the logic trap

sometimes it feels like philosophy is the religion of doubt; logic its god. and we are all burning in a hell made by our own hands.

i’m sure most of you are familiar with the inherent paradox of logic (simply - logic requires illogical assumptions from which to work. additionally, logic cannot determine the solutions to paradoxes that otherwise are completely rational).

we can only know our own experiences, though it is clear that there is something going outside that which we are normally aware.

philosophy can breed such paralyzing self-doubt, especially in the absence of faith in god, or any other extrinsic source of meaning. i, sharing many existentialist sentiments, believe that conciousness (especially, my own, as that is the only one i’m directly aware of) is the determiner of meaning. Polemarchus described this more clearly and elequently than i’ve ever heard before in the “Beautiful Empty World” thread. i’ll post it if you like…

anyway, i find myself so often consumed by this perpetual questioning, analyzing, doubting. anyone else as bothered by this as i am?

why should we try to keep animals from going extinct? isn’t that just evolution at work? aren’t they just going to die out eventually? isn’t it futile to try to acheive any sort of static state?

i’m not really asking anything specifically, or proposing new ideas, i’m just wondering what people’s thoughts are.

maybe philosophy is really just examining one’s own nature. maybe all this bullshit speculation about truth and morality is just foreplay, just a way of distracting ourselves of our own insecurity. why is it so hard to accept our limitations and embrace our own ability to give the world meaning? maybe, while we claim to be searching for truth, we distance ourselves from the very world we seek to understand; twisting and distorting our natures so much that we don’t even see ourselves staring back… i don’t know, i don’t think i’m articulating this very well…


what, set theory? hermeneutics? but those brackets do demand a relationship of the parts in the set. by a law.

sounds like extreme determinism/fatalism. this is an absolute.

sounds like the opposite absolute: nihilism.

absolutist thinking is rampant in american/european society. either its all predetermined or its meaningless.
something or nothing.
black or white.
right or wrong.

i think you need to recognize this pattern of dogmatic absolutist thinking and look outside that box.

let us not forget theologians. saints who believe philosophy is an expression of godliness.

sometimes the willingness to doubt oneself is what allows them to break down the walls that keep them locked and unhappy.
the wisdom of insecurity by alan watts.

i admire your posting. your question, i feel, is the right question.

I am not familiar with the ‘inherent paradox’ to which you refer- logic requires illogical assumptions from which to work. Please explain!

This skeptical view is not the conclusion that philosophy reaches. It is a view that has been urged by some philosophers.

(the emphases in the above passage are mine-klaatu1944) Your next step should be the recognition/acknowledgement that we don’t have a problem with philosophy; you do. The problem that you seem to have is that you have concluded that philosophyreaches the conclusions that you seem to have reached. In fact, philosophy does not reach these conclusions. But to see this you need to do more philosophy.



Your right, i was projected my own musings about myself onto a group and i shouldn’t have done it with such sweeping generalizations. However, especially discussing with peers, and listening/reading others conversations, it seems like some share similar sentiments. Or at least would know what i was talking about. Maybe i should’ve simply asked if anyone can relate and what they think about it and where have they gone from it…

Heh, sorry, i definitly shouldn’t have been so presumptious… i just didn’t want to get into a debate about. i guess i was just looking for a ocnversation with those that do know what i’m talking about… i shouldn’t have said a lot of these things as though they were absolute truths… oh, ill write something on it probably later today, but i gotta go here in second…

i’m still taking in your post… i didn’t mean to sound absolutist in the least, usually i take much more relativistic stances… interesting observation.
oh, thanks for the watts tip! after reading some excerpts/summaries, seems like good stuff!

Hello quibbles

What is it they say now in New Age circles: “I feel your pain.” :slight_smile:

We seem to be searching for something but what exactly is it and where does one find it?

I believe that they are “purpose” and “meaning” A person can arrive at a place in life where the normal needs of life are being met and everyone thinks he is the ultimate expression of humanity. Yet he can feel void of both meaning and purpose in what calls him from beyond life as he knows it.

The answer requires understanding the purpose of life and human life in particular but it is not a question that is fashionable to pursue. The answer requires a quality of reason we are not accustomed to using. Usually we are the center of everything and purpose has to be dependent on us. Philosophy seeks to explain in terms of us as the center, But I’ve come to believe that for me to appreciate my purpose in the objective sense, I have to become aware of what exists both above and below me in the qualitative scale of objective “being” making me less the center and part of a chain. This requires a quality of consciousness that is not desired in philosophical discussion. When I can become familiar with the purpose of organic life including animal life within the structure and scale of objective “being”, I may then know how to value it.

The perception of objective purpose in a qualitative context, from my own experiences, opens one to a quality of consciousness we normally do not possess.

It is and that is why it doesn’t satisfy. I defined what you are describing as the illusion of consciousness which all the ancient traditions have described as “sleep” in one way or another from which we can awaken. This sleep derives meaning from life itself. But higher meaning originates from beyond life and for man, as partially a spiritual being It must come from something else in which purpose is a part. In this way meaning becomes relative. Consider the following sent to me a while back. The word “logos” is translated as “meaning”

So “meaning” is relative and our search for meaning can become qualitative in that what provided meaning before, no longer does.

Where purpose is linked to consciousness and a higher form of intellect for its perception in context, meaning, I believe, is an emotional experience. The experience of objective meaning is an emotional experience completely unlike, for example, the meaning of money for us even though the same word is used.

This is why I believe philosophy begins to become empty. It is restricted to our associative intellectual function which is sufficient to open the door to the experience of objective meaning. I’ve read it said that “A man can only think as deeply as he feels.” This is a profound observation. Many profound concepts can be read and expressed, but without having been felt by the entirety of ones being, they is often felt to be lacking.

So the question for me is how to put philosophy into context. If its ideas only serve to justify my egotism and its subjective preconceptions, it will forever deny meaning. If I can begin to let the ideas serve something more real in myself that can only surface in the presence of impartiality, then its ideas are valuable.

As I understand it, in ancient times philosophy and psychology were the same. Psychology existed as the study of the “isness” of man in relation to his potential. It has since degenerated down to the study of behavioral change.

Philosophy was the study of ideas within the psychological context of the relativity of man’s being. Now it appears as arguing over details discarding the value of the wholeness of which they are a part and we’ve apparently lost the awareness of.

So I salute the “black sheep” that are not content to just sail down this river of imagination and objectively, consciously, try to open themselves to the perceptions of both meaning and purpose. Maybe they can provide something of great value for others that are budding black sheep.

no its not presumptuous. all knowledge, based on logic or direct experience, is based on one fallacious circle: “the future will resemble the past, because, in the past, the future resembled the past”

its called the inductive fallacy. just because things always fall down when you drop them for every example youve ever tried, that doesnt mean that a ‘truth in itself’ about objects is that they fall down. because you didnt actually see the mechanism that made it fall. you just saw it fall and assumed that thats what it always does.

you can easily say in the year 1200 that a fundamental property of all objects is that they love mother earth and will always fall towards her, and you can fully beleive that just fine. but then when a neutron star collides with the earth, for a few minutes before you die, stuff will fall up. and your mind will be blown.

you never see the actual mechanism of anything unless you assume that some other mechanisms are in place. science and any logic are just guesses based on previous experience and the hope that future experience will resemble it. there is no neccesary reason for anything to happen because we dont know that the electromagnetic force will continue to exist tommorow. we have no reason to think that it will except for the fact that our past experience tells us that its a constant.

we cant see the ‘truth in itself’ of anything, and so we dont know anything except for reasonable predictions based on the circular assumption that the future will resemble the past.

