It’s reasonable, yes. My point is though, what you’re doing is akin to rounding down to zero possibility.
Here’s why this matters (to me):
In the history of humanity and the Universe, statistically, I’m dead. I don’t exist. I’m rounded to zero.
But, as it turns out, I AM here.
So, I’m not hasty in rounding to zero or one, and I avoid going to concepts as impossible. I’m not saying that outlook is for everybody, I’m just speaking for myself which, ultimately, is all i *can* do. Even there, I’m only speaking for a part of myself but it’s the best I can do.
Ok. My lifespan is about 84-88 years if I’m lucky. I know this from my genetics and also hope. It could also be 44 years. [I could be dead in 2 minutes]. I could live longer or shorter than any of these predictions.
However, the Universe is, what 14 billion years old? I don’t exist from the perspective of the whole Universe.
In the perspective of the time humanity existed, I was never born. In the perspecive of the likely length of time of humanity (I’m expecting many thousands of years more), I will have been dead for a very long time.
So, my time is now and here at this point in human history and in the history of the Universe.
But if MY lifespan was placed against either humanity-a-a-whole or universe-as-a-whole, I either don’t exist, wasn’t born yet, or I’m dead.
Yet, I’m still here.
That is what I mean. In statistics, outliers are removed. You say that it could take several lifetimes to know everybody on the planet and that it stands to reason that it’s impossible.
Yet, how much of someone needs to be known? Is a name enough? Gender? Their likes and dislikes?
Depending on how little is “enough”, you can know humanity statistically. Or you can sit down and read through a list of 7+ billion names and faces scrolling by as quickly as you can process them and you can get to know everybody by name.
So technically, it’s not impossible to know everybody at some level, although it’s a huge volume.
I do this on a regular basis. I have a lot of followers on Vine. For my 10,,000 follower, I tried to capture all 10000 in a single Vine to say “Thank You”. I’m not sure how many I ACTUALLY captured, but it’s fast enough scrolling by that’s impossible for a human finger to catch a name as it scrolls by within the same window, so it’s a lot.
I like thinking I caught all 10000, but I suspect at 30 frames per second, 10 names per frame, 6.8 second total length, it’s more likely I caught about 2000 names.
Regardless of 2000 or 10000, I know EVERY ONE of the people on this list. I’ve seen their faces, I know SOMETHING about their personalities, who they are as a person.
This isn’t even that many. I had 27,0000 unique visitors when I ran a Minecraft server a few years ago. I was aware of their names and what their characters look like for most of them, and talked to thousands of them over a 25 month period. I don’t know how many, but I could check log files.
So, maybe that’s not everybody. Maybe it’s not millions. Maybe it’s not billions.
But I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say that it’s impossible to get to know everybody (at some level), but it would take some dedication or cleverness.
I personally don’t give ontological status to statistics, but I know MANY people who do. So, I am acknowledging that possibility.
You say my sample isn’t large enough for a [set] of [humanity].
Yet, what is a [set] of [humanity]?
Are you trying to capture every person who ever lived for all time?
Every person who is living today?
Or, consider this possibility:
The [set] of [humanity] extends only as far as my view point and experience goes.
The set of [humanity] for me, for example, would contain, if I had to add up people, probably several hundred thousand people I’ve been in contact with in my lifetime so far, enough to decide, “this is a good person” or “this person has issues”. Maybe 250,000 or so. I’ve been online since 1989, so it’s not an unreasonable number for me and it’s likely more.
Then there are people I was exposed to on TV and in the movies, books and stories and such.
So, as far as I’m concerned, this “set of humanity” extends that far and no further.
The rest are “unknown known” or “unknown unknowns” to me. Not unknowable but unknown to me right now.
So when I speak of “I love humanity!” I’m speaking of the set that I know enough to say.
I’m also speaking of presumptions I have of humanity, looser readings of history, including my bias towards it, which can encompass much MORE of humanity.
Of course these are also projections of my own personality upon “the history of humanity” but not exclusively so as I _do_ have reasoning capabilities.
So, consider the “set of humanity” to be a personal, relativistic set vs the “I hate people” being the personal relativist set containing people in my physical presence that are annoying to me at that moment.
I can love the “set of humanity” that I am aware of while not liking those in my presence all that much.
A subjective data set.
I “ate up” relativity as a teenager. Loved it. Made total sense to me. They should teach it from the earliest school grades onwards. They don’t, because we *still* persist with the “objectivity” illusion and it colors the way we educate people generally.
It’s a shame because once you can acknowledge the subjectivity of objectivity AND be able to enumerate it at some level, it’s a true freedom. I don’t have to speak for every person who exists. I just have to speak for myself as objectively as possible from my subjective perspective and let the person I’m communicating with decide whether my perspective has universal applicability or not.
I assume my subjective perspective is not universal, although of course I hope it is. But, then again, I’m weird like that.
‘m skeptical but not a classic skepticist. I’m also not an “everything is relative” person either. There are some things you can plant a firm basis upon.
I trust my reasoning capabilities but I know they’re not perfect because the cognitive systems in the brain seem to show that the amygdala has greater influence upon the prefrontal cortex than the prefrontal cortex has over the amygdala.
People with damaged amygdalas have been called “living economists”. They are as close to working with “pure reason” as one could expect. The result? They cannot make the simplest decisions. They can spend MONTHS deciding over the simplest things.
So, I trust my reasoning but not exclusively.
I trust logic yet not exclusively so. It has flaws built in to it from the beginning, from its roots. Every system seems to have flaws in it.
This doesn’t mean they are to be rejected. But rather, acknowledge the flaws of the systems while also utilizing them.