Up@dawn 2.0

Monday, April 27, 2015

Blog Post Numero Dos

- The Search for Knowledge and the True Nature of Reality -

The next obvious human attempt at gaining knowledge is the pursuit of scientific advancement. The goal of increasing scientific knowledge has seemed to be existent throughout history (some periods being more explosive than others); this journey starts at the creation of the first tools, all the way to advanced space exploration and global computerization. It would seem as though this advancement simply benefits the lives of mankind. This is true for technology. As technology is a byproduct of science, it is secondary to the goal of obtaining pure, unadulterated information. This being said, computerization has allowed for an overall increase in global awareness amongst our global society. This is certainly important in the immediate time-frame of the planet earth, yet the fundamental laws of nature involved with creating this computerization have been known for a quite a long time. Once again, technology is just the application of what is already largely known; creating tools for humans is the engineer’s job! To me, the avant garde of our society are the scientific theorists.
The end goal of the pursuit of knowledge through rigorous scientific study is one with Aristotelian roots. Aristotle’s ideal pathway for attaining gnosis was bound by what humans can truly know. That is, why theorize on what is clearly unattainable when it may very well end in complete delusion? This view seems like the safest route if one is trying not to be incorrect about the true nature of reality. In this mind set, if an idea has no explicit and non-refutable evidence, it must be labeled as unknown. This rigor will make sure that we humans don’t outrun where we really are in our philosophical journey. This is the curse of the ‘armchair philosopher’. This common figure attempts to gain knowledge on a cosmic scale through analytical thought and experience. The fundamental flaw with this way of grasping at gnosis is that there is no fact checking structure involved. The product of this sort of behavior is seen in our society on a grandiose scale; its manifestation being the wide-spread acceptance of religion or any form of mysticism as undeniable truth. This is why I only rely on science and mathematics as structures of relative truth; these interconnected studies are the only ones that have explicit evidence in that without them, our reality could not exist. All other human aspects fall underneath the metaphorical blanket of pure mathematics as elements of chaotic, self-consistent structures which may or may not have meaning (which we assumedly will never truly know from an Aristotelian view).
Scientific theorists attempt to chart the nature of reality. This seems like a nearly impossible task, and it often is! Many theories in physics find their home in mathematical consistency rather than their experimental verification. This is the nature of modern physics; find what works on paper and try to create an experiment to prove it. Often times, an experiment is infeasible, therefor the theory will always remain just that, a theory. The advancements in physics which we can expect in the next few decades will presumably have no possible experiments (due to the astronomical energies needed to replicate the conditions of the big-bang), thus making these theories impossible to disprove. This fact will make scientific and mathematical advancements become as dogmatic as any form of mysticism. This is quite disheartening for us physicists, yet biologists, astronomers and chemists can still have their fun stamp collecting. (All of these studies can be derived from the laws of physics anyway.)
In seeing this somewhat hopeless search for truth in the mathematical studies, many intellectuals have decided it best to study the humanities. In this pursuit, the knowledge seeker studies the aspects of human interaction, origin (inexorably tied to history) and personality. I will boil these studies down to sociology, anthropology and psychology. These would be referred to as ‘soft sciences’ or sciences which don’t rely on perfect numerical data, but rather depend on simple observation and analysis. Because we all need to exist within the confines of humanity, these studies are important to us. In my view, they are only important to us. There is no evidence that our interaction produces any changes in the universe other than the physical changes which our bodies (and destructive cultures) naturally make, therefor the ramification of these studies remain in the air. None the less, the human studies are extremely interesting and the knowledge gained from these increase our awareness of our immediate environment and why people do what they do.

 Is knowing why everything is the way it is even important in the first place? Can we trust our own philosophical thought?

Stay tuned for my opinionated rambling on those questions!

1 comment:

  1. I agree entirely that classic rationalist armchair philosophy, spinning out a priori speculations not grounded in empirical fact, is inadequate to objective reality as science seeks to know it. I would just add that each of us grasps a fraction of subjective reality that science cannot (and does not seek to) know.

    Wm James: "Common sense is BETTER for one sphere of life, science for another, philosophic criticism for a third; but whether either be TRUER absolutely, Heaven only knows." Pragmatism, Lec. V