AndersB

What is truth?

36 posts in this topic

Not quite sure of the parallel you are making. My own wild arse guess is that it is a survival mechanism. We are smart enough that we needed something to keep us alive and the illusion of free will created that survival instinct. I figure that if we are the smartest beings and, as far as we can tell, the only ones with the concept of free will then there is a chance they are related. That is obviously just a guess though, based largely on the reality that Anders hinted at when he said if we have no free will then it is all meaningless.

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My thread is derailed!  :unsure:

 

I had hoped we could get deeper into how to practically apply epistemology to constructing your version of reality that is helpful.

 

How do you turn this philosophical trickery https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epistemology into a winning strategy?

 

For example, can redefining your past help you in the present? When do you "know" with enough confidence that an investment is good?

 

But, since we are on the subject of drunken revelry, it is good to see that age-old traditions are still maintained by the current generation.

1371001992_William_Hogarth_-_Gin_Lane.jp

 

Apologies for derailing Anders. I was more like the woman in the Hogarth print than I care to recall.

 

As for epistemology helping to determine a good investment, I have mixed feelings. 

 

Using the example of climate change being a justified belief one might decide that renewable energy was a good investment compared to fossil fuel. I don't wish to spur an argument about the validity of this belief. So let's just assume for the sake of argument it's real. 

 

This knowledge alone is insufficient to determine that renewables are a good investment for several reasons. 

 

Legislative risk is high. We have a government which is still I believe opposed ideologically to renewable energy. Though since Abbott has been ousted slightly less so. This is evidenced by the funding cuts to just about every body that deals with renewable energy, except the Clean Energy Finance Corporation which they failed to remove thanks to Clive palmer of all people...

 

Attempts were made to sabotage the CIFC to not invest in household solar and wind when they couldn't abolish it completely. Why would a government be so opposed to technology which is likely to be the future of energy production? To be fair Abbott didn't mention the innovation word at all as opposed to Turnbull's constant repetition. 

 

The answer is my second justifiable belief that the government is controlled by powerful interests that have a significant stake in fossil fuels. How else would ministers promote a campaign that coal is good for humanity? I understand of course that coal is and will remain part of the energy equation for some time to come and that changes do not happen overnight. But good for humanity? No.

 

So the decision to invest in renewables or coal is more complex. Knowledge only makes me aware of the competing interests. This is important if you want to avoid being taken as a complete chump in some managed investment scheme for example. But it doesn't help making a bet on which powerful interest will ultimately prevail in a contest.

 

If you take a look at the history of this forum I have pitched two investments that I personally have made. Geodynamics which was ultimately a fail, though I made it knowing the risks and with a relatively small amount and was prepared for a complete loss (I almost achieved it  :) ) and which I made with the principle that renewables were the way forward based upon my reasoning above.

 

Telstra was the second which worked remarkably well though it was more akin to the Gettier problem. The yields were excellent compared to the price and I lucked in that interest rates went to the floor and yield stocks flourished. I didn't know this a priori 

 

Back to the decision to invest in renewables or coal. I can't invest in fossil fuels because I am an obsessive weirdo that refuses to invest in anything that I regard as unethical. So my decision to invest is compromised. I have learned not to try and pick winners from renewables but also that I need to wait for the correct time. Perhaps a renewable energy index might be the go?

 

In the mean time I have far too much in cash which is burning a hole in my pocket and I am receiving little return. Much like yourself, I am in a bit of a bind. Property is the perennial favourite here. But again the tax advantages are under threat. 

 

I agree with both tor and sol. Cigars (and possibly booze) are a good investment in a world of sin taxes and we are ultimately just speculators. I'll continue to hold my breath with the rest of the world.

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Apologies for derailing Anders. I was more like the woman in the Hogarth print than I care to recall.

 

As for epistemology helping to determine a good investment, I have mixed feelings. 

 

Using the example of climate change being a justified belief one might decide that renewable energy was a good investment compared to fossil fuel. I don't wish to spur an argument about the validity of this belief. So let's just assume for the sake of argument it's real. 

 

This knowledge alone is insufficient to determine that renewables are a good investment for several reasons. 

 

Legislative risk is high. We have a government which is still I believe opposed ideologically to renewable energy. Though since Abbott has been ousted slightly less so. This is evidenced by the funding cuts to just about every body that deals with renewable energy, except the Clean Energy Finance Corporation which they failed to remove thanks to Clive palmer of all people...

 

Attempts were made to sabotage the CIFC to not invest in household solar and wind when they couldn't abolish it completely. Why would a government be so opposed to technology which is likely to be the future of energy production? To be fair Abbott didn't mention the innovation word at all as opposed to Turnbull's constant repetition. 

