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Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Criterial Argument for God

I tend to be a little dubious of logical "proofs" of the existence of God.  While I think it is self-evident by virtue of Occam's Razor, and I think both Pascal and Voltaire presented logical arguments worth keeping in mind, it's not an area that I find particularly interesting. 

That being said, Machine Philosophy asked if I'd take a look at his argument, which goes as follows:
The Criterial Argument for the Existence of God - Version 2.0

Our most basic assumptions are necessarily used and referenced to be able to think about anything.

Therefore, our most basic assumptions are necessary to recognize and know that certain objects of our experience are persons.

But only a person can arbitrate whether an object is a person.

Therefore, taken together like the operating system of a computer, the standards and fixed values we operate with as running assumptions or control statements, are necessarily referenced, and treated as the unified predicative and adjudicative structure of an ideal ultimate personal mind.

This criterial structure must be applied universally.

Therefore, this non-local rational structure arbitrates all truth about everything including itself.

Hence, there is a sense in which this structure is omniscient as the instrument of all knowledge, ultimately authoritative as the final court of appeal, sovereign as the universally decisive inferential factor, omnipresent in it’s physically universal applicability, and transcendent in being perfectly functional at any point in the spacetime nexus.

Consequently, the characteristics of this structure are just as ultimate and inherently mind-like as any personal ultimate God is conceivable of being.

Treating this aggregate intellectual object as a reality-wide guide in all thinking about everything is therefore unavoidably necessary, even in reasoned denials that this object has that status as an ultimate universal ruling factor.

I often wonder about the reliability of my computer, but not about reason. Without even thinking about it, I necessarily try to approximate to some achievable extent whatever reason is always unwaiveringly indicating as the perfection standard of thought.

Moreover, there is no controversy about the ultimate authority of what it reveals to me, even if I don't live up to it, or perfectly actualize the rational ideal in some way.

Furthermore, we merely need to contemplate these ultimates of mind such as reason, formal logic, the rule-set of an ordered context of reality, a hierarchy of values, and so on, in order to discover an endless stream of new knowledge when applied to our ongoing experience of the world.

Consequently, there is some sense in which these ultimate decisive rules and ideals of thought actually communicate knowledge and even wisdom by merely thinking about them and their relationship to our belief systems and our world of objects.

Lastly, the necessity of our referencing of these principles itself implies both purpose and value, which are equally ultimate in this comprehensive set of guiding operational principles. We reference inferential factors for various purposes, and those purposes are based on a hierarchical set of values.

Consequently, I believe in God because my thinking already necessarily assumes and references an unchanging and enduring god-level object of mind that arbitrates all things including personhood, makes inquiry of anything and everything possible including itself, and is indistinguishable from an ultimate personal mind or God.
I've been wrestling with some feedback mechanics today, so I haven't gone over it in any detail yet, but a cursory glance suggests some apparent logical flaws.  The one that bothers me most at first glance is the claim that only a person can arbitrate personhood.

Anyhow, he's looking for criticism, so I thought I'd throw it out to the Dread Ilk before seriously attempting to punch any holes in it.  Do your worst.

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Blogger IM2L844 January 19, 2013 2:40 PM  

It is at least theoretically possible for a machine, given the ability to acquire and process a sufficient amount of sensory input, to equal a human's ability to determine whether or not an object is a person. I would proffer that, theoretically, a sufficiently equipped analytical sensory gathering machine could even do a better job of it than the average human.

Anonymous Koanic January 19, 2013 2:48 PM  

It's a total non-starter.

Here's the most that can be positively proven by a brain in a tank:

http://www.koanicsoul.com/blog/mathematical-proof-that-the-supernatural-exists/

Anonymous Koanic January 19, 2013 2:49 PM  

Clickable link

Anonymous David Of One January 19, 2013 2:53 PM  

Consequently, I believe in God because my thinking already necessarily assumes and references an unchanging and enduring god-level object of mind that arbitrates all things including personhood, makes inquiry of anything and everything possible including itself, and is indistinguishable from an ultimate personal mind or God. - Machine Philosophy

MP's argument boils down to this last sentence. "god-level" object recognition and/or then is predicated on design ... all is functioning normally.

The later part of the statement as to being "indistinguishable" contrary to the first part. It is an assumption contrary to the design. The design affords some degree of self-directed limitation.

Blogger IM2L844 January 19, 2013 2:55 PM  

Never mind. I just realized a critical flaw in my reasoning.

Anonymous David Of One January 19, 2013 2:55 PM  

The statement "MP's argument boils down to this last sentence. "god-level" object recognition and/or then is predicated on design ... all is functioning normally." ... should have been -

MP's argument boils down to this last sentence. "god-level" object recognition and/or belief is then predicated on design ... all is functioning normally ... as designed.

Anonymous LES January 19, 2013 2:57 PM  

Interesting timing. I attended part of a Campus Life presentation of the gospel early this morning as part of an all-night party for hundreds of middle-school kids. It struck me that the gospel was being presented in Western propositional terms as usual and what seemed lacking to me was ..... and the word "mysticism" popped into my head. Spirituality is the word we really use but I felt the kids needed to connect with something deeper. I remember reading Francis Schaeffer years ago and it seemed to me he came close to it with philosophy.
The pentecostal churches (especially the Assemblies of God) were among the fasted growing denominations at one time as opposed to the "stodgy" mainline churches. I suppose the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox churches provide a sense of mysticism but that is not what I am trying to get at.
Is there a Christian mysticism that focuses on the wonderment of existence with genuine encounters with the "supernatural" reality that exists in other dimensions? Jesus did many wonders including walking through walls and disappearing into thin air. Is a real Christian revival in the West possible with a reclaiming of Eastern mysticism, for lack of a better word.

Anonymous LES January 19, 2013 3:02 PM  

I think Louie Giglio comes close: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0-NPPIeeRk

Anonymous scoobius dubious January 19, 2013 4:45 PM  

It doesn't seem very persuasive to me. But it's also possible that since I began to dismiss it critically at a pretty early phase, I didn't give it a truly fair reading and may have misunderstood it.

It's been a long time since I took a truly strict logical approach to an argument (I mean in the sense of formal logic); these days, for good or ill, I tend to treat ideas in a manner similar to chess positions, i.e. I think they have a position in abstract logic at the same time that they also have a position in actual space and time, viz. in past history and future potentiality, and that these things do not necessarily command full agreement with one another. I could be wrong about that, but it's what the world has indicated to me. My beliefs about God are only partly derived from reason; the rest are derived from faith, revelation, mysticism, authority -- a logician could dismiss all that, and what could I say in reply? I guess we'd just beg to differ, is all.

But that being said, this argument fell apart for me almost from the beginning:

"Our most basic assumptions are necessarily used and referenced to be able to think about anything.

Therefore, our most basic assumptions are necessary to recognize and know that certain objects of our experience are persons."

A really mean skeptic would say at the outset that these propositions unjustly privilege the ontology of things like "thinking," "recognizing," "knowing," and "persons". The history of human conception of these things is really quite short compared to the natural history of this planet. We've only been fully "rational" as a species for about 10,000 years, if you wanted to be generous you might say 150,000. A drop in the bucket compared to either the history of this planet, or even of life on this planet. In logical terms, when trying to come to grips with an inference about the Absolute, the Unchanging, the Eternal, (if that entity exists), who cares about our privileging of what we "recognize" and "know" as a "person"? A lobster or a spider can recognize its prey, which appears to be all that its tiny biologically-derived brain cares about, and they've both been going about "recognizing" and "knowing" what to eat for a far longer time than human beings have been thinking. If we admit that brains cause consciousness and thought, then we must admit the history of brains, and what they are, and where they came from and what they do, into the argument. And there are a lot of non-human brains out there, and most or all of them do NOT care about the things we argue about. And this has to be entered into evidence.

You probably get an idea of where this sort of thing is going; cue John Searle and Daniel Dennett to begin bumping into the furniture. I'll continue if anyone thinks this line is interesting, but I really wouldn't blame youse if you didn't.


Anonymous Asher January 19, 2013 4:49 PM  

@ Vox

Look like Hegel quit taking his medications (not you).

The one that bothers me most at first glance is the claim that only a person can arbitrate personhood.

This is not logically fallacious but a tautology. It's the first thing that made me go "huh, wha?" Basically, all he's saying is that if you assume a person (personhood?) then only a person defines personhood. In practice, what happens when you try and apply tautologies it just ends up with the proposer imputing whatever particular notions of the subject into the tautology. The subject is defined by prior notions the proposer already hods about the subject with the added psychological force of tautological arguments.

As Eric Cartmann would say "whatevah, whatevah, I'll be what I want".

Consider my arguments with Christians, here, who want to base objective (sic) truth on the statement that "murder is wrong", which is a tautology. The wrongness of murder is already front-loaded into the definition of murder, so the substance of what murder entails is nothing more than an effect of prior and particular notions of "murder" that proposer already holds.

This "god" he's proposing is a formal truth and has no application to the world that we experience, and I can't think of a logical argument for "god" that doesn't meet this description.

I have no problem with with people believing in the God, the subject, of the Bible. Hell, I consider the evidence that a people that does is measurably "good" in terms of human reason. What I object to is the notion that such a people is fit to rule other peoples who deny that specific God.

BTW, the Bible is pretty clear that God does not call the believers to conquer the nations of the earth for Him. Unfortunately, many (most?) self-described believers seem to hold the erroneous view that it does, although they don't even realize the implications of their positions.

My laws are for me that those like me, and don't "fit" others - a paraphrase of Nietzsche.

Blogger Nate January 19, 2013 5:03 PM  

"Our most basic assumptions are necessarily used and referenced to be able to think about anything."

So... without basic assumptions we can't think about anything? Disagree.

Blogger Nate January 19, 2013 5:05 PM  

Also... only a person can recognize a person is another huge hole for me. Dogs recognize people as people... and make character judgements about individual people. Thus dogs... which are not persons... recognize persons as persons.

Anonymous antonym January 19, 2013 5:10 PM  

Skimmed through it. MP needs to define person for us, because he's clearly not using it to refer to persons in the traditional sense(and if he is, his argument ia wrong anyway).

Anonymous Daniel January 19, 2013 5:19 PM  

Upshot: Election (of Calvin).

Anonymous Impraxical January 19, 2013 5:23 PM  

A nice list of naked assertions none of which necessarily follow from the others. MP is inserting a lot of unwarranted significance to "basic assumptions". If one of our basic assumptions changes does this "ideal ultimate personal mind" operating system bsod?

Blogger Nate January 19, 2013 5:23 PM  

"Skimmed through it. MP needs to define person for us, because he's clearly not using it to refer to persons in the traditional sense(and if he is, his argument ia wrong anyway)."

and here starts the mental masturbation... God I hate this crap...

Blogger James Dixon January 19, 2013 5:24 PM  

> The one that bothers me most at first glance is the claim that only a person can arbitrate personhood.

Absolutely. Both dogs and cats would laugh at that idea, if it could be explained to them.

I see Nate beat me to commenting about dogs. His comment about dogs evaluating the nature of people is also true, and also true for cats.

Anonymous scoobius dubious January 19, 2013 5:35 PM  

"Absolutely. Both dogs and cats would laugh at that idea, if it could be explained to them."

If you wanted to be really strict, what you would say is that dogs and cats can recognize a biological entity that we call a human being, but that it is not at all clear whether they can recognize and arbitrate personhood, which is a different thing ontologically from simply "being" a warm human body. (For instance, in Christian theology, the Holy Spirit is a "person" but is quite clearly not a human being.)

If you wanted to be strict. But I'm not sure that ye do.

Anonymous Impraxical January 19, 2013 6:16 PM  

@Koanic - Interesting proof, but it can be boiled down to: "Perceptions exist and are not material, therefore they are supernatural". I disagree with your definition of supernatural as anything that exists and is not material. Saying that perceptions exist is not a surprising thing to anyone, so it isn't a very powerful proof.

Blogger Nate January 19, 2013 6:28 PM  

"I see Nate beat me to commenting about dogs. His comment about dogs evaluating the nature of people is also true, and also true for cats"

Dogs yes. Cats? No. Cats are meglomaniacal narcissists incapable of thinking of anything but themselves. You're a cockroach to a cat.

Anonymous LES January 19, 2013 6:32 PM  

Two basic presuppositions are that the supernatural/spiritual exists or it does not. Human identity is defined by which supposition you choose. Humans seem to be the only beings on Earth who are aware that they are self-aware. Animals may be self-aware but can they be aware that they are self-aware? This second "I" that is aware of itself I believe is the soul or spirit that is independent of the body.

Anonymous scoobius dubious January 19, 2013 6:35 PM  

"Perceptions exist and are not material, therefore they are supernatural"

But perceptions ARE material (see all of neuroscience), therefore they are NOT supernatural, indeed they are the most natural thing in the world; therefore that line of argument is baseless.

