Days upon days of conversation with my opposite has revealed perhaps something interesting. When someone speaks about something that’s a ‘self-evident truth’, they are merely using the connotations of truth without any denotations. It is, in other words, to say, that they are using the word truth as rhetoric. The word truth is a tool without any meaning of its own to them. When they say ‘truth’ it is not a truth in any philosophical sense, but in a sophistical sense, merely a fashion of speech. They don’t have any meaning for the word they are using on their own, this is why dogmatists can say:
It is true because it is true;
I know because I know.
So it is the case with a person who proclaimed truth and knowledge yet rejects justification. As a skeptic, I do the opposite. I do not proclaim a truth without justification. I do not proclaim knowledge without justification. I may have beliefs that are justified but as to their truth, I cannot attest. Afterall, what would be the point of discussion and discourse if the truth of the matter was already at hand? Any proclamation of truth requires further justification; Including this sentence itself. I don’t believe knowledge is required to be reasonable but quite the opposite, that knowledge is rather unreasonable. Reason is after all, all about justification. The truth, on the other hand, isn’t necessarily connected to reason at all. Since the truth, ‘what is the case’, could be illogical. The truth, ‘what is the case’, could be the same as:
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There is no reason to believe that the Universe conforms to reason. If reason is simply the way in which human beings or other minds understand the world. In fact, in one of my earlier essays I wrote about the world as nothing or nihil. In my view it is kind of illogical, Instead, I offer justifications. My scepticism offers justifications without truths; It offers possibilities without certainties.
Most would define an axiom as something taken to be true. People usually say two things about axioms. First that they don’t need evidence and second that they are self-evident. However, this is no different than dogma. An axiom, in my view, is merely taken as if it were true or perhaps not even that. The ‘if’ in the statement puts an axiom simply as a starting point in a realm of possibility. I think moving away from defining fields of study by their actions or tenets and instead defining field by their practice and methodology might make even more sense than defining them in terms of axioms. The reason I have even said this in the first place is that often times people believe that without things taken to be the case it would be impossible for us to even engage in mathematics or science or philosophy itself or any reasonable endeavour for that matter. Yet more and more often, we are seeing field after field being redefined by new discovery and new ideas that reinvent and redefine them. In the field of mathematics for example, Gödel’s incompleteness theorem showed that it wasn’t really possible to have a single set of axioms that explained the entire field of mathematics (I may be getting that one wrong Gödel’s theorem isn’t the easiest to understand and Mathematics isn’t my specialty by any means). Instead of defining a field by axiom’s I want to state again that we can instead and bark on the journey of defining fields of study by their methodology and practice. An example could be cognitive science: cognitive science has some explicit goals and tenets, but it could still be a potentially useful field even if minds aren’t intelligible or don’t exist because we could still be exploring justifications and the realm of possibilities, which include in possibilities as well. Figuring out the impossible might be just as interesting as discovering the possible.
The skeptic embraces this curiosity and uncertainty. If you don’t you’re probably not a skeptic. I encourage you to embrace the radical skepticism, to embrace the lack of knowledge and Truth you have and flow with it. To flow as if a river stream. ever-changing and fluid. I am just beginning my journey into the ocean of uncertainty and don’t know how I will continue. Yet it is Liberty; But, because of our position as beings in an uncertain world with uncertain people and uncertain minds, I am, we are, condemned to this freedom.
The Assonance of Uncertainty
The uncertainty of not even knowing the extent of our freedom. The uncertainty of this essay itself. The universe continues to baffle unconcerned and unvexed by our unlucky position of the unknown. It is completely unhinged by our cries for the return of truths or untruths I suppose you could call them. This unfunny debacle sets a precedence for uncivil discourse. It has unravelled and unweaved what we thought of as permanent cultural fixtures, an absolute upheaval! An increasing up-tempo, unlike anything before, pervades the present time. This urgency that has unmade dogmatists, has made their sanity unhuman. It has unmasked darker possibilities within them and without them. We may live in unique times, but I remain steadfast, unfazed. I leave this quest to you unfinished, let the possibilities unfurl from what was a firmly held together ball of certainty. Let what was certainty become uncertainty. Let the restrictions become un-restrictions. Let the unfreedoms become freedoms.