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What Epistemic System Do You Adhere To?


Asimov
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Hello EVERYONE!!!!!

 

Now, this question is a very interesting one to me, and I'm hoping those of you who are as nerdy as me and like philosophy and logic and how it applies to epistemology can discuss with me on this one.

 

Definitions:

 

Knowledge: Justified True Belief, we can say we know something if it is true, if we believe it, and if it is justified.

 

Take, for instance:

 

1) it is true that Khan lives in Washington.

2) I believe that Khan lives in Washington.

3) I am justified in believing that Khan lives in Washington.

 

Do you agree with this definition? I think it is an accurate assessment of what knowledge is. So let's build upon this foundation.

 

Are there any problems with the JTB equation that you would like to point out?

 

Epistemic systems:

 

Reliabilism: We can say we know something if and only if we arrive at a conclusion via a reliable cognitive system.

 

Foundationalism: All knowledge is built upon a foundation of knowledge (known as axioms) that help us create a system of knowledge.

 

Empiricism: Our knowledge is based upon experience.

 

Rationalism: Our knowledge is based upon reason.

 

Naturalism: Psychology, Sociology and Biology are explanations for how we come to our beliefs and how our experiences help shape us - example: Most people in muslim countries are muslim.

 

 

I, personally tend to think that a mixture of Empiricism and Rationalism tend to be the best in an epistemic system.

 

 

Does anyone have any better ideas?

 

Foundationalism: Are there actually axioms in real life? How do we know something is axiomatic?

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Does anyone have any better ideas?

 

I'm going to jump into this pool before I feel prepared. How do other culutres arrive at knowledge, and are the above western approachs or are they universal? What about epistimological mysticism? Is there a real "truth"?

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Does anyone have any better ideas?

 

I'm going to jump into this pool before I feel prepared. How do other culutres arrive at knowledge, and are the above western approachs or are they universal? What about epistimological mysticism? Is there a real "truth"?

 

 

These aren't western approaches as far as I'm aware...A lot of this stuff started with the Greeks.

 

What's epistemological mysticism? What do you mean by "real" truth?

 

1+1=2, that is a real truth, and it is absolute.

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Are there any problems with the JTB equation that you would like to point out?

The Gettier Problem, examples taken directly from the 1963 paper:

 

Case I

 

Smith has applied for a job, but has a justified belief that "Jones will get the job". He also has a justified belief that "Jones has 10 coins in his pocket". Smith therefore (justifiably) concludes (by the rule of the transitivity of identity) that "the man who will get the job has 10 coins in his pocket".

 

In fact, Jones does not get the job. Instead, Smith does. However, as it happens, Smith also has 10 coins in his pocket. So his belief that "the man who will get the job has 10 coins in his pocket" was justified and true. But it does not appear to be knowledge.

 

 

Case II

 

Smith has a justified belief that "Jones owns a Ford". Smith therefore (justifiably) concludes (by the rule of disjunction introduction) that "Jones owns a Ford, or Brown is in Barcelona", even though Smith has no knowledge whatsoever about the location of Brown.

 

In fact, Jones does not own a Ford, but by sheer coincidence, Brown really is in Barcelona. Again, Smith had a belief that was true and justified, but not knowledge.

Epistemic systems:

 

Reliabilism: We can say we know something if and only if we arrive at a conclusion via a reliable cognitive system.

 

Foundationalism: All knowledge is built upon a foundation of knowledge (known as axioms) that help us create a system of knowledge.

 

Empiricism: Our knowledge is based upon experience.

 

Rationalism: Our knowledge is based upon reason.

 

Naturalism: Psychology, Sociology and Biology are explanations for how we come to our beliefs and how our experiences help shape us - example: Most people in muslim countries are muslim.

 

[snip]

 

Does anyone have any better ideas?

Fallibilism: All claims about knowledge could, in principle, be incorrect. See Popper, Quine.

Foundationalism: Are there actually axioms in real life? How do we know something is axiomatic?

An axiom (my definition) is a proposition whose negation entails a contradiction, or perhaps an absurdity, within a system.