Luckily, we aren’t disembodied minds, with nothing to do but ponder such things. I admit, skepticism and such can be persuasive, at times almost paralyzing. But luckily, we all have lives to live, which force decisions. While I cannot prove that gravity will hold be down today, or that the air outside will be breathable today, the fact remains that I have to go to work. So, those doubts are put to the test, and I always find them to be petty things. An operational first principal for me is that any philosophy that renders one inable to travel from the couch to the fridge and back again isn’t worth must consideration, except as a curiousity.
Consider for now, though, that the reason skepticism, doubt, and nihilism seem so prevelant at the levels of philosophy that you have explored so far is that they are easy; it will always be easier to identify problems than it is to find solutions.

There really is no solution to nihilism, aside from ignoring it or simply making something up.

Actually I would go the other way - there is no problem of nihilism.


Is this the “inherent paradox of logic” to which you referred?

Future Man,

More in the way of explanation, please! If you are making a claim about how the existing knowledge that I have was acquired, your claim is patently false. There are many things that I know that did not come to be known through any inductive reasoning on my part. Hence, they cannot be touched by the alleged fallacious circle you describe above. For example, I know that a post under the user-name “Future Man” appeared in this Forum. No inductive reasoning at all was involved. Beyond this simple example, if you conduct even the simplest investigation of many readily available instances of people knowing thngs, you will find that, in fact, they engaged in no inductive reasoning. If your claim isn’t based on the examination of actual instances of knowledge, then it is without foundation.

In point of fact, as a matter of fact, the possibility of even the simplest inductive reasoning requires that there be something accessible non-inductively. IN order for me to reason,

a1 was F, a2 was F, a3 was F,…, aN was F, therefore aN+1 will be F, I have to be able to establish a1 was F, a2 was F, and so on, in order to accumulate the base from which the inductive ‘leap’ (as some have called it) can even be made.

What am I missing?


I do believe that, according to logic which is the master of existence, paradoxes are unable to exist.

ok, a lot to respond to… i hope i don’t accidently confuse myself by doing this in a single post. sorry for my absence in the past few days, but i have been taking in all these great posts… so now, responses:


indeed it is; or at least a significant portion of it. Combine this with the typical skepticism of the senses and general perception, and i think that should cover it.

Not quite; you have an image in your mind (whatever ‘mind’ is) of what appeared to you to be a post under the user-name “Future Man”, that, considering the context of this image in the relation to other images in your mind, you think was part of ‘this Forum’. You take this image to be a ‘memory’ and since you have induced (subconciously or otherwise) that ‘memories’ are some sort of repressantion of past experience and that experience occurs because of external (as in outside of ‘I’) happenings… or something to that effect.

Bingo. But what can be accessed non-inductively? Cogito ergo sum? Nope, the very use of ‘ergo’ is an inductive action (aside from the statements other flaws. Though i do appreciate Descarte’s attempt… ) Then again, even your quote is the product of inductive reasoning itself, perfectly applicable to Future Man’s statement. So is his statement. So we spin around and around wondering if our reasoning is substantiated, when even the question is coming out of logical doubts, and logic eats itself, which is logical conclusion, so even that is doubted, but the doubt is logical so… etc
basically, one giant, immensely complex and mind-blowing “The following sentence is true. The previous sentence was false”
Then again, i get the feeling we are looking at different sides of the same elephant. I agree, there is something that can be known non-inductively. That which we perceive, in our thoughts, emotions, senses, etc. Not to say, “there is computer moniter in front of me” but “i perceive what i call a computer moniter”; nothing to do with the external. (Unfortunetly, the example loses much of its significance in communication as language, especially in this context, is a tool of logic; in other words, i mean this more in perhaps a Buddhist sense than a Descarte, doubt everything sense.) Here is where I lose myself though…
I hope this clears things up… again, I don’t really want to get into a full-blown debate about this, but hopefully these words, and Future Man’s, might clear up what I’m talking about…


