What Is Truth?
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28-12-2013, 03:31 PM
RE: What Is Truth?
(24-12-2013 05:17 PM)Brian37 Wrote:  
(23-12-2013 05:04 AM)λάθε βιώσας Wrote:  Socratic method (also known as method of elenchus, elenctic method, or Socratic debate), named after the classical Greek philosopher Socrates, is a form of inquiry and discussion between individuals, based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to illuminate ideas. It is a dialectical method, often involving a discussion in which the defense of one point of view is questioned; one participant may lead another to contradict himself in some way, thus strengthening the inquirer's own point.

The Socratic method is a positive method of hypothesis elimination, in that better hypotheses are found by steadily identifying and eliminating those that lead to contradictions. The Socratic method searches for general, commonly held truths that shape opinion, and scrutinizes them to determine their consistency with other beliefs. The basic form is a series of questions formulated as tests of logic and fact intended to help a person or group discover their beliefs about some topic, exploring the definitions or logoi (singular logos), seeking to characterize the general characteristics shared by various particular instances. The extent to which this method is employed to bring out definitions implicit in the interlocutors' beliefs, or to help them further their understanding, is called the method of maieutics. Aristotle attributed to Socrates the discovery of the method of definition and induction, which he .

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socratic_method

it's a good base for conversation... very Western Civilizationy Smile

Quote:regarded as the essence of the scientific method

BULLSHIT AND NO SHOULD NOT BE. "ESSENCE" and that is what Plato poisoned humanity with right there.

What Socratic Method lacks that modern science does not was the concept of quality control in testing and falsification. It was good for brainstorming but was more about winning an argument and has absolutely NOTHING to do with our modern method.

The idea of back and forth was NOT enough. The idea of questioning was good but that lone still lacked quality control.

Read the preface to Dawkins "The Greatest Show On Earth". He places blame on Plato for all our modern ideologies in politics and religion. Plato was my hero for a long time until I read that.

Questioning was a good start, yes. But they did not invent scientific method and much of their "philosophy" was flawed.

Giving kudos to Plato for what little good he did would be like believing that Jesus was real because Newton got physics right while ignoring his Alchemy. Plato did far more damage to human logic than he did by stumbling on the right attitude of give and take questioning.

The original post was about relating the Socratic method to the scientific method not specifically on Platonism. Socrates was probably far more sceptical than Plato but we only partially see this because we are seeing Socrates from the lens of Plato's writings who went further than Socrates in formulating the idea of the forms (what became Platonism) in his later works - especially the Republic.

Still highly influenced by the Socratic method is Aristotle, Plato's student who challenged Plato's ideas of the forms and was far more empirical and what we may call scientific. Whilst Aristotle made many mistakes in his "science" we still use much of the Aristotelian method in modern science which was later developed & refined by Francis Bacon and other Rational Empiricists during the enlightenment and modern times with brilliant thinkers like Karl Popper.

I agree that Plato did go too far with the theory of the forms and this later when searching for the truth led to some bad ideas incorporated to justify religious myths which took centuries to shake off.

If the religious myths where left alone they would have died out, but when adopted to Platonism it justified the religions as more "mystic" depending intuitions that are hard to disprove (and is not the scientific method !).

For this metaphysical mess Plato is to blame and the more Platonistic religious doctrines tended to be more anti scientific compared to religions which incorporated Aristotelian ideas eg compare Thomism to Augustinian Christianity.

The more "mystic" Platonistic ideas justify NOT seeking evidence or rationality and are anti empiricist & anti-scientific.

The Socratic method itself is just a method of inquiry & questioning - it does not necessarily lead to Platonism.
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28-12-2013, 03:48 PM
RE: What Is Truth?
(28-12-2013 02:10 PM)λάθε βιώσας Wrote:  Truth is -- "absolute"

let's get back on topic shall we?

thanks to science we now know without a doubt, the "Truth"

Truth is --

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...cause we're doomed!





all galaxies are doomed to the abyss of the black hole and all suns are doomed to exhaust their fuel...

solution = intergalactic space

...into the Void!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zWDa9NT88E

The examined life is worth living.
The fact the Earth is going to be burned up by the Sun and eventually the Sun will fade away is utterly irrelevant.

The examined life is NOW. Its worth living (for some people) NOW or in the life time of the examined life.

Sure, for some people with ghastly diseases and ill health they may want to terminate it but all this has absolutely nothing to do with what happens in 5 billion years. (Severe ill health just limits the possibilities and freedom and causes distress - not related to the end of the Earth)

Sure I will die, my body will disintegrate and become recycled parts of the Earth - that does not take anything away from the meaning of my life NOW.
If anything the termination of life actually provides the meaningful examined life !
The fact it is temporary provides meaning. If life went on eternally either as it is or in some fancy afterlife this seems like the termination of any meaning or any examined life. What is there to examine for eternity ? Eternal boredom !

