Philosophy Maze

24 April 2014 ~Question of the Day~ Philosophy Maze

“The intricate maze of philosophy of the various schools is said to clarify matters and to reveal the Truth, but in fact it creates confusion where none need exist” – do you agree?

What if the very notion of truth is illusion?
What if everything we think is true is merely a model, yet the model is all we have?

What if it is all about the reality of the journey, the potentially infinite path?

What if all things that start need not necessarily end?

Philo sophia – a friend of wisdom.
What if the Tao that can be spoken is not the Tao?
What might wisdom be?

[followed by]

Hi Brian
That is why I think that Goedel’s theorem is one of the most profoundly beautiful things ever constructed by a human mind!
I spent 9 months critiquing every aspect I could find of it. It survived that process, in tact.
I have never spent that amount of time on any other single construct.
It is a profound construct, on every level I approached it.
As simple a proof as is possible of the unknowability of infinity (at all levels). Just sublime!
A proof of infinite possibility – in as much as such a thing is possible.

[followed by]

Hi OM

Yes there are two theorems, and the second is an extension of the first. They both approach the same logical problem. As such, I consider them simply different aspects of the same thing, and strictly mathematically speaking, they are different.

To me, what they demonstrate is that even in the realms of pure mathematics, and pure logic, big “T” truth is not an option.
However many theorems we prove, there will still be truths beyond them.
There are no final answers.

In the realm of the real, it is slightly different, and the logical outcome is the same.

If you start out accepting that truth is possible, and you start experimenting with reality to find out what is there, then you very quickly run into the uncertainties of measurement error.
At a certain scale there are uncertainties in the rulers we use.
There are uncertainties in the way we read the rulers.
There are uncertainties in the way our eyes receive and process information.
There are uncertainties in the way our brains receive and process the information from our eyes and incorporate it into our models of reality.
There are uncertainties in the way our consciousness deals with the information that we get from the model of reality that our brain presents to us.

At a whole other level, there are Heisenberg uncertainties at the quantum level, and any number of uncertainties within Quantum Mechanics itself. It seems to me that the most sensible method of interpreting QM is that all of the equations deal only with probabilities.

With all of these uncertainties, big “T” truth simply vanishes.

We get to see that it was an illusion; something that seemed sensible to our ancestors, and appeals to all of us as children; but isn’t actually supported by the vast datasets presented to us by the accumulated observations in the various disciplines of science, mathematics and logic.

What we are left with are profound uncertainties underlying everything.

It doesn’t behove any of us to get too hubristic about any Truth.

We can be confident.
We can make decisions with confidence.
And every time we take an action in reality, it pays for us to check what the outcome of that action actually was; to see if it went as expected, or if there is some mess to clean up.

I’ve made many choices.
I’ve cleaned up many messes. They happen.

I strongly suspect that should I live for the rest of eternity, mistakes and messes would still occur.

Many people find such uncertainty hard to deal with, as they are still firmly attached to their childhood distinctions of right and wrong, good and bad, true and false.
Such ideas are important in childhood, and they belong in childhood.

It seems clear to me that the idea of “Truth” can be used as an oceanic navigator uses a star for guidance; not as a destination to be reached.

[followed by]

Hi OM

I just don’t know how much extrapolation to everyday life Goedel did, perhaps not much.

I do know that Einstein used to walk to the institute every day, just for the joy of walking back home talking to Kurt Goedel, or just walking with him. That says something about the guy. Einstein didn’t do that for anyone else.

I have a great deal of respect for Einstein. He made a few mistakes, and he did some truly amazing work.

[followed by]

Hi Bhatta

There are some interesting results from information theory, and from the practice of building very large datasets using computers.

If you have a lot of spare processing capacity, and an intermittent need for rapid access to information, then building an index to the information gives the most rapid access on the occasions that you wish to access it.

However, if you are adding information as fast as you are trying to access it, and you have no spare processing capacity, then a random search is the most processor/time efficient method of accessing information (it take less processor cycles {on average, over time} than the cycles required to build maintain and execute the index features).

A map is simply an index in this sense.

It seems to me that one can apply wisdom to the choice of path, the attention one pays to the circumstances one finds on any path, the confidence one places in any information one collects while on the path, and the risk assessments one makes when choosing to modify or change paths to mitigate any identified risk.

And if you are really busy, and there are no pre-existent maps – then sometimes the truly random path is the quickest way there. Strange, but true (well proven in the database context – I recall a rather profound conversation I had with Steffen Pirsig on the subject in Manchester New Hampshire in 2006).

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see www.tedhowardnz.com/money
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