Honestly, I had to look up hermeneutics on wikipedia. Maybe that will give my words context :slight_smile:
So, I’m not exactly sure what you mean. But I will try to reply anyway. Er, I think I intended this in a more simplistic, general manner. Everything that we have experienced (or think we have experienced) came through our perception, whether that is through thinking, emotions, our senses, etc. It is quite a leap to say that we are perceiving some external world and that that world continues to exist even after we are no longer aware of it. Many take this and say “things only exist because they are being perceived.” Tree falls in the forest with noone around type of thing (as ridiculous constructed as that cliche example might be, it gets at the right idea.) However, it doesn’t appear as though we directly and completely control that which we are perceiving (though it seems we do to some extent). We perceive things happening. Thus, while we can only be aware of what we perceive, there seems to exist external forces that affect what we perceive. Basically I am saying only know that I exist, but then it really strongly seems like other things exist too… but then again it also seems like some of the things I perceive do not exist externally; that they are ‘not real’ (there is this huge tendency in society that things need external validation to be ‘real’) So how do I seperate thatt which is real and that which is not?
I hope in that jumbled mass of words, you get an idea of what I’m saying. I get the feeling already that I am not conveying quite properly, but hopefully this at least points to it.
I can see how you would get hermeneutics from my statement, but I don’t see how got set theory. But then again, I have no ‘formal’ understanding of set theory (only my own research) so maybe that’s just my own ignorance.

I suppose it is to some extent, but I think its important to point out that I am not denying the existance of free will or proposing that we are destined to some specific fate. Everything changes, any attempt to stop this is futile. I’m not saying stop specific changes. I mean stop change. No arrangement of matter will last forever… There are other, more practical aspects too.
I should also say that I hold pretty environmentlist views. So I’m not actually proposing that we just destroy the environment, obviously. Environmentalism is just the way I can relate to something like this; where the goal of action is preservation of something. One could also compare this to attachment of possessions or even people. Attachment to any static state whatsoever.
Oh, I’ll get to the absolutist thing in a sec.

I suppose one might summarize this dilemna in this way: existentialism drifting into nihilism. hmm… I do think there is a difference. Existentialism to me means that we are the assigners of our own meanings. Nihilism, on the other hand, is more we cannot access ‘true meaning’ or meaning simply doesn’t exist, so any attempt of ours to give the world meaning is futile… Existentialism denies an extrinsic validation but says thats fine, we can validate ourselves, nihilism says we can’t and that everyone should just give up.

Now for absolutism. These observations of yours surprised and left me wondering quite a bit about myself. Oh, but first, the quote:

The strange thing is, I couldn’t agree with you more. I have always thought of myself as very relativist in my beliefs, always trying phrase things in context with who is doing the perceiving, etc. The use of such black and white dichotomy as true or not true, good or evil, etc has always sent shivers up my spine. I don’t even like saying things are as simple the grey area between two extremes. And if it starts to sound like my statements are being interpreted as such, I always try to clarify. In fact, this has a lot to do with my existential tendencies. Things do not have meaning outside of what an observer assigns as meaning (or thats what it seems to me anyway. this statement of meaning does, of course, apply to itself). Luckily, theres plenty of observers out their, all with their own takes. Of course, its a lot more complicated than that… but thats what i think in a few short words…
I don’t know… I have to think on this more…

I think might tend to agree with these theologians, though their God and how I use the word are very different (or seem to be at first anyway). But perhaps I am missing your point. Could you say more about this?

thanks :slight_smile: this is reallynice to hear… though I’m still wondering who the hell this “right” is and what gives him the authority to decide what I should do. But really, thank you for wonderful observations; they have certainly given me some things to think about. Oh, and again, thanks for the Alan Watts tip. I’ve been looking around at some of his writings on the internet, and hope to get wisdom of insecurity from the library on monday.

Glad to hear I’m not alone :slight_smile: However, I get the feeling we take it vastly different directions, which is good. That’s what allows to have conversation.

Oh, wonderfully said! This is huge; realizing what this means and accepting it is remarkably difficult, which is part of why its so wonderful.

