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Forums > Social Discussion > Religion: A mental illness?

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Doc Lightning
Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Member Since: 28th May 2001
Total posts: 13920
Posted:Written by: Simian
ah, israel. Just another justification for my thesis that religious belief should be treated the same as any other mental illness. But that's another discussion entirely...



Well, this is another discussion entirely. smile

Thoughts?

I'm inclined to agree.


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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Sethis
Sethis

Pooh-Bah
Location: York University
Member Since: 16th May 2005
Total posts: 1762
Posted:Hypothetically speaking, doesn't *everything* have a purpose? I mean, what is there in existance that has NO purpose at all?

Even the most tiny insignificant thing has ramifications for events. Example: A methane ice comet. While it's trailing through space for hundreds of light years, over aeons, it does nothing. It affects nothing. You could say it's pointless. Then it smashes into a planet, and wipes out a sentient species. Maybe that was it's purpose.

This isn't my point of view, btw, I'm just hypothesizing.


After much consideration, I find that the view is worth the asphyxiation.
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I may disagree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

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jo_rhymes
jo_rhymes

Momma Bear
Location: Telford, Shrops
Member Since: 10th Apr 2005
Total posts: 4525
Posted:there is a story about a king who poisoned all the water in his kingdom so all the people went mad. however when he imposed the new laws on them, the people rebelled saying that the king had lost his mind.
He had to drink the water and become insane to rule again.
Madness and sanity are relative concepts. If you are conforming, you are sane.


Hoppers are angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.

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Kyrian
Dreamer
Location: York, England
Member Since: 15th Mar 2002
Total posts: 4308
Posted:thats a frightening thought.....

Keep your dream alive
Dreamin is still how the strong survive

Shalom VeAhavah

New Hampshire has a point....

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Kyrian
Dreamer
Location: York, England
Member Since: 15th Mar 2002
Total posts: 4308
Posted:ok, missed a mess of posts tongue

good one there- ill- like it-

religion in and of itself isn't even close to mad, religion followed blindly or used as an excuse is just the same as anything else used for that purpose....

I *think* dr lightning is wondering whether religion is worse than other excuses and I don't think so, I thinks its just lasted longer, because it appeals to a more base part of our nature.....

we like things to not change. even when we seek change, we tend to be seeking stability, somehow... and religion aids with making us think things "don't change" in some greater or lesser way...


Keep your dream alive
Dreamin is still how the strong survive

Shalom VeAhavah

New Hampshire has a point....

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Stone
Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne
Member Since: 13th Jun 2001
Total posts: 2830
Posted:I think believing in religion is like living a life waiting to win lotto. Which is fine, but what a waste of life. Dont get me wrong though, I believe in Jesus and follow his example, its just the stories invented by men that I have issues with. After all Jesus said I am the way the light and the truth not religion is the light, the way, and the truth.

I think it is the stories created by men that lead to madness, and the obvious lack integrity in religion. You dont need to look very far to see examples of people caught up in this madness. The Bush led Christian attack on Islam, and the reprisals, certainly sticks out as a corruption of religion. And its more than a litle ironic that all sides fighting this war believe God is on their side.


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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Groovy_Dream
Groovy_Dream

addict

Member Since: 26th May 2005
Total posts: 449
Posted:Written by: simian

i think that a rejection of the idea that you gain knowledge of the world from the world does constitutes a mental illness.




I beg to differ. I think any 'knowledge' that comes from the external world, logical or not, is an illusion, a further, blinding constraint to our consciousness.
I'm tempted to say true wisdom comes from within, but I (as far as i can recall) haven't been able to come up with anything that's 100% definitely true, other than the phrase 'I am aware'. Other people may have, but there's no way of knowing.

Instead of trying to come up with absolute truths, i relish in the fact that I seem to be part of a reality that's in constant flux with no real basis of anything.