 

The answer is my second justifiable belief that the government is controlled by powerful interests that have a significant stake in fossil fuels. How else would ministers promote a campaign that coal is good for humanity? I understand of course that coal is and will remain part of the energy equation for some time to come and that changes do not happen overnight. But good for humanity? No.

 

So the decision to invest in renewables or coal is more complex. Knowledge only makes me aware of the competing interests. This is important if you want to avoid being taken as a complete chump in some managed investment scheme for example. But it doesn't help making a bet on which powerful interest will ultimately prevail in a contest.

 

If you take a look at the history of this forum I have pitched two investments that I personally have made. Geodynamics which was ultimately a fail, though I made it knowing the risks and with a relatively small amount and was prepared for a complete loss (I almost achieved it  :) ) and which I made with the principle that renewables were the way forward based upon my reasoning above.

 

Telstra was the second which worked remarkably well though it was more akin to the Gettier problem. The yields were excellent compared to the price and I lucked in that interest rates went to the floor and yield stocks flourished. I didn't know this a priori 

 

Back to the decision to invest in renewables or coal. I can't invest in fossil fuels because I am an obsessive weirdo that refuses to invest in anything that I regard as unethical. So my decision to invest is compromised. I have learned not to try and pick winners from renewables but also that I need to wait for the correct time. Perhaps a renewable energy index might be the go?

 

In the mean time I have far too much in cash which is burning a hole in my pocket and I am receiving little return. Much like yourself, I am in a bit of a bind. Property is the perennial favourite here. But again the tax advantages are under threat. 

 

I agree with both tor and sol. Cigars (and possibly booze) are a good investment in a world of sin taxes and we are ultimately just speculators. I'll continue to hold my breath with the rest of the world.

 

Good exposé on your quest for truth!

 

With truth being such a slippery concept - it boils down to probabilities of perceived facts that are perceived to be relevant to a given conclusion and context. This leads to fields like risk management for decision making.

 

Artists seem to battle with truth all the time to avoid the fake and cliché. Perhaps this elusiveness was well described by Bob Dylan in 1962:

There ain’t too much I can say about this song except that the answer is blowing in the wind. It ain’t in no book or movie or TV show or discussion group. Man, it’s in the wind – and it’s blowing in the wind. Too many of these hip people are telling me where the answer is but oh I won’t believe that. I still say it’s in the wind and just like a restless piece of paper it’s got to come down some...

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Good discussion thus far.

Not much I can add really.

I'm sorry too, if I derailed your thread Anders. Sometimes I just go off on a tangent and forget to stay focussed on the subject.

 

I would like to make a few simple comments about "free will."

Free will = Is the concept of the ability to make decisions for one self.

It doesn't necessarily mean you or I change anything about the world around us; but it could!

Free will more relates to how, you or I respond to nature and to nurture in our own life.

It is the capacity, for instance, to determine my own personal mood, even though nature and nurture might be governing I do something completely different.

The decision to remain calm, when everyone else is panicking, and our own instinct is to panic, is the basis of an active free will.

Free will is the capacity to quit my job, or decide to take a route entirely different to the one allocated by my gps, even if it takes longer and is less logical.

 

Someone (I can't find the reference anymore), once said.

Free will is available only until you make a decision to surrender your will to someone or something other than yourself.

Then it is no longer 'free', but governed will.

We do this all the time in relationships.

Free will then comes back into vogue if you freely choose to revoke your previous decision.

To become a Christian, is the willingness to surrender your will to the teachings of Jesus, the Christ, etc.

You can change your religious beliefs. You can change which stream of Christianity you want to govern your decisions.

To become a Labor/Liberal/Green Party voter illustrates your willingness to support the ideologies of that movement.

You can change your vote at any time.

I believe (it is a belief) free will exists; otherwise you have to believe in the philosophy of predetermination.

ie; that your whole entire life is predetermined, and you have no deliberate or active involvement in it either consciously or unconsciously.

I also believe that the capacity for free will is only available to human beings, as a result of human beings unique capability to be conscious of our own life.

Every other creature may appear to make decisions, (based upon human observation - see my previous post regarding truth) but it can be easily be proven that all other living creatures make their choices based upon conditioned learning purely for survival. Human beings can also do that to a certain degree, if they are not given sufficient freedom to make their own decisions.

Tor and I have previously engaged in an extensive conversation on this matter, and I respect his reasons for not believing in free will.

I don't expect everyone to hold my belief about this. That is a part of my belief in free will.

All people are free to choose differently.

Imagine investing where everyone was required to, or programmed to, always choose the same as everyone else.

I doubt it would be possible.

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Tor and I have previously engaged in an extensive conversation on this matter, and I respect his reasons for not believing in free will.

Oh I _believe_ it exists. I just know that it probably doesn't.

