Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum
SpookyKitty

My senses fool me - How could the senses be self-evident?

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

1 minute ago, KALADIN said:

Yes they do. One can not be mistaken, can not err, if there exists no choice concerning the adherence to what is correct. The "error" messages of computers symbolize only incomplete processes, not any divergence from the correct ones, i.e. not mistakes or errors. Your continual failure to observe the genetic roots and applicable contexts of the concepts you are using is frustrating and the root of your mistaken positions.

Your "perfect" qualifier is invalid for there is no natural actualization of any sense modality that is not mediated by some sense organ, i.e. some incomplete, "imperfect" means of perception. Nature flies from the infinite, and I accuse of attempting to do epistemology without a knowing subject.

See my remarks above and further, consider your invalid, implicit conflation of information and knowledge.

Pure semantic bullshit. When a computer tells me that 1 + 1 = 3, I call that an "error".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Eiuol said:

Have you not heard people say "my senses tell me that" before? :P It's just metaphorical speaking - SK clearly means "my senses show me that". And if that's a reductio argument, that's some kind of linguistic analysis.

I'm quite willing to let SK and others write on their own behalf.

Yes, I've heard people say "my senses tell me that . . .". If, and when I tell them "I don't know about you, but my senses don't talk to me", I let their responses inform me of if and what they think. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, SpookyKitty said:

Pure semantic bullshit. When a computer tells me that 1 + 1 = 3, I call that an "error".

Notice how that call depends crucially on you, on the importation of some knowledge of what is actually correct beyond the computer's defined inputs. Computers do not diverge from their inputted programming and so can neither err nor know. You've contributed nothing meaningful in your two replies to me thus far (demonstrative of your understanding in agreement or otherwise) and so I think I'll waste no further time entertaining your positions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, KALADIN said:

Notice how that call depends crucially on you, on the importation of some knowledge of what is actually correct beyond the computer's defined inputs. Computers do not diverge from their inputted programming and so can neither err nor know. You've contributed nothing meaningful in your two replies to me thus far (demonstrative of your understanding in agreement or otherwise) and so I think I'll waste no further time entertaining your positions.

They do. This claim is demonstrably false.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, SpookyKitty said:

They do. This claim is demonstrably false.

No you are again demonstrably wrong. Divergence, like "randomness", is entirely epistemological. Just how there are no violations of causality there are no magic, computational abrogations of what is programmed but only violations of what is thought to be potentially possible, or is intended, or is expected to happen. Your blatant confidence in your positions is profoundly unwarranted and your continued ability to neglect the substance of my responses non-conducive to your learning the genuine epistemological status of perception.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 minutes ago, KALADIN said:

No you are again demonstrably wrong. Divergence, like "randomness", is entirely epistemological. Just how there are no violations of causality there are no magic, computational abrogations of what is programmed but only violations of what is thought to be potentially possible, or is intended, or is expected to happen. Your blatant confidence in your positions is profoundly unwarranted and your continued ability to neglect the substance of my responses non-conducive to your learning the genuine epistemological status of perception.

But they're not at all magical, circuits malfunction.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, SpookyKitty said:

But they're not at all magical, circuits malfunction.

This level of context-dropping is near impossible to believe. I will simply assume you are a troll and move on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi oh thou Spooky Kitty :) How do you know when your senses are fooling you? If you don't have something outside of you that you know is real, if your senses are always fooling you  (like devilishly inventive kids), how did you ever learn they were fooling you in the first place? :) Mike

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My senses do not "tell me" that the sun revolves around the earth, though they do provide the material by which I may come to that conclusion. If this conclusion is in error, then it will also be my senses which provide the material by which I can come to recognize and rectify it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

SK, you weren't talking about hardware malfunctions. You were talking about the programming of the software the whole time. You said your senses fool you, not that your brain is damaged or your neurons are failing to process visual stimuli. "How do I know my sense organs are working?" is not the same as asking "How do I know my sense organs provide content of reality?"

17 hours ago, SpookyKitty said:

As I've said before, when someone says that the senses are "self-evident", what I understand by that is that they are saying that "always, if it appears (from sensory perception) to be the case that x, then it is (in reality) the case that x". People itt have been arguing for this proposition by instead trying to defend the much weaker claim "always, if it appears that x, then it appears that x" and then insisting that the two are identical.

Okay. I don't think anyone here means that. Forget the word self-evident, just focus on the idea that what you see is what you get, absent any interpretation. Don't introduce ideas like using the wrong methods of interpretation, as that isn't even "the senses". Because this is an Objectivist forum, it is safe to assume that no one here would say that if X appears to be a tree that X is a tree. We'd be saying "The perceptual content is X". 

17 hours ago, SpookyKitty said:

I don't think Rand ever addresses the question of how the evidence of the senses can justify higher level knowledge.

By justify here, do you mean sufficiently justify? Of partially justify?

