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Debate Info

17
13
Yes, because... No, because...
Debate Score:30
Arguments:120
Total Votes:30
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 Yes, because... (15)
 
 No, because... (11)

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Mack(146) pic



Is true knowledge possible?

Is true knowledge possible?

Feel free to use whatever definition of knowledge you like, but I prefer the Justified True Belief one.  

I understand that an answer of no mightn't make sense, because you would have to know that knowledge is not possible, but...

Yes, because...

Side Score: 17
VS.

No, because...

Side Score: 13
3 points

True knowledge is possible, but absolutely true knowledge is not. The problem with radical scepticism is that it refutes the very ground that it stands on. This is really 3 questions. What is truth? What is knowledge? And what is belief?

Side: Yes, because...
1 point

Instead of a philosopical or religious reason let me give a practical one. Human beings have had centuries of growth and improvement and new knowledge. The mere fact we could take so many steps forward and build on what we already knew implies yes true knowledge is out there and we keep taking steps toward it. Will we ever get true knowledge on everything? No. Will we have some things we think are true knowledge ultimately disproven or changed? Yes. But yet in the act of striving to move forward it is reasonable to believe "true knowledge is possible." To conclude otherwise would mean literally we might as well stop thinking and stop trying, and there is no good whatsoever in that.

Side: Yes, because...
1 point

It's interesting that you frame this question in a functional manner. After all, humans view things in a functional manner: in terms of their implications for action.

There is of course always one thing that can be unquestionably known though: that I experience and therefore I am.

Side: Yes, because...
NowASaint(1154) Clarified
1 point

Your "philosophy" of "I think, therefore I am" is questionable. How can you be sure you exist if your existence is not permanent?

Side: Yes, because...
bozwallocks(59) Clarified
1 point

Yes quite right, we have to strive for the practical otherwise you are left with only abstract ideas. This distinguishes two types of knowledge; information in the form of ideas and know-how in the form of practical skills. The question is how do you define progress? And are there different values other than knowledge that could lead to progress?

Side: Yes, because...
Quantumhead(561) Clarified
1 point

This distinguishes two types of knowledge; information in the form of ideas and know-how in the form of practical skills.

Intelligence in its simplest sense is a survival tool just like claws or fangs. It helps a biological creature survive in its immediate environment. To quote myself (sorry!):-

"A man can be considered intelligent if he understands the precise system in which he is immediately involved and how to benefit from it; but without the capacity to reason he is unable to critically question the validity of the system or the behaviour it elicits from him. He can succeed only within the very limited parameters of his own environment. Intelligence teaches man how to get things and reason teaches him why he is trying to get them. Intelligence is practical and reason is abstract. Intelligence can have parameters but reason—by its very existence as an intelligence of the abstract—cannot."

Side: Yes, because...
1 point

Hello M:

Sure.. There ARE rules by which the universe operates.. We KNOW some of them already, and are on the cusp of learning the rest.. Once learned, they are TRUE knowledge, and will NEVER change..

excon

Side: Yes, because...
Quantumhead(561) Disputed
1 point

Sure.. There ARE rules by which the universe operates.. We KNOW some of them already, and are on the cusp of learning the rest.. Once learned, they are TRUE knowledge, and will NEVER change..

I'm afraid this isn't necessarily true. Many distinguished scientists (most notably Paul Dirac) have subscribed to the belief that the fundamental constants of physics have changed over time. Whether they actually have or not doesn't even matter because the very possibility negates your theory of true knowledge.

Side: No, because...
excon(2588) Disputed
1 point

Hello Q:

Because ONE guy thinks it's not so, DOESN'T make it not so..

excon

Side: Yes, because...
1 point

Yep. I have evidence. :) Einstein.

Side: Yes, because...
1 point

I waited a while to say anything as I didn't know what side to take:

I think I can say with absolute certainty that something exists, because if nothing existed I couldn't be here in any way. I'm sort of following the "I think, therefore, I am" idea here.

Can anybody refute that? Maybe the fact that I have to ask proves me wrong, but I'm confident that I know something exists.

Side: Yes, because...
bozwallocks(59) Clarified
1 point

Cogito ergo sum as Mr Descartes said. He was trying to empty all of his beliefs and then build from the ground up with a stable foundation. The trouble is he didn't quite reach the ground. If we want to go further we could say, who is the I that thinks? Is there such an I? And when he says 'I am' what does 'am' mean? What does it mean to be? Is it possible to non-be?

Side: Yes, because...
1 point

You say you're following the " I think , therefore ,I am " idea and can anyone refute that ?

Well Nietzsche certainty did in In Beyond Good and Evil, Nietzsche doubted that the statement "I think" is self-evident, noting that it requires a number of assumptions that Descartes does not justify. Probably the most important of these is that the subject "I" actually exists, such that Descartes is begging the question; another is that if a thought occurs, it is I who think it rather than it (the thought itself). In Nietzsche's words:

With regard to the superstition of the logicians, I shall never tire of emphasizing a small terse fact … namely, that a thought comes when “it” wishes, not when “I” wish, so that it is a falsification of the facts of the case to say that the subject “I” is the condition of the predicate “thinks.” It thinks; but that this “it” is precisely the famous old “ego” is … only a supposition,… and assuredly not an “immediate certainty.” After all, one has even gone too far with this “it thinks” – even the “it” contains an interpretation of the process, and does not belong to the process itself. One infers here according to the grammatical habit: “Thinking is an activity; every activity requires an agent; consequently”…. Perhaps some day we shall accustom ourselves, including the logicians, to get along without the little “it” (which is all that is left of the honest little old ego).

