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What is Truth?

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Sakis Totlis

Re: What is truth?

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Treefriend TRUTH OVER REALITYAccording to established rational belief, man experiences reality as he takes it in via his sensory organs (eyes, ears etc), and then he reflects (thinks) on this primary sensory material with his Central Nervous System (brain). In other words, REALITY for man means the "real pictures" (visual, audio, etc.) he perceives with his sensory organs, while TRUTH is whatever he thinks symmetrically (proportionally, rationally, logically) on these pictures. No matter how rational, literal or poetic and abstract man's verbal thinking may be, it always depends on some real sensory material, on some "real picture." This verbal-over-image function of the human brain is aesthetic in nature, since it is based on "pictures." This is the way that all rational or poetic minds of all times work. Truth is not to be found on the clouds, as poor ol' Plato thought, but it is an essential everyday practice of all minds east or west. To make a long story short: "Truth is a symmetrical mental activity on real sensory material." Edited by: Sakis Totlis at: 1/5/05 3:48 am
Sakis Totlis

Re: Some Dirty Truths

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Mad Architect"But again, when you're talking about millions of television viewers, it's illogical to assume that they all had the same emotional response..."They did. Sympathy means "plus-pation" (syn-pathos). It means having the same (common) feeling. This is how we "commune" the feelings of other people and share their "drama." This emotional state evoked in us by the dramatic state of the other party is called "empathy," which means that we are "in" the same emotional state as the other party (en-pathos). It is the only way we all take part in the drama of our fellow men. A first-degree synonym of "empathize" is "identify ourselves with." It is illogical to assume that there was any other common cause that compelled those diverse millions to respond in the same way, unless they had the same inner motivation
Sakis Totlis

Re: Some Dirty Truths

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Tree friend"And yet when I tried explaining to others how I viewed this concept, they denounced my views."Yes, we all think differently even with the same input. Different needs, different priorities, different sense of humor... > ~SakisSeriously? You mean he appeared to be in a vegetative state? Otherwise, I don't see how you can stop "thinking" unless you mean "zoning out". Yes, seriously. Try it yourself. As you lie down (as the lazy bone you seem to be ) cross your eyes inwardly to look at the root of your nose and sweep slowly the wall in front of you from left to right with eyes always crossed. Your thinking will stop momentarily (for a few seconds that is). It won't hurt you. It might even be the break you need. Good luck! Edited by: Sakis Totlis at: 1/11/05 3:59 am
MadArchitect

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Re: Some Dirty Truths

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Sympathy means "plus-pation" (syn-pathos). It means having the same (common) feeling.True enough, but my experience, and I suspect the experience of most people here, is that it very rarely works out that way in practice.If (p) we are going to assert that our the sum total of our past experiences influences who we are to the degree that it is difficult for others to apprehend directly what is subjective in us, then (c) we have to recognize limitations in our capacity to sympathize or empathize. That's a premise that I certainly would like to preserve, and it's one that I see effective in my every day experience. If our personalities are not transparent, nor are our emotional responses to events patterned after a strict system of cause and effect. At best, we can talk about trends general to the whole species and the ways in which they manifest in individuals. But the idea that sympathy involves total emotional identification depends upon the assumption that a 1:1 psychological correlation is even possible. I would say that our psychological make-up is too complex and the nature of our emotions too mercurial and subjective for that.I would even say that the very fact of a feeling being in sympathy almost always makes it different in quality from the feeling of the person with whom you are sympathizing. Most often, it is likely the influence of pity that alters the quality of the feeling, or at least the difference in degree to which we feel pity for others, as opposed to how much they feel for themselves.Now, I am tempted to make an exception along the lines set forth by Martin Buber in his "Ich und Du". That is to say, on very rare occasions, the division betwpparantly does disolve altogether. This is not, however, an emotional state, a point I think Buber would hasten to add. Nor does it seem terribly likely that millions of people would enter into the I-Thou relationship all at once, with or without the impetus provided by television.It is illogical to assume that there was any other common cause that compelled those diverse millions to respond in the same way, unless they had the same inner motivation
Sakis Totlis

