Belief: The Island On Which We All Take Refuge

One of the hardest things for any individual to do in a society is abstract truth from the world around them. An amalgamation of filters stand between the individual and reality. From the media we get our news and information from, to the filter of our perceptions, any “ultimate truth” or reality is muddy by the time it reaches our minds.

This feeling of uncertainty is one any skeptic must face when deciding to seek out a good model of our world. But as I strongly believe, and as many philosophers have stated in one way or another: Those who are sure of themselves are fools, and the only intelligent individuals seem to be those who are in constant doubt. I intend to defend this notion and show how knowledge, as it is commonly known, may very well be a meaningless notion. What remains are justified or unjustified beliefs, and the processes of foundational logic and science are good tools for informing said beliefs.


So we now have three things (at least) that need to be defined here: “Truth”, “belief” and “knowledge”. The way in which I use the term, “truth” is to point out anything in the world that is the case. I must concede that by definition we may not be able to have access to truth due to our very nature. “Truth” may well be a meaningless term in a similar way as “knowledge”.

A belief is intertwined with truth in that it is what people think is, or is likely to be the case.

Knowledge” brings the trifecta together, because knowledge, as I understand it, occurs when our beliefs are confirmed to be true.


Now let’s contextualize these related terms. As I said, based on these definitions, I am not sure anyone can have access to truth or knowledge. When one meditates on what knowledge or truth they have access to, would they buy into the idea that they are capable of having absolute demonstrable knowledge of anything? Can anyone say with honest confidence that some current knowledge they have is unalterable?

Much like the conclusion reached by Descartes (“Je pens, donc je suis”), if one is to be intellectually honest, is there anything they can claim is the case beyond reasonable doubt (aside from something within their own mind)? I cannot say this for myself at the very least. To know anything seems just as absurd as knowing everything. So what can we do about this? To answer that, we need only to defer to some rudimentary logical rules.

The Logic

So we can’t necessarily say we know something to be true, let alone know anything at all. However, this may not be the case if one speaks of themselves rather than something external. This is one exception I may be willing to let slip by: The notion that we can know what our own beliefs are. The point here is that there is a picture regarding belief being implied by the relationship of the definitions I laid out above. For human intents and purposes the most tangible of the three aforementioned terms is “belief”.

The logic regarding belief we have to acknowledge now is that there are four kinds of belief. There are either justified or unjustified beliefs, and under both of those categories there are true or false beliefs. To briefly explain, you can have a justified or valid belief, but it may be false. Likewise, you can have a belief that has not been justified but just so happens to be true.

A familiar example of an unjustified-true belief could be as follows: The claim of the existence of a god may very well be true, but in the world we live in, there seems to be no justification or validity for that claim. One crucial factor about belief that implies the forms I just described, is that one’s beliefs are not a choice. We in fact believe things because we are convinced through good or bad reasons (valid or invalid).

Science and Logic Are All We Have

My position is that epistemically, belief seems to be the very best we can do. If you spend any time dabbling in the foundations of logic, you will see that we can discern validity and justify our points-of-view all day, but when we try to answer the question of truth, we face a tremendous blockade of subjectivity. This is unsettling to people upon first realization, but there is an upside which resides in the process of science.

Science does not make truth claims about the world. Not because scientists wouldn’t like to, but because to do so would be empirically dishonest. What science does set out to do is provide a description of the phenomena around us through justified speculation. Science seeks to predict occurrences by way of empirical testing, alongside statistical likelihood. But let’s be honest, the everyday person does not navigate the world with such empirical accuracy. We usually just trust in professionals to do the dirty work. So our beliefs can rarely even be considered justified.

To consolidate this month’s word-salad, we may not be able to have knowledge of anything outside ourselves and our subjective filters, but we can have more or less accurate justified beliefs. Even then, I’d wager that we tend to fall short on justifying these beliefs ourselves and just piggy-back off of the findings in science. If this is unsatisfying to you the reader, then I would love to hear any proposed comprehensive system for certainty.

33 thoughts on “Belief: The Island On Which We All Take Refuge

  1. It is interesting all the assumptions that go into your essay there. First of all, why would any truth need to be proven or evidenced by anyone else?
    Or maybe better put, why should the criterion lay and whether or not someone is able to comprehend what I am explaining truthfully , Or the truth that I am communicating with Felicity?
    The failure that does not fall back on me, to say that subjectivities are limited in their subjectivity and can never find truth; I suggest on the contrary, it is the failure of the person who’s listening to be able to comprehend what is truthfully being conveyed to them.