Paradoxically, a world-view which admits the existence of the supernatural does not in fact actually admit it; since in such a world-view, there is perforce a conception of the "natural" which _includes_ the supernatural, which is merely a subset of the natural that is not yet fully understood, by us. In a world-view which admits the existence of God, everything is perfectly natural, even the ostensible supernatural -- it's just that some things happen to look a little weird to US, because we don't know as much about the universe as God does. In a world-view that doesn't admit the existence of God, then the supernatural is merely an error of perception, or else a hallucination, a delusion, a superstition, or a misunderstanding or incomplete understanding of some natural phenomenon. In that world-view, the supernatural is simply uninteresting and we can dismiss it and move on to other things.

Blogger GF Dad January 19, 2013 6:39 PM  

I applaud his effort, but his reasoning seems circular and seems to boil down to "Only a person can recognize another person. I am a person. I recognize God exists, therefore, God must be a person."
Rather than argue for the existence of God, the apostle Paul felt that most people knew there was a creator to whom they were accountable to in Romans 1:
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
So, I have wonder. Do attempts to logically prove the existence of God simply play into the cognitive dissonance of unbelievers?

Anonymous scoobius dubious January 19, 2013 6:43 PM  

If it is true that Jesus walked on water and performed miracles and did all the astonishing things it is claimed that He did, then it is not because of something called the "supernatural" -- it is because He had access to parts of reality, or understood things about the fabric of reality, which we do not have access to or do not understand.

God made the universe. I'd be willing to bet that His owner's manual is a lot more detailed than the one we have.

Anonymous Salt January 19, 2013 6:53 PM  

But only a person can arbitrate whether an object is a person.

To arbitrate requires the capability of consideration between various inputs or stimuli. MP wishes to infer the correctness of the assumptions his arbitration is predicated upon; our most basic assumptions which are many and varied.

fail















Blogger Ilíon January 19, 2013 6:56 PM  

And, as usual, "the Dread Ilk" doesn't disappoint to fail even at attempting to comprehend what they wish to reject.

As one minor example, consider Nate's response:

"Our most basic assumptions are necessarily used and referenced to be able to think about anything."

So... without basic assumptions we can't think about anything? Disagree.


Disagree all you want: at best, all you're doing is parading your ignorance.

Anonymous paradox January 19, 2013 7:11 PM  

scoobius dubious January 19, 2013 6:43 PM

If it is true that Jesus walked on water and performed miracles and did all the astonishing things it is claimed that He did, then it is not because of something called the "supernatural" -- it is because He had access to parts of reality, or understood things about the fabric of reality, which we do not have access to or do not understand.

God made the universe. I'd be willing to bet that His owner's manual is a lot more detailed than the one we have.


I think the idea is from C.S. Lewis' Miracles, all of Christ's miracles give the impression of just time manipulation.

Blogger Ilíon January 19, 2013 7:11 PM  

On the other hand, if you all had wanted to say something like, "MP, I really can't make heads or tails of much of what you've written, ..." you might have dome more that harrumph.

But that would require a certain humility, wouldn't it?

Blogger Ilíon January 19, 2013 7:16 PM  

MP, I suspect -- and let me stress again how unsure I am on this, given that writing style you're employed makes my head spin -- that what you're getting at is a variation of what might be called ‘The Argument from Reason’ (for what it's of interest to you, my version is here)

Anonymous Anonymous January 19, 2013 7:16 PM  

Sometimes, commenters on this site are so full of themselves in matters theological, that they remind me of the old joke one of my Sem profs told us:

"God Himself is so confused by our reasoning that He Himself has to ask the angels for a clue."

Not really, of course, but the Lord must be laughing at this thread.

Anonymous Jean Beljean January 19, 2013 7:29 PM  

Koanic, your "proof" is pathetic, it does nothing but beg the question.

Try again.

Anonymous kh123 January 19, 2013 7:56 PM  

"Therefore, our most basic assumptions are necessary to recognize and know that certain objects of our experience are persons."

Given the writing's a bit thick, maybe this is what he's getting at with his programming bit; but offhand, I'd say it's not an assumption so much as it is instinct or in-built. One can depersonalize and compartmentalize people so as to fulfill arrest quotas or make east-bound trains run on time, but I think it underlies the whole point that recognition of fellow human is almost automatic.

May be reading into it too much, but assumption makes it seem like it's solely a choice one makes at some point - one can choose when they sleep or eat, but neither come into being by one's will or thoughts on either; we're saddled with them from the get-go.

"Consequently, I believe in God because my thinking already necessarily assumes and references an unchanging and enduring god-level object of mind that arbitrates all things including personhood, makes inquiry of anything and everything possible including itself, and is indistinguishable from an ultimate personal mind or God."

Right, but IIRC, Aquinas cites some form of the above as a flawed argument towards the existence of God - that we can conceive and think it, therefore it (or he) exists.

Anonymous Koanic January 19, 2013 8:17 PM  

Impraxical:

Perceptions truly exist in a different way than computer programs or math. They exist in a way that necessitates the perceiver, a non-physical, existent entity. This consciousness is spirit, and properly named supernatural. If you do not consider a spirit to be supernatural, then you are not using the word the way most people do. Ghost in the shell - I've proved it exists. If there is one ghost, there can be more, ghosts without shells.

Jean:

Your refutation is pathetic, specify what question is begged and why.

Anonymous Impraxical January 19, 2013 8:18 PM  

And, as usual, "the Dread Ilk" doesn't disappoint to fail even at attempting to comprehend what they wish to reject.

Anything claiming to be a proof should define its terms and use sound logic to go from premises to conclusions. MP doesn't meet either criteria here.

Anonymous Impraxical January 19, 2013 8:25 PM  

Perceptions truly exist in a different way than computer programs or math. They exist in a way that necessitates the perceiver, a non-physical, existent entity. This consciousness is spirit, and properly named supernatural.

Consciousness comes from the brain, not a spirit. I usually understand people to mean something different than consciousness when they talk about spirit/soul. Again, if you define spirit to be consciousness then you could use that to say that the supernatural exists but its not a very interesting conclusion.

Anonymous Jean Beljean January 19, 2013 8:28 PM  

Koanic:

Every one of your "definitions" has been set up to prove that which you want to prove.

That is not how (good) philosophy works.

Try again.

Anonymous Koanic January 19, 2013 8:37 PM  

Impraxical:

I didn't say what consciousness "comes from", I said it IS spirit. You're confusing causation with essence.

That is the question I set out to prove. I do not simply prove it by definition. If you feel I do, then show the tautological step.

I don't think you appreciate how the real, non-physical existence I'm talking about differs from all others, and must be considered spiritual or supernatural.

Jean:

"Every one of your "definitions" has been set up to prove that which you want to prove.

That is not how (good) philosophy works."

Then you haven't read much philosophy. Specialized definitions abound. Surely a man of your androgyny should have no trouble demonstrating the tautological step in my laughable proof.

Blogger Ilíon January 19, 2013 8:48 PM  

Impraxical: "Anything claiming to be a proof should define its terms and use sound logic to go from premises to conclusions. MP doesn't meet either criteria here."

Without myself taking a position on whether MP does or does not meet these criteria, please allow me to point out that: Impraxical: "Consciousness comes from the brain, not a spirit."

Anonymous Jean Beljean January 19, 2013 8:49 PM  

I have read a lot of good philosophy. And a lot of bad. Your "proof" is representative of the total and complete failure of modern philosophy.

If you knew anything about philosophy, you would know all philosophy is tautology. Your fundamental error will appear to you after you comprehend this.

If you require any assistance, do not hesitate to ask.

Regards,

Jean Beljean.

Blogger Anonymous January 19, 2013 8:55 PM  

I comprehend fully. And my proof is the demonstration that "all philosophy is tautological" is false, since it crosses the divide from symbols to reality. So, if your nihilism is correct, then show the tautological step. All you have to do is beat me, and all modern philosophy falls. Easy, no?

Anonymous Koanic January 19, 2013 8:56 PM  

Whoops, that was me

Anonymous Impraxical January 19, 2013 8:58 PM  

Without myself taking a position on whether MP does or does not meet these criteria, please allow me to point out that: Impraxical: "Consciousness comes from the brain, not a spirit."

So your rebuttal is that because we disagree on what spirit and consciousness are, everything I say is suspect? Thanks for admitting that you are irrational, I won't bother reading anything else you say.

Blogger Ilíon January 19, 2013 8:58 PM  

Also, please allow me to point out to all and sundry that the claim that "Anything claiming to be a proof should define its terms and use sound logic to go from premises to conclusions." is itself one of those things MP was talking about when he said "Our most basic assumptions are necessarily used and referenced to be able to think about anything."

However one may wish to phrase it, Impraxical's assertion of the requisite characteristics of a real proof is not something that can be arrived at via reason operating on first principles, for it *is* a first principle. One either:
1) accepts_and_asserts that it as true, and acts accordingly;
2) assets its denial, demonstrating that one either is woefully ignorant and wholly irrational.

Blogger Drew January 19, 2013 8:59 PM  

The comments on this thread show the complete philosophical incompetence of the popular web. Two especially grievous errors are as follows:

1. Thinking that neuroscience has shown that things like intentionality, criteria, and perceptions are somehow reducible to physical states of affairs. NO inductive argument can ever establish reducibility. Reducibility requires deductive logic, such as showing that "here" is reducible to "where I am right now." Science cannot speak to issues like this.

2. The idea that all philosophy is tautology. This is laughable. Saul Kripke proved over 40 years ago that philosophy cannot be reduced to the mere quibbling over the definitions of words. Questions like "could things have been different than they are?" are clearly not questions about how we define words but about how reality is configured. Linguistic analysis simply fails to answer these types of questions. This is why philosophy is a separate branch of knowledge from linguistics.

Blogger Ilíon January 19, 2013 9:02 PM  

"... I won't bother reading anything else you say."

I, too, rejoice in this welcome news.

For, the author of that promise is not only irrational, but uninteresting in understanding what he wishes to reject ... and, obviously, he's uninterested in comprehending what he reads. And I don't wish to waste my time with intellectually dishonest persons.

Anonymous Impraxical January 19, 2013 9:03 PM  

That is the question I set out to prove. I do not simply prove it by definition. If you feel I do, then show the tautological step.

Your proof hinges on two things. Anything non material that exists is supernatural, and perceptions exist and are non material.

I haven't taken a position on the second point because it doesn't matter as far as your proof is concerned. I don't agree that the only two possible categories of existence are material and supernatural.

Anonymous Koanic January 19, 2013 9:04 PM  

Impraxical, you're being too sensitive. Ilion is pointing out that you failed to follow your own rules by making a naked assertion. Sort of, since you didn't claim it was a proof.

Ilion, you're getting into stuff that Kant did better, but I think the short answer is that what is illogical is incoherent, and incoherency is void. Thus while A=A is tautological, there is no alternative statement. At most one can pose with a fag, like Jean.

Anonymous jack January 19, 2013 9:07 PM  

@Nate
Dogs yes. Cats? No. Cats are meglomaniacal narcissists incapable of thinking of anything but themselves. You're a cockroach to a cat.

Ah, Nate: I like my cat. My cat likes me. At least at feeding and treat time; and, at scratching the head time....

Other times? Not so much. Just like most humans I know.

Anonymous Koanic January 19, 2013 9:08 PM  

"Anything non material that exists is supernatural,"

Nope, didn't say that.

"I don't agree that the only two possible categories of existence are material and supernatural."

Neither do I. You'll have to give a more sophisticated answer. For example, math exists but in neither a material nor supernatural sense.

Anonymous DrRansom January 19, 2013 9:08 PM  

I started reading this post, then thought, "I'll just skip to the bottom and see if VD thinks this is worth reading." Then, I saw that he apparently did the same thing... lulz

Anonymous Jean Beljean January 19, 2013 9:09 PM  

All philosophy is tautological; if it is not, the author has made a mistake in his reasoning, and is in error.

Your "proof" is tautological, but is reasoned from "definitions" that assume the very reality your are trying to prove. It is doltish.

Anonymous Koanic January 19, 2013 9:14 PM  

No doubt this explains why you have adopted the modern French strategy of running away. Show me.

Anonymous Impraxical January 19, 2013 9:18 PM  

For, the author of that promise is not only irrational, but uninteresting in understanding what he wishes to reject ... and, obviously, he's uninterested in comprehending what he reads.

At the risk of reneging on my "promise", I will respond to say that I am interested in comprehending what I read, but not so much when the material is not clear on its definitions and uses that ambiguity to try to prove a point.

However one may wish to phrase it, Impraxical's assertion of the requisite characteristics of a real proof is not something that can be arrived at via reason operating on first principles, for it *is* a first principle.

I gave a definition of proof. Your assertion that it is also a first principle is a non sequiter.

Anonymous Impraxical January 19, 2013 9:21 PM  

"Anything non material that exists is supernatural,"

Nope, didn't say that.


Definition 4: Supernatural – That which has real, actual existence, yet is not material.

You used a few more words, but you'll have to explain how what you said is different from what I said.