I agree with what you say about blinding following something. It is a bit silly. I think that religion is really about an inner connection to god/universal being/collective unconscious or whatever you want to call it, but that many people will never understand it. When religion is forced upon the masses it's subjected to manipulation, corruption, misinterpretation, simplification... the list goes on. I'm willing to bet that if any of the original prophets were to come back and see what has become of their teachings, they would be dismayed to say the least.

I don't think science will really get us anywhere either. We'll just keep going round and round in circles, asking more and more questions that will never end. Of course, we can do cool stuff with that knowledge smile. The thing is though, such a simple model of reality will never allow us to see the true picture.


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simian
simian

110% MONKEY EVERY TIME ALL THE TIME JUST CANT STOP THE MONKEY
Location: London
Member Since: 11th Oct 2002
Total posts: 3149
Posted:hmm good points

Written by:
I don't think science will really get us anywhere either. We'll just keep going round and round in circles, asking more and more questions that will never end


To equate incompleteness of a system of knowledge as a failure of that system is, well, just silly.

What's the mathematical thingamibob about no system being able to contain its own proof?

And how "complete" is your "true wisdom that comes from within"? How do you know the thought processes that lead you to those conclusions aren't in themselves flawed? There are even flaws in "i think therefore i am". Although only piddling little ones really.

And isn't the process of coming to the conclusion of "i think therefore i am" a perfect example of gaining knowledge of the world from the world anyway?


"Switching between different kinds of chuu chuu sometimes gives this "urgh wtf?" effect because it's giving people the phi phenomenon."

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screech
screech

circling on the edge of madness
Location: away with the faeries
Member Since: 22nd Apr 2005
Total posts: 889
Posted:personally i think religion is something people believe in to make themselves feel betteer about life.

by having something to believe in they can believe there is someone to help them when things get bad and that there is somewhere better to go when we leave this world.

personally i believe in nothing without proof of existence i don't say that god or whoever else you may believe in don't exist for certain i just don't believe they do cos i've never seen anything to make me think tey're real


finland finland finland
the country where i want to be
pony trekking or camping
or just watching tv

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Pele
Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA
Member Since: 15th Dec 2000
Total posts: 6193
Posted:Here is a statement once used in a show I was watching, and it seems to fit...

"Of all the truths in the world, you pick one and follow it blindly, it becomes a falsehood and you a fanatic."

And yes, I view true fanatics to be daft.


(hmmm...yoinking a statement made in a post and turning it into another thread..)


Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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Stone
Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne
Member Since: 13th Jun 2001
Total posts: 2830
Posted:yoinking, Pele. Yoinking wink

Is this a new move you have been hiding ?

Hope you make it to common ground.

cheers smile


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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coleman
coleman

big and good and broken
Location: lunn dunn, yoo kay
Member Since: 29th Aug 2002
Total posts: 7330
Posted:Written by: simian

To equate incompleteness of a system of knowledge as a failure of that system is, well, just silly.

What's the mathematical thingamibob about no system being able to contain its own proof?



godel came up with incompleteness theory i think.
but that's a bit different since mathematics is actually provable whereas science can only ever provide theories.

that kant bloke went on about 'antimony' quite a bit (things like russell's paradox) which is a bit along the lines of what you're describing...


this thread is right good smile
thank-you to messers simian and lightning hug


cole. x


"i see you at 'dis cafe.
i come to 'dis cafe quite a lot myself.
they do porridge."
- tim westwood

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Sethis
Sethis

Pooh-Bah
Location: York University
Member Since: 16th May 2005
Total posts: 1762
Posted:Written by: simian

And isn't the process of coming to the conclusion of "i think therefore i am" a perfect example of gaining knowledge of the world from the world anyway?



Well, first it's "I am thinking, therefore I am" because you could argue with the past tense.

I thought "I am thinking, therefore I am" was the ultimate rejection of the external world? The whole point is that the only thing that you can be sure exists is your consciousness. Everything else may be a delusion/illusion. All you can ever be certain of is that you (as a conscious, thinking entity) exist.