Re: Some Dirty Truths

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Mad Architect,(Sympathy) "...very rarely works out that way in practice."Sure. I never said how often it works. I said HOW it works WHEN it does as in the Tsunami case when it surely did. So please don't create the impression that I hold other theses than I do. "...there were manifold diverse causes that were channeled into essentially one response (or a narrow, somewhat unified range of responses)."How on earth would "manifold diverse causes" be "channeled into essentially ONE response?" unless because of SOME common reason? The only other alternative would be by a miracle. Imagine 50 million people scattered all around the globe without apparent common reason standing up suddenly at one particular moment 13.15 GMT and cry out a single word "YES!" That would surely be miraculous. And, no, this Tsunami donating occasion isn't a case of something that was "channeled into essentially one response". All these millions of immensely diverse people did exactly the same act - they donated. It is as simple and as definite as that. And whatever the diverse reasoning behind their act, whatever the different motivations, they must have had something in common in order to do the same thing. WHAT? They all "felt like it." Nobody tricked or forced these people to do what they did. They did it voluntarily, willingly and with pleasure or content. (Apart from their diverse motivations and reasoning), their identical act was driven by an identical good will, which was inspired by an identical psychological disposition. They all felt like it.Needles to add (but I will ) that when I say "all" I mean the vast majority, which establishes the characteristic common trait of this mass, and it is so vast that for all practical purposes we may call "all." It would make no difference if there might be a case of somebody donating because his father punched him in the nose. You know, there are not two "beings" on earth that are similar in all aspects and at the same time there are no two "beings" that are dissimilar in all aspects. We two (you and me) might be similar as far as the color of our eyes is concerned, but we might be different as far as our height is concerned, our blood type, our shoe size, our economical, political, social status, our having donated or not for the Tsunami victims, even our like or dislike of peanuts or yogurt, smoking, drinking etc. ad infinitum. There is an infinite number of ideas to compare two premises with. The point is when to stress the likeness and when the difference. Now, trying to understand a unanimous response in such a grand scale it is interesting and meaningful to seek for the similarity of the cause and we're getting nowhere if I underline this similarity and you keep stressing the inevitable differences involved anyway in some aspect or the other. "Can you be more precise about what you dislike in that formulation, (intelligibility of being) so I can address your issues directly?"From the beginning it struck me a bit metaphysical as aiming the "absolute truth" and this as you admitted openly in a later post is actually the case: "... I'm just about the only person in the entire thread that has offered a hard and fast definition supporting the notion of an absolute truth.
MadArchitect