    But then in reference to this kind of jerks to positioning of methods, I think what really comes down to is what am I trying to do in my argument? What is informing my ability to know things, I have such. For example the proposal that you put forth. What is informing your ability to make sense out of something in the way that you have?

    I think this goes not to so much limit, but to a particular kind of limit. And it is not so much that we can’t find truth, but that what is informing your view upon what truth is is such that you cannot see it or find it or communicate it. For, I could easily hit you with a bat and the truth of that event is sure knowledge, And I’m not really sure why we would call it anything but true knowledge that indeed you were hit with a bat, that indeed blood is streaming down your face, It is very painful, you can’t think clearly, etc….Im not sure why that isn’t knowledge, I am not sure why it isn’t true, for example.

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    1. I love this reply. I am indeed making assumptions here, but I think they have merit. Since I don’t wish to get too deep in the weeds here, I’ll just respond to the questions you posed. This reply is assuming that you adopted my definitions of knowledge, truth, and belief for arguments sake.

      To answer the first, truth does not need to be evidenced by anyone else. Others are useful to finding truth insofar as they help to challenge the incorrectly formed suppositions individuals have. I don’t believe the truth (if discovered) necessarily informs us that it is such. I cannot know anything external to me for certain.

      Using others to scrutinize my picture of reality shows only what they believe to be true. Yes, I could have a room full of people who agree with something I state is true, even though it is false. I am not saying that this means the statement is more likely to be true. I am saying that this may broaden my capacity to find objective truth because there are more independent minds involved.

      My point in the article is that ultimately, the search for truth could be futile since truth data must pass through the filter of one’s perceptions. This goes for both parties involved in the truth discussion.

      To answer what I see as your second big question, what is informing my ability to make sense out of something are two tools that involve the corroboration of other minds: The process of formal or informal logic, and the process of science.

      To sum these answers up, it seems that you and I are in agreement. I think someone may full-well be capable of perceiving objective truth data. Maybe even through zen taproot meditation are we able to access the objective nature of things. However, there are issues that arise in the subject knowing whether or not it is truth they have come across. While it seems obvious to the wielder of the bat that they hit someone in the head, I am not sure the person who was struck would know the truth or have knowledge of the matter, let alone what day it is.


          1. Sorry I haven’t been posting very much on your invitation. I was caught up in a extended debate with signature 103 on “prior convictions“. And it kind of dominated my time. I’ve pulled out of it now. For now .

            But also, I am writing more papers to be published. And I’m in school. So I tend to focus my ideas into those projects. And then I haven’t really been writing very many With my own posts. Largely a post posts of others and I make a little comment upon them on my own blog .

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            1. Wow, this is a lot haha. I really can’t say much about what you replied here, simply because I think we are seemingly using different definitions of the key words and because I do agree that my proposed outlook is of course not necessary to being human. If I took on your definitions of “knowledge” and “subject/object” then I am willing to say we’d be on par. But I am saying something very specific about our relationship to objectivity.

              Btw, no worries on not posting. I am no poster-child of blogging and have no expectations. I must admit that I have not been on your blog in a bit. I will make my way there promptly without a doubt. Also Congrats on all of the writing and academic work! I have a bachelor’s in philosophy and ever since I graduated, I have been in a cloud of FOMO wishing to once again be surrounded by academic philosophers. Ew gross, I’ll stop. But I am curious, what are you in school for?


              1. I to yarn to interact with people for philosophically. So I appreciate you and your ideas. And I am curious, it does seem like you’re saying something pretty specific. So I’m eager to hear more about your views.

                I am studying to be a counselor. As it turned out, philosophy could not provide me the answers I was looking for in philosophy. And so counseling for me supplied the missing Link. So I’d say I’m a philosopher counselor, or a counselor philosopher, but my philosophy really doesn’t come into counseling. Like. I am not a counselor who approaches the act of counseling like a philosopher. To me there are two different things, but actually counseling solves the problem of philosophy, like I said, that philosophy itself could never solve for me.

