Philosophy Online Forum  
09/06/11 @ 07:43 *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
News:
 
   Home   Help Search Login Register  
Pages: [1] |   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: N: truth always related to some goal  (Read 3148 times)
LostInAShaftOfSunlight
Jr. Member
**
Online

Posts: 63


but you are the music while the music lasts...


« on: 27/07/09 @ 14:27 »

You write in your book that for N truth is always related to some goal, related back to the individual and the will to power.

This might be a trivial point or objection, but how could this apply to "mundane" kinds of truths, things we might agree on as matters of fact, or even as indisputable, such as "it is true that N was born in Rocken" or that i did or didn't eat breakfast this morning? How do these relate to a will to power or to a goal?
Logged

Man, when I was young I shoved my ignorance in people's faces. They beat me with sticks. By the time I was forty my blunt instrument had been honed to a fine cutting point for me. If you hide your ignorance, no one will hit you and you'll never learn.
Gareth Southwell
Administrator
Sr. Member
*****
Offline

Posts: 319


WWW
« Reply #1 on: 30/07/09 @ 08:14 »

Well, the more mundane the truth, the more fundamental the 'goal' that leads us to see the world in that way. For instance, 'N was born in Rocken'. Now it might sound silly and weird (and it is!), but why should we name individuals? Why should we give places a name and a discrete area of reference? Why doesn't Rocken change its area of reference with relation to (for example) the weather? If N got married, why don't we refer to the two individuals as the same entity?

These are 'odd' questions to us because the notions that are being questioned are so fundamental to our seeing the world in terms of (for instance) geographical areas with uniform points of reference. And so with people - N is a person with definite features. However, as 'sci-fi' type examples can show us, there are situations which would undermine the assumptions that these 'matters of fact' exist separately from us 'in the world'. I don't mean that Rocken will always exist, or that we could never rename it or tinker with the town's boundaries, but rather that our notions of identity, uniformity, change, etc. are not so inviolable as we might like to think. I think this was N's ultimate point: even our ideas of something as simple as 'thing' or 'object' are a construct of some sort. And if something has been constructed, then surely there is a sense in which it could have been some other way? Perhaps, if we ever meet 'Martians', they will have completely different notions of identity, object, and individuality to our own (think of the mere possibilities that quantum physics suggests - e.g. things being in two places at once, or affecting each other at a distance, etc.).

Does that make sense?
Logged

This site is 100% free. To support it, you can Buy Books, Buy Art, Advertise, or Pay for Tutoring. For questions, please visit the FAQs.
LostInAShaftOfSunlight
Jr. Member
**
Online

Posts: 63


but you are the music while the music lasts...


« Reply #2 on: 24/03/10 @ 04:59 »

Congratulations to myself for finally finding a way to reply to this!  I've tried a handful of times, but failed to get the words out.  Not any fault of yours and to answer your final question, yes, that does make sense.  I don't think you quite answered my original question - your response was kind of universalized, while my question was more particular.  Maybe i need to put it better.  But that's sort of slipped into the background anyway as you split my head open with...

Okay, about this construct business. 

1.How far does this extend?  What kinds of things could we safely say are unconstructed?
 
2. In another thread you mentioned you are not an atheist. You didn't elaborate on it there (possibly because no one asked, possibly because i think in one of your original posts you said you didn't want to get too personal - I respect that and you don't need to respond if you feel it's inappropriate), but given that you respect the notion that even basic concepts are a construct of some sort (well, actually, you put this as N's ultimate point, and don't comment on it), what effect does this have on your non-atheism?  Is it a threat?

Good to see you and your site still around.
Logged

Man, when I was young I shoved my ignorance in people's faces. They beat me with sticks. By the time I was forty my blunt instrument had been honed to a fine cutting point for me. If you hide your ignorance, no one will hit you and you'll never learn.
Gareth Southwell
Administrator
Sr. Member
*****
Offline

Posts: 319


WWW
« Reply #3 on: 16/04/10 @ 08:14 »

(Sorry for the long delay!)

1. I think the main thing which dictates the limits of construction is not how the world is, but how WE are (which, since we are part of the world, is perhaps the same thing, but we'll let that slide for the moment...). So, what constructions are logically possible are dictated by the limits of logic, which is in turn dictated by the limits of who we are, as human beings. So, we will always be limited, to an extent, by the nature of our existence as biological entities, and the practices that are important to us as a result of this. For instance, for some reason we are curious beings, who seem to need to know all sorts of things (such as whether reality is constructed or not!). Such a need is driven by who-knows-what - a vestige of an evolutionary process that has been useful for survival, or even (to take a religious possibility) a God-given drive to search out 'truth' - who can say? But whatever the cause of the need, the fact that there IS one determines a limit to our enquiries. Put simply, to get an answer, we have to set boundaries - without some sort of rules to the game, it's difficult to play! So, one limit upon construction is the need to make things work for us (which is in turn related to a mysterious impulse to know).

