certain on this whole nose thing.Smartass

But I have been accused of being a perpetual skeptic. Though perhaps of no use to your aims or goals for yourself or others on the subject, I am tentatively of a thought that not much beyond tautologies & self agreed to labels are things we can prove. Though even that position isn't certainly true as I've seen arguments against the concept of label agreement such as the Twin Earth Water=/=H2O thought experiment.

"Allow there to be a spectrum in all that you see" - Neil Degrasse Tyson
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17-12-2015, 02:57 PM
RE: Let us work together to concur on how to prove that something exists.
The nose knows....

Don't let those gnomes and their illusions get you down. They're just gnomes and illusions.

--Jake the Dog, Adventure Time

Alouette, je te plumerai.
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17-12-2015, 03:17 PM (This post was last modified: 17-12-2015 03:25 PM by Full Circle.)
RE: Let us work together to concur on how to prove that something exists.
Apparently you made quite the splash when you first came to TTA. Consider

Azaraith (11) - Last updated May 31st, 2012, 10:42 PM
Negative (-1): starting to get deja vu from Abdelz... Repeats himself, ignores everything others post

kineo (39) - Last updated May 29th, 2012, 01:50 PM
Negative (-1): Not interested in cooperative discussion. Ignores posts and posters when they post too much information or information that he does not like, willfully ignores explanations when provided to him an still demands the explanation.

Anjele (160) - Last updated May 27th, 2012, 09:30 PM
Negative (-1): Combative, not interested in give and take, issues demands...unpleasant.

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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17-12-2015, 03:22 PM
RE: Let us work together to concur on how to prove that something exists.
Oh boy ...
Pacho is back. Rolleyes

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
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17-12-2015, 03:24 PM
RE: Let us work together to concur on how to prove that something exists.
(17-12-2015 03:22 PM)kim Wrote:  Oh boy ...
Pacho is back. Rolleyes

You know this poster? Looks like I had the pleasure of joining after he/she left.

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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17-12-2015, 03:25 PM
RE: Let us work together to concur on how to prove that something exists.
You should look up something along the lines of "proving to a blind person that color exists." It's at least an interesting experiment.

I prefer fantasy, but I have to live in reality.
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17-12-2015, 04:08 PM
RE: Let us work together to concur on how to prove that something exists.
(17-12-2015 02:14 PM)Pachomius Wrote:  I have some ideas on how humans prove to themselves that something exists in reality outside their mind.

For example -- and I am not being funny, to prove the existence of the nose in our face, you and I each touch our respective nose, and then we touch each other's nose, and we thus are certain that you and I have a nose in our face.

What do you say?

Please, if you see something you feel not acceptable in my posts, please tell me in details what it is, and I will try to write it again so that you will not anymore complain.

I am sorely, sorely, sorely tempted to say that you've got it on the nose.

(You don't, but the pun's just there to be made.)

The bad news is that you've trod upon ground I've been reflecting upon at length of late, and you're about to get an earful of my thoughts on the subject. Be warned, expect a lot of rambling and few solid facts.

External world skepticism -- essentially asking, "what if I'm just a brain in a vat or a program plugged into the Matrix, and everything I'm being shown is an illusion" or "what if this is all just a vivid dream" -- is, at its root, a proposition that is very difficult to resolve. There's really no method that can disprove it or even show it to be of low likelihood, and until you can address that, there is no nose and no external reality, at least not for sure.

There's two more fundamental questions at work that need to be addressed before we can know things about reality. The first is, what IS reality? And the second is, why should we care?

I'll address the second first.

Whether or not an external reality exists, a few things are I know about my existence. Principle among these is that I experience sensations. I might not know that I'm actually touching a nose, but my brain experiences the tactile sensation of touch and the visual sensation of a nose and so on. Even if these sensations are illusions, I still experience them. This makes the experience an incorrigible proposition. It is automatically true by virtue of my perception, because it is a simple proposition about me perceiving things. Some other relevant, incorrigible propositions are: I have a preference for some experiential states over others (eg, the taste of chocolate over the taste of cough medicine), I have some agency over my stream of experience (eg, I can command my limbs to move, and I can sometimes choose whether to eat chocolate or drink cough medicine, and the taste I experience will reflect that choice), and I experience significant limitations on that agency (eg, I cannot choose to enjoy the experience of magically summon chocolate into my mouth at a whim, but must instead locate and appropriate it).

These three aspects of what I experience -- preference, agency, and limitation -- give rise to a particular desire: I wish to use my agency to increase the frequency and intensity of preferred experiences, and decrease the frequency and intensity of counter-preferred experiences. And as an immediate corollary of this, since my agency is limited, I wish to understand those limitations so I can make optimal use of my agency towards the outcome of preferred experiences. That, then, is why I would want to know anything about reality. I cannot imagine another reason. I can imagine it being phrased quite differently, and I can imagine that this motivation is occasionally buried so deeply as to be difficult to identify, but I'm pretty sure that this is at the root of all desire to know about reality.

So, the other question. What IS reality? In light of the above, and setting aside any metaphysical questions about what the substance of reality is or how it works, it is at the very least a system by which my experiences are generated reflective of limited agency -- and thus also the source of my experiences and my limitations and the realm in which my agency is exerted.

I can imagine various mental models of how reality (this system) works, and some of these models will allow me to reliably and accurately predict and exploit the system towards my goal of preferred experiences, and others will not. This system is there regardless of whether it's a physical world as we think it, or a computer simulation, or a dream, or something else entirely. To the extent that one model is a more reliable and accurate predictor of experiences than another, that model is more reflective of reality. It is true, or at least closer to the truth, than the model it exceeds.

One model that has an extremely good track record is that my reality is a physical world consisting of three easily-perceived spacial dimensions and a progressing temporal dimension. (More refined models link these together as space-time, introduce a fourth spacial dimension and so on, but this simpler model is both far easier to arrive at and just as good in the great majority of cases.) I am situated within this reality in a physical, biological body, with an organ in my head that gives rise to my experiential existence through natural processes. There are other minds in similar bodies in somewhat (but not entirely) the same state. Barring severe injury, nearly every one of those bodies has a nose, and if I am nearby I can reach out and touch those noses. Or my nose. And vice versa. If I meet another person, I will expect them to have a nose by all the means I normally perceive noses (usually sight, sometimes touch, sometimes comparing notes with them and noticing we smell the same things) and this prediction has an excellent track record. When this expectation not met, I would expect some sort of explanation -- perhaps some severe injury that resulted in the loss of the nose, or some deformity at birth -- and were this not to be found I would be forced to revise my model of reality to include noseless people.

Is this model proven to be TRUE? No. I still haven't moved beyond external world skepticism. There might be no noses. They all might be a computer simulation. But I have managed to import it through the gates of external world skepticism, by making the question one of what I experience and the agency I have over those experiences, and since this is the only extent to which I have a desire to prove it, then it is proven so far as I have a desire to prove it. It's not firmly, purely, 100% positively demonstrated TRUE, but it's more than good enough to be getting on with.
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17-12-2015, 08:35 PM
RE: Let us work together to concur on how to prove that something exists.
Dear Reltzik:

Thanks for your reply.

You and I exist, and we are certain about that, and our nose also.

But you write so much words to, I wonder what, to DISprove that you and I exist and also our nose?

But it is so easy and to a certainty, that you and I exist, and also our nose: by touching.

Have you tried this simple experiment, pinch your nose hard, really hard, or hit yourself in the head, hard, really hard.

Still using so many words to prove I understand that you cannot be sure that you exist?

In which case, I guess I have to dispense myself from exchanging ideas with you about how humans prove that something exists in reality outside of our mind.

You see, everyone, first we are certain that we exist and also everything that we have as parts of our existence, like the nose in our face.

Then we will proceed to work together to ascertain how we can also prove the existence of things which are not part and parcel of our say, body.

Is that all right with everyone?

We cannot proceed to the next agenda unless you are certain that you exist and also every part of you exists like say, the nose in your face and the bead err I mean head on your shoulders.

Forgive me, as I said, if you find my writing here annoying, tell me in a few words why, I will revise it so that you will not complain anymore.

I find myself to be offending people who are not happy with me because according to them I am into funny condescension on them.

What I try to do is to influence folks so that they have their feet always on firm earth, and not into so many words, when one touch of the nose is enough to arrive at certainty of existence of our selves and our body parts, may I, like the nose in our face.

Dear readers, sooner than later, some people here will complain that they can't understand my English, in which case I suggest they bring my posts to the local grade school teacher of English grammar and writing, and ask her or him whether (s)he can make head and tail of my English.

So, everyone, as soon as we have come to agreement that we have certainty of the existence of our selves and our noses, then we will work together to come to master the proof or the skill to prove the existence of things which we cannot get in contact with by touching.

I almost forgot, about how we prove the certainty of our nose by touching it, there are a very exiguous few humans who cannot be sure that they have a nose, that is a sickness; and if the sickness is so grievous, then society will have to confine them in safety asylum: because they are of no worthwhile interactive relationship with the rest of society, and also for their own health and survival.

Now, dear folks here who are not sick like the above described exiguous minority, let not you take the plunge of drawing the overwhelming faulty conclusion, that therefore man cannot be certain that he exists in actual reality, from by just touching for example his nose -- unless you want to imagine that you are such most abysmal philosophers of a certain un-falsifiable school of insane thinking or more correctly, vanity imagination.
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17-12-2015, 09:48 PM (This post was last modified: 17-12-2015 09:51 PM by true scotsman.)
RE: Let us work together to concur on how to prove that something exists.
(17-12-2015 02:14 PM)Pachomius Wrote:  I have some ideas on how humans prove to themselves that something exists in reality outside their mind.

For example -- and I am not being funny, to prove the existence of the nose in our face, you and I each touch our respective nose, and then we touch each other's nose, and we thus are certain that you and I have a nose in our face.

What do you say?

Please, if you see something you feel not acceptable in my posts, please tell me in details what it is, and I will try to write it again so that you will not anymore complain.

In your example, the fact that we have noses is self evident. It doesn't need to be proved. Proof is a process of demonstrating the logical connection between what is not perceptually self evident and what is. Since we can both see and touch our noses, we don't need to prove that they exist.

Now how would you show the logical connection between what we can perceive directly and "God" (without committing any fallacies)? Because, "God" very definitely is not self evident, though theists often claim that it is. In fact there is no way to apprehend their gods except to imagine them. This only demonstrates their confusion on basic principles. They performatively affirm that their "God" is not self evident when they try and argue for its existence. If it were self evident there would be no need to prove its existence.

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The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
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