The REAL Unmoved mover argument; can you challenge the it?
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
02-09-2015, 12:50 PM (This post was last modified: 02-09-2015 01:09 PM by Unbeliever.)
RE: The REAL Unmoved mover argument; can you challenge the it?
(02-09-2015 12:34 PM)cjlr Wrote:  
(02-09-2015 12:00 PM)Waves Wrote:  That's an interesting point, could you develop a little more please to explain me more why the aristotelician concept of act/potency is false (or at least, not consistent) in regard to modern science?

It's not a valid construct because it's drawing category errors into an invalid reified dichotomy.

An object and its properties cannot be separated. There is no dualism there. An object has "potential" insofar as it exists in certain states and may exhibit a transition between states. This not somehow an outside process - it is a consequence of it possessing the properties it does.

Water does not have the "potential" to be ice. It exhibits many different physical states based on its condition - the primary factor being the average kinetic energy (temperature) of the particles themselves, and how that compares to the various inter-molecular forces.

Or - if it does, then it likewise has the "potential" to be literally anything. There is no theoretical limit to my manipulation of water molecules. If enough energy is applied the binding energy between atoms is overcome. Now you've got hydrogen and oxygen gas. Does water have the "potential" to be two separate gasses? Evidently, yes. If more energy is applied the gas molecules break apart, and if enough is applied the intra-atomic binding energy is exceeded. Does water have the "potential" to be a proton sea? Evidently, yes. Now apply even more energy: you'll get free quarks. Does water have the "potential" to be free up and down quarks? Evidently, yes. Suppose instead we stop with our plasma and apply the energy differently - nuclear fusion. From H-H and O-O reactions, we now have helium and silicon. Does water have the "potential" to be helium and silicon? Evidently, yes. So our water has the "potential" to be any known form of matter in the universe.

In what sense, then, can the word be meaningful?

Well, technically, it's still meaningful even in the sense that Aquinas meant it. Water, using his definition, is certainly potentially ice. It's just also potentially literally anything else, given the proper action placed upon it.

Given this, we get what I mentioned earlier - that the argument boils down to "causality exists, therefore wizards". It is, essentially, stating that things need to interact with other things in order for things to happen, which is true, but not a compelling argument for the existence of a god on its own.

Where it goes wrong is in moving from "things interact" to... well, the whole concept of the prime mover, which is utterly incoherent. Things interact with other things to change the state of those things, yes; this is all very neat and coherent and true, if slightly pointless.

The introduction of the prime mover adds a third party to every interaction whose purpose, necessity, and means of interaction are never satisfactorily defined. It's just a nebulous, incoherent magical force without which, according to Aquinas, these interactions could not take place, because...

Well. Just because, apparently.

This is a common failing among Aquinas' arguments. They are accurate, albeit largely useless, descriptions of reality up to a point (which, in this case, is the point where he forgets that every potential is also an actual and then tries to characterize causality as a single line rather than a web), and then they go off the rails with an attempt to crowbar in God as the reason any of this happens, despite the fact that Aquinas' god is neither necessary nor coherent.

Unfortunately, the fact that he does describe reality up to a point puts him miles ahead of most other theologians. As a result, he gets trotted out as the golden child of theistic philosophy by a lot of people who never actually studied logic. He's the best they have, so he must be right.

...Right?

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Unbeliever's post
02-09-2015, 05:08 PM
RE: The REAL Unmoved mover argument; can you challenge the it?
(02-09-2015 12:50 PM)Unbeliever Wrote:  the whole concept of the prime mover, which is utterly incoherent.

Prime Mover.







Well, this guy might not be prime, but he's a mover





Anyway, carry on.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
02-09-2015, 06:06 PM
RE: The REAL Unmoved mover argument; can you challenge the it?
Troll troll troll troll,
Troll troll troll troll,
Troll troll troll troll,
Trooooooollllllllllll!!!

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes RocketSurgeon76's post
03-09-2015, 02:37 PM
RE: The REAL Unmoved mover argument; can you challenge the it?
Hello guys Smile

I want to thank all of you who answered to my thread. I think I begin to have some idea of counter-arguments to develop, thanks to you Big Grin

Unbeliever was the first to understand the logic behind the argument: "the argument boils down to "causality exists, therefore wizards" ".

