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The Mind of the Steward: Inquiry-Based Philosophy for The 21st Century - by Eric Sommer (c) 2000 AD.

PART  2: KNOWLEDGE

CHAPTER 21: THE ROLE OF KNOWLEDGE IN HUMAN LIFE.

In the previous chapter we explored the four types of entities. We saw that all the beings in the universe can from the perspective of a given being be divided into phenomenal, theoretical, mixed, and unknown entities. Now I want to explore the nature of our knowledge of these entities. In this and the next few chapters I want to explore:

The role of knowledge in human life.
The nature of knowledge.
how the truth of our knowledge is tested.
The nature of information;
The nature of perception,
How knowledge is built in our minds.
In this chapter I want to tackle point 1 - the role of knowledge in human life - by indicating just why knowledge is so important to us.

The importance of knowledge stems fundamentally from the position which each of us occupies as an observer/actor in a world greater than our knowledge of it. There is around each of us a vast sea of beings, and of potentialities, both positive and negative, most of them outside our phenomenal world and unfamiliar or only partially familiar to us.

Instrumental and Contemplative Functions of Knowledge

In this vast world of potentialities, which each of us must navigate, knowledge has two functions. These are the `instrumental function' of knowledge and the `contemplative function' of knowledge. By its `instrumental function', I mean that knowledge is an instrument for anticipating, and therefore controlling, experience.

Suppose I know that Jackie and Jennifer are coming over to see me at six p.m. This knowledge increases my power to see Jackie and Jennifer by allowing me to be there to meet them.

Or suppose I know that large trucks moving at high speeds have a character which can decimate a human body. This knowledge increases my power to maintain my body in one piece.

Or suppose I have knowledge that there is a tree outside my window in the backyard. This knowledge increases my power to see the tree or to go out in the backyard to interact with the tree and experience it in various ways.

Or suppose I know that a job I want is available. This knowledge increases my power to secure the kind of employment I am seeking. Or suppose I know that an ecologically sensitive area has been targeted for industrial development. This knowledge increases my power to take measures to protect that area.

Or suppose I know that meditating in a certain way will increase my physical energy and promote spiritual well being.

In each of these instances my knowledge is an instrument for anticipating and therefore controlling experience.

By now I imagine you can see what a powerful instrument knowledge is: it is a primary means for moving the world in directions we desire, and for eliciting experiences we wish to elicit and avoiding experiences we wish to avoid.

The Contemplative Function of knowledge

Now I want to discuss the non-instrumental or `contemplative function' of knowledge. The instrumental function of knowledge is to increase my power to change the world or to choose my experiences in the world. The `contemplative function' of knowledge, on the other hand, is to help me to appreciate or contemplate the world just as it is. Knowledge is of contemplative value when it helps me to expand my being through savoring or enjoying my world in all its multi-dimensionality.

Suppose, for example, I am listening to a song not to rewrite it but to contemplate or appreciate it as it is.

Or suppose I am watching the daily news not to influence events but to identify with a wider sphere than my own daily life.

Or suppose I am learning about astronomy not to fly in space but out of curiosity.

Or suppose I am learning about the habits of beetles not out of a desire to either hunt or help them but because I enjoy knowing about beetles.

In all such cases my knowledge is of contemplative value. It is knowledge which is serving me by helping me to contemplate, and in some cases identify with, a larger portion of my world.

I have, I hope, given you a sense of the importance of knowledge. It is both the means by which we contemplate or appreciate our world, and a crucial instrument for moving the world in directions which we desire and for securing the experiences for ourselves and other beings which we wish to secure. In the next chapter I will define knowledge and discuss its character.


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CHAPTER 22: THE NATURE OF KNOWLEDGE (Part One)

In a number of previous chapters I have explored a fundamental distinction. This is the distinction between entities currently inside and entities currently outside our experience. Now, however, I want to introduce a second fundamental distinction. This is the distinction between our ideas about these entities and the entities themselves. The essential thrust of this distinction is that our ideas about these entities are not the entities and can therefore be incomplete, one-sided, or wrong.

The Map Is Not The Territory

This distinction between our ideas and our world is like the distinction between a map and its territory. A map, for example, is smaller than the territory it describes. It must therefore omit certain features of that territory. A hill which exists in the territory may not be represented at all on the map. In addition, a map may be one-sided. A specialized whether map may show whether patterns in detail while providing relatively little information about population distribution. Finally, a map may contain outright inaccuracies. A community depicted on the map may never have existed, or may have ceased to exist since the map was made.

Our Knowledge May Be Incomplete, One-Sided, Or Wrong

Our knowledge is like a map in that it too may be 1) incomplete, 2) one-sided, or 3) wrong. Take my knowledge of Jackie and Jennifer. Like a map, this knowledge is distinct from Jackie and Jennifer themselves. It therefore may omit many of Jackie and Jennifer's characteristics and activities. In addition, my knowledge of Jackie and Jennifer may be specialized or One-Sided; it may concentrate on what I am interested in and omit areas of Jackie and Jennifer's lives which do not interest me. Finally, my knowledge of Jackie and Jennifer in all probability includes mistaken assumptions about them or their lives; being distinct from Jackie and Jennifer themselves, my knowledge of them is likely to contain at least some errors.

These similarities between maps and knowledge - that both tend to be incomplete, one-side, and prone to error - is captured in the aphorism put forward by Count Alfred Korzipzki in his great work `Science and Sanity': "The map is not the territory."

What is Knowledge?

I have been hammering away at the importance of distinguishing between our knowledge and the world. But what, then, is `knowledge'? If we can provide an adequate answer to this question, we will have a key which will open many doors. By `knowledge', I mean a disposition to believe that if I interact with a particular part of the world in a particular way I will generate a particular kind of experience.

Suppose I have knowledge that there is a tree outside my window in the backyard. This knowledge is a disposition to believe that if I look outside my window I will see the tree and that if I go out in the backyard I will be able to interact with the tree and experience it in various ways.

Or suppose I have knowledge that my friends Jackie and Jennifer live at 123 maple street. This knowledge is a disposition to believe that if I were to go to the street labeled maple, and go up to the house with `123' on it, and knock on the door, I would encounter or experience Jackie and Jennifer. My knowledge, whether of the tree in my backyard or of Jackie and Jennifer's address, is "a disposition to believe that interacting with a particular part of the world in a particular way will generate a particular kind of experience".

Knowledge Is A Prediction About The Future

This way of viewing knowledge makes knowledge tentative, hypothetical, and predictive about the future. It eliminates the idea that knowledge means absolute certainty. Some knowledge is of course more reliable or certain than other knowledge. But the predictive, future-leaning character of knowledge means that none of our knowledge can be absolutely certain. It cannot be certain because it refers to events, or experiences, which have not yet happened.

My knowledge that Jackie and Jennifer live at 123 maple is, for example, a `prediction' that if I go there I will find them. Though I think it unlikely, I may discover when I go there that they have moved out. Or I may discover that my memory has played tricks with the address. Or I may discover that for some reason they have deceived me about their address and have never lived there at all. Knowledge as predictive of future possible experience means that it is always at least somewhat tentative and is, or at least should be, open to correction by future experience.

But what about our knowledge of events, or experiences, which took place in the past? Consider the example of World War II. My knowledge of this war is a disposition to believe that between 1939 and 1945 a war of global scope, involving the world's most powerful nations, as well as many others, took place. The only way I can know if this is true is to interact with particular parts of the world in particular ways. I can look at `secondary sources' such as books or articles on the war, I can look at old newspaper clippings from the war period, I can talk to old war veterans, view documentary films of the war, and so forth.

If the experiences these interactions produce are consistent with my view of the war, then I have to that extent confirmed my knowledge. If these experiences are not consistent - for example if no one remembers such a war and there are no records - then my knowledge needs to be seriously re-examined. So my knowledge of events in the past, such as world war ii, though referring to past events, also includes assumptions about future experience (if I look up records or talk to war veterans, they will confirm that the war took place).

Knowledge, then, may be thought of as a set of hypotheses or predictions regarding potentialities for future experience.

The Scientific Attitude In Everday Life

If pondered, this predictive, `future-leaning' view of knowledge can work a positive change in the way we engage with the world. It can, for example, inculcate a greater degree of healthy skepticism, and a greater humility, about the certainty of our own or other peoples thinking and knowledge; it can at the same time inculcate a greater respect for, and a greater desire for, substantiating evidence, argumentation, or experience to back up assertions by ourselves or others of alleged fact. It can, finally, lead us to `qualify' our knowledge - to point out to ourselves or others when the evidence for a particular assertion we are making is less than solid. This change of attitude may be thought of as bringing the scientific attitude into everyday life.

