[ExI] What can be said to be "wrong", and what is "Truth"

Jef Allbright jef at jefallbright.net
Thu Oct 2 17:29:50 UTC 2008

On Thu, Oct 2, 2008 at 9:01 AM, Lee Corbin <lcorbin at rawbw.com> wrote:
> Jef writes
>> Lee, are you arguing with a selection of my words, or what you know of
>> me (my structure of beliefs?)
> I'm arguing with (a few of) the things you wrote, not what I know
> of your structure of beliefs, which, sorry, is very vague to me.
> (I can hardly be expected to remember all belief nuances of the
> many individuals even on this small forum.)

Lee, we've been around this loop already far too many times.  I'm a
bit dismayed by your claim not to have built up much of a model of my
point of view -- it seems to me a bit more facile than plausible, but
I readily admit that I'm often dismayed by similar evidence from
others, so my comment here is more to my dismay than to your veracity.

>> I would expect that by now you would be familiar with my repeated
>> point that **all** expressions of knowledge entail a subjective point of
>> view.
> Well, certainly I have criticized this view, or something similar
> to it before. The word "entail" here doesn't help make anything
> clear.


> When you emphasize a word this strongly:
>  > **all** expressions of knowledge entail a subjective point of view
> it does ring alarm bells, for even when I say "all knowledge is
> conjectural" I recognize that some might well-argue that for
> an individual, certain facts are not merely conjectural, e.g.,
> "I am thinking", ...

So many have followed the "obvious truth" of this Cartesian assumption
of direct, immediate knowledge of, if nothing else, at least of one's
own thoughts.  But ask yourself, isn't such thinking (about one's own
perceived thoughts) necessarily removed in time, and subject to
alteration -- and even  fabrication -- by the natural processes of the
brain?  Do you claim to report on your actual thinking, or what you
remember thinking?  In comparison with the purely introspective
philosophers of past centuries, aren't you dissuaded of the presumed
privileged status of such introspective "true knowledge" by the well
known experiments of Libet, or the split-brain experiments with
epileptic patients, or the effects on perception by drugs,
neurotransmitters, emotion, disease, transcranial magnetic
stimulation, or even the reverberations of recent experience?

I know you're well-read, much better than the average man on the
street.  But why this death-grip with which you appear to hold on to
superficially reassuring but superfluous concepts of absolute truth,
or absolute personal identity, when to relax such a grip is to lose
nothing real, while gaining the flexibility to better examine and
enjoy that which remains?

- Jef

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