                And, I’m just beginning to start to publish papers. I had one published in the counseling and marriage and family review through Regis University. And I just submitted another one to that same journal. That’s where I go to school by the way. But I’m also writing another paper then I’m going to try and publish in a more philosophical phenomenological journal somewhere.

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      1. Yes, I think there are many things where we overlap. But a couple few things where I think it’s significant where we are just parallel, which is to say not reconcilable or fundamentally different in approach.

        I’m finding more and more as I talk with people that, yes, other people help me figure out what I need to say. For sure there might be some things that I believe, like, I believe it’s gonna rain today, and then it doesn’t rain, and so that was a false belief. Or I believe that all underwear should be pink, and people could show me how that’s not the case. I think that is a different order of knowing and being then what I’m talking about.

        I’m beginning to understand that perhaps the way that I approach things is that everything is in the positive sense. So if someone prove to me something that was false about what I might be believing, it is true in the sense that what I believed was Foss, hence there is nothing about the presentation of world that is false. It is all conditions. And these conditions are shaped.

        For sure also, there may be a “I” in the calculus of modern being. But I do not think that the modern way of coming upon the human being is necessarily ubiquitous for the human being. Indeed I am able to behave and think in such a way that I might have false beliefs about some thing that a corrected by other people, but next to that there is something about myself in the world that is never falls. Because it is always expressed in the positive sense of the world.

        Hence, similarly, I am able to indeed think of some thing through the subjective in the objective as it seems like you were talking about. I understand what that means, I understand what you’re referring to. I am able to formulate a conception which according to that kind of formula of what is real. But it is only that. It is just one manner of understanding how knowledge functions. And I would say this to the extent that there is a functioning of knowledge which informs a persons understanding of what knowledge is, if that makes any sense, something “underneath“ knowledge which is already informing a persons ideal of knowledge that they are not able to approach or critique.

        So I say that various knowledges, OK, arrive side-by-side. For I believe that an objective reality can surely become upon in its truth, because what is subjective is merely a particular mode of knowing. I am not the entirety of subjectivity, but when I interact with the world, with certain people, a long certain lines, speaking in such away, then I become a subject, and I enter into a particular just course which has inherent limitations and exceptions. And my example is, I am definitely not a subject in the sense of a contained or ubiquitous subjectivity that the human being must be, when I’m Walking my dog down the street and come upon a neighbor and we shoot the shit. There is no subjectivity occurring in that interaction at all. It is only when I begin to enter into a discussion which involves subjectivity that all the sudden I am able to become a subject, as I said, with certain limitations and exceptions according to that particular discourse which has a risen.

        And so where I am able to understand what you’re saying so far is “objective knowledge“, I do understand what you’re saying, I am also able to conceive of the world in that way and indeed act in the world with other human beings and have discussions with them along this idea of mind/object duality, but it is not necessary to being human. For indeed, I would say that there is no filter, there is no subjective filter which is distorting an objective reality; the entire tea of the human being is already objective in the world itself, and can be known as such.

        And so I say for sure when I pick up this rock over here, I am indeed knowing the rock at South. I am knowing everything about it that I can possibly know. And as I engage with the rock it actually informs what it is as an object to me entirely in that condition. There’s nothing subjective about it whatsoever, until I meet someone else who wants to talk a certain way about it. This is not any person, it is specifically a philosopher. It is only when I made a philosopher that knows something about subjectivity, that all the sudden we can enter into subjectivities with various perceptions upon objects that neither of us ever reach in itself. But on the other hand, here is this person in front of me that I’m having this encounter with a rock together with, at no time am I ever ignorant of this object that is the person in front of me. And neither am I ignorant of the rock between us as a true in itself object of knowledge and object of the universe as well.

        I’ll stop now. Because I tend to voice dictate, and then I go on and on and on so.👍🏾🙃


  2. Reading your post again, I guess I do not think there is a comprehensive system for certainty that is possible in that particular mode of knowledge.

    I guess our basic definitions or understandings of the terms are slightly different.

    I would say knowledge is that stuff which is known. And then I’m not sure if I really need to define it more than that because a lot of times I feel like we as philosophers think that definition holds substance. Where I tend to be more on the side that definition removes substance.

