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Author Topic: Human Knowledge.  (Read 5162 times)

Offline Razak

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Human Knowledge.
« on: 11/06/2006 02:44:06 »
All of the human understanding is guided by COMPARISON i.e we understand something by comparing it to something else.

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another_someone

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Re: Human Knowledge.
« Reply #1 on: 11/06/2006 11:23:14 »
In general, if one understands one thing but not another, then drawing a comparison between that which you already understand and that which you do not yet understand would seem an eminently practical way of seeking an understanding of that which is not yet understood.

Whether relativity or quantum physics can really be regarded as comparable to anything else is another question; but that may be the reason why so few people understand them.



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Offline xetho

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Re: Human Knowledge.
« Reply #2 on: 14/06/2006 07:55:01 »
Learning by example falls into the comparison category, too. Seeing actions or observing another persons work and relating it to something you do.

When someone is born, what process allows them to begin making comparisons, when they start out with nothing to compare to?
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: Human Knowledge.
« Reply #3 on: 14/06/2006 21:23:18 »
quote:
Originally posted by xetho

Learning by example falls into the comparison category, too. Seeing actions or observing another persons work and relating it to something you do.

When someone is born, what process allows them to begin making comparisons, when they start out with nothing to compare to?



I think you've answered your own question before you asked it.

We learn to make comparisons by observing others. I remember getting fed up with my step-daughter when she was going through the "But teacher said..." stage. What was that but comparing what I had said to what her teacher had said? (the teacher was inevitably wrong, of course :D ).

Then there was "Mummy doesn't do it like that" or "Mummy puts the vegetables in last" etc. Comparisons, comparisons, comparisons. How she lived to be 7 is beyond me!

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Offline xetho

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Re: Human Knowledge.
« Reply #4 on: 14/06/2006 23:13:54 »
Nah, that's not it. the problem I was trying to ask was: how does someone without any knowledge or understanding (nothing to start comparing from) begin making comparisons?

Is a persons initial "frame of reference" based on the senses or is there something else that allows us to instinctively compare?
If somebody only had 1 of 5 senses, like hearing, do they learn to speak before they learn to walk?
 

another_someone

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Re: Human Knowledge.
« Reply #5 on: 15/06/2006 01:35:04 »
quote:
Originally posted by xetho
If somebody only had 1 of 5 senses, like hearing, do they learn to speak before they learn to walk?



If someone has only one of 5 senses, and that sense is not the sense of touch, then I think their likelihood of long term survival, even long enough to learn to talk, I think is significantly curtailed.

quote:

how does someone without any knowledge or understanding (nothing to start comparing from) begin making comparisons?

Is a persons initial "frame of reference" based on the senses or is there something else that allows us to instinctively compare?



Learning is about detecting a relationship, and them detecting another comparable relationship.

If I learn that every time I pick up a small brightly coloured sticky thing and put it in my mouth, I will experience a pleasurably sweet sensation of taste, then the next time I see something that might look like a ' small brightly coloured sticky thing', I will have to make a comparison to the ' small brightly coloured sticky thing' I put in my mouth the last time in order to judge whether it will be sweet, or will it be nasty and bitter.

As for learning to talk, one learns to talk not merely by copying and comparing what one says to what other people say, but by copying what one hears, and determining what the response other people have to your sounds (i.e. what sounds will make mummy angry, what sounds will attract her attention, what sounds will cause her to give you food, what sounds will cause her to smile at you, etc.).

There are certainly some things we are born knowing.  We are almost certainly born knowing how to understand certain facial expressions and certain vocal intonations.  These of probably the bootstrap linguistic tools which babies can then use to start developing more sophisticated communication techniques.



George
 

Offline xetho

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Re: Human Knowledge.
« Reply #6 on: 16/06/2006 23:05:42 »
"We are almost certainly born knowing how to understand certain facial expressions and certain vocal intonations."

The theory that "all human understanding is guided by comparison" must be false then. Some of human understanding is instinct, therefore not all of it is guided by comparison.
 

another_someone

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Re: Human Knowledge.
« Reply #7 on: 17/06/2006 00:14:58 »
quote:
Originally posted by xetho
"We are almost certainly born knowing how to understand certain facial expressions and certain vocal intonations."

The theory that "all human understanding is guided by comparison" must be false then. Some of human understanding is instinct, therefore not all of it is guided by comparison.



In a sense, I suppose this is true – although it leads to a need to clarify what is meant by “understanding”.

In a different context, a new born baby knows that when it has a nipple placed in its mouth, it should suck.  Does this mean that a baby “understands” what a nipple is in any way?

