For TheBorg,
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02-09-2016, 01:40 PM
RE: For TheBorg,
(02-09-2016 12:07 PM)Aliza Wrote:  
(02-09-2016 11:16 AM)Grasshopper Wrote:  I deny that your "primacy of existence" is axiomatic -- unless you are "restating it" by saying that consciousness is consciousness of something. And even then, that is true of consciousness as we know it. It may or may not apply to the kind of consciousness that a God would have. If a mole or a bat could talk, and you asked it how many senses there are and what they're like, sight would not even enter the discussion. They have no experience of it and no concept of it. How do we know there aren't senses or forms of consciousness that are totally beyond our ability to comprehend? The human mind is not all-powerful. It has limits.

You remind me of the people over at Edward Feser's blog, who are absolutely convinced that Aristotelian-Thomistic metaphysics is an accurate description of reality, and hence, God must exist. You come to the opposite conclusion, but both you and they claim to have certainty about a metaphysical concept, and talk about in abstract terms that leave me largely groping for understanding. Since you contradict each other, at least one of you must be wrong. Why couldn't it be you?

I do not trust metaphysics. With or without God, material reality as we know it has either existed for all eternity, or it arose out of nothing at some point. I find both concepts incomprehensible. That doesn't mean there is no reality, but it does mean there are limits to what my mind can comprehend. You might be smarter than me, but you're not smart enough to have ultimate answers to all the ultimate questions.

I don't even know what metaphysics means. I have to keep Googling it to remind myself.

met·a·phys·ics
ˌmedəˈfiziks/
noun
the branch of philosophy that deals with the first principles of things, including abstract concepts such as being, knowing, substance, cause, identity, time, and space.

abstract theory or talk with no basis in reality.

"his concept of society as an organic entity is, for market liberals, simply metaphysics"


This whole conversation is just so far over my head. I don't understand the point true scotsman is trying to make and I don't understand if I'm even being understood.

The first definition would be the proper one in this context. I would define it as the study of those principles that apply to the univers as a whole.

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
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02-09-2016, 01:45 PM
RE: For TheBorg,
(02-09-2016 01:30 PM)true scotsman Wrote:  
(02-09-2016 12:35 PM)Grasshopper Wrote:  No. I have no "wants" in this discussion. I don't care one way or another whether or not my denial is "true". Axioms are funny things, though. We like to think that they are self-evident, but that's not always the case. What they really are is a set of things that we agree to agree on so that we can have a discussion. I'm a mathematician at heart, and I know from experience that you can build a perfectly consistent (but entirely different) system just by starting with slightly different axioms. Witness Euclidean vs. non-Euclidean geometry. One was "self-evident" for 2000 years, but now it seems that the other one fits reality better.

The people over at Feser's blog have their axioms, too. And in their system, God must exist. You can go over there and fight it out with them if you like. I deny that either of you has the degree of certainty that you think you have. I make no definite claims in these matters. I'm happy to say "I don't know". I think your claim is considerably more likely to be true than theirs. But I don't claim to know that.

This does not answer the question. Why the evasion? Could it be that a no answer to this question will prove the very thing you deny? Now you say that you don't care if your denial is true. Well it isn't true and your refusal to answer directly yes or no means you know it.

Let's just say that "truth" is a much fuzzier concept for me than it is for you, and I'm not sure that the concept even applies to my denial of your axiom. The axiom is not self-evident to me, that's all. That's not a refusal to answer -- it's just a statement of my position. And that's exactly what I would say to Feser, too. I don't accept his axioms (or yours). So sue me.

Axioms are useful (but still somewhat arbitrary) in the world of mathematics and logic. They don't work nearly so well when talking about a messy thing like reality. Reality refuses to be nailed down as nicely as you would like it to be.
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02-09-2016, 01:49 PM
RE: For TheBorg,
(02-09-2016 01:32 PM)true scotsman Wrote:  
(02-09-2016 12:39 PM)Grasshopper Wrote:  I like the second definition: "abstract theory or talk with no basis in reality". But I'm not certain of that either.

Laugh out load

I see. So the axiom of existence which formally recognizes that ther is a reality, has no basis in reality?!

