Not doubt, but distinction - a departure from Descartes

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Not doubt, but distinction - a departure from Descartes

Postby Don Juan on July 5th, 2018, 2:20 pm 

My reflections on my basic observation and question:

1. I am, then how come I am? or
2. It is, then how come it is?

led me at odds with "cogito ergo sum" and how it came to be formulated. Descartes view of knowledge based on the complete absence of doubt from his methodical doubt did not provide a way to prevent (its application unto itself) to doubt the very method he used and to doubt that doubt and so on.

I came to realize that it is not doubt, but distinctions that build knowledge. Our senses are part of the foundation in building knowledge; through these we are able to make conditions to make even better and deeper distinctions, differences, contrast in order to know and store these in us and in our culture.
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Re: Not doubt, but distinction - a departure from Descartes

Postby DragonFly on July 5th, 2018, 9:26 pm 

Don Juan » July 5th, 2018, 1:20 pm wrote:I came to realize that it is not doubt, but distinctions that build knowledge. Our senses are part of the foundation in building knowledge; through these we are able to make conditions to make even better and deeper distinctions, differences, contrast in order to know and store these in us and in our culture.


It is highly improbable that the senses are some kind of a hoax and that they indeed take in what's out there. Doubt greatly fades. About 70% of the brain deals with vision; this resource would not be wasted on a hoax.

Our neural activity furthers our distinctions in the unified qualia that it structures with contrasts, even if some are painted on the face of 'reality', such as using the reflective color spectrum and portraying these reflective colors as surface properties of objects.

Much is also left out to reduce unnecessary clutter.
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Re: Not doubt, but distinction - a departure from Descartes

Postby BadgerJelly on July 6th, 2018, 12:59 am 

It seems there are a number of threads dealing with this subject matter.

Eod is also looking at this; albeit his presentation lacks any real attempt to define the terms in use and the issue of mixed terminologies between this or that traditional use - there and only there Heidegger had a reasonable point with the issue of hermeneutics.

As for the doutb of doubt and definitions of knowledge. The point is to define what you mean by “knowledge” before asking what “knowledge” is.

Any idea of “hoax’ is irrelevant to the discussion other than to set out the point that doubt can infest any proposition that isn’t held with dogmatic rigor.

I like that you’ve noticed the connection between “doubt” and “distinction.” Sadly there is, as always it seems, no attempt to define what “knowledge” means to you, and further more the specific context within which that term is being used.

If you recall RJG rants about “absolute knowledge” you’ll likely see the issue we have here with outlining what we mean by “knowledge” in any specific instance. As you can see Dragonfly, as we all do to some point, jumps on empirical suggestions brought to us by science with talk of percentages and probabilities.

Another issue is the term “real.” Just like “unicorn” and “Santa” the term “knowledge” is understood, and it is real in that sense (as you’ve already outlined in the previous thread.)

The question then is “so what?”

As for Descartes, I have not actually read his work other than bit part. I do recall that the context of his famous phrase is more nuanced than first appears.

As for the “not doubt, but distinction” it seems mostly to be an empty phrase, yet we can certainly all see that in order to doubt an idea there must be distinctions between ideas. We can call this “distinction” doubt if there is conflation within the field of distinction. “Is it that I am alive or not dead?” Here we know they are seemingly one and the same thing, yet logically they are not strictly the same. We take them as being the same because “alive” and “dead” are not gradable antonyms - and what is more, that is not to say we couldn’t begin to introduce a “grey area” between, it’s just that we have no need to do so and no means to distinguish; the distinctions must be clear for communication.

This brings us to the point of phenomenology and what Husserl noted about Descartes. He revealed the phemenological epoche, but didn’t realise he had done so. We can also see here how Heidegger took up one part of Husserl’s work and ran with it - that is the hermeneutics and linguistic machinations of language.

The point of this dense reply is to try and point out the nuance and the analogous “space” between distinctions from which “doubt” and “knowledge” spring as one and the same.

As another example of this, in regards to the infinite and finite, we’re engrossed in the success of science (as we should be.) What we overlook due to firmly held distinctions is the ideation of probabilities and numbers into concrete physical being. When I roll a die the probability of rolling a six is 1 in 6. This doen’t mean anything though. It is merely the useful habit of dealing with infinity to which we have no direct comprehension of other than as a abstract entity.

The precision of numbers works because their playing field is infinite. We are finite beings though. The gross problem of metaphysical musings is partaking in the creation of ideas whilst knowing that the task at hand is derived from a basis of “guess work” and “probable cause” even though in the experience of life is known as being distinct from “guess work” and “probable cause” meaning the here and now are not open to debate, and your opinion, although questioned and doubted, remains as it is - and in given that we’re temporal creatures it remains in helpless motion.