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Re: Some Dirty Truths

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Sakis Totlis: I said HOW it works WHEN it does as in the Tsunami case when it surely did. So please don't create the impression that I hold other theses than I do.To be quite honest, your thesis isn't exactly clear to me. I can point you to some of the statements that have given me the general impression of what you meant, and if you can provide a clearer summation of the gist of your argument then please do so.1) You wrote: For example, world television created a strong "common experience" for the whole world with the recent tsunami. That's why the world responded unanimously and so generously with aid for the tsunami victims. There are some very inclusive terms there (whole, unanimous) which imply a great deal more emphasis than "common" might on its own. One of my primary problems with the argument that you've made concerning sympathy is its inclusiveness. My argument is that there are not only some exceptions, but that those exceptions are more often the norm. While I am willing to entertain the idea that, apart from a common culture we are isolated individual minds and we have to invent the world each one for his own self, I do think some heavy reservations are in order.2) If not for the Media they would not even know about it. If not for the TV they would not LIVE that extraordinary experience in all its dramatic impact. I was willing to accept the first formulation -- that knowledge was an indispensible part of the response, and that television was a major conduit of information -- but the second sentence ups the ante so much that I'm only willing to accept it as hyperbole. In as much as it suggests some measure of identity between the act of watching television and actually experiencing what it depicts, I have to reject the sentiment altogether. I won't deny that television is capable of some rather dramatic effects, but let's not accord it more credit than it deserves.3) Getting more to the point, This emotion they shared was the common basic motivation of their re-action, stemming from their inner self (thymicon), planted there by dazzling TV images. This is where I start having real problems with your argument because, taken with the inclusiveness of your earlier statements, it suggests a total identity of response from an exorbitantly large pool of individuals. In response to my suggestion that "when you're talking about millions of television viewers, it's illogical to assume that they all had the same emotional response," you confirmed that inclusiveness by saying simply, "They did." A large part of my point is that it is not "such a clear case of cause and effect," not "obvious" that the millions of people who donated experienced the same emotion, nor that television was responsible for that reaction. And if you're still asking yourself what sort of person would even think to question that assumption: the sort of person that hopes to maintain the notion that humanity is diverse, and that said diversity leads to both advantages and disadvantages, good and evil, justice and injustice.4) Without bothering to pull the exact quote, I'd say the next significant point is the functional explanation that you gave: in other words, the part played by sympathy and empathy in creating this common experience. This leads us pretty directly to the statement that necessitated this little recap. Because, to my mind, in order to suggest that everyone who donated to the TRF did so because they experienced the same emotion, you must necessarily imply the absolute functioning of sympathy, at least in this case. And if that did occur, I would be tempted to consider it a Pavlovian miracle, and reason for concern.How on earth would "manifold diverse causes" be "channeled into essentially ONE response?" unless because of SOME common reason?I think I've already provided examples demonstrating how people might be driven to the same behavior by different motivations. What is common in each case is the mode and result, but I see no logic in the suggestion that all behavior may imply only a single, uniform cause.What was necessary in this case, and I've already said as much, was that they know that there was a cause to contribute towards. And, yes, television played a large part in disseminating that information, though it's effect was still not as ubiquitous as you claim the "common experience" to be. But the necessity of knowledge still does little to support the claim that each of the donators experienced the same emotion.Imagine 50 million people scattered all around the globe without apparent common reason standing up suddenly at one particular moment 13.15 GMT and cry out a single word "YES!" That would surely be miraculous.False analogy. If everyone who donated to the TRF had done so at the same precise moment, I might entertain the relationship. But I would bet that each of those people have also said the word "yes" at least once between the time they first heard of the tsunami and the time when they made their donation and that different causes led to each utterance.And whatever the diverse reasoning behind their act, whatever the different motivations, they must have had something in common in order to do the same thing. WHAT? They all "felt like it."Ah, now that is a decidedly different claim than the one that you've been making all along. For one thing, you've divorced the "feeling" from its motivation, which in earlier arguments was the "common experience" or "common emotion" evoked by television. Secondly, you've softened your terminology a great deal. There's a world of difference between "felt like it" and "a strong common emotion (fear, hope, awe...)" or sharing "the same emotional state as the other party." If you wanted to revise your entire argument to revolve around the idea that everyone who donated did so because "they felt like it", I wouldn't feel much inclination to argue.