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Passions in Poetry

Are We Omniscient?

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Ron
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50 posted 01-07-2009 04:04 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
I wasn’t suggesting that I could see the future I was simply pointing out the effect of being able to do so has on the illusion of free will.

Ah, but it seems science would content that "the effect of being able to do so" is the real illusion, Grinch.

quote:
Did he? Heisenberg’s theory put very simply states that the act of measuring alters the measurement, which makes perfect sense if the observer has the ability to interact with this universe. For an entity with read only access that exists outside our universe to know the future she’d require far less calculating power. Granted she’d have to be unrestricted by time but it is theoretically possible.

Sorry, Grinch, but read-only-access still implies an observer. And, of course, your simplification of the Uncertainty Principle can just as easily be stated, "the act of observing alters the observation."

That's your theory, though, not mine. My comments about the uncertainty of the billiard balls wasn't directed at your contentions about God, but rather at your contention that free will doesn't exist irrespective of God. I'll admit that's a bit confusing, but I don't think the confusion is my fault. You appear to be arguing that free will doesn't exist. But if it did exist, you then go on, it wouldn't exist if there was a god. I was addressing your first contention, because if that one's true the other doesn't matter. Indeed, if your first contention is true, NOTHING matters and with the consequent blurring of past, present and future, all of us, not just God, already exist independent of time.

quote:
I would remind Stephen that, as Ron pointed out, Newton had a history of being wrong.

History? I wish I was wrong as few times about anything as was Newton about everything.


Grinch
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51 posted 01-07-2009 05:32 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


quote:
Ah, but it seems science would content that "the effect of being able to do so" is the real illusion, Grinch.


If you can’t imagine the impossible Ron you restrict the limits of what’s possible.



quote:
You appear to be arguing that free will doesn't exist. But if it did exist, you then go on, it wouldn't exist if there was a god


Almost, I’m arguing that free will doesn’t exist in a universe dictated by causality but that an entity (a god if you like) outside this universe who had omniscient knowledge of our universe could posses free will as long as she only possessed a read only knowledge of our universe and its future. I’m also arguing that if she had anything other than read only access she cannot possess free will.

Imagine the impossible Ron, be god for a while.

To be omniscient in this universe you’d need to exist outside it and outside time. Theoretically from your universe you could know every cause and effect in this universe and still posses free will. However, if you interacted in this universe you’d need to calculate not only the cause and effect events in our universe but also all the cause and effect chains in your universe that culminated in your interactions. To do that you’d need to be omniscient in your own universe - you’d need to know every cause and effect and consequently your own future. Once you know what you’re predetermined to do you lose any free will you thought you had.

Ron
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52 posted 01-07-2009 08:30 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
To be omniscient in this universe you’d need to exist outside it and outside time.

Agreed.

quote:
Theoretically from your universe you could know every cause and effect in this universe and still posses free will.

I could quibble a lot with your choice of language (the implication of different universes closes the door to other possibilities), but in essence and for the sake of discussion, I'll agree with this, too.

quote:
However, if you interacted in this universe you’d need to calculate not only the cause and effect events in our universe but also all the cause and effect chains in your universe that culminated in your interactions.

Again, the language implies a computer rather than a god, but I will nonetheless agree that God knows everything in all universes. Were that not the case, you too, like others in this thread, would be trying to redefine the meaning of omniscience.

quote:
To do that you’d need to be omniscient in your own universe - you’d need to know every cause and effect and consequently your own future. Once you know what you’re predetermined to do you lose any free will you thought you had.

And here's where you make a leap with no substance, Grinch. You've given us no reason to believe that knowing is at odds with free will. You keep saying it, but you aren't showing it.

I know exactly what I had for dinner yesterday. And I am quite certain I chose it from a vast array of possibilities. I don't think my choice was predestined by anything (influenced, yea), but I'm absolutely sure it wasn't predestined because I now know what I chose. Knowing and choosing were separate things.

Or, perhaps, you're suggesting that the order matters? That choosing and then knowing is different than knowing and then choosing? Is that what you mean, Grinch?

