The Knowledge problem

A newly discovered virus. A new life form/ type? Called Pandoravirus, due to the series of questions it raised. (http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn23901-my-socalled-viral-life-is-discovery-new-life-form.html#.Uel5wLUqySo) If every discovery generates multiple NEW questions, then is it guaranteed that we will never know everything?

The attempt to know all possible combinations of all possible things could be a pretty near impossible task. But it is good to have Man reminded of his presumptuous nature, with both discovery and invention.

OP assumes knowledge is the result of having successfully established singular truths about separable aspects or portions of an external, objective reality. I don’t think knowledge is any such thing.

I think that description of knowledge can be inverted to look like an upside down cone. The more and more bits going upward, leads to a hyperbole looking process, upside down it is a parabola. Somewhere if einstein be right, the two assymptotes meet. Therefore looking up (cosmos) or down (the biosphere) is only a matter of preference, or the kind of study or specialization. Philosophy can be looked at either as a distillation, (al chemical) or an installation (science, methodology)

In the cone as you move downwards toward the minimum, the absolute minimum will be a vanishing point. From here no light escapes, and everything landing in the cone is a functional attribute of the physical characteristics of whatever is going down,
All of which will distill (convert) into other things, along the way. The literal, conscious attribute of that “thing”, will be the last to go, and as in the beginning, there was the word, so will in the end there will it be. The primal sound OHHhhhhhhhhhhmmmmmmmmmmmMMMM.

(In dying patients, coincidentally, the last sense to go is hearing.)

This has something to do with minkovski space. (I’m no physicist, but the allusion is there-)

The general prop of my argument rests, that if you are going to validate on basis of science’s method, then, visual clues are more relevant in terms of empirical investigation. The inverted paradigm of basing literal biases toward differention the bits of knowledge , as anon points out, is superseded by empirical methodology on visual descriptions: as the primary mode of information processing and conveyance.

What is knowledge then?

PS. I am in favor of “mystical” ideas of “multiple truths” (something like the superposition in QM)…

Knowledge is practical. It is the concepts, etc. we use to navigate the world. Seeing gods in things is knowledge. Seeing things as godless is knowledge. Given any specific framework, there is correct and incorrect knowledge, better or worse knowledge. Maybe there is a best knowledge, for all beings in all places at all times, but I don’t think so. Knowledge of microwave technology wouldn’t have helped Shakespeare much.

I suspect you might agree. Do you?

I think knowledge can be gained in a process:

Seeing~hearing
~forming auditory/optical patterns
Recognising patterns~forming verbal signs
Using verbal signs to signal images(of things)

Associating verbal signs with images (things)
Develop a structure of signs with things
Develop a movement of signs toward signals

Knowledge may be a structural movement of signs toward signaling (things, ideas, images, & auditory complexes) it is the movement of an enrichment of associations between these 4 things in relative degrees of integration/differentiiation

I would say that that is correct. If every piece of new knowledge leads to awareness of new gaps in knowledge, then we will never know Everything or, at the very least, even if we do know Everything, we will not be sure that we do? Which means, at the very least, that piece of knowledge will be absent.

 Not if a paradimn forms in the process.

If the paradigm leaves us without questions, ok. If we have questions, which is the assumption in the OP, then…well…we have questions. We do nto Think our knowledge is complete.

Maybe because a paradimn has not yet developed sufficiently or, it has entropied to some extent. It’s the change we are more sensitive to, the status quo is usually set in, and we do not notice it as much, because we take it for granted. It becomes a base line.

What we question is the change, and the function and the expected result of change. (As a reaction to convention)

We presume to know  convention and only guess about change. Questions are usually about change as a function of known variables.

One brain knowing all things? Where the hell would you store it all? If a library is made then all knowledge would be owned by a few.
And even then they could not be capable of accurately processing all knowledge. Insanity would result.
Why not just get what is needed ? If you need two apples and you pick all the apples. You will waste some apples. Knowledge can be similar.

My assertion, by the way, is that there is no such thing as complete knowledge - not that we simply haven’t attained it. I’m not so much responding to a point of yours, as I am just using your post to clarify that, since you mentioned “complete” knowledge.

Knowledge as approaching a complete knowledge is not restricted to intra cranial, singular knowledge. The artificial storage by use of computers is not precluded, as an extension of human knowledge. The condition to complete human knowledge as singular has not been made in the OP. Paradigms can arise within flows of knowledge.

Kris, I think there is a tendency to equivicate complete with singular knowledge. In the computer world of inter connected resources, it’s almost impossible to differentiate he source.

Look at viruses, it could come from anywhere, it takes sometimes years to find the source.

Not logically, no. Even accepting the premise, the answers to the questions do not have to be discoveries themselves; they can be redefinitions, clarifications, or rearrangements of existing facts into new arrangements or categories.

We’ll never know everything because time is finite, humans are very definitely very finite, and because facts can be infinitesimally gradated, and because of the (near?-) infinite facts that may be known, practically none of them are of any interest.

Yes, but, as I pointed out if all knowledge is stored in a place such as a library, just a few would end up in control…obe, absolute knowledge is power, incredible power. Granted the chances of it are slim as hell, but, do we trust ourselves enough with so much power, would we trust those with access? We do need to know more much much more as a collective and individuals. When do we question how to use knowledge for all? Who decides what our kids learn? I learned about the ARKs a few years back. Damned impressive and extraordinarily selective on human genes being stored in them. I will try to find a reputable link about them asap. All known knowledge is being stored in these things as well as biological material. A few control this incredible storage. Where will this take humanity?

 Yes, kris I see your point, and there is no way to avoid this process.  To exercise the control, knowledge may be compared to political process , as built in with safeguard, checks and balances.  But since there is a divide between politics and science, political science is in a very minimal phase of dissemination, world wide, or for that matter nationally and regionally.  The trickle down theory is base rhetoric to invigorate a few people who believe in the capacity of grass roots involvement.

For the most part it boils down to mass media presumptive ad hoc arguments and rhetorical subterfuges, one of the three capital sins of modern society according to Aldous Huxley.

The point is, if we are so much in trouble with politics, how much more, with science, where because of specialization, formal systems can’t ever arrive at general theories, not only applicable except to a very few, but even understood.

I guess the hope for a unified field theory coming along is fueled by this dawning fear.

Lastly, since the process leads to fewer and fewer people being in control, and as you point out, absolute power corrupts, the only possible answer is the correlationl arrival of BIG BROTHER qua supercomputerman.

I disagree. If we accept the premise, ‘we’ would not know, at the very least, if our knowledge was complete. Hence we would not be able to answer the question - does the species homo sapiens know it all? If we knew we knew it all, we would not have questions.

You can beg the question either way around. :slight_smile:

If we know our knowledge is complete, then there’s nothing we don’t know and we wouldn’t have to ask the question. Or rather, we could answer the question to our own satisfaction, if asked.

But, Oh Humean, then we would not have questions. Again,
if we have questions - and I am takign this colloquially and non-trivially which I think is a fair interpretation given the context - then we have questions.

So saying we wouldn’t have to ask a question is creating a new situation.