lunes, 20 de enero de 2014

EL CONOCIMIENTO HUMANO. KNOWLEDGE, EVIDENCE, BELIEF AND OPINION

                                                                                  "Nuestro conocimiento es una relación                    imperfecta entre las cosas exteriores y nuestro yo" (El árbol de la ciencia Pío Baroja)


      Para hablar sobre el conocimiento humano tendríamos que tener en cuenta las aportaciones de numerosas ciencias: psicología, neurología, biología....Más aún, es mucho más lo que ignoramos al respecto que lo que sabemos. Ciñéndonos al un punto de vista filosófico, hay que decir que la rama que lo estudia es la epistemología o teoría del conocimiento.
   Aunque siempre ha preocupado saber de dónde proceden nuestras ideas y cómo estar seguros de que estas reflejen la realidad tal cual es, este campo adquiere especial protagonismo entre los siglos XVII y XVIII. Entre otras razones, hay que tener en cuenta que durante estos siglos estamos en plena revolución científica y que las ciencias están cosechando notables éxitos mientras que la filosofía parece, como decía Kant, eternamente  estancada en  un campo de batalla donde tan pronto se alza victoriosa una corriente, llega otra y se le enfrenta. Era, por tanto, necesario analizar el conocimiento humano y ver sus límites y es aquí donde la epistomología cobra un papel fundamental.
    Muchas de las propuestas que entonces se hicieron parecen quedar anticuadas, otras han servido de guía para futuras investigaciones. Pero antes de entrar en el terreno filosófico de si es o no posible un conocimiento cierto de las cosas y cuál, si lo hay, es el límite del conocimiento, podemos comenzar por caracterizar el conocimiento humnao.
    Uno de sus princiàles rasgos es que nuestro pensamiento es, sobre todo, simbólico y, en concreto, lingüístico. Gracias al lenguaje podemos escapar de lo inmediato y pensar en cosas que no están en ese momento al alcance de nuestros sentidos. Por ejemplo, podemos estar en clase ocupados en pensar cómo pasaremos unas vacaciones en la playa. Incluso podemos ocuparnos de asuntos verdaderamente importantes que no sólamente hoy, nunca, podrán ser percibidos por los sentidos: el significado de la justicia, de la solidaridad.
   Sólo porque hay lenguaje podemos entender estas y muchas más cosas y, no sólo eso: el hombre puede transmitir y almacenar lo que aprende evitándose tener que estar inventando siempre lo mismo.
Por ello, empobrecer el lenguaje es, en definitiva, empobrecer nuestro pensamiento, nuestra capacidad de comunicación, de transmitir intereses y de avanzar como queda reflejado en este ejercicio de clase.
   Los alumnos de Primero de Bachillerato de Ciencias (2013/4) del IES La Rosaleda, van a intentar transmitir a sus compañeros una serie de ideas.
   En primer lugar tenemos a Laura Quintero Ocaña a ver qué ocurre:


   y...¡Sí! Tenía que decir que estaba embarazada (¡Tranquilos! No lo está)

   Lourdes Vegas Fernández también transmitió un mensaje. Éste mucho más fácil
¡¡Tengo hambre!!

 Parece que la cosa va bien. Sigamos probando con David Stachovskij del mismo curo.



   En fin. ¡Tiene sueño! Normal. Después de todo, esto es una clase de filosofía.

   Como todo esto está resultando demasiado fácil, vamos a ver si Inma Alba Chicón sabe transmitir  algo más complejo:

   Bueno, hemos tenido algunos problemillas para saber si le gusta o ama el fútbol. Si es ella o algún otro; pero, en líneas generales, el mensaje ha sido transmitido.
   Pasrece que no hay límites a nuestra capacidad de comunicación, así que ya sólo nos queda un par de intentos. El primero con Borja García Higueruelo, delegado del curso:

   NO HA HABIDO MANERA. ¡Tampoco era tan difícil! Sólo había que decir: Es importante cuidar bien de los hijos
   Finalmente lo intenta Gabriel Fira Radu con no mucha mejor suerte.