Blogger Ilíon January 19, 2013 9:23 PM  

Koanic: "Ilion, you're getting into stuff that Kant did better, but I think the short answer is that what is illogical is incoherent, and incoherency is void. Thus while A=A is tautological, there is no alternative statement. At most one can pose with a fag, like Jean."

Whether or not Kant did it better, whether or not I am getting into "stuff that Kant did", what I've said is both true and must be admitted by all who claim to be rational (and I certainly have never claimed to be the first to think these thoughst) -- all *rational* argument and knowledge necessarily stands upon a foundation of non-rational, or extra-rational, knowledge.

"I think the short answer is that what is illogical is incoherent"

Being logical is a necessary, but not sufficient, criterion for a proposition being true.

"... and incoherency is void."

This has been established rationally? No, it is known non-rationally, intuitively; it is one of the starting points of rational thought and discourse.

"Thus while A=A is tautological, there is no alternative statement."

Sure there is and alternative statement: the denial. Now, the denial is false and we all know it is false, and we all know that those who assert the denial have thereby shown themselves to be irrational (or ignorant beyond words), but that alternative can nonetheless be asserted.

"At most one can pose with a fag, like Jean"

No doubt, this proposition is also one of those things Kant did better, for it seems quite over my head.

Anonymous Jean Beljean January 19, 2013 9:28 PM  

Show you what? I am beginning to think you are mentally defective.

Can you not comprehend that the conclusions derived will reflect the principles assumed, and how this relates to your "proof"?

Blogger Ilíon January 19, 2013 9:29 PM  

"Ilion is pointing out that you failed to follow your own rules by making a naked assertion. Sort of, since you didn't claim it was a proof."

No "sort of" to it. His naked assertion comes with the sub-text assertion that no proof is necessary, that it is self-evidently true. His naked assertion was was put forward as being a refutation, which is to say, implicitly as being an argument.

Anonymous Koanic January 19, 2013 9:35 PM  

Impraxical:

"You used a few more words, but you'll have to explain how what you said is different from what I said."

Sure. Real, actual existence is different from all the things that exist in one way or another, but are not material or supernatural. E.g., computer programs, narnia, math. The big question is whether consciousness is the former or the latter.

Ilion:

"Sure there is and alternative statement: the denial."

No, there isn't. There are words to that effect, but no meaning can be analyzed. It is not just false like "humans have three legs", it is void.

Jean:

"Show you what? I am beginning to think you are mentally defective.

Can you not comprehend that the conclusions derived will reflect the principles assumed, and how this relates to your "proof"?"

Certainly I can. Show me the definition that makes the proof tautological, and why. How is this hard? You just need to stop making naked assertions and be specific.

Blogger Nate January 19, 2013 9:37 PM  

"Disagree all you want: at best, all you're doing is parading your ignorance."

ignorant. Nancy... you're the one incapable of imagining thinking without those assumptions. I wouldn't brag about the limitations of my mind if I were you.

Anonymous Impraxical January 19, 2013 9:39 PM  

His naked assertion comes with the sub-text assertion that no proof is necessary, that it is self-evidently true.

Sorry for repeating myself, but I gave a definition of what a proof is. You are free to disagree with me about that definition if you wish. I will then provide you a link to wikipedia or a dictionary that corroborates my definition.

Anonymous Jean Beljean January 19, 2013 9:45 PM  

You still do not comprehend. It is the process of deduction that makes your "proof", any proof, tautological, not your "definitions".

Your definitions are not tautological, they are simply defective.

Anonymous zen0 January 19, 2013 9:45 PM  

This seems to be the I Think, Ego I Am thread.

May I suggest that proofs for the existence of God are idols, and refutations of the proofs or refutations of the premise are also idols?

Blogger Ilíon January 19, 2013 9:48 PM  

Koanic: "No, there isn't. There are words to that effect, but no meaning can be analyzed. It is not just false like "humans have three legs", it is void."

Yet, we all understand what is meant by this supposedly meaningless porposition, and we all know/understand that the proposition is false.

Even to say, as you have done, that "[t]here are words to that effect", is to admit the truth you are trying to deny: that the denial of 'the law of identity' is not simply noise, that it means something, and that that meaning is false and known by all rational persons to be false.

Really! to paraphrase someone, "you're getting into stuff that the 'logical positivists' did better" (that they were fools seems to bme beside the point). What I'm getting at is that simply declaring the things one denies as being "meaningless" and "void", as the 'logical positivists' were wont to do, doesn't make it so.

Blogger Ilíon January 19, 2013 9:50 PM  

"ignorant. Nancy... you're the one incapable of imagining thinking without those assumptions. I wouldn't brag about the limitations of my mind if I were you."

How cool is this! Nate is parading around, flaunting his ignorance. And quite impressive it is, too!

Blogger James Dixon January 19, 2013 9:51 PM  

> ...dogs and cats can recognize a biological entity that we call a human being, but that it is not at all clear whether they can recognize and arbitrate personhood,

Scoobious, it's obvious that your relationship with both dogs and cats is lacking. Re-read Nate's post. He's absolutely correct.

> Cats are meglomaniacal narcissists incapable of thinking of anything but themselves.

Nonsense. Cat's think about lots of things besides themselves. Other cats, food, shelter, and being treated like the master of all they survey by their humans. Which doesn't invalidate the first part of your sentence, of course.

> ...You're a cockroach to a cat.

Cockroaches don't provide food, shelter, or attention. They know the difference, and know which humans can be relied on and which ones can't.

> Humans seem to be the only beings on Earth who are aware that they are self-aware.

Your are aware that dolphins give themselves names, aren't you?

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/05/060508_dolphins.html

Blogger Ilíon January 19, 2013 9:53 PM  

"May I suggest that proofs for the existence of God are idols, ..."

May I suggest that anyone who would 'suggest' such a thing is a fool of some sort or other? Would that be too unkind of me? Not that I care, overly, you understand: I am a most unkind man.

Now, 'fool' does not mean "stupid person", as the ignorant suppose. Rather, it means "intellectually dishonest person".

Blogger Nate January 19, 2013 9:55 PM  

"How cool is this! Nate is parading around, flaunting his ignorance. And quite impressive it is, too!"

Let me rephrase...

oh NOES!!! Nate disagreed with my baseless assertion (or tautology whichever you prefer)! I know.. rather than defend my tautology... I'll posture!

Anonymous Impraxical January 19, 2013 9:56 PM  

Sure. Real, actual existence is different from all the things that exist in one way or another, but are not material or supernatural. E.g., computer programs, narnia, math. The big question is whether consciousness is the former or the latter.

Computer programs are material, they are patterns on a hard drive.
Narnia "exists" only in our consciousness, so I'll give you that one.
I don't know what category of existence math falls under, but I wouldn't call it supernatural. Just like I wouldn't call consciousness supernatural.

There are a lot of different definitions for what existence is. I don't think putting "real, actual" before it clarifies the matter much.

Anonymous Koanic January 19, 2013 9:56 PM  

Yes, Jean, I'm aware that's your geberal position. It's also fully apparent you have nothing to say specific to my proof.

And great, Ilion feeeeeels that A!=A means something, logic be damned.

I hope someone pulls this thread out of the can soon...

Anonymous Koanic January 19, 2013 10:00 PM  

Thank God Impraxical is following the plot.

Computer programs are not material. The stuff on hard drives, or being executed in the hardware, is merely interpreted as a computer program conceptually. Actually, it's just a physical process. This is a perfect example of what consciousness would be, if we couldn't prove by direct experience that it is real.

If "real, actual" doesn't clarify what I mean for you, I hope talking through these examples helps.

Anonymous zen0 January 19, 2013 10:05 PM  

The Criterial Argument for the Existence of God - Version 2.0

Our most basic assumptions are necessarily used and referenced to be able to think about anything.


What are these assumptions?

Therefore, our most basic assumptions are necessary to recognize and know that certain objects of our experience are persons.

Is experience of recognising persons and the testimony of previousl recognized persons in itself become one of the primary assumptions?

But only a person can arbitrate whether an object is a person.

Whereas, a deliberative body, which is not in itelf a person, such as the Supreme Court, can, and has, ruled on personhood.


Therefore, taken together like the operating system of a computer, the standards and fixed values we operate with as running assumptions or control statements, are necessarily referenced, and treated as the unified predicative and adjudicative structure of an ideal ultimate personal mind.

Are all these components universal to all persons?

Anonymous Jean Beljean January 19, 2013 10:06 PM  

There is nothing to say. Your "definitions" are irrelevant juvenilities. There is no need for me to go further.

Anonymous zen0 January 19, 2013 10:13 PM  

@ Ilion
Rather, it means "intellectually dishonest person".

I notice you chose not to address the I Think, Ego I Am part.

Maybe you are "intellectually dishonest". Maybe you don't even have a first clue. You certainly bluster like a poser.

Anonymous Impraxical January 19, 2013 10:16 PM  

@Koanic

When I talk about a computer program, I mean exactly the stuff on the hard drives. You claim it is a physical process, but what happens if the program is not being executed? It is still a computer program even if the computer is turned off. Maybe a better example for your point would be algorithms.

That brings up an interesting question though. Can a computer program have consciousness? Would you consider it supernatural if it did?



Blogger Ilíon January 19, 2013 10:16 PM  

"And great, Ilion feeeeeels that A!=A means something, logic be damned."

I am content that 'feeeeeelings' are far more your style: I am pretty much the epitome of anti-feelings.

What?! How is it, O man of wisdom_beyond_my_ken, that "logic be damned" can even be said in reference to 'A!=A' if that proposition is utterly void, as you assert it to be? How is it that *everyone* could and would understand what he were saying if a man were to assert that 'A!=A' if that proposition is utterly void, as you assert it to be?

How many times do you vainly imagine that I'm going to keep pointing out the self-contradiction of what you are claiming? You seem more interesting than Nate or Impraxical (*), but that carries a person only so far.

And for meta-irony, since self-contradiction is illogical and incoherent, and is according to you, 'void', it seems that according to your own self, you have been saying nothing at all in asserting that I am wrong on this little point.

(*) who, I see from your recent exchange with him, also hasn't the foggiest idea of what a computer program is, and is not.

Anonymous scoobius dubious January 19, 2013 10:23 PM  

zen0: "This seems to be the I Think, Ego I Am thread. May I suggest that proofs for the existence of God are idols, and refutations of the proofs or refutations of the premise are also idols?"

Heh. Scooby thanks you, and so does Master Chuang. And so does the Old Man.




Anonymous Koanic January 19, 2013 10:24 PM  

"When I talk about a computer program, I mean exactly the stuff on the hard drives."

No you don't. What if a computer program is written on paper, but not on any hard drive? What if the computer program is memorized?

"You claim it is a physical process, but what happens if the program is not being executed?"

It's both an idea and the physical whatever, in different senses. Just as consciousness is both brain activity and a direct experience, in different senses.

"Maybe a better example for your point would be algorithms."

Sure, that's more like math.

"Can a computer program have consciousness? Would you consider it supernatural if it did?"

Yes, yes. Consciousness not in the sense of Turing self-awareness, but a directly experiencing monadal entity.

Ilion, it means things about the person saying it, and why they're saying it, emotional and political implications and so on, but logically is void. This is not hard.

Blogger Ilíon January 19, 2013 10:29 PM  

Koanic, there is no logical operation that can operate on 'void'. This is not hard.

Anonymous Koanic January 19, 2013 10:31 PM  

The statement, "He made a logically void statement," is not void. Derp.

Anonymous Impraxical January 19, 2013 10:36 PM  

Turing's test establishes intelligence. It doesn't necessarily say anything about consciousness.

I think we're back to me disagreeing with your definition of supernatural. According to my understanding of supernatural, you can't make something supernatural from purely natural ingredients. If you don't disagree with that, where is the supernatural ingredient that allows a computer program to have a supernatural property?

Blogger Ilíon January 19, 2013 10:38 PM  

"Can a computer program have consciousness? Would you consider it supernatural if it did?"

Yes, yes. Consciousness not in the sense of Turing self-awareness, but a directly experiencing monadal entity.


Then again, Impraxical isn't the only person, nor first, to fail to understand (and likely, decline to) what a computer program is and is not.

========
The statement, "He made a logically void statement," is not void. Derp.

Once again, ignorant little person (*), you show your ironical self-contradiction. A statement cannot be void-of-meaning: to say that an utterance *is* a statement is to say that it is meant to convey meaning.

(*) and I'll just bet that you object to that ... but not to your own 'Derp.'

Anonymous Koanic January 19, 2013 10:42 PM  

"Turing's test establishes intelligence. It doesn't necessarily say anything about consciousness."

Not quite true. It has to imitate a human, which means exhibiting self-awareness.

"I think we're back to me disagreeing with your definition of supernatural."

Yes, but not without some progress inbetween.

"According to my understanding of supernatural, you can't make something supernatural from purely natural ingredients."

I absolutely agree.

