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On 11/22/2020 at 8:37 AM, MisterSwig said:

Not true. I am certain of many things under my system, because my system does not depend on infallibility to achieve certainty. Being fallible, having the capacity for being wrong, does not mean I must always recognize a possibility that I am wrong. First there must be some evidence for that possibility in a particular case. I have the capacity to kill an innocent stranger. That doesn't mean there is a possibility that I killed Nicole Simpson. Likewise I have the capacity to make a mathematical mistake. That doesn't mean it's possible that I made a mistake about two plus three equalling five.

Certainty is achieved when the evidence is sufficient to eliminate all reasonable doubt. In some cases this doubt can be eliminated fairly easily. It doesn't take much effort to lay out two stones next to three stones and see with my own eyes that they total five stones. But if I'm trying to solve the problem of universals, I might never achieve certainty due to the enormous amount of abstract knowledge required to eliminate reasonable doubts.

I don't know how else to explain it... you've admitted there's a possibility of being wrong, you've admitted that you don't believe universals necessarily hold true, yet you're saying you have certainty, that you can eliminate the possibility of being wrong, that you can eliminate all reasonable doubt.

Being fallible with respect to making mistakes is one thing. But you're saying you can't universalize at all, that any universal claim is unjustifiable. That inherently means that you cannot achieve actual certainty, you cannot remove all possible doubt about something holding true universally, at all times and all places.

If you haven't proven something to be true then there is a reasonable doubt that it could be different at some other time or place. After all, you've declared that you cannot make justifiable claims for something at all times and all places.

If you're making a universal claim about something at all times and all places, and you hold that such claims are invalid, cannot be justified, then how in the world do you have certainty about them? You've just said that you can't do that, that you can't make such general claims as true, certain, knowledge.

Universal claims are either justified or unjustified. You have to pick one. If they are unjustified then you can't claim "certainty" and "the impossibility of doubt". If universal claims are justifiable, and you have proven one, then you can claim certainty and the impossibility of doubt.

Either your claim about 2+3=5 is unjustified and therefore fallible, or else it is justified and therefore infallible.

It makes absolutely no sense to declare that some claim is unjustifiable, but also necessarily true and infallible.

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Contrast Wikipedia's neutral presentation of the issue (the problem of universals) with the Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology Forward to the First Edition. Here's the first paragraph from

Is it proper to say that individual trees are not concepts they are just trees but the concept tree objectively refers to the particular trees?  In the same way, a similarity (the common denominator t

This is wrong. Knowledge of a thing does not imply the existence of that thing, since you can have knowledge about things which don't exist (e.g. fictional worlds).

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14 hours ago, intrinsicist said:

...you've admitted there's a possibility of being wrong, you've admitted that you don't believe universals necessarily hold true, yet you're saying you have certainty...

You put a lot of words in my mouth that I didn't say. I said there needs to be evidence of the possibility that you're wrong, just like there needs to be evidence for any proposition. A capacity for error doesn't mean there is evidence of one. In the case of the swan example, one might point to the fact that other types of animals come in different colors, so suspecting there might be a non-white swan is reasonable; the definition might be too narrow. But if you don't think of that, then your "all swans are white" universal will be wrong.

Also, my point about "holds true" was that it can't be the basis for your proposition, because you haven't seen the proposition "hold true at all times in all places." That's part of the proposition itself, it's not part of the evidence for it. The evidence is limited to the observations you've made yourself or heard about, which includes only some times in some places. But, again, being subject to human fallibility doesn't mean there is always a possibility that you're wrong.

I think the problem here is that you're a proponent of the Logos, and I am not. But now I'm mostly repeating myself, so I'll move over to your new thread on metaphysical universals and consider your arguments there. 

Edited by MisterSwig
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15 hours ago, Doug Morris said:

Perhaps it would help if we have definitions of at least the following terms:

universal (noun)

universal (adjective)



To limit outside influence, I'm trying this without looking at a dictionary first.

universal (n) - a concept or proposition that identifies a class of similar things

universal (adj) - applicable or usable in all similar circumstances with the same relevant factors

certainty - the state of complete confidence in the accuracy of one's evaluation or proposition

possibility - something that could be or could happen

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