 

I consider the logical axioms to be fully axiomatic, insofar as existence itself seems nonsensical in the case of the negation of any or all of them.

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The Gettier Problem, examples taken directly from the 1963 paper:

 

Case I

 

Smith has applied for a job, but has a justified belief that "Jones will get the job". He also has a justified belief that "Jones has 10 coins in his pocket". Smith therefore (justifiably) concludes (by the rule of the transitivity of identity) that "the man who will get the job has 10 coins in his pocket".

 

In fact, Jones does not get the job. Instead, Smith does. However, as it happens, Smith also has 10 coins in his pocket. So his belief that "the man who will get the job has 10 coins in his pocket" was justified and true. But it does not appear to be knowledge.

 

 

Case II

 

Smith has a justified belief that "Jones owns a Ford". Smith therefore (justifiably) concludes (by the rule of disjunction introduction) that "Jones owns a Ford, or Brown is in Barcelona", even though Smith has no knowledge whatsoever about the location of Brown.

 

In fact, Jones does not own a Ford, but by sheer coincidence, Brown really is in Barcelona. Again, Smith had a belief that was true and justified, but not knowledge.

 

I disagree with Gettier's problem. It doesn't seem like it's very well worded, because I don't understand the problem.

 

Those analogies that you posted aren't logically sound as they don't follow from one to another. How would you create a syllogism that outlines exactly what the analogy is saying?

 

Fallibilism: All claims about knowledge could, in principle, be incorrect. See Popper, Quine.

 

They could, but then how does one go about claiming that those claims about knowledge are incorrect?

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I disagree with Gettier's problem. It doesn't seem like it's very well worded, because I don't understand the problem.

Start with JTB knowledge:

 

S knows that P is true iff

 

1. S believes that P is true.

2. P is true.

3. S is justified in believing that P is true.

 

In Case I, S (Smith) believes that P (the man with 10 coins in his pocket will get the job), but "the man with 10 coins in his pocket" is Jones according to Smith's other belief (Jones will get the job).

 

Thus, P is true (Smith also had 10 coins in his pocket) and Smith was justified in believing P (stipulated), but Smith did not know P ("the man with 10 coins" had an incorrect referent in Smith's belief).

Those analogies that you posted aren't logically sound as they don't follow from one to another.

Um, they should not follow from each other as they are separate examples.

How would you create a syllogism that outlines exactly what the analogy is saying?

Do I need to? Gettier problems are not deductions from general principles, but instances of reductio ad absurdum.

... how does one go about claiming that those claims about knowledge are incorrect?

Ask Godel about that.

 

Or consider the following:

  • Many fallibilists allow for analytic truths
  • Fallibilism is not the doctrine that all knowledge is incorrect, but the proposition that absolute certainty cannot be acheived.

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Thus, P is true (Smith also had 10 coins in his pocket) and Smith was justified in believing P (stipulated), but Smith did not know P ("the man with 10 coins" had an incorrect referent in Smith's belief).

 

New information was included in the conclusion, though.

 

Um, they should not follow from each other as they are separate examples.

 

No, I'm talking about each separate analogy. The pieces of each analogy don't seem to follow from one to another.

 

 

Ask Godel about that.

 

Or consider the following:


     
  • Many fallibilists allow for analytic truths
     
  • Fallibilism is not the doctrine that all knowledge is incorrect, but the proposition that absolute certainty cannot be acheived.
     

 

I agree with that, but I don't see how that is a real problem. In order to claim absolute certainty one would have to be omniscient.

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New information was included in the conclusion, though.

Where?

No, I'm talking about each separate analogy. The pieces of each analogy don't seem to follow from one to another.

Ah. Well, I think you will find yourself in a minority. Gettier's problems have several proposed solutions, but none that plead prima facie incoherence.

 

I agree with that, but I don't see how that is a real problem. In order to claim absolute certainty one would have to be omniscient.

But JTB is not a valid definition of knowledge under fallibilism - a proposition can be momentarily known even though it may not be true.