Last year this lead to very long debate involving myself and two others which went on for quiet a while , what do you think of Nietzsches position?

Side: Yes, because...
Amarel(1696) Disputed
2 points

Nietzsche abrogates the rules of common language which are necessary to understand what is being said. Namely that verbs attach to subjects. Even when we say "it is raining", we are simply using short hand for what the weather is doing.

Nietzsche claims that the assumption that "I" exists is embedded in Descartes statement, making it circular, when in fact Descartes statement represents nothing more than the attachment of verbs to subjects. In recognizing that verbs attach to subjects he derives a subjects existence from knowledge of its correlating verb. Descartes may as well have said "I run therefore I am", or "it's raining therefore there is weather". The reason he used thought, is because his own subjective experience is the only verb that cannot be an illusion. You can believe you're running and be wrong, you cannot believe you're believing and be wrong. It's a truism.

Nietzsche could have just as easily thrown out verbs, rather than subjects. He could have argued that Descartes assumes the existence of verbs when there are actually only subjects. That there is you, me, and other objects but, as Parmenides argued there is no change, thus there are no verbs.

The notion that anything happens is just as much an illusion as the notion that anyone exists.

Side: No, because...
bozwallocks(59) Clarified
1 point

Mr Nietzsche is correct, Descartes didn't have the solid premise that he thought he did.

I've always been put off of reading Nietzsche due to his reputation as anti-humanist and that he hated human weakness to the point of catastrophic mental breakdown. Perhaps I better bite the bullet and get reading.

The thing that's missing from Nietzsche's position here though is human agency. Yes thoughts appear by themselves

"The mind secretes thoughts the way the liver secretes bile" as Benjamin Rush said. However, we also have the ability to produce habitual thoughts at will and apply ourselves to producing new ones. So maybe I will therefor I am?

Side: Yes, because...
1 point

Nietzsche makes sense, but I was careful that I didn't use the exact wording Descartes's used. I said that I can be sure something exists. Whether or not "I", or the "thought" exists doesn't matter, but something has to exist. If nothing ever existed anywhere or at anytime then whatever this thing happening right now, which might be me thinking, surely couldn't happen. If there is nothing, then there must be nothing. But there is something. I don't necessarily know what or when or whatever that something is, but I know there is something that exists. Whatever words I use will surely contain some suppositions, but if you can look past that, surely it is a certainty that something exists. I don't think Nietzsche's words conflict with my idea, as my idea only involves the existence of something, not me or the thought or whatever.

Side: Yes, because...
1 point

Yes, of course you can know the truth. I know the truth, I know that you can know the truth. Most people don't want to know the truth because it stands against their evil. Because they don't want to know the truth, they cannot know God's mercy. The truth is always simple.

Side: Yes, because...
1 point

You will never find the truth by studying the words of men who deny the truth. All they do is use human reasoning as a tool to try to convince themselves that they have the right to exist outside of Hell.

Side: Yes, because...
bozwallocks(59) Disputed
1 point

How can you be sure that what you have is the truth?......................

Side: No, because...
NowASaint(1154) Clarified
1 point

Do you want to admit that you deserve to die and do not have the right to exist outside of Hell?

Side: Yes, because...
1 point

it is true that the grasping of truth is not possible without empirical basis.However,the deeper we penetrate and the more extensive and embracing our theories become less empirical knowledge is needed to determine those theories. said by ALBERT EINSTEIN

Side: Yes, because...
1 point

Yes, because I have knowledge of Jesus Christ from the King James Version Bible.

Side: Yes, because...
1 point

True knowledge isn't possible because cosmology will never find a definitive answer of our universe, meaning that any religion or belief can be true which can hinder true knowledge.

Side: No, because...
NowASaint(1154) Disputed
1 point

Falsehoods cannot be true, only the truth can be true. When two ideas are in conflict, or any number of ideas, they are either all wrong and untrue or one of them is true and right and the rest are untrue and wrong. I am speaking in truth. You can know the truth.

Side: Yes, because...

No, I'm afraid it isn't possible, and it is because of the way that we experience time. The best known methodology for understanding the universe in which we live is science. We measure and examine things and then that gives us information about the properties of those things. However, science itself is flawed because it can only tell us the state of things in the past (i.e. after we have measured them). Hence, science can explain the past but not necessarily the present (or the future). To "know" in its present, immediate tense, is not possible in this universe.

Side: No, because...
bozwallocks(59) Clarified
1 point

Time is an interesting topic because we know we experience its progression but its not clear how it fits into the laws of physics. The laws predict phenomena across time but in no way specify that time should be experienced to flow as it does, perhaps indicating that time flow is a product of consciousness. That ever elusive present moment is where the measurement takes place but certainty gained always brings with it a corresponding uncertainty. The more precisely we try to pin nature down the more she evades us.

Side: Yes, because...
Quantumhead(561) Clarified
1 point

Time is an interesting topic because we know we experience its progression but its not clear how it fits into the laws of physics

Well, it's pretty clear. Einstein wrote a theory about it you might have heard of called general relativity. In fairness however, that only applies to time in the observable universe. The effect of time at the quantum level is, concededly, not very well understood.

The laws predict phenomena across time but in no way specify that time should be experienced to flow as it does

The second law of thermodynamics (also known as the law of entropy) predicts time's arrow.

Side: Yes, because...
1 point

A more reasonable description of knowledge is:

The information (however erroneous or useful) accessible to one or more agents.

Viewing knowledge as "justified true belief" sets us up to view portions of the information we manage as errorless and our thinking becomes more rigid and dogmatically absolutist. Instead of saying "I have justified true beliefs" its better to say "I think I have adequate information".

Side: No, because...