After much consideration, I find that the view is worth the asphyxiation.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I may disagree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

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onewheeldave
Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield
Member Since: 28th Aug 2002
Total posts: 3252
Posted:It is 'I think, therefore I am' and that ispresent tense; past tense would be 'I thought, therefore I was' smile

It's also not a rejection of the external world- it's more a matter of pointing out that our experience of reality is actually pure sense-data (ie in our minds), which may, or may not, be caused by physical objects which, in themselves, cannot be directly experienced by us.

ie the sense data may, or may not, be caused by an external world, which may not exist, but, equally, it could exist- so, it's not a rejection of the external world, more a rejection of the knee-jerk assumption that it exists.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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Sethis
Sethis

Pooh-Bah
Location: York University
Member Since: 16th May 2005
Total posts: 1762
Posted:But when you say, "I think..." then you're referring to something that happened in the past (regardless of whether it was 3 nanoseconds or 2 years). It also implies that thoughts are isolatable. Thought is a continuous process that only ends with unconsciousness, so "I am thinking" is more semantically correct. Mainly because anything before the present might simply have been put into your brain by the omnipotent deciever, which creates our perception of reality. The only thing that you can be sure of is that you are thinking *in the present* therefore you exist.

If I say "I think that orange is a silly colour" then my thought process went like this:

I had the thought.
I decided to say something about it.
I said it.

So the thought itself is two steps in the past. Therefore, you cannot be certain of it's reality.


After much consideration, I find that the view is worth the asphyxiation.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I may disagree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

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onewheeldave
Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield
Member Since: 28th Aug 2002
Total posts: 3252
Posted:In the context of 'I think, therefore I am'

'I think' is not being used in the same sense as in 'I think that orange is....'

it's 'I think' in the sense of 'I run' (as opposed to 'I run to the shop'.

ie the pure act of thought itself, happening her and now (in the present).

Originally of course, it was expressed as 'cogito, ergo sum' ie, in Latin, so maybe someone who understands latin can clarify any tense issues.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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Kyrian
Dreamer
Location: York, England
Member Since: 15th Mar 2002
Total posts: 4308
Posted:you mean latin of the more than 72 forms of a verb tongue I never knew there was so much insanity... sadly i don't remember mine that well but its at least nominally present with just an o ending. And, er, I think its third-io conjugation tongue

Keep your dream alive
Dreamin is still how the strong survive

Shalom VeAhavah

New Hampshire has a point....

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coleman
coleman

big and good and broken
Location: lunn dunn, yoo kay
Member Since: 29th Aug 2002
Total posts: 7330
Posted:we are skewing a little a bit offtopic but that never stopped me before wink

"i think therefore i am" is an inaccurate translation and is open to many logical arguments against it as sethis has pointed out.

saying it was originally expressed as 'cogito ergo sum' is probably just as wrong too seeing as descartes was french - it was probably more like "je pense, donc je suis" but that's another argument ubbangel

i believe sethis is right in his standpoint dave - "i think, therefore i am" is wide open to refutation by applying logical arguments to it.
particularly, the phrase "i think" is open to more than one interpretation as you have just discovered and as such is an inappropriate phrase to use in a philosophical statement like that.

"i am thinking, therefore i exist" defines the statement far more accurately and as a result, is far less open to criticism.


cole. x


"i see you at 'dis cafe.
i come to 'dis cafe quite a lot myself.
they do porridge."
- tim westwood

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onewheeldave
Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield
Member Since: 28th Aug 2002
Total posts: 3252
Posted:'I think, therefore I am', taken in context (that context being philosophical discussion based on sceptisism) is well-known, clear and consise, and, perhaps most important- catchy and memorable.