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Hello EVERYONE!!!!!

Empiricism: Our knowledge is based upon experience.

 

Rationalism: Our knowledge is based upon reason.

 

Naturalism: Psychology, Sociology and Biology are explanations for how we come to our beliefs and how our experiences help shape us - example: Most people in muslim countries are muslim.

 

I like these three best (Rationalism is particularly interesting, but I think it is the most difficult to adhere to, on a global scale. Take your average fundy... is his knowledge based upon reason?), but I'd like you to give me your opinion on this question.

 

Biology, Sociology and Psychology are based upon lab observations, experiments (yes, psychology too - I'm thinking about cognitivism right now, but it was just the pioneer of psychological experiments, though - today psychology has no basics and is ignored by peers if it is not based on reliable studies, published in peer reviewed journals... Of course I don't consider rebirthing, reparenting, UFO and sexual therapies and such, real psychology, and neither does the community ;) )... we can maybe say experiences.

Can we say that Empiricism and Naturalism share some traits, then? On what degree?

Off the tip of my tongue, Empiricism ("knowledge based upon experience") seems somewhat lacking compared to Naturalism ("knowledge based upon experience, beliefs, raising, culture, biological and sociological factors, etc"), and I like Naturalism better, it seems more complex and more interesting.

 

Just my 2 cents :grin:

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As much as I don't care for statisticians...

 

Knowledge is based on the relevant highest probability of the current information available.

 

It is derived at, via the mind, by identifying what is relevant, then assessing probable consistencies.

 

2 + 2 = 4 is merely an inductive assessment due to the extremely low evidence presented to the contrary verses the extremely high presented evidence in favor.

 

In short, there are no 100% facts except in the sense that for sake of a logical construct something is declared as fact.

 

Perception is what allows the probabilities to be gathered. Screwing with it causes the perceptions and beliefs to become skewed and false pictures of reality become seen as factual.

---------

 

Once a set of consistencies have been accepted as factual then they become the axiomatical set to begin reasoning.

 

The reasoning or logic is, itself, part of the assumed axioms. These reasoning then can lead to absolute conclusions with only the concern that the original perceived axioms were correct.

 

Both the axioms and the conclusions can then be further proven by demonstration or observation.

 

100.0% is unachievable as a reality, it is only achievable within the confines of a constructed "picture of reality". The mind has no choice. The mind can only work with perceived probabilities.

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2 + 2 = 4 is merely an inductive assessment due to the extremely low evidence presented to the contrary verses the extremely high presented evidence in favor.

When it could be that each of these 2 things consist of several subsets of unseen particles, then 2 + 2 might equal 2,340i. But, what we perceive these 2 things to be, works perfectly fine.

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Case I

 

Smith has applied for a job, but has a justified belief that "Jones will get the job". He also has a justified belief that "Jones has 10 coins in his pocket". Smith therefore (justifiably) concludes (by the rule of the transitivity of identity) that "the man who will get the job has 10 coins in his pocket".

 

In fact, Jones does not get the job. Instead, Smith does. However, as it happens, Smith also has 10 coins in his pocket. So his belief that "the man who will get the job has 10 coins in his pocket" was justified and true. But it does not appear to be knowledge.

 

Ok, let me address what I think the problem with this Case is so you can properly address any misunderstandings I seem to be having.

 

The Case I states that Smith has applied for a job. Then it moves on to state that smith has several justified beliefs.

 

Justified belief that "Jones will get the job".

Justified belief that "Jones has 10 coins in his pocket".

 

Through these two justified beliefs, Smith concludes that the man who will get the job has 10 coins in his pocket.

 

Problems I see with this first part:

 

1) How does Smith have a justified belief that Jones will get the job? In what way is it justified? It is not explained properly how Smith is justified in getting a job.

2) In what way is Smith justified in believing that Jones has 10 coins in his pocket?

3) The conclusion that smith arrives at doesn't make any sense as it suddenly shifts from specifying Jones to generalizing with "the man who will get the job has 10 coins in his pocket".