Recognizing Our Own Ignorance

"The scientist," says Nobel-prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman, "has a lot of experience with ignorance and doubt and uncertainty. And this experience is of very great importance, I think. When a scientist doesn't know the answer to a problem, (s)he is ignorant. When (s)he has a hunch as to what the result is, (s)he is uncertain. And when (s)he is pretty darn sure about what the result is going to be, (s)he is still in some doubt. We have found it of paramount importance that in order to progress we must recognize our own ignorance and leave room for doubt. Scientific knowledge is a body of statements of varying degrees of certainty - some most unsure, some nearly sure, but none absolutely sure."

I think that this quote puts the matter almost perfectly. All that remains is to add is that Feynman's statements apply not just to physical scientific knowledge but to all knowledge.

My knowledge as a whole is "a body of statements of varying degrees of certainty - some most unsure, some nearly sure, but none absolutely sure." My beliefs may concern sub-atomic particles, the delivery time for today's paper, or the direction that relations between the world's superpower nations are heading in. Whatever the subject of my knowledge, it remains a prediction about future experience, and therefore remains to some degree uncertain.

Knowledge Is A Prediction About Future Experience

Now I want to emphasize that knowledge is concerned with the world's potentialities for experience. These potentialities for experience are all those other human, natural, or divine beings which are currently outside my phenomenal world. My knowledge is a set of dispositions to believe that interacting with the world in particular ways will convert these other beings, or potentialities for experience, into particular kinds of experiences in my phenomenal world or in the phenomenal worlds of other beings.

Finally, I want to mention several synonyms or partial synonyms for `knowledge' or `belief'. Each of these synonyms emphasizes a different aspect or quality of knowledge. These synonyms or partial synonyms for knowledge are `assumption', `expectation', and `hypothesis'.

Saying that I `assume' something about the world emphasizes that my knowledge is a construct in my mind which may or may not be true of the world.

Saying that I have an `expectation' about the world emphasizes that my knowledge points to future potentialities for experiences which I expect to appear when I interact with the world in particular ways.

Saying that I have a `hypothesis' about the world emphasizes that my knowledge is a set of tentative, `future-leaning' statements which are confirmed or falsified by future experience.

I may now expand my original definition of `knowledge' to read as follows: "by knowledge, I mean a disposition to believe, assume, expect, or hypothesize that if I interact with a particular part of the world in a particular way, I will generate a particular kind of experience."


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CHAPTER 23. THE NATURE OF KNOWLEDGE (Part Two)

In the previous chapter I discussed the `future-predictive' character of our knowledge. Knowledge, I said, "is a disposition to believe that if I interact with a particular part of the world in a particular way I will generate a particular kind of experience". This `future- predictive' character of knowledge makes all knowledge hypothetical or tentative and rules out absolute certainty. But the `future-predictive' character of knowledge does not mean that we have to go about continually uncertain or skeptical about everything.

Inquiry And Skepticism

In exploring why we need not indulge in ultimate skepticism I want to begin with an image. It is an image of my knowledge as a vast network of assumptions or beliefs about the world.

The majority of assumptions in this belief-network can at any given time be used for contemplative or practical purposes without further consideration. I can generally assume without further consideration, for example, that the restaurant around the corner is still in business; that the earth still goes around the sun; and that the United States is still a super-power. However, the hypothetical character of knowledge means that any such particular assumption in my belief network could conceivably be inadequate, One-Sided, or wrong.

It may be that the restaurant around the corner is not still in business, that the earth does not go around the sun, or that the United States is slipping as a super-power.

Any assumption in my belief-network can therefore be singled out for inquiry through re-evaluation, correction, or expansion.

Such inquiry into a belief may take place because new information or new experience has appeared. Or it may take place simply because I have decided to inquire into a particular matter. But even when I select-out a particular belief for skeptical examination or inquiry the rest of my belief network remains intact.

This belief network serves me as the stable framework within which I may re-examine or inquire regarding the belief I have singled-out for consideration. If, for example, I am considering that the restaurant around the corner may have closed, I will probably not simultaneously consider that my life on Earth may be a dream, or that I the Bill of fare in the restaurant may have changed, or that I may be mistaken regarding the woman I think of as the owner of the restaurant.

Even when inquiring into a primary element in my world view, my skepticism will not extend to all of my beliefs. Those beliefs not the subject of my current inquiry serve me as the means I use to examine the belief or beliefs I am inquiring into.

Practical Certitude

The stability of most of my beliefs at any particular time leads to me to the idea of `practical certitude'.

Suppose I get up in the morning and decide to have breakfast at the same restaurant I patronized yesterday morning. If asked I will cheerfully admit that for all I know the restaurant could have changed its hours, gone into bankruptcy, or burned down over night. I will also acknowledge that just conceivably my memory may be playing tricks on me and the restaurant may not be there at all. Nevertheless, my degree of certainty that none of these is the case is sufficient to warrant my `practical certitude' that I need not inquire further before going to the restaurant to have breakfast.

By `practical certitude', I mean this sense that something is in all probability the case and therefore does not require further inquiry at this time. Practical certitude that something is true and does not require further inquiry is, however, quite compatible with the hypothetical character of knowledge and with the belief that any idea may conceivably be inadequate, One-Sided, or wrong and therefore may need to be corrected or improved through inquiry in the future.

Degrees of Certainty and Knowledge Warrants

Finally, I want to discuss the degrees of certainty we can have regarding our knowledge. What determines the position of a knowledge statement on the range from most unsure to nearly sure? The position of a statement on this range depends, or I think ought to depend, on the `knowledge warrant' we have for that statement. By a `knowledge warrant', I mean the warrant or grounds for believing that a particular knowledge concept is true. The warrant for a belief may include past or present experiences as well as theories which I have attached to those experiences. It may also include reports from others regarding their experiences or theories.


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CHAPTER 24. HOW KNOWLEDGE IS TESTED

In the last few chapters I have explored the nature of knowledge. I defined knowledge as "the disposition to believe that interacting with a particular part of the world in a particular way will generate a particular kind of experience".

In this chapter I want to examine the four kinds of knowledge concepts used by human beings and the ways in which the truth of these knowledge concepts can be tested. First, however, I want to introduce you to the notions of `concept' and `knowledge concept'. By a `concept', I mean any idea or image in my mind. My idea that Jennifer lives at 123 maple street, my image of the cartoon character daffy duck, and my notion that it is now three o'clock are all concepts.

All of my concepts are not, however, `knowledge concepts'.

To be a `knowledge concept', a concept must refer to an entity which I believe to exist. I have, for example, a distinct concept, a distinct image or idea, of Santa Claus. I do not, however, believe that a jolly red-suited man, who operates a gigantic toy factory at the North Pole, and who delivers the toys every Christmas to all the world's children by a rain-deer pulled sky sleigh actually exists.

My concept of Santa Claus is therefore not a knowledge concept.

I also have a distinct concept of my friend Jennifer. I believe that my friend Jennifer, unlike Santa Claus, actually does exist - and so my concept of her is a knowledge concept. By a `knowledge concept', then, I mean any concept which refers to an entity which I believe to exist. My knowledge concepts can refer to `material' things, other ideas, feeling states, spiritual entities, or any other entity or potentiality for experience whatsoever which I believe to exist.

Before introducing the four kinds of knowledge concepts, I want to emphasize an essential message of this chapter. It is simply that the mere possession of a knowledge concept, of an idea or image of an entity, does not in any way prove the existence of that entity.

To put it colloquially: "Just because I believe it, doesn't make it so!"

This is a restatement of the principle that our knowledge is distinct from the world, and can therefore be incomplete, One-Sided, or wrong. To put it still differently, the concept of a thing is not the thing itself.

Suppose, for example, I look at a bag of peanuts in my kitchen. If I then turn away from the bag of peanuts and return to the other room, I can still recall the concept of the bag of peanuts to mind. But what is within my awareness or experience now is not the peanuts but only the concept of the peanuts. For all I know someone could have come along and eaten the peanuts while I was working at my desk.

This is a crucial point. I want to emphasize it because in talking with people I have discovered that it is a frequent point of confusion.

Let me therefore repeat: It is crucial to be able to distinguish between having an entity in your awareness or experience and having the concept of an entity in your awareness or experience.

The concept or awareness of the supposed existence of an entity is not the same thing as having that entity in your awareness.

What makes this such a critical point is that if we miss it we will be less inclined to doubt our knowledge and more likely to believe that our knowledge concepts, our ideas or images of the supposed state of the world, are identical with the world and therefore necessarily true.

Testing The Truth Of Our Knowledge Concepts

Now I want to introduce the four kinds of knowledge concepts and the ways in which these concepts can be tested. These four kinds of knowledge concepts correspond to `the four kinds of entities' examined in a previous chapter.

The first of these concepts is the `phenomenal concept'. By a `phenomenal concept' I mean an idea or conception of a phenomenal entity. A phenomenal entity, as we saw earlier, is one which is currently present in experience and no part of which is outside experience. Colors, shapes, behaviors, sense-data, and our own ideas while they are in experience are examples of phenomenal entities.

