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Can we refute this criticism of Objectivism?

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11 minutes ago, William O said:

You have to assume the axioms to show that it is impossible to refute the axioms, so it isn't a proof. "p, therefore p" is never a proof of p, even if p is known to be true on other grounds.

That is a serious problem for me. I am in a debate with a skeptic who claims that "everything is an assumption, man-made constructs". I have brought up the law of identity and "existence exists" and his private response is "I don't understand you".

The only way I have found to get a response is to have the discussion in public forum and try to "embarrass" him with his self-refuting statements. That has had far better results.

Instead of proof maybe my last statement should be "My understanding is that "the impossibility of refutation" ends up being a strong persuader/explainer".

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Just now, Easy Truth said:

That is a serious problem for me. I am in a debate with a skeptic who claims that "everything is an assumption, man-made constructs". I have brought up the law of identity and "existence exists" and his private response is "I don't understand you".

The only way I have found to get a response is to have the discussion in public forum and try to "embarrass" him with his self-refuting statements. That has had far better results.

Instead of proof maybe my last statement should be "My understanding is that "the impossibility of refutation" ends up being a strong persuader/explainer".

Is there any particular reason why you need to change this person's mind? I do debate with non-Objectivists, but I tend to bow out pretty quickly if they say something silly.

Hume got a lot wrong, but I like this passage from the second Enquiry: "Disputes with men, pertinaciously obstinate in their principles, are, of all others, the most irksome; except, perhaps, those with persons, entirely disingenuous, who really do not believe the opinions they defend, but engage in the controversy, from affectation, from a spirit of opposition, or from a desire of showing wit and ingenuity, superior to the rest of mankind. The same blind adherence to their own arguments is to be expected in both; the same contempt of their antagonists; and the same passionate vehemence, in inforcing sophistry and falsehood. And as reasoning is not the source, whence either disputant derives his tenets; it is in vain to expect, that any logic, which speaks not to the affections, will ever engage him to embrace sounder principles."

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1 hour ago, William O said:

Is there any particular reason why you need to change this person's mind? I do debate with non-Objectivists, but I tend to bow out pretty quickly if they say something silly.

Yes, The reason is he is very influential in the philosophical community I am in. He talks down to people sort of shutting down the flow of information. 

I am also interested in the psychological reasons why people evade. If I know how and why others evade, and a method is devised to catch and fix, or prevent, then when I evade, someone can help with my evasions.

Most of the problem in the philosophy groups is simply "not knowing"/ignorance. People who have not read up on philosophy come too. 

It has some positive effect. Just yesterday a religious member of the community said he liked an article on Rand so much that he was willing to read "her stuff" now. This is after 3 years of debating with him. I had not read the article but another objectivist had sent the link out. (something about why Christians should pay attention to Rand)

And yes, there is a limit to tolerating them.
 

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16 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

Yes, The reason is he is very influential in the philosophical community I am in. He talks down to people sort of shutting down the flow of information.

This is going to be an uphill battle, because the person you're debating with is not being honest. I can tell that just from your description of him above: He claimed that he didn't understand the axioms of existence and identity, but the axioms of existence and identity are self evident, so he is not being honest.

You might try mockery. His claiming not to know anything provides plenty of material for that - he has to assume he has knowledge just to type out his posts on his keyboard. You will also need to point out all of the stolen concepts and fallacies of self exclusion that he is doubtlessly committing with every post.

Quote

I am also interested in the psychological reasons why people evade. If I know how and why others evade, and a method is devised to catch and fix, or prevent, then when I evade, someone can help with my evasions.

He has free will, so if he doesn't want to look at reality then he won't.

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20 minutes ago, William O said:

You might try mockery. His claiming not to know anything provides plenty of material for that - he has to assume he has knowledge just to type out his posts on his keyboard. You will also need to point out all of the stolen concepts and fallacies of self exclusion that he is doubtlessly committing with every post.

Agreed, mockery is the only thing that has brought him out of his shell, based on his desire to maintain his credibility and reputation.

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Easy truth, I take your comments as a form of what I coined as rhetoric mining. You say that you decided to try to:

On 7/5/2018 at 1:15 PM, Easy Truth said:

"embarrass" him with his self-refuting statements. 

I am curious if you actually decided consciously that pointing out this persons stolen concepts publicly would serve to embarrass him?

I have more thoughts but want to hear your response first.

Edited by Plasmatic

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3 hours ago, Plasmatic said:

I am curious if you actually decided consciously that pointing out this persons stolen concepts publicly would serve to embarrass him?

Not sure, he was embarrassed when I said simple things like:

Him: The important question is does "Absolute Truth" exist?
Me:-For some reason, you can't recognize the "truth" right now. How would you recognize it when you see it later on?

He basically pushed for the idea that knowledge is all assumptions. My jabs using self-refutation were:
Me:-To say that "we are not equipped to know the truth" is to claim that you know a truth. Now, where did this truth come from?
Me:-The statement "Induction can never lead to absolute truth" is a statement indicating an absolute truth.

One not so comical but bizarre exchange was:
Me:-Is an arbitrary assumption after reflection, after evidence, after the impossibility of refuting it still an arbitrary assumption? (which amazingly he doubled down, said yes) Me:-How can someone convince another that "they can know" when they have decided to "assume" that "knowing is always assuming".

He attacked truth and falsehood as too simplistic
Me:-So instead of "true" or "false" your preferred system of logic has "who knows" and "what do I care"?

He said I was using the argument for faith: I have faith so I know the truth and since he does not "he should repent".
Me:--You believe truth is arbitrary assumptions, you're the one who has faith in your so-called truth. (I don't know how obvious that was to people)

I was hoping that the "audience/participants" could see the ridiculousness or contradictions in his statements which would force him to explain his assertions otherwise end up looking stupid.
My straight explanations are ignored in a private setting (between me and him) sometimes with abusive comments like "you're just not educated enough" or something to the effect of "the best minds in the world disagree with you".

But it ended well with him graciously thanking me for "the information" which I interpret as a major improvement.

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