4) Smith's premises do not include that Smith has 10 coins in his pocket as well, therefore the Case I is misleading. If Smith were to say:

 

P1: Between Smith and Jones, Smith believes Jones will get the job.

P2: Jones has 10 coins in his pocket.

P3: Smith has 10 coins in his pocket.

C: The man with 10 coins in his pocket will get the job.

 

Suffice it so say that having 10 coins in ones pocket is unrelated to getting the job, and doesn't logically follow.

 

In order for a belief to be justified, not only does it have to be true but it has to be rational as well.
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Empiricism: Our knowledge is based upon experience.

 

Rationalism: Our knowledge is based upon reason.

 

Naturalism: Psychology, Sociology and Biology are explanations for how we come to our beliefs and how our experiences help shape us - example: Most people in muslim countries are muslim.

 

Hmm. I would argue for a mixture of all of the above, but maybe that's just me.

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Suffice it so say that having 10 coins in ones pocket is unrelated to getting the job, and doesn't logically follow.

 

In order for a belief to be justified, not only does it have to be true but it has to be rational as well.[/b]

"Knowledge is based on the relevant highest probability of the current information available."

 

And justified is only a way of saying "a high probability"

 

But relevance is often a guiding factor in avoiding misleading arguments.

 

1) Consistency

2) Completeness

3) Relevance

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"Knowledge is based on the relevant highest probability of the current information available."

 

I disagree. Things with a low probability can be just as true as things with a high probability.

I don't think probability has anything to do with it, except as a gauge for acceptance or non-acceptance.

 

If we were to look at the statement, "A=A" I don't see why one should apply probability to it.

 

But relevance is often a guiding factor in avoiding misleading arguments.

 

1) Consistency

2) Completeness

3) Relevance

 

I agree with this...those three things are called coherence.

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Ok, let me address what I think the problem with this Case is so you can properly address any misunderstandings I seem to be having.

 

The Case I states that Smith has applied for a job. Then it moves on to state that smith has several justified beliefs.

 

Justified belief that "Jones will get the job".

Justified belief that "Jones has 10 coins in his pocket".

 

Through these two justified beliefs, Smith concludes that the man who will get the job has 10 coins in his pocket.

 

Problems I see with this first part:

 

1) How does Smith have a justified belief that Jones will get the job? In what way is it justified? It is not explained properly how Smith is justified in getting a job.

2) In what way is Smith justified in believing that Jones has 10 coins in his pocket?

Maybe Smith's boss told him that Jones would get the job. Maybe Jones showed Smith the coins. It does not matter. If it is possible that Smith is justified in believing those propositions, then, for the purpose of the thought experiment, we may simply say that Smith is justified in believing those things.

3) The conclusion that smith arrives at doesn't make any sense as it suddenly shifts from specifying Jones to generalizing with "the man who will get the job has 10 coins in his pocket".

It follows from the identity property. If a=b and b=c, then a=c.

4) Smith's premises do not include that Smith has 10 coins in his pocket as well, therefore the Case I is misleading. If Smith were to say:

 

P1: Between Smith and Jones, Smith believes Jones will get the job.

P2: Jones has 10 coins in his pocket.

P3: Smith has 10 coins in his pocket.

C: The man with 10 coins in his pocket will get the job.

 

Suffice it so say that having 10 coins in ones pocket is unrelated to getting the job, and doesn't logically follow.

It does not matter how the propositions relate to each other. We are concerned only with their epistemological status in Smith's mind.

In order for a belief to be justified, not only does it have to be true but it has to be rational as well.

Then you will need to provide a definition of 'rational.' Examples of true but irrational beliefs would be helpful as well.

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I just have to say, fascinating thread Asimov!

 

Ok, let me address what I think the problem with this Case is so you can properly address any misunderstandings I seem to be having.

 

The Case I states that Smith has applied for a job. Then it moves on to state that smith has several justified beliefs.

 

Justified belief that "Jones will get the job".

Justified belief that "Jones has 10 coins in his pocket".