'I am thinking now, and therefore I exist' is not only bulky and lacking in style, but is subject to the same kind of pickiness it's trying to cure (for example, it uses 'I' and 'exist', both of which can be be subjected to intense debate over what they actually mean).

'I think, therefore I am' is a true classic, and any attempts at innovation will inevitably be cack..

Remember- it don't mean a thing, if it ain't got that swing smile


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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quiet
quiet

analytic
Location: bristol
Member Since: 15th Sep 2004
Total posts: 503
Posted:oh, more philosophical craziness.

quote time:

'I'm tempted to say true wisdom comes from within, but I (as far as i can recall) haven't been able to come up with anything that's 100% definitely true, other than the phrase 'I am aware'. Other people may have, but there's no way of knowing. '

Here are some things that are definitely true:

2 + 2 = 4
torturing innocent children for fun is wrong
i didn't exist before i was born

and some things that are so obviously true that there's no point in scepticism:

other people exist
there's beer in my fridge
the sun will rise tomorrow

etc.

people seem to confuse certainty with knowledge. you can know stuff even if you're not certain about it; the classic example is the boy who sits a history test, and gets all 200 questions about the Tudors correct. the best explanation is that he knew the answers, even if he didn't think that he did. or another case: you don't think you know where you left your keys, but you go and look in your jacket pocket, because some intuition suggests that you do so. surprise, surprise, you find the keys. explanation? you knew where they were all along.

knowledge is a matter of tracking the truth; certainty is something different. the possibility that you're wrong doesn't mean that you don't know stuff. what it *may* mean is that you don't know whether you know . . .etc.


ture na sig

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coleman
coleman

big and good and broken
Location: lunn dunn, yoo kay
Member Since: 29th Aug 2002
Total posts: 7330
Posted:Written by: onewheeldave


'I think, therefore I am', taken in context (that context being philosophical discussion based on sceptisism) is well-known, clear and consise, and, perhaps most important- catchy and memorable.





i.e. translations of philosophy are better when they are composed of words with a pleasing meter rather than being composed of words that might more accurately convey the thoughts being expressed?



okay then rolleyes smile





if we are going to go on about this think/am stuff, we should really be discussing descartes' thoughts that he linked to this premise re: the existance of god.

but i don't have the time frown



i wish i'd done a philosophy degree.





cole. x

actually prefers: "i think, i am" ubbrollsmile


"i see you at 'dis cafe.
i come to 'dis cafe quite a lot myself.
they do porridge."
- tim westwood

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Groovy_Dream
Groovy_Dream

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Member Since: 26th May 2005
Total posts: 449
Posted:Written by: quiet

Here are some things that are definitely true:

2 + 2 = 4
torturing innocent children for fun is wrong
i didn't exist before i was born

and some things that are so obviously true that there's no point in scepticism:

other people exist
there's beer in my fridge
the sun will rise tomorrow

etc.

people seem to confuse certainty with knowledge. you can know stuff even if you're not certain about it; the classic example is the boy who sits a history test, and gets all 200 questions about the Tudors correct. the best explanation is that he knew the answers, even if he didn't think that he did. or another case: you don't think you know where you left your keys, but you go and look in your jacket pocket, because some intuition suggests that you do so. surprise, surprise, you find the keys. explanation? you knew where they were all along.

knowledge is a matter of tracking the truth; certainty is something different. the possibility that you're wrong doesn't mean that you don't know stuff. what it *may* mean is that you don't know whether you know . . .etc.



These things are only true in the reality that you and I happen to be tuned into. There's no way of knowing if they're something universal to everything; they are a subset of something much greater, beyond comperehension. Saying that these things are true for all possible realities is like saying that.... just because your culture wears pink beanies, all cultures wear pink beanies.

And just because you think you know something doesn't make it true, even if there is a possibility that it is true. You're really only believing in something, unless you can prove beyond doubt what you think you know is truth.