"Reality" is a very slippery thing. We can only talk about our perception and conception of reality. We have no direct experience or knowledge of the ding an sich.
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02-09-2016, 01:58 PM (This post was last modified: 02-09-2016 02:09 PM by true scotsman.)
RE: For TheBorg,
(02-09-2016 01:45 PM)Grasshopper Wrote:  
(02-09-2016 01:30 PM)true scotsman Wrote:  This does not answer the question. Why the evasion? Could it be that a no answer to this question will prove the very thing you deny? Now you say that you don't care if your denial is true. Well it isn't true and your refusal to answer directly yes or no means you know it.

Let's just say that "truth" is a much fuzzier concept for me than it is for you, and I'm not sure that the concept even applies to my denial of your axiom. The axiom is not self-evident to me, that's all. That's not a refusal to answer -- it's just a statement of my position. And that's exactly what I would say to Feser, too. I don't accept his axioms (or yours). So sue me.

Axioms are useful (but still somewhat arbitrary) in the world of mathematics and logic. They don't work nearly so well when talking about a messy thing like reality. Reality refuses to be nailed down as nicely as you would like it to be.

OK. But you did refuse to answer. I asked you if your denial was true because you wanted it to be true. You answered a different question. I did not ask you whether you had any wants in the discussion or whether you cared if your denial was true. I don't care what some random guy thinks about axioms. I doubt very sincerely that what he calls an axiom is really an axiom. People throw that word around a lot without understanding what it means.

Now you've made the statement that axioms are somewhat arbitrary. Given that arbitrary means without any evidential basis, how are the axioms of existence, consciousness and identity somewhat arbitrary. Do you deny that things exist? Do you deny that consciousness exists? Do you deny that things have identity? Just by referencing the axioms you have affirmed all three of them. You've acknowledged that they exist, there's 1. You've acknowledged that you are aware of them, there's 2. and you've identified them as the axioms, there's 3. I'm sorry that truth is a fuzzy concept to you. Its pretty clear to me. Truth is that which corresponds to reality.

You want to take issue with my statements but you don't care to defend the truth of yours because then you'd have to take a firm position. Got it.

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
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02-09-2016, 02:03 PM
RE: For TheBorg,
(02-09-2016 01:49 PM)Grasshopper Wrote:  
(02-09-2016 01:32 PM)true scotsman Wrote:  I see. So the axiom of existence which formally recognizes that ther is a reality, has no basis in reality?!

"Reality" is a very slippery thing. We can only talk about our perception and conception of reality. We have no direct experience or knowledge of the ding an sich.

Oh I see, you're a Kantian. OK so when you are aware you are not aware of anything. You are aware of an appearance but not of anything in reality.

We have experience of reality by means of its appearance. If we had no means of being aware, then we could not be aware. If objects did not appear to us then we would not be conscious. But consciousness is consciousness of some thing, not of an appearance.

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
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02-09-2016, 02:10 PM
RE: For TheBorg,
(02-09-2016 01:32 PM)true scotsman Wrote:  I see. So the axiom of existence which formally recognizes that ther is a reality, has no basis in reality?!

I think that's right. We have to rely on it or we can't get anywhere and it's the clearest self-evident and incontrovertible axiom I can think of. Doesn't mean it has any basis in reality. I think the answer to that is unknowable because of the self-referential problems it introduces.

There is only one really serious philosophical question, and that is suicide. -Camus
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02-09-2016, 02:14 PM
RE: For TheBorg,
(02-09-2016 02:10 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  
(02-09-2016 01:32 PM)true scotsman Wrote:  I see. So the axiom of existence which formally recognizes that ther is a reality, has no basis in reality?!

I think that's right. We have to rely on it or we can't get anywhere and it's the clearest self-evident and incontrovertible axiom I can think of. Doesn't mean it has any basis in reality. I think the answer to that is unknowable because of the self-referential problems it introduces.

We have to rely on what? and we can't get anywhere where? You are saying that the axiom of existence does not reference anything?

I'm curious what self-referential problems you are talking about.

