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Non-empirical knowledge

chui
Posts: 511
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1/10/2015 8:23:30 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Forgive me if the title of this topic is badly expressed. My background is in science not philosophy. I often get accused of scientism. So I am interested in examples of knowledge or methods of achieving knowledge that do not derive from experience. People often tell me that science is not the only way to gain knowledge but don't expand on this idea. So, what are the alternatives?
tahir.imanov
Posts: 272
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1/10/2015 10:37:46 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/10/2015 8:23:30 AM, chui wrote:
Forgive me if the title of this topic is badly expressed. My background is in science not philosophy. I often get accused of scientism. So I am interested in examples of knowledge or methods of achieving knowledge that do not derive from experience. People often tell me that science is not the only way to gain knowledge but don't expand on this idea. So, what are the alternatives?

There are some innate truths, we cannot derive using empirical method.
Logic - You cannot prove logical axioms by empirical method, that is why it is called axioms.
Mathematics
Morality
Language - Children make sentences which abides grammatical rules, before they know what morphology or syntax is. (They use verbs in their speech but they do not know what verb is.)
and etc.

Science is not only way to gain knowledge, because you cannot prove that science is only way to gain knowledge by using science.
This is red.
Raisor
Posts: 4,468
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1/10/2015 4:26:14 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/10/2015 8:23:30 AM, chui wrote:
Forgive me if the title of this topic is badly expressed. My background is in science not philosophy. I often get accused of scientism. So I am interested in examples of knowledge or methods of achieving knowledge that do not derive from experience. People often tell me that science is not the only way to gain knowledge but don't expand on this idea. So, what are the alternatives?

The alternative would be non-empirical reasoning like logic and mathematics.

Or philosophy like Kant and Heidegger that make epistemological and metaphysical claims based not on information gained from experience but on HOW we experience the world around us. Some may argue that this knowledge depends on the external world, but it is not scientific empiricism.

Ethics and morality are not built on scientific empiricism. Some argue we have moral intuition, others that we learn moral truths by examining rationality or reason, others that knowledge of ethics comes from a procedure of analyzing our moral judgments.
philochristos
Posts: 2,614
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1/12/2015 1:50:31 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/10/2015 8:23:30 AM, chui wrote:
Forgive me if the title of this topic is badly expressed. My background is in science not philosophy. I often get accused of scientism. So I am interested in examples of knowledge or methods of achieving knowledge that do not derive from experience. People often tell me that science is not the only way to gain knowledge but don't expand on this idea. So, what are the alternatives?

Any theory of knowledge that supposes knowledge begins with a method is going to be self-refuting. Scientism is like that. It assumes knowledge can only be had by the use of a method, namely the scientific method. That is a self-refuting claim because it leads to an infinite regress. If you have to have a method before you can have an item of knowledge, then you would have to have a method by which you came to know that your method was a valid way of gaining knowledge. In other words, the method would need justification. And whatever method you appealed to in order to justify your method would also require a method, ad infinitum.

The only way knowledge is possible is if there are particular items of knowledge we had that we didn't derive from applying some method.

Some knowledge is just built into us, and the obviousness of it is sufficient justification. For example, we know the content of our own thoughts immediately because we have first person access to them. I don't require anything like the scientific method to know that I'm thinking about the number three.

We also know some things merely by inward reflection on them. One can simply think about the quantity two and the concept of addition, and they can perceive merely by reflecting on it that 2 and 2 make 4. And once they see this, they don't have to go out in the world and test it. It's not as if you have to take two apples and another two apples, find that it comes to four apples, then say, "Well, I've proven it works with apples; let's see if it also works with shoes." You can know merely by reflecting on it, that it will apply to anything in the universe. You can rationally grasp that it's a necessary truth. And there several necessary truths (like the law of non-contradiction) that you can see merely by reflecting on it. In fact, unless you can know the truth of the law of non-contradiction, you can't reason at all.