 

Through these two justified beliefs, Smith concludes that the man who will get the job has 10 coins in his pocket.

 

Problems I see with this first part:

 

1) How does Smith have a justified belief that Jones will get the job? In what way is it justified? It is not explained properly how Smith is justified in getting a job.

2) In what way is Smith justified in believing that Jones has 10 coins in his pocket?

Maybe Smith's boss told him that Jones would get the job. Maybe Jones showed Smith the coins. It does not matter. If it is possible that Smith is justified in believing those propositions, then, for the purpose of the thought experiment, we may simply say that Smith is justified in believing those things.

3) The conclusion that smith arrives at doesn't make any sense as it suddenly shifts from specifying Jones to generalizing with "the man who will get the job has 10 coins in his pocket".

It follows from the identity property. If a=b and b=c, then a=c.

 

Not quite. You can say that a=b and b=a(i.e., both men have 10 coins in their pocket) but I think the leap to b=c is unjustified. If c is 'getting the job,' then you cannot say that b=c. The requirements for the job are utterly unrelated to spare change. It's based on other things - skill and dedication to the job in an honest work environment. Now you could try to say that the coins are some kind of award given to quality workers and that having 10 of them is an exceptional ammount(a high score, if you will), but I truly fail to see how the coins in a man's pocket are a direct link to employment/promotion. It's a leap of logic, not a proof of it. To me, it's like saying that 'because I got what I prayed for, Jesus exists.' Nevermind the fact of a dozen other provable naturalist explanations for said 'prayer' being answered. It's making a link where none exists.

 

4) Smith's premises do not include that Smith has 10 coins in his pocket as well, therefore the Case I is misleading. If Smith were to say:

 

P1: Between Smith and Jones, Smith believes Jones will get the job.

P2: Jones has 10 coins in his pocket.

P3: Smith has 10 coins in his pocket.

C: The man with 10 coins in his pocket will get the job.

 

Suffice it so say that having 10 coins in ones pocket is unrelated to getting the job, and doesn't logically follow.

It does not matter how the propositions relate to each other. We are concerned only with their epistemological status in Smith's mind.

In order for a belief to be justified, not only does it have to be true but it has to be rational as well.

Then you will need to provide a definition of 'rational.' Examples of true but irrational beliefs would be helpful as well.

 

I'd like to tentatively suggest that 'rational' is another word for 'common sense.' I.E. if something is 'irrational' it goes against our collective experience on how the world works. I.E. a famous 'irrational but true' moment is the idea that sometimes wanting a thing is better than having a thing - pardon the Star Trek theft. It's 'irrational' because it goes against our collective assumptions - having something is pleasing, wanting something is not - and yet it is often true, for very good reasons... when you just want something you don't see it's flaws until you get it home.

 

Another definition I'd like to suggest for 'rational proof' would be 'a set of facts that have clear links of influence from one to the next.'

 

Merlin

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"Knowledge is based on the relevant highest probability of the current information available."

 

I disagree. Things with a low probability can be just as true as things with a high probability.

I don't think probability has anything to do with it, except as a gauge for acceptance or non-acceptance.

 

If we were to look at the statement, "A=A" I don't see why one should apply probability to it.

You didn't ask what is true, you asked what is knowledge. In other words, how do we know what might be true.

 

You assess what is or isn't true. This is your knowledge. Knowledge is merely an assessment.

 

The assessment process is one of probability. This is like saying because the sun has risen everyday of my life, I assume it probably will again tomorrow. You "know" only because of consistency observations.

 

Some of those observations are not of material facts, but of relationships between the facts. These become what we call logic. Cause and effect, for example.

 

The 'A=A' thing is a matter of thought construction. You know that A=A because you chose to think of A as something that will always =A. This kind of mental processing is paramount to all reasoning. The mind chooses a construct upon which to build.

 

The mind decides on a definition. The definition is absolutely true simply because it was declared. Definitions and objectizing are declarations of the mind merely so it can begin thinking. Tamper with definitions and you destroy thinking, just as has been demonstrated in this forum.

