FoLogic – Ontology and Epistemology

Andrei Mirovan – Ontology and Epistemology

[Rarely do I reproduce someone else’s post in full, and this one is deserving of it]

~~ Some BASIC (minimal, working) DEFINITIONS that I would suggest (presenting and refining some largely shared conventions of language specific to contemporary *analytic* Anglo-American philosophy) ~~
ONTOLOGY” =
1). [as an UNcountable noun] that domain (or discourse) of philosophy that, through rational (argumentative) modalities, tries to elucidate the meaning of the general concept of *REALITY*, its (presumed) sub-types, and the criteria for warrantedly claiming that something is *real*;
2). [as a countable noun] any particular system, doctrine, or conceptual framework, pertaining thematically to “ontology” in the sense “1”;
“ONTOLOGIC” =
1). pertaining to ontology, as a philosophical domain (Gr. LOGOS) that tries to study *what-there-is*, *being*, *existence*, *reality* (Gr. ON/ ONTOS ON);
or
2). loose (and, thus, unrecommendable) synonym for “ontic”;
“ONTIC” = pertaining to *what-is-real* or to *what-REALLY-exists*;
EPISTEMOLOGY =
1). [as an UNcountable noun] that domain (or discourse) of philosophy that, through rational (argumentative) modalities, tries to elucidate the meaning of the general concept of *KNOWLEDGE*, its (presumed) sub-types, the standards and the criteria for warrantedly claiming that something counts as *knowledge*, and the very possibility of ever successfully attaining that what the concept of knowledge purports to describe,
2). [as a countable noun] any particular system, doctrine, or conceptual framework, pertaining thematically to “epistemology” in the sense “1”.
EPISTEMOLOGIC =
1). pertaining to epistemology, as a philosophical domain (Gr. LOGOS) which studies *knowledge* (Gr. EPISTEME)
or
2). loose (and, thus, unrecommendable) synonym for epistemic
EPISTEMIC (or COGNITIVE) = pertaining to *knowledge*
“Ontical OBJECTIVITY” = (supposed) property that something has, of existing INdependently of ANY mind: namely, something is ontically objective if it is NEITHER produced by a mind, NOR conditioned in its existence by the existence of a mind (i.e., something ontically objective can come into existence or continue to exist even if NO mind is around) — otherwise, it’s “ontically SUBJECTIVITY” comes into play;
“Epistemic (or cognitive) OBJECTIVITY” = (supposed) property possessed by mental REPRESENTATIONS (expressed through descriptive, explanatory, and predictive CLAIMS and THEORIES), consisting in RIGOROUSLY and ACCURATELY representing their target/ referent, in a manner NOT distorted by personal INTERESTS, VALUES, and DESIRES — otherwise, “epistemically (or cognitively) SUBJECTIVITY” comes into play;
“MIND” = the totality of sensory, attentional, representational (perceptual and intellectual), emotional, mnestic, and imaginative capacities, as well as their associated contents, properties, states, events, and processes — both conscious AND unconscious;
“CONSCIOUSNESS” (or “AWARENESS”) = the capacity of having (sensory and/ or emotional) *QUALIA* or FEELINGS; therefore, if something is accessible to consciousness, it necessarily has — as long as it becomes (or remains) the *content* (or target) of a conscious state — a sort of *background FEELING* associated to it (even if the mental representation, state, or process that thus becomes the target of consciousness is of an INTELLECTUAL/ IDEATIONAL type).
* * *
It’s always important to distinguish existence/ reality vs. ontology, on the one hand — and knowledge vs. epistemology, on the other.
Thus:
1. Ontology is not existence/ reality; it is rather a philosophical domain that is building a RATIONAL discourse ABOUT existence/ reality; ontology, in this sense, harbours different (often competing) *ontologies* or ontological THEORIES/ DOCTRINES — i.e., collections of KNOWLEDGE claims about “how things *really* are”, in part (“REGIONAL ontologies”) or as a whole (“GENERAL ontology”).
Moreover,
2. Epistemology is not knowledge (or thinking) of reality, but rather a philosophical domain that tries to elucidate through rational discourse the very POSSIBILITY of knowledge; thus, epistemology (as well as logic, but in a different manner) is, in a way, “thinking ABOUT thinking”. When the word “epistemology” is used in the plural (“epistemologies”), it refers to different — often rival — epistemological THEORIES/ DOCTRINES which are harboured by epistemology as a domain.
Anyway:
Although existence/ reality is logically prior to knowledge, nonetheless, in discourse and thinking, it’s rather the other way around: EPISTEMOLOGY comes (or should come) first (as Descartes and Kant have famously suggested), because epistemology is the only philosophical realm of inquiry/ analysis that tries to answer our hopes of finding a methodology for VALIDATING all our knowledge claims — including those about “what there *really* is”. Otherwise, all ontological frameworks risk to remain simply arbitrary stipulations.

Great start Andrei Mirovan

It seems that culturally we have been through many iterations of propositions, tests, and refinement to be able to get to that statement.

When it comes to trying to work out what objective reality (positing that is might exist) might actually be, that seems to take us in the direction of quantum uncertainty in respect of Heisenberg et al, into the realms of unknowability in terms of both Wolfram’s maximal computational complexity and into the truly stochastic (chaos beyond deterministic chaos).

When you delve into the divide between ontology and epistemology, in terms of the evolution of brains, pattern recognition, simulation, and the emergence of high level awareness, then the border between order and chaos seems to get very messy indeed.

I find myself in a realm that is entirely probabilistic, where all knowledge contains uncertain boundaries of confidence not simply about its magnitude, but even to applicability. So many logical and strategic and mathematical realms to choose from.

It seems that all of our abilities to comprehend, to reason, are at base heuristic in an evolutionary sense.

Kant’s strict boundaries seem to be illusions based on false premises.

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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