From Use Of Which Of The Following Can You Obtain Knowledge? Feelings, Intuition, Prayer, Reason, Hope, Emotions Or Faith.

Intuition is not valid. Feelings, intuition, prayer, hope, faith and revelation are not valid sources of knowledge. There is only the noncontrictory integration of perceptual evidence, otherwise known as reason. To be valid, a concept must fit without contradiction into your knowledge base both:

HIERARCHICALLY-perceptions(colors/shapes) -->1st order concepts (chair)-->2nd order concepts (furniture)-->3rd order concepts (goods). Spirit is not valid because it is not made up of any essential constituents. Choice is real and valid because I can identify, by reducing a pattern of behavior to perceptual evidence, the essential characteristics.


CONTEXTUALLY-Santa Claus does not integrate contextually. He's a man, yet can visit millions of homes and climb down each chimney in one night! Contradiction. Must reject! God is omniscient. An all-knowing being must know what is about to happen to be omniscient, so he cannot know surprise. Contradiction. Must reject.

If there is a contradiction, go back, you must check your premises.

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Comment by MCT on October 6, 2011 at 9:11pm


Every time one makes a decision, they use information to do so. A man walks in and you may immediately suspect something, but for a reason. You wouldn't notice a well dressed man with a gentle look on his face and think, or feel, that he was bad because of that (unless you got beat up by someone who looks like them or you know that someone like him is wanted for murder). If something negative or strange was noticed, this might make you suspicious (what you are calling intuition). But there is real information there. So, you don't have all the time necessary to fully consider and weigh all factors involved, as other priorities, like your safety in the presence of many distractions cause an emotional stimulation or your prior knowledge makes it clear you are in danger that causes you to act. But, again, because of something specific. It is not the feeling that causes the particular decision made or knowledge obtained, it is the perception and the knowledge of how that perception might interact with the observer and the environment around. If you wish to call making a snap decision intuition, fine, but it would only be valid in as much as it describes a decision making process consistent with causal law. I don't think we really disagree there. My point is not that you cannot properly, or validly, call snapping to a judgment quickly based on incomplete integration of perceptual evidence, intuition, but that this process is not a valid source of knowledge (until it is integrated without contradiction, both contextually and hierarchically.) Knowledge, Tonya, intuition is not a valid source of knowledge. I do believe that subnconscious information affects decisions we make and in this respect, we are never really fully cognizant of the reasons for our own decisions, but if we have knowledge, intuition, or incomplete consideration of a thing or subconscious influence does not make it. Only conscious noncontradictory integration of a concept can make it knowledge.

Comment by MCT on February 25, 2011 at 2:19pm

ET continued,

ception, not a metaphysically intrinsic aspect of existents (things with identity that exist in this realm). Existence and identity precede and are necessary for consciousness. Awareness and consciousness are acts of perceiving, not creating.

Comment by MCT on February 25, 2011 at 2:18pm


Impose meaning and structure? Meaning, I'll agree, but structure, I think not. Perception is to see identity, not create it. For something to exist in reality it must have identity, it must have borders, it must be something and not others. For, if an existent did not have essential characteristics, then it cannot be said to exist. It would not be able to be identified. Causality is a clear and valid corollary of identity. Things do only what is dictated by their identity based on their structure, place and speed. Things cannot act randomly. Books don't sing. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches don't start cars. Balloons filled with helium go up in this atmosphere. They act precisely in a way based on their identity which is physical and finite. This is the most basic foundation of concept formation, definition and reason. The brain recognizes existence by perceiving identity and patterns of stimulation. Our cortices allow us to act, yes, but we don't change the structure of reality based on our thought, it is our actions that allow us to manipulate reality and only insofar as we use reason and logic according to causal law. We recognize patterns that are there or we can imagine ones that are not, sometimes people's conceptualizations are mistaken, but their eyes are not. The eyes tell us what is there. They do not make judgements or guesses. They are simple machines that relay EMR signals. If we are mistaken, it is because we have improper premises or a malfunctioning cortex. Like the sun 'coming up'. There is no error in the eye, but our brains took millennia to figure out that it is us rotating on our own axis that causes this illusion. Or a pencil in a glass of water appearing as two, or broken. The mistake is in the cortex, not the eye. In fact, it is our eye that eventually helps our cortex learn about diffraction. And just in case you think quantum mechanics refutes any of this, the uncertainty principle is a statement about the limits of our per

Comment by Edward Teach on February 25, 2011 at 10:42am


Yes it is an axiom and as it functions as an axiom it is self-evident, but when analyzed by an educated intellectually honest person, you can see the validity and understand that this is the only way possible for things to be the way they are, not just in appearances, but in logical coherence.

