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About Mikkel

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    Science in general including philosophy as the connecting overall discipline of science

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  • Full Name
    Mikael Birket Brilner
  • Description
    Somewhere in reality. Former professional soldier, currently working at an educational institution. Speciality - comparative analysis of similar/different approaches to the ethical side of professionally caring for other humans.
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  1. You don't know that you are Mikkel? What makes you think you don't know it? Read René Descartes. ....... <respectfully snipped> It comes from the primacy of existence over the primacy of consciousness. That you know/are aware is a result of existence and not the other way; i.e. it is not your awareness that makes you exist. This is to be understood as a clear rejection of Descartes' position then? No, because I think, therefore I am doesn't mean that because I think it is when makes it is so that I am. Rather I think means something is thinking. Isn't "You are a computer simulation" a contradiction? For either I exist in reality or I don't. So in case the audiovisual symbol 'Xray' did not refer to me as an individual existing in reality, it would not be 'me' that is "a computer simulation". The question breaks down into these two parts: Do you, Xray, and I, Mikkel, exist as Xray and Mikkel directly inside reality with one to one correspondence. I.e. when you read this, then the monitor is front of you is a monitor and you are you? Or do you, Xray, and I, Mikkel, exist as something else? That is not directly inside reality, but rather inside a computer, which is inside reality. It means that you are not you as with one to one correspondence, because you don't exist as you, you exist as a computer simulation inside a computer, which is inside reality. So the end point of Descartes considerations is this (not in right order between 1 and 2, but that doesn't matter): There exists something. This something is dependent on something else (reality as such). This something knows this but that is what it knows. Axiomatic or self-evident if you like. This something can't know anything else with certainty because anything else it knows is dependent on reality as such and not something it controls itself. Awareness is passive, i.e. epiphenomenal, in that awareness doesn't control what it knows and how the relationship is with the rest of reality. So that is metaphysics. That, which is axiomatic!!! Now I am a skeptic, because that is what is known. For the other usage of know, namely I know that I exist as I, I don't know that. I take that for granted or if you like - it seems so... Descartes and AR did something else; they both claimed that God/the universe/reality doesn't cheat. That is in philosophical terms a dogmatic claim; i.e. it is neither true nor false, but rather it is taken for true without evidence that it is true. With regards Mikkel Post edit: In short: P1: Axiomatic and self-evident thus sound: Something exists, that is aware of something else. C: Therefore I exist as I and I am aware of the monitor in front of me as the monitor. That is not valid, because it doesn't logically follow from something that it is me nor that something else is the monitor.
  2. Right now Real Life is biting me in the ass, so I will have do it short. Isolate the following two reasons for living. I do so in honour of God. I do so in rational self-interest. Now ask yourself this for #1, if any individual does so, does it follow that reality will correct that??? With regards Mikkel
  3. Hi Tony. In short: Our posts crossed! And I do owe you an answer. No, I am not uncomfortable with induction. But I can tell as a "Black Swan Skeptic" (I like that one) that White Swan Skeptics are uncomfortable with induction. Claim: I will be alive in two days. "The words "I will be alive in two days" is what makes it true." That is magical thinking; i.e. it is the words that causes it to be so. "I can see the future from the present." That is a contradiction as I understand reality. "I have a direct link to the Ultimate Reality"; i.e. not necessarily God, but also some supernatural/mystical insight. I don't consider that possible. Now in general induction of everyday life works for a sufficient number of similar instances in that you can predict that the underlying pattern will continue to be so. But always take into account any possible variations, which in principle do not violate objective reality. It doesn't stop there though: Imagine this - there is an underlying factor in the universe that will make the universe stop from existing as we know it 2 days from now! Is that true? I don't know that! Is it false? I don't know that! Is it probable? I don't know that! Am I going to act if as it will happen? No, I have no reason to do so, because I will take my chances that it won't happen! In general every time you run into an universal claim of two factors, where the one is true