In the same way, a baby will know that when its mother speaks in a harsh voice, that something is bad (i.e. it knows to treat a harsh voice as a negative reinforcement of its behaviour), but is this the same as “understanding” what a harsh voice means?



George
 

Offline xetho

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Re: Human Knowledge.
« Reply #8 on: 04/07/2006 06:55:34 »
You already used the word understanding to describe instinct, which is what I quoted in my last post. It's very likely instinct is part of the process of understanding, especially in the beginning of a persons life. I agree with your statement, but it presents the problem I'm trying to show you.

Instincts are a built-in compulsion to perform some behavior. Comparison may trigger an instinct, but the instinct was always there. Instincts are a kind of understanding that didn't come from comparisons.

Because understanding can also be guided by instinct, the original theory must be rewritten:
quote:
All human understanding is guided by comparison and instinct.


There's another problem:
Some understanding is greater than the sum of the comparisons and instinct. (aka. originality)
I belive the missing link is abstract thought. Understanding can be guided by things that are already understood, but not directly related to what the person is trying to figure out.

The next theory incorporates that:
quote:
All human understanding is guided by comparison, instinct and abstract thought.

-------------
On a side note, another_someone, please don't try to melt my brain.
I'm referring to an older post in this thread. You basically said comparing is a practical way to understand things... with 40 words and 100 syllables in one sentence...

A trailing sentence is using commas to link two or more sentences into a very long one. As a rule of thumb, don't use more than two commas in one sentence. In place of the third, put a period.

Generally, your grammer and spelling are exceptional. The simplest idea gets confusing when there's too much redundancy and nothing to separate it. By cutting the fat up into chewable pieces, people will be able to understand what you said, the first time they read it.
If it's a tactic to prevent people from arguing, since they can't follow what you wrote... I'm on to you...
 

Offline neilep

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Re: Human Knowledge.
« Reply #9 on: 04/07/2006 13:50:58 »
IN MY OPINION.

Instinct I think, is the rudimentary fundamental starting  knowledge that keeps us alive. It is a basic set of behavioural tendencies that help us to react to our environment. I think,intuition then serves to assist us based on the results that are achieved because of our instincts. I imagine the two together work in concert and help to achieve the sense of cognition as we absorb the results of all these inputs as knowledge.


I imagine the first comparisons that we use to understand and learn things are self made.

We can't comprehend the world till we've triggered the mechanism within ourselves first as the baseline. Then, with the help of our senses we gradually are able to comprehend external examples that we may use for comparison based initially on the blueprint we have inside ourselves. Then , with time, we are able to fine tune this template and our ability to learn and digest information becomes more fluent.

Our instincts and intuition remain being finely honed and tuned all our lives and are vital to the process of self determination. Even with the facts that are blindingly obvious, we do not know they are without these inbuilt mechanisms.

Cripes , if we lost the ability to use instinct and intuition...it don't bare thinking about.

Actually...I wonder if there are cases of people who display a complete lack of instinct and intuition..I mean totally....

But not all of human understanding is based on comparison.....a lot of information we receive may be the first of it's kind and has nothing to compare it to.....this is when instinct and intuition help us out with our abilty to reason ,fathom and investigate.




Men are the same as women, just inside out !
 

Offline xetho

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Re: Human Knowledge.
« Reply #10 on: 07/07/2006 14:12:31 »
Instincts being the "rudimentary fundamental starting" knowledge, is overstating it a bit. If it was, we wouldn't be able to overcome them under any circumstance. Instincts are memories without a time or place, remnants of the lives of the creatures that evolved into humans. Infants use them in lieu of experience, until they get older.

Intuition is mostly abstract thought, not instinct. It's understanding things without all the information being given. Not something a person is born knowning, but something they just have an affinity for understanding.
Psycic-type intuition hasn't been detectable by experiment and it's not well understood so I don't think it's relevant.

Does the rate of evolution affect what kind and how many instincts we've got? Maybe that could be used to estimate the rate of evolution for creatures with brains and our probable ancestors.
Could malfunctioning instincts explain some phobias and anxiety disorders?
We instinctually recognize facial expressions, which would mean that in some form they've been around for a very long time. In a thousand years, will infants understand the middle finger, instintively? (that'd be a bad addition to crying)

The mind perpetually seeks relationships, which is why we can see things in clouds, ink blots, static, etc. Psychology hints that the things a person sees in those situations indicates what they understand and how they think.
 

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Re: Human Knowledge.
« Reply #10 on: 07/07/2006 14:12:31 »

 

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