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Cafe Rob
05-17-2007, 12:56 AM
Hi,
Cafe Philosophy is a cafe publication, distributed free to cafes in Central Auckland, NZ.
A topical subject is the question of belief and desire. I mean one's personal beliefs and exactly how they originate. Like, do you consciously and rationally decide upon a belief or is it something that it happens partly unconsciously? A belief has to be supported by other reasonable facts and if these facts are found to be wrong, would the belief change? Can other people influence your beliefs? Can subsequent events change earlier held beliefs?

Lote-Tree
05-17-2007, 06:31 AM
Hi,
Cafe Philosophy is a cafe publication, distributed free to cafes in Central Auckland, NZ.
A topical subject is the question of belief and desire. I mean one's personal beliefs and exactly how they originate. Like, do you consciously and rationally decide upon a belief or is it something that it happens partly unconsciously? A belief has to be supported by other reasonable facts and if these facts are found to be wrong, would the belief change? Can other people influence your beliefs? Can subsequent events change earlier held beliefs?

Define Belief.

Cafe Rob
05-18-2007, 02:37 PM
Nice poem and it is quite clear in it's meaning. Heaven, and Hell are simply a creation of the mind along with everything else. Life in general is an illusion, an emptiness in much the same way as any person. There is no permanency anywhere, everything changing. An empty nothingness only given any meaning by human imagination. However behind it all there seems to be a re-juvenating life-force that forever re-news everything, i.e. the changing seasons, birth and death. Why it all happens as it does is beyond imagination for there seems to be no reason for any of it.

Lote-Tree
05-19-2007, 01:14 PM
Nice poem and it is quite clear in it's meaning. Heaven, and Hell are simply a creation of the mind along with everything else. Life in general is an illusion, an emptiness in much the same way as any person. There is no permanency anywhere, everything changing. An empty nothingness only given any meaning by human imagination. However behind it all there seems to be a re-juvenating life-force that forever re-news everything, i.e. the changing seasons, birth and death. Why it all happens as it does is beyond imagination for there seems to be no reason for any of it.

You did not answer my question ;-)

Cafe Rob
05-19-2007, 02:53 PM
What you believe really governs your actions and belief may not line up with reality. As Kant explains, the mind constitutes the world around us, it is never passive but active. What anyone believes is dependent on their intellectual ability, their intellect and reason and their day to day life experiences and who they are. Although I would also say that a lot of what a person beleives is not known to them. We do not-'know ourselves.' Like the fictional characters Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde at one moment we may be calm, placid, benevolent and reasonable and then later we may feel the complete opposite of this, violent, destructive even murderous. As Schopenhauer rightly said, 'reason is a slave of the passions.'
Belief really, is linked to desire and need because when we want something we justify it with a belief. Feelings of lonleliness and insecurity lead to a need for God, or maybe alcohol or drugs. The love we have for another person is the passion and the need we feel for them. Philosophy satisfies a need for understanding ourselves. What we believe changes as time passes.

Lote-Tree
05-20-2007, 04:58 AM
What you believe really governs your actions and belief may not line up with reality.


So there two kinds of beliefs - one that lines up with reality and other isn't?

What are these?



As Kant explains, the mind constitutes the world around us, it is never passive but active.


Do we always have to use other people's thinking? Should we not be Thinking For Ourselves?

Cafe Rob
05-21-2007, 04:00 AM
A belief should be verifiable or grounded in reality, I mean scientifically verifiable in the 'here and now.'
We should think for ourselves, form our own conclusions, but many people, the majority, would prefer to let others think for them because they have neither the time nor inclination to ponder the subject themselves.

Lote-Tree
05-21-2007, 04:30 AM
A belief should be verifiable or grounded in reality, I mean scientifically verifiable in the 'here and now.'


But many billions live their life by the unverifiable beliefs.

What does that say about the nature of human beings?

