praxis wrote:One of the points made by epistemology is that we can't really know the outside world, we can only know our perceptions interpreted from sense data (information from our sense organs). For this reason some hold the idea that our internal perception is more real than the objects of perception. The internal perception is a fact, and a happening that is known in its entirety. As for 'outside' objects, we can only get second hand knowledge, so to speak. We can only know aspects of external objects existence. Any verification gained of these aspects also comes from the outside.
Perceptions are abstractions, are they not? Theyâ€™re representations of the actual or external world. The discerning mind makes abstractions of everything we sense and in a sense we are abstractions ourselves. Is not the internal and external equally abstract and equally real or unreal?
Any thoughts? Does this make any sense?
I haven't posted for a while, so I'll respond:
First I'll say that much of what you ask is dependent upon whether we are discussing the Subjective or the Objective. For example, subjectively, I don't think our own "perceptions are abstractions". By that I mean: subjectively our perceptions of our own perceptions are concrete not abstract.
Our subjective perceptions of what other people's subjective perceptions are are however abstract. I assume that they are similar to mine, but I can't have the same kind of first-hand knowledge such as my own perceptions provide.
Secondly, the word "abstract" has many meanings. The dictionary lists it as an adjective, verb, and noun. So it makes it tricky to talk about. One example from the dictionary says, "the word poem is concrete, poetry is abstract". So by this definition the word "poem" is not abstract. So this makes it sound like inter-subjective experience is not abstract which contradicts my first statement! Oops!
Or lets take a word like "elves". Elves don't exist, but we do inter-subjectively know approximately what an elf is (Will Ferrel). Is an elf an abstract concept? I'd say so. Breathing however I would say is not an abstract concept since I know that you breathe. Maybe not technically exactly the way that I breathe, but close enough to take it out of the abstract.
Am I making any sense? I know I'm jumping around a bit on my position.
I tend to lean away from the arguments that say "We can know nothing for sure so nothing is real". I argue that some things we can know more surer than others, and some things are more real than others. To say that everything is abstract might be arguable, but I find that it has little value. If everything is abstract, then that puts us back to square-one, and we need to come up with other terms to discern, define and discuss reality.