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Oh I _believe_ it exists. I just know that it probably doesn't.

 

How can you 'believe' in something you 'know' is 'probably' not true?

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I believe the sun comes up and moves across the sky when I know it doesn't would be the first example. I believe I am a good person but I put a lot of thought into whether I am or not (jury is out for the time being).

 

Belief is often just self absorbed wanker behaviour. Truth at a macro level is hard to find. Doesn't mean we should let ourselves feel happy and content based on our beliefs. That leads to being a dick to people while thinking you are awesome to them.

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I believe the sun comes up and moves across the sky when I know it doesn't would be the first example. I believe I am a good person but I put a lot of thought into whether I am or not (jury is out for the time being).

 

Belief is often just self absorbed wanker behaviour. Truth at a macro level is hard to find. Doesn't mean we should let ourselves feel happy and content based on our beliefs. That leads to being a dick to people while thinking you are awesome to them.

Now we know the sun doesn't come up and cross the sky.

But the language we use is from an age when they believed the world was flat and that the sun did indeed come up and ride his flaming chariot across the sky.

I believe I am a good person. I can only justify this belief when I have someone or something to compare against.

I believe I'm better than a criminal, but am I as good as a................ (Whatever you classify as a good person)

While I can believe this about myself, I have to live in community and therefore I am also at the mercy of other's beliefs, before I can say this with any conviction.

 

Beliefs govern our everyday life. They are responsible for every decision we make in life.

I believe I should wake up at 5:00am every morning therefore I set the alarm. Do I need to? No. I believe this based upon the ability to get things done early in the morning when its cooler and no one else is yet awake. Others believe differently.

I believe this food is more healthy for breakfast than that food, hence I buy this type of cereal not that one. Could I still live on the other one? Yes. Others, buy the other type of cereal because they believe differently.

I believe I need to wear this clothing today. Is that true? Could I wear a different set of clothing? Yes.

I believe I should take this route to work, as then I will avoid the traffic. There are a limited set of routes to work dictates often what route we take. If we had more choices, we would possible take a different route every now and again, simply to view a different scenery.

I believe you should always arrive early to work. Others believe differently!!

I believe you should knock off for lunch 5 mins earlier than the designated time. Others believe differently and work right up to the hour. Nothing different about their work, simply different beliefs about the work ethic, and the responsibility of employees.

I believe it is ok for me to take a 10 min cigarette break while others who don't smoke don't.

The boss believes workers should work hard, all day, every day. The workers believe differently.

Every industrial dispute I have ever been involved in, has been about beliefs.

Every night I put on pyjama's believing that these are the only clothing you can go to bed in. It didn't worry me when I was younger and drinking a little more than my capacity to stay sober.

When I go to the beach, I wear a particular clothing designed for swimming in. We are influenced by the commercial belief that only swimming togs are good for swimming.

We are brainwashed with beliefs from the moment we are born.

Blue for boys. Pink for girls. etc, etc, etc.

 

Beliefs are the cause behind all conflict.

Conflicts are always the result of two people/groups having differing beliefs. (Not necessarily religious)

Wars are the result of enough people believing the lie, that they are right and others are wrong.

Western Governments operate on the one single belief. That the majority of people will obey the law! Thus they keep writing more of them.

If that belief is tested, governments have no solution but to use force against their own people.

The Eureka Stockade and every other protest movement that erupts in violence and clashes with police is a classic example of what governments have to do to keep their constituents compliant.

 

It is all a belief system.

Beliefs form habits.

Beliefs dictate decision making processes.

Beliefs when they become absolutes for us, become dogma - almost bordering on fundamentalism.

(House prices in Australia never go down - Belief or fact?) This is now a dogma in this country.

They only way we change our dogmatic beliefs is through trauma, or we willingly admit that we are wrong.

I am hopeful that the belief about home prices in Australia will be challenged in the years to come.

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I am not sure the language matters in this case. I haven't meant anyone who experiences the feeling of the sun being stationary and themselves moving. Belief is, to me, what my senses convey and I interpret from that. Knowledge is stuff I learn which is often differing from what my sense tell me (with the obvious solipsistic rabbit hole of learning being acquired through the sense being neatly jumped over for the time being).

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On 1/11/2016 at 11:04 PM, AndersB said:

 

Good exposé on your quest for truth!

 

With truth being such a slippery concept - it boils down to probabilities of perceived facts that are perceived to be relevant to a given conclusion and context. This leads to fields like risk management for decision making.

 

Artists seem to battle with truth all the time to avoid the fake and cliché. Perhaps this elusiveness was well described by Bob Dylan in 1962:

Whilst on the subject of fake news, here is an example of our local media:

Fake News Australia: A Feature Not A Bug

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