"If you don't disagree with that, where is the supernatural ingredient that allows a computer program to have a supernatural property?"

That is exactly the right question. Where? No-where. Hence, supernatural.

You can ask the same question about human beings, which are merely biological computers.

If you follow the brain in a tank thought experiment, you realize that we can eliminate the brain, the tank, and the whole concept of a physical existence, but we can't eliminate consciousness. The supernatural is the ONLY thing we can prove exists. If anything, the physical world is the myth.

Anonymous Machoman January 19, 2013 10:43 PM  

The existence of at least the Deist God can be proven via logic.

P1: Everything that has a beginning must have a cause that is not itself (because something coming from nothing is an absurdity)
P2: All the evidence seems to indicate the physical universe has a point in time (ie. beginning)
C: The physical universe (if it has a point in time) must have been caused by something outside of it, which is eternal (having no beginning)

If you understand modal logic you understand the logical necessity of this argument because to deny it is to claim that something can just spontaneously come into existence out of nothing by itself. Basically, either something always was, or was brought into existence by something else. Those are the only rational possibilities.

There is one way around it. You could claim that matter is eternal and without cause, and its present arrangement in the universe is part of a natural cycle, but as far as I know modern physics is not on board with that.

Anonymous scoobius dubious January 19, 2013 10:44 PM  

"Computer programs are material, they are patterns on a hard drive.
Narnia "exists" only in our consciousness, so I'll give you that one."

No. The fact that Narnia "exists" in our consciousness and can be reproduced and depicted on demand, means PRECISELY that Narnia exists, as a meme and as a neurological structure or system in your brain: as a physical THING. It isn't magic and it isn't metaphysical, it is an actual tangible result which can be reproduced on demand. This is proven by the fact that when I refer to Narnia and you refer to Narnia, we both mean more or less the same thing: if I referred to Narnia and what I really meant was a jar of Peanut Brittle, and what you really meant was a Tom Petty song, then we would have no ability to communicate about Narnia. The fact that we can both discuss it intelligibly and be mutually understood means that the idea PHYSICALLY exists in both our brains, and therefore we share the same physical pattern in our brains regarding Narnia. Which means, among other things, that our brains are structured similarly.

The idea of Narnia is a pattern of neurons in your brain which is real and reproducible, in the same way that the HIV virus is reproducible in a cell it is invading. HIV is not a metaphysical idea, it is not an abtraction, it is a real thing, but its existence manifests primarily as a pattern and process of RNA replication by which it reproduces itself, and that's the way we know it exists. That is how we know an idea exists, too. Brains cause consciousness, there is no way around that fundamental concept. Consciousness is not magic, it is caused by the existence of your brain, which is a physical thing that is structured a certain way and not another way.

The idea of Narnia, or of Middle Earth, or of Dante's Inferno, exists as a meme that can be physically reproduced within the brains of different sentient creatures, with sufficient accuracy that they know what one another are talking about. If you explain Middle Earth to a lobster, nothing will happen: the lobster does not know what you are talking about, because it has a lobster brain, not a human brain. Similarly, if you tell the tales of Middle Earth to a lemon tree, the lemon tree does not know what you mean. But if you tell the tales of Middle Earth to an intelligent curious twelve-year-old human, that human can then tell those tales to another human. Because humans have similarly structured brains, and these brains are capable of reproducing results which are relevant to humans within the sphere of their human, not lobster, lives and consciousness.

Blogger Ilíon January 19, 2013 10:44 PM  

Goodness gracious me! I must have been sick the day that the portion of the truth-table covering how that *sometimes* !TRUE=VOID was taught us.

Anonymous Koanic January 19, 2013 10:44 PM  

Ilion, devoid of meaning != logically void. If I say that 1=2, it means I don't know math, AND is logically void.

Anonymous Impraxical January 19, 2013 10:44 PM  

Then again, Impraxical isn't the only person, nor first, to fail to understand (and likely, decline to) what a computer program is and is not.

This is the second time you have claimed I don't know what a computer program is, as if that is some vast failing on my part. Please remedy my ignorance Oh Source of All Knowledge.

Or would you rather just keep insulting people without any substance?

I thought so.

Blogger Ilíon January 19, 2013 10:47 PM  

"... The fact that we can both discuss it intelligibly and be mutually understood means that the idea PHYSICALLY exists in both our brains, and therefore we share the same physical pattern in our brains regarding Narnia. Which means, among other things, that our brains are structured similarly."

Talk about totally, hopelessly ass-backwards!

Anonymous Starr January 19, 2013 10:50 PM  

The "only a person can arbitrate whether an object is a person is" is a big problem.

Apart from the already pointed out flaws, the other obvious one is if you ask an atheist if God is a person, they'll say no, and since they as a person have arbitrated God is not a person, therefore God can not be a person.

Blogger Ilíon January 19, 2013 11:05 PM  

Starr: "The "only a person can arbitrate whether an object is a person is" is a big problem.

Apart from the already pointed out flaws, the other obvious one is if you ask an atheist if God is a person, they'll say no, and since they as a person have arbitrated God is not a person, therefore God can not be a person.
"

Mind you, I'm taking no position on "only a person can arbitrate whether an object is a person" (*) ... but merely pointing to the flaw in your dismissal of it. Whether or not it is true that "only a person can arbitrate whether an object is a person is", that proposition does not include, not entail, that "every person shall, without error, 'arbitrate' whether an 'object' is a person"

(*) Though, I will say that even if I did want ot defend such a proposition, I'd never have used the words 'arbitrate' nor 'object'.

Anonymous scoobius dubious January 19, 2013 11:21 PM  

"Talk about totally, hopelessly ass-backwards!"

I wrote a message in the English language on a computer screen, then sent it onto the internet via a bunch of computer protocols which I confess I don't even understand.

You received my message, which was written in English. You were able to use your computer to uptake my message, which you read, then used your human brain to interpret (we'll almost say understand) to your satisfaction, and then formed your own opinion of its being "right" or "wrong" (we won't even get into those categories!).

Then you used the same computer protocols to post your disagreement with my statement, also written in English, on the internet, in such a way that I could then read it and comprehend it, by resorting to the somewhat limited appurtenances of my (almost)-human brain.

I just tried sending this thread to a lobster sitting in a water-tank in a Chinese seafood restaurant in the San Gabriel Valley. For some reason, the lobster didn't reply. Maybe it was because:

1. Lobsters don't speak English.
2. Lobsters can't use computers.
3. Lobsters seem only to care about lobster stuff, not about English-speaking human stuff.
4. Lobsters live underwater; their biology and their brains are structured quite differently from a terrestrial English-speaking, computer-using primate who just came home from an awesome, lengthy dinner of superb Indian cooking.
5. This may have something to do with why you and I can converse on the internet, but I and the lobster cannot.
6. Huh. Go figure.

Anonymous Asher January 19, 2013 11:31 PM  

@ impraxical

I don't agree that the only two possible categories of existence are material and supernatural.

Could you explicate this? Isn't "material", as a category, just that which is subject to material analysis and "supernatural, as a category, just that which is not subject to material analysis?

Sure, you could say that things which are not subject to material analysis can be further divided into different categories, themselves, but that just means they're subcategories of the supernatural.

Maybe you have completely understandings of material and supernatural than I.

Anonymous Koanic January 19, 2013 11:37 PM  

Non, nonmaterial != supernatural, as narnia demonstrates.

Anonymous scoobius dubious January 19, 2013 11:51 PM  

"nonmaterial != supernatural, as narnia demonstrates."

Precisely because Narnia is NOT nonmaterial, it does not demonstrate what you believe it does.

If Narnia is nonmaterial, then kindly think a "Narnia thought" and send it to me via abstract wishfulness, and when I receive it I will reply via magic bubble.

But I'm kind of betting if you wish to reply to me scientifically through this very science-y looking internet thingy, we'll get down to business a whole lot faster.

So tell me... why is the "idea of Narnia" more essentially nonmaterial than, say, the ability to understand the English language, the ability to type, the ability to use the internet even when one is not a computer code-writing genius.... or the ability to even conceive in one's mind what is meant by a shared conception of what "Narnia" refers to, and have it correspond with no small level of accuracy to some random internet stranger's idea of the exact same set of images and situations?

Don't you think that sort of coincidence would be utterly fascinating?

Anonymous Asher January 19, 2013 11:51 PM  

@ Koanic

"Anything non material that exists is supernatural,"

Nope, didn't say that.


It isn't? This is a pretty radical claim. Could you explicate it?

math exists but in neither a material nor supernatural sense.

No. "Math" is a series of brain states that exist in physical brains. It's quite material.

No doubt this explains why you have adopted the modern French strategy of running away. Show me.

I have a hyperactive thirteen week old and a very sick wife so I might have missed it, but it looks like you take the existence of "persons" to be some sort of axiomatic truth. I already pointed this out earlier in the thread.

are not material or supernatural. E.g., computer programs, narnia, math.

All these are part of the material world. When we refer to them we are talking about brain states in the physical brain.

Anonymous Koanic January 19, 2013 11:54 PM  

Asher, since you're adopting hardcore materialism, we should start with whether consciousness is purely material. You have my case.

Anonymous Asher January 19, 2013 11:55 PM  

@ zen0

May I suggest that proofs for the existence of God are idols, and refutations of the proofs or refutations of the premise are also idols?

Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner! Been telling this same thing to slef-identified Christians for a decade. When you try and provide human substance to God you are engaging in what the Bible calls idolatry. All the Christians who babble on about the "need for objective truth/justice" are just imputing their particular human sentiments to the concept of God.

Anonymous Asher January 19, 2013 11:57 PM  

When they double down I get a kick out of calling them satanic, which is an apt biblical description. Why was Satan thrown from heaven? He wanted to become like God, that which is self-willing, that which say I will be what I will.

When humans say what God "is" that is a rebellion against God.

Anonymous Asher January 20, 2013 12:04 AM  

@ Um, everyone talking about cats and dog

If only persons can define personhood and cats and dog know persons that simply implies that cats and dogs are persons. No one else seems to have managed to deduce this implication and the reason is that everyone already comes to the discussions with prior assumptions about personhood.

Is the deduction that cats and dogs are persons inane? Sure. That's what happens when you try and use logic to say things about reality. Logic is about examining consistency of arguments and propositions, and nothing more.

Anonymous Asher January 20, 2013 12:12 AM  

@ Koanic

Computer programs are not material. The stuff on hard drives, or being executed in the hardware, is merely interpreted as a computer program conceptually. Actually, it's just a physical process.

Am I missing part of this thread. First, you say that computer programs are not material and then you turn around two sentences later and claim it's a physical process. How is that not immediately contradictory.

I guess !A does equal A.

Let's say that a computer sits down in front of a computer and begins programming. All of the tools used to create that computer program are physical, including the programmer. At the end of the process we get a computer program. How is it that everything involved in a process of creating is physical but the result of non-physical?

Again, this is what happens when you try and use logic to make substantive claims about the world.

Anonymous Asher January 20, 2013 12:14 AM  

@ Koanic

if we couldn't prove by direct experience that it is real.

"Prove" pertains only to that which is logically, deductively true. I suppose you could say that experience demonstrates that reality exists but that's a pretty trivial observation.

Anonymous Koanic January 20, 2013 12:14 AM  

No, you are simply not following the discussion.

If you want to defend materialism, don't waste time on peripheral crap. Explain why consciousness is purely material, and my case to the contrary is wrong.

Anonymous Asher January 20, 2013 12:17 AM  

@ Ilion

And for meta-irony, since self-contradiction is illogical and incoherent, and is according to you, 'void'

I recently got in a debate with someone who claimed he wasn't debating me. Hilarious. Obviously, logic isn't going to convince many as it requires a certain level of intellect that most lack.

Anonymous Koanic January 20, 2013 12:20 AM  

""Prove" pertains only to that which is logically, deductively true. I suppose you could say that experience demonstrates that reality exists but that's a pretty trivial observation."

It's not trivial, and it's not true. Experience only demonstrates that consciousness exists.

Anonymous Koanic January 20, 2013 12:22 AM  

I wouldn't start getting smug about intellect just yet. You've yet to show you can follow a Kant infused discussion. Most can't, including those here.

Anonymous Asher January 20, 2013 12:28 AM  

@ Koanic

What if a computer program is written on paper,

Obviously, that makes the piece of paper a computer.

The statement, "He made a logically void statement," is not void. Derp.

That's because we're talking about a statement in the real world. I'm not sure what you think the term "void" means. When someone makes a self-contradicting statement we usually say that the statement is incoherent, not void, and not that they didn't make the statement at all.

I am struggling to find a point here.

"According to my understanding of supernatural, you can't make something supernatural from purely natural ingredients."

I absolutely agree.


Ah, this is where things get fuzzy. Let's make it starker. You can't make something non-material from purely material ingredients.

If computer programs are non-material but the ingredients are all material what does that mean? Obviously, that there are no such things as computer programs.

See, this is where things lead when you try and apply logic as anything other than examining propositions and arguments for consistency.