 

The mind decides on which is to be a definition or an object via its relevance. Once those objects of thought are declared, then the mind observes consistencies in their behavior. These consistencies are rated by a physiological statistics counter in the brain for bio-creatures.

 

The statistic counters are simple synaptic residue mechanisms which simply record that "this" happed after "that" more than anything else.

 

ALL belief within a mind begins from that point. This is an issue of perception and consistency of the perceived. Once again by tampering with this mechanism of perception, all thought can be destroyed.

 

Relevance assessment becomes a serious issue because it affects which possibility is preferred. When something is perceived as fearfully important, then the mind rushes to assess strategies and doesn't have time to properly assess details. Thus serious errors are made and stored as "knowledge" even though no real perception was assessed.

 

This is the effect you see when the creationist insisted on something he prefers as a fact and the evolutionist insists on what he prefers as a fact.

 

By tampering with the sense of urgency, thinking gets destroyed also.

 

I have mentioned 3 forms of "tampering" which will destroy thinking and the assessment of "knowledge" because such tampering is going on all around you.

1) definitions

2) perceptions

3) urgency

 

--------------

I might mention that these things are pointed out in the Jewish Kabalah (or Cabala) as things to safe guard so that you don't get tampered with.

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Great thread, asimov! I allways am also interested in assessing what makes people think they know what they think they know.

Allthough everyone in this thread are obviously very clear and competent thinkers (a true pleasure to encounter, if I may add), I think that there has been so much hair spliting that useful points have been lost in focusing on all the detail.

To start, empiricism and rationality are what anyone can claim to butress anything. Since no one can experience everything, empiricism allways relys on the experience of others. And that's the "wild card" of empiricism, where anything goes. Also, rationality is equally interpreted liberally. It seems perfectly rational to a suicide bomber to kill themselves and others for their god and country.

I think that the cynical truth is that we human animals are not interested in the truth per se, but only in what we wish to be true. That's the point at which I think these discussions can begin and continue with clarity, from the perspective of how can you or I reliably calculate how to get whatever it is we may want. That's because that's all we really care about.

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Knowledge

 

I keep saying that Science and Religion are 2 sides of the same mountain. This topic of knowledge can demonstrate that fact a little all by itself.

 

On your PC, you have knowledge being stored in folders. The folders are categories and within each category are more categories. If you stored all scientific “knowledge”, you would have to store it in a similar manner. Chemistry might be one folder, Physics in another and so on.

 

Once this is done, you have what today would be called a database of knowledge. But if you look at the structure of that data base and especially if you are familiar with the old DOS filing system, you see what looks a bit like a root system of a tree. It starts from a high level category and branches down and out into small and lower levels of categories.

 

In the ancient scrolls, writing was done, not from the top to the bottom of a page, but from the bottom to the top. Thus that same categorizing would instead, appear as a tree.

 

A tree of knowledge.

 

This is not a mere coincidence. The famed tree of knowledge was exactly that same thing. It was an early attempt to record all knowledge. It began with the most fundamental concepts and branched out into subset categories from there.

 

But in addition, each branching that you see as an angle off from the trunk or a branch was named just as we name our categories and sub-categories of science. Each of those names was the name of an angle off of the tree of knowledge. Except that you are probably more familiar with those angles as “angels”. Each angel was given a name - a branch catagory of knowledge.

 

Any of a million Catholics can tell you that an “angel” is a concept or an idea. It is similar to the con man who has an “angle”.

 

The Protestants and many Christians think of an angel as a “messenger of God” – a concept concerning Reality. These concepts have great power and if they “come into” some people, they cause seriously powerful and bad consequences. This is much the same as giving a design idea to a child of how to create a nuclear weapon or teaching your enemy of chemical weaponry.

 

Devils and angels are basically the same thing except that the devil is what is declared a bad idea or concept. Not bad as in, wrong, but bad as in dangerous.

 

Being “possessed by a devil” simply means that a person has accepted a really bad concept somewhere within their mind and thus behave in a less than rational manner. An exorcism is no more than an effort to get their head straight and has nothing to do with hocus pocus magic.