and the others is false. I.e. claim - induction never works - thus you check. So yes; induction works sometimes, but not always. I like your insides and I feel we have somehow gotten off on a wrong foot. For my part I apologize for my part in that and try not to claim that you have done anything wrong. In general I have come to appreciate rational self-interest more and more, though I disagree about how that connects to objective reality as such. As for Descartes vs. AR. They both still faced the same problem and so do we. Remember possible worlds which in principle don't contradict what we know about objective reality - I have yet to hear any good reasons why in principle we, right now, are not inside a computer simulation. Yes, it doesn't make true, false or probable. It makes it unknown from our point of view whether we are inside objective reality or inside a computer simulation inside objective reality. With regards Mikkel
  4. Epistemology according to AR is in part to account for words connect to the rest of reality. Now if reality overall is objective, which I accept, we can still ask the following question: Can the word subjective in any sense be connected to the rest of reality??? The short answer is yes. The shortest version is this: If objective in the above usage means independent of the mind and you accept that the mind is the brain (primacy of existence and not primacy of consciousness) then subjective means: Dependent on the brain! In broader terms it means this: For the group of living organisms named zoo-plankton there are some species who display the following behaviour: When the amount of ultraviolet radiation becomes high enough the individual moves downward; i.e. it moves to a lower depth in the water. Now take a sufficient high number of dogs or cats and subjected them to the following general situation: Throw a toy. If the number of observations is high enough you will observe the following: In most but not all cases the dog or cat will chase/play with the toy, but not all. The explanation is this: The toy itself doesn't not cause the dog or cat to chase/play with it. You have to look inside the mind/brain of the individual the dog or cat to explain that; i.e. subjective as dependent on the individual mind/brain. Now between the different senses/meanings possible for the pair of words objective and subjective it means that the following "mistake" is possible: When we look from the outside (third person) at another human and overlook the following; namely that human is objective to us as he/she as existence independently of our minds/brains, but he/she as to his/her mind/brain doesn't existence independently of his/her mind/brain. In other words for the metaphysical usage of the words objective and subjective; i.e. primacy of existence(objective) versus primacy of consciousness(subjective); the words change when we shift to epistemology; i.e. for the abstract to the concrete or if you will the everyday world. So when we account for ~(P and ~P) watch out for the difference between logic and psychology(epistemology). It is simple once you can spot the difference. There is a reason why (at the same time) is written as it is. In the abstract for any P that in concrete everyday life for any given individual human holds concrete significant positive value, that human can't just hold ~P as also having equal concrete significant positive value. If P is a corner stone in that humans worldview, you check for how he/she handles ~P. Now I am going to say this in straight forward words: Just because some irrational idiot holds P and claim you can't hold ~P, it doesn't make it true. But what is true is this: He/she will either claim that you will die because you hold ~P or that you can't have a really good life!!! But this has nothing to do with Objectivists vs. non-O's, nor any other standard label including skeptics, scientists, religious/atheists, left/right or what not. It has to do with common sense or folk psychology and ethics. It goes like this: Someone about someone else: I hold P and I can't hold ~P and since you hold ~P, you will die because of that and until that happens you can't have a good life. Yes, I know, I am not nice. But I am never nice when I do philosophy, I just tell the truth as I see it. So there is the standard Internet meme: Someone who doesn't give evidence for his/her claim is wrong! Transcribe into a syllogism: P1 - There are humans, who don't give evidence for their claims. C - Therefore they are wrong. Note the syllogism is not valid, though the premiss is sound. Shift to the soundness of another human being wrong and ask the core skeptical question - How do I know that??? The rest is a "fucking" lot of words that boil downs to the fallacy of reification inherent in claiming that another human can be wrong. So what objective ethics??? Well, AR got that one partially right, it is rational self-interest, but not as the highest value to any life form is the life form itself. When you check also; i.e. check your premisses and AR's; you check here: In other words for all life the claim of "the highest value