Remember . . . we're outside the confines of time, now.


Essorant
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53 posted 01-07-2009 09:37 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Stephanos,


quote:
Essorant, I still think you're minimizing the mystery. Try asking yourself whether your will is itself caused.  If you say yes, then Grinch has to be right about there being no free will.  


My answer is indeed yes.  

As mentioned earlier it doesn't make sense to wish will to be free or detached from the causes/powers that enable it to be will in the first place.  It would be like expecting your computer to be free from being made from other things, but still expecting it to work.  Expecting it to be made from nothing, but still be a computer
quote:
Human will has an element of freedom involved which transcends mechanistic causation.  Gravity causes a ball bearing to fall.  Human will can jump off of a limb or climb down, and its decision can never be "caused" in the same way the path of the ball bearing is.


Yes, it does, Stephanos, so far as within that point it is free from being caused more from something else instead of yourself.  But when you make the decision, you are still caused by yourself caused less by other things.  It is different from someone/something else causing you more than yourself, but it is still cause


quote:
In this conversation, like in the original question about omniscience, you can only make your case by changing the definition of the word.  "Causation" has a distinct meaning which doesn't fitly describe the phenomenon of human decision.  That's why the word isn't used that way ... except by defense lawyers perhaps.  
  


But the word is not confined to the simple, Stephanos.  Causality is not just simple, but is also variously compound and complex.  Why would its complexity not also include the complexity of the human will?

Essorant
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54 posted 01-07-2009 10:13 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

The future is presently the present, therefore how may we not all know about it?  
Grinch
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55 posted 01-08-2009 03:18 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


quote:
Or, perhaps, you're suggesting that the order matters? That choosing and then knowing is different than knowing and then choosing? Is that what you mean, Grinch?


No, I’m saying that knowing and choosing are mutually exclusive - you can have none or one but never both so the idea of order doesn’t even come into it.

You know what you had for lunch yesterday Ron but you can’t choose to have anything different and if causality determines the events of tomorrow you can’t know with certainty what you’re going to have tomorrow. In fact you don’t really have a choice either because the future is as fixed as the past.

The bugbear here is the definition of choice - you say that if there are five options but the reality is you can only select one you still have a choice. I maintain that all options must be an actual possibility for a true choice to exist.

Stephanos
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56 posted 01-08-2009 05:01 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Grinch:
quote:
You know what you had for lunch yesterday Ron but you can’t choose to have anything different and if causality determines the events of tomorrow you can’t know with certainty what you’re going to have tomorrow. In fact you don’t really have a choice either because the future is as fixed as the past.


Sophistry.  Do you honestly believe you have no choice but to keep posting here?  Do you honestly think that you have no choice but to believe what you believe?

How about answering my point about the ground/consequent relation as opposed to the cause/effect relation.  How can the former exist if the latter is the sole principle at work in every instance?

quote:
The bugbear here is the definition of choice - you say that if there are five options but the reality is you can only select one you still have a choice. I maintain that all options must be an actual possibility for a true choice to exist.


No, the bugbear here is that you are, like Essorant, arbitrarily redefining words to suit your philosophy.  So choice has to be transformed to mean something like indecision?  Your error is this:  all choices ARE possibilities, but they cannot be all actualities.  What in tarnations did ya mean by "actual possibilities" anyway Grinch?  Words are not so elastic as to fit private eccentricities.  To choose means to pick one action from an array of potentialities.  If you want proof, you'll never probably get the kind you typically demand.  But human psychology affirms it in everything, from congratulating someone on getting a good test grade, to commending faithful monogamy, to disapproving of someone's actions.  


Your own actions constantly belie that you think you have real choice.  Or is that just your illusion?  Last time I considered your statement about choice being an illusion, I wondered whether or not you were still deluded about this.  (stands to reason that if you know its a delusion, then your no longer deluded right?)  And if not, why you are doing such a good job at pretending otherwise?  You need an Emmy Award.    

        
Stephen
Ron
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57 posted 01-08-2009 06:07 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
You know what you had for lunch yesterday Ron but you can’t choose to have anything different ...