(Apart from their diverse motivations and reasoning), their identical act was driven by an identical good will, which was inspired by an identical psychological disposition.Now again we're moving into insupportable territory. I really don't see why my examples shouldn't stand to reason. There's no reason to assume that every single person who donated did so from "identical good will" when it is equally possible that some did not. And even if you could demonstrate (and you can't) that they all donated from that identical good will, it still remains dubious to assert that the will arose from an identical psychological disposition in each person. Most supporters of the notion of a mechanistic notion of human behaviour wouldn't drive their argument that far. It's untenable.Needles to add (but I will ) that when I say "all" I mean the vast majority, which establishes the characteristic common trait of this mass, and it is so vast that for all practical purposes we may call "all."No, not needless to add. You've been using all-inclusive terminology all along, and you can't talk about millions of people, say that they have "an identical psychological disposition," and expect anyone to know that you don't mean precisely what you say. In fact, there was very little if anything that was "unanimous" about the response to the tsunami. That's a very unambiguous word, and if you don't mean that something is absolutely unambiguous when you say it, don't be surprised if people disagree.You know, there are not two "beings" on earth that are similar in all aspectsI know it, but they way you were talking, I wasn't sure that you knew it.Now, trying to understand a unanimous response in such a grand scale it is interesting and meaningful to seek for the similarity of the cause and we're getting nowhere if I underline this similarity and you keep stressing the inevitable differences involved anyway in some aspect or the other.We may not be getting where you'd like us to get, but we're certainly getting somewhere. We have (or I have) at least made it to the conclusion that they two absolutely common factors in everyone who donated were a) knowledge and b) availability, though even those things differed in kind from person to person.From the beginning it struck me a bit metaphysical as aiming the "absolute truth" and this as you admitted openly in a later post is actually the case: "... I'm just about the only person in the entire thread that has offered a hard and fast definition supporting the notion of an absolute truth."As a definition, it does admit the possibility of an absolute truth. It does not, however, make absolute truth a probability, nor does it indicate how any creature could gain access to that truth.But in the meantime I said, "Truth in metaphysics is the agreement of the mind with the absolute being, while truth in logic is the agreement of the mind with the "object" and then you added in your next post that this formulation of yours (the intelligibility of being) "still holds up in the context of "truth in logic."Well, I'm not sure I need to follow up my explanation of how it still holds up in the context of logic. If you have some particular objection to what I wrote concerning logic in my previous post, let me know and I'll try to address it.As for metaphysics, your statement may stand up as the expression of a particular metaphysical model, but it metaphysics is a branch of philosophy containing many theories and models, not itself a single model. "Truth" has no static meaning in metaphysics, and each philosopher attempting to build a metaphysics is required to provide their own definition. The only standard their held to is that of "preserving appearances" -- in other words, their model must allow for everything that clearly does happen and exists, and if any part of their model, including their understanding of "truth", conflicts with reality as we know it, we must reject it.Truth in the sense that you've applied it to metaphysics is a confirmation, specifically one limited to mental function. But at the same time, there are numerous things that exist, and we may say that anything that exists is true in its own right, even things that we cannot apprehend. In other words, we need not confirm something for it to be true.Now, there is a metaphysical model which denies that last sentence, that of Berkeley's doctrine of immaterialism. Roughly, he asserts that nothing has existence apart from its being perceived by a mind. So far as I know, that's the only major metaphysical theory that denies the absolute existence of things in themselves, the only exception for Berkeley being minds and spirits, the very things that materialist doctrines accord the least degree of being. You don't strike me as a Berkeleyian.But if we assert that things exist apart from their perception, that is, that they have in some measure an absolute being, then their being is itself a truth, whether or not we perceive it. And if we cannot perceive a thing that exists, just as we once did not perceive Pluto, then our mind cannot confirm its being, cannot, in your terms, agree with it. But that makes it no less true.In that degree, I think my definition of truth has an advantage over the definition implied by your statement. "Intelligibility" speaks only to the capacity of a thing to be known, and does not require its confirmation in the mind.
Sakis Totlis