The scientific method relies on many assumptions that cannot themselves be proved. It would be circular reasoning to try to prove them by using the scientific method. So these items of knowledge are logically prior to the scientific method. That's why scientism is false. If you assume the scientific method is the only way you can know something, then you can't know any of the assumptions of the scientific method.
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
sdavio
Posts: 1,801
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1/12/2015 2:18:39 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Empirical is not a strictly defined term, and neither is 'observation', which it relies on. How do we differentiate an 'observation' from an 'intuition', or whatever else is posited as an alternative? People talk about this as if there were an obvious difference, where really there isn't. And a lot of the tricks come thereby, from acting as if there is some necessary line in the sand, where really it is a contextually sensible, general description rather than an exhaustively delineated category.
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
Wocambs
Posts: 1,505
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1/18/2015 4:29:06 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/10/2015 8:23:30 AM, chui wrote:
Forgive me if the title of this topic is badly expressed. My background is in science not philosophy. I often get accused of scientism. So I am interested in examples of knowledge or methods of achieving knowledge that do not derive from experience. People often tell me that science is not the only way to gain knowledge but don't expand on this idea. So, what are the alternatives?

I think the whole empirical thing is a little confused. What I'd say is that all knowledge is derived from analysing some subject, i.e. a certain experience. 'Scientific' knowledge is derived from analysing specific experiences. 'Non-empirical' knowledge is derived from analysis of any experience whatsoever. Having any experience entails that the experience is identical to the experience, A=A, 1=1. That's mathematics and logic right there.
chui
Posts: 511
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2/5/2015 1:13:54 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
To summarise

Knowledge can come from:

Logic

Mathematics

Innate knowledge and intuition

Moral and ethical philosophy

Analysis of any experience

Science has problems because:

The scientific method needs justifying by non-scientific means

This leads me to some further questions:

Why is the scientific method so successful if it is so questionable?.

Does logic and mathematics find its most useful application within scientific disciplines?

Why does science often lead to non-intuitive ideas eg Newton's laws of motion.

Is moral and ethical thought not based upon the outcome of previous actions ie data that could be rigourously analysed.
UndeniableReality
Posts: 1,897
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2/13/2015 7:26:53 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 2/5/2015 1:13:54 AM, chui wrote:
To summarise

Knowledge can come from:

Logic

Mathematics

Innate knowledge and intuition

Moral and ethical philosophy

Analysis of any experience



Science has problems because:

The scientific method needs justifying by non-scientific means


This leads me to some further questions:

Why is the scientific method so successful if it is so questionable?.

Does logic and mathematics find its most useful application within scientific disciplines?

Why does science often lead to non-intuitive ideas eg Newton's laws of motion.

Is moral and ethical thought not based upon the outcome of previous actions ie data that could be rigourously analysed.

I'm not sure anyone has really answered your question. I'm looking forward to a good answer too.
sadolite
Posts: 8,842
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2/13/2015 7:50:36 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
In my neck of the woods the best way to gain knowledge is called on the job training and failure. 90% of all my knowledge and wisdom has been acquired this way. Academics taught me to read write and do math but taught me nothing about the world or how to succeed in it.
It's not your views that divide us, it's what you think my views should be that divides us.

If you think I will give up my rights and forsake social etiquette to make you "FEEL" better you are sadly mistaken

If liberal democrats would just stop shooting people gun violence would drop by 90%
Sidewalker
Posts: 3,713
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2/14/2015 6:57:40 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/10/2015 8:23:30 AM, chui wrote:
Forgive me if the title of this topic is badly expressed. My background is in science not philosophy. I often get accused of scientism. So I am interested in examples of knowledge or methods of achieving knowledge that do not derive from experience. People often tell me that science is not the only way to gain knowledge but don't expand on this idea. So, what are the alternatives?

You seem to be equating empirical knowledge and scientific knowledge here, and that just isn't valid, much of our scientific knowledge is based on non empirical knowledge. As already mentioned, mathematics and logic, particularly deductive logic are non-empirical and most scientific theories derive from deductive inference and are mathematical in nature. Theoretical physics isn't empirical in nature, most of our knowledge in cosmology and quantum physics are essentially non-empirical, based on long chains of , speculation, deductive reasoning and mathematics.

Much of our classical scientific knowledge such as the existence of fields is inferred rather than observed, electromagnetic fields are not observable, they are inferred from the observation of the behavior of other things, most of the implications of Einstein's theories that we consider knowledge, are theoretical in nature, based on the application of theory rather than observations.

Outside of science, normative knowledge isn't empirical, and most of the knowledge you possess personally is non-empirical in nature. You can certainly say you "know" your feelings, desires, thoughts, emotions, ideas, plans etcetera, but these are a matter of first person awareness of your conscious state which is not empirical knowledge, the very fact that you are a conscious being is non-empirical knowledge, as is any awareness or perception of your mental state. These things are a matter of first person introspection rather than empirically known through the senses.