Moira
05-21-2007, 04:46 AM
What you believe really governs your actions and belief may not line up with reality. As Kant explains, the mind constitutes the world around us, it is never passive but active. What anyone believes is dependent on their intellectual ability, their intellect and reason and their day to day life experiences and who they are. Although I would also say that a lot of what a person beleives is not known to them. We do not-'know ourselves.' Like the fictional characters Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde at one moment we may be calm, placid, benevolent and reasonable and then later we may feel the complete opposite of this, violent, destructive even murderous. As Schopenhauer rightly said, 'reason is a slave of the passions.'
Belief really, is linked to desire and need because when we want something we justify it with a belief. Feelings of lonleliness and insecurity lead to a need for God, or maybe alcohol or drugs. The love we have for another person is the passion and the need we feel for them. Philosophy satisfies a need for understanding ourselves. What we believe changes as time passes.

It does make sense ..... to me at least, because i agree with what you've said and you've put it very well.

The mind does constitute the world around us and when it comes to religion i think we believe what seems plausible to us rather than what we are taught to believe because our intellect filters the information and decides what is plausible and what is not.

We don't know ourselves entirely because we did not experience everything, and usually we react differently to a certain experience (what i mean is that we can think about a situation and think we would react in a certain way but when that really happens we discover we did not have the reaction we expected to have ... does that make sense? did it happen to you?), and we learn something new about ourselves with every new experience.

Believes change in time because we experience new things and our needs change and it's a whole process that goes on forever......

Lote-Tree
05-21-2007, 06:44 AM
we learn something new about ourselves with every new experience.


Is very much so.

But is there anything we learn that does not require experience?

Moira
05-21-2007, 06:51 AM
Is very much so.

But is there anything we learn that does not require experience?

I don't really understand your question, give me an example or explain some more ....

I guess it depends on how you define 'experience'.
There are physical, mental, emotional and spiritual experiences.

Lote-Tree
05-21-2007, 07:01 AM
I don't really understand your question, give me an example or explain some more ....

I guess it depends on how you define 'experience'.
There are physical, mental, emotional and spiritual experiences.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learning

There are many things we learn but don't experience them...?

Moira
05-21-2007, 07:13 AM
We do not experience them directly you mean.....

There are a lot of things we learn without being directly involved. We learn by observing, reflecting upon, etc .....

Lote-Tree
05-21-2007, 07:38 AM
We do not experience them directly you mean.....

Yes. Very much so :-)

Moira
05-21-2007, 08:02 AM
Well, you do not say much don't you:)?

Yes, i've already said that i believe we learn many things by observing, reflecting upon, reading about, etc ....... because it is not possible to experience everything ourselves directly.

What are your thoughts on this subject? Since you started it :P ......

np6399
05-21-2007, 08:06 AM
i ve learnt something from this discussion

Literature<3
05-21-2007, 08:14 AM
Beliefs are given to young children, for example, Father Christmas, because parents have consciously decided that it would be a good idea. As we develope into adults we think about the things that we believed in and reconsider often droping the ones that seem childish or unrational and keeping the ones that we feel will support us in our lives. Therefore, beliefs are drawn from conscious thought. x

Lote-Tree
05-21-2007, 08:28 AM
Well, you do not say much don't you:)?


LOL :-) I can't usually stop when I start talking - you know that don't you ;-)




Yes, i've already said that i believe we learn many things by observing, reflecting upon, reading about, etc ....... because it is not possible to experience everything ourselves directly.

What are your thoughts on this subject? Since you started it :P ......

I was going to add that we also learn from Imagintive Experiences. Things that we can't directly experience - we can experience it Imaginitively...

This may come under reflection and reading - but Imagintive Experience is quite different I think...

What say you on this?

Moira
05-21-2007, 08:59 AM
LOL :-) I can't usually stop when I start talking - you know that don't you ;-)




I was going to add that we also learn from Imagintive Experiences. Things that we can't directly experience - we can experience it Imaginitively...

This may come under reflection and reading - but Imagintive Experience is quite different I think...

What say you on this?

Yes, it realy is an interesting thought....

