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Argument for the existence of God

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Jacob86 wrote

Your question is valid, and I would like to read any responses. However, to focus on this is to miss my point that even the rules of logic require validation by reduction to perception. Logic is not a primary or first order concept. You may deduce theorems to you heart's content, but those theorems still require additional validation.

Why is that?

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And while Objectivism views Metaphyisics as the foundational, it is essentially relies on Objectivists Epistimology to integrate them together.

Keep in mind, this a broad overview and simplification which relies on contextual usage of many of the concepts used to explain it here.

Why start with perception? In short, we open our eyes, we listen with our ears, etc., sensations automatically integrated into percepts (entities) are what we first encounter and concretize. Conceptual consciousness differentiates and integrates the material provided by the senses. Primarily, consciousness is a difference detector if you will. When we observe specific entities to be similar, induction allows us to integrate those instances under the concept we are taught by our parents as 'dog', 'cat', 'table', 'chair'.

Later, as we expand our range of knowledge, we further integrate 'dog' & 'cat' under the concept 'animal'; 'table' & 'chair' under the concept of 'furniture'. Note that there are no existents 'animal' or 'furniture'. Animal subsumes 'cat', 'dog', 'horse', 'bird' - which we can point to ostensively and state 'by dog', I mean (pointing at Fido) Fido here. This permits us to 'validate' concepts like 'dog' & 'cat'. This permits us to 'prove' a concept as 'furniture' by identifying the existent/entities it refers to and wrap up the proof with the validation of 'table', 'chair', 'bed', etc.

Objectivist epistemology can be touched upon in a forum setting. To be fully grasped, it is best to grapple with it via it's source, "Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology" or in conjunction with "Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand".

Jacob86 wrote

Your question is valid, and I would like to read any responses. However, to focus on this is to miss my point that even the rules of logic require validation by reduction to perception. Logic is not a primary or first order concept. You may deduce theorems to you heart's content, but those theorems still require additional validation.

Why is that?

Because 'logic', like 'animal' or 'furniture' is an abstraction from abstractions. Logic is derived from the Law of Identity in conjunction with aspects of mathematics. Both the Law of Identity and Mathematics are induced from the perceptual as well.

Knowing how to use a concept by without knowing it's perceptual underpinnings leads one into 'rationalism' or 'deducing theorems to your heart's content' without developing the proof (logical hierarchy) and validating the various concepts to their perceptual level.

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Because 'logic', like 'animal' or 'furniture' is an abstraction from abstractions. Logic is derived from the Law of Identity in conjunction with aspects of mathematics. Both the Law of Identity and Mathematics are induced from the perceptual as well.

Knowing how to use a concept by without knowing it's perceptual underpinnings leads one into 'rationalism' or 'deducing theorems to your heart's content' without developing the proof (logical hierarchy) and validating the various concepts to their perceptual level.

So, would you agree with Jethro that the LEM is not necessarily valid?

If so, I'm assuming then, that you disagree with Plasmatic's response to my same question??

(Just trying to get a good idea of where everyone stands...I don't want to assume one person's position for another's)

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Because 'logic', like 'animal' or 'furniture' is an abstraction from abstractions. Logic is derived from the Law of Identity in conjunction with aspects of mathematics. Both the Law of Identity and Mathematics are induced from the perceptual as well.

Knowing how to use a concept by without knowing it's perceptual underpinnings leads one into 'rationalism' or 'deducing theorems to your heart's content' without developing the proof (logical hierarchy) and validating the various concepts to their perceptual level.

The situation is actually worse. One may have a whole body of knowledge of a deductive sort, such as Euclidean Geometry, that one has validated the claims of to the best of one's local experience and deductive capacity. One may deduce that the sum of the angles of a triangle is 180 degrees. However, we now know that Euclidean Geometry is empirically false in this solar system, and the sum of the angles of triangles is greater than 180 degrees if drawn about massive objects. Theories that we have validated In a local context may be invalid in a larger context. Also, a simple deductive proof is insufficient for validation. Another example applies to superstrings. There is no empirical evidence supporting these theories so belief in any such theory is premature. Even so, a theory must have a future possibility of empirical validation to qualify for serious consideration.