As some of you told me, I really need to learn more about science and physics Blush If someone have a book/paper/video/etc which specifically debunks the Aristotle's concept of act/potency it interest me.

I want to share this interesting comment I found on reddit:

This argument is prefaced on a metaphysical framework that states everthing has an "actual" and a "potential". Translating this into a more modern language and framework this would be a present state and future state.

Of course we should expect the translation, as it switches between frameworks, to involve some measure of disconnect between the concepts. It is important to note what this is.

The argument states that potential becomes actual via a process called "actualization", and the transition is referred to as "moving". Potentials are not real, but are made real by actualization which is dependent upon a prior "mover" which is actual (as potentials don't exist until made actual).

Translated this says that the present state of things can transition into the future state of things via a discreet process. The future state of things isn't real until it becomes the present, which depends upon a prior present state. In short, cause and effect.

Now how do the models differ, and so render the translation imperfect?
The Aristotelian model views the transitions as a journey of the individual object between real and possibly real states, while the modern language considers the entire frame of reality to be shifting. The old model would see an unburned candle as not having its potential to be burned actualized, but the modern view allows no such desynchronization; the present marches inexorably forward and the future becomes real. The candle's future state, possible future or possible potential, is actualized by the passage of time and not by a perceived change of state. In the old model the candle being burned is something being made real, but in a modern view a candle being burned or not an hour in the future will be equally real; the actualization is time passing, not changing of states. States are semantics, a conceptual model only existing in our minds.

Another difference in the models is that the old Aristotelian model views the transition of potential into actual to be able to add or subtract qualities in the process. Attributes are conjured from nothing, made real straight from unreal. Actualization is considered essentially an act of creation. In the modern model however the passage of time only allows for changes of arrangement; there is no creation, only rearrangement of existing things. There is no creation or destruction of real qualities in the modern view, and this can actually be verified through direct experimentation.

So as you can see, the argument based upon the old Aristotelian model comes to its conclusions based upon quirks of the mental model it is framed in, a model which is flawed and does not reflect our current knowledge of reality. It may work within the framework but the conclusions are semantic illusions, errors born of a model pushed beyond its breaking point. There is no need for a "prime mover" to make everything actual, as it is perpetually actual. The argument fails from its very foundation.
"


Also, I think one of the other problem is that the argument assume that everything work the way we think. I mean the core reasoning is "things change, but what is changed need a changer". This affirmation is based on observation of facts from which a rule is elaborated. But I think some characteristic are forgotten, like the idea that it concerns material things, things from our universe.

The rule is extended to the "beyond the universe". And as some said on the topic, we don't know how something beyond the realm of our material experience can work. Like, what if our logic rules were not universal? What if something could really be changed without a changer?

I feel like the argument try to answer the unanswerable by assuming that "if what we say here works here, then it works there". Meaning that there may be an infinite chain or a first mover without being unmoved or being "intelligent".

So to put it simply, it assumes that god is a logical entity, and that is unproven. And even if we grant that, it seems that god is dependent of logical laws. Meaning that he is not actually pure, like there is an other ground of dependency.

About the infinity, I kind of see the difference between the two sort of infinity, but I feel that the argument already assumes that the infinity here is that of the second sort (petitio principii). I mean, analogies are fine, but it can only "explain" things, not "demonstrate" them (because well, maybe the thing is kind of new an unique). The "movement can come from nothing, it must depend of a thing at the bottom, it needs a generator!" seems to be sound at first, but in fact it already assume that the concept is the same as the "hand moving a brush or pushing a rock".

As some says, the attributes given to God seems rather suspicious (I think the omnipotence paradox is interessant here). If one comes with "god is above logic", the argument then fail because it assumes logic to prove (and not suppose) something illogical or with a illogical (part of the) processus.