We can and do experience a lot imaginatively, but what kind of experience is that? Because 'Imagination is ability and process to invent partial or complete personal realms within the mind from elements derived from sense perceptions of the shared world.'
We imagine situations and we imagine our reactions in a subjective way, and everything works just fine imaginatively ........ the real world and real situations and unpredictable reactions put us to test.
There is nothing wrong with finding a refuge in our imagination, we all do that to some extent and it is a source of pleasure and happiness as long as we know where to draw the line so that we come back to reality safe:).

Feste
05-21-2007, 09:41 AM
By and by, I find that the border line between knowledge and belief is getting blurry.

Can a belief be irrational and unfounded? Very much so. Anyone can come up with any belief without having to justify it, neither have to prove it to be true logically, as the element of justification and evidence (facts, reality...) is irrelevant to belief. Must it be conscious? Must it be attained from somewhere else? (meaning to say: learn, experience, etc...).

Well, it may be conscious, for "Cogito, ergo sum". But I doubt it must be attained from somewhere else.

Let me illustrate. Since many of us here would rather choose to believe in the Bible rather than what the history text books tell us, rather choose to believe in Adam and Eve rather than Darwin, then, it is logical and totally justifiable for me to believe that the world is actually created by a black crow, whose tears form the seas, feathers form the land. When it flap it wings, there are storms, etc...

Is it rational? We don't know (you may say no, but prove it. Can you prove the bible?) Is it what I learn from others? Well, I have never heard anyone come up with such an idea, neither have I read it somewhere else. Is it justifiable? Most likely not.

After all,you should be glad that you have the power to choose to believe in anything, as long as it supports your mentality (as someone has already said), yet, not necessarily must you justify it. So, you can still choose to believe in Santa Clause and be happy with it, at least 5 hundred million children share the same belief with you. The rest of the world either do not know who the heck Santa is (The name sounds Spanish to me), or they will call you a dumbo. (but you stand up for your own belief, I really admire you).

When it comes to the construction of belief, I would like to put it simply externally and internally. Externally is the information you attain from somewhere else (reading books, watching TVs, etc...) and internally (through your senses, your thinking, or, simply put: yourself). Yet, for both, we can see that they are fallible and subjective. Books can be wrong, our senses can be imitated, hence, lead to wrong deduction of the mind. So, it is hard to be rational with belief. Hence, you can choose to believe whatever you want, if you deem pleasant.

In nature, beliefs are the strongest, yet, the most fallible.

However, with knowledge, it is not the case. In order to form knowledge, you need a right belief, justification and evidence (an analogy: thesis, elaboration, substantiation) to make it strong. But we know that it's hard to determine if some beliefs are true, it is hard to justify our own justification (it will lead you to Gettier's regress stuff) and evidence can be deceiving. So I will be more to favour the idea of temporary knowledge (which is right for a certain amount of time). The longer the time, the more convincing the knowledge. Nothing last forever then, but may be except this sentence.

Lote-Tree
05-21-2007, 10:05 AM
We can and do experience a lot imaginatively, but what kind of experience is that?


What is the difference between a Real Experience and the Imaginitive Experience?

Is Imagnitive Experience of Fear any different from the Real Experience of Fear?



We imagine situations and we imagine our reactions in a subjective way, and everything works just fine imaginatively


But we can also experience when it is not "fine" imaginitively?



the real world and real situations and unpredictable reactions put us to test.


Perhaps so. But even in the Imaginitive Experience we can have this unpredictability?



There is nothing wrong with finding a refuge in our imagination, we all do that to some extent and it is a source of pleasure and happiness as long as we know where to draw the line so that we come back to reality safe


Is Imaginitive Experience a Refuge though? Is it not about Experience?

The writer Haruki Murakami wrote in "Sputnik Sweatheart" that his encounter with Sumire - the unrequited love of his life - was far more Real than anything he experienced before. Perhaps the Imaginitive Experience is far more satisfying than the Real Thing? That is why we crave for it so much?