 El mensaje era el siguiente: El estado moderno debe constreuirse sobre bases solidarias.
   Cualquiera podría decir que íbamos a mala idea. Nada más lejos de mi intención. Sin embargo, en el ejercicio se evidencia que a medida que los mensajes se hacen más complejos, el éxito de la comunicación disminuye. Mis alumnos no conocen la lengua de signos que, en definitiva, es otro lenguaje, de manera que se ven obligados a improvisar con gestos. Éstos no tienen en su mayoría una dimensión simbólica, no son capaces de sustituir ideas. Por eso, mientras el gesto se parece a lo designado, la comunicación marchaba. Vale, no podíamos hacer precisiones muy sutiles; pero, en líneas generales, nos hacíamos entender. Sin embargo; cuando ya no hay esa semejanza física la comunicación fracasa.. ¿Qué ocurriría entonces si careciésemos de lenguaje o simplemente lo redujésemos drásticamente? ¿Cuántas cosas nos dejaríamos de decir? ¿qué saber podríamos compartir o almacenar? o, más aún, ¿Cuántas cosas dejaríamos de pensar? ¿Sería nuestra vida distinta a como la conocemos? ¿Habría sobrevivido nuestra especie?
   Es cierto que el lenguaje mismo presenta también deficiencias. A veces no significa lo que queremos y da lugar a malentendidos. No obstante, también entonces su importancia se nos revela de manera clara. Nos desespera que no signifique lo que queremos transmitir y nos frustran sus límites.
Pero la lengua refleja también nuestra alma. No sólo ocurre que con un lenguaje pobre se reduzca nuestra capacidad de análisis, la facultad de captar las diferencias, lo sutil. Ortega ve en la lengua un reflejo de nuestro ser, de manera que un yo profundo, una época de hombres intelectualmente activos y responsables, tendrá una lengua más rica; mientras que una época de estupidez y  de masas se refleja en una lengua más pobre.
   Veamos cómo lo analiza Ortega y Gasset en el Prólogo para franceses de su obra La rebelión de las masas:
   "La lengua revela la condición más arcana de la sociedad que la habla. En la porción no helenizada del pueblo romano, la lengua vigente es la que se ha llamado "latín vulgar", matriz de nuestros romances. No se conoce bien este latín vulgar y, en buena parte, sólo se llega a él por reconstrucciones. Pero lo que se conoce basta y sobra para que nos produzca espanto dos de sus caracteres. Uno es la increíble simplificación de su mecanismo gramatical en comparación con el latín clásico. La sabrosa complejidad indo-europea, que conservaba el lenguaje de las clases superiores, quedó suplantada por un habla plebeya, de mecanismo muy fácil, pero a la vez, o por lo mismo, pesadamente mecánico, como material; graqmática balbuciente y perifrástica, de ensayo y rodeo como la infantil.Es, en efecto, una lengua pueril o gaga que mo permite la fina arista del razonamiento ni líricos tornasoles. Es una lengua sin luz ni temperatura, sin evidencia y sin calor de alma, una lengua triste que avanza a tientas. Los vocablos parecen viejas monedas de cobre, mugrientas y sin rotundidad, como hartas de rodar por las tabernas mediterráneas. ¡qué vidas evacuadas de sí mismas, desoladas, condenadas a eterna cotidianidad se adivinan tras este seco artefacto lingüístico!"




Epistemology, or the Theory of Knowledge

Philosophers have always wanted to know how we can obtain knowledge, and how we can be sure that the things that we think reflect reality. Which is more important – what we think, or what we experience? Or maybe the senses are our enemies, and they lie to us? Which characteristics must knowledge have in order to be certain?

However, it was only between the 16th and 18th century that epistemology became one of the most important areas of philosophy. What happened then?

During this period, science developed so much that we talk about the first scientific revolution. We can mention people like Galileo, Kepler, Newton, or Harvey, and so on. We saw a great change in this time because after the triumph of Christianity in Europe, the use of senses and attention to this world was totally abandoned in favour of the Bible’s explanation. The Bible contained the “truth”, and every rational explanation had to agree with the Bible. New scientists had no motivation to do new experiments when they could find all of the answers in the Bible, so they normally only did small variations on classic experiments that did not contradict the holy book.

From the 16th century on, a new mentality and a new generation of scientists appeared, who wanted to experiment and to measure the world around them, and of course that caused very good results. For example, Galileo is the inventor of the telescope, and with this new instrument he could get more evidence for his heliocentric theory. We can also talk about Harvey. He discovered the pulmonary circulation of blood by performing vivisections on animals. In a period when looking at the human body was almost forbidden, he wanted to look and to see for himself how blood is made and what happens with our blood inside of our bodies. The explanation that medicine gave in this period came from Galeno in the 1st century. He said that blood was made by our kidneys and that we are always making new blood. The problem that had no solution at that time was what happened to the old blood and why we didn’t explode. So Harvey had an idea: maybe we always have the same blood moving around our body, and the lungs are the motor that keeps the blood marching.