Since phenomenal entities are directly present in experience, it is relatively easy to tell whether concepts or statements referring to them are true or false. We can match the concepts against the entities presented in experience, and observe the degree of fit between the entity and our idea or concept of the entity.

If I believe Jennifer has red hair and she is standing before me, I can compare my concept to her actual hair color and decide whether I am wrong or right.

Testing Theoretical Concepts

The second kind of concept is the `technical theoretical concept'.

A technical theoretical entity is an entity not currently present in my experience but which can be brought into my experience. A `technical theoretical concept' is the idea or concept of such an entity. Examples of technical theoretical concepts include:

* My concept of Jackie and Jennifer when I am not interacting with them.

* My concept of a cold virus when I'm not viewing it through a microscope and it is having no other perceptible effect on me.

* My concept of my ability to swim when I am not swimming.

The Two Methods For Testing Truth

Their are two way of testing the truth of a theoretical concept. The first way is the `method of direct encounter'. This method involves the attempt to bring the entity to which a concept refers directly within my direct experience. To do that, I must apply the `formula for generating experience': I must interact in a particular way with the particular part of the world where the entity resides if it exists.

To determine whether Jackie and Jennifer are as I remember them, I can phone Jackie and Jennifer and arrange to see them.

To determine whether a cold virus matches my expectations, I can view the cold virus through a microscope to see if it's really there and what it is like

To determine whether I can swim, I can go to the swimming pool and see if I really know how to swim.

If such interactions produces the experiences which correspond to the concepts I am investigating, I have proven the truth of those concept. If such interactions fails to produce the experiences which correspond to the concept I am investigating, then I am entitled to doubt the truth of that concept.

Difficulties In Disproving Concepts

It is easier to prove than to disprove the truth of a technical theoretical concept. Absolute disproof requires that I experience the entire portion of the world where a technical theoretical entity resides if it exists.

Imagine that I cannot locate my friends Jackie and Jennifer. I get a `disconnect' message when I phone their house. I check with the telephone operator for a new phone number for them. I travel about the city checking at various addresses where they might be staying. I go to various restaurants and other public spots where I think they might be found. But all of this is to no avail. I cannot locate them.

But have I disproved their existence? Hardly. There are still a myriad of locations where they might be found. This necessity to explore the entire portion of the world where an entity resides if it exists makes, as I said before, the task of disproving a technical theoretical concept a daunting task at times.

The Method of Indicators

I said before that there are two ways to determine whether a technical theoretical concept is true. The first way, which I have just discussed, is `the method of direct encounter'. It is the method of attempting to bring the entity to which the concept refers directly within my experience.

The second method for test the truth of a concept is `the method of indicators'. This method involves the attempt to bring another entity within my experience which I can treat as an `indicator'. By an `indicator', I mean an entity or experience other than the one I am testing for which I can treat as pointing to or suggesting the existence of the entity in question.

Instead of attempting to see Jackie and Jennifer in person, I can look in the phone book and treat their listing or non-listing there as an indicator pointing to their residence or non-residence in the city.

Instead of viewing the cold virus through a microscope, I can expose susceptible people to the dish in which I believe the virus to reside to see if they catch cold. I can then treat the appearance or non-appearance of their cold symptoms as an indicator of the presence or non-presence of the cold virus in the dish.

Instead of going to the swimming pool to see if I know how to swim, I can elicit memories in my mind of my experiences in the water. If I remember myself swimming, I can treat those memories as an indicator that I can swim; if I remember myself unable to swim, then I can treat those memories as an indicator that I cannot swim.

In testing for the existence of technical theoretical entities, this method of using `indicators' is a common one. It is frequently used in both scientific and everyday life. It is frequently an irreplaceable method because of its economy and convenience. It is well to bear in mind, however, that the `indicator method' is less reliable than attempting to bring an entity directly within your experience. Moreover, indicators must be carefully chosen if they are not to mislead us into thinking that we have established that something does or does not exist when in fact we have done nothing of the kind.

Before passing on, I want to focus briefly on testing the truth value of absolute theoretical entities.

An `absolute theoretical entity' is, as we saw earlier, an entity which cannot be directly experienced and whose existence must be inferred from the existence of phenomenal entities thought to depend on it. An `absolute theoretical concept' is the idea or concept of such an entity. Here there is no question of bringing the entity we are testing for directly within our experience. By definition, an ablest theoretical entity is beyond the reach of my experience. Testing for such entities therefore relies wholly on the use of indicators.

Suppose I want to determine whether you are feeling happy. Your feeling states are from my perspective absolute theoretical entities unavailable to my direct scrutiny. I can, however, look at your face to see whether you are smiling. I can check your eyes to see whether they are bright or dull. I can listen to your voice to see whether it sounds happy or sad. And I can ask you outright whether you are feeling happy or not. All these methods involve bringing not your feeling state, which is beyond my reach, but indicators of your feeling state, within my experience.

Or consider the use of cloud chambers by scientists. The appearance of lines or trails in such cloud chambers is treated as an indicator pointing to the existence and path of sub-atomic particles too small to be seen.

Testing Mixed Concepts

The third kind of concept is the `mixed concept'. A `mixed entity', as we saw earlier, is an entity which is currently partially within, but also partially outside, my direct experience or phenomenal world. A `mixed concept' is my concept of such an entity.

My concept of a peanut sitting on the table before me is a simple example of a mixed concept. Part of the peanut, the appearance of the shell, is in my phenomenal world by way of the `visual channel'. But most of the peanut, its touch and taste, the appearance of the nut inside the shell, and so forth, is outside my immediate experience. If I view what is before me not simply as a `brown shape' but rather as a `peanut', I hold a mixed concept which is open to testing. The phenomenal part of the concept is the easiest to test - I can see the brown shape directly in front of me. To test the theoretical part of the peanut concept, however, is a bit more work. To see whether there really is a peanut in the shell for example, I must bring the inside of the shell directly within my experience by cracking the shell.

The pattern of the peanut holds for all mixed concepts. The phenomenal part of such concepts, the part that corresponds to an area of the world directly within my experience, is easy to test. The theoretical part of the mixed concept, the part of the concept which corresponds to parts of the world outside my experience, can be tested with either `the method of direct encounter' or `the method of indicators' exactly like any other theoretical concept.

Testing for Unknown Entities

The fourth kind of concept is the `concept of unknown entities'. An unknown entity, as we saw previously, is an entity of which we have no knowledge. The `concept of unknown entities' is simply the concept that such entities exist, that we live in a world greater than our knowledge of it, and that there are things of which we are not aware. The test for the truth of this concept is the surprises that periodically appear in our phenomenal worlds, the ability to go out and make new discoveries, and the reports from other regarding such surprises and new discoveries.


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CHAPTER 25. CENTRAL LESSONS OF KNOWLEDGE TESTING

Before leaving the subject of knowledge testing, I want to put its three underlying points in different, and more succinct, terms.

1. The first point is that our knowledge concepts are not the things they refer to, and that our knowledge concepts can therefore be wrong and may require testing.

2. The second point is that there are two general methods which we may use to test the truth of our knowledge concepts. One of these methods is to attempt to bring the entity to which a knowledge concept refers directly within our phenomenal world. As a Shorthand, I have referred to this method as `the method of direct encounter'.

The other method for testing the truth of a knowledge concept is `the method of indicators'. This is the method of attempting to bring an entity which we regard as an `indicator' of the existence of the entity to which a knowledge concept refers directly within our phenomenal world.

Taken together, these two methods may be called `the two methods for testing truth'.

3.The third point is that it is the separate existence of other entities or beings, quite apart from our interpretations or concepts about them, which enables us to bring them or their consequences directly within our experience so that we can observe their behavior in ways which may confirm or falsify our beliefs about them.

Checking Out The Band

Now I would like to round out my discussion of knowledge testing with a little vignette to illustrate these three lessons. I call this vignette `Checking Out The Band'.

Suppose that I want to test my concept that a particular band is playing at a club.

One means of testing my idea is to elicit indicators. I may talk to friends to see what they know about the matter. I may look in the paper to see if there is a listing for the performance. I may phone the club to see if the management says the band is performing.

By such efforts I may garner evidence pointing to the possibility that the band is, or is not, playing at the club.

But since these phenomena do not represent direct contact on my part with the band at the club, they may in fact mislead me.

Suppose that a friend tells me that he read in the paper that the band's performance was canceled. His statement about what he read may be correct. However, the paper may have made a mistake. Or my friend may have misread or misinterpreted the article. Or I may have misunderstood my friend. Due to their indirect nature, indicators can give us relative but not absolute certainty.

In addition to indicators, then, I may therefore attempt to elicit a direct encounter to determine whether the band is playing at the club. I may go to the club and stand outside to see if I can hear the band's music. If I hear the sound of the band, this is evidence that the band may in fact be there. But this evidence is not conclusive. My concept of the band at this point is a mixed concept. It refers to a band which is partly inside my phenomenal world by virtue of being in my auditory channel and partly outside my phenomenal world by virtue of the fact that I am not seeing, touching, or otherwise encountering the band. From another standpoint, the sound of the band's music is an indicator which I take as pointing to the presence of the band inside the club. But none of this is conclusive. For all I know the music coming from the club could be produced by a record player.