    I just had a lengthy discussion with signature 103 where I could not get him really to admit to anything at all. And I’m not really sure what good philosophy is if we can never find some thing. And so I question philosophies which are just some sort of method, I guess. Knowledge is that which is known. I believe is something that consciousness does to overcome the inherent limit of subjectivity. Belief is inherent or correlational or concordant with subjectivity. I’d say It is a kind of force which covers up a basic offense which occurs in a particular manner of understanding the world.

    And so I will say things like “I believe it might rain tomorrow“. “I believe that this person is being obstinate“. “ I believe I’ll have another scoop of ice cream.” But beyond those kind of conditions, I do not think that I act or an act any sort of belief whatsoever.

    And I suppose this is because of the way that I understand truth. It appears that I don’t have the same connotation of truth as you do. I’m not sure it comes down to how we define terms. I think it more comes down to how we understand how definition works to establish reality. But I think you were talking about, some thing about how definition fails, and so this we believe various things. I guess that might be what I’m saying about belief, namely, that is some sort of force that just occurs in a particular manner of viewing what the situation is to overcome what the subject feels should be complete. They believe is a force which overcomes a contradiction in Kmowledge, I guess I could say.

    But this is not to say that all engagements with the universe require belief. I would say it’s kind of the opposite. Where I believe that there is some thing underneath it all that is tying it all together, there do I need to believe to sew it all together. But if I have no underlying assumption, then there is nothing that I need to believe.

    And thus I’m only left with those kind of conditional statements of real interactions, where I believe I’ll go for a walk. Or I believe that it’s going to be a nice day. I believe that you’re being an asshole. Statements like that. I don’t “believe in a piece of grass”, or I don’t “believe that the grass exists”. Those statements only means some thing within a certain context that is not being disclosed or it is just assumed that it is common. Again, that there is some underlying thing that’s holding it all together.

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    1. I still don’t think you are using these terms in the way I intend them. For instance, “knowledge” is as you say what we know, but that circular identity statement doesn’t define it. “Knowledge”, “truth”, and “belief” as I define them are all intertwined matters. “knowledge” seems to be the unifying term in that it synthesizes the other two terms.

      Knowledge is justified true belief in my view. And I am willing to challenge your statement that you “don’t believe in a piece of grass.” I only need to point out that by my definitions, you really can’t know with certainty if a blade of grass exists outside of your perceptions. So you do in fact only believe that it exists. This is a semantic issue more than anything. Yes we have to accept a potential falsehood that is the grass in order to get on with our descriptive lives.

      So functionally, yes I agree and admit the grass example is really useless in our lives. But when pondering the nature of things, my opinion is that it is a fruitful default to acknowledge that we cannot be certain of anything. The potency and accuracy of our beliefs is all that is important here.

      Something else I do agree with you on is that we don’t necessarily need to have any belief. While I find it hard to imagine that one can have no beliefs, my model does not say we must have them. So in my case there are things I suspend my belief of because the burden of proof for said thing has not been met. In any case we have no control over our beliefs other than setting up logical (formal or informal) models from which to understand and accept things.

      Also, in response to your mentioning of your counseling work, I feel I must defend philosophy here hahaha. In order to think through any life situation, we must use some form of philosophical reason. As a counselor you must have a methodology that may adapt or change based on the situation. Right? And even with the most mundane tasks of life, is there not philosophical deliberation of such matters? It would appear that we cannot escape philosophy no matter how mundane or profound the subject. I think it is a capacity that has aided every person in one manner or another. From what item to purchase to what society to build, we need this faculty of reason and induction to discern anything at all. Ok I am stepping off the soap box lol.


      1. To me, there is a difference between “philosophy of…”. And philosophy itself.

        If you’re interested in a couple books published self published. I talk about how philosophy is indeed a closed space. And that we can problem the ties that closed space called philosophy to the no philosophy as indeed an object in itself. Yet there is the real “philosophy of…” Various things various activities. These two approaches indicate to different routes upon what knowledge actually is in itself, again knowledge as a closed space, an actual object that exists in the universe.

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        1. I sense a lot of disagreement coming lol. What you are saying could be accepted, given that I accept your definition of knowledge and given that you can demonstrate the claim. Without looking at the material, I already have issues with this. I would love to look into what you wrote! What are the titles and where can I get them?


          1. The short of my point is that indeed if I hit you with a bat. It doesn’t matter what definition I have a bat, or your head, or blood, or pain.