I don't mean by this that an extra 100 years would not be meaningful - perhaps. Perhaps living another 300 years would be fantastically meaningful, I would learn a lot, see how the world either develops further or disintegrates - who knows.
But who cares what happens in 5 Billion years ? I mean intellectually I want to know - but in terms of the examined life its somewhat irrelevant to living life now and my diary doesn't have enough pages.
As for eternal life - that is the ultimate nightmare ! A totally meaningless proposition.
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28-12-2013, 07:32 PM
RE: What Is Truth?
(28-12-2013 03:31 PM)Baruch Wrote:  The original post was about relating the Socratic method to the scientific method not specifically on Platonism.

truth must be examined from all perspectives imo...

I believe it will be the pinnacle of western thought who are the first to leave the planet in search of a new home.

The pinnacle of thought is a culmination of all perspectives with the ultimate view from the perspective of Justice.

The pinnacle of western thought were the first to set foot on another world...

It's destiny

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29-12-2013, 08:13 AM (This post was last modified: 29-12-2013 08:17 AM by Luminon.)
RE: What Is Truth?
(28-12-2013 02:52 PM)Chas Wrote:  I have had extraordinary experiences. I either have a naturalistic explanation or I don't.

"I don't know" is the null hypothesis. Not god did it, not subtle matter, not this week's woo-woo.
What is a null hypothesis? It seems to me your take on the null hypothesis is condemning yourself to a passive role, instead of learning to work with the little you have. Null hypothesis does not mean you can stop investigating, it means you need to search more, think more, make more hypotheses (unofficially, of course). Officially, say "I don't know." Unofficially, anything you say should come with a due caveat, but unofficially the work continues.

Of course, all explanations are naturalistic, but nature is greater than science, science is expanding into it. You have to constantly keep in mind that the phenomena you encounter may not be a part of our known scientific turf, they may not fit into our small disciplinary categories. And they likely existed for all human history, so much mythology is written along these lines.
One good way to exclude the nonsense for sure is watching out, as you say, for this week's woo-woo. Woo-woo is seasonal, it's a fad rippling across the global herd. Before the Wachowski brothers' film, nobody used the word Matrix. After Matrix, everyone's like matrix this, matrix that. These vague concepts migrate and form colonies in human heads, colonies that live alongside without forming a coherent, logical, necessary system. If you take one piece of bullshit away, all the others happily continue, as if nothing happened.

The truths worthy of watching are eternal, they're timeless, possible to be found across many cultures, many historical eras, many religions. Not as copies of each other, but as reflections of the same thing. That kind of work is of course social and qualitative and requires a different methodology than natural sciences have. Either I have a naturalistic explanation, or I don't, but then maybe I have a hell a lot of ideas on where or how or under what hypothetical conditions a naturalistic explanation might be found in the future faster than by letting science do as it normally does, or if not, then what the reason might be, why not.
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29-12-2013, 08:40 AM
RE: What Is Truth?
(29-12-2013 08:13 AM)Luminon Wrote:  
(28-12-2013 02:52 PM)Chas Wrote:  I have had extraordinary experiences. I either have a naturalistic explanation or I don't.

"I don't know" is the null hypothesis. Not god did it, not subtle matter, not this week's woo-woo.
What is a null hypothesis? It seems to me your take on the null hypothesis is condemning yourself to a passive role, instead of learning to work with the little you have. Null hypothesis does not mean you can stop investigating, it means you need to search more, think more, make more hypotheses (unofficially, of course). Officially, say "I don't know." Unofficially, anything you say should come with a due caveat, but unofficially the work continues.

Of course, all explanations are naturalistic, but nature is greater than science, science is expanding into it. You have to constantly keep in mind that the phenomena you encounter may not be a part of our known scientific turf, they may not fit into our small disciplinary categories. And they likely existed for all human history, so much mythology is written along these lines.
One good way to exclude the nonsense for sure is watching out, as you say, for this week's woo-woo. Woo-woo is seasonal, it's a fad rippling across the global herd. Before the Wachowski brothers' film, nobody used the word Matrix. After Matrix, everyone's like matrix this, matrix that. These vague concepts migrate and form colonies in human heads, colonies that live alongside without forming a coherent, logical, necessary system. If you take one piece of bullshit away, all the others happily continue, as if nothing happened.

The truths worthy of watching are eternal, they're timeless, possible to be found across many cultures, many historical eras, many religions. Not as copies of each other, but as reflections of the same thing. That kind of work is of course social and qualitative and requires a different methodology than natural sciences have. Either I have a naturalistic explanation, or I don't, but then maybe I have a hell a lot of ideas on where or how or under what hypothetical conditions a naturalistic explanation might be found in the future faster than by letting science do as it normally does, or if not, then what the reason might be, why not.