So I may choose to obtain visual input by walking up to the club and peering in the window. If I see the band on stage, I have direct phenomenal confirmation of the band's presence in two sense channels. In other words, I can now both hear and see the band.

At this point I will probably become relatively certain that my knowledge that the band is playing at the club is correct. But there is still room for uncertainty, though to explicate the nature of this uncertainty I must anticipate my analysis of causality in a later chapter. What I am referring to is that the causal link between the band's movements with their instrument on stage and the music I hear is still theoretical.

Am I being overly technical? Isn't it a forgone conclusion at this point that the band is in fact making the music? Not at all. A common practice in some clubs is for a band to lip-synch to pre- recorded material which they or perhaps others have previously produced!


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CHAPTER 26: INDICATORS AS PHENOMENAL CONSEQUENCES.

In the preceeding chapter I stressed two methods for testing our knowledge concepts. These are the methods of `direct encounter' and of `indicators'. The method of `indicators', as you may recall, is that of attempting to bring another entity within my experience which I can treat as pointing to or suggesting the existence of the entity in question.

Such indicators may also frequently be thought of as `phenomenal consequences' of the entities to which they point. By `phenomenal consequences', I mean that these indicators may be thought of as results appearing within my phenomenal world of entities which themselves remain outside my phenomenal world.

The microscopic cold virus may remain outside my phenomenal world if I lack a microscope. But my sneezing is a phenomenal consequence, appearing within my phenomenal world, which can be taken as indicating that the cold virus may in fact be present.

Jackie and Jennifer may be standing outside my door invisible to me. But the sound of a knock is a phenomenal consequence in my phenomenal world which can be taken as indicating that they may have arrived. I may not want to visit Jackie and Jennifer's house in order to see for myself their exact address. But by looking in the phone book I can elicit a listing which I can take as a phenomenal consequence of their location.


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CHAPTER 26: INDICATORS AS PHENOMENAL CONSEQUENCES.

In the preceeding chapter I stressed two methods for testing our knowledge concepts. These are the methods of `direct encounter' and of `indicators'. The method of `indicators', as you may recall, is that of attempting to bring another entity within my experience which I can treat as pointing to or suggesting the existence of the entity in question.

Such indicators may also frequently be thought of as `phenomenal consequences' of the entities to which they point. By `phenomenal consequences', I mean that these indicators may be thought of as results appearing within my phenomenal world of entities which themselves remain outside my phenomenal world.

The microscopic cold virus may remain outside my phenomenal world if I lack a microscope. But my sneezing is a phenomenal consequence, appearing within my phenomenal world, which can be taken as indicating that the cold virus may in fact be present.

Jackie and Jennifer may be standing outside my door invisible to me. But the sound of a knock is a phenomenal consequence in my phenomenal world which can be taken as indicating that they may have arrived. I may not want to visit Jackie and Jennifer's house in order to see for myself their exact address. But by looking in the phone book I can elicit a listing which I can take as a phenomenal consequence of their location.


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CHAPTER 27: INFORMATION.

In this chapter I want to introduce a concept which overlaps, but is also distinct from, that of knowledge. This concept is that of `information'. I indirectly introduced this subject in the previous chapter when I discussed indicators. The concept of information presented here is in fact an `indicator theory of information'.

By `information', I mean any presentation in my phenomenal world which I treat as indicating or pointing beyond itself to another entity or potentiality currently lying outside my phenomenal world.

Suppose I hear the phone ringing. If I take the ringing sound merely as a sound, I am treating it simply as a presentation in my phenomenal world. I am not treating it as indicating or pointing beyond itself to other potentialities for experience. It is therefore not information.

But suppose I treat the ringing sound as suggesting that there is someone calling on the phone. I am at that point treating the ringing sound as an indicator; I am treating it as pointing beyond itself to a potentiality for experience currently outside my phenomenal world. At this point the ringing sound becomes information.

Or suppose I see a tree. If I take the image of the tree merely as an image, I am treating it simply as a presentation in my phenomenal world. I am not treating it as indicating or pointing beyond itself to other potentialities for experience. It is therefore not information.

But suppose I treat the visual image of the tree as suggesting other possibilities for experience such as the possibility to climb the tree or to touch it. I am at that point treating the visual image of the tree as an indicator; I am treating it as pointing beyond itself to potentialities for experience currently outside my phenomenal world. At this point the image of the tree becomes information.

Or, finally, suppose I look at a cookbook. If I relate to the words in the cookbook simply as black patterns against white paper, I am treating them simply as a presentation in my phenomenal world. I am at that point not treating them as indicating or pointing beyond themselves to other potentialities for experience. They are therefore not information.

But if I treat the words in the cook book as, say, telling me how to make a carrot cake, then I am treating them as indicators, as pointing to possibilities currently outside my phenomenal world. At that point the cookbook is information for me.

There are, then, two fundamental ways in which a being may relate to an experience. It may treat the experience simply as an immediate presentation without further significance. Or it may treat it as `information'. as an indicator pointing beyond itself to some other possibility for experience.

All Experience Contains Potential Information

I want to emphasize that we are constantly bombarded with potential information in the form of our experiences. All experience contains potential information. But this potential information is not realized as actual information until the observer or experience interprets the experience as an indicator or symptom pointing to potentialities in the world. It is at the point that the experience is treated as an indicator or pointer to other potentialities for experience that the potential information becomes actual information. Another way to put this is that no phenomenon is by itself information. A phenomenon only becomes information when some being treats it as such.

Anything Can Become Information

I want to stress that any experience or phenomenon whatsoever may become information. My feelings, thoughts, beliefs, intuitions, reports that I receive from others, insights gained through religious or spiritual experiences, and the models of the world I develop through the free use of my human imagination may all serve me as valuable sources of information.

To convert these or other experiences into information I need only treat them as indicators pointing to other possibilities for experience.

No Information Is Absolutely Reliable

It should be emphasized that neither these nor any other sources of information are absolutely reliable. Neither my feelings, nor my thoughts, nor my beliefs, nor my intuitions, nor reports that I receive from others, nor insights gained through religious or spiritual experiences, nor the models of the world I develop through my imagination are absolutely reliable guides to the character of my world. It is only by comparing these different sources of information, and by seeking out additional experiences to test this information, as previously discussed in the chapter on knowledge testing, that I can verify or falsify my knowledge in relatively effective ways.

Now I want to deepen my exploration of the concept of information. As a first step, I want to introduce you to a coined word which will simplify my discussion. This coined word is `informative'. By `informative', I mean the act of treating a current experience as information. To `informative' an experience is to treat it as an indicator pointing to other potentialities for experience.

We may speak of `informatized experience' and `uninformatized experience'. `Informatized experience' is experience to which meaning is attached; it is experience treated as information pointing to potentialities beyond itself. `Uninformatized experience' is experience treated simply as an immediate presentation; it is experience not treated as pointing to anything beyond itself.

Suppose I look at a door and simply treat it as a door-shape. At that point my experience is not `informatized'. I have not treated the door-shape as information. But suppose I think of the door-shape as indicating the route out of the room. At that point I have treated the door shape as an indicator or as information. I have `informatized' my experience.

In addition to `informatize' and its grammatical variants, I also want to introduce the concept of `the informatizing power'. This power is akin to the power of reason which will be discussed in a later chapter. By `the informatizing power', I mean the power of a being to treat its current experiences as indicators pointing to other potentialities for experience.

I use my `informatizing power' when I interpret a door-shape not simply as a shape but as a way out of the room.

I also use it when I interpret the words in a book as signifying something beyond squiggles in front of me. And I use it as well when I treat my thoughts as indicators pointing beyond themselves to other potentialities for experience in the world.

I began this discussion by defining information as "any presentation ...which I treat as indicating or pointing beyond itself to another entity or potentiality currently lying outside my phenomenal world".

A ringing phone, for example, only becomes information when I treat it as pointing beyond itself to the possibility that someone is calling on the phone.

This power to `informatize' experience may also be thought of as `the power to anticipate'. By `the power to anticipate', I mean the ability to use experiences to anticipate other possible experiences.

Suppose I'm crossing the road when I see a bus. I could treat this event as a presentation in my phenomenal world without further significance. But I do not. Instead I informatize the experience; I treat it as an indicator allowing me to anticipate the potentiality to be run down by the bus (an experience I would like to avoid) and as pointing to the possibility of being taken by the bus to my destination (an experience I would like to elicit).

Or consider the experience of a one-celled creature. In its phenomenal world presentations appear which it treats as information indicating `dinner' or `not-dinner'. Those presentations it construes as dinner it treats in one way and those it construes as not-dinner it treats in another. If the one- celled creature could not anticipate its possible experiences in this way, it would quickly starve or attempt to consume entities which were toxic for it.