Of course I could have, Grinch. And did several times.
Grinch
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58 posted 01-08-2009 06:44 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


quote:
I wondered whether or not you were still deluded about this.


Did you seriously expect me to reply to that Stephen?

Stephanos
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59 posted 01-08-2009 09:35 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Grinch, if you have no will in the matter, I have no idea.

My point is, you seem to be one of the few who have "seen through" the illusion of free will.  You act as though you still believe it.


Stephen
Essorant
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60 posted 01-09-2009 01:04 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Stephanos,

quote:
No, the bugbear here is that you are, like Essorant, arbitrarily redefining words to suit your philosophy.


No offence, but I think you are much more arbitrarily trying to lock words into stipulations of your own philosophy, Stephanos, than I redefining anything in mine.  

As mentioned earlier, omniscience isn't confined to perfection anymore than omnivorous "all-devouring" is confined to eating the whole universe. Likewise, cause in no way is confined to only the most mechanistic things.  

If you believe something only goes so far, then so be it.  But that doesn't mean such words, especially words as broad as omni- "all", science "knowledge" and cause "reason" are locked into a narrow stipulation of only how your own belief prefers to limit the words.

[This message has been edited by Essorant (01-09-2009 02:27 AM).]

Essorant
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61 posted 01-09-2009 03:34 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

The reason things seem fixed in a "past" and "future" to people is because the human mind is so presistent with memory or calculations.  It takes "snapshots" then calls those "past" or "future".  But out there in the present, nothing is fixed and frozen in that sense, left behind in a "past" nor already ahead in a "future",  for everything, in truth the whole universe, is present, and present in change.  

rwood
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62 posted 01-09-2009 07:46 AM       View Profile for rwood   Email rwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for rwood

quote:
The reason things seem fixed in a "past" and "future" to people is because the human mind is so persistent with memory or calculations.  It takes "snapshots" then calls those "past" or "future".  But out there in the present, nothing is fixed and frozen in that sense, left behind in a "past" nor already ahead in a "future",  for everything, in truth the whole universe, is present, and present in change.



Your statement seems to be a “Presentism” view--three dimensional, which is Zero dimensionality: “just one event” and unsupportive of special relativity--four-dimensional objects that are suspended in time.

whereas the “Block View” Eternalism--four dimensional view, supports special relativity. The past, present and future all exist.

Then you have “The Growing Block View,” which supports the past and present but the future does not exist.

Presently, my eyes are not what they used to be, so I’m already getting a headache, but there are definite alternatives to your view.

Here’s a pdf link that might interest you:

Alternative View
Susan Caldwell
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63 posted 01-09-2009 10:27 AM       View Profile for Susan Caldwell   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Susan Caldwell

I didn't read all the replies (they say I am ADHD...whatever)so forgive me if this has already been said....

No.  Because if we were would we be questioning if we were??  

"too bad ignorance isn't painful"
~Unknown~

Essorant
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64 posted 01-09-2009 11:26 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Regina,

Please, I am not interested in locking things into -isms.  I don't believe that anything doesn't exist, (call it "God" "past" "future", "one dimension" or "a thousand dimensions" etc), otherwise I wouldn't say everything is present.  My main point is that everything is present in change, not "frozen" into "pasts" and "futures"  It is the whole universe, changing.  Your eyes are indeed changing, and therefore your mind takes "snapshots" (pasts and presents), but they are not at all left behind or already ahead in such "pasts" and "futures" but are actually always present, changing.  And when they are no longer eyes they shall still be present too, as something else, changing.

Essorant
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65 posted 01-09-2009 12:39 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

quote:
No.  Because if we were would we be questioning if we were??


Susan

People question things they know about everyday.  The question doesn't come from not knowing about everything in some way, but from not knowing about it in every way that it may be known about, which may be more direct or more indirect, more general or more specific, and therefore we question the way we know about something and how we deal with it and adjust our manner(s) of knowledge, how to refer to things, etc. If we didn't know about everything, we wouldn't know about it to refer to in the first place or know about it to have a question about either.  The fact that we have a question about it in the first place, is because we know about it to have a question within the manners of knowledge, how we use it, and how our manners of knowledge "correspond" with the manners of what we are talking about.  Knowing about something is a "prerequisite" to having a question about it.