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So, would you agree with Jethro that the LEM is not necessarily valid?

If so, I'm assuming then, that you disagree with Plasmatic's response to my same question??

(Just trying to get a good idea of where everyone stands...I don't want to assume one person's position for another's)

I do not know Logic well enough to comment intellegently on LEM.

As to Plasmatic's response, I believe this is divirging from the direction that it appeared to be going (epistemologically, I believe) prior to parsing these issues.

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The situation is actually worse. One may have a whole body of knowledge of a deductive sort, such as Euclidean Geometry, that one has validated the claims of to the best of one's local experience and deductive capacity. One may deduce that the sum of the angles of a triangle is 180 degrees. However, we now know that Euclidean Geometry is empirically false in this solar system, and the sum of the angles of triangles is greater than 180 degrees if drawn about massive objects. Theories that we have validated In a local context may be invalid in a larger context. Also, a simple deductive proof is insufficient for validation. Another example applies to superstrings. There is no empirical evidence supporting these theories so belief in any such theory is premature. Even so, a theory must have a future possibility of empirical validation to qualify for serious consideration.

After recently listening to Dr. Corvini's 'The Crisis of Principles in Greek Mathematics', it would appear that Euclidean Geometry kept the deductive formulation for the arena it was intended, mainly planar geometry, for which it is valid, and much of the inductive development was lost historically, as most of the writings prior to Euclid have not survived, a possible testament to the efficacy of this particular work (Euclid's Elements).

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I do not know Logic well enough to comment intellegently on LEM.

As to Plasmatic's response, I believe this is divirging from the direction that it appeared to be going (epistemologically, I believe) prior to parsing these issues.

These issues are very fundamental ones to Epistemology. The three basic laws of Logic (Identity, Non-Contradiction, and Excluded Middle) are massively important to any discussion on Epistemology. Therefore, I'd like to get a good idea as to where the participants in the conversation stand on them- so as to have a more productive conversation.

I don't mean this in a condescending manner at all- but I HIGHLY suggest reading up on them. It's not very complicated, shouldn't take too much time, and it's extremely beneficial to one's worldview. :)

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So, does everyone else agree with Jethro that the LEM is not valid????

Just curious.

LEM is valid in particular contexts, esp., logical contexts devoid of reference to future experimental outcomes, i.e., stale logical contexts (also otherwise known as purely deductive contexts).

In the real world that I live in, there isn't total certainty, so LEM is logically invalid with respect to any proposition involving the outcome of a future experiment. Such as the consequences of my actions.

For example, this proposition: "If I measure the spin of an electron, I will obtain +1/2". LEM just can't be used here.

- ico

Edited by icosahedron
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These issues are very fundamental ones to Epistemology. The three basic laws of Logic (Identity, Non-Contradiction, and Excluded Middle) are massively important to any discussion on Epistemology. Therefore, I'd like to get a good idea as to where the participants in the conversation stand on them- so as to have a more productive conversation.

I don't mean this in a condescending manner at all- but I HIGHLY suggest reading up on them. It's not very complicated, shouldn't take too much time, and it's extremely beneficial to one's worldview. :)

LEM would in essence be as Parmenides stated it: "What is, is. What is not, is not.", if that states it simply enough.

Which I do agree with. (italics edited)

Edited by dream_weaver
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LEM is valid in particular contexts, esp., logical contexts devoid of reference to real experimental outcomes, i.e., empty logical contexts.

In the real world that I live in, there isn't total certainty, so LEM is logically invalid with respect to any proposition involving the outcome of a future experiment.

For example, this proposition: "If I measure the spin of an electron, I will obtain +1/2". LEM just can't be used here.

- ico

I agree that there are certain contexts in which it cannot be "used" in a pragmatic sense- ie. in contexts where there is not a necessary "either/or" dichotomy. However, are you saying that it is therefore useless except for in fanciful philosophical games?? This is the impression I get. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

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LEM would in essence be as Parmenides stated it: "What is, is. What is not, is not.", if that states it simply enough.

That is more a sort of statement of the Law of Identity. But the three laws are all corralaries (sp?) of each other.

Identity: A is A

Non-Cont: A is not non A

Excl. Midd: Either A or non A

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That is more a sort of statement of the Law of Identity. But the three laws are all corralaries (sp?) of each other.

Identity: A is A

Non-Cont: A is not non A

Excl. Midd: Either A or non A

Objectivism upholds all three.

Edit: In ALL contexts!

Edited by Plasmatic
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Objectivism upholds all three.

Edit: In ALL contexts!

Come on! I've been waiting to hear your response on the issue and that's all you have to say!? (Tongue in cheek) ;)

Aren't you going to refute them or correct them?

What do you think it is that makes them doubt any of the three...in any context?

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I agree that there are certain contexts in which it cannot be "used" in a pragmatic sense- ie. in contexts where there is not a necessary "either/or" dichotomy. However, are you saying that it is therefore useless except for in fanciful philosophical games?? This is the impression I get. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

I am saying that in every case, the conceptual structure is (at minimum) that of two aspects a larger whole. If the behavior of the whole is predictable from the behavior of its parts, then you can use LEM; otherwise, you can't.

For example, either 1+1=2, or it doesn't -- there is no middle ground here, because the result of counting parts is predictable from considering the parts separately.

But in reality, the whole is ALWAYS greater than the sum of its parts; this is the principle of synergy, and the simplest example of it is the function of gravity, which cannot be discerned except BETWEEN entities -- it is behavior of a system of two that cannot be predicted from looking at either of the two individually.

So, if you want to analyze past data, from which all validly constructed conceptual sums are valid, then LEM will end up being useful once the problem gets boiled down to a sequence of binary outcomes (it has to be programmable to be deducible, and vice versa).

But if you want to do anything that involves prognostication, including physics, then you'll have to live without LEM, because the future is uncertain by definition (if volition is true)

(I am assuming you see already that arbitrary claims do not deserve consideration in a logical context, so am dispensing with such as "God exists ... true or false?)

- ico

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LEM would in essence be as Parmenides stated it: "What is, is. What is not, is not.", if that states it simply enough.

Which I do agree with. (italics edited)

Hmmm, well we'd better settle on an operational definition for the purposes of this discussion, because I was going with: "either it's true, or it's false", which I think is not logically equivalent to yours.

- ico

Edited by icosahedron
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I am saying that in every case, the conceptual structure is (at minimum) that of two aspects a larger whole. If the behavior of the whole is predictable from the behavior of its parts, then you can use LEM; otherwise, you can't.

For example, either 1+1=2, or it doesn't -- there is no middle ground here, because the result of counting parts is predictable from considering the parts separately.

But in reality, the whole is ALWAYS greater than the sum of its parts; this is the principle of synergy, and the simplest example of it is the function of gravity, which cannot be discerned except BETWEEN entities -- it is behavior of a system of two that cannot be predicted from looking at either of the two individually.

So, if you want to analyze past data, from which all validly constructed conceptual sums are valid, then LEM will end up being useful once the problem gets boiled down to a sequence of binary outcomes (it has to be programmable to be deducible, and vice versa).

But if you want to do anything that involves prognostication, including physics, then you'll have to live without LEM, because the future is uncertain by definition (if volition is true)

(I am assuming you see already that arbitrary claims do not deserve consideration in a logical context, so am dispensing with such as "God exists ... true or false?)

