Discussion in 'Opinions, Beliefs, & Points of View' started by Abacus21, Jul 12, 2009.

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  1. Abacus21

    Abacus21 Staff Alumni

    I know a fair few folks here enjoy debating and particularly philosophical issues etc, but does anyone like epistemology - the study of knowledge?

    Was wondering if, if anyone is into it, we could cook up some interesting questions and debates about various aspects?
  2. aoeu

    aoeu Well-Known Member

    Well... Some thoughts: I'm a nihilistic empiricist. All knowledge is gained from our senses alone... And our senses are fallible. So there's no such thing as truth. Also, I don't exist.
  3. Issaccs

    Issaccs Well-Known Member

    Sometimes an egg. . . . . Is just an egg.
    Infact, most of the time it just an egg.
  4. Zurkhardo

    Zurkhardo Well-Known Member

    Wonderful topic idea Abacus. Epistemology is one of the most commonly talked about - and crucial - factor in a wide range of my courses. It seems to be an increasingly discussed topic in many classes, from science and journalism to anthropology and political science. It's especially the case given how more and more knowledge and date is being pumped out into the world and disseminating rapidly.

    A somewhat diluted form of nihilism is Absurdism, the idea that there is in fact truth out there but it is beyond the grasp and sensory perceptions of humanity.
  5. Sadeyes

    Sadeyes Staff Alumni

    Hi Sweetie...an epistemology is a belief system...so I am not sure what you want...please clarify and I will be happy to help...big hugs, J
  6. Abacus21

    Abacus21 Staff Alumni

    The way I've been taught in, and indeed - it says on Wikipedia, is that it's the study of knowledge, hun:

  7. Sadeyes

    Sadeyes Staff Alumni

    Yes, but the denotation is as I have said...(e.g. Dewey's (spelling) System is an epistemology of education)...J
  8. Abacus21

    Abacus21 Staff Alumni

    Ah ok ..
  9. plates

    plates Well-Known Member

    What is a lie?
  10. Ziggy

    Ziggy Antiquitie's Friend

    I've never got into Epistemology. I tend to think what's true to one person, is a lie to another. It's like the whole terrorist or freedom fighter debate. It all depends on what you chose to believe. I mean take science, we know what the universe is like because we assume that the laws that apply in our region of space apply to other regions as well. Is that knowledge? No it's belief, or rather it's probability.

    Everything has a probability of being true. I mean even if I say there's a 99.9999% chance that I do exist, does it make a difference if I suddenly know that I do? Why is that 100% so important?
  11. Abacus21

    Abacus21 Staff Alumni

    The fun is in the debate and view sharing, though..
    'Tis what the whole of philosophy is based on, one could say..

    As for 'what is a lie', the dictionary definition sums it up as: "A lie (also called prevarication), is a type of deception in the form of an untruthful statement, especially with the intention to deceive others, often with the further intention to maintain a secret or reputation, protect someone's feelings or to avoid a punishment. To lie is to state something that one knows to be false or that one has not reasonably ascertained to be true with the intention that it be taken for the truth by oneself or someone else".

    Relies a lot on what we perceive truth to be, though. Or should that be 'truth' to be? Logic says that there's only one truth, at least in English - we've defined anything else as 'perceptions of events', or 'a variation of the truth'. Problem is, to lie, one needs to be in full possession of a set of facts, for example:
    #1: We have the crime that you committed on CCTV. It is clearly you who's committed X. It is indisputable.[/I]

    After hearing that, being fully aware of it, having listened to it attentively to say '#1 didn't do X', would be a lie, would it not?
    If however you only heard that off of a friend, and it was a case of chinese whispers, or even if you were sitting opposite the bloke who said it, and you didn't hear him - you can't be accused of lying, as you aren't in full possession of the facts - we'd call that probably a ... 'mishearing' or something. (It's 3am here, and my brain-lexicon has given up the ghost for the night.)

    So, in conclusion - someone being fully and consciously aware of a a truthful statement / sequence of events, and denying it.

