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Metaphysical & epistemological possibilities

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4 hours ago, Eiuol said:

Knowledge is mutable, not truth. What you know to be true is mutable. 

Mutable (EN)
(a.) Capable of alteration; subject to change; changeable in form, qualities, or nature.

If truth is not mutable, how can what you know to be true be mutable?

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5 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

Or maybe you are saying truth is not knowledge?

The truth is not knowledge. Knowledge is not truth. What you know is mutable because it is fallible by virtue of being a belief. Truth is not a belief. What you know is irrelevant to truth. But of course, truth can correspond with knowledge. As for your other comments, I suggest just listening to the linked lectures. It should give you the background to understand the discussion better. 

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15 minutes ago, 2046 said:

Never go full Parmenides

A is A at the same time and in the same respect. "The truth of" something is immutable. If I say that the truth is that your name on this forum is 2046, that is the truth, as in it's not true and the false and then true etc. It's either is true or false.

Also, the PDF's you linked are unavailable to me. Are there other links?

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58 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

A is A implies that it can't change to "A is B". It's reality can't change in that sense.

I realize now that truth is also mutable, but in a different way. I spoke too loosely before. The state of reality can be different in the future - A can become B. A baby can become an adult. The state of your knowledge can change in the future because you might discover new evidence or discover an error that you correct in your reasoning. As a belief, changing it is determined by you. These roughly correspond to the way Peikoff discusses metaphysical possibility (states of reality in relation to possibility) and epistemological possibility (states of knowledge in relation to possibility). 

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Is the truth the "contradictions don't exist" mutable? Will that ever change to "some contradictions exist"?

That is the context that I am using. In that context, A is A. Anything is itself. That "truth" never changes. This has mostly been a semantic problem so I won't push this further.

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On 3/25/2021 at 6:55 PM, Jonathan Weissberg said:

(5) Without an explicit theory of induction, is error inevitable?
We are both omniscient and fallible. Specifying context addresses omniscience, logic fallibility. Given that there’s no explicit theory of induction, then isn’t error an inevitability when making inductive generalizations, just as it was pre-Aristotle’s discovery logic when discovering new knowledge?

Is this a typo. Do you mean "not" omniscient?

Why does "Specifying context addresses omniscience, logic fallibility."?

Bottom line, isn't a proper epistemology there to make error less likely?

(Also, error is possible, not inevitable, but the possibility of error is inevitable)

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11 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

Mutable (EN)
(a.) Capable of alteration; subject to change; changeable in form, qualities, or nature.

If truth is not mutable, how can what you know to be true be mutable?

In "what you know to be true is mutable"

I think he is using "what you know to be true" to mean "what you think according to your knowledge (or assumed knowledge) to be true"

and not using "what you know to be true" (in this context) to mean that "the truth in reality of which I actually know".

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1 hour ago, StrictlyLogical said:

In "what you know to be true is mutable"

I think he is using "what you know to be true" to mean "what you think according to your knowledge (or assumed knowledge) to be true"

and not using "what you know to be true" (in this context) to mean that "the truth in reality of which I actually know".

So another way to put it would be: "What I know is mutable, allowing me to bring my knowledge into alignment with what is true."

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2 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

So another way to put it would be: "What I know is mutable, allowing me to bring my knowledge into alignment with what is true."

"What I know is expand-able...allowing me to assimilate new knowledge (into alignment with what I know is true)".

Edited by whYNOT
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4 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

So another way to put it would be: "What I know is mutable, allowing me to bring my knowledge into alignment with what is true."

And (the proper way of) bringing one's knowledge into alignment with what "is" true, is done via the use of logic. (one filters out that which is not true within one's awareness)

Isn't the actuality of "that which is actually true" immutable? As in the truth of it doesn't change.

If not, then how does one communicate that the law of identity is absolute. Maybe my words don't communicate that, so how should that be communicated?

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17 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

...how does one communicate that the law of identity is absolute. Maybe my words don't communicate that, so how should that be communicated?

It's axiomatic knowledge.

Quote

That fact is: The only kind of certainty available to our consciousness is in fact contextual certainty.

Have you tried axiomatic certainty?

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@Easy Truth
The law of identity has to be grasped conceptually as absolute. You build it from knowledge of the identity of the barking dog and the identity of your location, etc.

It is laid out in a few places, OPAR for one, and even though people read it, because not everyone maintains objective import of their terminology, it gets lost in the "translation", if you will.

