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FAQ: Epistemology, Axioms, Reality, Consciousness, the Universe and Everything
« on: 2002-03-06 05:44:55 »
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FAQ: Epistemology, Axioms, Reality, Consciousness, the Universe and Everything

URL: http://virus.lucifer.com/bbs/index.php?board=31;action=display;threadid=11543

Authors: Hermit

Revision: 1B (Full BBS mark-up)

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Status
Draft

Abbreviated Copyright Notice
Copyright (C) The Church of Virus, 2002. All rights reserved. Unlimited distribution permitted in accordance with the terms of the Full copyright notice below.

Abstract
A brief introduction as to why epistemological approaches are preferred to ontological approaches, including an introduction to the idea of axioms, reality, consciousness and the Universe

Table of Contents
    Title
    Authors
    Revision
    Author’s notes for revision
    Status
    Abbreviated Copyright Notice
    Abstract
    Table of Contents

      Introduction
      1 Fundamental Criterion
      2 The importance of Notation and Terminology
      3 The insufficiency of Ontology
      4 The Desirability of Epistemology
      5 The Axioms of Epistemology

        5.1 Existence
        5.2 Consciousness
        5.3 Reality
        5.4 Identity
        5.5 Non-contradiction
        5.6 Causality

      6 Objective Epistemology
      7 The Universe & Everything
      8 The Reality of Existence

    Full copyright notice
    Acknowledgements
    Bibliography
    References
    Authors’ addresses


Epistemology, Axioms, Reality, Consciousness, the Universe and Everything

    Quote:
    "Consciousness perceives reality, it doesn't create it."
    KMO
    1 Fundamental Criterion


      The following points can be supported in rigorous fashion:

        1.1 The universe exists.
        1.2 There are systems, which exist within the universe, to examine ideas about consciousness.
        1.3 If you wish to have your ideas examined, you need to formulate them in a way, which can be managed by the epistemological tools we have.
        1.4 Fuzziness is not a prerequisite to discussions about consciousness, indeed linguistic fuzziness is harmful to achieving understanding.
        1.5 Epistemological discussions might be interesting. Ontological discussion is not the correct tool for this class of research.



    2 The importance of Notation and Terminology


      The use of fuzzy words cannot be condoned. Perfectly good logical and epistemological [epistemology is defined as "the science devoted to the proper methods of acquiring and validating knowledge."] tools to analyze and document philosophies exist and are preferred. While notions are good, notations are necessary. If you want to make a meaningful contribution to the Church of Virus, knowledge of these tools is more than useful it is a prerequisite. Everyone has to begin somewhere, and the congregation of the Church of Virus will attempt to help anyone not familiar with these tools with a sufficient background to act as a staring point for self-study.



    3 The insufficiency of Ontology


      Even a cursory study of ontology will quickly lead to the realization that any successful scientific exploration requires an articulated frame of explanation. A useful nomenclature must be present to lead to the development and enrichment of the frame of explanation. As a criterion to rank nomenclatures, explanatory power is indispensable. Ontological discussion argues about the “reality status” of various “things”, “entities” or “concepts”, such as mind, brain, computers, inert matter, etc. Consciousness is usually discussed using an ontological nomenclature where Descartes' ontological mind/matter split opens up an infinitely deep chasm between consciousness and physical phenomena. Thus, no ontological bridge of explanatory power can span the gap between consciousness and its physical basis. Ontological discussions rapidly degenerate into a hopeless mire over the question of what is more real. Such discussions usually ramble on at great length, without apparent progress toward any explanatory capability or termination.



    4 The Desirability of Epistemology


      In contrast, an epistemological discussion, centered around “processes” for gathering knowledge to build pictures of the world, is the sort of thing needed to smoothly connect consciousness and its underlying physical basis. Such discussion may lead to a rich frame of explanation and is strongly encouraged.



    5 The Axioms of Epistemology


      Before you can begin with epistemology, you need to grasp a collection of axioms that define the realm of knowledge; thus, it is the starting point in a study of epistemology.

        5.1 Existence

          Axiom of existence. Existence is the fundamental, unquestionable fact. It's the self-evident starting point beyond which it is not correct to venture. Questions such as "Why is existence here?" and "Why is it this way instead of that?" are self-contradictory; they lead to an explanation in terms of non-existence, which is nothing (thus we are lead to such absurdities as "nothing precedes beingness"). Existence is our starting point.


        5.2 Consciousness

          Axiom of consciousness. Consciousness is a self-evident fact, consciousness here being the faculty of perceiving existence as it really is. So questions like "How do you know the world is not very different from what we think it is?" are also self-refuting.


