TAG vs. the Argument From Primacy
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25-01-2015, 05:14 AM
RE: TAG vs. the Argument From Primacy
(23-01-2015 09:33 PM)true scotsman Wrote:  In the thread Why do Atheists Become Atheists, I had presented an argument for the non existence of God and Stevil took issue with it, saying that it seemed like atheist apologetics. I assumed he meant the argument of presuppositional opologetics or TAG , the transcendental argument for God. On the surface it does, so his objection was not unfounded on that level.

On further examination though, the two are not at all similar. It has come to my attention that there is a great deal of confusion about the issue of metaphysical primacy so I thought I would take the time to write this post.

It is completely understandable that many struggle with these concepts. It's not a mark against anyone. These issues are simply taken for granted by 99.99 percent of thinkers. There's a very good reason for that. We all learn these things implicitly at a very early age, long before we have the words to state the principles explicitly. We learn them early and then when we are older and start to philosophize we have forgotten all about them. Very few thinkers ever even consider the need to go back and state these earliest concepts explicitly, and that's very unfortunate. That has led to many errors in thinking which could have been avoided easily if these first principles were known consciously and explicitly.

Very briefly, for those who have never heard of this issue, I'll explain metaphysical primacy.

The issue of metaphysical primacy has to do specifically with the relationship between a consciousness (subject) and its objects (the things it perceives/ reality). Do the objects of consciousness conform to the subject or are they what they are and do what they do independent of the conscious activity which perceives them. The principle is a corollary of three axiomatic concepts and is itself an axiomatic concept. The three concepts are "existence", "consciousness" and "identity". The principle is that whatever exists does so independently of anyone's conscious activity. It means that consciousness is the faculty which perceives reality and not the faculty which creates reality. The identities of every object obtain apart from anyone's conscious wishes or desires. This is the conceptual root of the concept "objective". Being an axiomatic concept, the POE is not inferred from any antecedent premises but is directly observable. It is validated by sense perception and does not need to be proved. Indeed, what could the concepts "proof" or "truth" or "fact" possibly mean in a universe where the objects of consciousness did conform to the subject. The shortest way to say it is "wishing doesn't make it so". The epistemological corollary to the POE is that in order to gain knowledge of reality, one must look outward at reality. Therefore any arbitrary claims that have no connection to percepts cannot be considered knowledge or evidence.

The antithesis of the POE is the principle of the primacy of consciousness. This is the subjective orientation of the subject/ object relationship. This is the view of metaphysical primacy which is affirmed by Christianity and any belief that a conscious god created everything in the universe, maintains everything and can alter the state of affairs at will by conscious activity. On this view, the objects of consciousness conform to the subject of consciousness and do not obtain independently of conscious activity. Wishing does make it so.

With the above in mind, here is the argument from primacy in summary.

1. If the objects of consciousness do not conform to the subject of consciousness, then existence has metaphysical primacy in the relationship between consciousness and reality.

2 If existence has metaphysical primacy then the universe was not created by a God.

3. The objects or consciousness do not conform to the subject of consciousness.

Therefor, existence has primacy and the universe was not created by a God by an act of conscious will.

Now lets compare this with TAG. The transcendental argument for God comes in different variations but all of them propose that God is a necessary precondition for the existence of logic, knowledge and intelligibility. This is not really an argument but a bald assertion. They combine this bald assertion with the cheap debate tactic of the gish gallop. They claim that only the Christian world view can "account for" the laws of logic and intelligibility. They hit the non-believer with a bunch of questions about how they can account for these things without God. They are counting on the non-believer to have no answer for these questions and to concede just to stop the barrage. So this question begging argument relies on the ignorance of its opponents. At its base, it is an argument from ignorance. That's two fallacies so far.

Now the argument from primacy does not make any arbitrary claims. It relies on perceptually self evident facts of reality. It does not beg the question or rely on the ignorance of its opponents.

Implicit in TAG is that God is the starting point of knowledge. It treats God as an irreducible primary. But the concept "God" is not conceptually irreducible. It rests or antecedent concepts which are more fundamental than God so God is not a starting point. In fact the concept "God" fails on every criteria of a proper starting point of knowledge. It is not undeniably true. I can deny it without contradicting any facts of reality. It is not perceptually self evident, it is not fundamental and it is not axiomatic. This is a fatal flaw.

What is the real starting point? According to the Christian world view, God is a disembodied consciousness that created everything in existence distinct from itself, maintains everything in existence and can alter the state of affairs or the identity of existents with an act of conscious will. This is the primacy of consciousness metaphysics explicitly affirmed.