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
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02-09-2016, 02:18 PM
RE: For TheBorg,
(02-09-2016 02:14 PM)true scotsman Wrote:  
(02-09-2016 02:10 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  I think that's right. We have to rely on it or we can't get anywhere and it's the clearest self-evident and incontrovertible axiom I can think of. Doesn't mean it has any basis in reality. I think the answer to that is unknowable because of the self-referential problems it introduces.

We have to rely on what? and we can't get anywhere where? You are saying that the axiom of existence does not reference anything?

I'm saying there is no way to be sure it does. Other than in our own imagination.

There is only one really serious philosophical question, and that is suicide. -Camus
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02-09-2016, 02:22 PM
RE: For TheBorg,
(02-09-2016 01:58 PM)true scotsman Wrote:  
(02-09-2016 01:45 PM)Grasshopper Wrote:  Let's just say that "truth" is a much fuzzier concept for me than it is for you, and I'm not sure that the concept even applies to my denial of your axiom. The axiom is not self-evident to me, that's all. That's not a refusal to answer -- it's just a statement of my position. And that's exactly what I would say to Feser, too. I don't accept his axioms (or yours). So sue me.

Axioms are useful (but still somewhat arbitrary) in the world of mathematics and logic. They don't work nearly so well when talking about a messy thing like reality. Reality refuses to be nailed down as nicely as you would like it to be.

OK. But you did refuse to answer. I asked you if your denial was true because you wanted it to be true. You answered a different question. I did not ask you whether you had any wants in the discussion or whether you cared if your denial was true. I don't care what some random guy thinks about axioms. I doubt very sincerely that what he calls an axiom is really an axiom. People throw that word around a lot without understanding what it means.

I didn't answer your question directly because it's a nonsensical question. My denial is not the sort of thing that can be "true" or "false". It just means that your axiom is not self-evident to me. And that is a true statement.

And Feser is not "some random guy". He is a professional philosopher who has given a great deal of thought to these issues, and after trying to refute Aristotelian-Thomistic metaphysics, concluded instead that it was an accurate picture of reality and that modern philosophy was in error to the degree that it departed from Aristotle and Aquinas. If you have a beef with him, you should argue with him, not me. I don't accept his metaphysics or yours.

Quote:Now you've made the statement that axioms are somewhat arbitrary. Given that arbitrary means without any evidential basis, how are the axioms of existence, consciousness and identity somewhat arbitrary. Do you deny that things exist? Do you deny that consciousness exists? Do you deny that things have identity? Just by referencing the axioms you have affirmed all three of them. You've acknowledged that they exist, there's 1. You've acknowledged that you are aware of them, there's 2. and you've identified them as the axioms, there's 3. I'm sorry that truth is a fuzzy concept to you. Its pretty clear to me. Truth is that which corresponds to reality.

No, arbitrary does not mean "without any evidential basis". It just means that sometimes you can have axioms that are mutually contradictory but both plausible. There is evidence for both the Euclidean parallel postulate and the non-Euclidean one. You can build a coherent and useful geometry from either one. Neither one is "true" in any absolute sense. Therefore, it is somewhat arbitrary which one you choose.

I do not deny that "things" exist. However, we have only a fuzzy perception of what those "things" are and what they are really like. Do things have identity? I don't know. Is an electron a particle or a wave function? Nobody knows. Quantum mechanics says that it's impossible for anyone to know in any absolute sense. We use whichever formulation is convenient. Consciousness exists, but it's not self-evident to me that it must be conscious of anything other than itself. None of your axioms is as rock solid as you pretend they are. We cannot directly know reality, so we cannot know exactly what corresponds to it. If you disagree, take it up with Kant (or just about any modern philosopher).
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02-09-2016, 02:28 PM
RE: For TheBorg,
(02-09-2016 02:03 PM)true scotsman Wrote:  
(02-09-2016 01:49 PM)Grasshopper Wrote:  "Reality" is a very slippery thing. We can only talk about our perception and conception of reality. We have no direct experience or knowledge of the ding an sich.

Oh I see, you're a Kantian.

I'm also something of a Zhuangzhian. I can't be certain whether I'm awake or dreaming at the moment. I'm only partially kidding.
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