        5.3 Reality

          Axiom of the absoluteness of reality. This states the relationship between existence and consciousness. Facts aren't malleable; things are what they are; wishing won't make it so. Consciousness perceives reality, it doesn't create it.


        5.4 Identity

          The Axiom of identity states that a thing is something, it has a nature, an identity. A thing may also have attributes which are not fundamental to the identity of the thing. This is often a cause of confusion. For example, tennis balls are balls. Tennis balls are round. The roundness is a fundamental requirement for tennis balls. It is not a fundamental requirement for all balls - for example footballs have as a fundamental property their strange oval shape. So for generic balls, the shape is an attribute not a fundamental property. On the other hand a tennis ball may be white. It may also be yellow or green or even shocking neon pink! It would still be a tennis ball. So for tennis balls, color is an attribute, not a fundamental.


        5.5 Non-contradiction

          A corollary to identity is the law of non-contradiction: "A thing can't be both A and non-A." I am a person, not a dog; this is a finger, not a fire-hose. A ball which is not round is not a tennis ball. Although, as explained above, and expanded further below, a thing may have apparently contradictory attributes, attributes are not essential to the identity of the thing.


        5.6 Causality

          Another corollary of identity is the Law of causality. Causality is the law of identity applied to action; the identity of an object determines how it will act. The world is a lawful, orderly place ruled by causal law. This view of causality is different than the usual one. We are taught to think in terms of actions and re-actions, actions leading to actions, I "drop the ball" (cause), "it bounces back up" (effect). While this is true, it is not a primary: the primary is "the ball is bouncy" (cause), so it "bounces back up" (effect). When I drop an egg, the effect is much different even though the dropping-action is the same.



    6 Objective Epistemology

      In objective epistemology, the three words existence, consciousness, and identity, are the starting points of knowledge. They sum up the essence of cognition: something exists of which I am conscious; I must discover its identity. Identity and causality define the realm of knowledge, what we are out to discover. The law of non-contradiction gives us our basic rule in logic: contradictions do not exist.



    7 The Universe & Everything

      The universe can best be described as the set of all things, real and imaginary which have existence or potential existence. This is not by any means a “stretch.”
      WWWebster defines “universe” as follows:
      Quote:
      Main Entry: uni·verse
      Pronunciation: 'yü-n&-"v&rs
      Function: noun
      Etymology: Latin universum, from neuter of universus entire, whole, from uni- + versus turned toward, from past participle of vertere to turn -- more at WORTH
      Date: 1589
      1 : the whole body of things and phenomena observed or postulated : COSMOS: as a : a systematic whole held to arise by and persist through the direct intervention of divine power b : the world of human experience c (1) : the entire celestial cosmos (2) : MILKY WAY GALAXY (3) : an aggregate of stars comparable to the Milky Way galaxy
      2 : a distinct field or province of thought or reality that forms a closed system or self-inclusive and independent organization
      3 : POPULATION 4
      4 : a set that contains all elements relevant to a particular discussion or problem
      5 : a great number or quantity <a large enough universe of stocks... to choose from -- G. B. Clairmont>


      You will see that our definition matches the primary definition under 1, 2 and 4 and includes the additional definitions under 1 and subsumes 3 and 5. Is this definition falsifiable. Of course it can be. An example might be, "There is no set of things, real and imaginary which have existence or potential existence which can be defined to be a valid set under set theory." This would suffice to falsify the Universe were it true. The definition is easily demonstrated to be non-axiomatic. From the axioms of union and pairing we are able to prove that the universal membership predicate is infinite and that all other sets are subsets of the universal membership predicate through the axiom of subset (comprehension). The Universe is validated by observation, implied by reason and logic, and other fundamental axioms of reason and logic make no sense if the Universe is falsified. Thus it is probable that the universe as defined does exist and as our definition is an "acceptable and shared" definition, it is useful for communication. [As the above demonstrates, set theory is a wonderful epistemological tool. Less nonsensical philosophy would be expounded if more "philosophers" had to learn set theory before holding their theories up to ridicule.]



    8 The Reality of Existence

      For all things in the universe that have existence - e.g. have been imagined, there exists a transform, which can move them into an appropriate set. All things and concepts can live quite comfortably in this Universe - including "The Concrete Universe" and other universii.