The informatizing power, and the power to anticipate, are simply two ways to look at a single ability. In treating my experience of the bus as information, I am at the same time anticipating the effects which the bus might have on me. In informatizing my experience of words in a cookbook, I am at the same time anticipating the potentialities I might elicit if I were to mix dough and other ingredients to make a carrot cake.

Now I want to connect the concept of information with the concept of choice.

The informatizing power, the power to treat experiences as information, is the foundation for all choice. The very possibility of choosing to elicit some experiences and to avoid others depends on the informatizing power. I cannot choose to avoid being run over by a bus or to use it to reach my destination unless I can treat my initial glimpse of it as information. Only by informatatizing my initial sighting of the bus can I choose between its potentialities to run me down or to take me where I want to go.

Without the power to treat experiences as information, we would be reduced to blindly, and choicelessly, encountering one experience after another. All choice requires the informatizing power.


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CHAPTER 28: PERCEPTION.

In this chapter I introduce the important concept of perception. By `perception', I mean the impressions of my world which I generate as I interact with it.

The Datum And Judgment

Perceptions are made up of two kinds of components. One of these is the `datum' and the other is the `judgment'. The `datum' in a perception may consist of sense data such as sights, sounds, tastes, touches, or smell. But the datum may also be a thought, feeling, emotion, body sensation, energy, or any other phenomena whatsoever which I directly encounter in either my inner or outer worlds. By a `datum', then, I mean any direct experience or immediate presentation in my phenomenal world.

As for the `judgment' in a perception, it consists of any interpretation which I bring to the datum. The datum is simply there in my experience; it is what the world has presented to me. But the judgment goes beyond this direct experience by construing it as an indicator pointing to other possibilities for experience.

Suppose I perceive a bus in the distance on the road at night. The datum in this perception, the direct experience in it, may be two bright areas of light. The judgment in this perception, the interpretation I bring to the datum, may be construing these two bright areas of light as indicating a bus in the distance.

The datum or direct experience, in this case the two bright lights, cannot be falsified. If I am directly encountering or experiencing two bright lights, then I am directly encountering or experiencing two bright lights.

But the judgment in my perception - that these two bright lights indicate a bus - can be falsified. The two bright lights which I take to represent a bus may turn out when they approach me to belong not to a bus but to a truck.

Or take the example of a friend whom I perceive to be angry at me because he has snarled at me. The datum in this perception, the direct experience in it, is my experience of my friend snarling. The judgment, the interpretation I bring to the datum, is construing this snarling as indicating that my friend is angry at me.

The datum or experience, in this case the snarling, cannot be falsified. Snarling sounds are snarling sounds.

But the judgment in my perception - that the snarling sounds mean my friend is angry at me - can be falsified. Questioning my friend may, for example, reveal that he is snarling not because he is angry at me but because his tooth is hurting.

Perceptual Hypotheses

Every perception which includes a judgment, then, is in effect a hypothesis about the character of the world. The accuracy of such `perceptual hypotheses' can be tested.

The first step in testing the accuracy of a perception is to distinguish its phenomenal component or datum from its theoretical component or judgment.

In the case of a snarling friend, for example, I must first distinguish between the phenomena of his snarling and my interpretation of his snarling as indicating that he is angry at me.

In the case of my perception of a bus at night I must first distinguish between the phenomena of two lights in the distance and my interpretation of these two lights as indicating that there is a bus.

Once I have distinguished datum from judgment, I can apply the `two methods for testing truth'. These two methods were set out in the chapter on testing the truth of our knowledge concepts. The methods are, as you may recall, `the method of indicators' and the `method of direct encounter'.

In `the method of indicators' I attempt to bring an entity which I regard as an `indicator' of the existence of another entity directly within my phenomenal world. In the case of a snarling friend, for example, I can test my percpeption that he is upset with me by asking him if he is. Or I might ask someone else if they know whether he is upset with me. Or I might watch his behavior for further clues as to whether he is upset with me.

In the case of my perception of a bus in the distance at night, I might apply `the method of indicators' in a number of ways. I might ask someone else at the bus stop if they know whether the bus is due or I might consult a timetable to see if the lights I see are likely to be those of the bus.

By asking my friend if he is upset with me, or by checking the timetable to see if the bus is due, I am bringing into my phenomenal world indicators of the truth or falsity of my perceptions.

The second method for testing truth is `the method of direct encounter'. This method involves the attempt to bring the entity to which a knowledge concept refers directly within our phenomenal world.

In the case of my snarrling friend, I cannot apply `the method of direct encounter'. The method does not apply to human dispositions such as anger since we cannot ordinarily have direct access to someone else's inner states.

In a case such as my perception of a bus in the distance, however, I can apply the `method of direct encounter'. I can walk towards the area where I believe the bus to be in order to bring the entity more fully into my phenomenal world. Or I can wait until the entity generating the lights moves closer to me and more fully enters my phenomenal world.

Finally, I want to connect this discussion of perception with that of information in the previous chapter. The categories of `information' and `perception' are in fact two ways of looking at the same thing. Information, as I said in the previous chapter, is any experience in my phenomenal world which I treat as an indicator pointing to other entities or potentialities for experience which are not currently in my phenomenal world. In this conception of information, the direct experience in my phenomenal world is also the `datum' in perception, and the treatment of that experience as an indicator is also the `judgement' in perception.


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Chapers 29-31 are not yet written. So the chapter below is numbered 32.


CHAPTER 32. CAUSAL EXPLANATION AND CO-VARIATION.

Now I want to look at some examples of cause and effect. In doing so I want to emphasize the idea of causes as powers or beings `behind' the experiences or effects appearing our phenomenal world which we use to explain those experiences.

Behind the voices which I hear in this room, for example, are Jackie and Jennifer talking in the next room.

Behind the voice of a friend speaking sharply to me is his unhappiness or displeasure with me.

Behind the altered pointer readings which a scientist observes in a chemical experiment are changes in the chemicals used in the experiment.

Now I want to delve a little deeper into the nature of `causes'. The causes or beings behind our experiences need not be, and frequently are not, directly experiencable. Causes can be `absolute theoretical entities'. They can, that is, be outside our experience and capable of entering our experience only via effects mediated through other beings.

Moreover, in explaining our experiences in terms of the beings behind them, we need not restrict ourselves apriori to any one kind of being such as `material beings'. Causal powers need not be of any particular character. They may be material, energetic, spiritual, physical, mental, emotional, or otherwise.

To be a causal power is simply to have - and exercise - the power to enter into and produce an effect in the phenomenal world of some other being.

Jackie and Jennifer, for example, are able to produce effects in my phenomenal world.

Sunlight is able to produce effects in my phenomenal world.

And it may be that God or spiritual beings are able to produce effects in at least the mental portion of my phenomenal world.

The particular beings or causes behind our experiences should not be decided upon apriori but rather by open-minded inquiry and experimentation.

We may choose to attribute an experience to a causal power which is material, energetic, spiritual, or of some other kind. But regardless of the being to which we attribute an experience, the criteria of falsifiability and the methods for testing the truth of our ideas need to be borne in mind.

Co-variation and Causality

Before I continue I want to emphasize an essential claim of this model of cause and effect. This is the claim that all causes or powers are outside our direct experience.

It may seem that this claim is too sweeping. What if I see someone accidentally tip over a glass with his or her hand? Haven't I seen both the effect (the tipped-over glass) and the cause (the hand tipping it over)? The answer to this is `no'.

What I have directly experienced is a `co-variation' in my phenomenal world of two presentations. I have seen a glass tipping over (one presentation) and I have seen a hand near or overlapping the glass (the other presentation)).

Because these two presentations `co-vary' or come together, and because I impute to hands a `tipping-over' power as a result of previous experiences with them, I assume that it was the power of the hand that tipped over the glass. This `tipping-over' power of the hand, like all powers or causes, is behind the scenes. I assume that the `tipping-over' power is in the hand but I do not see it.

By contrast, if a small leaf blew in the window, touched the glass, and the glass suddenly tipped-over, I would be amazed. I would not automatically assume that the leaf had tipped over the glass but would look for other explanations. I would seek these other explanations because I do not ordinarily impute the power to tip- over glasses to leaves.

I have, I hope, succeeded in giving you at least a basic understanding of what I mean by `cause and effect', and by co- variation.

Causal Explanation

Now I want to turn to `causal explanation'. By `causal explanation,' I mean explanation concerned with identifying the noumena or powers behind our experiences. When we engage in causal explanation, we attempt to account for our experiences or those of others in terms of causes and effects. We attempt, that is, to explain our experiences or those of others as effects resulting from causes or powers `behind the scenes' which are responsible for those experiences. But since the causes or noumena behind our experiences are outside our experiences, we must depend on our powers of creative imagination to model the beings or causes which lie behind - and produce - our experiences.