- ico

Define "arbitrary". If by arbitrary, you mean "that for which there is no experiential reason for consideration" (which I think is what you mean), why do you use that definition as opposed to some other?

Arbitrary implies a standard- usually a standard for "meaningful contemplation" or "worthy of consideration" or something of the sort. What is your standard? And more importantly, why is that your standard?

THIS is getting into Epistemology.

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Real quickly; could you tell me whether or not you would accept the argument given concerning absolute truth? So I can know where you stand? Thanks.

Looked fine to me.

Well- whatever the probability is of random molecules bumping into each other in such a way as to cause a chemical reaction in our brains which would produce an idea which happened to correspond accurately to reality. I haven't attempted to run the figures, but I assume it's rather low. :)

Regardless, even if it happened to be HIGH probability, it is only probability and chance; and therefore any degree of certainty would be impossible in such a world. Therefore all propositions would be suspect- including the proposition that nothing but physical matter exists.

Point is, 5 doesn't follow from 4 anyway. Why yes, chemical reactions do produce an idea. Now there may be intricacies in how this fits in with volition, but that's okay. The fact is no idea, thought or brain activity could occur without chemicals. Really the ONLY issue here is regarding your thoughts on if conceptual thought is detached from the perceptual level. The perceptual level can't be wrong; it corresponds with reality. The conceptual level really just allows you to focus on concretes that exist and you have seen. Really the issue is just how can concepts be misintegrated?

I still don't know what you mean by "concrete examples". If you mean referents to reality they are

I mean you are ONLY using abstractions. The one concrete you almost use isn't entirely fleshed out, and working that out would probably reveal what the whole disagreement even is.

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That is more a sort of statement of the Law of Identity. But the three laws are all corralaries (sp?) of each other.

Identity: A is A

Non-Cont: A is not non A

Excl. Midd: Either A or non A

I call shenanigans.

A is A requires first that A is, so you can't conflate "non A" with "not A" as you are attempting to do.

What you can do is say, if A is a proposition, then it exists and the first two laws are satisfied ipso facto. And then, ASSUMING THE PROPOSITION IS CAPABLE OF VERIFICATION, you can ask, "is it true, or false?" as a proposition.

And if it is a proposition about the past, the answer is binary, but if about the future, then there is some uncertainty, i.e., in some cases it will end up true, and others false.

- ico

Edited by icosahedron
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Define "arbitrary". If by arbitrary, you mean "that for which there is no experiential reason for consideration" (which I think is what you mean), why do you use that definition as opposed to some other?

Arbitrary implies a standard- usually a standard for "meaningful contemplation" or "worthy of consideration" or something of the sort. What is your standard? And more importantly, why is that your standard?

THIS is getting into Epistemology.

The arbitrary is that for which there is no objective evidence, i.e., that which is NOT WORTH CONTEMPLATING.

- ico

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Looked fine to me.

Point is, 5 doesn't follow from 4 anyway. Why yes, chemical reactions do produce an idea. Now there may be intricacies in how this fits in with volition, but that's okay. The fact is no idea, thought or brain activity could occur without chemicals. Really the ONLY issue here is regarding your thoughts on if conceptual thought is detached from the perceptual level. The perceptual level can't be wrong; it corresponds with reality. The conceptual level really just allows you to focus on concretes that exist and you have seen. Really the issue is just how can concepts be misintegrated?

It does follow from 4. You just don't see it yet and the proof is in your response. You say "now there may be intricacies in how this fits with volition"- WHAT volition? If only physical matter exists and only physical cause and effect can explain all events, there is no such thing as volition. What you are referring to as "volition", "reason", "ideas", etc.. are all stolen concept from MY worldview...concepts which make no sense in a Naturalistic worldview. If physical nature is all there is than what you call "reason" is no different than a fart- other than the location of the body in which it occurs. Everything you call an "idea" based on "percepts" is actually no more correspondent to reality than psychedelic hallucinations.

Get it?

I mean you are ONLY using abstractions. The one concrete you almost use isn't entirely fleshed out, and working that out would probably reveal what the whole disagreement even is.

That would be because the concepts being discussed happen to be abstractions. There is no problem with that.

Just because the premises of different arguments are abstractions does not mean that I am incapable or disallowed to show how they do not logically cohere.

Just like in the argument I made for absolute truth. The premises were abstractions- ideas about the nature of the world. I simply showed that the idea was illogical and therefore not real. That's what I have done with Naturalism.

I know WHY this type of reasoning bugs you and most Objectivists- I'm just not so sure I want to tell you yet.

Regardless, my reasoning stands infallibly. Until and unless you can demonstrate that my reasoning is invalid, I don't see why you continue to insist that it "just is".

However, as a helpful hand, I would point out that Peikoff uses a similar type of argument to defend the axioms (and quotes Rand as doing so as well) in Obj: The Phil. of Ayn Rand beginning on the bottom of p.9 through the top of p.12.

His doing it is inconsistent with some of his(false)claims about Epistemology- but he doesn't realize it.

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I call shenanigans.

A is A requires first that A is, so you can't conflate "non A" with "not A" as you are attempting to do.

What you can do is say, if A is a proposition, then it exists and the first two laws are satisfied ipso facto. And then, ASSUMING THE PROPOSITION IS CAPABLE OF VERIFICATION, you can ask, "is it true, or false?" as a proposition.

And if it is a proposition about the past, the answer is binary, but if about the future, then there is some uncertainty, i.e., in some cases it will end up true, and others false.

- ico

hahaha..... your calling shenanigans on Aristotle!...and Rand! Watch yourself! ;p

No, I think I understand what you mean.

That post was not an argument of any sort. It was simply defining each of the Laws for you..lol.

What they mean in basic terms is that for ANY thing "A", it is itself. It cannot be what it is and the "binary" opposite of what it is (non A) at the same time and in the same relationship..and at any given time and relationship it is either "what it is" or it is not "what it is".

Therefore they are all three applicable to any thing at any time any where- irrefutably. Just like with axioms, one must assume one of the three laws of Logic in order to deny it.

Let me give you an example to show you where it is applicable in a scenario that you wouldn't think it is:

Shades of color:

Some would say that there is no binary opposite to shades of color and that because there is gradation in shades of color, the LEM is irrelevant.

Not so. Because, either the thing in question IS that particular shade of color or it IS NOT that particular shade of color.

Just because it's not applicable in an immediately obvious pragmatic sense, does not mean it is useless. It is essential in every sense of the word at all times and situations.

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The arbitrary is that for which there is no objective evidence, i.e., that which is NOT WORTH CONTEMPLATING.

- ico

And what do you classify as "evidence"?

If you answer this question honestly, it should be one of the last I need to ask you in order to make my point (in case you're getting tired of the simple questions).

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I know WHY this type of reasoning bugs you and most Objectivists- I'm just not so sure I want to tell you yet.

Regardless, my reasoning stands infallibly. Until and unless you can demonstrate that my reasoning is invalid, I don't see why you continue to insist that it "just is".

Deduction doesn't bother me. What bothers me is really just how two points didn't follow, and you didn't concretize anything about the result in order to validate. Then again, you can't concretize something that supposedly suggests physical entities aren't all that exist... And to the part above what I quote, I discussed that enough times elsewhere to not want to discuss it here (meaning I have nothing more to add to this thread).

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Deduction doesn't bother me. What bothers me is really just how two points didn't follow, and you didn't concretize anything about the result in order to validate. Then again, you can't concretize something that supposedly suggests physical entities aren't all that exist... And to the part above what I quote, I discussed that enough times elsewhere to not want to discuss it here (meaning I have nothing more to add to this thread).

Did you read Peikoff's argument which is in the same format?

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