You can ask the same question about human beings, which are merely biological computers.

Fine. But I doubt that this is the view of the God of the Bible. Whatever "god" you've managed to prove (sic) he certainly ain't Jehovah the Lord who brought the Israelites out of the land of Egypt.

Anonymous Koanic January 20, 2013 12:32 AM  

Asher, you are not nearly smart enough to jump into the middle of this discussion. Go read the proof and respond to whether consciousness is material.

I am not proving the existence of God, and you literally have no idea what we are talking about.

Anonymous Asher January 20, 2013 12:33 AM  

@ Koanic

No, you are simply not following the discussion.

If you want to defend materialism,


I'm quite following the conversation. It's begun by people who want to apply the function of deductive reasoning in ways that are not about examining the propositions and arguments people make for consistency.

Logical proofs for god are categorical misapplications of logic. Hell, any attempt to use logic to prove (sic) anything outside of the consistency of propositions is a misapplication of logic.

Anonymous Koanic January 20, 2013 12:40 AM  

You're quite not, since you thought I was proving the existence of god. But thanks for stumbling around the concepts of a priori and synthetic and looking like an idiot.

Anonymous Asher January 20, 2013 12:45 AM  

@ Koanic

Go read the proof and respond to whether consciousness is material.

I have no idea whether or not consciousness is in the last analysis material. I've never ready anything that demonstrates one way or the other.

For practical purposes I make arguments about things like human personality, IQ, brain functions, etc, that pretty clearly seem to have something to do with consciousness.

Let's take sociopathy. Sociopaths are conscious and clearly their particular trait is not chosen by them. Are you saying that a sociopaths various behaviors that stem from that trait are not part of consciousness? When a sociopath steals they try to do it so as not get caught.

That is clear evidence of conscious behavior. Yet the trait of sociopathy, itself, is not a conscious choice, and is pretty clearly something that is unchangeable about the individual sociopath.

The simplest explanation is that sociopathy has a genetic, i.e. physical existence, and the sociopath's brain gets hardwired to engage in behaviors of which the sociopath is clearly conscious.

So, clearly consciousness heavily interacts with the brain.

The bottom line is that things that are not material are incomprehensible to humans and that any discussion of them are simply going to involve humans imputing their material experiences into that "immaterial" thing they think they are discussing.

Consciousness may have an immaterial component, but it's entirely irrelevant because something material cannot know about something immaterial. This relates to your admission that something supernatural cannot be made of ingredients that are entirely natural.

Anonymous Jack Amok January 20, 2013 2:55 AM  

Dogs yes. Cats? No. Cats are meglomaniacal narcissists incapable of thinking of anything but themselves. You're a cockroach to a cat.

Correction: a cockroach with a can opener.

Regarding the actual subject, good grief, I don't think there is a more boring, endeavor than "proving" the existence (or non-existance) of God.

There is no proof, there is only faith. And every time some lunkhead thinks he's found proof that God does or does not exist, the lunkhead has mistaken some element of his subjective faith for objective proof.

Consequently, I believe in God because my thinking already necessarily assumes and references an unchanging and enduring god-level object...

Translation: I believe in God because I have faith that God exists.

Lunkhead. Not for believing in God, but for not understanding his own faith. Oh, and for writing a treastie on it dense enough to be a wymyns studies dissertation. How old is this kid? I hope he grows out of it.

Anonymous Starr January 20, 2013 3:46 AM  

Ilíon-that proposition does not include, not entail, that "every person shall, without error, 'arbitrate' whether an 'object' is a person"

Yes its true that not every persons opinion will be correct, but the argument does nothing to show which opinion is right and which is wrong

Anonymous Asher January 20, 2013 4:44 AM  

@ Koanic

Your initial paper was titled:

The Criterial Argument for the Existence of God - Version 2.0

Now, in the comments you say

since you thought I was proving the existence of god

Could you reconcile this for me?

Anonymous Stilicho January 20, 2013 4:50 AM  

Come on, people...it depends on what the meaning of is is...

Anonymous Asher January 20, 2013 5:08 AM  

@ Koanic

necessarily referenced, and treated as the unified predicative and adjudicative structure of an ideal ultimate personal mind ... Therefore, this non-local rational structure arbitrates all truth about everything including itself ... the universally decisive inferential factor, omnipresent in it’s physically universal applicability, and transcendent in being perfectly functional at any point ... just as ultimate and inherently mind-like as any personal ultimate God is conceivable of being ... I believe in God because my thinking already necessarily assumes and references an unchanging and enduring god-level object of mind

Sounds like Hegel.

Anonymous Asher January 20, 2013 5:25 AM  

@ Koanic

What you seem to be saying is that there's this a transcendent set of rules of thought that produce an endless supply of truths not tied to any one particular finite mind. It is, in effect and infinite mind, adduced from your attributing omniscience to it. You call that matrix of rules and the resultant truths, Truth, really, 'god'.

transcendent in being perfectly functional at any point

I'm pretty sure this is incorrect. Even if such an object exists external to any particular mind and it functions universally that does not mean that any particular mind is capable of consciously accessing it. Even were I to access it I wouldn't be aware of doing so. My mind is finite and that mind is infinite, so I don't see how I can contemplate it in its infinite truth. So, I'm stuck accessing and using it in bits and pieces.

The problem is that we already do this without positing such a transcendent structure.

Let's say you have two identical people with identical histories and genetic input. The only difference being that one accepts such a structured whole and the other rejects the concept. Wouldn't they behave identically? And if they behave identically wouldn't that make the concept not applicably functional in any particular instance?

Let me put it another way: what specific truth do you hold about the experienced world is derived from your explication of such an object?

Be specific.

Anonymous Asher January 20, 2013 5:27 AM  

I suppose "apply" might be a better description than "access" when talking about how a finite might use the existence of an infinite mind. Still haven't decided.

Anonymous Asher January 20, 2013 5:29 AM  

@ Koanic

opps, missed a "that"

Let me put it another way: what specific truth do you hold about the experienced world that is derived from your explication of such an object?

Anonymous Asher January 20, 2013 5:57 AM  

@ Koanic

I often wonder about the reliability of my computer, but not about reason. Without even thinking about it, I necessarily try to approximate to some achievable extent whatever reason is always unwaiveringly indicating as the perfection standard of thought.

I have a really big problem with this claim, too, come to think of it. What you're saying is that a computer is a useful tool sufficient for it's purpose, and that this absolute reason is just another tool that is sufficient for the uses for which it is uses.

You clearly are competent to use your computer for the purposes for which it is useful. It's not at all the same for this transcendent reason you're postulating. You're not competent to use such a transcendent object properly and neither am I. No one is. Sure, it may be a tool that could be used by the right operator, but that operator would need to be transcendent themselves.

You are trying to say that your computer is a useful tool despite your not knowing how every single circuit works to produce the final result of your operating the computer as a whole.

But consider the following thought experiment: drink an entire jar of prune juice. Get a serious case of the trots. Evacuate the results all over your motherboard until the entire ordeal is over and let it sit for a day. Is your computer likely to function afterwards? Not likely.

Come to think of it judging by most comments on the internet most people seem to get a kick out of unloading hot, steaming dumps all over the faculty of reason.

Anonymous Asher January 20, 2013 6:05 AM  

@ Koanic

opps

that is sufficient for the uses for which it is uses.

Should read

that is sufficient for the uses for which it is useful.

The more I examine your piece the more it looks just like a restatement of Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit, with some modern metaphor thrown in. It's an interesting mental experiment and not many would be able to process such a complex line of reasoning.

The thing is that there's a famous passage in the Phenomenology where Hegel compares philosophers to something like a monks who are incapable of impacting anything in the world of experience. He explicitly admits that in the course of accessing absolute reason the philosopher makes himself unavailable to the real world for wisdom or knowledge.

He admits that absolute reason has no practical applicability to the world a finite world of experience.

Anonymous Koanic January 20, 2013 6:58 AM  

Asher:

"I have no idea whether or not consciousness is in the last analysis material. I've never ready anything that demonstrates one way or the other."

Which is why I suggested you do so before rambling on about nothing.

"Consciousness may have an immaterial component, but it's entirely irrelevant because something material cannot know about something immaterial. "

Derp. If consciousness has an immaterial component, that componenent can know about something immaterial.

...I am not the OP. Derrrrrrp.

Anonymous Asher January 20, 2013 7:18 AM  

@ Nate

So... without basic assumptions we can't think about anything? Disagree.

Since you've seemed reasonable in the past i'm going to be charitable and just make the assumption that you've been drinking heavily.

Anonymous scoobius dubious January 20, 2013 8:21 AM  

I'm going to make a prediction.

One of these days there's going to be a thread on this blog where there's a philosophical discussion, and it won't be 50% devoted to people insulting each other's intelligence with pissy little potshots, and preening about their own intelligence and ability to comprehend [X], which others seem to somehow tragicomically lack. Not grandstanding here, I've done it myself, so whoops, guilty too.

But it's something to aspire to, yeah?

Kant, Hegel, the Bible, Plato, Tao Te Ching -- they're all just different ways of attempting to understand the world, but the understanding tends to remain incomplete, for reasons which can be inferred. No use thumping each other's [almost necessarily] incomplete understandings. Maybe they complement one another, and maybe not. The only way to find that out, would be to be a little more courteous and circumspect about the whole thing.


Anonymous Koanic January 20, 2013 8:31 AM  

You're projecting. You certainly shouldn't be insulting anyone, because your understanding of philosophy is very limited.

Anonymous Asher January 20, 2013 8:40 AM  

@ Koanic

If consciousness has an immaterial component, that componenent can know about something immaterial.

Consciousness must either be material or immaterial. It can't logically be both, as I already noted - you might wanna address specific points that people make. If conscious is immaterial then I don't see how it can be actionable in the material world.

Also, telling someone to "go read this and tell me what you think" is a crappy debating tactic. If everyone did it then rational debate would collapse.

Anonymous scoobius dubious January 20, 2013 8:40 AM  

"You certainly shouldn't be insulting anyone, because your understanding of philosophy is very limited."

See that?

You can't make this shit up fast enough.

Anonymous Asher January 20, 2013 8:43 AM  

@ Koanic

LOL! I've taught portions of each of the books at your site at an intro level. I'm quite familiar with the area of discussion. Granted they weren't in my main concentration of study but still...

Here's the thing: mastery of a some field of thought is only demonstrated by ... demonstrating it. I have issued specific challenges that are pertinent to the discussion and which you have not even acknowledged. That's a feather in your cap.

Anonymous Koanic January 20, 2013 8:46 AM  

No, not reading the affirmative case before beginning your rebuttal is a crappy debating tactic. I'm trying to help you out, but you're clearly beyond that.

Consciousness cannot be both material and immaterial in the same time and in the same respect. There is nothing to say that a physical brain can't be linked to an immaterial consciousness. The brain activity corresponds to the immaterial consciousness, and thus is by some called consciousness. But as for the self-awareness proper, that is wholly immaterial. Thus resolving your dilemma.

Anonymous Asher January 20, 2013 8:47 AM  

@ Koanic

In other words, the SOLE measure of mastery is the ability to make arguments and defend positions. Simply declaring oneself knowledgeable or another ignorant is a poor substitute for an argument. Now, if you point out where I'm in error then that's another matter.

Anonymous Koanic January 20, 2013 8:48 AM  

As they say, those who cannot do, teach. But I'm tremendously encouraged you've managed to fall backwards over not only the topic, but the author now.

Anonymous Asher January 20, 2013 8:50 AM  

@ Koanic

Well, I don't accept the notion of noumena, except in the most formal sense. I mean, it's somewhat interesting in discussing the history of the ideas and how understanding has changed in history.

There is nothing to say that a physical brain can't be linked to an immaterial consciousness.

Is that link material or immaterial?

See the problem? You just can't declare two distinct things linked by just saying they're linked.

Anonymous Asher January 20, 2013 8:53 AM  

@ Koanic

I briefly looked over your argument and barely got past "noumena". I don't consider that notion to have any meaning. I mean the deductive reasoning you use is very impressive and probably airtight. Not many minds have the capacity to argue with that level of rigor, but if the first line contains "noumena" I'm just not going to find it interesting, except as a mental exercise.

Anonymous Koanic January 20, 2013 9:04 AM  

Thank you. Not many people are able to recognize an intelligent argument.

Why don't you explain, within the context of the proof, why "noumena" breaks it. Not a war about the interpretation or rightness of Kant, merely what is germane to the proof.

"Is that link material or immaterial?

See the problem? You just can't declare two distinct things linked by just saying they're linked."

There's no problem. One cannot create the supernatural from the natural, but one can create the natural from the supernatural. Thus a supernatural link can "descend" from consciousness into the natural brain, by degrees, like a color spectrum.

Of course I am not proving such a link exists. At most, your objection would prove that the physical world does not exist, since the existence of supernatural consciousness cannot be denied.

Anonymous scoobius dubious January 20, 2013 9:09 AM  

For a guy named "Koanic," you're not too high-steppin' with the koans.

Maybe there's an "R" missing in the middle of yr moniker? It would explain a few things.



Anonymous Asher January 20, 2013 9:12 AM  

@ Koanic

Let's talk about sex. Black men all over the world have significantly more sex partners than white men. This gap in sex partners is long-standing. There is good evidence that there are evolutionary explanations for the difference, an explanation which is strictly material.

However, populations don't have sex, individuals do. Now when an individual black man goes to the club to hook up ever step he takes certainly looks a product of consciousness.

If consciousness is immaterial then shouldn't aggregate behavioral differences between populations that result from those individual consciousnesses also be immaterial? So, then, the fact that the average sex partners for black men is greater than that of white men should also be a product of "spirit" or a general racial "spirit" that guides people of the same race. Now, we're stuck with individuals both having an individual spirit and a racial spirit.

Maybe we just have widely different definitions of consciousness.

So, I guess my question for you is whether or not aggregate sexual differences between races has a material or immaterial cause? Further, whichever you pick I would think you would have to attribute the same category of cause to individual behavior.

Anonymous scoobius dubious January 20, 2013 9:15 AM  

"One cannot create the supernatural from the natural, but one can create the natural from the supernatural."

ARRGGHH! Stop it! Stop it right now!!

THERE IS NO SUPERNATURAL. Everything that is, is natural -- even things that are, or appear to be, supernatural. That is what natural means. If something looks supernatural to you, that is simply because you do not yet have a complete understanding of the natural. Remember how germs once seemed "supernatural", back when people didn't have a clear understanding of what germs were? Like that.

Die Welt ist alles, was der Fall ist, etc etc.

But more to the point: stop it.




Blogger IM2L844 January 20, 2013 9:23 AM  

Wow. I'm surprised this went on as long as it did after I gave it a cursory once over yesterday before heading off to tend to things that actually matter.

The only way to find that out, would be to be a little more courteous and circumspect about the whole thing.

I find myself jumping on the scooby bandwagon...AGAIN. Apparently when hell freezes over cooler heads prevail. :)

Personally, excercises in logical proofs for the existence of God don't strike me as absolute, irrefutable proofs in the strictest sense of the word. I do, however, believe some of them serve as compelling arguments worthy of contemplation and discussion.

I don't think the one in question is particularly compelling, but maybe it could be refined a little bit by replacing "persons" with "beings with the capacity to experience qualia."

Not sure it would make much of a difference though. On it's face, it seems like it might open up a whole nuther can of worms. I'll have to give it some thought.

Anonymous Asher January 20, 2013 9:24 AM  

@ Kronic

One cannot create the supernatural from the natural, but one can create the natural from the supernatural.

I agree. I have directly argued this in another comment section on this blog in the past few days. The supernatural cannot be determined by the natural but ...

Of course I am not proving such a link exists. At most, your objection would prove that the physical world does not exist, since the existence of supernatural consciousness cannot be denied.

This is pretty much the gist of what the OP was saying. I simply don't understand where you get the warrant to claim that the existence of supernatural consciousness cannot be denied. All I would say is that no one can know either way and that anyone who takes a position at all is just reiterating their prior beliefs.

I guess I am saying that just as the supernatural cannot be a creation of the natural so the natural cannot known anything about the supernatural. Thus, the supernatural can never be a basis for any actions in the natural.

Anonymous Koanic January 20, 2013 9:26 AM  

Asher:

There is no problem here either. I proved the existence of consciousness, not free will. For all we know, we might be Clockwork Orange eyeballs strapped into a biomechanical deterministic movie.

What I personally believe is that immaterial consciousness exerts a weak influence over the brain, termed "free will", and mechanistic biology exerts a strong force over the brain. So we would expect to see most black men having lots of sex, but a few exceptional ones rising above. Or whatever biological tendency you want.

"If consciousness is immaterial then shouldn't aggregate behavioral differences between populations that result from those individual consciousnesses also be immaterial?"

No. They result from biology, not consciousnesses.

"So, I guess my question for you is whether or not aggregate sexual differences between races has a material or immaterial cause?"

Material.

Supernatural = natural, says Scoobius. He is an idiot without a dictionary; I rest my case.

Anonymous Koanic January 20, 2013 9:30 AM  

Asher:

"This is pretty much the gist of what the OP was saying. I simply don't understand where you get the warrant to claim that the existence of supernatural consciousness cannot be denied."

I have an entire proof to that effect. Your incomprehension is not a refutation.

"I guess I am saying that just as the supernatural cannot be a creation of the natural so the natural cannot known anything about the supernatural."

That does not follow. Cannot create != cannot understand anything about.

Blogger Asher Jacobson January 20, 2013 9:30 AM  

@ Koanic

Why don't you explain, within the context of the proof, why "noumena" breaks it.

Because I don't accept there are concrete things in themselves. If I use the term all I mean is "the entire universe in the totality of its existence". While physical existence is mind independent their identification as discrete "things" is a process of mind. No identity, no entity.

Anonymous Koanic January 20, 2013 9:32 AM  

Furthermore, begs the question: if consciousness is supernatural then it can understand the supernatural. We already covered this.

Anonymous Asher January 20, 2013 9:35 AM  

@ Koanic

I have an entire proof to that effect.

If the proof includes the concept of "noumena" I won't accept it, as I do not find that notion meaningful, except in the most formal sense. In fact, that is really what it means even if that's not how most people use it.

This is not meant to be offensive but any argument that involves "noumena" I am going to regard as mental masturbation. Yes, I consider much of what Kant wrote to be a really masterful con job.

There's a reason Nietzsche called him a "spider". Oh the tangled webs we weave ...

Anonymous Koanic January 20, 2013 9:39 AM  

Asher:

"Why don't you explain, within the context of the proof, why "noumena" breaks it.

Because I don't accept there are concrete things in themselves. If I use the term all I mean is "the entire universe in the totality of its existence". While physical existence is mind independent their identification as discrete "things" is a process of mind. No identity, no entity."

Firstly, it doesn't matter for the context of the proof whether there is a physical existence. In fact it helps if there isn't.

Secondly, I agree that the divisions in physical noumena are illusory but convenient for distinguishing between the perception of the thing and the section of noumena it is supposed to represent. So we are not in disagreement.

Nothing here is breaking the proof.

Anonymous Asher January 20, 2013 9:42 AM  

oops

In fact, that is really what it means even if that's not how most people use it.

The that refers to "noumena" meaning "undifferentiated physical existence" or "the universe in all its totality".

Anonymous scoobius dubious January 20, 2013 9:45 AM  

"I rest my case."

Yes, I quite believe that you do. Dictionaries, is it. You do realize who dictionaries are meant for, yes? Actually, no, it's clear that you don't.

What am I reminded of here? Oh yes, that's right, now it's come to me...

Get back,
get back,
get back to where you once belonged.
[tasty chords!]
Get back,
get back,
get back to where you once belonged.
Get back, Loretta!!

And now I find that I am indulging in the very vice I complained about above. The devil knows it's fun! But that's not such a great excuse. I'll just let a jury decide whether it was justified or not.




Anonymous Koanic January 20, 2013 9:46 AM  

Yes, I understood. The reason noumena appears so frequently is I had to break down the materialists who wanted to say our experiences are merely physical processes, which is nonsense to anyone who understands Kant, as you seem to.

Anonymous Asher January 20, 2013 9:50 AM  

@ Koanic

In fact, that is really what it means even if that's not how most people use it.

I am interested in things like explaining to people why it's a bad idea to have a white taxpayer funded welfare state funding a bunch of black welfare recipients. If the behaviors of black people are "spirit" then they will be regarded as "free" and beyond judgement. Sure, this may be a psychological fact but that is something you're going to have to deal with if you're going to posit that people's conscious choice reside in the realm of freedom, i.e. spirit.

I agree that the divisions in physical noumena are illusory

Fine, but that is not the customary usage and "undifferentiated physical existence" is a very trivial observation. The customary usage is a reference to a specific thing in itself, which I regard as having no object of reference. So, either you're using a term I consider trivial or one I consider incoherent, as it has no object of reference.

Anonymous Asher January 20, 2013 9:52 AM  

@ Koanic

My understanding of Kant is of a fraud and a trickster.

Anonymous Asher January 20, 2013 9:56 AM  

@ Koanic

For human consciousness, whether you regard it as material or immaterial, there is no such thing as undifferentiated existence because our consciousness is clearly programmed to differentiate our experiences.

You can't use as a postulate something that is not in the human skill set to comprehend.

No one comprehends "undifferentiated existence", so the postulate is meaningless.

Blogger James Dixon January 20, 2013 9:59 AM  

> If only persons can define personhood and cats and dog know persons that simply implies that cats and dogs are persons.

Exactly. If. Since cats and dogs are obviously not persons, one of the one of the two previous statements is false. Guess which one.

> No one else seems to have managed to deduce this implication...

Everyone already deduced it, and reached the above conclusion.

> I recently got in a debate with someone who claimed he wasn't debating me

You may have been debating, but the other person can testify that he wasn't, and still isn't. The simple exchange of ideas is not debating, it's discussion. Please consult a dictionary.

> Since you've seemed reasonable in the past i'm going to be charitable and just make the assumption that you've been drinking heavily.

Well, duh. It was Saturday. That doesn't change his point. One has to form their "basic assumptions" in the first place. How do you suppose one would do that? I wonder if they could have thought about it?

> But it's something to aspire to, yeah?

Come on, scoobius, this is the Internet we're talking about here.

Anonymous Asher January 20, 2013 10:00 AM  

@ Koanic

Opps missed this

the section of noumena

There is no such thing as a "section of noumena". The act of apprehending and organizing by consciousness completely dissolves the "noumena" and now it is something categorically difference. The noumena has ceased to exist in any real sense.

Blogger James Dixon January 20, 2013 10:02 AM  

> I'll just let a jury decide whether it was justified or not.

The jury finds the defendant "Not guilty" your honor. :)

Damn, two agreements with scoobious in two days. Must be something in the water.

Anonymous Asher January 20, 2013 10:04 AM  

I should add that the noumena is only dissolved locally and always remains, just outside of any particular consciousness; this comes through the act of apprehending local existence. In other words, the apprehended local existence dissolves the noumena in the vicinity of any particular consciousness.

Anonymous Koanic January 20, 2013 10:18 AM  

Asher:

I don't care what you want to do with society, or what position you prefer on free will. It has no bearing on the proof.

"Fine, but that is not the customary usage and "undifferentiated physical existence" is a very trivial observation. The customary usage is a reference to a specific thing in itself, which I regard as having no object of reference. So, either you're using a term I consider trivial or one I consider incoherent, as it has no object of reference."

You consider wrongly. Here's why.

1. I said I didn't disagree with your usage, not that I was using it that way.

2. Undifferentiated physical existence is not a trivial observation, since it still upholds the difference between phenomena and the physical world, which is all that I'm trying to prove there.

3. It doesn't matter that the division originated in the mind, it's still perfectly legitimate to compare the phenomena of an object to the object-shaped chunk of corresponding noumena. Yes, yes, we all understand noumena is simply noumena, with no "object" or "chunk" or "shape" attached. Get over it already. We have a lot of people who care about physics to talk to. One must strike a compromise, since the physical world seems determined to be described. The deeper point is that the descriptions of physics are not the thing in itself either.

As a wise man once told Ben Stiller, "Never go full noumena." Ommmmmmmmmm. That's all you can really say about it. Even distinguishing between physical and supernatural noumena, as you do, is mental differentiation and thus illegitimate according to your argument.

So relax, remember that noumena is a relativistic hypothesis, and take it all as a hypothetical. i.e., "The noumena that hypothetically corresponds to this phenomena..." when I say noumena.

Anonymous LES January 20, 2013 10:23 AM  

Wow! I drop in this morning and there's piss all over the floor.

Anonymous Koanic January 20, 2013 10:42 AM  

Asher:

I already answered your "undifferentiated existence" objection, by which I assume you mean noumena. If you still want to be a pedantic ass, substitute "as it is in itself" for noumena. Soft noumena, if you will.

There may be such a thing as noumena, the fact that we cannot experience it proves nothing. We cannot experience infinity either, but we can use the symbol to get true results in math. Thus I am allowed to use noumena in my proof.

Noumena is not dissolved. The mind perceives, that's all. It is not like quantum physics, where the action of observing changes the system. Everything continues to be noumena. The perceptions simply are not identical to the soft noumena they are supposed to represent.

The only exception is the case of experienced perceptions themselves; the soft noumena here is identical to the phenomena. Because, duh, perceptions are phenomena.

Why don't you just skip to set E and ignore the Kant primer. The discussion on noumena is unnecessary if you already understsand that perceptions are not physical. As I've said a MILLION TIMES, ffs.

Anonymous Koanic January 20, 2013 11:03 AM  

It's worth pointing out that hard noumena is an EPISTEMOLOGICAL firewall, not an actual one. Kant's insight predicted the partial breakdown of space and time at a quantum level. But it's entirely possible, especially if there is a Creator God, that many of our a prioris DO cross over into things in themselves. Or in any case, that they hold up well enough at the macro scale we are interested in. So I can hypothetically section soft noumena into phenomenal object referents without breaking any laws, although I can't prove I'm right except in the case of experienced perceptions. I.e., everything I experience is as I experience it. A tautology, precisely because the firewall is epistemological, not actual.

Anonymous Anonymous January 20, 2013 11:19 AM  

I'm extremely intrigued to hear voxs take on koanics 'proof'.

Anonymous Koanic January 20, 2013 11:40 AM  

Others have found it compelling as well. (Youtube video by an atheist)

Anonymous jay c January 20, 2013 11:48 AM  

A person can make an educated guess about whether ir not an object is a person, but only God, as the creator of all persons, can make a final determination.

Anonymous Asher January 20, 2013 4:04 PM  

@ Koanic

. The reason noumena appears so frequently is I had to break down the materialists

Well, at least you admit you're operating with a conclusion in search of a premise.

I don't care what you want to do with society, or what position you prefer on free will. It has no bearing on the proof.

Okay, but now you're admitting that your proof has no practical application, which I've already pointed out prior. Imagine you have two identical worlds. The inhabitants have identical histories and inputs. Now imagine that this particular proof gets introduced to one world and not the other and is immediately accepted by everyone.

What will the effect of this proofs introduction on behavior? What will the difference be between those two worlds? No difference. The proof is nothing more than a very intricate mental curiosity and will have zero effect on behavioral differences.

I already offered this hypothetical and you seemed to ignore it.

Also, when I made the claim that the natural cannot know anything about the supernatural this is what I meant. We cannot know anything about the supernatural in the natural world that has any applicability in either predicting or prompting actions and behaviors.

Anonymous Koanic January 20, 2013 4:32 PM  

Asher:

If it takes the entirety of noumena to represent a single phenomenological chair, so be it. Phenomena and noumena are then very different. But I suspect it does not. In any case, take soft noumena to mean, "the smallest chunk of noumena possible to reasonably represent the given phenomena." By "reasonable," I mean stuff like, you don't need to include God because he sustains the existence of the chair, or a distant star because a photon from it once touched, or the whole Earth because gravity, etc. Before you object, see the beginning of paragraph.

"Okay, but now you're admitting that your proof has no practical application,"

No, it disproves hard materialism. That is a major application.

"We cannot know anything about the supernatural in the natural world that has any applicability in either predicting or prompting actions and behaviors."

That is stupid. Belief in the supernatural removes one of atheism's major pillars, prompting a greater openness to religious faith.

I note that you're not even attempting to argue that I haven't proven the existence of the supernatural.

Anonymous Asher January 20, 2013 4:38 PM  

@ Koanic

Undifferentiated physical existence is not a trivial observation, since it still upholds the difference between phenomena and the physical world,

Ah, yes, I am going to do something that you are really going to dislike. When you say "undifferentiated physical existence" what you really mean is specific mind-indendent objects

This is really common in humans. They offer some premise or argument because they "want" to reach a specific conclusion. I am very convinced that you are telling me something that in a deep, dark corner of your mind you do not really believe.

If you're talking about "the physical" world as specific physical objects then you're have to admit perception and that is phenomenal, not noumenal. Either, the "physical world" noumenal, in which case there is an unbridgeable gap, or it is phenomenal, in which case they're synonymous.

So relax, remember that noumena is a relativistic hypothesis, and take it all as a hypothetical.

We're talking past each other. You are welcome to continue to offer this proof and I will continue to point out that it has zero relevance to how people behave and act.

The physicist metaphor breaks down as physics tends to produce things that are useful and practical.

If you still want to be a pedantic ass,

First off, I have offered several relevant points that you have not addressed. I spent time making those arguments, and having just go by ignored is rather irritating. When people hear about an idea they tend to want to know how it is applicable to the world of experience and ignore "ideas" that do not meet this standard.

Noumena is not dissolved. The mind perceives, that's all.

No, it IS dissolved. Prior to local perception the things in that location were part of undifferentiated reality. That local reality is now differentiated, so it is completely dissolved. Something cannot be both differentiated AND undifferentiated.

if you already understsand that perceptions are not physical

Perception is either material, physical or immaterial, non-physical. It cannot be both. I find it difficult to believe that there is nothing physical at all about perception.

Anonymous Koanic January 20, 2013 4:52 PM  

Asher:

"When you say "undifferentiated physical existence" what you really mean is specific mind-indendent objects"

First of all, that is your dumb term for physical noumena. Both terms violate your rule by introducing a distinction between physical and supernatural noumena, which is why you're being a pedantic ass.

Secondly, I do not mean objects, hence undifferentiated.

"If you're talking about "the physical" world as specific physical objects then you're have to admit perception and that is phenomenal, not noumenal."

You assume that the noumenal does not have object divisions. It might. You don't know. In any case, I've already answered this in my last post.

"You are welcome to continue to offer this proof and I will continue to point out that it has zero relevance to how people behave and act."

We're not talking past each other. I understand your points and you don't understand mine. You can only go as far as your training, like a typical academic. The fall of materialism is highly relevant, and you've yet to contest that my proof accomplishes this.

" I have offered several relevant points that you have not addressed. "

By all means requote them. Perhaps you mean things earlier in the thread when you had no idea what was going on. In any case I will happily answer now, as you are on top of things.

"No, it IS dissolved. Prior to local perception the things in that location were part of undifferentiated reality. That local reality is now differentiated, so it is completely dissolved. Something cannot be both differentiated AND undifferentiated."

Perception does not alter the noumenal aspect one iota. Perception does not make a dent in noumena. The chair is noumena in itself, whether I'm currently seeing it or not. If I'm seeing it, my perception is differentiated, but the noumena is not.

"Perception is either material, physical or immaterial, non-physical. It cannot be both. I find it difficult to believe that there is nothing physical at all about perception."

That is a very dumb statement. Math can be either material, physical, or immaterial, non-physical. It cannot be both. I find it difficult to believe that there is nothing physical at all about math. Chalkboards, computers, math textbooks. Derp.

I already covered this objection when discussion the brain and immateriality of consciousness. It is the same question. The supernatural determines the natural. It is both material and immaterial, but not at the same time or in the same respect.

Anonymous Asher January 20, 2013 4:53 PM  

@ Koanic

Consider the following definitions:

Noumena: thing in itself
Phenomena: thing as we perceive it

The more I think about them the more they look like really bad definitions, loaded up with vagueness. I have better ones. For starters, using the plural "noumena" for thing in itself indicates a subtle psychological preferences for specific things in themselves versus undifferentiated reality. Therefore, I don't see how you can object to my replacing "noumena" with "noumenon".

Noumenon: undifferentiated reality

You've already assented to that definition, so we both agree that my definition is better than Kant's. And what about "phenomena"? Well, the original distinction has a nice symmetry that allows for talking about the distinction between the two so we need to change the definition to reintroduce that symmetry, but in this case we'll keep the plural.

Phenomena: differentiated reality as we perceive it

Since all statements have a subject, implied or otherwise we can dispense with the subject and retain the meaning, therefore ...

Phenomena: differentiated reality

Which gives us:

Noumenon: undifferentiated reality
Phenomenon: differentiated reality

Which can be shorted to:

Noumenon: undifferentiated
Phenomena: differentiated

This is why I claimed that when something becomes differentiated via the act of perception the noumenon is completely dissolved locally. That which was undifferentiated is now un-undifferentiated and is now differentiated. Something cannot simultaneously be both differentiated and undifferentiated, as that would be a strict contradiction.

I tried to make my reasoning process as open and as explicit as possible. If there is a flaw somewhere I'd be happy to examine it.

Blogger Nate January 20, 2013 5:01 PM  

"Yes, I understood. The reason noumena appears so frequently is I had to break down the materialists who wanted to say our experiences are merely physical processes, which is nonsense to anyone who understands Kant, as you seem to."

oh... you are impressed with Kant. Well that explains a lot.

carry on...

Anonymous Koanic January 20, 2013 5:02 PM  

Asher:

"Noumenon: undifferentiated reality

You've already assented to that definition, so we both agree that my definition is better than Kant's. "

No, I haven't. Your noumenon is my hard noumena/on. "Undifferentiated" is a stupid and unjustified assumption. The better definition would be:

Hard noumenon: "What is, in itself"

What you write next is a retarded attempt to make an epistemological firewall into an actual firewall, and prove that hard noumenon contains no differentiation. Those who cannot do, teach.

Now I see that you truly do not understand Kant. You think that noumenon is a matter of perspective. If a tree falls in the forest and no one's there, noumenon. If an observer, phenomenon. That's idiotic and has nothing to do with Kant.

" Something cannot simultaneously be both differentiated and undifferentiated, as that would be a strict contradiction."

You have TREMENDOUS trouble with logic. If I say, "I perceive object x as differentiated and undifferentiated, at the same time and in the same respect," that is contradiction. If I say, "Ojbect x is differentiated and undifferentiated, in itself, at the same time and in the same respect," that is contradiction. If I say, "I perceive object x as differentiated, but in itself it is undifferentiated reality," that is not a contradiction.

You have indeed made your reasoning sufficiently explicit. Examine away.

Anonymous scoobius dubious January 20, 2013 5:09 PM  

"That's idiotic and has nothing to do with Kant."

Do you want New Wave, or do you want the truth?


Anonymous Asher January 20, 2013 5:09 PM  

@ Koanic

that is your dumb term for physical noumena.

My term is far tighter and more rigorous than Kant's. His is ladden with a bunch of idealist baggage.

Both terms violate your rule by introducing a distinction between physical and supernatural noumena,

Where am I perceived as having introduced any such rule? Hell, given that I find the very notion of "noumenon" trivial why would I even bother?

You assume that the noumenal does not have object divisions.

It doesn't, by definition. "Noumenon" is a unitary conjecture for organizing ideas and things. Noumenon has no existence outside of that conjecture.

The fall of materialism is highly relevant,

The percentage of the population with the intellectual capacity to navigate your proof is very small, so I doubt it will have much impact on what becomes generally believed. Also, the fall of materialism may not usher in a glorious age of a better understanding of god. What's more likely is that it will enbolden kooks like Deepak Chopra.

Who would you rather have as a cultural opinion leader: me or Oprah? The answer to that question is directly relevant to this conversation. I'm seriously asking you that, and an answer would be nice.

You seem to have an emotionally-laden dislike of materialism, which is your call. But your strident opposition may have consequences that you have not considered.

Anonymous Koanic January 20, 2013 5:21 PM  

"My term is far tighter and more rigorous than Kant's. His is ladden with a bunch of idealist baggage."

You are not arguing with Kant, you are arguing with me.

"Where am I perceived as having introduced any such rule?"

You created the rule when you objected to differentiating physical noumena into perceptual object referents. If you don't want to differentiate noumena, you must apply the rule generally, to the division between natural and supernatural as well.

"You assume that the noumenal does not have object divisions.

It doesn't, by definition. "Noumenon" is a unitary conjecture for organizing ideas and things. Noumenon has no existence outside of that conjecture."

Then we are not using noumenon to mean the same thing. Hard noumenon, when I say it, means, "what is, in itself." What is, in itself, exists regardless. (If it exists at all, and I prove that it does.)

"The percentage of the population with the intellectual capacity to navigate your proof is very small, so I doubt it will have much impact on what becomes generally believed."

Then you have no appreciation for the cultural significance of your chosen discipline. Philosophy leads culture by at least a generation. Not the kind of philosophy YOU do, of course. Original, great philosophy.

"Who would you rather have as a cultural opinion leader: me or Oprah? "

Not enough info to choose. I might flip a coin.

Anonymous Asher January 20, 2013 5:28 PM  

@ Koanic

Compare the following defintions:

Which is, in itself
Undifferentiated reality


The second has only one assumption, that there are people walking around using it, which is the only justification required of any definition. The first is laden with all sorts of metaphysical assumptions for which you offered no justification.

Mine is better. It is not laden with all sorts of metaphysical assumptions, as was Kant's. I deny that there is any such thing as "in itself" without specific minds contemplating ideas. So, noumenon can never be anything more than a mental exercise and is a postulate of the thinking subject, nothing more.

You already gave an implicit agreement to my definition by discussing it at length. All of a sudden you decide that you want to change the rules of the game when it turns out that particular definition won't give you the results you want. I won't assent to "in itself" unless you provide justification for that turn of phrase; I have long held long before this discussion that there is no such thing as "in itself".

Look, I can provide a laundry list of all sorts of knowledge that can be demonstrated without any reference to an "in itself", so why is it necessary? Sure, it's not some absolute knowledge of the way all things are in all times and places but it is sufficient to adjust for negative outcomes and provide more positive outcomes.