To a point. I think this may be where our paths diverge, but depends on what you mean. We tend to be fairly egocentric in our thinking, but at the same time, philosophy, as the search for Truth, traditionally seems to think there is some truth outside of what is and can be perceived by people. in other words. philosophy has traditionally been absolutist. i.e. God. or the sun when plato talks about leaving the cave (or his ‘forms’ but i can’t remember precisely). Truth outside of perception.

Fascinating, though I admit, I do not completely understand. What exactly do you mean by objective? This word has so many uses, especially in philosophy.
Is this related to integral theory in any way? Or to faith? Or perhaps Buddhist or Taoist ideas? I don’t mean to label it and stick it in a little box, its just that there are many ways to interpret your words.

I assume, though it opens with a bit of scripture, this quote is not talking about the traditional guy up in heaven God; not an external God, but a more all encompassing nature of everything… hmm I’m not really sure how to put more questions into words… Oh, but your interpretation of the quote I do not understand. Do you mean, sort of, transcending previous notions of meaning? Is it these notions that relativity is referring to, or is relativity refering to the result of the transcendence. I don’t mean to kill the ideas with overanalysis, I’m just trying to straighten it out in my head a bit…

Well said. We (you and I) get to the same place (sort of), but did we take different roads? Are maybe I’m in Washington state and you in Washington DC…

Ah… this I understand. And this is, as you implied earlier, a unpopular topic in western philosophical discussions. What are other people’s reactions to this?

Fascinating post! I am eager to see where this discussion will lead… Sorry if my questions were a touch superficial; hopefully, I’ll have something more profound to say as this goes on.

Future Man
Everyone should read Future Man’s post! He quite clearly knows what he’s talking about. And what I was trying to refer to, but better. but here are the key quotes…

Thanks for saving me the trouble :slight_smile: Also nice to know that I’m not just being naive (at least, as far this idea is concerned) and that this is actually a real idea. The inductive fallacy? inherent paradox of logic is obviously just what I’ve used, but I’ll probably start using its real name now. I’m only familiar with the idea (besides my own thinking) through conversation with my peers, and internet searches, etc. So I probably would have just messed it up, and this thread would have just exploded into a bickering of definitions. But hey, this really helps me in my own thinking… certainly straightens things out a bit. Any suggestions on books or certain philosophers that I should read?
So logic explodes in a chaotic mass of paradoxes and circular self-references. Thus, the source of my confusion: wtf do we do now?

Uccisore and Phaedrus

They are easy, but how does one get out of it? That does not lessen their significance. (though there is a difference between typical, superficial skepticism and thoroughly contemplated nihilism.) What can you do but, as Phaedrus says, ignore it? Phaedrus, thank you by the way, this is precisely what I am terrified of… How can one ignore this, its like a thorn. Its like a cancer. It is the death of traditional philosophy, and thats why i am asking about it. I hope you will say more on your beliefs, your statement has such weight… And Uccisore, should we just drop our ponderings and go about our business? I dont think I could… What is philosophy to you?

James No. 2

Do you mean that nihilism is flawed and not worth considering…
Or that nihilism, perhaps, is not the problem, but the solution? (which is what I hope you meant; I was hoping this view would be repressented. Please say more about your views)


And how did you determine this? But first, did you read Future Man’s comments? klaatu1944 is taking a similar to yours (well, sort of, not even close to as extreme), so I recommend reading his too, and my response to his.

Wow, thanks for all the great posts… if i missed any, i’m really sorry. just let me know and i’ll respond…
God damn… is there a record for ‘longest post ever’? Ya… sorry about the length, obviously, feel free to skip as much as you want of it. Also, its probably littered with errors, so i apologize in advance. Damn, that took a long time…

Oh, but because I think this is wonderfully written, and because its dead on with my own thinking, here’s a post that helped inspire this one:

its from “Welcome to a beautiful empty world” from about a week back or so (i think). So its there if you care…

Anyway, can’t wait to here your guys’ thoughts on everything.