Stephanos
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66 posted 01-09-2009 09:56 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
No offence, but I think you are much more arbitrarily trying to lock words into stipulations of your own philosophy, Stephanos, than I redefining anything in mine.  

As mentioned earlier, omniscience isn't confined to perfection anymore than omnivorous "all-devouring" is confined to eating the whole universe.

Essorant, no offense taken.  But I never said that omniscience (by definition) was confined to perfection.  Perfection is perhaps a separate aspect of Christian dogma than God's omniscience.  For example, Sue may be beautiful and intelligent, but beauty is not intrinsically and theoretically bound to intelligence.  Still, regardless of one's Theology, and regardless of whether you think omniscience even possible, omniscience means to know everything, period.  You are not merely tweaking the definition a bit or adding a nuance or two, but twisting it tortuously into almost the very opposite of what it has universally been understood to mean for centuries.

If all you mean by omniscience is "partial but widely applicable knowledge", then yes we are omniscient.  

But we are not omniscient in the sense of knowing everything exhaustively in the universe.  And if that's not what you mean, then will you invent a new word for it please, and quit telling everyone else they are narrow for believing the word has a definite meaning (regardless of the controversy over that meaning, or whether you believe it possible)?


quote:
If you believe something only goes so far, then so be it.  But that doesn't mean such words, especially words as broad as omni- "all", science "knowledge" and cause "reason" are locked into a narrow stipulation of only how your own belief prefers to limit the words.


So the prefix "omni" in the word omniscient isn't a measure of knowledge, isn't a modifier of the second half of the word, but is really the measure of how far a person can freely elasticize the definition of the word itself. .... rrright.


If you're arguing for an alternate definition of the word, you should be able to cite at least a dictionary reference or two.  Otherwise, what you have is a private permutation.  Consensus (of some kind) is usually the rule in conversation Essorant.  No one on this forum (thus far) concedes your ability to murder language like this, and I'll bet you'll be hard pressed to find anyone anywhere else who does either.  


Stephen  
rwood
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67 posted 01-10-2009 07:30 AM       View Profile for rwood   Email rwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for rwood

Actually Ess, the article/link supports your view, which now seems more consistent with a Block view: an alternative to the "Common Sense," Presentist view, I believe.

Your view reflects, Heraclitus "panta rhei, panta chorei"

"Nothing is constant but change."

But the thesis further examines the nature between change and time perspectives, as well as dimensionality. Though Heraclitus' writings were limited bits, it didn't rule him out, of course.

I agree that isms tend to be trite, but they can also be simple labels attached to areas of scientific studies that help us formulate and develop our ideas more properly.

It's good to see you're expanding your views away from that in these areas compared to your staunch formalism on poetry. Lol.

Now, if only my eyes wouldn't get any worse, I'd be happy  
  
Essorant
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68 posted 01-11-2009 02:10 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

quote:
If all you mean by omniscience is "partial but widely applicable knowledge", then yes we are omniscient.  


I am glad you are coming to your senses Stephanos.  If partial knowledge were not knowledge, then you would not know yourself, simply because you were not able to specify every speck and minute of change of your body and soul.  Just like partial knowledge of yourself is still knowledge of yourself, partial knowledge of everything is still knowledge of everything, and knowledge of everything is omniscience!

    
Essorant
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69 posted 01-11-2009 02:16 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Regina,

panta rhei, panta chorei = "all flows, all goes."

quote:
It's good to see you're expanding your views away from that in these areas compared to your staunch formalism on poetry. Lol.


Thanks, I try to judge things by evidence and virtue and truth, rather than following any "ism".

[This message has been edited by Essorant (01-11-2009 03:35 AM).]