Re: Some Dirty Truths

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MAThis period I am trying to shoot a short movie and I am up to my neck with all kinds of problems but I would like to do something else with you, in case you are interested. I think you are the right person to answer, if only you feel like it. I have formulated a new dream interpreting theory (space-emotional I call it) but trying to translate it into English I run into some very specific and very annoying terminology problems. Oh... I forgot to tell you that I am Greek and English is only a second language for me. So, please, if this is not too much trouble for you, listen to my problem.My terminology problems: In Greek we say "psyche" and we mean the "inner center" encompassing the totality of all "inner" functions and capacities = thinking, memory, emotions.In English, however, "psyche" does mean exactly the same thing. As I have already said in some previous post of mine, the term "psyche" in English has acquired some very dark hues, which the Greek term doesn't, and they are really unwanted. I mean that I am looking for a neutral technical term to express the totality of the inner functions and capacities (thinking, memory, emotions). "Psyche" is so close to "psycho" a very heavy term after Hitchcock, actually meaning something like "sick mentality." I am not talking about sick minds I am talking about regular minds. In English you find the word "psyche" in good neutral compound words as "Psycho-logy" = "the study of the "psyche" but not very often the term alone. "Conscience" does not seem to be a suitable term either, since "conscience" is a term that expresses only "mind" and "memory" excluding "emotions." Conscience may cope with emotions but emotions are definitely not considered an integral part of conscience. So, "conscience" is obviously not the term that denotes an inner center encompassing the totality of the inner functions and capacities. I divide "conscience" into a functional part (brain) and a structural part (memory), but that is all
MadArchitect

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Re: Some Dirty Truths

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Sakis Totlis: This period I am trying to shoot a short movieCool. I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but my other concentration in college was Film Studies. If you're interested in talking about movies, either as a fan or a filmmaker, you might check out the other community I frequent (and, ahem, administrate), The Film and Entertainment Lounge. A few of our regulars work in the independent film, so you might pick up some tips from them.I mean that I am looking for a neutral technical term to express the totality of the inner functions and capacities (thinking, memory, emotions).You may not need to change the term at all, depending on what sort of audience you're presenting the theory to. Psychology and anthropology have both served to introduce a more formal, philosophical understanding of psyche to the general English speaking public, and the association with "psycho" is not terribly strong despite the similarity in sound. All the same, if you intend to use the term "psyche", I would ammend your first use of the term with a slight clarification, as psycho-analytic authors have often slanted the term to include notions that weren't necessarily denoted in it before they appropriated it for the work of psychology.If you're still intent on using a more common English term, you might consider some variation on the term "self", something along the lines of "inner self" or "unified self". "Mental" is also a rather nebulous term for many people, and can be used to imply both cognition and emotion, though it may also have some connotations in different disciplines that require to clarify your use of the term. If you'd like a more metaphorical term, you might consider something involving the term "center" or "central" -- I think that might be advantageous since it seems to me that part of your implication with the word "psyche" is whatever framework unifies the different elements of the internal faculties of the human creature.So, "conscience" is obviously not the term that denotes an inner center encompassing the totality of the inner functions and capacities. I divide "conscience" into a functional part (brain) and a structural part (memory), but that is all
Doc Tiessen

The Truth

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I would like to add my definition:The truth is all the chains of cause and effect in the universe.If you want it, the truth can also be seen as the understanding of all chains of cause and effect. Science is the best approach to the truth. However, we will never reach the perfect and only truth... there are only good aproximations.There are three fundamental and separate entities of our reality (they build the magical triangle of Plato):1) The truth2) The good3) The beautyIf you want the truth, then you have to search it with science. If you want the good, the you have to approach it with ethics. If you want the beauty, you have to look for it with aesthetics. Diversity is Good!
Sakis Totlis

Re: The Truth

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Mad ArchitectThank you very much Mad Architect I really appreciate your great help. "Film (liking, making, talking)"I find it more appropriate to talk about it at The Film and Entertainment Lounge. (I've already paid a brief visit and took a look at the enviro). "...your implication with the word "psyche" is whatever framework unifies the different elements of the internal faculties of the human creature."Yes, this is the case. I am in need of valid, functional and common English terms that show such wider frameworks where different inner functions conjure (meet). E.g. (emotion and thought) or (perception and verbal thinking) or (representation and emotion). For example, imagination (fantasia) is such an inner center of conscience where emotions, thoughts and representations take some simultaneous active part in the game. (I am very keen toward the harmonic unification of all inner potential. Only yesterday, reading a book of Homeophathetic theory, I found a concurring opinion much to my satisfaction: "Man is a being who lives and moves into three levels: intellectual, emotional and physical (bodily) and needs a total balance and health in all three levels" George Vythoulkas
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