Suppose I hear Jackie and Jennifer's voices coming from the next room. I can use my creative imagination, working as reason, to formulate a number of hypotheses as to the beings or entities behind these sounds.

One hypothesis is that Jackie and Jennifer talking in the next room are the causes or powers behind the sounds of the voices.

Another hypothesis is that other people who sound like Jackie and Jennifer are the causes or powers behind the sounds of the voices.

Still another hypothesis is that Jackie and Jennifer have turned on a tape-recording of their voices.

Now suppose I have what I take to be an encounter or experience of God or the sacred dimension.

One hypothesis is that God or the sacred is the cause or power behind the experience.

Another is that the cause or power behind the experience is some portion of my own mind which I do not ordinarily encounter.

And still another hypotheses is that it is neither my own mind nor God or the sacred but some other entity which is the power or cause behind the experience.

It should also be pointed out that a noumena or cause may or may not be capable of extension into a particular phenomenal world. So that God, if God exists, may only appear in the phenomenal worlds or mental spaces of those with appropriate capacities of perception, just as colour can only appear in the perceptions of those with colour vision.

Testing Causal Explanations.

Now I want to discuss the issue of testing causal explanations.

One important method of testing causal explanations is what scientists call the hypothetico-deductive method. This method involves deducing and checking for other phenomenal consequences of the inferred causal noumena in one or more phenomenal worlds. (This paragraph to be continued.)

There can be varying degrees of certainty in causal explanations. These can range from great uncertainty up to practical certitude. But we cannot ever have absolute certainty in identifying the causes behind experience. This is because causal explanations point to powers or causes which are in fact outside our experience.

The power behind what I take to be Jackie and Jennifer talking in the next room may not be Jackie and Jennifer but other people with similar voices, or even a tape recorder which Jackie and Jennifer have put on as a joke.

Changes in my pointer readings during a chemistry experiment may be caused not by chemical changes but by malfunctions in the equipment or other factors.

A friend may speak sharply to me not, as I think, because he is displeased with me but because he just thought of a painful incident in his past which has nothing to do with me.

The character of our direct experience is generally easier to determine than the character of the causes behind that experience. I can be relatively certain that I hear voices from the next room, or that the pointer reading changes during a chemical experiment, or that my friend spoke sharply to me. But the causes or powers behind these or other experiences, while we can gain a measure of practical certitude about them, necessarily remain less certain.


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CHAPTER 33: FALSIFIABLE AND NON-FALSIFIABLE CLAIMS.

This chapter is not complete.

In this chapter I want to introduce a concept which a friend of mine once termed "one of the most enlightening ideas that the human mind can ever receive." This is the concept of `falsifiability'.

The concept of falsifiability was introducted into philosphy of science by Karl Popper earlier in this century. It states that to qualify as valid a knowledge concept or piece of information must be `falsifiable'. By `falsifiable', I mean that a knowledge concept must directly or indirectly tell us what evidence or experience would be necessary to demonstrate that it is false.

Suppose I tell you that the sun is shining outside. This is a falsifiable knowledge concept. It is falsifiable in that it tells you, in effect, what evidence would be necessary to demonstrate that it is false. It tells you that you can go outside to see whether there is in fact a bright disk shinning in the sky.

Or consider a conversation I once had with an anti-Semite who said that Jews control the banking system of the United States. I asked him how he knew this. "Look," he said, "at the Rockefeller family. They're Jews and they control many banks and oil companies."

"Wait," I replied, "the Rockefellers are not Jews but Protestants. "

At first he refused to believe me. But when I cited various facts he retracted his original statement and said: "It doesn't matter whether the Rockefellers are Jews or not - because their advisors must be Jews."

I assume that if I had somehow convinced him that the advisors weren't Jews he would have clung to the view that nevertheless Jews are somehow behind the Rockefellers and the U.S. Banking system.

This man's view of Jews was not falsifiable. It was not falsifiable because it was not controlled or correctable by evidence. On the contrary, evidence or experience was simply ignored or used to support the view where possible and was rationalized away and replaced with other assumptions where the evidence could not be ignored or rationalized away.

From the perspective of the criteria of falsifiability, any knowledge concept which cannot be falsified by evidence, either because of our bias or because it is so formulated that nothing would count as evidence against it, is not knowledge.

(This chapter to be expanded.)


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CHAPTER 34: HOW KNOWLEDGE IS BUILT (PART 1):

Introduction To Reason And The Creative Imagination.

Until now I have examined knowledge primarily in terms of its nature and of how its truth may be tested. But there is another important other side to knowledge. This is the side of how knowledge is produced in the first place. Before knowledge can be tested it must first exist. How, then, does knowledge come into existence?

In broad terms knowledge is built in our minds by the power of reason working on our experiences. This power of reason is in turn a particular application of a broader power which is the human imagination. In this sense reason might be described as "rational imagination". In this chapter I want to briefly define imagination and survey its various applications before explaining its use as reason in building our knowledge and models of the world.

The subject of human imagination is a vast and, I think, still relatively unexplored continent. I will here be able to touch on only a number of cardinal points.

To begin with I want to define imagination. By `imagination', I mean the mental power which we use to generate images or forms in our minds. Imagination is the `image-generating power'. The experiences generated by this power consist, like all other experiences, of forms. The forms which appear in the `imaginal world' may be visual, auditory, kinesthetic, olfactory, or taste forms. They may also involve `pure concept' forms, emotional forms, subtle energies of a spiritual or other nature, and so forth.

The Economic Advantages of Imagination

These forms or images generated by imagination in our minds have one great advantage over all others. They are far more amenable to our wills, and therefore far more economical to produce, than other kinds of experiences.

It is, for example, far easier to build a mental house than to build an actual house.

It is easier to dismiss the thought of Jackie and Jennifer being in my presence than to get the actual Jackie and Jennifer to leave my presence.

It is easier to imagine myself living on another planet than to actually go to another planet and live there.

There are exceptions such as painful emotional states or obsessive thoughts which may strongly resist my will. But generally my mental images or experiences display far greater plasticity and willingness to conform to my wishes than other experiences involving other kinds of entities.

The Uses of Imagination

Now I want to discuss the uses to which imagination can be put.

Imagination, and the mental images or forms it produces, may be used for many purposes. There is, to begin with, what might be termed `imagination for its own sake'. This is the realm of experiences, stories, fantasies, and worlds existing, and thought and intended by the imaginer to exist, only in the imagination. The world of `imagination for its own sake' is, to a considerable degree, a `play world'. It is a world from which, properly used, both children and adults can derive tremendous pleasure and satisfaction.

Another important aspect of imagination is what the psychologists Roberto Ascagioli and Karl Jung have refereed to as the realm of `sub-selves' or `sub-personalities'. Such `sub-selves' or `sub- personalities' exist in most human beings as semi-autonomous systems within the personality and can under appropriate therapeutic or other conditions appear in the mind as imaginal entities or beings with their own distinct characters. These imaginal beings can be addressed by the experience within his or her mind and will respond from their own, albeit imaginal, character. In this way a relationship of dialogue, and of improved communication and gradual integration of sub-selves within the human personality can take place.

Another use to which imagination, and the images it produces, may be put is what might be called `conscious imagination for personal or spiritual development'. Meditating on an image of Christ, contemplating the character of Buddha, or focusing on some other ideal for one's own being or development are all instances of `conscious imagination for personal or spiritual development'. So too are the imaginal exercises intended to prepare people to perceive and influence the `subtle', `energetic', and `spiritual' bodies said to exist in and around their physical bodies.

An additional use of conscious imagination for personal development is the conscious rehearsal and perfecting of various kinds of social or physical performances. This use of imagination is exemplified by the title of the well-known book `The Inner Game of Tennis'.

Another, and exceedingly important, use of imagination is for the production of knowledge. This use of imagination is the one I will focus on here, as my primary concern with imagination in this book is with its use in the production of knowledge and information.

All knowledge and all information are in one sense products of the human imagination. The experiences or images generated by imagination serve as knowledge or information when we treat them as indicators pointing to other possibilities for experience in the wider world beyond the images.

This specialized use of imagination is the use of imagination as `rational imagination', as a `connecting power' for relating our experiences to one another. This use of imagination will be discussed in the next chapter.


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CHAPER 35: HOW KNOWLEDGE IS BUILT (Part2): -

The use of external media in simulaiton and mental modeling.

This chapter is not Complete.

In the preceding chapter I explored the idea of imagination or mental modelling, which might also be called `simulation'. By `simulation', I mean the use of mental models to simulate the properties or beings of the world and the experiences they can generate by interacting. Such mental simulation, as mentioned earlier, is often far more economical or efficient than producing the real conditions which are being explored. In this chapter I want to broaden the discussion of simulation to include external media" such as writing or drawing, the use of computers, and physical models such as model airplanes. Such external media extend the power of our minds to simulate the properties and beings of the world and their interactive potentials. (This chapter to be expanded..)