to any life form is the life form itself" is in a sense the fallacy of primacy of consciousness over the primacy of existence. So back to this: Yes, that is true for some of some, but not all. So with that it entails for rationalization after the fact, here is at least some after the facts facts about my life: I was born into a western secular society, which is only culturally and nominally Christian. I was raised secularly by a mix of predominantly culturally Christians and atheists/agnostics. I was never told that I had to believe in God. The first time it really came up was when my grandmother, an evangelic Christian, told me that when she was younger she had have a kidney failure, which could have killed. She told me that she had prayed to God and that the Light of God had filled her and cured her. My initial reaction was of disbelief; i.e. it doesn't make sense. So why am I a skeptic? As far as I can tell I have never believed in anything supernatural. Well, part of it has to do with what I was taught as a soldier. It is a mix of western culture and military culture and is German in origin. It goes like this (with strong induction in mind): Any complex plan Will break down when it meets reality, ... That is practically applied skepticism if you like. So compare these two humans as to this: http://tigger.uic.edu/~hilbert/Images%20of%20Berkeley/Berk_life.htm http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Berkeley http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=about_ayn_rand_aynrand_timeline Now do it in general and ask yourself this for all of humanity: If wrong Always gets humans killed, how come that are still humans? "You can't eat your cake and have it, too." Yes, I am not nice but still with regards Mikkel
  5. This clears up much of my confusion. My definition of "skepticism" regarded people who claim absolute certainty as not skeptical. Not that skeptics desire absolute certainty. Given that I don't believe absolute certainty is possible I guess I'm not a skeptic. I'm not absolutely 100% unconfused however. Well put. I reckon so also. So to the both of you, between the first and second bold you are everyday skeptics and not a pyrrhonic skeptic like me, so ask yourself this: How do I know this is true: "But, psychologically ...the skeptic is a disillusioned intrinsicist [mystic] who, having failed to find automatic supernatural guidance, seeks a substitute..."??? You have to understand the status of the claim: For all times, past, present and future, All skeptics are so! (That is absolute certainty, by the way!) Supposedly AR has checked that there not other possible explanations for at least some skeptics! Since it is an universal claim it is open to replication. I.e. it is not a mystical insight, but a claim about the objective reality. So you two have a positive claim for which your own rule is that you give the supportive evidence that it is so; i.e. check your premisses and how do you know??? With regards Mikkel
  6. You don't know that you are Mikkel? What makes you think you don't know it? Read René Descartes. In short in the modern version it goes like this: Consider that you are a computer simulation; i.e. you are not Xray. What do you know then? That you as something know that there is something else misleading you. You don't know that you are really you, but you know this: You are something, though you don't know what you are and you are being mislead by something else. It comes from the primacy of existence over the primacy of consciousness. That you know/are aware is a result of existence and not the other way; i.e. it is not your awareness that makes you exist. So you don't control as per existence exists that you exist, you are a result of existence exists and thus comes the question: How do you know that you came into being as Xray and not as a computer simulation? Hence the problem of switched worlds and what it means to say: I know something including that I know that I am me. With regards Mikkel
  7. Indeed and it is in part methodological skepticism. I.e. check your premisses both as valid and sound.
  8. Nice post As noted by Tony some skeptics are authoritarian, collectivist and immobilized. But not all, Skeptics are inherently anti-authoritarian in the collective sense, but we are not immobilized. We are hard to understand, because in the common sense we don't know anything, we only take for granted, assume and state it seems that... Yet we operate in everyday reality like everybody else, just with a different cognitive methodology that non-Skeptics. With regards Mikkel