Another limit on construction is the self. The world is a different place depending on what we experience/conceive the self to be. Buddhism and certain Hindu philosophies have quite a radical attitude to this: the self - or rather Self (a universal entity, with a capital S) - is all that exists; the rest is illusion (construction?). What determines our notion of reality therefore is that which we separate our self from. Descartes thought that the experience of an individual, thinking entity represented an irreducible fact (i.e. NOT a construction), but subsequent arguments have disproved this, I think. Therefore, what was fundamental for Descartes is not fundamental (non-constructed) for us. Why is this? It's because our notion of self is different. But the same might be said for the Buddhists and Hindus, so this isn't a case of scientific progression!

I'm aware I'm skating over topics here, but these are slippery things to talk about. Feel free to home in on one or two things and we can try to be more specific.

2. Well, there are two questions here, you naughty boy! They are linked, but can take us off in different directions. Firstly, my religious beliefs are personal not in the sense that they are secret or immune to rational investigation, but rather that I try (for the sake of discussion) to keep them separate from philosophy. In other words, I don't want people to think that I always have a religious axe to grind, or am not willing to entertain radical possibilities.

However, your 'second' question relates to this: my views are actually very broad and fluid. I am not confined to one orthodox viewpoint, such as Christianity or Judaism, but rather feel it important to consider these questions from a rational perspective. To say (as, e.g. Thomas Aquinas did) that natural reason will definitely lead us to the truth of faith is itself an act of faith, and I wouldn't want to go that far - we have to at least entertain the possibility that (for instance) reason and faith are at variance, or that reason is even incapable of (by itself) establishing religious truth. However, I do think that we should be very wary of abandoning reason - it may be a cop out to say that certain truths are beyond reason's reach, and may even involve a sort of paradox (how do we know? how can we prove that?). Therefore, even if there are limits to reason, this is something that reason can prove (such as with Godel's incompleteness theorem in mathematics, which seeks to rationally prove that maths (and by extension, logic) has no ultimate rational basis). Therefore, I would say that my position is closest to someone like John the Scot (Johannes Scotus), a 9th century Irish philosopher who said
Quote
authority proceeds from true reason, but reason certainly does not proceed from authority. For every authority which is not upheld by true reason is seen to be weak, whereas true reason is kept firm and immutable by her own powers and does not require to be confirmed by the assent of any authority.
More specifically, as for how the problem of constructivism affects religious belief, I don't think it does (at least, not mine). There is, as I've suggested, a long tradition, spanning many faiths, that sees reality as a form of illusory construct, resolving into a constructless divine reality which is, effectively, indistinguishable from nothing (just as an infinite substance cannot be bounded). Does that make sense? However, the discussion we've been having is perhaps not about absolutes, but about knowledge - and, as I've tried to suggest, knowledge requires limits, and is related to self.

As to the details of my religious convictions, I'm happy to discuss them, but - as I've suggested - they are not fixed articles of faith, but rather rationally decided possibilities. If you have specific questions, please ask, or perhaps we can have some debate on religious matters in the philosophy of religion part of the forum.

Sorry for the very, very long response...!
Logged

This site is 100% free. To support it, you can Buy Books, Buy Art, Advertise, or Pay for Tutoring. For questions, please visit the FAQs.
tito loopi
Newbie
*
Offline

Posts: 2


« Reply #4 on: 04/10/10 @ 17:02 »

So, what constructions are logically possible are dictated by the limits of logic, which is in turn dictated by the limits of who we are, as human beings. So, we will always be limited, to an extent, by the nature of our existence as biological entities, and the practices that are important to us as a result of this.

 I do think that we should be very wary of abandoning reason - it may be a cop out to say that certain truths are beyond reason's reach, and may even involve a sort of paradox (how do we know? how can we prove that?). Therefore, even if there are limits to reason, this is something that reason can prove (such as with Godel's incompleteness theorem in mathematics, which seeks to rationally prove that maths (and by extension, logic) has no ultimate rational basis).

My theory is that 'the truth' is beyond the capability of language.
If one were to attempt to define an object - eg a tree - one would be able to go so far as a symbolic figurative representation of the object. However an object is not governed by or made up of letters; the word is an abstraction of the 'truth' that supposes "existence exists" is a finite, definite end to the argument that 'the truth' is a realistic categorization of an object without any kind of symbolism.
Logged
Gareth Southwell
Administrator
Sr. Member
*****
Offline

Posts: 319


WWW
« Reply #5 on: 04/10/10 @ 20:50 »

I wouldn't disagree that truth is beyond language - but, in a sense, that is quite a commonplace, isn't it? There are many experiences that are "beyond words". However, this is not to say that we cannot experience truth in some other, non-linguistic way.

However, I'm not quite sure if this is what you meant.
Logged

This site is 100% free. To support it, you can Buy Books, Buy Art, Advertise, or Pay for Tutoring. For questions, please visit the FAQs.
Pages: [1] |   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to: