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Argument for the existence of God

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We now return you to your regularly scheduled 'verbal judo match', where definitions are approximated via floating abstractions, and rationalization can make use of them without the need to define the terms via their logical hierarchy back to the perceptual observations that gave rise to them.

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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".

This would be one of the major problems with Objectivist Epistemology. It's not actually epistemology. It's more of a "cognitive science"- as unfortunately are most "epistemologies" today.

The difference is this:

Epistemology is the study of how to know THAT we know whereas a cognitive science is a study of how we come to know WHAT we know. The former (Epistemology) is concerned with Objective Reality (the way things are and must be in reality) followed by an individuals mind accurately corresponding to Objective Reality according to the rules already established.

The latter (cognitive science) is concerned with Subjective Reality- the way and order in which things occur to an individual mind followed by discussion of the way things are in reality.

The Former (Epistemology) is about rules and standards of knowledge, certainty, reality, etc..

The Latter (Cognitive Science) is about the development of the individual mind and it's ability (or lack thereof) to grasp reality.

Cognitive Science is not without it's value, but apart from Epistemology in the way I've described it above, it is potentially destructive.

The value of starting with Epistemology in the way I described it is that rules and standards of reality are firmly established long before any consideration of how the subject (individual) is to grasp reality. Conversely, by starting with Cognitive Science without a very explicit Objective Epistemology (the way I described it), puts the experience and abilities of the subject in a logical priority over the necessary standards and rules of reality (the object) which can and often does lead to implicit subjectivism and irrational/arbitrary assumptions.

Objectivist "Epistemology" does just that. It begins with Cognitive Science (the subject and it's experience of reality) and mixes in Objective Epistemology (rules about reality) later (i.e. axioms and logic). But it does so in a very subjective way- treating them (objective rules) as dependent upon the subjects experience.

"One knows that the axioms are true, not be inference of any kind, but by sense perception"-OPAR middle of P.8

Incidentally, he goes on to contradict this on pp.9-12 by demonstrating ("showing to be true") the validity of the axioms by inference rather than sense perception.

It's true that we do perceive the reality of the rules (logic and the axioms) by sense perception, but this is not what makes them true! There's a difference. What makes them true is the virtue of the fact that they simply must be true. This is what Peikoff (and even Rand) say and imply in pp.9-12 because there is simply no other way to talk about Logic and Axioms as Objective without talking about them apart from sense perception. But as shown above on p.8, and by virtue of starting with Cognitive Science, the Obj. "epistemology" explicitly denies the ability to do this.

It explicitly denies that which is done implicitly throughout. In fact, Rand herself had such a remarkable grasp (implicitly) on the OBJECTIVITY of Logic and the Axioms that many of her followers wishing to obey her explicit teaching today would likely accuse her of "reifying" them. Note: she even named the three parts in Atlas Shrugged after the Laws of Logic.

Notice also: Her HUGE theme that "contradictions do not exist". She did not say that one must not have contradictions within one's own empirically verifiable worldview. This would treat the LNC as a pragmatic Kantian tool and furthermore would be of no help to Dagny when the phrase is spoken to her numerous times. No. She says that "contradiction DO NOT EXIST". They are not part of existence and should not be considered part of existence- even if your sensory perception makes you think you've spotted one. If it's a contradiction, it IS NOT REAL- it is a forced figment of your imagination.

And, just like with any worldview with conflicting implicit and explicit assumptions, there is a fracture. Already there are many who are not able to grasp the objectivity of truth and reality and logic as it is apart from the mind (because of their allegiance to the explicit teachings) which would seemingly be horrendous to Rand, herself. There are also those who use logic and reason objectively everyday and in every other argument (following the implicit example of Rand) but who snap back to the explicit teaching any time part of their worldview is in danger.

This is because the explicit teaching on epistemology- that ultimate reality is knowable only by sense perception rests on an inherent contradiction.

It assumes 1) that Physical Nature is all there is - which has already been shown to be illogical.

And furthermore, it's most basic epistemological principle is not self-sustaining:

The principle is as follows- "Only that which is observable by the senses can be considered to be truth"

But this statement itself, and all of it's possible variations are not observable by physical sense, and so by it's own standard must be disregarded as "Absurd" and "Not worthy of consideration"

The Alternative is to define and integrate explicitly what Rand believed implicitly- that Reality exists apart from human perception, that it ITSELF is logical, that Logic and the Axioms are not mere pragmatic Kantian devices to help us in our "cognitive development" but they are eternally true realities which govern all of reality. That all truth is TRUE independent of the act of any human mind grasping it's truthfulness and that just as Man must obey the laws of nature for physical survival and health (and treat them as objective absolutes apart from his consciousness), so also must he obey the laws of rationality for his mental survival and treat them as absolute apart from his consciousness. He must treat Logic not as a tool to be used and thrown aside when it does not seem to match experience, but as an infallible master to be obeyed regardless of experience.

THIS is the great distinction between Man and monkey- that by virtue of Logic Man need not spend his entire life gathering blips of data like a monkey gathering grapes- that absolute certainty is possible and necessary for rational health.

No man who understands what I have said above needs to waste a page of graph paper proving there are no square circles- they are infallibly non-existent by virtue of Logic. He need not waste any time conducting a census to find out if there are any married bachelors- they are infallibly non-existent by virtue Logic. He need not search for a particular entity labeled "absolute truth" in order to be infallibly certain that there is absolute truth. And likewise he need not search for a particular entity labeled "supernature" to be infallibly certain that more than the physical nature exists. Reason, Logic, Rationality, Certainty are not dependent upon his or any other man's perception and therefore they can be celebrated and explored without hesitation- they are sure in and of themselves.

Edited by Jacob86
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I realized that while I listed many implications of my form of Epistemology, I did not provide my starting points or "foundations", etc..

My Foundation (and the only possible foundation to any rational worldview) is Logic.

The Laws of Identity, Non-contradiction, and Excluded Middle are irrefutable (in order to deny them, one must assume them) and therefore are invincibly true. They are also self-sufficient in that they fully cohere to and with each other.

Logic is that which is necessary in "all possible worlds"- since "possible" means "logical".

From here, we establish the principle that any proposition must be Logical before it can be "empirical".

It must be rationally valid (without contradiction) before it can be considered as true about reality.

Or, to put it another way, a proposition must first be Possible before it can be Actual.

Still another way to put it is that a proposition must pass the "Logic round" before it can be considered for the "Evidential round".

If any proposition does not pass the logical round- if it is self-contradictory or violates any law of logic in any sense, then not only is there no need to consider it as an empirical possibility, but to do so would be an exercise in irrationality. To go looking for empirical evidence for something which has been proven to be illogical is to rebel against logic and rationality and to implicitly negate all forms of knowledge (including empirical evidence) since all forms of knowledge are inside of and dependent upon Logic first and foremost.

Once a proposition has passed the Logic round, then (and only then) can it be tested for verifiability via empirical evidence. This does not mean that we cannot discover true things empirically. It does mean that before we consider whether or not a proposition is empirically true, we must first consider whether or not is is self-contradictory for if it is, it surely will not be empirically true no matter how much it may seem to be so.

Some illustrations of this principle are listed in the above post:

"Square Circles" is a contradiction in terms (as long as by "square" we mean an object with 4 right angles and by "circle" we mean an object with no right angles). Therefore, it fails the logic round and no amount of empirical data (i.e. attempts to draw one on graph paper) need to be considered. A person who attempts to gather empirical data in spite of this fact has not fully understood that A is A and is sub-rational.

Another obvious example is "Married Bachelor".

These are rather easy contradictions to spot, but they are good "training wheels" to enable our mind to consider the logical coherence of lengthier concepts, such as:

"There is no absolute truth". The logical contradiction in this statement is slightly less obvious by virtue of the fact that it has a hidden part of the statement. The speaker essentially means "There is one absolute truth and that is that there is no absolute truth". Now the contradiction is more apparent and we need not consider this proposition for empirical studies in order to know whether or not it is true.

However, notice one more thing about this type of statement. Not only have we correctly deduced that the proposition "There is no absolute truth" is false, but we can see that it's opposite must be true:

-Either there is absolute truth (A) OR there is not absolute truth(~A) (Law of the Excluded Middle)

-"There is no absolute truth" is false (Law of Non-Contradiction)

-Therefore there is absolute truth

This is invincibly the case. We not only have a highly probable assurance that there is absolute truth. We have absolute certainty that there is absolute truth.

However, this DOES NOT give us any specific detail about absolute truth (other than it's existence). It does not tell us what is absolutely true, but we do know with invincible certainty that we can know absolute truth.

Eventually, the "brackets" can be expanded from [square circle] to [married bachelor] to [there is no truth] to full sentences, then paragraphs and whole books on philosophical thought. If any idea- no matter how long and complex- turns out to be self-contradictory or irrational according to the laws of logic, then it is nothing more that a "square circle" and can be discarded just as easily.

This ability to "expand the brackets" and analyze full systems of thought and complex ideas in order to see if there are any contradictions becomes very important when considering central pieces of one's worldview- especially in epistemology and metaphysics. This is because a contradiction which is undetected and integrated into the center of one's worldview will cause massive destruction and confusion down the line.

Let's look at a famous epistemological example of this: The Principle of Falsifiability

While this principle is not necessarily false as long as it stays strictly within the realm of physical science and the scientific method, it often creeps out of this realm in order to make metaphysical claims for which is utterly insufficient. Here's why:

When it creeps into metaphysics, it says "Only that which is falsifiable can be considered valid". Fine, let us accept the principle and test it against it's own grounds. Is this principle falsifiable? No. Then it cannot be considered valid.

Another problem should be glaringly obvious: it implies the invalidity of Logic and Axioms since they also cannot be falsifiable.

This is the danger of not having a rigorous logic round preceding the empirical round. It is also the danger of allowing a principle in one context (physical science here) to become the principle of all contexts (all of reality).

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Jacob 86 wrote

This is the danger of not having a rigorous logic round preceding the empirical round. It is also the danger of allowing a principle in one context (physical science here) to become the principle of all contexts (all of reality)

Au contraire mon ami. You claim that one must have a "rigorous" logic round before reference to experience, but your principles of logic come as a jolt out of the blue. Which logic should you choose? You choose standard logic probably because that is the only one you were trained in. Since there are many logics, why should I choose yours?

Since all logics are created axiomatically, why should we choose any of them? As I mentioned to you before, logic is not a first order concept. What is more, there is good reason to reject standard logic which is based on principles that seemed reasonable to ancient Greeks, but seem less reasonable in light of modern developments. A "rigorous" logic round would recognize that there are many logics and no obvious way via logic to choose between them. Each logic yields a different notion of truth. "Truth" is of little importance to the scientist because you cannot put truth into a bottle to determine it's properties. The scientist is only concerned with measurable distinctions. It is from a proper understanding of measurement, and all perceptions are measurements, that one abstracts notions of logic.

Jethro Bodine

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Jacob 86 wrote

Au contraire mon ami. You claim that one must have a "rigorous" logic round before reference to experience, but your principles of logic come as a jolt out of the blue. Which logic should you choose? You choose standard logic probably because that is the only one you were trained in. Since there are many logics, why should I choose yours?

Since all logics are created axiomatically, why should we choose any of them? As I mentioned to you before, logic is not a first order concept. What is more, there is good reason to reject standard logic which is based on principles that seemed reasonable to ancient Greeks, but seem less reasonable in light of modern developments. A "rigorous" logic round would recognize that there are many logics and no obvious way via logic to choose between them. Each logic yields a different notion of truth. "Truth" is of little importance to the scientist because you cannot put truth into a bottle to determine it's properties. The scientist is only concerned with measurable distinctions. It is from a proper understanding of measurement, and all perceptions are measurements, that one abstracts notions of logic.

Jethro Bodine

By "many logics" do you mean many different opinions on what is commonly considered "logical"?

If this is the case, we are no longer talking OBJECTIVELY, but Subjectively. This is Relativism.

By "many logics" do you mean many different contexts in which logic is applied (i.e. mathematic, linguistics, etc..)? If so, then there is no problem here at as since it is the same logic being applied in various contexts.

Remember: we are talking here about Epistemology; which is the study of the standard for knowledge (it asks the basic questions "what should be considered knowledge?" or "what should be considered true about the world?").

NOTICE, any attempt to answer that question and any attempt to answer the question "WHAT is true about the world?" will necessarily involve one or more PROPOSITIONS.

Ideas are propositions. Therefore we must use propositional logic (the 3 basic laws) as a standard by which to measure all propositions/ideas about reality.

There is no way around this.

"Logic is not a first order concept". Really? Well then, it IS a first order concept! (since LNC does not stand).

That's just one QUICK preview of an example.

The minute a person has failed or refused to grasp the absolute necessity of Logic, all of their thinking has automatically been reduced to the equivalent of a monkey frantically pushing specs of dirt into his eye [hyper-inductive data gathering] and all their words/propositions/ideas have automatically been reduced to the equivalent of farts and belches with no more particular meaning. More than that, in order to justify one's self in such a state, such a person will necessarily be declaring that all of reality is indeterminate chaos.

Again- exactly the OPPOSITE of what Rand meant for OBJECTIVISM. She knew it and taught it implicitly, but she allowed her explicit philosophy to deny it; and the chickens have already come home to roost.

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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).

Evidence is that which tends to prove a testable hypothesis.

If a hypothesis is not testable, it's arbitrary and doesn't deserve to be called a hypothesis, nor does evidence apply to it; you can prove objective truth or falsity without a basis in reality, i.e., without being testable.

Testable also implies re-testable, i.e., reproducible setup and outcomes. Truth is not idiosyncratic, but can be shared, in the sense that one can communicate the test frame to another, and the other can independently verify the results of the test.

My point is this: evidence in the absence of context (the testable hypothesis) is not evidence, because irrelevant to any proof.

So, what is your testable hypothesis re GOD, and what evidence do you have for it? Can you offer a proof, or at least, some objective evidence for your hypothesis, rather than an "I wish"?

- ico

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If only physical matter exists and only physical cause and effect can explain all events, there is no such thing as volition.

You are getting distracted by the possible implementation of volition, and in the process treading dangerously close to the Determinist line.

My interpretation of matter exists, and I know that to be rational requires that I assume its existence is primary. My volition works to modify matter. If my volitional choices are deterministically caused by my material state then the future is certain. Which it isn't.

Cause and effect governs all that has or can happen; but cause and effect applies to our representations of existence directly, so if our abstractions are insufficient or misapplied, then we can misapprehend the function of cause and effect.

Quantum experiments get to the heart of this: you can't phrase a testable hypothesis about electrons in terms of definitive future outcomes, e.g., with regard to spin or momentum. This is not an accident of quantum theory, but a fact of nature: the future is not wholly predicated on the past.

It is in my power of induction/action that looks to the future possibilities; and however implemented, the fact is that I have the power to change my environment in ways you cannot predict. While this may be wholly associated with my physical representation, i.e., my mind may not exist without my body, nonetheless the power to choose, however implemented, is REAL.

Logical certainty does not apply to the future, i.e., to solving problems and advancing productive leverage.

- ico

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Evidence is that which tends to prove a testable hypothesis.

If a hypothesis is not testable, it's arbitrary and doesn't deserve to be called a hypothesis, nor does evidence apply to it; you can prove objective truth or falsity without a basis in reality, i.e., without being testable.

Testable also implies re-testable, i.e., reproducible setup and outcomes. Truth is not idiosyncratic, but can be shared, in the sense that one can communicate the test frame to another, and the other can independently verify the results of the test.

My point is this: evidence in the absence of context (the testable hypothesis) is not evidence, because irrelevant to any proof.

So, what is your testable hypothesis re GOD, and what evidence do you have for it? Can you offer a proof, or at least, some objective evidence for your hypothesis, rather than an "I wish"?

- ico

THIS (You're response and the majority of this thread) is the "evidence" (proven testable hypothesis) that a coherent conversation about reality is impossible with someone who does not have a solid epistemological foundation.

Please see my above two posts on Epistemology.

My point is this:

What is YOUR non-"Arbitrary" reason for considering all non-testable propositions as "arbitrary"?

Note: Any way you answer that question will be arbitrary based on your own definition and therefore all of your commitments to what you THOUGHT was "hard core realism" turns out to be nothing more than your own private "wish"- it's simply muddled behind an assumed self-contradiction.

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You are getting distracted by the possible implementation of volition, and in the process treading dangerously close to the Determinist line.

My interpretation of matter exists, and I know that to be rational requires that I assume its existence is primary. My volition works to modify matter. If my volitional choices are deterministically caused by my material state then the future is certain. Which it isn't.

Cause and effect governs all that has or can happen; but cause and effect applies to our representations of existence directly, so if our abstractions are insufficient or misapplied, then we can misapprehend the function of cause and effect.

Quantum experiments get to the heart of this: you can't phrase a testable hypothesis about electrons in terms of definitive future outcomes, e.g., with regard to spin or momentum. This is not an accident of quantum theory, but a fact of nature: the future is not wholly predicated on the past.

It is in my power of induction/action that looks to the future possibilities; and however implemented, the fact is that I have the power to change my environment in ways you cannot predict. While this may be wholly associated with my physical representation, i.e., my mind may not exist without my body, nonetheless the power to choose, however implemented, is REAL.

Logical certainty does not apply to the future, i.e., to solving problems and advancing productive leverage.

- ico

You have severely missed the point of the syllogism I posted on Naturalism- in spite of the fact that I labored to make my point clear several times.

I was not proving that "reason is invalid because of cause and effect". I was proving that Naturalism is false because IT would make reason invalid because of cause and effect.

You are citing a bunch of information about the way logic works (which I agree with for the most part) and then saying "See, there. We CAN reason accurately". To which I respond- yes, I agree. In fact, the fact that we can reason accurately is assumed in my syllogism and it is the REASON that Naturalism therefore must be false.

I think you are automatically assuming that Naturalism is the case (for no apparent reason) and then you are experiencing the act of reasoning and saying "See, they do go together!". lol. Once again, just because you can conceive of squareness and circleness does not mean that a Square circle is possible. Likewise just because you can conceive of Naturalism being the case on one hand and Reason being valid on the other hand, does not make it possible. They are logically contradictory.

As for your assertion that logic does not apply to the future (and quantum physics), my only response is

"Then it does!", because the LNC does not stand.

You may not have any particular PRAGMATIC use for it, but thankfully it- itself- is not dependent upon you or your little project.

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What is YOUR non-"Arbitrary" reason for considering all non-testable propositions as "arbitrary"?

If a proposition is non-testable, then it cannot be formulated in terms of real observable events and their outcomes.

My reason for considering all non-testable propositions as arbitrary is that they do not depend on, and are not related to, anything in my experience. Therefore they are irrelevant to reality, to life, to happiness, and a waste of time to attempt to analyze, because not analytically tractable.

How is that self-contradictory, circular, or any of the other non-constructive judgments that you seem to want to apply to my reasoning?

Keep going, we're almost to the point where you have to admit that your claim is arbitrary, and then decide whether to keep it as a belief and basis for approach to life, or not. I've already made my choice in this regard, you are the fence sitter.

- ico

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Jacob, I am getting really really tired of your continued context-dropping mis-characterizations of my statements.

I think you are automatically assuming that Naturalism is the case

I have yet to use the word "Naturalism", so I have absolutely no idea where you get this inference. Naturalism means what, in essence, to you? If you are challenging the fact that entities act according to their nature, I disagree; if you are challenging Determinism, I agree.

As for your assertion that logic does not apply to the future

What? I never asserted such. I asserted that logic is not definitive when applied to the (more or less) uncertain, i.e., the future. Logic still applies, but the logic of deduction is not the same as that for induction -- induction must admit the possibility of uncertain futures, and cannot be as definitive therefore.

If your point is that deduction is not enough, I agree. And if your further point is that induction implies something immaterial, then I disagree. I think rather than "physical" you ought to use "material" if that is what you mean; and then you will see that there is no contradiction, because my ideas are just as material, if concretized, as anything else. The key is: an idea not concretized, materialized, is merely a fleeting/floating notion at best, not a properly objective concept, and incapable of being validated so not even in the realm of logic.

- ico

- ico

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Jacob 86 wrote

The minute a person has failed or refused to grasp the absolute necessity of Logic, all of their thinking has automatically been reduced to the equivalent of a monkey frantically pushing specs of dirt into his eye [hyper-inductive data gathering] and all their words/propositions/ideas have automatically been reduced to the equivalent of farts and belches with no more particular meaning. More than that, in order to justify one's self in such a state, such a person will necessarily be declaring that all of reality is indeterminate chaos.

You are conflating reason with logic as most people do. What is more, by assuming a primacy of consciousness, you are not so much proving a proposition as acknowledging an hypothesis. I will uphold the primacy of existence and in so doing, even the rules of logic cannot be taken as primaries. You belittle my position as frantically pushing specs of dirt in my eyes. All the while you demonstrate that you don't even know what logic is or that there are a plethora of logics. You are only aware of one so you continue beating that drum. The discussion goes nowhere because while boy and girls keep telling you about other lands, you dismiss their claims. I cannot continue this discussion when you are so closed to new ideas.

Jethro Bodine

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"Logic is not a first order concept". Really? Well then, it IS a first order concept! (since LNC does not stand).

First level concepts are concepts such as "table," "chair," "apple." They are called first level concepts because they are concepts of concretes that are directly observable with sense perception. Higher level concepts are just abstractions of abstractions. "Society" is an example of just such an abstraction. Logic and reason are also higher level concepts because you cannot find or touch either of them. Reason would be quite a high level concept because it not only involves a type of experience, but also a process of integrating thoughts. Reason can be reduced to the perceptual level by figuring out and understanding concept formation, and linking concept formation to sense perception. That is why logic CANNOT be a starting point. If you start out with logic, then logic is WHATEVER you want to define it as. Logic is not a given, nor are the rules of logic. How do you KNOW that the law of noncontradiction is valid? Because it fits with the definition of logic? Well, how do you suppose anyone ever came up with what logic IS!

Edited by Eiuol
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If a proposition is non-testable, then it cannot be formulated in terms of real observable events and their outcomes.

My reason for considering all non-testable propositions as arbitrary is that they do not depend on, and are not related to, anything in my experience.

- ico

You are effectively saying "All non-testable propositions are arbitrary".. is this accurate?

[**I DO NOT wish to "drop contexts" or misrepresent you in any way. If I do, it is my mistake, I assure you. So please tell me if I have done this, and correct me.**]

If this is your position, notice two things:

1) "All non-testable propositions are arbitrary" is, itself, a proposition.

2) This proposition is not, itself, testable.

Therefore, by it's own definition, it is an arbitrary proposition.

To get the full meaning of the proposition, it goes something like this:

"All non-testable propositions -including the proposition that 'all non-testable propositions are arbitrary'- are arbitrary".

This is what I mean by "circular reasoning". The standard for propositions that this proposition asserts is violated by itself.

That is unless, of course, you would like to say that :

"All non-testable propositions *except this one* are arbitrary"

(This is surely what you mean).

However, this demands an explanation for the exception. Why, of all non-testable propositions, should this particular one be considered immune from absurdity?

Unless you can give sufficient reason for such an exception, there is no more reason for a person to accept this rule than there is for someone to accept the rule that

"All absolute propositions are absurd".

More than that, there is ample reason to deny it as a rule or standard because it is self-contradictory.

Therefore, I reject that proposition.

Please tell me if I have "dropped the context" of some word in the above. Again, I don't think I have, but if I have- I assure you it is by mistake.

If you simply want to cry that I am "dropping contexts" and "rationalizing" without defining what you mean or giving examples and showing what I have said is false, then I don't see any reason to doubt that what I've said is true.

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Jacob, I am getting really really tired of your continued context-dropping mis-characterizations of my statements.

You say this as if I am doing it on purpose and yet every time you've accused me of it, I have promptly apologized and requested that you show me where I have done this so that I can correct it.

I am doing my best to take the seemingly plain meaning of what you say, but I understand that in doing so, misunderstandings are very possible. I am extremely eager to avoid and correct all misunderstanding by clarifying and defining terms. I am more than willing to do that. Simply point out what terms you think I am "dropping the context of" so that I can make the corrections. If I have "mis-characterized" your statements, it is because I have misunderstood what you meant by them- in this case, simply correct me and I will respond accordingly.

I want a civil conversation- not a "verbal judo match". :)

I have yet to use the word "Naturalism", so I have absolutely no idea where you get this inference. Naturalism means what, in essence, to you? If you are challenging the fact that entities act according to their nature, I disagree; if you are challenging Determinism, I agree.

I mentioned Naturalism in that syllogism post (the one your are refuting) as the worldview which was being analyzed by the syllogism. (Perhaps it would be good to go back and re-read the WHOLE post- not just the syllogism- to get the context of what is meant by the syllogism).

Naturalism is the idea that "only physical matter exists"/ "there is nothing in the universe which is not physical matter"/ "the terms 'Nature' and 'the Universe' refer to the sum total of all physical existents and only physical existents make up the sum total of what is referred to by these terms".

I am not challenging the fact that entities act according to their nature.

I am challenging Determinism. However, I am also doing one more thing.

I am saying that Naturalism must logically lead to Determinism. Since Determinism is obviously false (as you would agree), therefore Naturalism is also false.

THAT is what I am saying. THAT is the point of the syllogism.

One must choose between Supernaturalism (the idea that more than the physical universe exists) and Determinism. If one does not wish to accept Determinism, one must embrace Supernaturalism.

This of course assumes that "one" wants to be logically consistent. If one does not care about logical consistency, then one can embrace Naturalism and reject Determinism- but only in an inconsistent manner.

What? I never asserted such. I asserted that logic is not definitive when applied to the (more or less) uncertain, i.e., the future. Logic still applies, but the logic of deduction is not the same as that for induction -- induction must admit the possibility of uncertain futures, and cannot be as definitive therefore.

Your assertion that "Logical certainty does not apply to the future" made it seem like such an assertion. However, I think this clarifies it:

Then we are agreed that logic is infallibly necessary in all contexts and all situations- even though it may not produce any particular definitive knowledge that we are seeking?

If so, then we have an understanding.

If not, then please point out what part of that you disagree with.

(Simply trying to make sure I understand what you mean and what you don't mean)

If your point is that deduction is not enough, I agree. And if your further point is that induction implies something immaterial, then I disagree. I think rather than "physical" you ought to use "material" if that is what you mean; and then you will see that there is no contradiction, because my ideas are just as material, if concretized, as anything else. The key is: an idea not concretized, materialized, is merely a fleeting/floating notion at best, not a properly objective concept, and incapable of being validated so not even in the realm of logic.

THIS is going to start somewhat of a different (but likely necessary) conversation on what is meant by "exist" here.

I am making a distinction between the "existence" of things outside of my mind and the "existence" of things inside of my mind. My body exists in a different way than the idea in my head about my body. Or, to use an example that might make the distinction more obvious:

The idea of a unicorn "exists" in my head, but it (neither the idea nor the unicorn) "exists" outside of my head in the same way that Mt. Everest "exists".

Do you make such a distinction??

I can't really respond to this part of your "explanation" on the issue without knowing whether or not you make such a distinction and if it is similar or different to mine and in what ways- otherwise we will have severe misunderstandings between each other.

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Jacob 86 wrote

You are conflating reason with logic as most people do. What is more, by assuming a primacy of consciousness, you are not so much proving a proposition as acknowledging an hypothesis. I will uphold the primacy of existence and in so doing, even the rules of logic cannot be taken as primaries. You belittle my position as frantically pushing specs of dirt in my eyes. All the while you demonstrate that you don't even know what logic is or that there are a plethora of logics. You are only aware of one so you continue beating that drum. The discussion goes nowhere because while boy and girls keep telling you about other lands, you dismiss their claims. I cannot continue this discussion when you are so closed to new ideas.

Jethro Bodine

I am not closed to new ideas. I am closed to anti-ideas. Any proposition which is self-contradictory is not worthy to be called an idea. It is an anti-idea, for it says absolutely nothing. It cannot.

I am surprised that you consider yourself an Objectivist. Rand would have immediately declared your position on the fallibility of Logic as nonsense and declared any such discussion as worse than a waste of time. For one of many pieces of evidence, see the previously cited pages in OPAR (9-12) where Peikoff (and Rand, through quotation) suggest that the only possible response to someone who denies the Axioms or logic is to simply stop talking to them.

You claim to uphold the axiom of existence- do you not see that it, itself, is utterly dependent on the Law of Identity, Law of Non Contradiction, and Law of the Excluded Middle? It, itself, is practically a restatement of the Law of Identity.

Can you give me any proof on the insufficiency of logic as a primary without using logic? If so, I may be interested in considering your position. If not, I have no reason to.

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First level concepts are concepts such as "table," "chair," "apple." They are called first level concepts because they are concepts of concretes that are directly observable with sense perception. Higher level concepts are just abstractions of abstractions. "Society" is an example of just such an abstraction. Logic and reason are also higher level concepts because you cannot find or touch either of them. Reason would be quite a high level concept because it not only involves a type of experience, but also a process of integrating thoughts. Reason can be reduced to the perceptual level by figuring out and understanding concept formation, and linking concept formation to sense perception. That is why logic CANNOT be a starting point. If you start out with logic, then logic is WHATEVER you want to define it as. Logic is not a given, nor are the rules of logic. How do you KNOW that the law of noncontradiction is valid? Because it fits with the definition of logic? Well, how do you suppose anyone ever came up with what logic IS!

Please re-read my distinction between "cognitive science" and "Epistemology", as I believe that may be helpful in this discussion.

What you are describing (and what Objectivist "epistemology" teaches) concerning concept development is accurate in it's description of HOW we come to know particular things and HOW we form concepts and abstractions, etc..

However, this is very different from the classical function of Epistemology (which has been lost almost altogether for centuries).

Rather than dealing with how we happen to form concepts, Epistemology deals with how we can know if concepts are accurate or not. In other words, it is not concerned with describing the mental processes of the SUBJECT (the mind). Rather it is concerned with establishing standards about the OBJECT (reality) and our minds subjective conformance to that Objective reality. It is not asking "how do humans discover truth?". It is asking "what is truth?". Do you see the difference?

The question "what is to be considered as truth" is the fundamental question of Epistemology.

It doesn't matter that a baby can't ask this question. It doesn't even matter if no human has ever asked this question period. Why doesn't it matter? Because reality is not dependent upon our grasping of it.

How we happen to form concepts (cognitive science) has no bearing on truth/reality as such. It will certainly have an influence on the correspondence of our minds' concepts to reality- but this is a separate question.

This is the key to having an actually OBJECTIVE worldview: understanding that reality is that which objectively exists outside of the mind and therefore Epistemology (principles for how reality is to be grasped by the mind) must primarily be about standards for our knowledge about reality, NOT descriptions of a babies intellectual growth.

Another way of saying this is that Reality is the way it is even if no human mind ever perceives it accurately. All of this is just restatement of A is A- which essentially must be assumed in all possible propositions whatsoever.

How do I KNOW that the law of non-contradiction is valid?

How do you KNOW that "Existence exists"?

Note: I am NOT denying the axiom of existence. I am asking you to demonstrate you allegiance to it without depending on allegiance to logic.

In fact, how do you KNOW anything?

If you can show how you can KNOW anything without depending on logic, I will consider doubting logic as a first principle.

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You are effectively saying "All non-testable propositions are arbitrary".. is this accurate?

1) "All non-testable propositions are arbitrary" is, itself, a proposition.

2) This proposition is not, itself, testable.

Let me be more exact:

1. An assertion is arbitrary if it cannot be verified, i.e., tested against reality, i.e., is non-testable.

2. A proposition is an assertion that CAN be verified.

Therefore, an arbitrary assertion is not a proposition.

I claim, specifically, that an arbitrary assertion is not testable, which is indeed circular, but so what? It is a self-contained tautology with no ill effect on any further logics, eh?

Can I test the assertion "an arbitrary assertion is not testable"? In other words, can I show that, given an assertion that cannot be verified, it is indeed impossible to verify? Well, yes I can, as it is a tautology.

Checkmate.

- ico

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Let me be more exact:

1. An assertion is arbitrary if it cannot be verified, i.e., tested against reality, i.e., is non-testable.

2. A proposition is an assertion that CAN be verified.

Therefore, an arbitrary assertion is not a proposition.

I claim, specifically, that an arbitrary assertion is not testable, which is indeed circular, but so what? It is a self-contained tautology with no ill effect on any further logics, eh?

Can I test the assertion "an arbitrary assertion is not testable"? In other words, can I show that, given an assertion that cannot be verified, it is indeed impossible to verify? Well, yes I can, as it is a tautology.

Checkmate.

- ico

Hahaha. No. A tautology is a restatement of the Law of Identity using some concept.

"Existence exists" is a tautology.

"A cat is a cat" is a tautology.

If you wanted to make a tautology with your proposition, it would go something like this;

"If all non-testable assertions are arbitrary, all non-testable assertions are arbitrary"

A tautology simply re-affirms and expresses the nature (identity) of the thing being spoken of.

Once again, it's just a restatement of the Law of Identity.

What you did was "Begging the question". Then I responded by asking the question. You responded by affirming the contradiction. haha.

Look up the difference between "tautology" and "begging the question". One is always valid while the other is always a fallacy.

Or, you could just realize the obvious: that your most foundational epistemological principle is flawed and that you therefore need to "start over" on the most foundational level in order be a rational human.

"To arrive at a contradiction is to confess an error in one’s thinking; to maintain a contradiction is to abdicate one’s mind and to evict oneself from the realm of reality." -Galt's Speech, For the New Intellectual, 125.

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Hahaha. No. A tautology is a restatement of the Law of Identity using some concept.

"Existence exists" is a tautology.

"A cat is a cat" is a tautology.

If you wanted to make a tautology with your proposition, it would go something like this;

"If all non-testable assertions are arbitrary, all non-testable assertions are arbitrary"

As I said: I DEFINE an arbitrary assertion as one which is untestable. Under that definition, "a non-testable assertion is arbitrary" is simply a reaffirmation of the definition, i.e., the fact that an object is identified with itself, which as you say, is a tautology. As I said it was.

What you did was "Begging the question". Then I responded by asking the question. You responded by affirming the contradiction. haha.

Look up the difference between "tautology" and "begging the question". One is always valid while the other is always a fallacy.

No, I was VERY specific. I defined arbitrary assertion as non-testable, then proposition as testable assertion, therefore not arbitrary. I further showed how the statement "an arbitrary assertion is not testable" is consistent with itself and irrelevant to everything else, i.e., non-contradictory.

Or, you could just realize the obvious: that your most foundational epistemological principle is flawed and that you therefore need to "start over" on the most foundational level in order be a rational human.

If you saw my writings as contradictory of the position I was supporting, then I can't help you -- except perhaps to suggest you brush up on your reading comprehension skills and stop trying to sharpen axes instead of making sense. You won't convince me of the unreal, the untestable, the unevidenced; and if you insist on building systems on top of your beliefs, without a valid basis, I will be powerless to convince you of the irrationality of your position, because you are obviously experienced at rationalizing and have made your irrationality self-consistent, if irrelevant. That is an insurmountable block to further progress.

At the end, I can only appeal to your sense of efficiency. What advantage do you gain by spending so much effort inventing an unobservable to explain things you don't understand?

- ico

Edited by icosahedron
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What advantage do you gain by spending so much effort inventing an unobservable to explain things you don't understand?

History is replete with folks like this, as many religious texts demonstrate. I'm not sure there is an answer to that other than sometimes people are more comfortable (though not more rational) having SOME answer as opposed to recognizing there is no answer yet to the big question. The allure of belief often outweighs any appeal to reason.

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As I said: I DEFINE an arbitrary assertion as one which is untestable. Under that definition, "a non-testable assertion is arbitrary" is simply a reaffirmation of the definition, i.e., the fact that an object is identified with itself, which as you say, is a tautology. As I said it was.

No, I was VERY specific. I defined arbitrary assertion as non-testable, then proposition as testable assertion, therefore not arbitrary. I further showed how the statement "an arbitrary assertion is not testable" is consistent with itself and irrelevant to everything else, i.e., non-contradictory.

I know. I understand what you said.

*Please look up what it means to "beg the question" in order to understand what I am saying.

The question you are begging is "Whydo you choose that definition?" And why should I or anyone else accept that definition?

If you give any reason for accepting that definition of arbitrary without demonstrating that such a reason is testable, then you have contradicted yourself. Let's put it another way:

*Any non-testable reason to defend your definition is arbitrary by it's own definition.

If you saw my writings as contradictory of the position I was supporting, then I can't help you -- except perhaps to suggest you brush up on your reading comprehension skills and stop trying to sharpen axes instead of making sense.

What do you mean by "making sense" except "being logically consistent"? Making sense (forcing logical consistency) is the ONLY thing I am laboring to do here.

You won't convince me of the unreal, the untestable, the unevidenced;

Once again, you have assumed that untestable = unreal. You have no basis for this claim other than whim. If you can present a basis for this claim, please do so.

and if you insist on building systems on top of your beliefs, without a valid basis,

I have identified my basis: A is A. In addition to identifying it, I have also analyzed it for validity (publicly on this forum) and have found nor received no reason to doubt it. If you think it is invalid, please prove this to me as I do not wish to base my worldview on the invalid.

I would point out, however, that you are the one who has failed to explicitly identify your basis (until I forced you to); that basis being "testability" or "The Principal of Falsifiability" (which is basically the same as what you are saying).

Additionally, when it's validity has been challenged, you have cried every sort of foul in the book down upon me for doing so, without once ever demonstrating that it is a valid principle.

So, why are you accusing me of building systems without a valid basis?

I will be powerless to convince you of the irrationality of your position, because you are obviously experienced at rationalizing and have made your irrationality self-consistent, if irrelevant. That is an insurmountable block to further progress.

If you are convinced that the only reason you cannot prove me wrong is because I am more experienced at "rationalizing" than you, then I invite you to present my argument to someone who you agree with and who is also experienced at "rationalizing" in order to "test" it's validity.

I would point out though, that declaring (in your own head- let alone out loud) that my argument is false because of the rationality and self-consistency would be very unhealthy mentally. I am NOT saying you have done this; I am carefully admonishing you not to do it- in case you are tempted.

What makes you think that my basis (Logic) and parts of my worldview (Logical necessities) are irrelevant?

Simply because they cannot be shoved into a test-tube?

This is a very narrow, contrived, and arbitrary definition of "relevance".

At the end, I can only appeal to your sense of efficiency. What advantage do you gain by spending so much effort inventing an unobservable to explain things you don't understand?

And this- appealing to efficiency- is all that a consistent Naturalist can do at the end of the day. Because reality is not that which exists apart from the mind, but that which the mind stumbles upon and perceives. Therefore, ultimately, there is nothing but animal like perception to appeal to. Reality is reduced to the test-tube or the other end of a microscope- and it's function reduced to pragmatism and "efficiency".

This is the sad and swift demise of Objectivism- It's "sense of life" was thoroughly ruled by Logic and Reason and Reality as ends in themselves, to be enjoyed and explored and celebrated; but it's explicit philosophy (Because of it's commitment to Naturalism) demanded those things be mere "tools" for the cognitive development of an individual's subjective experience of parts of reality. And as Rand correctly taught, explicit philosophy WILL overcome implicit sense of life in due time.

I am trying to liberate Objectivism from the irrational and subjective chain which has kept it from soaring to it's potential. Unfortunately, it seems most Objectivists are far more in love with this chain (Naturalism) than they are with Reality.

What is the efficient reason for my worldview? What advantage do I gain by RECOGNIZING (not "inventing" ) that which must be true?

In a word, Reality.

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History is replete with folks like this, as many religious texts demonstrate. I'm not sure there is an answer to that other than sometimes people are more comfortable (though not more rational) having SOME answer as opposed to recognizing there is no answer yet to the big question. The allure of belief often outweighs any appeal to reason.

If I have demonstrated irrationality or evasion of reason at any point in this discussion on Epistemology, PLEASE point it out.

If you can't, I will ask you to read the Objectivists' replies to me and consider that this shoe (the shoe of desiring SOME irrational answer and "believing" without reason) is on the other foot.

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In light of the recent outright and implicit denials and evasions of Logic on the part of the Naturalists, I am wondering if ANY Objectivists still hold to the infallibility of Logic since very few have spoken out as it's defenders.

Objectivists:

You're silence on this issue is deafening.

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