[Dean Michael Gores:] By "evidence" I mean subjective experiences. By evidence I mean the information that we collect with our senses.
I label what you name “evidence” as “percept”, or “sensory data”. Your “evidence” has a taste of certainty that I find misleading, and very subjectivist.
[Dean Michael Gores:] "Reaching conclusions" is not evidence, instead it is the end result of using induction and deduction on evidence.
I don’t think so. When someone says that something is an “evidence”, the person has already reached a conclusion –a conclusion related to one or more of the percepts from which he has defined the evidence.
[Dean Michael Gores:] I agree that perception can be misleading. I do my best to compare what I have perceived with what I have perceived in the past and what other's perceive.
Notice that in order to compare percepts you use reason. Then, you require reason to define what is evident –or not evident.
[Dean Michael Gores:] By doing this, I can find conflicts and resolve them by either removing old information from my context to fit new evidence, or to keep the new perception in a "possible yet reasoned unlikely" box- to save it for later just in case.
Please notice here a problem with your use of words: Your “evidence” (my “sensory data”) can’t be contradictory: they are what you sense and nothing else!
What can be contradictory are the conclusions you define (through the use of reasoning) to describe your percepts.
[Dean Michael Gores:] You seem to support the idea that subjective evidence is useless. You didn't come right out and say it, but that's what you seemed to allude to.
I think that sensory data can be very useful (for a lot of relatively simple activities they are), but that
“sometimes what you perceive as "evident" is really misleading.”
Raw perception is not scientific knowledge, is simply what we sense from materiality.
Perception is one of the basic tools of knowledge, but not the central pillar. The central pillar is the use of reason. The brain, not your eyes, is the generator of knowledge, and through reason you define what is evident and what is not evident at all.
[Dean Michael Gores:] Sure, we could be living in the matrix. Sure, my senses could be completely wrong. Never the less, I have no reason to think that.
Yes, you have no reason to think that. A thinking human dares to label something as evident only after a bit of reasoning (then, he can still be mistaken, of course.)
Think about that: when a magician suddenly hides a card and you don’t see it anymore, would you say that is evident that the card has suddenly ceased to exist?
[Dean Michael Gores:] Even if those were the case, my senses would still be giving me *some* information about *some* part of reality.
True. That’s why we humans can acquire knowledge. Perception is not “perfect”, but is useful.
[Dean Michael Gores:] It would be laughable for you to claim that my subjective senses do not receive information about reality.
Yes. It would be. But you won’t score so easy ;-)
Reason is the central pillar of knowledge, not evidence. Sound reasoning is the mental process that brings you an inclusive (additive) explanation of knowledge, that is, integration of knowledge, real science.
[Dean Michael Gores:] I agree that you can have a knowledge base with reason alone.
Where did I say that?
When you build something apart from reality, that’s not knowledge, but sheer fantasy. Period.
Of course you need to get along with your subjective limitations. But precisely that’s one of the wonderful things of individuality.
Now I will use your trick: Have you any evidence of what existence is?
[Dean Michael Gores:] Existence includes you.
Ok, I am part of existence, but that does not answer what existence is.
[Dean Michael Gores:] I use the word "existence" when I try to convey the meaning: everything in reality.
[Dean Michael Gores:] You would not exist if there was no existence. You exist. There must be existence.
Yes, existence exists. But no human knows what “existence”, everything in reality, is.
I won’t know what existence is until I know everything. I won’t hold my breath...
Now, recalling a portion of my former message:
“[...] we can't have absolute proof of any knowledge: because absolute proof of a knowledge implies the knowledge of absolutely everything.”
So total certain knowledge of a thing requires the knowledge of what existence is.