What you see across many cultures is the commonality of human minds fooling themselves. Science is the tool we use to counteract that. It is the only tool that has been shown to work.

You have anecdotes, not evidence. Go ahead and create hypotheses, but they are useless unless they are testable, verifiable/falsifiable.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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29-12-2013, 10:28 AM
RE: What Is Truth?
(29-12-2013 08:40 AM)Chas Wrote:  What you see across many cultures is the commonality of human minds fooling themselves. Science is the tool we use to counteract that. It is the only tool that has been shown to work.

You have anecdotes, not evidence. Go ahead and create hypotheses, but they are useless unless they are testable, verifiable/falsifiable.
What is fooling ourselves? For example, if people somehow came up with theory of relativity 1000 years before they had instruments and mathematics to explain it, would they be fooling themselves as well?

Can you give me a good definition for fooling ourselves? For example, my working definition of foolishness is emotional attachment to random things and concepts and giving them divine significance: thus my definition of woo is characteristic by its randomness, vagueness and lack of structure. This woo spreads in packets of beliefs and a believer can believe or disbelieve them in any random combination. This is the definition I use. Everything else can be studied in some way.

In any case, the ability of human minds to "fool themselves" with a great consistency and similar themes across unrelated cultures and eras (as opposed to fooling ourselves by weekly woo spread through mass media) is a phenomenon that can be studied by social sciences.
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29-12-2013, 10:52 AM
RE: What Is Truth?
(29-12-2013 10:28 AM)Luminon Wrote:  In any case, the ability of human minds to "fool themselves" with a great consistency and similar themes across unrelated cultures and eras (as opposed to fooling ourselves by weekly woo spread through mass media) is a phenomenon that can be studied by social sciences.

Not without taking into account an evolutionary theory of mind. The social sciences must be grounded in reality to be useful.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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31-12-2013, 06:45 AM
RE: What Is Truth?
(29-12-2013 10:52 AM)Chas Wrote:  Not without taking into account an evolutionary theory of mind. The social sciences must be grounded in reality to be useful.
Often we don't know yet what is reality. That's why we perform the research. Evolutionary theory of mind is a successful theory, but it's not the end of all research, there may be other theories ahead.
We may not know in advance what is or isn't fooling ourselves. The only reliable rule I found so far, is that randomness means a sure sign of nonsense. I know how you distrust pattern-seeking abilities of our brain, but pattern means regularity, therefore not randomness, therefore perhaps not a nonsense, perhaps something that can be researched. Of course I mean an inductive, preliminary research which produces a hypothesis to be tested and proven or disproven.

I believe that a well-done preliminary research is the key to producing innovative yet successful hypotheses. Demanding evidence or test from an idea that isn't well researched yet is about as clever as trying to build a house out of an oak sapling. Ideas have to be given a chance to grow and produce the preliminary evidence, they need a substantial investment before we know if there's anything or not. I don't think science is representative if it researches only that which already is measurable and requires no investment to make it measurable. Of course, every investment is a risk.

I have thought about this and I think there's something you need to know.

As someone who now has an idea about social sciences I can't help but notice how crude and heavy-handed are supposedly objective attempts of natural science to investigate psychics and clairvoyants. These people know nothing about how people work. Psychism is a socio-natural phenomenon, it inherits trouble from both sides, natural and social, methodology must reflect that. For example, did it ever occur to James Randi, that the hypothetical true psychics would be highly secretive people, who don't like attention? Being seen as a freak or afraid of thereof is sure to get them out of spotlight. And what is the million dollar for? Did it ever occur to Randi, that some people don't value money that much, less than their privacy? Why didn't he realize, that money are likely to attract people who want money? In the world of alternative medicine, money are often seen as "dirty", materialistic thing. New Agey people are often idealistic. Never trust anyone who asks a lot of money for alternative medicine. Honest people do it for the people, not for the money. Some psychics even use a "psychic test" to determine how much money to ask for in order not to gain bad karma. Once I've seen a psychic actually give out money - a lot of money (she could afford it) to a stranger, as the "psychic test" had told her there is some debt from past life or something.

Metaphorically said, if natural scientists went to study the wildlife as they go to study, all animals would run away and they'd end up studying an empty forest. Or dead animals. If they tried to attract them with what they think is a bait, they'd end up attracting parasites, scavengers, carrion eaters, bottom feeders... That's exactly what happens. Look at the irony, the most intelligent people on the planet use a known drug and poison to do their social research. If you think religion poisons everything, just look at money. Money poison everything. Never use money as a bait. The true men and women will do it for free or for a honest pay. Use the million to pay for the equipment, James.
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31-12-2013, 08:27 AM
RE: What Is Truth?
(31-12-2013 06:45 AM)Luminon Wrote:  
(29-12-2013 10:52 AM)Chas Wrote:  Not without taking into account an evolutionary theory of mind. The social sciences must be grounded in reality to be useful.
Often we don't know yet what is reality. That's why we perform the research. Evolutionary theory of mind is a successful theory, but it's not the end of all research, there may be other theories ahead.
We may not know in advance what is or isn't fooling ourselves. The only reliable rule I found so far, is that randomness means a sure sign of nonsense. I know how you distrust pattern-seeking abilities of our brain, but pattern means regularity, therefore not randomness, therefore perhaps not a nonsense, perhaps something that can be researched. Of course I mean an inductive, preliminary research which produces a hypothesis to be tested and proven or disproven.