Feste
05-21-2007, 10:19 AM
But we can also experience when it is not "fine" imaginitively?
No, you cannot imagine something which is not fine "imaginatively", as imagine something has made it already fine.

Is Imagnitive Experience of Fear any different from the Real Experience of Fear?
There is no imaginative experience of fear, because it is not the experience of fear itself. Can you imagine you are fearing something, and do you really feel fear? I doubt not. But you can imagine something which makes you fear literally, and that is fear itself.

Perhaps so. But even in the Imaginitive Experience we can have this unpredictability
In the imaginative experience, you can only have the limited "possibilities", not unpredictability. (The limitation is due to your mind)

The writer Haruki Murakami wrote in "Sputnik Sweatheart" that his encounter with Sumire - the unrequited love of his life - was far more Real than anything he experienced before. Perhaps the Imaginitive Experience is far more satisfying than the Real Thing?
That is why it's called fiction. Using something fictious is quite unconvincing, as of its nature.

Moira
05-21-2007, 10:29 AM
Lote,

Have you noticed that you replied to my post by questions only?
I'd rather have a conversation than an interview:).

I enjoy talking to you but i never truly understand wether you ask questions just to come up with the opposite or different ideas or those questions are really your beliefs.
Could you clear this up for me?
:)

Moira
05-21-2007, 10:37 AM
I agree with Feste here....
Imaginative experience is most of the times more satisfying than the real thing because that's it's purpose............... but that doesn't make it real or more than a surogate for the real thing. And there is no unpredictability since it's all made up by your mind and unless you have multiple personalities and surprise yourself occasionally ........... it pretty much goes where your imagination wants it to go ........

Lote-Tree
05-21-2007, 10:49 AM
Lote,
Have you noticed that you replied to my post by questions only?
I'd rather have a conversation than an interview:).


LOL :-)

I can't win can I :-)

If I pursue it fully - you will say - I don't give up easily :-)

Now that I have tried more "together-seeking-answers" approach - you say I am only asking questions :-)



I enjoy talking to you but i never truly understand wether you ask questions just to come up with the opposite or different ideas or those questions are really your beliefs. Could you clear this up for me?
:)

LOL Sorry Moira - it is the Philosopher in me - never satisfied with any answer! That is why I say Death To Philosophy :-) We can all live happier life without philosophy :-)

But the truth is - it is when we question our most cherished belief that we find new and better answers...

As for me knowing things - I shall give you the Socratic answer: only thing I know is that I know very little.

But Moira - I like your answsers.

I just challenge you a bit and even myself with the answers - I hope you don't mind :-)

Regards,
Lote

Lote-Tree
05-21-2007, 11:01 AM
o, you cannot imagine something which is not fine "imaginatively", as imagine something has made it already fine.


Really? So when you read a horror story - you feel fine do you? You don't experience any uneasy-ness or fear? Is it already fine then because you only imagined it?



There is no imaginative experience of fear, because it is not the experience of fear itself.


They generate same physical responses.



Can you imagine you are fearing something, and do you really feel fear? I doubt not.


As a child I feared the Ring Wraiths after reading Lord of the Rings.



In the imaginative experience, you can only have the limited "possibilities", not unpredictability. (The limitation is due to your mind)


Imagination is Limitless.




That is why it's called fiction. Using something fictious is quite unconvincing, as of its nature.


All fictions have some Truth. Even the Cinderalla Story.

Moira
05-21-2007, 11:14 AM
LOL :-)

I can't win can I :-)

If I pursue it fully - you will say - I don't give up easily :-)

Now that I have tried more "together-seeking-answers" approach - you say I am only asking questions :-)



LOL Sorry Moira - it is the Philosopher in me - never satisfied with any answer! That is why I say Death To Philosophy :-) We can all live happier life without philosophy :-)

But the truth is - it is when we question our most cherished belief that we find new and better answers...

As for me knowing things - I shall give you the Socratic answer: only thing I know is that I know very little.

But Moira - I like your answsers.