You seem to want to equate empirical knowledge with truth when the fact is, truth itself is not empirical, it is a matter of correspondence between thoughts, propositions, or ideas, and reality. Correspondence essentially calls for representation, it is a matter of symbolically representing reality in the form of thoughts, propositions, or ideas, and then matching those symbolic representation to the experience of reality to see how well they correspond, but the symbolic representations themselves, the thoughts, ideas, and propositions to which we attach the word truth, are themselves non-empirical knowledge.
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
chui
Posts: 511
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2/14/2015 1:42:47 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 2/14/2015 6:57:40 AM, Sidewalker wrote:
At 1/10/2015 8:23:30 AM, chui wrote:
Forgive me if the title of this topic is badly expressed. My background is in science not philosophy. I often get accused of scientism. So I am interested in examples of knowledge or methods of achieving knowledge that do not derive from experience. People often tell me that science is not the only way to gain knowledge but don't expand on this idea. So, what are the alternatives?

You seem to be equating empirical knowledge and scientific knowledge here, and that just isn't valid, much of our scientific knowledge is based on non empirical knowledge. As already mentioned, mathematics and logic, particularly deductive logic are non-empirical and most scientific theories derive from deductive inference and are mathematical in nature. Theoretical physics isn't empirical in nature, most of our knowledge in cosmology and quantum physics are essentially non-empirical, based on long chains of , speculation, deductive reasoning and mathematics.

Much of our classical scientific knowledge such as the existence of fields is inferred rather than observed, electromagnetic fields are not observable, they are inferred from the observation of the behavior of other things, most of the implications of Einstein's theories that we consider knowledge, are theoretical in nature, based on the application of theory rather than observations.

You clearly have a problem with science, much of the above is just confirmation bias so it is pointless for me to try to refute it because you will not accept anything I tell you.

Outside of science, normative knowledge isn't empirical, and most of the knowledge you possess personally is non-empirical in nature. You can certainly say you "know" your feelings, desires, thoughts, emotions, ideas, plans etcetera, but these are a matter of first person awareness of your conscious state which is not empirical knowledge, the very fact that you are a conscious being is non-empirical knowledge, as is any awareness or perception of your mental state. These things are a matter of first person introspection rather than empirically known through the senses.

How much knowledge can personal introspection provide. I would think that any knowledge it can achieve has already been found. So this is not a viable alternative means to further knowledge.

You seem to want to equate empirical knowledge with truth when the fact is, truth itself is not empirical, it is a matter of correspondence between thoughts, propositions, or ideas, and reality. Correspondence essentially calls for representation, it is a matter of symbolically representing reality in the form of thoughts, propositions, or ideas, and then matching those symbolic representation to the experience of reality to see how well they correspond, but the symbolic representations themselves, the thoughts, ideas, and propositions to which we attach the word truth, are themselves non-empirical knowledge.

This criticism of knowledge applies to all knowledge not just scientific knowledge.

So in answer to the question 'what is the alternative to science' you provide me with a misguided critique of science and one method which is highly limited.

While scientific knowledge can be wrong on occasions and is not necessarily the truth it would seem there is little alternative.
missmedic
Posts: 390
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2/14/2015 11:18:10 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Supernatural knowledge, or the ability to gain knowledge in a way that you are unable to. Aka faith or wishful thinking.
Welfare-Worker
Posts: 1,206
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2/15/2015 8:48:17 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/10/2015 8:23:30 AM, chui wrote:
Forgive me if the title of this topic is badly expressed. My background is in science not philosophy. I often get accused of scientism. So I am interested in examples of knowledge or methods of achieving knowledge that do not derive from experience. People often tell me that science is not the only way to gain knowledge but don't expand on this idea. So, what are the alternatives?

Intuition leading to knowledge requires experience, but the experience may appear to have no connection to the knowledge.

"The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift."

"The only real valuable thing is intuition."