Actually in this narrow disjunction you have not presented a legitimate antithesis. However this doesn’t matter, as I believe I have understood your meaning. The two are not mutually exclusive unless you continue to hold the original problematic as itself valid. This is contrary however to my point.

So what does that mean? Well I suppose I could take the avenue of arguing that nihilism is seldom purely a ‘theoretical’ or fully ‘cognizant’ attitude. However my point, I think, has a deceptive simplicity which makes it ideal for this discussion. Which is to say I lack the motivation to write anything at length.

There has been some talk about existentialism and nihilism, and how they contrast. I think they are basically co-extensive. The Sartrean self-creator gives or bestows meaning, but this is just one possible argument for what lies on the other side of the coin which has ‘no extrinsic meaning’ inscribed on it. However I am not committed to this liberal interpretation. I would only say that there is no such thing as ‘futility’ which can at the same time be consistent with an account of nihilism which begins with ‘all is nothing’. I say this because the act of levelling is always never a ‘levelling down’ to nothing, any more than it is a ‘levelling upto nothing. It is only when you assume in some conceited or unreflected upon manner that one has access to ‘true meaning’ that one can meaningfully say that there is no meaning. And yet this is paradoxical on its own account. For what does it mean to say ‘all is nothing’ if it does not implicitly mean ‘all is nothing compared to…’. Rather I think that ‘all is nothing’ means necessarily at the same time ‘nothing isn’t nothing after all’, or rather, what is supposedly ‘nothing’ exhausts our original definition.

That is why I maintain that nihilism is rather confused. The solution to nihilism, as I see it, is that by admitting there is no objective manner by which to judge ‘worth’ or ‘meaning’, it cuts from beneath itself its own foundation, and breathes new life into everything it seeks to destroy.


But nihilism is not a beginning, it is an end; the inevitable self-destruction of all, even self-destruction itself, and thus it cycles and explodes all over in further chaotic nothing. Mmm… but I might be misunderstanding you… let me see…

You’re absolutely correct; it cuts itself off at the knees. But what happens then? Everything it had consumed is regurgitated and we are back to where were before, on the brink of self-annihilation just before we take induction to its inevitable conclusion. What can we do but ignore it? Even by searching for a solution, we only submit to it further…

I don’t know though… I probably agree with you, maybe just because I can’t accept this. But damn…
It does seem to breathe new life into everything, as you say, though. Not by reasoning it away, but by embracing it… I don’t know, I’m kind of lost… thoughts?

I think if we just philosophize and not force ourselves into reaching a definite conclusion, all doubts and discrepancies will disappear and there will be more clarity and meaning in everything. Besides, finding meaning or the truth is not everything because what would be next? So, living or life is the greatest truth. Therefore, we should definately try and be environmentally friendly, but if some species is going extinct we should let it be.

I would have thought that, having read Nietzsche, you would have at least succombed to the romance most people interpret into such phrases as ‘self-creation’ etc. Your language though implies otherwise.

Which is why we seek a dissolution.

Rorty perhaps?

In fact, I do. But as you say, its a romantic notion. Hmm… What do you think of such ideas as ‘self-creation’?

Ah, I was hoping you’d go here… this is an idea that I am only superficially familiar with, but quite interested in… please, say more…

Oh, and I must admit, I’ve only read about Rorty and never actually his own stuff. Any book suggestions?

This will be my last post for the evening, so take your time with the response.

Ok I did not mean with ‘romance’ that it is obliged to recognise the authority of the dichotomatic problem of nihilism. Actually my use of this word is only partly pejorative, in the sense that I think the idea of the self-creator is wrong, or at least incomplete, for other reasons which do not revolve around this problem.

I think on the contrary that you took it as pejorative, which reflects to me that you are still of the tragic mindset which thinks it cannot escape from the grip of this problem, and sees any possible solution as ‘romantic’ due to the fact that;

In fact self-creation comes out-of the dissolution of this problem, which is why it is wrong to confuse ‘meaningless’ with ‘negative meaning’. However if it were as easy as this then we could all be like Sartre, which I think is what Camus meant (in part) to criticise when he said ‘Sartre writes as if he has no mother’. So really I can give all the arguments in the world, but like I said in my first post, I think nihilism is mostly unreflective. Which is why I keep thinking you need something of a Nietzschean rebirth in order to continue. This is reason number one then for reading Rorty, who sees philosophy as transformative in this manner.