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CHAPTER 36: WORLDVIEWS AND PERSPECTIVES:

Introduction

In this chapter I turn to the important idea that every being has an individual perspective and an individual world view of its own.

A `perspective' is the world as `seen' by a particular being, on the basis of its own particular character, and from its own particular position in the world. The perspective of a being is made up of three elements. These three elements are the current experiences, the current beliefs, and the current purposes held by the being.

The first element in my perspective, then, is my `experience'. By my `experience', as explained in previous chapters, I mean anything I am currently undergoing or directly encountering in my `inner' or `outer' world. My experiences also tell me what the world actually contains.

The second element in my perspective is my `beliefs' or my `knowledges'. By my `beliefs' or `knowledges, as explained in previous chapters, I mean my suppositions about the possibilities for experience to be found in my world. My beliefs are my assumptions that my inner or outer world holds particular potentialities for my experience or that of other beings.

The third element in my perspective is my `purposes'. By my `purposes', I mean my desires to elicit some of these potentialities for experience which I believe my inner or outer world holds, and to avoid others.

Experience, in other words, is `what I bump into', belief is what I `think is there to bump into', and purpose is `what I want or don't want to bump into'.

Now let's look at an example of a being's perspective as its experience, beliefs, and purposes.

Suppose I expect Jackie and Jennifer at six p.m. And exactly at six I hear the doorbell ring. My `current experience' is the doorbell sound; my `current belief' is that Jackie and Jennifer are the beings behind the sound and are ringing the bell; and my `current purpose' is to answer the door and bring Jackie and Jennifer into my phenomenal world. Taken together, my experience, belief, and purpose constitute my perspective on the doorbell sound.

The concept of perspective emphasizes that a being's experiences, beliefs, and purposes arise from its particular position or place in the world. The total perspective of a being is the totality of its current individual orientation towards its world as a whole. Within this total perspective, there are particular perspectives which represent the particular orientations of the being towards particular parts of its world.

There is, for example, `my perspective regarding Jackie and Jennifer', `my perspective regarding what I'd like us to eat for dinner', `my perspective on love', or `my perspective on the world's super-powers'.

WORLDVIEWS

Now I want to relate perspectives to `worldviews'. A being's perspective may be divided into two parts. On the one hand there are its current experiences. On the other hand there are the beliefs and purposes which the being holds in regard to these current experiences and in regard to the world's other potentialities for experience. Considered apart from its current experiences, a being's beliefs and purposes are its world view. By a `world view', then, I mean all of a being's current beliefs and purposes in relation to its world.

Christianity, Marxism, and Buddhism are often said to be `worldviews'. This is because each of them attempts to provide an integrated total view, an integrated set of beliefs and purposes, through which to orient towards the world. But regardless of whether we subscribe to such `integral' world-view systems, each of us has a world view. Each of us, that is, has a set of beliefs and purposes related to the world we live in.

Every Being Has A World view And A Perspective

I want to emphasize that this notion of worldviews and perspectives is not limited to human beings. Every being, or at least every living being, carries some experiences, beliefs, and purposes in relation to its world. This is true whether we think of an ameoba, an elephant, a tree, or a human being. All of them have worldviews because all of them have beliefs and purposes, at some level, about their world.

I distinguished a moment ago between worldviews, which are made up of beliefs and purposes, and perspectives, which contain beliefs, purposes, and experiences. An important reason for this distinction is that it allows us to test and improve our worldviews, by comparing our ideas and purposes to our experiences, as will be discussed later in this chapter. But for now I want to deepen my exploration of the nature of perspectives.

Perspectives Differ

In the social order of the universe each human, natural, or divine being has at each moment its own particular perspective. This perspective arises from a being's particular position within the universal network of interaction, and from the particular character which the being brings to its interactions. Since no two beings have identical characters, and since no two beings interact in identical ways, no two beings have identical perspectives.

There are as many perspective as there are beings in the universe.

Transpecting

In addition to relating to the world through our own worldviews or perspectives, we may also engage in `transpecting'. By `transpecting', I mean the act of reconstructing within our own worldviews or perspectives the world view or perspectives of other human or non-human beings.

This ability to transpect is, to a greater or lesser extent, a standard part of our operating system as human beings. We use it every time we imagine what someone is feeling or guess what their next action will be.

Our transpecting abilities are, however, quite fallible, in that we may neglect to use them or we may misconstrue the perspective of another being due to failures of imagination or information.

In `transpecting', we are, as it were, traveling into or crossing into the perspective of another human, natural, or divine being. It should be noted, however, that we cannot literally enter into another being's world view or perspective. `The individuality of experience', as discussed earlier, rules out direct entry into the phenomenal worlds or perspectives of other beings.

I want to emphasize that, as an individual being, my world view or perspectives do not directly overlap with those of any other being. Just as beings do not directly share any of their experiences, so they do not directly share their worldviews or perspectives.

What transpecting in fact involves is not entering another perspective but the attempt to reconstruct that other perspective as a model within our own perspective. Transpecting is in fact modeling, and not actual participation in another being's experience or perspective.

This `modeling-aspect' of transpecting accounts for the frequent errors we make in understanding the experiences, beliefs, purposes, motives, meanings, or ideas of other human and non- human beings.

It also points to the importance of getting explicit symbolic feedback from others regarding the character of their experiences, beliefs, purposes, motives, meanings, or ideas wherever these may be in doubt and it is important to us to know what these are.

Testing Our World views and Perspectives

The fact that every human being has his or her own world view and perspective does not mean that worldviews and perspectives cannot be tested and improved. On the contrary, the beliefs and purposes found in our world views may be tested and modified by comparing them to the experiences we encounter as we move through the world. This is the process of `world view inventing and testing' which in the broadest sense of the term might also be called `inquiry'.

An important part of `world view inventing and testing' or `inquiry' is the use of reason to compare my actual experiences with my beliefs and purposes. I want to emphasize that my experience as such cannot be tested. My experience is simply what I actually encounter in my phenomenal world.

But the truth of my beliefs, and the viability of my purposes, can be tested against my actual experiences to the extent of my intellectual capabilities and my willingness to do so.

The truth of a belief, as discussed in a previous chapter, is its conformity or lack of conformity to the actual potentialities for experience held by the world.

The `viability' of a purpose is the ability or inability of the world to deliver the experience which that purpose seeks.

As I interact with the world and spontaneously or intentionally elicit particular experiences from it, I can therefore successively refine and improve both the beliefs and the purposes found in my world view.


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CHAPTER 37: MORE ON WORLD VIEWS AND PERSPECTIVES

The Structure of World Views

Every world view connects experience, belief, and purpose in particular ways. But there is no single way in which the experiences, beliefs, and purposes found together in a world view must be connected.

Suppose I experience finding a sum of money on the sidewalk in front of my house. This experience may be linked with any number of beliefs. It may be linked with believing that the millionaire across the street dropped it, or that children playing dropped it, or that a secret admirer left it for me.

The experience of finding the money may also be linked with any number of purposes. My purpose may be to return the money to the millionaire if I believe that he dropped it there. Or my purpose may be to give it back to the children if I believe that they left it there. Or my purpose may be to keep my find secret so that no one asks me for the money.

We see, then, that while experience, belief, and purpose are linked together in worldviews, there is no particular kind of relationship which necessarily exists between them.

The General Pattern of Perspectives

There is, however, a general pattern which can generally be found in the relationships between experiences, beliefs, and purposes in worldviews.

This general pattern is that our purposes or desires for particular kinds of experiences are generally based on our beliefs about the possibilities for experience which the world holds. And our beliefs about the possibilities for experiences which the world holds are generally based on our experiences or information regarding the experiences of others.

Suppose, for example, that I form the purpose of taking a walk in the park. Such a purpose would ordinarily be based on a belief. This belief is that the park exists and that I will find it a pleasant place to walk. My beliefs about the park would in turn be based on my previous experience of the park or on information I had received about it.

There is, then, a general `functional dependency' between the experiences, beliefs, and purposes found together in a world view. This `functional dependency' produces a `strain' towards consistency between the elements of a world view. It is of course true that worldviews can also contain great inconsistencies, as when we go on believing something despite glaring evidence or experience to the contrary.

The Mutability of World Views

By `the mutability of worldviews and perspectives', I mean that the experiences, beliefs, and purposes which make up a world view or perspective can change. Moreover, a change in one of these elements can produce a change in the other two elements due to their general interdependence.

Suppose I experience a doorbell sound which I believe signifies the arrival of my friends Jackie and Jennifer and I form the purpose of letting them in. If I open the door and find a salesperson there offering a product I am not interested in, this experience may lead me to change my belief from `Jackie and Jennifer are at the door' to `a salesperson is at the door'.

This change in belief may then lead me to change my purpose from `letting Jackie and Jennifer in' to `asking the salesperson to leave'.