So, that's to what I've reached after some reflexion and after reading your posts.
Do the arguments stated here seem to be valid to you? Do you feel that I forgot some counter-argument? Do you think other objections can be made?
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Waves's post
03-09-2015, 02:51 PM
RE: The REAL Unmoved mover argument; can you challenge the it?
Well, I thought it was interesting. Thanks for sharing. Thumbsup

living word
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
03-09-2015, 04:00 PM
RE: The REAL Unmoved mover argument; can you challenge the it?
I feel dumber after having read the past 8 pages of this thread; not because anyone here is dumb, but because my in-depth knowledge of philosophy is in the red. My head is spinny spinny spinnyyyyyyy.... Shocking Big Grin

**Crickets** -- God
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Tonechaser77's post
03-09-2015, 05:22 PM
RE: The REAL Unmoved mover argument; can you challenge the it?
(03-09-2015 02:37 PM)Waves Wrote:  Translated this says that the present state of things can transition into the future state of things via a discreet process.

Pet peeve: the author means "discrete", not "discreet".

(03-09-2015 02:37 PM)Waves Wrote:  Also, I think one of the other problem is that the argument assume that everything work the way we think. I mean the core reasoning is "things change, but what is changed need a changer".

Not quite. The core reasoning is "things change, but what is changed needs a changer, and this cannot be a material object since all material objects are potentials", somehow managing to forget the fact that, in the very same breath, Aquinas also declared that objects are also actuals and can thus act as catalysts.

It's an amazing piece of convenient amnesia.

(03-09-2015 02:37 PM)Waves Wrote:  The rule is extended to the "beyond the universe". And as some said on the topic, we don't know how something beyond the realm of our material experience can work. Like, what if our logic rules were not universal? What if something could really be changed without a changer?

This takes the argument all the way back to the creation of the universe, rather than as-it-happens causality.

In this case, it collapses because it's bare assertion. We have no evidence that causal relationships even could happen before space-time came into existence, let alone that they are required.

If Aquinas' argument is applied to causality in the present, then the prime mover is unnecessary and incoherent - I'd even go so far as to say that it is a garage dragon. If it is applied to causality at the beginning of the universe, it is bare assertion, unnecessary, incoherent, and special pleading.

Again, this is something of a common theme in Aquinas' arguments. He was very good at dressing up his ideas in fancy language, but he was, unfortunately, very bad at logic.

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Unbeliever's post
03-09-2015, 05:23 PM
RE: The REAL Unmoved mover argument; can you challenge the it?
(03-09-2015 04:00 PM)Tonechaser77 Wrote:  I feel dumber after having read the past 8 pages of this thread; not because anyone here is dumb, but because my in-depth knowledge of philosophy is in the red. My head is spinny spinny spinnyyyyyyy.... Shocking Big Grin

It's really not as complicated as it might look. I've considered starting a Philosophy 101 thread to go over the basics, actually, since pretty much everything in philosophy follows from a few simple principles.

Or it's supposed to, anyway. Lamentably, many philosophers are very, very bad at what they do.

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 3 users Like Unbeliever's post
03-09-2015, 05:39 PM
The REAL Unmoved mover argument; can you challenge the it?
(03-09-2015 05:23 PM)Unbeliever Wrote:  
(03-09-2015 04:00 PM)Tonechaser77 Wrote:  I feel dumber after having read the past 8 pages of this thread; not because anyone here is dumb, but because my in-depth knowledge of philosophy is in the red. My head is spinny spinny spinnyyyyyyy.... Shocking Big Grin

It's really not as complicated as it might look. I've considered starting a Philosophy 101 thread to go over the basics, actually, since pretty much everything in philosophy follows from a few simple principles.

Or it's supposed to, anyway. Lamentably, many philosophers are very, very bad at what they do.

I would subscribe to that thread...

**Crickets** -- God
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
03-09-2015, 05:44 PM
RE: The REAL Unmoved mover argument; can you challenge the it?
(03-09-2015 05:23 PM)Unbeliever Wrote:  Lamentably, many philosophers are very, very bad at what they do.

That's the most optimistic thing I've heard all day! Big Grin

living word
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes houseofcantor's post
Post Reply
Forum Jump: