The Instigator
Skept
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Raumulus
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

We can understand just parts of each other

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/11/2017 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 6 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 330 times Debate No: 105730
Debate Rounds (5)
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Skept

Pro

We can understand just parts of each other because our perceptions are the origin of knowledge about others.
Raumulus

Con

I'm not sure exactly what you mean, however I am very interested to understand how you plan to demonstrate that we are unable to understand the whole of another human being.

To be clear, I will only be arguing that you are unable to demonstrate that the human being is not wholly intelligible, I will not be arguing that the human being is, in fact entirely intelligible.

I look forward to your argument.
Debate Round No. 1
Skept

Pro

We cannot know the world but can perceive. For example, we cannot grasp thing-in-itself and qualia. We make knowledge by transforming and combining perceptions. Therefore knowledge is limited by perceptions and organs modifying perceptions. That is why we are not wholly intelligible.
Raumulus

Con

So, to be clear, your proposition is not principally concerned with knowledge of human things, but knowledge of all things. You are asking the most basic epistemological question.

"We cannot know the world but can percieve," knowledge is the product of perception. An example of this is simple that by seeing any given thing, the perceptor knows a number things, entirely; he knows that he himself is a being, and further, that he is a being capable of perception; he knows that he is a thing capable of, between all things seen, distinguishing what is one thing, and what is another (This is of course because by perceiving an object, you are distinguishing it from what is not that object); he knows that of all objects perceived, some are part of him, some are not. All these things are undeniably known through a simple act of perception. Therefore, your claim that true knowledge cannot be had is false.

"we cannot grasp thing-in-itself," You're going to need to expound upon what you mean by "thing-in-itself." I don't suppose you mean the universal thing, as Plato might say?

"...and qualia. We make knowledge by transforming and combining perceptions." I assume by your mention of qualia, and combining/transforming perceptions, you are claiming there to be no common perception among the perceptors.

"Spoken words are the symbols of mental experience and written words are the symbols of spoken words. Just as all men have not the same writing, so all men have not the same speech sounds, but the mental experiences, which these directly symbolize, are the same for all, as also are those things of which our experiences are the same images." Thus says Aristotle in his De Interpretatione. Please demonstrate which is more reasonable: that all men have significantly diverse qualia, and experience the world in very different ways, or that all men, under natural circumstances of health, experience the world in the same way.
Debate Round No. 2
Skept

Pro

In my argument, 'the world' means the world itself, not the perceived world. 'The perceptor' you take does not know the world itself but the perceived world. 'Knowing' you note is all about the perceived world.

I have not stated 'true knowledge cannot be had.' Knowledge soundly deducted from true perceptions is right so we can know the perceived world. You committed straw man fallacy.

'thing-in-itself' means noumenon.

I have not claimed 'there to be no common perception among the perceptors.' You once again committed straw man fallacy. I think you do not know well qualia which is sufficient condition for perceiving, not vice versa. Perception except for uncommon perception like qualia is common, so your last two statements are all irrational.
Raumulus

Con

Firstly, concerning your accusations of straw-man: either intentionally or not, I think your previous statements, "We cannot know the world, but can percieve," and "we make knowledge," and "knowledge is limited," imply the conclusion that this knowledge is not true in the fullest sense. Because knowledge is principally concerned with the objects of perception, that is, the world, and because knowledge is not properly made, but is had, and because if knowledge is qualified as "limited," that must mean it is limited insofar as it is knowledge, which is to say, insofar as it is true. In that way, you can be understood to be making the implicit claim that "true knowledge cannot be had."

To address your second accusation then: I think we are at an intellectual disconnect not because of a straw-man, but because of a lack of clarity in your writing. When you say "by transforming and combining perceptions," there are a number of ways this can be understood. Either you mean "by transforming and combining different perceptions from one perceptor," or you mean "by transforming and combining different respective perceptions from many perceptors." On top of this, I don't think it's clear when you say "perception," whether you mean the aggregate whole, or a specific instance.
I think now it has been a bit more clarified in your most recent statement, but before it was unclear.

This all highlights the importance of clear definition of terms, and specificity of statements, but putting that aside, to address the meat of your argument.

You've now introduced the distinction between the "world," and the "perceived world," which is the distinction between noumenon and phenomenon, between thing-in-itself and not. By definition, noumenon is just something that exists apart from perception. Kant would say that the noumena are unknowable through perception, which is obviously true, given the definition. So then, the question resulting from that is whether there is any way at all by which to come upon knowledge of the noumena, the things-in-themselves. If one is simply holding that perception of a thing is the only means by which to know a thing, then there is no way to avoid saying that the noumenon is entirely unknowable. It take you to be saying then, that "We can understand just parts of each other because our perceptions are the origin of knowledge about others, [and each of us is composed of both phenomena and noumena.]"

The world of phenomena is undeniably the world in which each of us is known to exist. The burden of proof then, is to prove that there is some part of us that also exists in the world of noumena. For if every part of us exists in the perceivable world, then there is no reason at all not to think that every part is knowable. We live in a universe of things, not things-in-themselves, however that does not mean that we are unable to fully know said things. I say that each of us is a thing, rather than a thing-in-itself, and therefore are fully knowable.

My direct question to you then is: what part of us can you prove to exist in the noumenal world?
Debate Round No. 3
Skept

Pro

Although you knew that my statements are unclear to you, you refuted arguments not mine without considering other cases and questioning, which is termed strawman fallacy. Only you suffered intellectual disconnect. Consider other cases, and ask a question before distorting.

(Because knowledge is principally concerned with the objects of perception, that is, the world)
You said 'knowledge is the product of perception.' I said 'The world' I noted in second round means the world itself,' and 'knowledge soundly deducted from true perceptions is right.' Consequently, knowledge true in the fullest sense can be had by definition.

(because knowledge is not properly made, but is had)
The knowledge is made and had. 'made' does not imply 'not be had,' rather imply 'be had.'

(because if knowledge is qualified as "limited," that must mean it is limited insofar as it is knowledge, which is to say, insofar as it is true)
You overlooked phrase next to 'limited,' 'by transforming and combining perceptions,' even though you told that the world is a set of objects of perception and that knowledge is the product of perception and I defined 'knowledge soundly deducted from true perceptions is right.' These imply 'true knowledge can be had.'

(Either you mean "by transforming and combining different perceptions from one perceptor," or you mean "by transforming and combining different respective perceptions from many perceptors.")
Former is right.

(On top of this, I don't think it's clear when you say "perception," whether you mean the aggregate whole, or a specific instance.)
You can easily distinguish by 's.' What is the aggregate whole? I only used 'perceptions' for the aggregate, 'perception' for the latter.

Before answering, I want to question for 'clarifying.' Do you think noumena are existent? What do you think about the qualia?
Raumulus

Con

I am still a bit unsure as to how exactly your argument is formed, but lets not trifle with where the blame falls for previous misunderstandings. Let me attempt to summarize.

Your original statement was that "We can understand just parts of each other because our perceptions are the origin of knowledge about others." You expounded upon this in the second and third rounds by introducing the distinction between two worlds, one of phenomena, the perceptible things, and one of noumena, the imperceptible. We've established that there is no obstacle whatsoever to obtaining knowledge of the phenomena.

Therefore if you are saying that there is some part of us that is unable to be known, it seems that you must also be saying that there is some part of us which is a noumenon.

I hope I am not misrepresenting what you are trying to say, I'd hate to face another accusation of straw-man, so if you could clearly restate your thesis and argument in the next round, that would be great.

The more important question is: do you, bearing the burden of proof, think that noumena are existent?

As I understand what you are saying, however, you need to prove firstly that there are any such things as the noumena in the first place--how can we know of the imperceptible if perception is the source of knowledge?--and then you need to demonstrate that some part of the human being is a noumenon.
Debate Round No. 4
Skept

Pro

I also expounded upon the first thesis by introducing qualia. Why do you ignore the qualia? I noted qualia every time and even questioned last time.

I did not establish 'there is no obstacle whatsoever to obtaining knowledge of the phenomena.' Qualia is an obstacle when we try to know each other. ('qualia' in the second round specifically means others' qualia.)

If we consider the qualia, 'if you are saying that there is some part of us that is unable to be known' do not elicit 'you must also be saying that there is some part of us which is a noumenon,' so I do not bear the burden of proof.

Verifying qualia's being is sufficient to prove my first thesis, more comfortable for me and I have not depended upon only noumena but unperceivable things by 'exemplifying' noumena and qualia, so I do not explain noumena's existence.

Perception involves qualia; therefore qualia exist. We can have true knowledge even though perception include qualia because we know own qualia.
Raumulus

Con

By all accounts, Pro's argument has been far too vague and convoluted for the resolution to have been reached.

You've clarified now, that the cause of our not being able to fully know one another is not because some part of us is a noumenon, that is, something which simply by nature is imperceptible. I am a bit confused as to why you brought up noumena at all if it is in reality not related at all to your argument, and I do wish we had not spent so much time discussing them.

You are saying that the inability is the effect of difference in qualia. Qualia, as you've stated, have recurred in our conversation, however, I brought up the difference in qualia, which is, the difference in personal perception, in round 2. You responded in round three that there is no significant difference in personal perception that should compromise or restrict our knowledge. However now you claim qualia to be proving your point.

"Verifying qualia's being is sufficient to prove my first thesis," by no means can you be said to have proven qualia's existences, because you have not even provided a clear and concise definition of qualia.

This has been one of the most vague debates I've participated in, and I know I haven't gotten a clear understanding of your argument, but I believe this is because your argument has not at all been made clearly.

Therefore the resolution in no way has been reached.
Debate Round No. 5
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