But how could he prove this? Well, he took living animals and cut them open while they were still alive. Yes, this sounds very traumatic, but this was the only way to see what was happening inside of us – we had no scanners, no radiography, nothing like that. Harvey represents the new way of making science quite well, in which it‘s necessary to see the facts, to measure lengths, to weigh weights, and so on. Now we are used to this way of working, but it was totally revolutionary at the time, and of course it caused a lot of success.

But what was happening with philosophy? No success at all. Philosophers continued arguing without any definite conclusion. So it was very easy to ask the following question: are we maybe working badly, are we not using our reason like we should, or are we maybe asking questions that we are not able to answer? Perhaps if we had a method like science, we could also get good results. That’s the problem – we need a method. And that was the main work of Descartes. From that moment, epistemology became one of the most important areas of philosophy for the next two centuries. Before I can say I know this or that or I can describe the world or so on, I have to discover the limits of human reason, and the best way to employ it.


When we talk about epistemology, or the theory of knowledge, we are talking about what we need to get true knowledge. But what are we talking about? In philosophy, we make a distinction between knowledge, opinion, belief, and evidence.
Normally, we use the word ‘knowledge’to refer to something that we believe and that we can demonstrate to be true. It’s a kind of correspondence between our idea and reality. For example, I think my mother is blonde, but we can also see the colour of her hair, and if it is so then we can say that it is true.
On the other hand, we use ‘belief’ to refer to an idea that we really think is true but we cannot demonstrate. For example, I believe in God. I am totally sure that God exists, but I can’t prove it.
And an ‘opinion’ is an idea that I’m not sure of and I can’t demonstrate to be true. For example, in my opinion, I think it’s going to rain tomorrow – that’s an idea I have. I’m not a scientist and I haven’t studied meteorology but I’ve seen the clouds and that’s what I think. Or another example, I think it’s going to be a lovely summer – I have reasons to think that, but I cannot prove anything or know the future. It’s just what I think.
Finally, we have ‘evidence’ that describes a feeling of total security about an idea, something that cannot be doubted. For example, if we say something like “I’m a philosophy teacher” or “you are sitting in this classroom”. However, it describes a subjectivefeeling and it could be that this feeling doesn’t correspond with reality and we are wrong. Normally, we don’t doubt the things that are presented as evident, but how could I be sure that I’m not dreaming? Especially when sometimes we have dreams so realistic that we believe they’re true. Yes, of course, there are many reasons to believe that we’re not dreaming, but the question is: can I prove it?
And another similar question, how can I be sure that my mind works correctly? If I were schizophrenic or paranoid, I would hear or see things as clearly as I am hearing and seeing you right now, but they would not be true or real. Of course, we could answer that if everybody sees the same thing or thinks the same thought, then that’s proof that what I’m seeing or thinking is true. But the fact is that it isn’t necessarily so. In the Middle Ages, everybody believed that the world was flat, but it wasn’t. So even if everybody thinks the same, everybody can be wrong. How can we be sure that we are not all paranoid or schizophrenic? We realise we are doing something strange because most people don’t do the same, but if we were all paranoid, we would all have the same behaviours and thoughts, and we wouldn’t be able to realise how crazy we were.
So, although normally we assume that anything that is evident is also true, we must remember that when we talk about evidence we are really only saying that we are very sure of it, and we can still make mistakes. For example, do you remember some mistakes you have made in exams? You were sure of the answer, you could swear you were right, but ultimately, you weren’t.

 
                                                GO TO THE CINEMA!!!!!
It will be interesting to watch A beautiful Mind
Here it is a  synopsis of the film
John Nash arrives at Princeton University as a new graduate student. He is a recipient of the prestigious Carnegie Prize for mathematics. Though he was promised a single room, his roommate Charles, a literature student, greets him as he moves in and soon becomes his best friend. Nash also meets a group of other promising math and science graduate students, Martin Hansen, Sol, Ainsley, and Bender, with whom he strikes up an awkward friendship. Nash admits to Charles that he is better with numbers than people, which comes as no surprise to them after watching his largely unsuccessful attempts at conversation with the women at the local bar.

Nash is seeking a truly original idea for his thesis paper, and he is under increasing pressure to develop his thesis so he can begin work. A particularly harsh rejection from a woman at the bar is what ultimately inspires his fruitful work in the concept of governing dynamics, a theory in mathematical economics.

After the conclusion of Nashs studies as a student at Princeton, he accepts a prestigious appointment at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), along with his friends Sol and Bender. Russell Crowe as John Nash. Russell Crowe as John Nash.

Five years later while teaching a class on Calculus at MIT, he places a particularly interesting problem on the chalkboard that he dares his students to solve. When his student Alicia Larde comes to his office to discuss the problem, the two fall in love and eventually marry.

On a return visit to Princeton, Nash runs into his former roommate Charles and meets Charles young niece Marcee, whom he adores. He also encounters a mysterious Department of Defense agent, William Parcher. Nash is invited to a secret United States Department of Defense facility in the Pentagon to crack a complex encryption of an enemy telecommunication. Nash is able to decipher the code mentally to the astonishment of other codebreakers.

Parcher observes Nashs performance from above, while partially concealed behind a screen. Parcher gives Nash a new assignment to look for patterns in magazines and newspapers, ostensibly to thwart a Soviet plot. He must write a report of his findings and place them in a specified mailbox. After being chased by the Russians and an exchange of gunfire, Nash becomes increasingly paranoid and begins to behave erratically.

After observing this erratic behavior, Alicia informs a psychiatric hospital. Later, while delivering a guest lecture at Harvard University, Nash realizes that he is being watched by a hostile group of people. Although he attempts to flee, he is forcibly sedated and sent to a psychiatric facility. Nash's internment seemingly confirms his belief that the Soviets were trying to extract information from him. He views the officials of the psychiatric facility as Soviet kidnappers.

Alicia, desperate to help her husband, visits the mailbox and retrieves the never-opened "top secret" documents that Nash had delivered there. When confronted with this evidence, Nash is finally convinced that he has been hallucinating. The Department of Defense agent William Parcher and Nash's secret assignment to decode Soviet messages was in fact all a delusion. Even more surprisingly, Nash's friend Charles and his niece Marcee are also only products of Nash's mind.

After a painful series of insulin shock therapy sessions, Nash is released on the condition that he agrees to take antipsychotic medication. However, the drugs create negative side-effects that affect his relationship with his wife and, most dramatically, his intellectual capacity. Frustrated, Nash secretly stops taking his medication and hoards his pills, triggering a relapse of his psychosis.

While bathing his infant son, Nash becomes distracted and wanders off. Alicia is hanging laundry in the backyard and observes that the back gate is open. She discovers that Nash has turned an abandoned shed in a nearby grove of trees into an office for his work for Parcher. Upon realizing what has happened, Alicia runs into the house to confront Nash and barely saves their child from drowning in the bathtub. When she confronts him, Nash claims that his friend Charles was watching their son. Alicia runs to the phone to call the psychiatric hospital for emergency assistance. Parcher urges Nash to kill his wife, but Nash angrily refuses to do such a thing. After arguing with Parcher, Nash accidentally knocks Alicia to the ground. Afterwards, Alicia flees the house in fear with their child, but Nash steps in front of her car to prevent her from leaving. After a moment, Nash realizes that Marcee is a figment of his hallucinations because she has remained the same age since the day he met her. He tells Alicia, "She never gets old." Only then does he accept that all three people are, in fact, part of his hallucinations. (It is important to note that in real life, Nash suffered from auditory hallucinations and possible delusions, instead of visual hallucinations).

Caught between the intellectual paralysis of the antipsychotic drugs and his delusions, Nash and Alicia decide to try to live with his abnormal condition. Nash consciously says goodbye to the three of them forever in his attempts to ignore his hallucinations and not feed his demons. However, he thanks Charles for being his best friend over the years, and says a tearful goodbye to Marcee, stroking her hair and calling her "baby girl", telling them both he wouldn't speak to them anymore.

Nash grows older and approaches his old friend and intellectual rival Martin Hansen, now head of the Princeton mathematics department, who grants him permission to work out of the library and audit classes, though the university will not provide him with his own office. Though Nash still suffers from hallucinations and mentions taking newer medications, he is ultimately able to live with and largely ignore his psychotic episodes. He takes his situation in stride and humorously checks to ensure that any new acquaintances are in fact real people, not hallucinations.

Nash eventually earns the privilege of teaching again. He is honored by his fellow professors for his achievement in mathematics, and goes on to win the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics for his revolutionary work on game theory. Nash and Alicia are about to leave the auditorium in Stockholm, when John sees Charles, Marcee and Parcher standing and smiling. Alicia asks John, "What's wrong?" John replies, "Nothing." With that, they both leave the auditorium.