Stephanos
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70 posted 01-12-2009 04:11 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
If partial knowledge were not knowledge, then you would not know yourself, simply because you were not able to specify every speck and minute of change of your body and soul.  Just like partial knowledge of yourself is still knowledge of yourself, partial knowledge of everything is still knowledge of everything, and knowledge of everything is omniscience!



Essorant, even if I had "partial knowledge of everything" (which I don't), it would differ from "complete knowledge of everything".  The definition of omniscience is, and always has been, a comprehensive knowledge of everything ... or knowing everything about everything, if you will.  Even in real life, knowing just a little bit about everything in a category does not constitute impressive knowledge.  For example, I know a little about the human heart, as well as you do;  But our knowledge pales when compared to that of a cardiologist, so much so that if we hung a shingle and began to practice cardiology without the proper education, we would be arrested by the police.  

Partial knowledge of even everything in a category (if that much were granted) would not amount to omniscience.

  
quote:
I am glad you are coming to your senses Stephanos.

Yes we omniscient ones must do that from time to time.  It's a disguise, so that no one knows we're omniscient.


Stephen

  
Essorant
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71 posted 01-13-2009 02:58 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Stephanos,

quote:
The definition of omniscience is, and always has been, a comprehensive knowledge of everything ... or knowing everything about everything, if you will.


Omniscience is made of the two words omni "all" and science "knowledge", not any stipulation of perfectly or imperfectly.  Knowing all (completely/perfectly) and knowing all (incompletely/imperfectly) are both knowing all, just in different ways.   The minute we are able to know anything, we know about the universe/existance (all) in one way or another, despite our lack of terms and our inablity to specify everything of that universe.  We "swallow" a whole, like a whirlpool, regardless of how little time we have to turn everything up and down in our hands and mind and measure it bit by bit and be able to make specifications.   But what we are not able to make specifications about is still "swallowed" with the rest in a knowledge of existance itself.  

Stephanos
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72 posted 01-14-2009 11:40 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Ess:
quote:
Knowing all (completely/perfectly) and knowing all (incompletely/imperfectly) are both knowing all, just in different ways.



Ess, there's not even evidence that we know all imperfectly ... much less evidence that this is a valid understanding of "omniscient".  I already asked to you cite me one or two people who use the word as you are using it.  Until you take up that challenge, to me, you are entertaining a private permutation.  


Or allow me to put it in the form of a question ... Are we omniscient in the majority/consensus understanding of the word?  No.


Stephen
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73 posted 01-14-2009 08:28 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Stephanos,

quote:
Ess, there's not even evidence that we know all imperfectly


I think we are (part of) the evidence.  But who or what is the evidence of anyone knowing all perfectly?

quote:
I already asked to you cite me one or two people who use the word as you are using it.  Until you take up that challenge, to me, you are entertaining a private permutation.
  

Why don't I count?  I am a person too.  

quote:
Or allow me to put it in the form of a question ... Are we omniscient in the majority/consensus understanding of the word?  No.



What is the difference between you using the word according to the majority's sense, and I using it according to my sense?  The word is broad enough for both, for literally it doesn't specify or lock the word into either of our beliefs.  When you use omniscient as "knowing all (perfectly)" you are using it with a connotation from your own belief just as much as I am using it with a connotation of my belief if I say "knowing all (imperfectly).  But the difference on my side is that I am not trying to exclude your usage from being in the breadth of the word.  I am not saying "knowing all (perfectly)" isn't still knowing all.  All I am saying "knowing all (imperfectly) is knowing all too.  Both are omniscience.
Stephanos
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74 posted 01-14-2009 10:56 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

I just think its uncouth to hijack a word like that and radically change it.  

Of course you are somebody.  Even a likeable somebody, in my opinion.  But who are you to demand that everyone else follow suit?  

All I'm asking you to do is cite one or two people other than yourself, who have used the word in this way.  It might legitimize your usage, and give me confidence that you haven't arbitrarily ripped a word from its context, and redefined it.

Otherwise you might have done better by titling the thread "Do we have partial or imperfect knowledge of everything?"


Stephen    
 
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