While God is not conceptually irreducible, the concept "consciousness" is and since the Christian world view claims that this consciousness created everything distinct from itself then we finally have the true starting point of the Christian world view. This logically reduces to a consciousness without any means, content or objects. This amounts to an assertion of consciousness without existence which not only commits the fallacy of pure self-reference but also the fallacy of the stolen concept. It is self contradictory. This argument is a real fallacyapalooza. The argument begins with literally nothing. It attempts to use logic to prove a contradiction.

Contrast this with the argument from primacy. The primacy of existence is not an irreducible primary either. It is a corollary of the three concepts I mentioned earlier in my description. These are "existence", "consciousness" and "identity". These are irreducible primaries and the most fundamental of these is "existence" which is a one word concept that subsumes everything that exists, has existed and will exist including anything we don't know about that exists. Absolutely everything is included under this concept as I inform it and as the argument from primacy informs it. If a God existed it would be included in the referents of "existence"

TAG has as its starting point non-existence while the the argument from primacy has as its starting point existence. Does "existence" meet the criteria of a proper starting point? It certainly does. It is undeniably true. One would have to exist in order to deny it. It is fundamental. Indeed there could be no concept more fundamental. It is conceptually irreducible. It rests on no antecedent concepts, for what could come before existence except something that doesn't exist. Is it directly observable? It is. Is it axiomatic? Yes it is. It would have to be true even to disagree with it. By disagreeing with it you would have to acknowledge that it existed and the objector would also have to first exist.

There is a lot more to say but I've already got a huge wall of text here. Hopefully this will explain the argument from primacy and show that there is no comparison between it and TAG. My schedule is extremely busy right now so if I don't respond back right away that is why. I will reply as I can but I only have about 20 minutes a day that I can devote to this.

I'll have to consider this further on the face it, this seems interesting (a) from a psychological point if view and (b) potentially as a tool for arguing with theists. Definitely interesting.

That said, on (b) a swift and curt "fuck off and only come back with uncontravertible evidence" is more efficient, in my experience.

"I don't mind being wrong...it's a time I get to learn something new..."
Me.
N.B: I routinely make edits to posts to correct grammar or spelling, or to restate a point more clearly. I only notify edits if they materially change meaning.
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25-01-2015, 08:42 AM (This post was last modified: 25-01-2015 11:22 AM by Free.)
RE: TAG vs. the Argument From Primacy
(25-01-2015 03:57 AM)Stevil Wrote:  
(23-01-2015 09:33 PM)true scotsman Wrote:  With the above in mind, here is the argument from primacy in summary.

1. If the objects of consciousness do not conform to the subject of consciousness, then existence has metaphysical primacy in the relationship between consciousness and reality.
What do you mean by consciousness?

It means exactly what it is defined as meaning.

Conciousness:

"The state of being conscious; awareness of one's own existence, sensations, thoughts, surroundings etc."


Quote:Edit: It would be also interesting to me to know what your definition of existence or reality is.

It means exactly what it is defined as meaning:

Existence:

"In common usage, it is the world one is aware or conscious of, and that persists independent of one's absence. Other definitions describe it as everything that 'is', or more simply, everything. Some define it to be everything that most people believe in."


Quote:And what you mean when you state "objects of consciousness do not conform to the subject of consciousness"

The subject of consciousness is your mind. The objects of consciousness are those things that exist in reality as they are perceived by your consciousness.

For example, if a chair has 4 legs, and you will it to have 5 legs, the object will never have 5 legs. It means that material things outside of your body do not change because of your will alone. They exist completely independent of your consciousness, or even your very existence.

Quote:because, of course, a conscious human can decide to walk from one place to another taking their shoes with them. Shoes being an object of consciousness in that this human recognises these shoes. The consciousness of the human has in this instance made the shoes conform by manipulating the human's body and as such causing the human's body to move the shoes.

Yes, but your consciousness motivated your body to interact with the shoes. It can do this because it anchors the concept of interacting with your shoes to the reality, which is in fact your shoes.

What this demonstrates is that consciousness is a part of your individual existence; it exists within the laws of nature as part of reality. Hence, "I am therefore I think."

Quote:
(23-01-2015 09:33 PM)true scotsman Wrote:  2 If existence has metaphysical primacy then the universe was not created by a God.
This seems like a non sequitur to me.
It seems like you have assumed things about god. God was not mentioned in item 1. How do you come to a conclusion about god without first explaining how item 1 pertains to the definition of god?

It's not a non sequitur since the very title of this thread as well as his opening statements clearly define that the subject matter is all about the arguments for or against the existence of God.

It's kind of like the "chicken and the egg," except that it defines that existence must come first for consciousness to exist, and also that existence/reality rules consciousness. In short, before you can have consciousness, you must first physically exist.

Without existence, there can be no consciousness, for there would be nothing to be conscious of. Therefore, any God would have to be physical to have consciousness, and would therefore need to first exist within the already existing universe for the simple reason that a "position " in existence is an existence of itself.

