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  1. #1
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    Can we be clear about our assumptions?

    Can we be clear about our assumptions?

    Why is it important for us to be clear about the ideas that we assume to be true as we analyze how we think?

    All reasoning must begin with some idea that is assumed to be true. These assumptions affect the rest of our thinking about the matter in question; these assumptions are what we accept as being true.

    Often we make more than one assumption, in which case these two or more assumptions must be consistent with one another. I suspect most errors in thinking result from assumptions that are accepted with little or no reflection, analysis or comprehension.

    Even philosophers must make assumptions.

    When written history began five thousand years ago humans had already developed a great deal of knowledge. Much of that knowledge was of a very practical nature such as how to use animal skins for clothing, how to weave wool, how to hunt and fish etc. A large part of human knowledge was directed toward how to kill and torture fellow humans. I guess things never really change all that much.

    In several parts of the world civilizations developed wherein people learned to create laws and to rule vast numbers of people. Some measure of peace and stability developed but there was yet no means for securing the people from their rulers. I guess things never really change all that much.

    Almost everywhere priests joined rulers in attempts to control the population.
    Despite these continual wars both of external and internal nature the human population managed to flourish. Egypt was probably one of the first long lasting and stable civilizations to grow up along the large rivers. Egypt survived almost unchanged for three thousand years. This success is attributed to its geographical location that gave it freedom from competition and fertile lands that were constantly replenished by the river overflowing its banks and thus depositing new fertile soil for farming.

    Western philosophy emerged in the sixth century BC along the Ionian coast. A small group of scientist-philosophers began writing about their attempts to develop “rational” accounts regarding human experience. These early Pre-Socratic thinkers thought that they were dealing with fundamental elements of nature.

    It is natural for humans to seek knowledge. In the “Metaphysics” Aristotle wrote “All men by nature desire to know”.

    The attempt to seek knowledge presupposes (assumes) that the world unfolds in a systematic pattern and that we can gain knowledge of that unfolding. Cognitive science identifies several ideas that seem to come naturally to us and labels such ideas as Folk Theories.

    The Folk Theory of the Intelligibility of the World
    The world makes systematic sense, and we can gain knowledge of it.

    The Folk Theory of General Kinds
    Every particular thing is a kind of thing.

    The Folk Theory of Essences
    Every entity has an “essence” or “nature,” that is, a collection of properties that makes it the kind of thing it is and that is the causal source of its natural behavior.

    The consequences of the two theories of kinds and essences are:

    The Foundational Assumption of Metaphysics
    Kinds exist and are defined by essences.

    We may not want our friends to know this fact but we are all metaphysicians. We, in fact, assume that things have a nature thereby we are led by the metaphysical impulse to seek knowledge at various levels of reality.

    Cognitive science has uncovered these assumptions that they have labeled as Folk Theories. Such theories when compared to sophisticated philosophical theories are like comparing mountain music with classical music. Such commonly accepted assumptions seem to come naturally to human consciousness.

    The information about Folk Theory comes from “Philosophy in the Flesh” by Lakoff and Johnson

  2. #2
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    Re: Can we be clear about our assumptions?

    folk theory is "myth" to the modern western educated cultured "sophisticate" is it not!?and what exactly does it mean to be "clear" about something!?:freak3: :spin2::judges: hehe!!.....just askn....
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  3. #3
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    Re: Can we be clear about our assumptions?

    Quote Originally Posted by lexx View Post
    folk theory is "myth" to the modern western educated cultured "sophisticate" is it not!?and what exactly does it mean to be "clear" about something!?:freak3: :spin2::judges: hehe!!.....just askn....
    "Folk Theory" is a phrase that has been used as a label for certain basic intellectual assumptions.

  4. #4
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    Re: Can we be clear about our assumptions?

    Quote Originally Posted by coberst View Post
    "Folk Theory" is a phrase that has been used as a label for certain basic intellectual assumptions.
    they made the facts/statements fit the theory!?they gleaned the meaning behind the collected words and phrases to fit the theory/definition!?you didn't answer my "clear" question!?at least in the context of this piece!?although i was looking for a more "deep" answer if it applies!?: :crazy1: :freak3: : heeh!!...
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  5. #5
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    Re: Can we be clear about our assumptions?

    I would say that there are levels of assumptions.

    Assumptions are statements that are accepted as true without proof or demonstration. They generally are unconscious and operate on our thinking “below the radar”.

    On the first level is axiom or postulate, which is a proposition that cannot be proved or demonstrated and is considered to be self-evident. The “Folk Theories” that are in my OP qualify as axioms or postulates.

    Much of our errors are a result of assumptions. Many, if not all, of our biases and prejudices are assumptions.

    Some very important assumptions are just the result of ignorance. Color, for example, that we assume to be in the object are much the result of our mental operation upon the input from our eyes.

    We perceive dogginess rather than Fido, that is to say, we perceive generality rather than specificity generally.

    We think in frames, for example a “pro-life” person thinks in terms of “life begins at conception” whereas the pro-choice person thinks in terms of ‘freedom of choice’.

  6. #6
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    Re: Can we be clear about our assumptions?

    What you're saying is "One man's knowledge is another man's pile of crap".......Life and death, knowledge and falicy. These are subsets of God's special game. The Great One invented these things so we could have the conflict and argument we so dearly enjoy. :2gunsfiring_v1:

  7. #7
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    Re: Can we be clear about our assumptions?

    i like the assumptions angle!?you could say politics is just a soliciting/bantering of assumptions!?and war the failure/breakdown of politics!?all stemming from the collective of assumptions!?their distribution within the minds of the populace!?who and/or what controls/distributes these assumptions!?the media!?and now everyone is a potential media mogul/guru with unimpeded access to the internet!?

    as to clear it would have to mean(be)a space/place of/in mind where 1 can know what/that 1 is assuming!?a place free from assumptions/thinking!?:freak3: :elvis: :spidey: : heeh!!....just askn..
    Last edited by lexx; 03-08-2009 at 03:47 PM.
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  8. #8
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    Re: Can we be clear about our assumptions?

    Quote Originally Posted by lexx View Post
    they made the facts/statements fit the theory!?they gleaned the meaning behind the collected words and phrases to fit the theory/definition!?you didn't answer my "clear" question!?at least in the context of this piece!?although i was looking for a more "deep" answer if it applies!?: :crazy1: :freak3: : heeh!!...
    I wrote about these things that SGCS (Second Generation Cognitive Science) call "Folk Theories" to demonstrate that everyone of us, even philosophers, must begin any domain of knowledge with some assumptions. These assumptions are often the source of error, primarily because we fail to recognize these assumptions and are thus mislead into accepting erronious theories.

  9. #9
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    Re: Can we be clear about our assumptions?

    Quote Originally Posted by coberst View Post
    I wrote about these things that SGCS (Second Generation Cognitive Science) call "Folk Theories" to demonstrate that everyone of us, even philosophers, must begin any domain of knowledge with some assumptions. These assumptions are often the source of error, primarily because we fail to recognize these assumptions and are thus mislead into accepting erronious theories.

    you sound like a politician,afraid to be specific lest you offend someone!?i guess all positions of authority/professionals enjoy this privilege!?: :freak3: :judges: :heeh!!
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  10. #10
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    Re: Can we be clear about our assumptions?

    Quote Originally Posted by lexx View Post
    you sound like a politician,afraid to be specific lest you offend someone!?i guess all positions of authority/professionals enjoy this privilege!?: :freak3: :judges: :heeh!!

    I suspect that many people join these discussion forums because they are like a verbal video game. They like to engage in combat. They think of debate as a form of combat. Thus it is important to make an "enemy" of the opponent for the game to excite the passions. I try to keep away from this kind of discussion and thus try not to make this a personal matter.

  11. #11
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    Re: Can we be clear about our assumptions?

    Quote Originally Posted by coberst View Post
    I suspect that many people join these discussion forums because they are like a verbal video game. They like to engage in combat. They think of debate as a form of combat. Thus it is important to make an "enemy" of the opponent for the game to excite the passions. I try to keep away from this kind of discussion and thus try not to make this a personal matter.
    at some level of life there is the competition just to survive!?socially/economically!?this naturally creates opponents based on the desired/seen possibilities!?this can be either friendly or unfriendly!?the question might be,why does it/at what point become unfriendly!?if you read thru some of the comments at physorg you will see that alot of the commenter's accuse the article writers of telling them nothing except look at my shiny new car!?too many details missing to completely understand their reasoning/procedures!?i guess they don't want to give away their secrets!?they dont want someone to beat them to it so to speak!?:freak3: : :smurf: : heeh!!....just askn...
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