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1 minute ago, dream_weaver said:

The law of identity has to be grasped conceptually as absolute. You build it from knowledge of the identity of the barking dog and the identity of your location, etc.

Yes Greg, but you reason it out as you are grasping it. As in, it logically makes sense. And it logically would not make sense to deny it.

Once you grasped it, isn't it unavoidable, unchangeable in it's "truth"?

In other words, isn't "the truth", (not my truth or your truth), independent of my or your consciousness? In that sense, it is unchangeable by any of us. (not that "it" does not change). It is what it is. That is what I am getting at but I would like to say it in a way that people see it and agree with it, but I have not been able to.

Now, if the term "axiomatic knowledge" is used, wouldn't that imply "a subset of what we are aware of (not what we know to be true, but we are aware of)", that is immutable. It should not change. The concept "existence exists" should not change into "what exists doesn't exist". Epistemologically it "should not change". Metaphysically "it does not change".

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1 hour ago, Easy Truth said:

I'm willing to use that but aren't there truth's that are absolute yet not axioms?

"Axiomatic" is being used as a modifier. So "axiomatic certainty" would be a type of certainty that is self-evident or undeniable, something like that.

Truth is not the same as certainty. Truth (or falsehood) refers to the status of a proposition's relationship to reality. Certainty (or doubt) refers to the status of one's confidence in a proposition's relationship to reality.

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1 hour ago, Easy Truth said:

It is what it is. That is what I am getting at but I would like to say it in a way that people see it and agree with it, but I have not been able to.

I think that is really going beyond the scope of the discussion because you're trying to figure things out that the questions in the OP would assume you already know. If you're having trouble distinguishing the truth from knowledge of the truth, you're not going to be able to understand what Peikoff is saying about metaphysical and epistemological possibility, and certainty. 

 

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Posted (edited)

 

@Easy Truth, @MisterSwig, @StrictlyLogical

Sorry, I see there were some typos and inaccuracies in my original post. Eiuol filled in the blanks and was correct. There's more context I could've originally provided so I'll do it now. The rest will take me some more time to think through before replying. Keep in mind the majority of what I'm about to write was in the context of a discussion about asking the question of "will this flight that I'm about to catch crash?" and how to think about such a statement.
 
Yes, I meant to say man is non-omniscient and fallible. LP said fallibility is addressed by logic. And that non-omniscience is addressed by specifying the context, i.e., by implicitly acknowledging for complex items of knowledge (inductive generalizations) that your statement is preceded by “within the available context of my knowledge”. He states that this does not mean anything else is possible or “maybe I will discover something to upset this”, but only: “everything now known supports this and I acknowledge there is more to learn. If my method is right, the more I learn will not contradict what I have so far.” The more knowledge you have that’s relevant to your current context will simply mean the addition of new conditions, e.g., the discovery of the Rh factor blood as relevant for blood type compatibility (from the OPAR chapter on Reason.)
 
LP says that there are two ways to be wrong: (1) you’ve applied the method of objectivity correctly and specified a context, but new knowledge teaches you a qualification which doesn’t contradict the old context; or (2) you’ve erred in your method and new knowledge will contradict your old knowledge. 
 
Metaphysical possibility and epistemological possibility are different concepts. LP says that metaphysical possibility refers to a capacity or capability or potentiality, e.g., a plane has the capacity to crash but a feather does not. A metaphysical ‘possibility’ is a statement about the nature of the entity and an epistemological possibility refers to advancing a hypothesis about a situation. You cannot say it's impossible for the plane to crash metaphysically, but you can say it's impossible epistemologically with no evidence of causal factors or conditions that actuate that metaphysical possibility.
 
On 3/29/2021 at 8:22 AM, Easy Truth said:

Yes, mainly because if you want certainty that is not contextual, as in omniscient certainty, you will not make any decisions in life.

The fundamental issue around certain is "can or should I make a decision?". That fact is: The only kind of certainty available to our consciousness is in fact contextual certainty.

Yes, I think this is what I was getting at. 'Certainty' is epistemological. A plane crash is metaphysically possible, but may be epistemologically impossible. If, on principle, you're concerned about the metaphysically possible as a guide to action but with no evidence of epistemological possibility then you end up paralyzed and unable to act.
Edited by Jonathan Weissberg
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Posted (edited)
On 3/27/2021 at 2:03 PM, MisterSwig said:

That said, have you tried applying Peikoff's conclusion in that quote to the conclusion itself? If it's possible that he's wrong about the possibility of being wrong, then it's possible to be infallible.