I just challenge you a bit and even myself with the answers - I hope you don't mind :-)

Regards,
Lote


Of course i don't mind, like i said i enjoyed our debate:) :crash:

Lote-Tree
05-21-2007, 11:21 AM
Of course i don't mind, like i said i enjoyed our debate:) :crash:

Oh no! Not the hammering PC icon :-)

Peace Moira :-)

Regards,
Lote.

Feste
05-21-2007, 11:24 AM
Really? So when you read a horror story - you feel fine do you? You don't experience any uneasy-ness or fear? Is it already fine then because you only imagined it?
Is the feeling imagination or real, may I ask?


As a child I feared the Ring Wraiths after reading Lord of the Rings.
Precisely, you FEAR, not that you are imagining you fear and suddenly you fear.
Imagination remains illusion, but fear is the real thing. And that also answer for the previous quote.



Imagination is Limitless
No, it is limited by your mind. Milady, imagination is something you can control, hence, what it generates is possibilities. But unpredictability is something beyond your total control. Please, before hastily respond back, differentiate what was said.


All fictions have some Truth. Even the Cinderalla Story.
Certainly, milady, everything has some element of Truth, truth ( I don't know if they have TRUTH). But, it is not fact.
Besides, personal feelings is too insignificant to measure a large scale.

Milady, I somehow have a feelings that you are giving assertions, without even being able to substantiate what you say. I have no objections to the Socrates' method of seeking knowledge, yet, Socrates asked questions with valid substantiation and logic, yet so far, I have only witness you as someone who holds a gun shooting indiscriminately in the dark. Looking forward to your substantiation along with socratis questions of yours.

Lote-Tree
05-21-2007, 11:46 AM
Is the feeling imagination or real, may I ask?


They generate same physical responses - so you tell me?



Milady, imagination is something you can control, hence, what it generates is possibilities.


And I said imagination can generate an endless possibilities. Hence Imagination is limitless.



But unpredictability is something beyond your total control. Please, before hastily respond back, differentiate what was said.


This is what I said: Imagination is limit-less.

What is there to substantiate?



Certainly, milady, everything has some element of Truth, truth ( I don't know if they have TRUTH).


Then that is something you have to solve for yourself.



But, it is not fact.


We are not dealing with facts here. We are dealing with the subjective experience of the individual. And Imaginitive Experience is indeed a subjective Experience of the Individual.



Besides, personal feelings is too insignificant to measure a large scale.


Feelings is not something you can "measure" - you can see physical responses to it. Imaginitive Experience is not something you can measure either.



Milady, I somehow have a feelings that you are giving assertions, without even being able to substantiate what you say.


You can't measure feelings. Imaginitive Experience is the subjective Experience of the Individual. How do you substantiate that? You tell me?

p.s I am not "milady" I am a guy ;-)

Cafe Rob
05-21-2007, 02:06 PM
I think what is being referred to is the example given by Socrates in Plato's book 'The Republic' where Socrates shows that a slave without education can quickly grasp the theories of geometry. Plato's theory was that we already know certain things and that education only serves to bring this to our consciousness. It certainly seems plausible because people seem to have an inherent knowledge of particular skills and knowledge. I think the speed with which a child learns the English language is an example of this.
We don't arrive here as a blank slate.
Is this linked to 'self actualisation' I mean finding that activity that you like very much, doing what you want to do? Doing what you already have some a priori knowledge of. Being who you are, living authentically I think, was the term J. P. Sartre used. Although I tend to favour the theory of 'essence before existence.'

Feste
05-22-2007, 12:52 AM
@ Lote-Tree :D. first thing first, I'm really sorry for wrongly assuming your gender :D.

They generate same physical responses
Precisely, that thing which is generated is fear itself.


And I said imagination can generate an endless possibilities. Hence Imagination is limitless
No, sir, imagination is not infinite. Your imagination is bounded by you limited ability of thinking and your limited perception. It's large, but not infinite.
It's like the set of Natural number, always smaller than the set of Real number.