Anyway my answer can be captured I think in saying that self-creation is one of those ideas which is wrong… and yet, right… This is pleasing to write because it says a lot for those who understand it. However it is useless here and so I will attempt to elaborate.

Essentially what is needed is an escape from the perceived bind of the dichotomy. A lot of nonsense, as my analytic professor enjoys telling me, has derived from the unreflective assumption of all those ‘out-dated’ dichotomies which Aristotle penned in his Logic. They are pseudo-problems.

Hence when you said;

I replied;

Now I have touched on this already. So perhaps read Rorty’s philosophical papers (vol. 1 and 2).

As for self-creation, I am currently of the view that we are imbibed to meaning and never quite able to be ‘condemned to freedom’ in the way most people see Sartre as using that phrase. So we are never wholly ourselves, and really I think this means that the concept of the whole self loses its meaning as a result. Hence there is no self-creator. However we have dissolved the self-creator, which is in part what I meant earlier when I said that the concept was wrong and right, in way, too.

So there is a third sense in which I used ‘romantic’ earlier. It is the sense in which people read Nietzsche, see the phrase ‘self-creator’, and then start thinking that they have the power of the ubermensche inside them. Actually like his statement ‘God is Dead’ I would not be surprised if there was a second, more despairing or pained meaning to this. We must not forget that Nietzsche felt his ideas to the point of physical sickness. In any case I do not read Nietzsche as a proto-Sartre, as I think there is too much Heidegger in him for that. This, I suppose, could be contentious.

In any case there is a whole wide world of thought out there, waiting for your consumption. Might I suggest you not worry too much about nihilism for the meantime?



The dominant philosophical trend throughout history has been to seek truth beyond perception, but in my opinion, it is a flawed notion based on romantic idealism and nothing at all that can be substantiated even in the least. You will never, ever, ever, ever ever ever ever know about anything that lies beyond perception, because in knowing a thing you are perceiving it. It is a contradiction. Thus, if there is meaning to be had, it will be born of that which is perceived by the individual. If meaning is the goal, then the focus of philosophy should be to expand the realm of things we are capable of perceiving and to know better that which we may know at all. Whenever philosophy leads us away from the knowable-- when it tries to make that which is knowable into the unknown, the insignificant, the illusory, I think the product is necessarily befuddlement and self-doubt.

This is why I have difficulty with any mode of philosophy that seeks to establish the source of meaning as something external to the self, and it’s why I lean toward empiricism in spite of the inductive fallacy. What has empiricism ever done for me? Everything. What has the inductive fallacy ever done for me? Given me a headache. Can logic tell me about what exists beyond the realm of perception? No, but it does not matter.

Sorry-- does my frustration show? I don’t think most people realize what they’re saying when they start talking about things that exist beyond the senses or “a reality beyond what we can know as human beings…” And I agree that nihilism is an easy-out. So is any “ism,” but at least with empiricism, for example, I am allowing myself the potential of knowledge, the potential for relative truths. It’s really not that easy-- I have to work for these things so I can avoid being sucked into the trap of nothingness.

Nice post.

Yes, it does, but it is understandable.

Perhaps. What I think we mean when we say “things exist beyond our senses, or other than our senses” is really this: We are talking about the causal dependency between things actually existing in space-time world and our perception of these things. That is, we are aware that we do perceive because there really are sensible things, AND there really are sensible things existing actually out there because we perceive them. We believe, and rightly so, that things don’t just happen inside our mind, that there are things to cause us to perceive.

We know we have perception not because we perceive this act of perceiving. We know it causally.

One more time: All the things we know must be reality. But reality is not contained only in everything we know