  9. Hi Tony et al I will try again and I hope I can do it better this time. Skeptics like me are often accused of that we claim that we know nothing. That is not true, but rather what we know only very few people would consider knowledge at all. So here again it is: Since I know that I exist, I might be the only mind/thing that exists. That one is easy to test, you can do that yourself. Stand up and turn left, now change your mind and turn 180 degrees. Easy, right! Now change that there is a monitor in front of you with the power of changing your mind turn it into something else. That ddidn't work, right! It means there is a difference between what goes in your mind, namely that which you can control and that which you can't control. The latter is something else; i.e. objective reality. Know we have ruled out ontological solipsism. Now onto ontological dualism. If there is something which is different in the ontological sense, that I can't know it, because it exists in another reality. So everything I know though different from me as something must be in the same reality, hence we get ontological monism. Now back to the primacy of existence as ontological neutral monism versus the primacy of consciousness combined with what it means to know something. On to the stage enters René Descartes and his evil demon. Ask yourself this: How do I know that I am really reading this and that I am not being mislead by an evil demon. In modern terms how do I know I am not a computer simulation. Now ontological realism states that when you know/are aware of that you are reading this on a monitor, then the monitor is the monitor and not you being mislead; i.e. you are not a computer simulation. René Descartes and AR used the same solution just with different words: God or the universe doesn't mislead. God/the universe is fair and he/it doesn't cheat. Compare it with this: My bold. Now here is my answer to what I know. I know as someone/something that this someone/something knows there is something else(objective reality), but I don't know what that someone/something or something else is as per ontological realism, I just know that it is in the abstract sense. I don't know that I am Mikkel or that you are you. In the every day sense I take for granted that the universe is playing fair, but I don't know that. Hi Tony Again not just you, Tony. Existence exists, non-existence does not exists and the primacy of existence. Check. The law of identity and of non-contradiction. Check. Awareness and identification is identity. Check for the first one, but not the latter. Why? Because that I am aware of the monitor in front of me is not the result of awareness as such (primacy of consciousness) but that there is something/someone aware of something else. That doesn't mean that there is ontological realism (one to one match) because we know there is misrepresentation build into reality. AR and René Descartes didn't solve anything by reality/God doesn't cheat, because that is begging the question. Further that I can misrepresent, but my brain(reality as such) can't, leads to ontological dualism or idealism. Now René Descartes figured out that awareness is axiomatic; i.e. it can't be denied; but neither he nor AR could get from metaphysics to epistemology(ontological realism) without begging the question. Namely from that you as something/someone are aware of something else, it doesn't follow that awareness matches one to one the rest of reality. It only follows that awareness is a part of existence exists, but awareness is not in control. Awareness is secondary to existence exists and the primacy of existence, hence we don't know that reality exists including us as an one to one match or if we are a computer simulation. Okay, let me try to explain it as from starting somewhere else. You know - check your premisses, assumptions, axioms and what not! Right, I know you do. That is Skepticism and nothing else and it is the sibling of - How is it known? So all Skeptics do is exactly that!!! We hammer away at everything taken for granted; what we have been told as common sense knowledge or self-evident/axiomatic. And I am sorry to say - Identification is identity is not self-evident or axiomatic. Rather it is a core assumption; i.e. Skeptics assume that reality plays fair, not that it is self-evident or axiomatic. For the rest of your post, Tony, I won't answer it right away, because it entails who holds the authoritative truth over what is good and evil. But rather this - philosophy is also an ideal, namely always to tell the truth. In a broader sense philosophy is the combined effort of many humans over time with the use of critical thinking(Skepticism) to figure out reality; i.e. finding the correct methodology for finding the correct answers - truth. But it involves that you take your time and check your premisses all the way down to where metaphysics turns into epistemology. As a slogan it goes like this: "Metaphysics is easy, epistemology is hard." Awareness as metaphysics is easy, it is self-evident; but as epistemology, logic and ethics it is hard, because it involves a fucking lot of checking your premisses. With regards Mikkel
  10. A German, French and Scottish philosopher were commissioned to write a book about the giraffe. The German locked himself into the university library and when he came out he had written the monumental work - Die Giraffe an sich. The French went to the zoo and looked at the giraffes and wrote the essay - My impressions of the giraffe. The Scottish one equipped an expedition and went out into the empirical reality to observe giraffes - He is still out there.