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Groovy_Dream
Groovy_Dream

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Member Since: 26th May 2005
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Posted:Written by: onewheeldave

'I think, therefore I am', taken in context (that context being philosophical discussion based on sceptisism) is well-known, clear and consise, and, perhaps most important- catchy and memorable.

'I am thinking now, and therefore I exist' is not only bulky and lacking in style, but is subject to the same kind of pickiness it's trying to cure (for example, it uses 'I' and 'exist', both of which can be be subjected to intense debate over what they actually mean).

'I think, therefore I am' is a true classic, and any attempts at innovation will inevitably be cack..

Remember- it don't mean a thing, if it ain't got that swing smile



^^ agrees. Everyone knows what he meant. There's no point in getting hung up over the words used, its the meaning that counts.


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onewheeldave
Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield
Member Since: 28th Aug 2002
Total posts: 3252
Posted:Written by: coleman

Written by: onewheeldave

'I think, therefore I am', taken in context (that context being philosophical discussion based on sceptisism) is well-known, clear and consise, and, perhaps most important- catchy and memorable.



i.e. translations of philosophy are better when they are composed of words with a pleasing meter rather than being composed of words that might more accurately convey the thoughts being expressed?

okay then rolleyes smile




Bear in mind that I was, in part, jesting smile

But, substantially, i stand by it- 'I think, therefore I am' is a good, compact, and catchy, summary of a fairly complex philosophical issue (sceptisism), and, as such, it serves its purpose well.

Anyone seriously looking into the issue will easily be able to see the aspects lacking in that consise summation.

Also, like I said before, beefing it up to try to cover all possible misunderstandings will result in something which is either not consise at all, or something which is still open to misunderstandings.

If you wish to prove me wrong then why not try to devise a better phrase to sum up the issue, and then we can all have a look at it.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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Sethis
Sethis

Pooh-Bah
Location: York University
Member Since: 16th May 2005
Total posts: 1762
Posted:But what is the meaning, if not the content of the words? It actually bloody annoys me when people mis-quote, because that can lead to all kinds of mis-understandings and mess-ups. Imagine arguing for 2 hours over a philosophical point, then someone says: "Actually, I misquoted originally, this is what he *actually* says..."



Aside from that...



The actual point I was making in my original post was that you can't say any of these things are true, or indeed real at all:



Written by: quiet


Here are some things that are definitely true:



2 + 2 = 4

torturing innocent children for fun is wrong

i didn't exist before i was born



and some things that are so obviously true that there's no point in scepticism:



other people exist

there's beer in my fridge

the sun will rise tomorrow









But since no-one has yet proven that reality has an autonomous existence from our own consciousnesses, you can't say that any of these things are true, because an omnipotent being (e.g. God) might simply create images in your consciousness that correspond to your idea of reality. Reality has no objective existence, so you cannot make any moral or physical claim based on your perceptions of it. Example: The Matrix. The perfect example of what Descartes was trying to put across. Maybe we're all just brains floating in jars... eek


After much consideration, I find that the view is worth the asphyxiation.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I may disagree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

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Groovy_Dream
Groovy_Dream

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Member Since: 26th May 2005
Total posts: 449
Posted:Written by: Sethis

an omnipotent being (e.g. God) might simply create images in your consciousness that correspond to your idea of reality. Reality has no objective existence, so you cannot make any moral or physical claim based on your perceptions of it. Example: The Matrix. The perfect example of what Descartes was trying to put across. Maybe we're all just brains floating in jars... eek



Ya. There are some things, for example synchronicity, which literally seem to manifest into reality as soon as you believe in them. Maybe EVERYTHING only exists because your subconscious believes in it. Thats the case with a dream, why not reality? Where can you draw the line, between mind and matter? There's really no knowing.

There are plenty of mystics, religions, philosophies and quantum physicists that say there is no line; mind and matter are one and the same, and that the line is an illusion created by the ego.


