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There are many ways of knowing. Really? - Comments

jesusdiedLOL's Avatar Comment 2 by jesusdiedLOL

The whole po-mo/post structural thing is just based on the removal of all reason and science (because they are just made up "theories" concocted by evil, white, masochist scientists)

From there you can talk all day, but will not come across anything which could be of any possible utility, academic or otherwise.

Until they come up with another sensible way of analyzing situations, we can dismiss the whole package as nonsense.

What I find infuriating is the time this nonsense takes up the majority of my sociology "learning." I was under the impression we were to learn about how society functions, instead of learning a 100% useless way of "thinking."

Fri, 17 Jun 2011 08:27:18 UTC | #639505

-TheCodeCrack-'s Avatar Comment 3 by -TheCodeCrack-

There's a lot of ways of not-knowing, and convincing people you do know.

Fri, 17 Jun 2011 09:08:57 UTC | #639516

Munski's Avatar Comment 4 by Munski

In a way, it seems to be nothing short of creating an industry that doesn't have to be accountable to anything, discussing anything with anyone as long as they also have the degree or mastery of having knowledge without really needing to do much in the way of having conversations of the same sort that seem less like another language, and more along the lines of doing acid and discussing the nature of what sort of dreams a tree might have, and what philosophical conundrums those dreams might have in the context of a Dali painting.

It might be interesting and fascinating, but the only ones who will ever know would have to be someone who is also on acid. Because without it, one would not 'be doing it right', or is without knowledge.

I humbly submit to be one of those to be 'without'. Although I understand a lot of abstract thinking, I have had no interest in spending so much time trying to take what is a 'tree' is, other than the general knowledge of it being a creator of oxygen, part of the life-cycle, and even a metaphorical ideal of it as a symbol of strength (oak), or age and greatness (redwood).

Beyond that and the potential of mythical tales that one can create the LOTR race of 'Ents', it seems to be nothing short than a religion of it's own, creating a mythos that can only be understood by those with the same education, and the philosophical/artistic academic elite.

I don't deny one of delving into that world, but it suffers from even more limitations than faith does in that it has more in common with a 'Masonic Fraternity' than an open forum of ideas exchanged.

Fri, 17 Jun 2011 09:16:32 UTC | #639519

Jumped Up Chimpanzee's Avatar Comment 5 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

RDFAN

Are there so many ways of knowing?...Are their opinions about it equally valid?

In the comfort of their armchair, maybe. But in practical application, no.

Take a post-modern relativist to the top floor of a skyscraper and suggest 2 "equally valid" ways of getting safely to the ground floor: (1) by taking the stairs or (2) by jumping out of the window.

Fri, 17 Jun 2011 09:49:21 UTC | #639527

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 6 by AtheistEgbert

You have to understand the psychology of the left and the Marxist tradition (and the greater German Idealism or Continental tradition since Kant). To them, science and rationalism are only historical truths, part of the capitalist industrial complex. They actually believe dialectics is a valid form of criticism. There are some exceptions within German Idealism such as Stirner, Schopenhauer or Nietzsche, whom began to use ordinary language to explain their philosophies.

The reality is, that logic is pretty much fixed as part of mathematics, which itself is part of a much greater tradition that is universal in its application. Both reason and science are universal in their application and not relative to which class has power over another class.

I would equate German Idealism and the legacy of its tradition, as no different to theology. It's the emperors new clothes, and all that refined sophisticated language is twaddle, because the basic premise: dialectics or metaphysical idealism is false. Just pick up Kant's Critique of Pure Reason or Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit to see just how ghastly and esoteric the language is.

I would also say that much of British-American philosophy is twaddle too, because it tried to create a logical form out of ordinary language, a form which lead to the most obscure and ridiculous language. Pick up any university level book on modern philosophy and you'll see what I mean.

We need a return to clear ordinary language and a practical skill of critical thinking, so as to challenge and confidently criticize the 'authority' of those who are pushing irrational agendas, including those within the atheist movement, modern philosophy, social science and humanities.

Fri, 17 Jun 2011 09:57:13 UTC | #639530

Jay G's Avatar Comment 7 by Jay G

We're qubbling over how to use a word, in this case "know".

I can say: I "know" my team will win the game, even though I don't really know that (unless it's fixed") until the game is over. Or I can say I "know" my girlfriend loves me, even though I don't really know.

In the sense you mean, I think it's clear that the way of science is pretty much the only way we can know about things.

Fri, 17 Jun 2011 10:10:33 UTC | #639535

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 8 by Alan4discussion

There are many ways of "knowing". If we look at ways of acquiring accurate or useful knowledge, there are a lot less. Some would say only one. (No! I don't mean holy "revealed" whizzdumb)

Fri, 17 Jun 2011 10:43:02 UTC | #639544

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 9 by Alan4discussion

Comment 4 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

Take a post-modern relativist to the top floor of a skyscraper and suggest 2 "equally valid" ways of getting safely to the ground floor: (1) by taking the stairs or (2) by jumping out of the window.

Blatant Newtonism!

Fri, 17 Jun 2011 10:46:18 UTC | #639545

KJinAsia's Avatar Comment 10 by KJinAsia

There are many ways of believing, but unless you define "knowing" as a feeling of certainty in a belief rather than it reflecting actual reality, there is only one way of knowing - science.

Fri, 17 Jun 2011 11:08:53 UTC | #639551

SaganTheCat's Avatar Comment 11 by SaganTheCat

knowing is what you do when you stop thinking

there are many ways to stop thinking

Fri, 17 Jun 2011 11:21:10 UTC | #639553

QuestioningKat's Avatar Comment 12 by QuestioningKat

deleted by QK

Fri, 17 Jun 2011 11:24:50 UTC | #639556

wolfhoundGrowl's Avatar Comment 13 by wolfhoundGrowl

why as the question when your intro shows you've clealry made up your mind?

If you were religious they'd be calling you a troll.

If you can't get your head around post-modernism, go ponder something you can.

Fri, 17 Jun 2011 11:26:37 UTC | #639557

QuestioningKat's Avatar Comment 14 by QuestioningKat

If you want me to delete it I will. Sorry if this is offensive to you and think it is off topic. Perhaps you'd like to contribute towards the conversation.

"What about other ways of knowing? We often hear the religious talk about knowing god, or the mystics talking about knowing...whatever. How many kinds of knowing are there? Has anyone ever counted? Is it even possible to do such a thing? The people need to know!"

My comment related to this question. Unfortunately, I guess this isn't your verison of "Po Mo."

Fri, 17 Jun 2011 11:32:51 UTC | #639559

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 15 by AtheistEgbert

Knowledge is subjective, or is it?

One example is to consider a computer. It accesses information in a structured way and processes that information into other structured ways. But does it know anything? Most people will dismiss that a computer knows anything, because it doesn't have a conscious mind.

This is because we still believe in a separation between mind and the universe. That effectively there is a ghost or spirit that exists within the brain, that does the knowing part.

Or the more powerful argument for why there is ghost in the machine, is that we still don't understand what consciousness is. And consciousness means knowing light, sound, emotions, and all those other things that computers have no access to.

But if we understand that knowing is in fact an activity, something actual and real, and computers in their own way actively know in a structured sense, then the mystery of what consciousness is may begin to unravel.

I'm not saying that a block of wood is conscious nor that there is a cosmic consciousness, but that conscious must be an activity of matter itself. I don't know how it emerges, but to pretend that it is somehow separate from matter is something that we have still yet to overcome.

Fri, 17 Jun 2011 11:42:53 UTC | #639563

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 16 by Steve Zara

There are plenty of different ways of knowing, but the question is - knowing about what? It's possible to know the history of thought about dragons, but that doesn't make dragons any more real, or that knowledge useful.

There are also many ways of knowing what is true, but again the question has to be asked - true given what? Given certain premises something may be true, but given other premises, it may not be true.

However there is only one way to try and know what is real, and that is science.

The important word is 'real'.

Fri, 17 Jun 2011 11:58:25 UTC | #639569

QuestioningKat's Avatar Comment 17 by QuestioningKat

Thank You AtheistEgbert, my deleted comment is now in line with the topic. Yes, people have difficulty discerning natural brain functions with what they consider to be a "ghost in the machine." Wood, computers, etc are easier to accept as a function because of the lack of emotion. (Though I know people who swear there is a spirit in the wood.) Lack of understanding of knowledge, cognitive dissonance, and the easy acceptance of diverse opinions leads people to overlook the science of the brain and acknowledge certain facts. People will accept that someone has a natural inclination toward mathematics. (I wonder is this has to do with the exactness of the information and lack of emotion.) An artist on the other hand, has tapped into "Divine Mind" and is essentially an extension of God's Consciousness. (Never mind, just ignore the bad art.) Open ended tasks, or tasks that involved emotions, feeling, subjective opinions seem to be viewed as "the ghost in the machine." When a greater understanding is established, people are less likely to fall into the anything goes just because it's my opinion type of thinking.

Fri, 17 Jun 2011 12:07:16 UTC | #639572

KenChimp's Avatar Comment 18 by KenChimp

I know when I am hungry or 'in love' or morose or happy, and none of this 'knowledge' has anything to do with objective, scientific understanding.

As Steve said above, every instance of what we consider 'known' is based upon axiomatic premises. Change the premise and you change the context of what we 'know'.

The scientific method is the only tool we have for gaining valid, objective understanding of what is real, and even this most powerful of all the tools in our conceptual tool box is not the arbiter of the absolute. It is just the most precise and effective methodology we have (and probably will ever have) of understanding what is absolutely true or 'real'.

These so-called 'schools' of cultural relativism such as post-modernism are scientific wastelands. The people who have developed these ridiculous affronts to knowledge are, in my opinion, intellectually incapable of critical thinking. Although it is possible that they're 'victims' of bad wiring inside the cranium, I think it far more likely that they have instead re-programmed their minds (or allowed themselves to be re-programmed) with an amalgam of meaningless pseudo-logic.

Back in the 1950s, these sorts were referred to as 'idiots'. I prefer the phrase 'hopelessly self-deluded', and in that sense, they are no more intellectually productive than the most dogmatic of faith-heads.

I don't believe I need point out to you all that these so-called 'schools' of thought are influencing the culture of Western Civilization to become ever more frighteningly shallow and disgustingly inept.

Fri, 17 Jun 2011 12:31:19 UTC | #639573

Jay G's Avatar Comment 19 by Jay G

Comment 15 by Steve Zara :

The important word is 'real'.

Reality is for people who can't cope with drugs. !!

Fri, 17 Jun 2011 12:31:42 UTC | #639575

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 20 by Alan4discussion

Comment 12 by wolfhoundGrowl

why as the question when your intro shows you've clealry made up your mind?...

If you can't get your head around post-modernism, go ponder something you can.

I think, having looked at the evidence, quite a few of us have reached rational conclusions about postmodernism, (as we have about creationism.)

Fri, 17 Jun 2011 12:42:11 UTC | #639580

keyfeatures's Avatar Comment 21 by keyfeatures

comment 18

We're all junkies whether we like it or not. Those neurohormones are pretty hooky.

Fri, 17 Jun 2011 12:52:42 UTC | #639582

Jumped Up Chimpanzee's Avatar Comment 22 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

Comment 8 by Alan4discussion

Blatant Newtonism!

Guilty.

Fri, 17 Jun 2011 13:02:18 UTC | #639588

DocWebster's Avatar Comment 23 by DocWebster

I think the important thing to take from this discussion is that arguing over definitions or even the definition of definition is infinitely more satisfying than the drivel that passes for post modernist thought.

Fri, 17 Jun 2011 13:09:34 UTC | #639592

Garnetstar's Avatar Comment 24 by Garnetstar

[Comment 3] Jeff Munroe :

...more along the lines of doing acid and discussing the nature of what sort of dreams a tree might have, and what philosophical conundrums those dreams might have in the context of a Dali painting.

A collage friend of mine actually tried this experiment. She decided to stay on acid as long as she could--I think she ended up doing a serious amount of it every day for about a month.

During that time she wrote several papers for her (post-modern or structuralist, or something) English literature class. She naturally had some, um, interesting insights on the material. I recall that for one paper she took a piece of neon-colored putty, molded into a shape that said something to her, and stuck it on her title page as the only title.

She got A's on every paper.

It might be interesting and fascinating, but the only ones who will ever know would have to be someone who is also on acid. Because without it, one would not 'be doing it right', or is without knowledge.

I don't know the state of mind of whoever graded her papers, but your postulate sounds correct to me.

Fri, 17 Jun 2011 13:15:41 UTC | #639594

aquilacane's Avatar Comment 25 by aquilacane

Comment 17 by KenChimp

It is just the most precise and effective methodology we have (and probably will ever have) of understanding what is absolutely true or 'real'.

I don't know if we can ever know that we understand something to be absolutely true even though we may, in actuality, be in the state of understanding an absolute truth. There is no guide of confirmation other than our own devices and faculties; things we know to be flawed.

I like the use of absolute as I can accept the concept that there is an absolute truth. I have heard the argument that there can be multiple truths but would this then not become the absolute truth? "There are many posited truths becomes the absolute single truth." All possibilities, views and 'understandings' are all part of the same truth.

Subject A: I see that chair as orange

Subject B: I see the chair as pink

Absolute Truth: A light wavelength of roughly 590 nm appears as orange to a human of average eyesight. A person with the vision disturbance known as tritanopia will see orange as pink due to there only being two pigments present in there cones and a total absence of blue retinal receptors.

Subject A sees orange. Subject B sees pink. The chair is reflecting a light wavelength of roughly 590 nm. The chair cannot be orange as it reflects instead of absorbs all orange light. Therefore, the chair is every colour except the colour that falls within the boundaries of the a 590 nm light wavelength. People do not call hydrophobic substances wet but they do call orangephobic substances orange.

Fri, 17 Jun 2011 13:41:06 UTC | #639604

Munski's Avatar Comment 26 by Munski

Comment 23 by Garnetstar

A collage friend of mine actually tried this experiment. She decided to stay on acid as long as she could--I think she ended up doing a serious amount of it every day for about a month.

During that time she wrote several papers for her (post-modern or structuralist, or something) English literature class. She naturally had some, um, interesting insights on the material. I recall that for one paper she took a piece of neon-colored putty, molded into a shape that said something to her, and stuck it on her title page as the only title.

She got A's on every paper.

Heh . . . somehow, that doesn't surprise me. Depending on what you're thinking about, and how it relates to you, that stuff does have some definite qualities which one can see why people like Timothy Leary swore by it. I've tried some 70's and 80's versions of it, such as the 'microdot' stuff, and blotter acid with cute names like 'Superman acid' due to the little symbols of the Red 'S' on it, and I have to say, the sort of strange 'clarity' it gives you on the strangest subjects is nothing short of something you need to have to experience.

Even the memories of it doesn't compare to the experience, because you do have a surprising clarity of memory, but 'reality' just doesn't cut it when you're in the actual zone. I sometimes regret I wasn't a better typer when I was a teen. It would have been interesting to see what I would have written.

Fri, 17 Jun 2011 15:01:10 UTC | #639629

Misfire's Avatar Comment 27 by Misfire

Been there.

At the risk of being boring: The word "know" is understood differently by different people. You can rephrase the question to something like, "How many ways can we arrive at a conclusion?" Then you can allow intuition (or pretentious verbiage) into the discussion, and then you can consider how accurate those means are.

Fri, 17 Jun 2011 15:44:07 UTC | #639641

Sample's Avatar Comment 28 by Sample

What about other ways of knowing? We often hear the religious talk about knowing god, or the mystics talking about knowing...whatever. (RDFAN)

It's interesting to me that in German, there are two, non-interchangeable, verbs for to know: wissen and kennen. Wissen is having an understanding or knowledge, while kennen is being familiar about something. I know (wissen) that homeopathy is nonsense but I also know (kennen) Dr. Quack to be amenable to evidence if presented properly.

I don't see English adopting a similar distinction (separate words) for "to know" (we have to see the context to understand the meaning) but it would be satisfying to have a single verb that meant "knowing, but...wink, wink, not really." :-j

Mike

Fri, 17 Jun 2011 15:54:59 UTC | #639642

Misfire's Avatar Comment 29 by Misfire

Another thought:

Are the literary criticism lecturers equally knowledgeable about that can of coke in the way that, say, an engineer is?

One thing I couldn't stand in college were the English professors who believed so strongly in the validity of anyone's opinion that they wouldn't teach even what they did know. I once suggested in my modernist writers class that the lighthouse in Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse probably represented a penis. I was just being an ass, but the professor encouraged a 90min discussion on whether or not Woolf, a lesbian, had written 300 pages on her trip to find a penis.

I'm pretty sure the professor knew the answer was "no," but he didn't see it as his role to teach. Rather, he was there to encourage us to form whatever conclusions we wanted.

Fri, 17 Jun 2011 16:02:58 UTC | #639646

Hendrix is my gOD's Avatar Comment 30 by Hendrix is my gOD

Comment 18 by Jay G

Reality is for people who can't cope with drugs. !!

Don't worry. We have the religious right fighting the war on reality.

Fri, 17 Jun 2011 16:32:53 UTC | #639655

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 31 by Neodarwinian

Not nearly as many ways of knowing as there are ways of bullshitting!

Fri, 17 Jun 2011 16:56:32 UTC | #639660