    There is another bit and angle that I was going to pursue with this, but now I can't remember what it was ... I need sleep, methinks.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 16, 2009
  12. ashes_away

    ashes_away Well-Known Member

    i'd be satisfied to just have some knowledge.Maybe in my next life I can worry about what knowledge is.:biggrin:
  13. plates

    plates Well-Known Member

    Cool. :cool: I go crazy when people admit to something or do something, then deny it or use language to cover up things when I confront them.

    Is 'the crime' an indisputable truth or would it be less of a crime if someone looked at individual circumstances? Is what I'm saying 'a perception of events' or what you're saying a reflection of a system(s) that might be prejudiced to certain groups in society? Do all crimes have the same weight and make criminals?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 17, 2009
  14. Abacus21

    Abacus21 Staff Alumni

    Well, if all the evidence is available, reviewed independently and in an unbiased manner (or at least, as least biased as possible), and all the evidence (say a video tape, a set of fingerprints, 20 different witness accounts) all point to X being the culprit, then one could say that it's an indisputable truth, yes, I think..

    As for would it be less of a crime when the individual circumstances are investigated, then ... well.. It depends what you mean by 'less of a crime', I suppose. If, for example, it's discovered that X had a mental illness which made them unaware of their actions, then he could be acquited, or given a lesser sentence if the court feels that's the right course of action..

    Some individual circumstances may push the sentence one way or the other, eg - X was a hardened criminal, who had full intention to murder Y that night = full sentence that's allowed is imposed. If though, as I say - he had a mental illness, then a (much?) lesser sentence would most likely be given..

    As for 'perception of events', all proceedings are an interpretation, I'd say - they interpret the criminal's actions as threatening / abusive, whereas the criminal may see them as being friendly. Different perceptions occur in everyday life, too - someone who's had a bit too much to drink, for example, shouting and kicking things - the odds are that the folks on the same side of the street would either cross to the other side, or give him a very wide berth. Perceptions happen all the time, and are unavoidable .. are instant at times, and are changeable.
    Hope that makes sense :blink:

    As for whether all crimes have the same weight, the law dictates 'No' - which is why there's different sentences given out for different crimes. The law, some would say, isn't necessarily right, though. Hence why some laws are changed in response to the outcome of court cases.
    As for whether they 'make criminals' - I'd say that much depends on the person who we dub as a 'criminal' themselves. Whether the public see it that way though, is another question entirely...

    Not sure if that's actually been very analytical or a ramble, but I've written things down :tongue:
  15. fromthatshow

    fromthatshow Staff Alumni SF Supporter

    Ok if we're talking about knowledge, I think we already have all the answers in our hearts. This is coming from a spiritual perspective, assuming there is more to life than the senses.
    I think all true learning is unlearning, to uncover the answers about the universe that we already know.
    My opinion :)
  16. aoeu

    aoeu Well-Known Member

    Nope, it can't be stated to be true. What actually happened is immediately lost forever.

    A video tape can't capture what happened, it can only record sight and sound from one viewpoint only - and then these must be interpreted to mean anything.

    Fingerprints can mean a whole bunch of different things - put there before? After? Is the match EXACT [it's not possible to be exact, since both the laid fingerprints and the fingers will change slightly]?

    Eyewitness accounts are worthless. Anything they see is put into memory, and memory is inconsistent.

    Legally it's enough.

    But it's not fact.
  17. Abacus21

    Abacus21 Staff Alumni

    Fair enough, very good points.

    What do you count as 'fact' then?
  18. aoeu

    aoeu Well-Known Member

    There's no truth in the universe.

    Well, there is truth, but it only lasts for an instant, and then it is gone. It might as well not exist at all.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 17, 2009
  19. plates

    plates Well-Known Member

    If you don't exist, does that mean that everything you do and say is meaningless?
  20. aoeu

    aoeu Well-Known Member

    Indeed. I'm a nihilist.
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