  11. Hi all. As pointed out skepticism is a multi-level methodology and it always involves back to Agrippa's trilemma the following approach: How do I or you know that? In general terms: How is it known? In other words skeptics ought to be able to always use epistemology on everything including metaphysics. So here it is in my words and some of it will resemble AR's thoughts, but not all. Metaphysics is the meta-cognitive abstraction of all particulars into the most general concepts. I.e. existence exists means for the set of all cases of A is A for all times and all senses all cases have the following in common: They are all known by having at least one sense, property or what ever. In practice any case of A is A have many properties: It is at a given time, location and configuration of energy/matter. But there is "a snake in paradise". It has to do with difference between that something is and something is known that it is. So here enter the primacy of existence vs. the primacy of consciousness. That I or you are aware of something is not what makes it exists and that includes the case of self-reference: For the case that you are aware of that you are aware, is not so because it is awareness that makes it so. It is so because you exist with the property/faculty of awareness. So here is the problem of the switched worlds and it is the core philosophical problem. It has two solutions; the dogmatic assertion that it is not so and the skeptical assertion that is not knowledgeable. The problem is this: If it is not so that it is so that it is the fact I know which makes so (the primacy of consciousness) then how do I that I exist as I know it. Yes, that is absurd at some level but here it is as already stated here: http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=12141entry163594 In short and it goes back to Réne Descartes; I know that something knows that it knows something; i.e. the general abstraction down to the level of metaphysics for what awareness is as part of existence exists, but the moment we switch to epistemology then I don't know that I or anything else exist as per ontological/epistemological realism. That was a fucking lot of words for: In other words I as a Pyrrhonian skeptic don't doubt everything exists, I just doubt what it means to say I know. And I properly ought to start every claim I make with "It seems..." or "I take for granted that...", but I don't, except when we do philosophy as here. So to whether skeptics are subjective? Yes, we are subjective in that we start with "I know", but go objective on that as without bias and without taking to much for granted and ask "What am that "I" if reality is objective?" With regards Mikkel
  12. Well, you asked whYNOT. So here is the answer, as skeptics go we are as different as Christians are different. We have one thing in common, we use doubt, falsification, Agrippa's trilemma and/or reductio ad absurdum. He is one kind of skeptic, but he shows the core trait of a skeptic; i.e. a skeptic doesn't learn by what goes right, but what goes wrong. So skeptics don't go for truth, we go for false and what is left is the truth. Example: How to arrive at "I don't know that I exist". If my brain can't misrepresent (hallucinate), but I can misrepresent, then I am ontologically different from my brain. I.e. ontological dualism or idealism. If dualism then I am different from the rest of reality as down to the level of existence exists, so how can I interact with reality; i.e false so that is not the case. If ontological idealism as its strongest, strong ontological solipsism, then I am the only thing that exists. That is easy to test, just try with your mind to change the monitor in front of you into something else. That can't be done, so there exists something else than me or you and that is normally called objective. That which we can't change simply by changing our minds/brains about it. So to sum up part one, you can accept that you misrepresent means that your brain can misrepresent or in general abstract terms; the brain as a part of the primacy of existence and existence exists can be "wrong", "false" or what ever you want to label that. So from the specific, the brain, to the general question. I.e. René Descartes, Bertrand Russell's five minute hypothesis and Hillary Putnam's brain in a vat rolled into one! How do you that that you are not a computer simulation started five minutes ago and that you will be turned off in five minutes? "I don't know that I exist" means that I don't know that I exist as one to one with the rest of reality, i.e. identity is not one to one identification, because Ayn Rand didn't solve that one with - I can misrepresent, but my brain can't. My bold. So "In essence, this in a sense says that the Universe is knowable and is playing fair with scientists" means it is taken for granted that we, humans, are not in a computer simulation started five minutes ago and it will be turned of in five minutes. An axiom is a statement that identifies the base of what is taken for granted and of any further statement pertaining to what is taken for granted, a statement necessarily contained in all others, whether any particular speaker chooses to identify it or not. An axiom is a proposition that defeats its opponents by the fact that they have to accept it and use it in the process of any attempt to deny it. Now it means, since you are not the universe (ontological solipsism) nor disconnected from it (ontological dualism) then I/you/he/she misrepresent means the universe can misrepresent at the core level thus I don't know that I exist as one to one as per identity is identification. With regards Mikkel
  13. Exactly why gun control leads to tyranny. Yes, that is a necessary part of it. Free rational humans need access to guns that are not controlled by some faraway government/military, but there is a catch. Rational humans need access to guns.
  14. In one sense it depends on how much any government wants to uphold the laws of war and in the end universal human rights. In practice that is a can of worms.