Interesting. I don't know that you can infer causation on this. The nature of the human mind is to impose meanin g and structure, even when none exists.


For example, the image projected on the back of the human retina is two demensional, blurry, upside down, riddled with holes, and overlayed with blood vessels. Yet the brain interprets this raw data as vivid, three deminsional and crisp. Is my brain's interpretation of this data accurately depicting external reality? Or, is it simply organizing the data in a creative way that provides structure for me?

Comment by Daniel Smith on January 29, 2011 at 4:45pm
It is about a person in the grip of a compelling psychosis that I am curious. This is somewhat in the realm of the unknowable, but still interesting to think about. A person in a psychotic state "believes" their delusions are true. I'm sure that a person whose fantasies are contradicted by their senses must have a destructive amount of cognitive dissonance going on, but what of someone in the grip of psychosis absent any sensory stimuli? I wonder if it would be possible to be lucid in such a state to a degree that one could "explore ones environment" so to speak? I read someplace recently about a person who had been in a longterm persistent vegitative state waking up and saying that they had been conscious the whole time (shudder). I'll have to see if I can find the article.
Comment by MCT on January 29, 2011 at 4:55am


Funny you should ask that! I cannot find it on the net right now, but my first day of Principles of Neuroscience class in medical school was a video on a little girl who was kept in her small room with little light, minimal color, minimal sound and minimal stimulation for the first, like ten, years of her life. Some mentally retarded very mean individual just kept her like an animal. She never knew any different. Her brain basically did not work. She could breath, even get up and move around, but not far. She basically did not understand that she could look into the distance, when she was finally brought outside, which did not make her happy. She could not speak. She could not accomplish anything remotely close to a fine motor task. Incidentally, she did very poorly with intensive rehabilitation. I realize this is a bit different than what you are asking, but an interesting case, I think. The brain, scratch that, most of the cerebral cortex, as well as other parts of the brain, are dependent on stimuli to do its thing. Please look up Jeffrey Hawkins' On Intelligence video, I thin it is on YT. He is a former neuroscientist turned computer scientist. He is attempting to create AI by attempting to mimic the brain's neural networks. He explains well how the cortex functions as a pattern recognition machine. I also attempt to do this in my blog Metacognition. The cortex receives patterns of stimuli from the sense organs and these patterns become the ever growing foundation for concept formation and the 'substance' or subject matter of thought. A piece of hardware without downloaded software, if you will, and I'm pretty sure you will. So, I guess my answer is that I think it is something very similar to turning on a computer with a  microphone, speakers and a few other auxiliary inputs and outputs, maybe even with small in-factory stored subroutines, but a relatively empty hard-drive. I'm not so sure I'd call it awareness, in the case of a neonate born with severed senses and I definitely wouldn't in the case of the computer (circa 2011), but I cannot imagine much would be going on because it takes around 6 months of learning/programming to competently pick up a small block of wood. I think a very very small amount of awareness and no thought. This being would die very very quickly without sensory dependent necessary bodily functions like swallowing. If they were hooked up to life support, then this state could be prolonged extensively. It would be like deep coma. Now a one or two year old that this happened to would be a lot more like an adult. Hooked up to life support with no sensory input would, imo, be just like a dream at first with a rapid and progressive mental decline possibly through delirium and psychosis, but definitely to severe dementia and flat EEG. Without stimulation, neuronal tracts would atrophy precluding thought. Incidentally, but for the same reason, without a noncontradictory frame of reference, continual stimulation of certain necessary patterns of electrochemical neurotransmission (sensation of an objective real world that is reliable and noncontradictory) would stop and atrophy of those specific neuronal tracts would occur precluding thought, albeit in this last case their would be cortical activity, if random sensation were felt, that could never be associated with a real cause (what torture, if someone hi-jacked your senses and presented only randomness, insanity). Eventually, I think, the same would result. I would like to mention here that I think some learning does go on in the womb and it is more complicated than I can understand or articulate.