Please put forward all the hypotheses you want. They will remain hypotheses until they are tested and evidence produced.

You seem to think anyone demanding evidence lacks imagination or creativity. This merely shows your misunderstanding and ignorance of science, scientists, the scientific method.
You have presupposed the existence of some things for which there is no evidence, and proceed to vilify those who simply ask for evidence.

Quote:I believe that a well-done preliminary research is the key to producing innovative yet successful hypotheses. Demanding evidence or test from an idea that isn't well researched yet is about as clever as trying to build a house out of an oak sapling. Ideas have to be given a chance to grow and produce the preliminary evidence, they need a substantial investment before we know if there's anything or not. I don't think science is representative if it researches only that which already is measurable and requires no investment to make it measurable. Of course, every investment is a risk.

I have thought about this and I think there's something you need to know.

As someone who now has an idea about social sciences I can't help but notice how crude and heavy-handed are supposedly objective attempts of natural science to investigate psychics and clairvoyants. These people know nothing about how people work. Psychism is a socio-natural phenomenon, it inherits trouble from both sides, natural and social, methodology must reflect that. For example, did it ever occur to James Randi, that the hypothetical true psychics would be highly secretive people, who don't like attention? Being seen as a freak or afraid of thereof is sure to get them out of spotlight. And what is the million dollar for? Did it ever occur to Randi, that some people don't value money that much, less than their privacy? Why didn't he realize, that money are likely to attract people who want money? In the world of alternative medicine, money are often seen as "dirty", materialistic thing. New Agey people are often idealistic. Never trust anyone who asks a lot of money for alternative medicine. Honest people do it for the people, not for the money. Some psychics even use a "psychic test" to determine how much money to ask for in order not to gain bad karma. Once I've seen a psychic actually give out money - a lot of money (she could afford it) to a stranger, as the "psychic test" had told her there is some debt from past life or something.

Metaphorically said, if natural scientists went to study the wildlife as they go to study, all animals would run away and they'd end up studying an empty forest. Or dead animals. If they tried to attract them with what they think is a bait, they'd end up attracting parasites, scavengers, carrion eaters, bottom feeders... That's exactly what happens. Look at the irony, the most intelligent people on the planet use a known drug and poison to do their social research. If you think religion poisons everything, just look at money. Money poison everything. Never use money as a bait. The true men and women will do it for free or for a honest pay. Use the million to pay for the equipment, James.

That is a sad, tired argument that has been used by charlatans for centuries. Try harder.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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31-12-2013, 08:21 PM
RE: What Is Truth?
(31-12-2013 08:27 AM)Chas Wrote:  Please put forward all the hypotheses you want. They will remain hypotheses until they are tested and evidence produced.

You seem to think anyone demanding evidence lacks imagination or creativity. This merely shows your misunderstanding and ignorance of science, scientists, the scientific method.
You have presupposed the existence of some things for which there is no evidence, and proceed to vilify those who simply ask for evidence.
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Imagination and creativity are absolutely necessary in fieldwork. Social research is mostly based on inductive thinking.
Of course people demanding evidence lack imagination and creativity! That's an asset, their job does not require that. Their job is deductively testing the hypothesis, not to come up with anything new. They must stick with the protocols and not deviate one bit from them.
What I resent is a complete disregard of preliminary research of social phenomena. People who invest countless millions to make elementary particles measurable, invest nothing into making social phenomena measurable. Thus they effectively express assumptions, that physical and social phenomena can not have anything in common. Of course this is not true, there are studies like solar flare and crime correlations which is a good step IMO, but the interaction between the natural and social needs to be researched even deeper.

This has nothing to do with scientific method, this has to do with style of thinking that lingers with us since Protestantism, Descartes and physically mechanistic worldview. There are some good studies that can see the world interconnected, but there's not enough of them.

(31-12-2013 08:27 AM)Chas Wrote:  That is a sad, tired argument that has been used by charlatans for centuries. Try harder.
What? I write a pertinent, well-reasoned post about social research methodology (that didn't really get developed until a few decades ago, stuff like Grounded Theory and such) and you respond with this? Do you doubt the difficulties that natural science faces when dealing with social phenomena? Would you at least provide some centuries old documents of these charlatans?
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