Feelings is not something you can "measure" - you can see physical responses to it. Imaginitive Experience is not something you can measure either.
As I have said, one example is too insignificant to justify. It's just stereotyping. At least give me something to convince me.

Cheers.

@ Rob: Biologically, we inherit certain genes from our previous generations, then, it's justified to say that we do not come here with a blank state. However, I wonder, can we ever be at a blank state? And are our instincts called knowledge?

Cafe Rob
05-22-2007, 02:03 AM
Yeah, well I guess this is where we enter the realms of metaphysics and it's more a matter of which school of thought you follow. But I think it's more than just instincts. Animals are reliant on their instincts and immediately start foraging for their food in their own particular way. But man is different in a myriad of ways. The fundamental difference between us and the animals is consciousness, we know we're alive, they don't. That difference is expressed metaphorically in the Bible as having left the Garden... and the concept of Original Sin. Animals still exist in their natural state.
Man is born into the world with intellectual capabilities and also a particular character that finds an outlet for it's expression in doing certain things. I tend to accept that we do have inclinations, strong inclinations to certain activities in a way that Plato suggests in 'The Republic.' Take accountancy for example, some people exhibit a natural ability for the subject even before they've completed the theory. It's also evident with musicians as well. The guitarist, Django Reinhardt composed tunes even though he could not read music. Maybe it's more a latent knowledge that we're talking about here? A knowledge that comes to life with education and practical application.
I know there's no final answer on this one but it's an interesting subject.

Moira
05-22-2007, 03:23 AM
I don't believe we can ever be at a blank state because there are certain skills and abilities that are 'native' at birth.
We start learning while interacting with the environment but we are born with abilities.

Lote-Tree
05-22-2007, 05:15 AM
Precisely, that thing which is generated is fear itself.


Hey? You said Imaginitive Experience of Fear is not same as the Real Experience of Fear - but they both generate same physical respones. So what is the difference?



No, sir, imagination is not infinite.


Sir it is so. Be imaginitive! :-)



Your imagination is bounded by you limited ability of thinking and your limited perception. It's large, but not infinite.


There is no limit to my thinking. I can think anything I want. Just like you can go on counting forever...



It's like the set of Natural number, always smaller than the set of Real number.


Real number?

Does that mean there is Imaginitive Number? :-)



As I have said, one example is too insignificant to justify. It's just stereotyping. At least give me something to convince me.


Subjective Truth can't be quantified. We arrive at a consensus of the experiences.

Moira
05-22-2007, 05:23 AM
Loteeeeeeeeeeee,

Can you really tell me that you believe that experiencing REAL fear in a real situation has the same impact on you just like imagining you feel fear?

Can we imagine being in love or hating somebody and that would feel exactly as the real thing? The emotions we have in real situations are stronger than those we imagine.

There is a difference though ..... i am talking about consciously imagining things because it happens that we have nightmares or dreams that are really powerful.

Cafe Rob
05-22-2007, 02:11 PM
Just on the Tabula rasa or clean slate theory. This theory (John Locke) favours the 'nurture' rather than 'nature' idea. However evolution and genetic research would point more towards the nature side. Schopenhauer argues in his book 'On the Basis of Morality' that a person is born with a moral character. He does not acquire a moral character during his life. This sort of links back to evolution on the basis that "a leopard cannot change it's spots." The idea that things cannot change their innate nature. I also think that Freud's theory of the unconscious also confirms it. The fact that the majority of our actions spring from an unconscious part of our mind. We only ever seem to act in accordance with our character or traits, habits etc. Fritz Nietzche also says 'Love thy Fate,' because your a piece of fate, a product and a part of the whole thing.

Cafe Rob
01-16-2008, 08:32 PM
Yes, i've already said that i believe we learn many things by observing, reflecting upon, reading about, etc ....... because it is not possible to experience everything ourselves directly.
Just one thing though, whatever it is you reflect about should be anchored to something physical, in other words it must be grounded in some way, otherwise it's just imagining.