Comment by Daniel Smith on January 28, 2011 at 10:44pm

I've had to do some thinking about what I mean by metaphysical certainty, and I am willing to concede the point since I am personally metaphysically certain that I live in the world as commonly described, centered in a blob of grey and white flesh that controls a meat machine typing on a computer, and all of the things that logically follow from that certainty.


Tangentially, tho, I have a slightly gruesome question I'd like your opinion on.


What do you think would be the internal experience of a human cut off from any sensory input? Would an infant, born with a perfectly normal brain but some defect or trauma that severed their connections to all of the sensory organs, ever develop any kind of self awareness that was coherent? Do the pathways of of the brain need sensory stimulation to develop, or would they develop "randomly" in the absence of stimuli? What about someone at say, age 1 or 2 who underwent such a trauma?


Considering the sometimes spectacular ways human imagination can express itself both sanely and othewise, would such a person be living in a fully developed, internally coherent fantasy world as complex as the one we inhabit, or would it be inherently truncated and simple because of the lack of sensory input?



Comment by MCT on January 27, 2011 at 9:39pm


It is possible to know that reality exists, imo. Yes it is an axiom and as it functions as an axiom it is self-evident, but when analyzed by an educated intellectually honest person, you can see the validity and understand that this is the only way possible for things to be the way they are, not just in appearances, but in logical coherence. The thought process itself, let alone perception or reason, would not and could be if it were not so.

Oh Christ, not you too!! Metaphysical certainty is impossible?! That is absolute Johnsense (gotta give Glen Rosenberg credit for that)! It's the simplest contradiction there is.

You keep going on about the limit of our perception as if some new wisdom is going to come. It is the limit, you cannot assert that if in the quantum realm, then elsewhere too.  Everytime anyone ever has done anything with spooky action at distance or randomness, it is only through quantum experiments (and you can quote more quantum experiments if you like, they still won't touch epistemology). When you leave the quantum realm, things act causally only. I cannot account for the appearance of randomness. I do suspect a hidden variable. It's cool stuff, but does not and cannot alter the axiomatic primaries of cognition or knowledge acquisition and concept formation.


While not the same thing, irrelevance and non-existence have the same effect in that you cannot speak with knowledge about it. If they are outside our perceptual realm and therefore never subject to perception, we can have no idea of its identity and therefore cannot integrate it. We can't ever know about it. And therefore, it is improper and invalid to use it as a principle to base others on.

My defense of freewill? You are mistaken. The world is deterministic. Whatever will be will be. I am not suggesting that we can predict with certainty what will happen as things are not PREdetermined by an observant consciousness, they are determined only at the time an event occurs. Choice is a causally determined mental calculation that is always dependent. Freedom and control are relative terms describing a relationship between entities, not essential qualities of choice. Freewill is an illusion. There is no magical unmoved mover in the brain. No thoughts come about ex nihilo.

Comment by Daniel Smith on January 27, 2011 at 7:20pm

"My point is that it is a necessary and valid assumption that is inextricably linked to cognition."


It is necessary, but it is only valid if it is in fact true, something that is impossible to know. And this is why I said waaay down in this discussion that metaphysical certainty is impossible.


"Whether our world view is correct or not, objective reality and causality, are necessary for cognition and you cannot use these to show that things in and of themselves have randomness as an essential part, or any part, of their character."


You seem to be saying that the universe is wholly deterministic, and from your defense of free will I don't think that is what you mean to say. Some phenomena, such as radioactive decay, do in fact seem to have a degree of randomness as a part of their character. While a sample of radioactive material may have a determinable half life, the time that it takes for any individual atom to decay does appear to be random. And we have seen "virtual particles" that appear and disappear at random. How do you account for such phenomena if "...randomness [is not] an essential part, or any part, of their character"?


"It is things that are not able to be perceived under any circumstance that cannot be real."


I'm having a bit of a problem with this as well, but it begins to take on an aspect of arguing over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Still, if we accept the idea that aspects of reality exist that are outside of our perceptual bubble, why is it impossible that some aspects of reality will always be outside of our perceptual realm? They may be wholly irrelevant to us, but irrelevance and non-existence are not the same things.

Comment by MCT on January 27, 2011 at 5:53pm


And yes, I agree that rejecting something simply because it contradicts our worldview is the anti-thesis of objectivity. But, rejecting something because is contradicts my ability to think is right on.



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