User:Agnostic0000

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Greetings RationalWiki Readers and Contributors

IMHO: Not-Knowing and realizing that one Does Not Know, is a basic feature of wisdom. Often those who know the least, know the most. As I understand it, Socrates came to understand this: The Delphic Oracle when asked Who was the wisest man? came back with, "No one is wiser than Socrates." This puzzled Socrates, since he did not regard himself as wise or knowledgeable. So he went out in a quest to disprove the oracle, to find out the wise men of Athens. So he went about (followed of course by young men) encountering various classes of supposedly wise men. Then he interrogated them, and showed them to be fools, rather than wise! For example, he might find that while a silver smith might be very skilled at his smithing, because of the smith's knowledge of smithing and because he was so skilled at it, the smith imagined that he was greatly knowledgable about many other things, about which he knew little. Thus the folly of imagining that he knew things of which he was actually ignorant, outweighed the smith's wisdom in smithing, with the result that the smith was deemed a fool, rather than wise. Of course by deflating the egos of those who pretended to be wise in front of an audience of young men, Socrates succeeded in finding himself compelled to drink the hemlock.

Note that in a big-box hardware store (ironmonger for Brits), the clerk likely does not want to say "I don't know" when asked a question. So he may tell you something wrong to avoid that. If you ask him, "Do you have any pencils for sale?" he may likely not say, "I don't know," but "Everything we have is out on the shelves." Or he may say, "What do you want to do with the pencil ? . . . no, you shouldn't use a pencil for that."

Some may think that rationality leads to wisdom and knowledge. But since rational logic depends upon assumed axioms, your logic may be perfect, yet your conclusions false. Thus before one moves ahead confidently with logic, one has to decide what is self-evident, what are the "givens." And what can happen except a tis vs tain't argument over axioms? If you set out to prove an axiom, are you not abandoning the axiom and substituting other(s), which in turn cannot be logically proven, but used for proof (before those to whom they are self-evident)?

Thus we might ask ourselves whether differing POVs are actually caused by lack of rationality or rather, failure to agree on what the self-evident truths (axioms) are. And then we argue past each other.