Hah hah, yes, true, although I was questioning specifically scenarios where something is already metaphysically possible, e.g., a plane crashing or "dying tomorrow", and not something that is metaphysically impossible, e.g., the existence of the non-identity of consciousness.
 
In the plane example, you could've checked all the conditions required for a safe flight and said to yourself it's impossible (epistemologically) for this flight to crash. You don't consider or think about metaphysical possibility when deciding whether or not to fly. So you fly because it's impossible for the plane to crash, but then the Chinese Air Force shoots your plane down, which was the unconsidered, unknown factor that actuated the metaphysical possibility of the plane crashing. This factor was 'arbitrary' when you made your decision. 
 
My understanding is that to agitate against this is to implicitly hold onto omniscience as the standard of certainty. The whole point of advocating a certain thinking method and mentally pushing aside the metaphysically possible but epistemologically impossible is to simply provide the best possible guide to action given our fallibility and non-omniscience. And it so happens that we do not live in a universe where we are constantly destroyed by metaphysically possible but epistemologically impossible ("arbitrary") factors—perhaps this is part of what is meant by an "auspicious" universe.
Edited by Jonathan Weissberg
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3 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

Yes Greg, but you reason it out as you are grasping it. As in, it logically makes sense. And it logically would not make sense to deny it.

Once you grasped it, isn't it unavoidable, unchangeable in it's "truth"?

Rand stated in Atlas Shrugged about Aristotle's incomplete formulation "existence is identity" with her offer of completion "consciousness is identification". There are really two parts. The identity that is given by existents. The identification that is provided by consciousness, which also help to have it be maintained for future reference.

Peikoff added something for me in his introduction to logic about A cannot be both A and non-A at the same time, and in the same respect.

3 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

In other words, isn't "the truth", (not my truth or your truth), independent of my or your consciousness? In that sense, it is unchangeable by any of us. (not that "it" does not change). It is what it is. That is what I am getting at but I would like to say it in a way that people see it and agree with it, but I have not been able to.

Now, if the term "axiomatic knowledge" is used, wouldn't that imply "a subset of what we are aware of (not what we know to be true, but we are aware of)", that is immutable. It should not change. The concept "existence exists" should not change into "what exists doesn't exist". Epistemologically it "should not change". Metaphysically "it does not change".

As you point out, reasoning it out as you are grasping it is helpful. In talking to others, you cannot reason it out for them. If you understand the reasoning well enough, let them indicate where they are in their process of understanding and you may help them take the next step. This is a skill, and like any ability, man is not born with it. Objective (not Objectivist) communication is a skill to be learned, developed and by some, mastered.

Consider the clarity with which Rand wrote. Few write well enough to also read it straight to an audience as she did in Philosophy: Who Needs It. This may come as a surprise to you, but there are some who don't agree with it.

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53 minutes ago, Jonathan Weissberg said:

My understanding is that to agitate against this is to implicitly hold onto omniscience as the standard of certainty. The whole point of advocating a certain thinking method and mentally pushing aside the metaphysically possible but epistemologically impossible is to simply provide the best possible guide to action given our fallibility and non-omniscience.

I used to wish that "The plane ride is safe" was an axiom.

I was very unsatisfied with "contextual certainty" for many years until I realised, there is no other kind of certainty. Even knowledge of absolutes is through "contextual certainty".

53 minutes ago, Jonathan Weissberg said:

The whole point of advocating a certain thinking method and mentally pushing aside the metaphysically possible but epistemologically impossible is to simply provide the best possible guide to action given our fallibility and non-omniscience.

Couldn't say it better.

53 minutes ago, Jonathan Weissberg said:

And it so happens that we do not live in a universe where we are constantly destroyed by metaphysically possible but epistemologically impossible ("arbitrary") factors—perhaps this is part of what is meant by an "auspicious" universe.

Fascinating formulation. Gives some understanding about why the Arbitrary can be so attractive.

1 hour ago, Jonathan Weissberg said:

metaphysical possibility refers to a capacity or capability or potentiality, e.g., a plane has the capacity to crash but a feather does not. A metaphysical ‘possibility’ is a statement about the nature of the entity

Then why not say: Metaphysical possibility is limited to causality (as defined in Objectivism). As in "Law of identity applied to action". "The nature of an action is caused and determined by the nature of the entities that act; a thing cannot act in contradiction to its nature . . . . The law of identity does not permit you to have your cake and eat it, too. The law of causality does not permit you to eat your cake before you have it."

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