            For sure there is that bad, and what we call it doesn’t really matter because it is an actual object that we know of in itself that is doing certain things that we absolutely know are true. Indeed it causes pain. And that is also true. To say that it is not true, I’m not really sure why anyone would say that hitting someone in the head with a bat is not painful. I’m not sure what purpose an argument would have to say that pain doesn’t really exist or that we can’t know what it is truly.

            If I break your finger, your break your finger is broken. That actual object right there the bones in your finger, including the finger itself, is broken. It’s true. Those objects have been broken. I’m not sure why or what purpose is in finding something else that is occurring rather than the very plain and true fact that my fingers are broken. . ?

            For sure, if I need to dig a hole in order to put up my mailbox, I’m not suspended for eternity because I can never find out what the whole actually is, or what her mailbox actually is. For sure there is that object there which I am actually dealing with in itself, that actual object that is in the mailbox, that actual stuff that is the ground, that actual thing that is a shovel, I am involved with all those things truly.


            1. Once again, I get your point and agree. I just don’t see how this is a refutation of anything I’ve said. No, we don’t need the true nature understanding of things that I described, in order to have a functional understanding of them. But when we talk abstractly about the epistemic or ontological nature of objects and events, we seemingly do. An object possesses the qualities it does regardless of human existence. I am merely pointing out that we have no current physical or descriptive way in which to determine what those qualities may be, or even if they are qualities as we recognize the term. Objectivity is a seemingly ever-elusive phenomenon for people. Maybe not in day to day life, but within our meta-description of day to day life.


              1. I like that. I suppose that indicates got the manner that we’re going about creating knowledge in that circumstance is not correct. Or, the underlying assumptions that are going into that kind of knowledge is faulty. ?


              2. I think you just put your finger on one of the points that has been significant for me that I have explained in a different way. Because one of my arguments is that a philosophy which concludes with nothing means that the entire method is incorrect. It doesn’t mean that I have to look at my reasoning somewhere along the line; it means the whole line of reasoning, the whole basis of reasoning is incorrect.
                And so I move them to ask, what do we do now?


              3. ….It really is that there is an obsession that in forms what reason is. And this type of reasoning insists that there needs to be something underneath, or something that over encompasses. I’m not sure why there needs to be something underneath, something hidden. It seems to me that this hidden feature is just a feature of human thinking, and not a feature of the actual reality that is in front of us every moment.


  3. I mean to indicate what you’re pointing out. Namely, that there are perceptions which we can generalize into calling subjectivity, which cloud or otherwise distort an objective reality such that we can never know of the object in itself. That whole line of reason does not mean that somehow I failed in my reasoning, nor does it mean in an absolute sense that I cannot know if the object in itself. It means that the line of reasoning which led to that conclusion is incorrect. The whole line. Because obviously I am living my life and obviously human beings are living their lives dealing with true and real objects all the time. The idea that there is “abstract” knowledge means just that, it is knowledge that is abstracted from the object that is true. It’s kind of interesting to me that it is in amazement or some kind of strange wonderment that abstract thinking avoids the object in itself. It seems to me more like a definition of abstract thinking that it is only concerned with what is not an object. And so I tend to say that the conflating of knowledge together to conclude that we cannot know of The object in itself, is incorrect. And because it’s incorrect, even while people hold on to that line of reasoning as if it’s making sense, means that there is no argument that I could make to discount the argument that we can’t know of the object in itself.

    And my example is exactly your reply to my comment. Because if I tell you indeed there is a bat. That is the object in itself. But then you go on to argue, I’ll be at abstractly conceptually, how that may or may not be the case, leaning more towards the May not. So I don’t know where else the argument could go. Except to hit you with a bat. The actuality of the true in itself object hitting you in the head, or driving down the road . I’m not sure how you drive down the road abstractly, nor why any sort of abstract or metaphysical reasoning discounts or negates the fact that I’m driving down the road.


    1. By abstract I mean that which is conceptual. Again, I agree with this up until what you say about perception. Just because there is an obsession with a mysterious underlying object does not mean there is no merit in the idea. You surely recognize that there exists some fashion in which the world exists without perception, and that the way in which we perceive the world with our organs is an alternative to a seemingly endless amount of possible other sensory organs we do not have access to. It is fallacious to presume that something is the case simply because it is obvious. I just don’t buy the whole “a stick is a stick, a rock is designated by me simply pointing at it” rhetoric. Yes, this presumption of there being an “underlying mystery” to the way in which things are may be a waste of time, but if the alternative is just to assume things are as they appear, then why bother building a telescope to see if your presumption of the cosmos is correct? Or why bother pondering any instrument or information that could potentially give one access to a new found world view? To ponder in the abstract is a mental capacity we are taking for granted here if we think it is of no use. We both think logic and math are useful, right?