In short, if there were no objects of consciousness, even God would not be conscious of anything, not even himself. Why?

Because he would have no existence to support his consciousness.

If God exists, he would first need an object of existence- in this case a position/place- to exist within.

This demonstrates why existence is the primacy, as opposed to consciousness.

How can anyone become an atheist when we are all born with no beliefs in the first place? We are atheists because we were born this way.
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25-01-2015, 01:11 PM
RE: TAG vs. the Argument From Primacy
(25-01-2015 08:42 AM)Free Wrote:  
(25-01-2015 03:57 AM)Stevil Wrote:  What do you mean by consciousness?

It means...
Sorry Free, but my question was for true scotsman, I'm interested in what that poster has to say.
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25-01-2015, 01:53 PM
RE: TAG vs. the Argument From Primacy
(25-01-2015 01:11 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(25-01-2015 08:42 AM)Free Wrote:  It means...
Sorry Free, but my question was for true scotsman, I'm interested in what that poster has to say.

You don't understand him, so I dumbed it down for you.

Drinking Beverage

How can anyone become an atheist when we are all born with no beliefs in the first place? We are atheists because we were born this way.
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25-01-2015, 02:08 PM
RE: TAG vs. the Argument From Primacy
(25-01-2015 01:53 PM)Free Wrote:  You don't understand him, so I dumbed it down for you.

Drinking Beverage
You certainly did dumb it down, that's why I would rather talk to true scotsman.
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25-01-2015, 02:09 PM
RE: TAG vs. the Argument From Primacy
(25-01-2015 02:08 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(25-01-2015 01:53 PM)Free Wrote:  You don't understand him, so I dumbed it down for you.

Drinking Beverage
You certainly did dumb it down, that's why I would rather talk to true scotsman.

Go ahead. He will confirm what I said.

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How can anyone become an atheist when we are all born with no beliefs in the first place? We are atheists because we were born this way.
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25-01-2015, 04:27 PM
RE: TAG vs. the Argument From Primacy
But how can any of that apply beyond the limited and contingent conditions of the observable universe as we understand it?

One can trivially conclude that were the universe explicitly created it was not done from within itself. And so what?

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25-01-2015, 05:29 PM
RE: TAG vs. the Argument From Primacy
(25-01-2015 04:27 PM)cjlr Wrote:  But how can any of that apply beyond the limited and contingent conditions of the observable universe as we understand it?

It really can't because too many variables about what is beyond the observable universe are unknown.

Quote:One can trivially conclude that were the universe explicitly created it was not done from within itself. And so what?

Or one can also conclude it was never created. We just don't know.

How can anyone become an atheist when we are all born with no beliefs in the first place? We are atheists because we were born this way.
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25-01-2015, 05:50 PM
RE: TAG vs. the Argument From Primacy
(25-01-2015 05:29 PM)Free Wrote:  
(25-01-2015 04:27 PM)cjlr Wrote:  But how can any of that apply beyond the limited and contingent conditions of the observable universe as we understand it?

It really can't because too many variables about what is beyond the observable universe are unknown.

So the whole line of argument here amounts to "your assertions are wrong because my assertions".

I agree that it's interesting, but it's still no more than a thought experiment.

(25-01-2015 05:29 PM)Free Wrote:  
Quote:One can trivially conclude that were the universe explicitly created it was not done from within itself. And so what?

Or one can also conclude it was never created. We just don't know.

Not quite: we can conclude based on observation - although of course to do so involves its own host of assumptions - that present conditions had an origin in space and time. Which we call the big bang. Beyond that, well; anything goes.

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25-01-2015, 06:16 PM
RE: TAG vs. the Argument From Primacy
(25-01-2015 05:50 PM)cjlr Wrote:  
(25-01-2015 05:29 PM)Free Wrote:  It really can't because too many variables about what is beyond the observable universe are unknown.

So the whole line of argument here amounts to "your assertions are wrong because my assertions".

I agree that it's interesting, but it's still no more than a thought experiment.

It totally seems reasonable and beautifully GORGEOUS logically. It so completely works with my world view and how I think. I understood it immediately because it is something that I put into practice daily. I just never knew there was anything out there that could properly articulate it. I know I never could find the right words to describe what and why things go through my mind the way they do.

I suspect you see it the same way I do.

Quote:
(25-01-2015 05:29 PM)Free Wrote:  Or one can also conclude it was never created. We just don't know.

Not quite: we can conclude based on observation - although of course to do so involves its own host of assumptions - that present conditions had an origin in space and time. Which we call the big bang. Beyond that, well; anything goes.

Agreed.

How can anyone become an atheist when we are all born with no beliefs in the first place? We are atheists because we were born this way.
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