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"How do I know I'm not in the matrix?"

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15 minutes ago, Invictus2017 said:

If a concept is a floating abstraction, any statement that makes use of it is necessarily arbitrary.  More generally, once you use the arbitrary in any purported process of reasoning, all of the products of your reasoning from that arbitrary are arbitrary.

I would be inclined to distinguish between an arbitrarily formed concept and a floating abstraction, because a floating abstraction can be a perfectly valid concept in some cases. For example, the concept "justice" is a floating abstraction in most people's minds, but it is valid in fact. Almost any concept can be a floating abstraction - the term floating abstraction just means it hasn't been grounded in facts in a particular person's mind, not that it's formed out of thin air.

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34 minutes ago, Invictus2017 said:

That's a different kind of "arbitrary" than I've been talking about.  One might distinguish them as "epistemological" and "rhetorical" arbitrary.  The former indicates statements that an individual has not related to his context of knowledge; the latter to statements that others insist one must accept without examination.

It's not clear that this is a sufficiently significant distinction. The cases have in common that in the first instance you yourself accept an assertion without evidence, and in the latter case you present an assertion with the the intent that others accept it without evidence. You can always subdivide any concept into different types, for example "arbitrary, with respect to moral principles" versus "arbitrary, with respect to epistemological principles", but why would you? A hammer used to drive a nail is a hammer, as is one used to smash a window. Is there a useful reason to subdivide the concept "arbitrary" into "with respect to one's own knowledge" versus "with respect to the knowledge of others"?

 

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5 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

As for the "arbitrariness" of a statement or a concept, it means that it has no basis in evidence.

Okay, agreed.

What I was fixated on is the issue of "they are to be ignored".
That is why I could not understand an "arbitrary concept".
If I have an arbitrary concept in my mind, it is too late to ignore (I can only categorize it differently as unimportant).
I can only ignore a concept in transit, from someone to me.

That is why I could not accept it.
Okay, I can see that we can use "arbitrary concept" as a concept with no evidentiary basis too.

I want to be able to easily identify what should be ignored.
I also want to be able to explain to the other person that they in a sense don't have right to expect it to be incorporated in my knowledge.

So, it is clear that "imaginability" will not help in identifying it.
Similarly, I see that "ridiculousness" also, does not help.

So what I am left with is becoming clear about how evidence (or adequate evidence) is easily identified.

The guy says "we are in a matrix".
I am to ask, "what is the evidence".
If he says, "I just know" (then he has an arbitrary concept in his mind, and he is arbitrarily stating it")

The issue of "they think they are entitled to NOT give evidence" is fascinating.
The idea of looking for that in the other person is brand new to me.
Also, that attitude is a hard nut to break. I can just see myself saying "You are making an arbitrary statement, I have every right to ignore you". BOOM! (in my face)
 

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3 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

Okay, agreed.

What I was fixated on is the issue of "they are to be ignored".
That is why I could not understand an "arbitrary concept".
If I have an arbitrary concept in my mind, it is too late to ignore (I can only categorize it differently as unimportant).
I can only ignore a concept in transit, from someone to me.

That is why I could not accept it.
Okay, I can see that we can use "arbitrary concept" as a concept with no evidentiary basis too.

I want to be able to easily identify what should be ignored.
I also want to be able to explain to the other person that they in a sense don't have right to expect it to be incorporated in my knowledge.

So, it is clear that "imaginability" will not help in identifying it.
Similarly, I see that "ridiculousness" also, does not help.

So what I am left with is becoming clear about how evidence (or adequate evidence) is easily identified.

The guy says "we are in a matrix".
I am to ask, "what is the evidence".
If he says, "I just know" (then he has an arbitrary concept in his mind, and he is arbitrarily stating it")

The issue of "they think they are entitled to NOT give evidence" is fascinating.
The idea of looking for that in the other person is brand new to me.
Also, that attitude is a hard nut to break. I can just see myself saying "You are making an arbitrary statement, I have every right to ignore you". BOOM! (in my face)
 

Heh your conclusory remarks remind me of a physicist - lawyer friend who cannot (actually will not) give up the idea that "anything is possible".  He does not have a good grasp on the arbitrary and takes almost anything stated as "possible"... he is unaware that he really means "who am I to know?"

Generally the ideas of "possible" "probable" "certain" as well as "evidence" and "knowledge" and "claiming a positive" are widely misconstrued... Personally I blame the tendendancy toward Rationalism (ideas over reality) for these and most errors in philosophy.

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2 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

who cannot (actually will not) give up the idea that "anything is possible".  He does not have a good grasp on the arbitrary and takes almost anything stated as "possible"... he is unaware that he really means "who am I to know?"

Interesting, I had not made the connection between "arbitrary" and anything is possible. (now that you mention it, it's embarrassingly obvious)

So that is at the heart of it. It is what the whole exercise it all about.
We are beings that need to know "the possible" to survive.

We are like hungry mouths, waiting to be nourished by "the possible", and sometimes we take in a trash/poison/virus that is "the arbitrary" that looks like food.

The arbitrary misguides us when we miscategorized it as possible, it will take us well ... to the arbitrary. (sometimes the impossible, after all, it's arbitrary)

And Objectivism is saying that it does not have to be that way. In fact, it should not be that way.
The defense/disinfection starts with "I can know the difference".
Sad to note that they refuse the healing respect we provide when they reject it with "who am I to know?"
 

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