Rationalism: The Path to Knowledge

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posted on Mar, 6 2013 @ 02:28 PM
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reply to post by Wang Tang
 



A Rationalist may study science, but he will know that science cannot tell him about the true nature of reality, only about the nature of physical reality. In the pursuit of true knowledge, Rationalism is more compatible with Eastern methods of thought which focus on introspection and contemplation.


For the sake of argument.

Would you not have to prove that a non physical reality exists to imply that one can only know the nature of physical reality?
edit on 6-3-2013 by Openeye because: (no reason given)




posted on Mar, 6 2013 @ 06:52 PM
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Originally posted by ErroneousDylan

It could be more-or-less improbable that this reality is merely a dream, but it is still a possibility. Even the solipsistic view of life could be wrong. It is true that I think, and because I think, surely my I must exist, but this is only using the rationality of my limited mind. There could be other rules that apply to the Universe that I cannot fathom. Trying to imagine the size the Universe. Looking at 3 sides of 3-dimensional object. There are many things we cannot do or comprehend. And the ability to not exist, yet think, could be one of them.

I don't know anything, and I don't even know that.


There are some rules that could apply to the universe that are beyond our understanding, that is true. But there are some rules about the universe that we can know, and that have to be true. This is the stance of Rationalism.

One rule is it is impossible for something to not exist. Something can be an illusion of reality, but this illusion still exists. We could be living in a computer program, and what we perceive as reality could just be the codes of the computer program. In that case, this pencil is an illusion. I perceive this pencil as a writing instrument, while in reality it is just a set of computer codes. But just because the pencil is an illusion that does not mean it doesn't exist.

The concept of existence is an a priori concept. This makes it very difficult for me to explain to you why it is impossible for something to not exist, but if you think about it enough hopefully you will realize the full meaning of the word existence.

There is no possible world where a bachelor can be married. Similarly, there is no possible world where something can not exist. That's the best I can do. It's logically impossible for something to not exist.



posted on Mar, 6 2013 @ 07:00 PM
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Originally posted by Openeye

For the sake of argument.

Would you not have to prove that a non physical reality exists to imply that one can only know the nature of physical reality?


It took me a few times reading over your comment to understand exactly what you were saying, but now that I got it, yes, that is a great point.

It is impossible for us to prove the existence of a non-physical reality using science, because science uses empirical data.

If you only know about the physical reality, the possibility always exists that a non-physical reality exists, and the only way to conclude that we can only know the nature of physical reality is to prove or disprove the existence of a non-physical reality.

However... if you prove that a non-physical reality exists, then that means there is something you know about the nature of non-physical reality. You know that it exists... that is something... and that means it is not true that we can only know the nature of physical reality.

Good comment, it's making my head spin...



posted on Mar, 7 2013 @ 08:21 AM
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Originally posted by Wang Tang

Originally posted by ErroneousDylan

It could be more-or-less improbable that this reality is merely a dream, but it is still a possibility. Even the solipsistic view of life could be wrong. It is true that I think, and because I think, surely my I must exist, but this is only using the rationality of my limited mind. There could be other rules that apply to the Universe that I cannot fathom. Trying to imagine the size the Universe. Looking at 3 sides of 3-dimensional object. There are many things we cannot do or comprehend. And the ability to not exist, yet think, could be one of them.

I don't know anything, and I don't even know that.


There are some rules that could apply to the universe that are beyond our understanding, that is true. But there are some rules about the universe that we can know, and that have to be true. This is the stance of Rationalism.

One rule is it is impossible for something to not exist. Something can be an illusion of reality, but this illusion still exists. We could be living in a computer program, and what we perceive as reality could just be the codes of the computer program. In that case, this pencil is an illusion. I perceive this pencil as a writing instrument, while in reality it is just a set of computer codes. But just because the pencil is an illusion that does not mean it doesn't exist.

The concept of existence is an a priori concept. This makes it very difficult for me to explain to you why it is impossible for something to not exist, but if you think about it enough hopefully you will realize the full meaning of the word existence.

There is no possible world where a bachelor can be married. Similarly, there is no possible world where something can not exist. That's the best I can do. It's logically impossible for something to not exist.


That's exactly the point I am getting at. We think it is impossible for something to not exist, because, obviously, if it is something then it exists, but again we are just using our limited minds. We can't grasp impossibilities very well. Perhaps, in another universe there is something that doesn't exist, although is still something.

I understand the statement, I'm just in belief that nothing is impossible. If M-theory is right, and there exists an unlimited amount of Universes, then imagine anything would be possible, including having its own set of 'possibilities'.



posted on Mar, 7 2013 @ 08:23 AM
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I'd say, Rationalism, the path 'of' knowlegde.

Knowledge gained from interpretated emotions, and worldish knowlegde. It can be anything. Live in the shadow of the snake. They'll surely teach you something. (How to have selective deafness) and sometimes, what it takes to take one down, but get him back up afterwards. Believe nothing about what I'm telling.



posted on Mar, 7 2013 @ 02:23 PM
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reply to post by Wang Tang
 



It is impossible for us to prove the existence of a non-physical reality using science, because science uses empirical data.