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quiet
quiet

analytic
Location: bristol
Member Since: 15th Sep 2004
Total posts: 503
Posted:quote:

'The actual point I was making in my original post was that you can't say any of these things are true, or indeed real at all:'

Look; I'm not going to get drawn into trying to refute solipsism or idealism. For what it's worth, I think Wittgenstein (the private language argument, in the Philosophical Investigations) and Kant (the Transcendental Refutation of Idealism, in the Critique of Pure Reason) deal with each of these rather nicely. Besides which, they're just silly positions to hold.

There's a very simple point which people seem to be missing, to wit: just because it's logically possible that you might be being deceived (or a brain in a vat, etc.), it does *not* follow that you can't know anything.

Take the Matrix example. People in the 'real world' in the Matrix *do* know what's happening, whilst people in the Matrix don't know what's happening (since they are brains in vats, whereas they believe that they aren't). The fact that people don't know whether they are in the Matrix or in the real world just means that they don't know whether or not they know stuff. so:

i) Knowledge is a matter of tracking the truth of the matter.
ii) Your beliefs might track the truth, or they might not. In the Matrix, they don't; in the real world, they do.
iii) Now you don't know whether you're in the Matrix or not, but that simply means that you don't know whether your beliefs track the truth. Hence you don't know whether or not you know stuff.
iv) But the possibility of knowledge is left open.

Furthermore, it's a huge mistake to say 'we might be wrong, so we can't say that anything is true'. Sure, many of the things that I say might turn out to be wrong. But that doesn't mean that I shouldn't assert them; I'm justified in making claims if I'm justified in making them, not only if they are guaranteed 100% to be true.

And, lastly, who is going to be dumb enough to deny that 2+2=4, or that torturing innocent children for fun is wrong? That's philosophical stupidity taken to a new level. Come on, people, common sense may not have the last word in philosophy but it should at least have the first.


ture na sig

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Sethis
Sethis

Pooh-Bah
Location: York University
Member Since: 16th May 2005
Total posts: 1762
Posted:But how can you prove that the "Real World" outside the Matrix is real? What if it's just another simulation, created for the amusement of God? And what if the "Matrix" has absolutely *nothing* in common with the "Real world"? E.g. if the real world had no chronological structure, or has no coporeal manifestations (is simply a realm of mind and thought)?

I'm only interested in these philosophical points on a hypothetical level. Don't get me wrong, 2+2=4 in my book, it's just interesting to talk about themes like this.

(Mainly cos I can't find anyone smart enough to talk about this with in my town at the moment... frown )


After much consideration, I find that the view is worth the asphyxiation.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I may disagree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

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screech
screech

circling on the edge of madness
Location: away with the faeries
Member Since: 22nd Apr 2005
Total posts: 889
Posted:Written by: Pele

Here is a statement once used in a show I was watching, and it seems to fit...

"Of all the truths in the world, you pick one and follow it blindly, it becomes a falsehood and you a fanatic."

And yes, I view true fanatics to be daft.





totally true most believers are fanatical and that is where the debate about mental ilness becomes real
its not religion thats the ilness its blindly believing something with no proof and becoming fanatical


finland finland finland
the country where i want to be
pony trekking or camping
or just watching tv

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quiet
quiet

analytic
Location: bristol
Member Since: 15th Sep 2004
Total posts: 503
Posted:quote: 'But how can you prove that the "Real World" outside the Matrix is real? '

hang on: the real world is, by definition, real . . .


ture na sig

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Sethis
Sethis

Pooh-Bah
Location: York University
Member Since: 16th May 2005
Total posts: 1762
Posted:But surely, people who live in the matrix think that their world is real. They don't call it "The Matrix" and think that this is normal. They call their world the real world, which is a mistake. How do you know that we are not similarly mistaken? You can't. However I think that endlessly trying to find logical ways to prove it is a waste of time.

After much consideration, I find that the view is worth the asphyxiation.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I may disagree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

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