The idea of infinity is captured by the imagining of an absolute constant and then using the absolute constant to bounce off patterns of experience and reveal tr absolute as a “shift” from finite human being in order to attend to it with an ability to compare and contrast. Science and math is the epitome of this and they sprang from language, which sprang from who knows where - I’d say the “narrative” of being, which is a story that comes through the mystery that is the interplay of space and time that by unknown (and likely unknowable) phenomenon “survival” began and continuity sprouted into a meaningful existence ... as did meaning!

Here language breaks down, here the phenomenological reduction begins. Tread carefully or you’ll end up in fantasy land believe everything one moment and nothign the next; ironically without recognising the peculiar nature of any given “moment.”
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Re: Not doubt, but distinction - a departure from Descartes

Postby Don Juan on July 6th, 2018, 1:05 am 

DragonFly wrote:It is highly improbable that the senses are some kind of a hoax and that they indeed take in what's out there. Doubt greatly fades. About 70% of the brain deals with vision; this resource would not be wasted on a hoax.


We seem to have similar views on this matter Dragonfly. I would however note that what the senses "took in" is a result of some change of what's out there. Hoax or not, we eventually discover or confirm by making further observations, distinctions and contrasts. This approach then does not try to avoid the condition of our senses deceiving us, but include it as part of observable phenomena that can be followed, examined and studied. As I have contemplated: It is, then how come it is? This approach does not stop observing and making distinctions.

Our neural activity furthers our distinctions in the unified qualia that it structures with contrasts, even if some are painted on the face of 'reality', such as using the reflective color spectrum and portraying these reflective colors as surface properties of objects.


We are in the bubble of our own perception.

Much is also left out to reduce unnecessary clutter.


Not only that some are left out, but also that some are generalized as well as distorted as they are taken in from observing what is out there.
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Re: Not doubt, but distinction - a departure from Descartes

Postby BadgerJelly on July 6th, 2018, 1:34 am 

Don -

“Out there” meaning you choose to apply empiricism here and nothig else? I can just as quickly state that your eyes don’t see no more than your nose smells. Then there is the problematics of dealing with concatenations of by which we capture more instances and spread them across our “current” experience bleeds both into the past and the future; which ironically exist for us only seemingly as exterior to our “immediacy” of being - the “here and now.”

In this sense we can say the future is never known. In another we can say the future is never known becasue the future doesn’t exist. Again, the rationality of these statements holds up only if the terminology is understood and explicated.
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Re: Not doubt, but distinction - a departure from Descartes

Postby Don Juan on July 6th, 2018, 2:30 am 

BadgerJelly » July 6th, 2018, 6:59 am wrote:It seems there are a number of threads dealing with this subject matter.


Yes there are, but how do you distinguish this from the others?

As for the doutb of doubt and definitions of knowledge. The point is to define what you mean by “knowledge” before asking what “knowledge” is.


It seems to me that knowledge is the accumulating distinctions stored in our brains, our devices and tools.

The question then is “so what?”


You do not remove the deception, at least at its first few instances, but follow it as an observable event to answer how come it is.

As for the “not doubt, but distinction” it seems mostly to be an empty phrase, yet we can certainly all see that in order to doubt an idea there must be distinctions between ideas. We can call this “distinction” doubt if there is conflation within the field of distinction. “Is it that I am alive or not dead?” Here we know they are seemingly one and the same thing, yet logically they are not strictly the same. We take them as being the same because “alive” and “dead” are not gradable antonyms - and what is more, that is not to say we couldn’t begin to introduce a “grey area” between, it’s just that we have no need to do so and no means to distinguish; the distinctions must be clear for communication.


Doubt is used to remove from a region that which is doubtful in order to build knowledge, distinctions do not remove that which is doubtful but populate the region with even more distinctions until it builds the stable structure. The doubter works like an architect, the observer making further distinctions works like nature.
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Re: Not doubt, but distinction - a departure from Descartes

Postby Don Juan on July 6th, 2018, 2:39 am 

BadgerJelly » July 6th, 2018, 7:34 am wrote:Don -

“Out there” meaning you choose to apply empiricism here and nothig else? I can just as quickly state that your eyes don’t see no more than your nose smells. Then there is the problematics of dealing with concatenations of by which we capture more instances and spread them across our “current” experience bleeds both into the past and the future; which ironically exist for us only seemingly as exterior to our “immediacy” of being - the “here and now.”


I did not choose empiricism. Your eyes sees and your nose smells, but how come they are - that is, we are interested in the process to examine it further regarding the nature of seeing and smelling. Now if we discover the details and notice networks of changes happening we may came to understand what it means to see and to smell.
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