It's fine and I'd hope people criticize Rand for not providing a more robust explanation of how to use content from the senses. She just didn't get the time to do so. Thinkers since Rand have made progress on that issue.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rand has addressed this in the basic principles of objectivism course originally created by Nathaniel Branden. There was an article about this issue also in the Objectivist Newsletter. The senses are the basis of all knowledge. They can't "fool" you because reality is inherently stable. A chair does not disappear when you don't löök at it. A chair does not turn into a bird when you are not there. The senses can provide extra information about reality,  as when a stick seems to bend when part of it is in water. The senses are providing extra information about light waves,  but that extra info does not contradict one's earlier perception of the stick outside of water--which looks the same as it always does in that context of "not being in water. "

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, Mike Joyous said:

Hi oh thou Spooky Kitty :) How do you know when your senses are fooling you? If you don't have something outside of you that you know is real, if your senses are always fooling you  (like devilishly inventive kids), how did you ever learn they were fooling you in the first place? :) Mike

The claim that the senses are self-evident is that "In every case where it appears that x, it is the case that x". The logical negation of this is that "There is at least one case where it appears that x, but it is not the case that x". That does not mean that the senses can never be trusted, just that there is at least one case where they can't be trusted.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, DonAthos said:

My senses do not "tell me" that the sun revolves around the earth, though they do provide the material by which I may come to that conclusion. If this conclusion is in error, then it will also be my senses which provide the material by which I can come to recognize and rectify it.

No, they won't be. Sense data cannot contradict itself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Eiuol said:

Okay. I don't think anyone here means that. Forget the word self-evident, just focus on the idea that what you see is what you get, absent any interpretation. Don't introduce ideas like using the wrong methods of interpretation, as that isn't even "the senses". Because this is an Objectivist forum, it is safe to assume that no one here would say that if X appears to be a tree that X is a tree. We'd be saying "The perceptual content is X".

But that's completely trivial and can in no way justify higher level knowledge.

Quote

By justify here, do you mean sufficiently justify? Of partially justify?

It's fine and I'd hope people criticize Rand for not providing a more robust explanation of how to use content from the senses. She just didn't get the time to do so. Thinkers since Rand have made progress on that issue.

Sufficiently.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Mike Joyous said:

Rand has addressed this in the basic principles of objectivism course originally created by Nathaniel Branden. There was an article about this issue also in the Objectivist Newsletter. The senses are the basis of all knowledge. They can't "fool" you because reality is inherently stable. A chair does not disappear when you don't löök at it. A chair does not turn into a bird when you are not there.

This is a red-herring. Whether or not reality is stable has nothing to do with whether or not the senses accurately report the facts.

Quote

The senses can provide extra information about reality,  as when a stick seems to bend when part of it is in water. The senses are providing extra information about light waves,  but that extra info does not contradict one's earlier perception of the stick outside of water--which looks the same as it always does in that context of "not being in water. "

Yes it does. It plainly does. I cannot for the life of me even begin to comprehend why or how someone could possibly think otherwise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dear Spooky Kitty,  do you really believe any of this stuff--as in 'cross my heart and hope to die if it be proved that I did lie? ' Tell me,  how many times today did your senses fool you?  Yesterday?  Tomorrow? Somehow,  except in college dorm arguments, I don't remember any. Mike

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/30/2017 at 10:33 PM, SpookyKitty said:

Pure semantic bullshit. When a computer tells me that 1 + 1 = 3, I call that an "error".

When you talk about a computer malfunctioning or producing an error, what you are doing is imposing a mathematical model on the behavior of the computer and pointing out that the behavior of the computer diverges from the model. The word "malfunction" contains the word "function" right in it - it's a mathematical concept in the context of computer science. Unless you are telling me that the computer fails to correspond to its correlate in Plato's intelligible realm of mathematics, there is no such thing as a computer error apart from the interpretation of a rational observer.

Edited by William O

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi William :) I think our own beloved kitty has a point! Does 1+1=3? No matter the means,  if the computer arrives at an error, it has an error (poor thing). Maybe the data entry was wrong.  Maybe it skipped a gear.  Who knows? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, SpookyKitty said:

But that's completely trivial and can in no way justify higher level knowledge.

I explained this earlier. It is tautological, it's supposed to be. It is only to say perception is of reality as opposed to on the other side of a "veil".

7 hours ago, SpookyKitty said:

Sufficiently.

I mean, yeah, I don't see how perception can be sufficient for higher level abstractions. Evidence is part of proof - often you need multiple pieces of evidence. So, the senses only provide necessary evidence. But this isn't a problem for Rand or anyone here. Methods of reasoning lead to more evidence. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/29/2017 at 8:20 PM, SpookyKitty said:

 

*****Topic Split from Do Objectivists see self evidence differently from academic philosophers?*****

 

It isn't at all clear to me why the senses are self-evident. My senses fool me all the time. They tell me that the sun goes around the Earth even though I know that to be false.

Your senses absolutely did not tell you the sun goes around the Earth.  To go from observing sunrises and sunsets and the movement of the sun in between to the abstract conclusion about the sun going around the Earth is a wildly undisciplined leap of faith into an story that merely seems plausible to your conceptual faculty.  Your perceptual mechanisms never give you abstractions.  Geocentrism is an abstraction.  You did not perceive Geocentrism.

David Kelley's The Evidence of the Senses covers the epistemological issues around sense perception thoroughly and if you actually cared about those issues you would find value in it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But    my dear Kitty, how could you know your first idea was false except by using your senses? The first time you made the sensible conclusion that the sun revolved around the earth. Then with other sense data, you changed your mind,  by integrating, say,  your first percepts with satellite videos. Your first percepts were still true, but now your thoughts were taking into account other percepts,  also true. Does that clarify,  O Beloved Spook? Mike

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×