Only because nobody has found a counterexample, it does not mean yet for a long time that a regularity must be fundamentally correct and generally valid.

Either because one does not know the true regularities of the world, (1) because there are none, (2) because they are possibly changeable, or (3) because one does not understand the nature of an entity to which this regularity should actually apply in detail, and this regularity does not apply, or only partially. So one can predict with no perfect security the result of a process, how something certain is built, actually nothing at all.

Everybody and everything alive has his own perception of the world which must be limited in some way, alone by this it is not possible to know something with absolute certainty, because in his own consciousness an image of the world is projected which the senses can perceive limitedly, which does not agree with the image of other beings, or because one lacks information which others have. Theoretically, I can not even safely assume that the readers here can understand my text, because his thinking apparatus works differently and can not understand human language.

Thus one can know nevertheless nothing with security, since the validity of this knowledge would depend on being able to be always applicable in this area, which it hardly ever does, always there are minimum deviations or exceptions, of which one does not know however often. Wouldn't one then have to know absolutely everything to be able to know anything at all with 100 percent certainty?

Observations depend also always on the observer and on the situation in which he was just, and also after thousands of observations and patterns which one can recognize, there could still be deviations from this pattern which would question everything before.

Can you not rely on anything 100 percent, not even logic (ok this one probably to a certain degree for sure), can you only hope that the highest probability is the safest possibility for, well, anything? And why do we still act as if all regularities were perfect without exception and we could know everything with certainty?

If not, then this would cause a fundamental problem, at first seemingly not that big of a deal if someone can be in best case 99.999...% sure of something, but if we look at the so called "human needs". For example, pick a person from the crowd of humanity and unfortunately of all things picked someone who is very different in nature than others, but we don't know yet; let’s ts say he hates to get hugged and let's say he hates being hugged or receiving other kinds of affection in general, not only that but gets physical damage from that (maybe he'll get a skin rash or something), good and healthy for most people but not for him. Most would argue one of those would be just mentally ill or has an unknown disease but when he doesn’t suffer otherwise I wouldn’t consider it a disease just because he is very different from the majority in this area. I mean there are a lot of psychological things the average person would literally die from, directly or indirectly, but are not called diseases, like not getting affection from your parents for example. But it poses the question if a century-long researched subject like human needs is flawed because not every human works the same way, maybe not completely wrong but not universally true either.

Another example: Let's say you're writing an essay claiming that "Every reader here is a male", raging women incoming complaining about how stupid this statement is, and sexist as well, and of course the statement is completly wrong. But what about you write instead, "every reader here has a brain in the head", then nobody would complain about this statement, because everybody thinks it would be a plain fact, until this one strange person arrives that can prove the author of the essay he has not a brain, rather a wide bodyspreading neurological network whose center is in the stomach, then the whole statement would be wrong as well, or at least not completly true, because there is an exception, this one of the let’s say one hundred thousand readers has got no brain in the head, but was it dumb to assume its a universal fact?

Thats the main problem, aside from as said earlier that no being can percieve the real world in its entirety in the first place, so no one can perceive the full objective reality and no one can really comprehend and understand it, if there is even one...

  • 1
    What kind of "fundamental problem"? Oct 24, 2021 at 15:22
  • That everyone cant be completly sure about anything, so they potentially cant shape their lifes as how they imagined, no matter how hard they try, or make assumptions that seem true for most but are not even close to the truth, so they get end up dying in worst case, or creat harm or get insane and dont know what to do and disbelieving everything if they realize this issue. Its not fundamental in the scale of the universe, or better said the cosmos, but for every being that lives in it, not only humans.
    – ruxxx
    Oct 24, 2021 at 17:13
  • Yes, we are fallible and what we believe may turn out to be false, in part or completely. We are lucky to surmise something that works at least most of the time, and would be wise to act on that. That's one problem we have to live with. What is the question beyond that?
    – Conifold
    Oct 24, 2021 at 20:44
  • Of course this is a problem and you know it from deep inside otherwise your knowledge would be wonderfully complete and never come here for any question... Jan 29 at 17:28

4 Answers 4


Not for anyone that wants to know the truth.. the problem manifests upon trying to protect a theory outside of logic, reason and Common Sense.

If the exceptions are wrong or fake then of course. But if not how could anyone be mad I gaining new knowledge.

What's your speaking of is the process of Improvement or perfecting.

So until a new system is in place incorporating such exceptions then it is acceptable to use the old systems.

To be clear ignoring such exceptions to maintain the status quo would result in stagnation and reversion of mankind as a whole and on a personal level.

Such things only become problems in politics and not necessarily of the governing type though it can't be seen everyday


Newtonian gravity cannot predict some of the movements of the planets as observed from Earth (I forget which), but special relativity can. So yes, I would argue that in fact exceptions do pose a fundamental problem.


Depends on your relation to these rules. Like did you assume that they are the end all be all of knowledge concerning that domain? Well yes in that case a single counter example can prove that this is wrong.

The important point to notice however is WHAT actually is wrong. And primarily it's the certainty that is wrong not necessarily the usefulness of the rule in general. What happened is that you've moved from "works all the time" to "works most of the time". Which is still significantly more useful than "works some of the time" or "is most often wrong". However it hints at the fact that some of your assumptions might be wrong or don't work as you'd expected them to. Meaning you're again on your quest for knowledge to find a better rule that also incorporates that exception.

But it also has another consequence and that is that you should think of your theory as fallible. So if an exception comes up it might be due to the fact that you were wrong with your theory/rule. Whereas if you assume your rule to be the truth and how it should be, then it would be the exception that is wrong/impossible.

This is part of the reason why for example science thinks of it's theories as work-in-progress and most-likely-wrong rather than considering them to be "truth". That doesn't mean that things can't be useful, on the contrary science has, despite being always wrong, made significant progress in understanding and knowledge to an extend where it's suitable in application. However fundamentally it's just a good guess and not a truth.


So I think if you look at skeptism you'll gain some insight here. In a nutshell, if we follow Cicero, we conclude that, e.g. it is probable that all readers of this sentence are human, and that it is probable that any human who can read has a brain in their heads. We can be open to counterexample and acknowledge that our positions are contingent on the acquisition of new information without being forced into inaction.

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