AGNOSTICS INTERNATIONAL (Agnosticism)

by dhw, Tuesday, February 21, 2012, 18:25 (2038 days ago) @ romansh

ROMANSH: Sure common sense OK.
As an agnostic I have no problem believing other people exist.
This is an implicit assumption I make all the time.
Just tell me how I can prove it and therefore know it.

There is no way round the epistemological problem of hierarchies. If by knowledge you mean cast-iron certainty (objective truth), give up. The common sense level is not my invention ... it goes way, way back. Aristotle was for it and Plato was against it. But here's my commonsense answer, for what it's worth:

By means of sensual perception, communication, experience, I have evidence that my wife, children, relatives, friends, acquaintances, people in the street and shops exist. Every encounter of whatever kind is evidence that their existence is independent of mine (even if linked by circumstances), although my views of them are subjective. Perception, communication, experience also provide evidence that my existence is real to them. I have found no evidence whatsoever that this conclusion is based on an illusion. Not one shred. The only "evidence" I have is from philosophers and their unproven theories. In the presence of concrete evidence, and in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, I am therefore satisfied that I and other people exist.

We now have to define "know", and you have not said whether or not you accept my definition: "information which is accepted as being true by general consensus among those who are aware of it."

According to that definition, I know that these other people (of whom I am aware and who are aware of me) exist, and they know I exist. There may, however, be cases in which the evidence is not so clear-cut, in which case I may say I believe rather than know. My definition of belief is: "information which individuals accept as being true although there is no general consensus on its truth."

We can play philosophical games till kingdom come. What evidence do you have that I am an illusion? (And is it worth your looking for it?!)


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