Well you see that's the conundrum. All things in reality are able to be observed, so if a "non physical" reality existed it would able to be observed as well. One could argue we do not have the capability to observe it but that is not a very strong argument

Science (while not infallible) is by far the most accurate measuring stick for reality. So asserting that a non-physical reality cannot be observed by using science simply begs the question. How does one observe non-physical reality?
edit on 7-3-2013 by Openeye because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 7 2013 @ 04:06 PM
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Originally posted by Openeye
reply to post by Wang Tang
 


Well you see that's the conundrum. All things in reality are able to be observed, so if a "non physical" reality existed it would able to be observed as well. One could argue we do not have the capability to observe it but that is not a very strong argument

Science (while not infallible) is by far the most accurate measuring stick for reality. So asserting that a non-physical reality cannot be observed by using science simply begs the question. How does one observe non-physical reality?
edit on 7-3-2013 by Openeye because: (no reason given)


"All things in reality are able to be observed" is not a true statement. It is possible that everything we observe is an illusion, and we can observe none of reality.

That we do not have the capability to observe reality is a very strong argument, we are confined to observing what is here on this earth. What is beyond our earth is largely beyond our perception.

Science is a measuring stick for understanding our perception of our physical universe. Science cannot determine if a non-physical reality exists. We, as humans, can't conclusively determine if a non-physical reality exists. Since we can't conclusively determine this, the possibility of a non-physical reality always hangs over our heads, and we are left to wonder if it does in fact exist, and if it did, how? But all we can do is speculate, and acknowledge that the possibility exists.



posted on Mar, 7 2013 @ 05:18 PM
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reply to post by Wang Tang
 



It is possible that everything we observe is an illusion, and we can observe none of reality.


Reality being an illusion would imply that realty is subjective, this is simply not the case. Modern physics is quite substantial evidence to prove this point; you would be most hard pressed to argue for the existence of a triangular planet or star because of our understanding of gravity.


That we do not have the capability to observe reality is a very strong argument, we are confined to observing what is here on this earth. What is beyond our earth is largely beyond our perception.


But we are able to observe interactions beyond are own planet.


Science is a measuring stick for understanding our perception of our physical universe.


It has nothing necessarily to do with our "perception". If we did not exist these forces would still be active in the same manner as we observe them. I think we can say this pretty confidently as these forces played a part in the biological evolution of our planet long before we crawled out of holes in the earth.


We, as humans, can't conclusively determine if a non-physical reality exists. Since we can't conclusively determine this, the possibility of a non-physical reality always hangs over our heads, and we are left to wonder if it does in fact exist, and if it did, how? But all we can do is speculate, and acknowledge that the possibility exists.


Sure I can concede that it "may" exist. However, such a proposition can really not be taken seriously until objective evidence becomes available. Its the same as me saying that "Santa Clause may exist".

edit on 7-3-2013 by Openeye because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 7 2013 @ 06:41 PM
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Originally posted by Openeye

Sure I can concede that it "may" exist. However, such a proposition can really not be taken seriously until objective evidence becomes available. Its the same as me saying that "Santa Clause may exist".



Your mistake is that "such a proposition can really not be taken seriously." This is the general trend today, and is a prominent attitude among Empiricists. I am in the minority saying that this proposition should be taken seriously. Here is why.

I am talking about Rationalism as the path to knowledge, knowledge being a true justified belief. What we claim to know through science is not knowledge because all scientific theories and laws are based on induction, not deduction. Inductive claims are all based on probability and have an element of doubt. As long as you can doubt a scientific claim, it can't be knowledge, because knowledge has to be true.

Let's look at a commonly accepted scientific law, gravity. Our observations of our world tell us that gravity is what makes objects fall, it is what holds the planets in orbit around the sun, and it is the force that is responsible for the tides of the ocean. Now consider the hypothetical situation that we are a brain in a vat, and everything we perceive is just part of a computer simulation. In that case, gravity in reality is just a set of codes in the computer simulation, and what we perceive to be gravity is just an illusion. Our conclusion that gravity is the force that makes objects fall through the sky would not be knowledge.

While we can't have knowledge of the true workings of what we call gravity, we can have some knowledge of gravity. We can be sure that gravity exists to some capacity, whether what we perceive is the real gravity or whether gravity is just a set of computer codes. Either way, gravity exists to some extent, we can be sure of that.



posted on Mar, 9 2013 @ 08:43 PM
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reply to post by Wang Tang
 



I don't "believe" in anything because of being a rationalist, Science or Religion. I tend to lean toward an idea for a while and then think... Well, I don't actually know everything so how do I know that what, if, I believe in is correct. There is no way of "knowing" because there is an unlimited pool of information to decipher... and even if the information you do decipher turns out to be correct, that doesn't mean that there isn't another side to the coin that is also correct.

I refer to myself as a 'Logical free thinker' but effectively it is the same.

Because of this I don't stop learning. I read for about 10 hours a day, just randomly jumping between hundreds of different subjects that don't necessarily link together. I try to be diverse because that way I don't get funneled into one narrow passage of thought where I agree with what one person is saying over another and I don't get sucked into one subject for too long and over think. I gather a bit and move on which gives me a vast understanding.

Can I ask you this; Are you able to answer a question that someone poses that you have absolutely no previous knowledge of, in that area, and give an accurate answer?
Basically bulls**t on a whim and get it right through logical free thinking and being rational. Deduction is the absolute key to this. I often surprise myself when someone asks me about something I don't have a clue about.

I think this is a trait of rationalists.

I like your thread by the way. S&F

~ CrzayFool



posted on Mar, 10 2013 @ 03:16 AM
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reply to post by crzayfool
 


When I talk I usually have already thought out what I'm saying. I'm usually pretty quiet and not a spontaneous talker so in conversations I'll usually let other people debate each other and then if I don't like their arguments I'll jump in.

When I write though I will come up with logical magic that I never knew I had. These ideas just flow out of my head onto my paper and sometimes I'll sit back and be like whoa! How did I think of that?





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