      1. I agree with your attitude. But I would like why say that I disagree that it all Hass to be some thing subterranean.

        And this is also why I say That in this case to either or method of reduction is not sufficient to gain for us the truth. But that the truth is the “subterranean” way, as I’m calling it, Does indeed have valid things to say. But Because it ends with an eternal relativity suspended and nothingness, it can’t really be telling us the whole picture. And so to rely on it as a reliable source of information solely is bad medicine. Lol

        So I say it is not really that there is this chair, and then the chair is actually made up of all these things. It is more that there is the chair truly. And then when we talk about how it’s made up of all these things we have left the chair, basically, so to speak. We have stopped talking about the chair and we’re talking about some thing else. And so I say there’s two things going on. And that they cannot be argued to say one is more true than the other .


        1. …But, philosophy would assume that we must be talking about the same thing, that intellectually there should be a way to bridge those two worlds. The world of there is the chair right there and it is the object in itself truly. And then the “abstract” things about the chair which generally reduced to the chair not actually being there as a chair. In general, philosophy would say that there Hass to be someway to talk about both of those situations, some bridge, some thing that’s more true than both of them. And I say there is simply not anything more true than those two particular ways. There is no way to bridge them intellectually without arguing one side or the other. And there is no “proof” that could draw my attention to say that one is more true or more real than the other.


      2. “es, this presumption of there being an “underlying mystery” to the way in which things are may be a waste of time, but if the alternative is just to assume things are as they appear, “
        It is only the alternative in one particular way of looking at the situation. The assumption here is that there is some sort of universal common human thing called “knowledge” or “intelligence” or thinking or concept or something like that that is common university with humans. And I think that’s a faulty conception. And then the idea to say that the opposite must be true, that there are multiplicity of conceptions, is also just as false


        1. …And what I mean so this is that you are assuming that there is only this “common intelligence” way that human beings must see things intellectually, and then if it’s not the case then there is only appearance.

          That is a false dichotomy. All I’m really saying is that for your original post which says that we can only believe things because our perception distorts our view of what is otherwise the object in itself (if that synopsis of your position is incorrect, then tell me where it is incorrect please)—

          I am saying that the logic that goes into your position, it is sound, I understand what you’re saying, I can indeed conceptualize myself within that particular construct of world and universe etc. whatever you wanna call it. It doesn’t really matter what we would call it because we both know what we’re talking about here. In short I agree with you. And I can only agree with you if we both understand what we’re talking about and what you said.

          I am saying that the logic that goes into your position, it is sound, I understand what you’re saying, I can indeed conceptualize myself within that particular construct of world and universe etc. whatever you would want to call it. It doesn’t really matter what we would call it because we both know what we’re talking about here. In short I agree with you. And I can only agree with you if we both understand what we’re talking about and what you said.

          But I would also say that that particular manifestation of discourse is also appearing. The words, the meaning, the Manor, the arguments, whatever you would want to say about that post that you just posted that were commenting on right here, it appears also. It is an appearance just like that leaf right there. Or the cell phone in your hand or the computer on your desk. They are all just appearing.

          Now it sounds like you’re saying that OK so they are all appearing that way and so there’s nothing else to say about it. This is not what I’m suggesting. I’m suggesting that to rely on the assumed content of discursive terms as if the content is indicating “true things”, for example the appearance of the chair is a chair, but the appearance of your essay actually has content of an abstract manner as opposed to,…I’m not sure what I would say right here. But it seems to me that you would understand the difference that I’m indicating; That is, the difference between the apparent thing and it’s self, a bat is the bat, knowledge of the thing is known. And then the conceptualizing or abstract knowledge that is the philosophical goings-on, right? I feel like you have to understand the two different types or two different things that are occurring right here.