 

The story of the fall of Adam and Eve involved Eve’s willingness to use (partake of) the fruits of knowledge - the temptation to gain despite the consequences. This knowledge was therefore hidden. Imagine how much knowledge of how to do dangerous things is being hidden today for the same reasons. But to hide knowledge means you must also hide how to obtain or derive knowledge.

 

To hide knowledge, you must prevent rational thinking which would lead someone back to the knowledge that you are trying to keep hidden.

 

-------

 

Realize how much of a cartoon image of the Bible you have accepted as knowledge of it when the entire time, you were hearing only tales from a science of 6000 years ago that got involved in trying to hide its knowledge.

 

Religion is what became of the science from 6000 years ago. And is what science will become many years from now unless strong efforts are made to prevent it. They are identically the same thing. One has just been around for much longer and the other is much bigger with more detail. They were both made from careful observations and logical thought when they were first created.

 

It is very good to understand exactly what knowledge is. But it perhaps is even more important to understand what knowledge isn’t and how easily it can be obscured and hidden for thousands of years by chaos of rational thought.

 

Are you a part of the preservation or a part of the chaos?

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A tree of knowledge.

 

This is not a mere coincidence. The famed tree of knowledge was exactly that same thing. It was an early attempt to record all knowledge. It began with the most fundamental concepts and branched out into subset categories from there.

 

But in addition, each branching that you see as an angle off from the trunk or a branch was named just as we name our categories and sub-categories of science. Each of those names was the name of an angle off of the tree of knowledge. Except that you are probably more familiar with those angles as “angels”. Each angel was given a name - a branch catagory of knowledge.

 

 

Interesting point of view. But in the story about Adam and Eve there are two trees, the tree of knowledge is a tree of knowledge of good an evil and then there is also the tree of life.

 

Why is the first tree about good and evil, and how does the tree of life fit in?

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Why is the first tree about good and evil, and how does the tree of life fit in?
I wouldn't want to distract this thread from that dicussion of rational thought processes to that degree. Maybe we can discuss that on another thread?

 

I just wanted to point out that rational thought and a search for "knowledge" is where it all began and what has happened to it.

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Maybe we can discuss that on another thread?

 

 

Fine, I will start a thread on the symbolic language in Genesis.

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Are you a part of the preservation or a part of the chaos?

 

...I'm not so sure. I don't think I understand you clearly. I don't think anyone could, since you write in analogies followed by sweeping reductions.

 

Interesting illustrative style in your comments, though. They just can't possibly conclude in a direct question like you ended with. In my Cabbalistic stidies many years ago, I was taught that the tree of life was the "ray of creation", with god (kether) at the top and material existance (malkuth) at the bottom. All points in between were different levels of godliness. The working principles of this in mysticism were that this entire "tree" existed in us as a sort of spiritual DNA and that through meditating on certain powerful symbols of the different levels (sepiroth) between malkuth and kether we can grow spiritually. Also what is interesting is that as expected the topmost (kether) part of the tree contains "all", but the lowest level, which is material existance (kether) also "contains all, but in a different manner".....interesting....I always thought that was great food for the imagination. Not in being factually accurate, but in providing a scaffolding for the imagination to interrelate characteristics of everything in a beautiful order. I'm only trying to impart the aesthetic pleasure I get from that.

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Are you a part of the preservation or a part of the chaos?
I only meant that rhetorically.

 

But yes, you can percieve all things as bits of matter or all things as flows of energy. This is materialism versus spiritualism. The point to spiritualism is that it is the flow that counts. A bullet can't hurt you if it isn't moving.

 

Both are realms of knowledge, just different perspectives.

 

But as to any pursuit of knowledge, realize that you must start in the middle and explore in both directions.

 

As someone once put it, in every adventure you must start

… from exactly where you are,

… neither where you were

… nor to where you shuttle.

… but somewhere in the muddle.

 

 

 

Asimov, I appologize.

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