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Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Philosophy ... Socrates Cafe ...

What is knowing? What does it mean to “know”? What is “knowledge”? How do we know the world? What is the truest nature of the world . . . or of whatever we can know of it?

Yea, it was a night for some deep philosophy at the old Socrates Café, yesterday evening. Here are some notes on what was running through my head. I came up with four points, four ways of seeing the world, based upon four names. Those names are: REALITY; FACT; UNDERSTANDING; and KNOWLEDGE.

REALITY – dynamic; the “judgment of evolution”; but evolution in a broader sense, including all large self-organizing dynamic systems and their drivers, including chaos theory, complexity, emergence; evolution will judge a wide range of differences, both objective (difference between bleach and water) and social-subjective (belief in God); based on reproduction and survival.

FACT – static; western science; empirical, repeatable, cross-subjective; realism; the tree that falls in the forest, even though no one is there to observe it or detect it in any way. A fact is a fact, and stays that way.

UNDERSTANDING (although INTUITION may be the better word here) – personal; locked in each mind; experiential, subjective; idealism. What we would know even without a social system of learning, language and group thinking.

KNOWLEDGE – socially based intelligence; “common knowledge”; as reflected by language, language being the tool and the emergent result of social dynamics; truth evolving thru the social.

OK, but which word and which viewpoint is right? Which one reflects the deepest truth?

We can’t know. But we can try to develop wisdom.

WISDOM – the mix of all of these! The encircling of all of these approaches brings us closest to the true nature of our lives and our world, as a unified whole. They are all correct in the context of all the others. They are all useless fallacies, in isolation. The truth cannot be described without them, and yet none of them describes the truth.

That sounds good, anyway!

◊   posted by Jim G @ 10:36 pm      

  1. Jim, Some very good thoughts about a subject that generally never gets “summed up” when discussed.

    I was gratified to see that you included “intuition” under “understanding.”

    I liked how you then summed up all the points into one–wisdom. I think your comments not only “sound good” but *are* good. MCS

    Comment by Mary S. — November 12, 2010 @ 8:02 am

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