          Now if I say that both of those situations are merely appearing, that changes the game. It’s not that we can’t say anything else about it. But it changes the nature of what we are saying about it. Indeed, if everything is merely appearing, then I might develop a different type of conceptualization about what is actually occurring ontologically in the real universe as a true universe. Because now there’s no place that I can reduce it to say that, oh my perceptions get in the way Finding the true object. Because now I’m just saying that everything appears. I’m not putting qualifiers on what that appearance is to reduce to a fundamental “thing to which all other things have appearance“, or may be to assume that there is appearance and then there is, I don’t know, what else would there be besides appearance? We could call it a multitude of things, we could qualify by saying there is appearance and then there is substance, or there is material, or there is conceptualization. But to which of these words are we going to follow down the rabbit hole to some essential thing that must lie at the base of it all? I think the assumption is that there is thought and that there is a common thought that all humans have that can be evidenced by discourse and that we can have different opinions upon the whole thing. I think that’s obvious, I don’t think you would really argue with that particular statement very much.


          1. ….oh. There is that assumption, which indeed is real, and indeed I know what you’re talking about and I can follow your arguments clearly. But then there’s also another way that falls outside of that assumption. And when the idea is based upon a generalized assumption, there’s really not much anyone could say to throw off that assumption, because the people that are involved in that assumption will disqualify what is being said as nonsense, or some other wave of the hand.


        1. And no, I wouldn’t disagree there. For the most part I think you and I agree. The thing we very much disagree on is what my aim is. I don’t seek some essential object that underlies reality as you keep proposing. My aim is to say that not only at a fundamental sensory level do we potentially get misguided because of our perceptions of reality, but we also do across the board.

          The census, for instance, is a tool we use to find things like disparities in socio-economic groups like class, race, etc. People use this information to extract meaning from or form a picture of the world and then act based on beliefs about what the information means.

          I want to make a point of realizing how hard it is to really gain truth and knowledge of what is going on in something complex like a society. Especially if we interpret statistics in a way that misrepresents a given phenomenon and act on our inaccurate world-view. In a social climate like the one in the U.S. right now, this is a basic, useful heed and not anything new. I am just promoting a less-certain outlook than I am seeing in individuals around me anecdotally, and also at a broader scale. I think using language can only help us problem solve at a human level. You might agree that conceptual language and the abstract were never meant to grant us insight into some underlying “reality”. I’m personally interested in the zen taproot for that.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Yes. OK so you’re really talking about true and false as it has to do with society. I totally agree there what you’re saying. And, I’m also agreeing because you specifically tell me what project you’re involved with.

            One of the things that’s come up in the past few months with me talking with various philosophers and people is that we talk start talking about these big ideas like being in truth and epistemology and shit like that, and we get all deep especially with ontology being, and the question for me that comes out of it is, what are we trying to accomplish? For example, I guess I’m really speaking of ontology. And the universe. And so my question becomes to another person, what universe are you talking about? Because it comes down to almost the same question that atheists put to Christians or put to whoever when they start talking about God. What God are you talking about?

            And this really comes back to what I’m saying about how I’m appreciating that you’re talking about what project you’re really doing, which is generally a social project of philosophy.

            Because when I start to talk about truth and reality and the universe and things like that, I’m talking about what I call “not ethical“. And it is more like a science, because I’m not trying to fit what is a parent into something that is workable for human beings to progress or something like that. I was looking back at an authors book that I had read before, and I like how he frames it in that we start with naïveté, instead of doubt. When we look at objects it’s better to start with naïveté. And I take that to mean because doubt figures there’s some thing already there for me to “critique”, and the assumption there is that I’m trying to point out something that’s wrong or something that could be improved upon for the sake of humanity. And I think this comes straight out of the Frankfurt school in the early 20th century shift to philosophy as only having to do with discourses .

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Exactly. I am, and have been on board with you here. Don’t get me wrong I think having a sort of epistemic contemplation can open doors to pragmatic societal answers and solutions. Speaking in the abstract has practical value.

              Btw, who is the author you mentioned? I am intrigued by the naivete argument and am inclined to say that is my mentality as well. I feel that the word “doubt” is something I utilize all too loosely, and so I can surely refine my use of it.


              1. Graham Harman. The Quadruple Chair. Incidentally. If you haven’t noticed yet, my work I talk about “orientation upon objects” being that significant philosophical issue, and OOO of Harman grants me a way to kind of anchor my work.


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