Or suppose that while I am still walking towards the door to let Jackie and Jennifer in you tell me that you're sure it's actually Fred, a person I dislike talking to. This information may lead me to change my belief from `Jackie and Jennifer are at the door' to `Fred is at the door'. This change in belief may the lead me to change my purpose from `answering the door' to `letting you and not me answer the door'.

Finally, suppose I believe that you are playing the stereo at three in the morning and I want you to turn it off so I can sleep. I can change either my belief (that you are playing the stereo) or my purpose (that you turn it off so I can sleep).


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CHAPTER 38: STILL MORE ON WORLD VIEWS AND PERSPECTIVES

Similarities and Differences in Perspectives

Perspectives and worldviews are made-up of experiences, beliefs, and purposes. These differ as we move from the world view or perspectives of one being to the next. In comparing the experiences, beliefs, and purposes held by any two human beings, for example, we will find both similarities and differences.

Suppose you and I both look at a tree. Our experiences may be similar in that they may include the impression of the tree as brown with green leaves and sunlight filtering through the branches. But our experiences of the tree may also differ.

One of us may be standing where blue-sky shows through the tree's leaves, for example, while the other sees only clouds through the part of the tree which he or she is viewing.

Or one of us may be colour-blind while the other can see the colours of the tree.

Or one of us may see subtle shades or subtle energies around the tree while the other does not. There may also be similarities as well as differences in the beliefs we hold about the tree.

Our beliefs may be similar in that both of us may believe it to be a tree. But I, knowing as I do relatively little about the different species of trees, may not be able to identify the species of the tree. You, if you know more than I do about tree species, may believe the tree to be a maple tree. Moreover, if you are an aboriginal person or another person whose world view includes belief in nature spirits, your beliefs about the tree may include the idea that it is inhabited by tree spirits. Finally, there may be similarities as well as differences in the purposes we hold in relation to the tree.

Our purposes may be similar if, for example, we both want to see the tree preserved. But you may want to preserve the tree unless it becomes a serious threat to the survival or other important beings while I may be willing to cut it down if there is its the only convenient way to get kindling wood. Our purposes may also differ if one of us has the purpose of simply contemplating and enjoying the appearance of the tree while the other one wants to climb the tree. There are, then, both similarities and differences to be found in different world view or perspectives. Such similarities and differences can be found even in such a simple matter as looking at a tree.

Building Common World Views

Human beings cannot, as already pointed out, actually hold the same perspectives or worldviews. In this sense the terms `common perspective' or `common world view' are misleading. I, as an individual being, have my experiences, beliefs, and purposes. You, as an individual being, have your experiences, beliefs, and purposes. However great the differences or similarities may be, our experiences, beliefs, and purposes remain our own. Our worldviews or perspectives are not directly shared. It is also true, however, that the form of two perspectives or worldviews may be isomorphic or `similar in form'. Our experience, beliefs, or purposes may, that is, may have parallel or similar forms. Such isomorphism or similarity of form is what I mean by a `common perspective' or a `common world view.

Such commonalties or similarities in perspectives or worldviews are built-up in two ways. First, such similarities may be built-up through communication or diffusion of beliefs and purposes from one person or group to another. Second, they may be built through similarities in experiences which influence different individuals or groups to independently develop similar world view or perspectives.

Suppose John is a verbal bully. If you and I both have encountered his attempts to verbally bully us, our experiences of john as well as our beliefs and purposes in regard to him may well be similar. We may then be said to have formed a similar or common perspective on John.

Or suppose you and I both experience growing up in religious Jewish families. Our experiences, beliefs, and purposes regarding Judaism may well be similar.

Or suppose you and I both experience watching the same TV. programs depicting the planetary ecological crisis. Our experiences, beliefs, and purposes regarding that crisis may as a result also be similar.

In all of these cases our similar experiences may lead us to similar beliefs and purposes and hence to similar or common perspectives.

Now let's look at some cases where communcation leads to common or similar world views. By `communication', I mean as explained in an earlier chapter `the transmission of form by means of interaction'.

Suppose I see you drinking water out of a glass and I have never done so. Your action therefore communicates a new possibility to me. If I model on your behavior by also drinking water out of a glass, I may well have a similar experience to yours and form similar beliefs and purposes in regard to the use of glasses for drinking. My modeling on you will, then, have led us to similar or common perspectives regarding glasses.

Or suppose Jackie and Jennifer see a cat outside my house and formulate the purpose to feed it if it's hungry. If they want me to share the belief that there's a cat outside and to share the purpose of feeding it if it's hungry, they can say to me: "We saw a cat outside and we'd like you to help us feed it if it's hungry."

If I believe them, and if I decide I would like to help feed the cat, Jackie and Jennifer will have succeeded in getting me to build a perspective similar to their own.

More complex perspectives, such as the beliefs and purposes making up Darwinian evolutionary theory, feminism, or Roman Catholicism may be similarly communicated from one individual to another by symbolic means. In addition, external media such as books or video films may be used to transmit the beliefs and purposes of a perspective or world view to large numbers of people.

Finally, a combination of both similar experiences and communication regarding those experiences may lead to common perspectives or worldviews.

Suppose two groups of people working at different places are unhappy with their wages and working conditions. If one group forms a trade union and thereby improves its wages and working conditions, and if it persuades the other group to also form a trade union, then the similar experiences and related communication between the two groups will have led to similar or common perspectives. Similar experiences and communication about those experiences can also lead to common perspectives when people find themselves in the same situations or do things together. In this case similarities of experience, and communication regarding these experiences, may arise together.

We see, then, that common perspectives or common worldviews can arise in a number of ways:

1) Similar experiences may lead people to independently also arrive at similar beliefs and purposes and therefore at similar perspectives.

2) Communication through modeling may lead people to interact with the world in similar ways and therefore to arrive at similar experiences, beliefs, and purposes.

3) Communication through symbolic means such as language may lead people to similar experiences, beliefs, and purposes and therefore at similar perspectives.

4) A combination of similar experiences and related communication may lead people to adopt similar beliefs and purposes and thereby arrive at similar perspectives.


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CHAPTER 39: BUILDING A WORLD VIEW THAT PROMOTE BEING.

Every human being has a worldview and a perspective. But not every perspective or world view is equally true.

World Views and perspectives may be tested by the methods of reason and experience and shown to be more or less likely to be true.

The methods for this testing were outlined in the previous chapters on testing our knowledge and on falsification.

Distinguishing Between Experiences, Beliefs, and Purposes

In considering the truth or falsehood of a world view or perspective, we must be careful to distinguish between the experiences, beliefs, and purposes contained in it. I cannot falsify your experience, though I may question the accuracy of your reports about it, because experience is simply whatever you directly encounter.

I cannot falsify your purposes, though I may question whether they are optimal for promoting being, because your purposes are what you want from the world and are not what you think it contains.

Beliefs Can And Should Be Open To Testing And Falsification

Only beliefs, which purport to tell us what potentialities for experience the world contains, can be tested or falsified.

Suppose I think I'm hearing thunder and decide to take my umbrella with me when I leave my house for a walk. My actual experience is not the sound of thunder but simply a loud `thunder- like' sound; my belief is that this sound is produced by an immanent rain-storm; and my purpose is to take my umbrella with me to avoid getting wet.

My experience cannot be falsified because the sound I experience is simply a direct experience.

My purpose to take the umbrella with me cannot be falsified because taking the umbrella is something I want to do rather than something I believe.

But my belief that a rainstorm is causing the loud sound can be falsified, as when I look across the street and notice a building demolition in progress.

The Example of DDT

Or consider a perspective which was common among biological scientists in the post-World-War-II period. This was the perspective that using the insecticide DDT would contribute to the general good of our world.

This perspective rested on the phenomenal co-variation of DDT's use and the suppression of malaria-carrying misquotes and other pests.

This covariation of DDT use and the reduction of malaria-carrying misquotes could not be falsified because it was an experience. The scientist's desire to contribute to the general good could not be falsified because it was a purpose.

But the idea that DDT would in fact contribute to the general good could be falsified because it was a theoretical concept. As DDT interacted over time with our world, it moved through and was concentrated by the food-chain. The result was that DDT ended by poisoning large numbers of living beings, and effecting virtually every living being on the planet in potentialy negative ways never intended by those who introduced it.

Moreover, the result of its wide-spread use to control malaria- carrying mosquitoes was the appearance of new DDT-resistant strains of mosquitoes. Due to its reference to future experience, the perspective that DDT would promote the general good could be and in fact was falsified.

Building A World View That Promotes Being

Finally, I want to emphasize that our perspectives - our experiences, beliefs, and purposes - can be modified so as to promote greater being for ourselves as well as for the beings with whom we interact. This subject of modifying our perspectives, and our interactions, will be delved into more deeply when we come to the chapters on the law of being and inquiry. For now I just want to emphasize that openness to new experience and new information, and willingness to positively modify our perspectives as new experience and new information arise, is a key to moral, spiritual, and social progress and to the practice of loving intelligence which is the subject of this work.

Go On To Part Three Of This Work