"The intellect has little to do on the road to discovery. There comes a leap in consciousness, call it Intuition or what you will, the solution comes to you and you don't know how or why".
- Albert Einstein

~
Science does not have a theory that explains or predicts the characteristics of intuition, and yet, many great scientific discoveries relied heavily on intuitive insights. The connections between intellect and intuition are one of the great mysteries of our universe.
Isaac Newton supposedly watched an apple fall from a tree and suddenly connected its motion as being caused by the same universal gravitational force that governs the moon's attraction to the earth. John Maynard Keynes, the famous economist, said "Newton owed his success to his muscles of intuition. Newton's powers of intuition were the strongest and most enduring with which a man has ever been gifted."
http://www.p-i-a.com......
Dragonfang
Posts: 1,122
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2/15/2015 9:41:21 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Intuitive axioms, like the principles of logic whom empiricism can't work without presuming them.

Logical truths, like "I think, therefore I exist", or "Denying the existence of such thing as 'absolute truth' assumes the denial to project an absolute truth, therefore the denial is invalid".

Mathematical truths, like "Every single triangle in existence must have a combined inner angles of 180 degrees".

Reliable and credible testimony, like a reliable journal publishing a scientific discovery, or your friend stating he went to the mall, witnesses in court.

Historical truths, like WW2 and Abraham Lincoln existing.
chui
Posts: 511
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2/18/2015 5:03:54 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 2/15/2015 8:48:17 AM, Welfare-Worker wrote:
At 1/10/2015 8:23:30 AM, chui wrote:
Forgive me if the title of this topic is badly expressed. My background is in science not philosophy. I often get accused of scientism. So I am interested in examples of knowledge or methods of achieving knowledge that do not derive from experience. People often tell me that science is not the only way to gain knowledge but don't expand on this idea. So, what are the alternatives?

Intuition leading to knowledge requires experience, but the experience may appear to have no connection to the knowledge.

"The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift."

"The only real valuable thing is intuition."

"The intellect has little to do on the road to discovery. There comes a leap in consciousness, call it Intuition or what you will, the solution comes to you and you don't know how or why".
- Albert Einstein

~
Science does not have a theory that explains or predicts the characteristics of intuition, and yet, many great scientific discoveries relied heavily on intuitive insights. The connections between intellect and intuition are one of the great mysteries of our universe.
Isaac Newton supposedly watched an apple fall from a tree and suddenly connected its motion as being caused by the same universal gravitational force that governs the moon's attraction to the earth. John Maynard Keynes, the famous economist, said "Newton owed his success to his muscles of intuition. Newton's powers of intuition were the strongest and most enduring with which a man has ever been gifted."
http://www.p-i-a.com......

Intuition is very poorly defined and I would argue that the intuition of Einstein is actually the result of vast experience and intelligence coming together on a problem over which he may have been pondering for years. This is not the same as the 'intuition, of a normal person, which is little more than lucky guesses.
chui
Posts: 511
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2/18/2015 5:17:48 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 2/15/2015 9:41:21 AM, Dragonfang wrote:
Intuitive axioms, like the principles of logic whom empiricism can't work without presuming them.

Logical truths, like "I think, therefore I exist", or "Denying the existence of such thing as 'absolute truth' assumes the denial to project an absolute truth, therefore the denial is invalid".

The products of pure logic are very old yet still highly contested.

Mathematical truths, like "Every single triangle in existence must have a combined inner angles of 180 degrees".

A triangle drawn from the north pole to two points on the equator will have combined inner angles of greater than 180. Your knowledge of maths is very poor.

Reliable and credible testimony, like a reliable journal publishing a scientific discovery, or your friend stating he went to the mall, witnesses in court.

Historical truths, like WW2 and Abraham Lincoln existing.

Facts are not knowledge. The synthesising of facts into theories which have explanatory or predictive power is my idea of forming knowledge. A collection of facts is just stamp collecting.
Welfare-Worker
Posts: 1,206
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2/18/2015 6:53:44 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 2/18/2015 5:03:54 AM, chui wrote:
At 2/15/2015 8:48:17 AM, Welfare-Worker wrote:
At 1/10/2015 8:23:30 AM, chui wrote:
Forgive me if the title of this topic is badly expressed. My background is in science not philosophy. I often get accused of scientism. So I am interested in examples of knowledge or methods of achieving knowledge that do not derive from experience. People often tell me that science is not the only way to gain knowledge but don't expand on this idea. So, what are the alternatives?

Intuition leading to knowledge requires experience, but the experience may appear to have no connection to the knowledge.

"The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift."

"The only real valuable thing is intuition."

