Tag Archives: epistemology

Meta-epistemology

When I first come online as a being (whatever that may be) is that I am confronted by a reality. I sense the reality but I do not know that I am sensing it. I only see “data” coming in. That data is somehow stored and slowly I begin to make sense (note the metaphor) of it. We call this experience and knowledge. As I build up my knowledge of the reality I begin to understand its limitations and possibilities within it. It is only after some time that I can understand what experience is, and what knowledge is, and that it may or may not a thing. Having these experiences I have to make a decision on how to perceive it and deal with it.

External reality and anti-realism

In anti-realism, the external reality is hypothetical and not assumed. This sounds like a reformulation of the veil-of-appearance argument. Our knowledge of the external world is one mediated by the sense, and never amounts to direct knowledge. The conclusion is that our perception of the world is secondhand information.

Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus and the last mind

Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus is the latin title of Wittgenstein’s first and only work published within his lifetime.  It translates roughly to A Treatise on Logic and Philosophy.

The stance then is that of logic.

I do not agree that logic is the best place to start. Logic, to me, seems to be an activity of the mind. And the mind is physical object take performs such processes. To me, place to start is ontology and then epistemology.

Someone commented in a previous post that it is ironic that one must use logic to even start to ask ontological and epistemological questions. I agree. And that tells us something about the inescapability of the act of thinking in order to get to the understanding. Logic, in other words, is a physical act. Logic cannot occur without the availability of the body or mind. This extends to knowledge (the epistemological act) as well. Logic and knowledge do not exist without a mind perform these acts. When the last mind extinguishes form this world so too does logic and knowledge. What continues to remain is the physical world, the reality. And logic and knowledge will restart when another mind comes into (for lack of a better word) being.

The Philosophy of Tennis

1.
When we play tennis not only we are interacting with the reality, we are assuming that the reality will behave in a certain way. I doubt I will get very far by just contemplating the nature of the ball, the court surface, or the springiness of the string gut. But rather by interacting with the reality, I prove my understanding of it.

Knowing the limitation of my movement, my opponent’s, the way the ball behaves against the racket strings and court surface, the way the ball travels through the air with spin, I try to defeat my opponent. My performance is proof of this understanding.

2.
In some ways Donald Trump’s actions are also proof of his understanding of the world. He uses it to “deceive” not only others but himself as well. I do not mean he is a bad person, but that is doing what we as humans do best – to achieve the most with what we have. So know ing what to do as a human, a cat, a religion is really proof. To me, this is a kind of (my kind of) objectivity.

OOO and objects

In OOO all object are said to be on equal footing. The question though is whether it is equally 0 or equally 1.

I tend to think it is without value whatsoever except for a value produced by systematic difference between them. This difference, and therefore value, exists only when observations are made.

It therefore means if there is no observer there is no value in the situation.

So, what exactly is an observer is now the question.

The Noise In The Data

What are the limits of my knowledge of the world?

For the last ten years I have “existed” in Japan. Within this time the nature of reality has not changed. This is as expected and is not surprising. I had lived in the three countries previously, and also extensively spent time in another country intermittently most of my life. The nature of reality holds true for all these places. I have also looked through the telescope at the International Space Station, the surface of the moon, Jupiter and Saturn its moons, Mars, and the light from distant stars and galaxies. As far as I can tell the nature of the reality is no different than to the one here on Earth. But that does not mean the nature of reality cannot be different elsewhere in the parts of the universe I have yet to observe.

What I can say is this: the nature of my immediate physical reality is thus, and that is all that matters.

Why should I need to worry about there being a different reality? For me, to function and operate in this world, this is all that I need to know – that within my world, reality is uniformed.

In the Cula-Malunkyovada Sutta, The Buddha said this when asked about the “deeper questions” of the nature of the world:

“[Your questions are] just as if a man were wounded with an arrow thickly smeared with poison. His friends & companions, kinsmen & relatives would provide him with a surgeon, and the man would say, ‘I won’t have this arrow removed until I know whether the man who wounded me was a noble warrior, a brahman, a merchant, or a worker.’ He would say, ‘I won’t have this arrow removed until I know the given name & clan name of the man who wounded me… until I know whether he was tall, medium, or short… until I know whether he was dark, ruddy-brown, or golden-colored… until I know his home village, town, or city… until I know whether the bow with which I was wounded was a long bow or a crossbow… until I know whether the bowstring with which I was wounded was fiber, bamboo threads, sinew, hemp, or bark… until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was wild or cultivated… until I know whether the feathers of the shaft with which I was wounded were those of a vulture, a stork, a hawk, a peacock, or another bird… until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was bound with the sinew of an ox, a water buffalo, a langur, or a monkey.’ He would say, ‘I won’t have this arrow removed until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was that of a common arrow, a curved arrow, a barbed, a calf-toothed, or an oleander arrow.’ The man would die and those things would still remain unknown to him.

The story tells us The Buddha’s attitude toward questions of irrelevance. What we need to know is immediately available to you through your senses and perception. This should be your starting point on the investigation into reality, whether you are Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, atheist, a philosopher or scientist or any other category of being I have not mentioned. For this is truly what is common among us, our senses and perception. Everything else is supplemental and, in my opinion, like noise in the data.

Defining The World

The world is the objective reality, the collection of independently existing things – space, objects and time. Space is a special kind of object. Time is the interaction of space and objects.