      Consider the following high-level subsets of the universe set:

      8.1 {Unreal and not yet imagined things}
      8.2 {Unreal and qualified (imagined and described) things}
      8.3 {Real (identified through the senses) but not yet qualified (described) things}
      8.4 {Real (identified through the senses) and qualified (described) things}

      Assume that all "things" start out in the 1st category (unreal and not yet imagined) and migrate to the other sets depending on the function assigned to move it. Note that while "things" possess attributes, which assist in defining the function, attributes are allowed to contradict each other (e.g. light wave particle duality, the blind men describing an elephant, the “infinite love” of a god who will torture for an infinite period anyone who does not worship him) and this does not cause a problem for the system. Meta-things are also permitted, and need to be carefully identified and separated from instances of the thing. So there may be a meta-set {Balls}, and the "Bouncy Ball" referred to above is then an instance of a meta set of balls with the attribute "Bouncy". On the other hand, a set {Bouncy Balls} could not contain an instance of a "Ball" which is "bounceless". However, getting back to the godz in the thread above, the process which leads to the migration requires a valid Misesian epistemological basis [Misesian Epistemology asserts that as far as man is able to attain any knowledge, however limited, he can use only one avenue of approach, that opened by reason.]

      This means that Alice (of "Through the Looking Glass"), the IPU and all other less rational "godz" all manage to move from 8.1 to 8.2, as they have been imagined, yet never manage to get past 8.2 as no function exists or can be fashioned to transform them to 8.3 or 8.4, while Alice Liddle (the prototype Alice) is definitely a type 8.4 thing as she undoubtedly had a real existence as a person. Examples of type 8.3 items are more difficult, as the act of identifying things well enough to decide that they are valid things tends to qualify them, an example might be extra-solar planets (try The Discovery of Extrasolar Planets, Geoffrey Marcy and R. Paul Butler), We know there is something there, we think they are planets...  Hopefully it is obvious that objects belonging to subset 8.1 cannot be listed, as the act of describing them automatically shifts them to type 8.2 objects.


Full Copyright Statement
Copyright (C) The Church of Virus (2002).  All Rights Reserved.

This document and translations of it may be copied and furnished to others, and derivative works that comment on or otherwise explain it or assist in its implementation may be prepared, copied, published and distributed, in whole or in part, without restriction of any kind, provided that the Abbreviated Copyright Notice [supra] and this paragraph are included as an inseparable component of all such copies and derivative works, and that the terms of this copyright statement shall be binding on derivative works. However, this document itself may not be modified in any way, such as by removing the copyright notice or references to the Church of Virus, except as needed for the purpose of developing further Church of Virus documents or as required to translate it into languages other than English, in which case the procedures for copyrights defined by the Church of Virus from time to time must be followed.
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Acknowledgements

Bibliography

References

Authors’ addresses
lhermit@hotmail.com
« Last Edit: 2003-05-10 23:30:21 by Hermit » Report to moderator   Logged

With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion. - Steven Weinberg, 1999
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Re:FAQ: Epistemology, Axioms, Reality, Consciousness, the Universe and Everythin
« Reply #1 on: 2007-11-08 15:42:59 »
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If it's ok I have something I'd like to imply/add.

Surely, if we assume that logic is axiomatic and agree on a "common sense", the amount of idiocy grows exponentially, the further you move from the scientific standpoint towards "mystical" stuff.

On the other hand, all axioms are random. There is no real knowledge. It all depends on what "you" make of it. Perhaps your so called self-consciousness is part of a deterministic simulation of a universe, perhaps the nightmare of a mushroom, sleeping bad after devouring some rotting wood, perhaps you're a brain in a jar, having sex with another brain via internet, perhaps you're a dream within a dream within... etc. You can never know.

I tend to say: you don't know if you even exist.
Think about that: what if everything exists? To be more descriptive: imagine, all dimensions of existence (not only space and time) exist infinitely in all possible variations, all possibilities. Could you distinguish this state from a state where nothing exists? Under this assumption, would words like "knowledge", "meaning", "I", "existence" make any sense?

Well, that was perhaps a bit far fetched. It always happens when I'm sober
The point is: I don't think that the words "sense" or "reality" have any true meaning.
« Last Edit: 2007-11-16 11:34:55 by Sasquatch » Report to moderator   Logged
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Re:FAQ: Epistemology, Axioms, Reality, Consciousness, the Universe and Everythin
« Reply #2 on: 2007-11-08 16:18:13 »
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Quote from: Sasquatch on 2007-11-08 15:42:59   


...There is no real knowledge...

[Blunderov] How do you know that?
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Re:FAQ: Epistemology, Axioms, Reality, Consciousness, the Universe and Everythin
« Reply #3 on: 2007-11-08 21:07:31 »
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If an imaginary hobgoblin (or common or garden troll) is uncertain of its own existence, then it behoves us not to validate such existence through affirming a communicable perception of such existence.


Don't feed the trolls

Kindest Regards

Hermit
« Last Edit: 2007-11-08 21:09:45 by Hermit » Report to moderator   Logged

With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion. - Steven Weinberg, 1999
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