"The intellect has little to do on the road to discovery. There comes a leap in consciousness, call it Intuition or what you will, the solution comes to you and you don't know how or why".
- Albert Einstein

~
Science does not have a theory that explains or predicts the characteristics of intuition, and yet, many great scientific discoveries relied heavily on intuitive insights. The connections between intellect and intuition are one of the great mysteries of our universe.
Isaac Newton supposedly watched an apple fall from a tree and suddenly connected its motion as being caused by the same universal gravitational force that governs the moon's attraction to the earth. John Maynard Keynes, the famous economist, said "Newton owed his success to his muscles of intuition. Newton's powers of intuition were the strongest and most enduring with which a man has ever been gifted."
http://www.p-i-a.com......

Intuition is very poorly defined and I would argue that the intuition of Einstein is actually the result of vast experience and intelligence coming together on a problem over which he may have been pondering for years. This is not the same as the 'intuition, of a normal person, which is little more than lucky guesses.

I have defined it by usage, and my usage differs from yours.
You have used a different definition or usage, which you are free to do.
If you want to claim this means my usage if not valid, you have not done that.

My usage is common in philosophy.
~ ~
Here is a philosophical point of view:

" Henri Bergson , the philosopher of intuitionism and of creative evolution, conceives Reality as a vital impetus, an elan vital, whose essence is evolution and development. The elan vital is a growing and flowing process, not a static existence which admits of no change whatsoever. Logic and science, intellect and mechanism cannot fathom the depths of the vital impetus which is the basis of all life. There is change and evolution everywhere, nothing merely is. All existence is a flux of becoming, moving and growing, a succession of states which never rest where they are. The intellect works mechanistically and constructs rigid rules and systems which cannot accommodate the rolling evolution of Reality. There can be no enduring substance in the river of life. Everything is changing, goes beyond itself. We can never get immutable things anywhere in the universe. Even consciousness is not unchangeable. It is a living, moving, growing and evolving process. Consciousness is the essence of the elan vital which is the great Reality.

It is impossible to know Reality through logic and science. It is known only in intuition which is a direct vision and experience transcending intellectual processes and scientific observations and reasonings. The elan vital is a creative spirit which defies the attempts of the mathematical manner of approaches to it, and demands a deeper sympathy and feeling which will enter into its very essence. In intuition we comprehend the truth of things as a whole, as a complete process of the dynamic life of the spiritual consciousness. Instinct is nearer to intuition than is intellect. Intuition is instinct evolved, ennobled and become disinterested and self-conscious. Instinct, when not directed to action, but centred in knowledge, becomes intuition. Intuition has nothing of the mechanistic and static operations of the logical and the scientific intellect. Intellect is the action of consciousness on dead matter, and so it cannot enter the spirit of life. Any true philosophy should, therefore, energise and transform the conclusion of the intellect with the immediate apprehensions of intuition. Reality has to be lived, not merely understood. "
Dragonfang
Posts: 1,122
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2/19/2015 4:16:57 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 2/18/2015 5:17:48 AM, chui wrote:
At 2/15/2015 9:41:21 AM, Dragonfang wrote:
Intuitive axioms, like the principles of logic whom empiricism can't work without presuming them.

Logical truths, like "I think, therefore I exist", or "Denying the existence of such thing as 'absolute truth' assumes the denial to project an absolute truth, therefore the denial is invalid".

The products of pure logic are very old yet still highly contested.

So statements using "pure logic" are invalid? Can you define "impure logic"? As far as I know, empiricism is inductive logic.

Mathematical truths, like "Every single triangle in existence must have a combined inner angles of 180 degrees".

A triangle drawn from the north pole to two points on the equator will have combined inner angles of greater than 180. Your knowledge of maths is very poor.

A redherring and ad hominem. No objections to mathmatical truths as a non-empirical knowledge, defender of curved triangles.

Reliable and credible testimony, like a reliable journal publishing a scientific discovery, or your friend stating he went to the mall, witnesses in court.

Historical truths, like WW2 and Abraham Lincoln existing.

Facts are not knowledge. The synthesising of facts into theories which have explanatory or predictive power is my idea of forming knowledge. A collection of facts is just stamp collecting.

Redherring. No objection to historical truths as a non-empirical knowledge. Knowledge encompasses facts, information, and skills; facts being acquired non-empircally makes the knowledge acquired non-empirical.
If you are using knowledge as a synonym of a theory-making process, you should have stated so in the beginning of the topic.