  Now it’s your turn. 
1. Write an example of an opinion, an example of a belief, an example of knowledge, and an example of evidence.
2. Answer this quiz about the flim:

QUIZ: A Beautiful Mind 
Circle the correct answer.
1. Game theory is a distinct and interdisciplinary approach to the study of human behavior.
The disciplines most involved in game theory are mathematics, economics and the other
social and behavioral sciences. Game theory, like computational theory, was founded by
the great mathematician John von Neumann. Since the work of John von Neumann,
"games" have been a scientific metaphor for a much wider range of human interactions in
which the outcomes depend on the interactive strategies of two or more persons, who
have opposed or at best mixed motives. The work of John Nash was about:
Games in which one player tries to beat the computer.
Games in which two people fight each other.
Games in which three or more people fight for global resources, with possible
cooperation between players. 
2.  John Nash, while in Princeton, is lured to play a math game by some of his friends-to-be.
He loses, much to his amazement, as he says: "I had the first move... my play was
perfect." According to Game Theory, in a complete knowledge game, he should've won,
or at least achieved a draw. He then concludes: "The game is flawed!" What is the name
of that math game?
Chess
Go
Sudoku
Tower of Hanoi 
3. John Nash has won the Nobel prize in:
. Economics
Game Theory
Math
Physics
Survival Math Skills 
4. John Nash says to his friends: “If we all go for the blonde and block each other, not a
single one of us is going to get her. So then we go for her friends, but they will all give us
the cold shoulder because no one likes to be second choice. But what if none of us goes
for the blonde? We won't get in each other's way and we won't insult the other girls. It's
the only way to win.” This example from the movie shows that
Blondes are hard to get.
When players cooperate and share resources they can achieve better results than
when they compete for the same thing.
The color of people’s hair is very important.
When it comes to blondes, your friends are your enemies

5. Why did John Nash develop schizophrenia?
He solved too many math problems.
He was genetically predisposed; one of his sons had it too.
He didn’t suffer from schizophrenia; those people and those voices were real. 
6. John Nash says to Alicia: “I've made the most important discovery of my life. It's only in
the mysterious equation of love that any logical reasons can be found. I'm only here
tonight because of you. You are the only reason I am... you are all my reasons.” Why is
John Nash mixing love and math?
He has schizophrenia.
A mathematician will use the vocabulary of math even for non-mathematical
activities. It is a metaphor.
He solved the equation and Alicia was the solution. 
7.   Why did the Army offer John Nash a job?
He wanted to kill Communists.
They didn’t know he would develop schizophrenia.
He was very good at math, especially at breaking codes.
He had connections. 


YOUR OPINION IS IMPORTANT 
Nacho del Arco Bonet, student of 1BS1 (2015/6) made this reflection about knowlege

I think that in order to know what is actually true, we must start with the lile things that we
are sure of and then keep connecng the dots unl we make a big conclusion. But how can we
be so sure of something? We’ve learnt that the senses can lie to us but without them, we
cannot perceive the world outside. So, I guess that we must believe in our senses and then
make sure that everyone sees the same way we do, because even though we all have di"erent
opinions we perceive reality, more or less, the same way. Or at least, I like to think so. To
support this reasoning, I would like to share a theory I’ve always had in mind. If we look at the
sea, we can all agree that it’s blue, with di"erent tonalies but blue. But what if the way I see
the sea is di"erent from yours? When we were young, we were taught the colours but we can
never know if we see them the same way. So, we made an agreement to name the colours one
way so we all could understand eachother and I think its the same with knowledge. We’ve
agreed to name things one way and called them knowledge to make things easier. If it wasn’t
that way, we would live in a world of disagreement which would be such a chaos. On the other
hand, the things most of the people think are right aren’t always applicable for everyone. For
example, we think killing people is wrong and its punished by the law, but killing animals in
order to eat isn’t. What is so di"erent? Even though we consider ourselves superior to them
because we’ve developed a language, we are not in the right to take their life away. They don’t belong to us

However, Elisa Sánchez, from the 1BC (2015/6), has a different opinion
How can we know when we think we are doing it right and it’s real?

In my opinion, we can’t answer this question with a method, or even answer it, because we can´t really know what we think is real. It all depends on the perspective; maybe I´m convinced that something is real, but someone can think completely different. So we can´t really prove it because, now, how do we know what person it’s right? The most common answer is: is thinking right the person who thinks like the others. But, how can we be so sure about that? Maybe everybody is wrong, like in the past when everybody thought the Earth was round. Maybe the person who thinks different is right.

To know if something is real we need to prove it,  if we prove it for a dog (an animal who perceive things completely different) what is real is completely different, so maybe what the human perceive is wrong. Maybe that´s the explication why sometimes the people with mental disorders aren’t aware that they’re ill, because their reality is distorted and the perceive the world in a different way, so they think different and are convinced what they see is real or right.







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