A Tree of Knowledge

Discussions on the nature of being, existence, reality and knowledge. What is? How do we know?

A Tree of Knowledge

Postby Keep_Relentless on October 19th, 2019, 7:04 am 

When I consider the logical relations between all ideas, I see an infinite tree with each node an idea. For example, somewhere on that tree is the idea 'There are apples (in the world)'. But further down the tree, more fundamental, is the idea 'There are fruits'. 'There are fruits' is implied by 'There are apples'. ('There is at least one apple' is also implied by 'There are apples').

What is at the very bottom of this tree? The most general and fundamental of all ideas? I think I have an answer.

There are statements that are necessarily true. These include mathematical truths such as 2+2=4 and tautologies such as bachelors are unmarried. Likewise, there are statements that are necessarily false, such as 2+2=79 and bachelors are married. We set these aside.

Setting these aside, we might think that the remainder of statements are optional and might be either believed or disbelieved. But there is a trick. We can divide the remaining ideas into ideas which, if they exist, must be true, and those which, if they exist, must be false. The first examples that come to mind are 'There is something' and 'There is nothing'. If there is nothing, there can be no idea that there is nothing, so that this idea is necessarily false. 'There is something' is the most fundamental idea which, if it exists, is necessarily true. It is a root of the tree.

Another idea which, if it exists, must be true, is the idea 'There is at least one idea'. Since ideas by definition take place inside a mind, the idea 'There is at least one mind (with at least one idea)' is established next. Provided we grant the existence of ideas at all, these ideas alone are incontrovertible.

When we begin our ascent into optional ideas, some of the first issues to emerge are how many minds are there? (one solipsistic reality, one person and God, many minds, or infinitely many minds) and what are the parts of the mind? and how many universes are there? and what are the parts of the universe?
and how can the mind, with its thought, feeling, perception, memory, and will, be reconciled to the universe, with its space-time of matter and energy?

These are foundations of a tree of knowledge, or rather a tree of belief-systems.
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Re: A Tree of Knowledge

Postby Positor on November 2nd, 2019, 12:01 pm 

Keep_Relentless » October 19th, 2019, 11:04 am wrote:There are statements that are necessarily true. These include mathematical truths such as 2+2=4 and tautologies such as bachelors are unmarried. Likewise, there are statements that are necessarily false, such as 2+2=79 and bachelors are married. We set these aside.

These are traditionally classed as analytic a priori statements (although Quine and others have cast doubt on the analytic/synthetic distinction).

Setting these aside, we might think that the remainder of statements are optional and might be either believed or disbelieved. But there is a trick. We can divide the remaining ideas into ideas which, if they exist, must be true, and those which, if they exist, must be false. The first examples that come to mind are 'There is something' and 'There is nothing'. If there is nothing, there can be no idea that there is nothing, so that this idea is necessarily false. 'There is something' is the most fundamental idea which, if it exists, is necessarily true. It is a root of the tree.

These can be classed as synthetic a priori statements. The statements you mention do exist, so they are necessarily true or false as the case may be.

Another idea which, if it exists, must be true, is the idea 'There is at least one idea'. Since ideas by definition take place inside a mind, the idea 'There is at least one mind (with at least one idea)' is established next. Provided we grant the existence of ideas at all, these ideas alone are incontrovertible.

Possibly also 'There is more than one idea', since the components of a sentence (e.g. 'there is', 'at least', 'one' and 'idea') are themselves distinct ideas.

how can the mind, with its thought, feeling, perception, memory, and will, be reconciled to the universe, with its space-time of matter and energy?

Yes, the 'hard problem of consciousness'. Also, the very existence of an irreducible "I/me" of the present moment.
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Re: A Tree of Knowledge

Postby A_Seagull on November 2nd, 2019, 4:24 pm 

Keep_Relentless » October 19th, 2019, 11:04 pm wrote:When I consider the logical relations between all ideas, I see an infinite tree with each node an idea. For example, somewhere on that tree is the idea 'There are apples (in the world)'. But further down the tree, more fundamental, is the idea 'There are fruits'. 'There are fruits' is implied by 'There are apples'. ('There is at least one apple' is also implied by 'There are apples').

What is at the very bottom of this tree? The most general and fundamental of all ideas? I think I have an answer.

There are statements that are necessarily true. These include mathematical truths such as 2+2=4 and tautologies such as bachelors are unmarried. Likewise, there are statements that are necessarily false, such as 2+2=79 and bachelors are married. We set these aside.

Setting these aside, we might think that the remainder of statements are optional and might be either believed or disbelieved. But there is a trick. We can divide the remaining ideas into ideas which, if they exist, must be true, and those which, if they exist, must be false. The first examples that come to mind are 'There is something' and 'There is nothing'. If there is nothing, there can be no idea that there is nothing, so that this idea is necessarily false. 'There is something' is the most fundamental idea which, if it exists, is necessarily true. It is a root of the tree.

Another idea which, if it exists, must be true, is the idea 'There is at least one idea'. Since ideas by definition take place inside a mind, the idea 'There is at least one mind (with at least one idea)' is established next. Provided we grant the existence of ideas at all, these ideas alone are incontrovertible.

When we begin our ascent into optional ideas, some of the first issues to emerge are how many minds are there? (one solipsistic reality, one person and God, many minds, or infinitely many minds) and what are the parts of the mind? and how many universes are there? and what are the parts of the universe?
and how can the mind, with its thought, feeling, perception, memory, and will, be reconciled to the universe, with its space-time of matter and energy?

These are foundations of a tree of knowledge, or rather a tree of belief-systems.


You might like my book: The Pattern Paradigm.

It looks beneath statements, truth and even mathematics to explore what logic is and to create a foundation for perception, cognition and even mind. It is entirely rigorous.

I would be happy to discuss its ideas and implications if you want.
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