Anonymous Asher January 20, 2013 5:31 PM  

@ Koanic

This is precisely the point of Quine's observation that without identity there is no entity. That is what he was saying. I don't know if Quine used the specific formulation "undifferentiated reality" for "noumenon" but that is clearly what he meant. His comment has more pizzazz than mine, that's all.

Anonymous scoobius dubious January 20, 2013 5:44 PM  

"[Koanic] seem(s) to have an emotionally-laden dislike of materialism"

That isn't even the problem, the problem is more like that he a) conflates different approaches to matter as all being something as simple-minded as "materialism" and b) he likes dictionary meanings instead of substantive meanings, and seems to think they're good enough. If you look up the word "Hamlet" in some imaginary dictionary, you'll see something like "the melancholy prince of Denmark, a character in a Shakespeare play, who worried a lot and bothered all the people around him, and then got killed in a sword fight that probably could have been avoided." Fine, good enough. Now you know at the very least that the word "Hamlet" does not denote a used Range Rover on sale in Tacoma, a piece of cherry pie, a lobster, or Ace Frehley's solo album: it denotes an imaginary Danish man, as pictured in the mind of a long-dead Englishman. Okay, better than nothing, I guess. But you still know very little about Hamlet.

Whatever else is going on here, something Koanic is doing is akin to walking around saying a thing like "Hamlet is NOT A PIECE OF CHERRY PIE, you have to believe me, and I CAN PROVE IT!!!11!" Fine, man, knock yourself out.

By the way... hey dude, they're doing Hamlet tonight at this funky little theatre space downtown that's been getting a hip reputation. I know some of the actors, and they're pretty good. Wanna come check it out?

Anonymous Jean Beljean January 20, 2013 5:51 PM  

Asher,

Koanic assumes that what he terms "noumena" and "phenomena" exist, and are an accurate description of reality. There is no reason to believe that, Koanic's Appeal to Kant notwithstanding. His "proof" simply begs the question.

Do not let him frame the debate. His "definitions" are arbitrary nonsense. Force him to concede that, and his "proof" falls apart.

Anonymous Asher January 20, 2013 5:55 PM  

@ Koanic

What you write next is a retarded attempt to make an epistemological firewall into an actual firewall

Epistemology seems to be a dead end. I prefer Popper's praxology, the study of ideas in action. If my reasoning is so "retarded" then it should be simple to demonstrate how so, but you haven't even attempted it.

Now I see that you truly do not understand Kant.

I understand Kant quite well, it's that I disagree with him.

You think that noumenon is a matter of perspective. If a tree falls in the forest and no one's there, noumenon. If an observer, phenomenon. That's idiotic and has nothing to do with Kant.

There are two aspects to what people say:

What they think they are saying
What they are actually saying

What I am claiming is that I understand what Kant was saying better than he understood it himself. Why? Because I have access to over two hundred years of really smart people analyzing his thought. In that light, what I am saying is not at all arrogant and even a bit mundane.

If I say, "I perceive object x as differentiated, but in itself it is undifferentiated reality," that is not a contradiction.

I deny the "in itself" from the get-go as pertaining to specific objects. You're going to have to justify that there is any such thing. Also, your tree in the forest is a bad example. I have long pointed out that millions of specific individuals have experienced the perception of the sound of a tree falling in the forest. The instance of one tree falling in a forest and it being perceived is utterly irrelevant to the understanding of human knowledge. If epistemology is about human knowledge then how is something not about human knowledge relevant to this conversation.

Which brings us back to your distinction of hard vs. soft noumena.

Anonymous Koanic January 20, 2013 6:01 PM  

Asher:

"Undifferentiated reality

The second has only one assumption, that there are people walking around using it, which is the only justification required of any definition."

No. It assumes that reality, in itself, is undifferentiated. This is unjustified.

"The first is laden with all sorts of metaphysical assumptions for which you offered no justification."

Name one.

"I deny that there is any such thing as "in itself" without specific minds contemplating ideas."

First, if big God exists, then noumenon is identical to God's point of view.

Second, that is an assumption, with no justification.

Third, it doesn't matter for the proof. I take the existence of noumenon as a hypothetical to begin. Perceived experienced exists and exists as it is in itself. Thus it is both phemonenon and noumenon. From this it follows that other noumenon may be possible. At most, you can complain that I have not proven the existence of the noumenon of anything beyond consciousness, on which I agree.

"You already gave an implicit agreement to my definition by discussing it at length."

Quotes or it didn't happen. Your credit doesn't rate an implicit.

"I won't assent to "in itself" unless you provide justification for that turn of phrase; I have long held long before this discussion that there is no such thing as "in itself"."

It doesn't matter whether you like it or not. It's taken as a hypothetical; I'm allowed to do that. Then I prove the existence of one case.

"Look, I can provide a laundry list of all sorts of knowledge that can be demonstrated without any reference to an "in itself", so why is it necessary? Sure, it's not some absolute knowledge of the way all things are in all times and places but it is sufficient to adjust for negative outcomes and provide more positive outcomes."

The fact that you're resisting the proof so strongly belies your denial that it has any bearing on the culture war.

"This is precisely the point of Quine's observation that without identity there is no entity."

Perhaps. It's immaterial. A hypothetical God could supply infinite entity. The actual consciousness supplies one. That's all I need.

"I don't know if Quine used the specific formulation "undifferentiated reality" for "noumenon" but that is clearly what he meant."

If he meant that reality in itself is undifferentiated, then what he said was stupid too.

At least we are getting somewhere now.

Anonymous Koanic January 20, 2013 6:08 PM  

Aw, Jean piped in. I must be touching a nihilistic nerve.

Asher:

Try to concentrate. You are not responding to epistemology vs. Popper, or Kant vs. interpreters. I am original.

You gave no answer to the epistemology firewall, or the noumenon perspective point.

"I deny the "in itself" from the get-go as pertaining to specific objects."

That is an unjustified denial of a universal perspective.

" You're going to have to justify that there is any such thing."

Not if it's hypothetical.

Your tree falling is a non-answer. Is an unheard tree noumenon or phenomenon, and why.

Anonymous Asher January 20, 2013 6:10 PM  

BTW, before I continue I would point out that you have confirmed my suspicions that you really mean noumena as specific things in themselves and not just "undifferentiated reality". You want to have your cake and eat it, too. You want BOTH hard and soft noumena to flit back and forth when the case suits you to suit your argument. Either noumena/on must either be "undifferentiated reality" or it must be specific "which is, in itself", but it can't be both.

You already agreed that your proof is best understood by abstracting from physical existence, so you simply can't object to my definition of noumenon. You call me stupid and retarded because my holding you to this definition does not give you the results to which you are clearly emotionally attached.

I don't use emotional attachment as an insult because humans are clearly not primarily rational beings, as David Hume pointed out when saying that reason can only be a slave to the passions.

When two people are discussing something any postulates either have to have previous agreement or they have to be justified by argument. We both accept "hard" noumenon but you also want me to accept a "soft" noumena that is different and parallel to hard noumenon. Calling me a retard isn't going to convince me; this is supposed to be where you argue for it.

Saying noumena "might be" sectioned, forgot your exact phrase, won't cut it because I don't consider the claim justified, whereas we both accept the there is such a thing as "the universe in its totality", i.e. hard noumenon.

The difference is that I consider "hard" noumenon trivial and you don't, but this is because you're rhetorically piggybacking "soft" noumena onto "hard" noumenon when they're distinct things, which is what I pointed out close to the start of this conversation.

Your chain of relation goes hard noumenon ===> soft noumena ===> phenomena. We both accept hard noumenon and phenomena, but only you accept soft noumena as a postulate. I don't so it is your responsibility to justify it for purposes of this conversation.

Anonymous Koanic January 20, 2013 6:10 PM  

Whoops, that last question should be, "Is a heard tree noumenon, and why."

Anonymous Jean Beljean January 20, 2013 6:18 PM  

Koanic:

Contrary to your incessant squawkings that I am a nihilist, I am in fact a Christian, and one who treats Kant with the respect all peddler's of modern philosophy deserve: none.

Anonymous Koanic January 20, 2013 6:22 PM  

"you have confirmed my suspicions that you really mean noumena as specific things in themselves and not just "undifferentiated reality". "

First, you are still using the unjustified phrase, "undifferentiated reality."

Second, no. This is my final word on soft noumena:

"If it takes the entirety of noumena to represent a single phenomenological chair, so be it. Phenomena and noumena are then very different. But I suspect it does not. In any case, take soft noumena to mean, "the smallest chunk of noumena possible to reasonably represent the given phenomena." By "reasonable," I mean stuff like, you don't need to include God because he sustains the existence of the chair, or a distant star because a photon from it once touched, or the whole Earth because gravity, etc. Before you object, see the beginning of paragraph."

"you want to have your cake and eat it, too. You want BOTH hard and soft noumena to flit back and forth when the case suits you to suit your argument."

Then it should be easy for you to show one place where the definition switch affects the proof in a material way.

"Either noumena/on must either be "undifferentiated reality" or it must be specific "which is, in itself", but it can't be both."

It's the latter. If noumenon really is undifferentiated in itself, then it's both. But we can't assume this... how many times do I have to say that??? Ffs.

"You already agreed that your proof is best understood by abstracting from physical existence, so you simply can't object to my definition of noumenon. You call me stupid and retarded because my holding you to this definition does not give you the results to which you are clearly emotionally attached."

I can and do, and your reasoning is hopelessly garbled here. You still haven't challenged the conclusion of my proof in any coherent manner. Noumena DOES NOT APPEAR on the final set. If you agree that perceptions exist and are not physical, then you agree with my proof. If you think perceptions are purely physical, go find red.

"you also want me to accept a "soft" noumena that is different and parallel to hard noumenon."

You don't have to accept it. I don't prove it. It's merely a hypothetical which you improperly reject a priori.

I don't call you a retard to persuade you, but because you try my patience with inattention and broken reasoning.

"Saying noumena "might be" sectioned, forgot your exact phrase, won't cut it because I don't consider the claim justified,"

That is retarded. I don't have to justify a might. Anything might, as long as it is not logically contradictory. Show the contradiction or accept the might.

"The difference is that I consider "hard" noumenon trivial and you don't, but this is because you're rhetorically piggybacking "soft" noumena onto "hard" noumenon when they're distinct things, "

For the millionth time, soft noumena is not necessary for the proof. But the result is then that, since noumena is indivisible, and consciousness is noumena, one's consciousness is all that actually exists. Do you accept that conclusion?

Anonymous Koanic January 20, 2013 6:24 PM  

Then you are even worse, Jean, a Christian surrender monkey, heaping heavy weights upon the faith of others by ceding our right to the philosophical high ground.

Anonymous Asher January 20, 2013 6:28 PM  

@ Koanic

No. It assumes that reality, in itself, is undifferentiated. This is unjustified.

This is you claiming, in effect, that differentiation doesn't require a subject. If there is no subject to differentiate then what is the mechanism that differentiates.

Name one.

A differentiating subject that is competent to differentiate the "in itself" without the differentiating process becoming phenomenal. I don't deny that we can offer a hypothetical conjecture of an "in itself" but I do deny that it is anything more than trivial.

First, if big God exists, then noumenon is identical to God's point of view.

Exactly. And God is the only competent to deal with noumenon to call things as they are. Humans are limited and stuck dealing with phenomena and nothing more.

BTW, I make this point to Christians over and over that their religion is not about having access to absolute truth but about receiving the grace and mercy of a loving God, which is an immediate emotional, phenomenal experience. Most Christianity today is Oprahfied, new age horseshit that god would spew from his mouth.

That is stupid. Belief in the supernatural removes one of atheism's major pillars, prompting a greater openness to religious faith.

Paging Oprah, Deepak Chopra and Karl Marx: you need longer business hours, more customers are coming.

This is exactly where I knew you were headed with this. You want more openness to religious faith, which is going to be defined by specific people who have far different sentiments from you. I have a better argument for Christian faith: humans are hardwired to believe in the supernatural. Now, whether or not it exists or it is the product of evolution or a creating god is irrelevant. What is relevant is that 99.9999 percent of all people don't have the cognitive ability to be a consistent materialist and that their only option is to choose a religion. If they don't choose one then one will be chosen for them by those around them.

I have never met another atheist. I have never met another materialist. Oh, sure, many claim to be atheists/materialist, but they are either fooling themselves or outright lying.

Your arguments are not likely to produce the consequences you probably desire. They are likely to prompt an increase in the leftist religion or a bunch of morons running around spouting a bunch of new age hippy-dippy shit, which is usually the same thing.

Anonymous Jean Beljean January 20, 2013 6:33 PM  

You are an ignorant philistine, koanic, a true child of Modernity; you will burn.

Anonymous Koanic January 20, 2013 7:00 PM  

"No. It assumes that reality, in itself, is undifferentiated. This is unjustified.

This is you claiming, in effect, that differentiation doesn't require a subject. If there is no subject to differentiate then what is the mechanism that differentiates."

No. If big God exists, He supplies the differentiation. One case is sufficient for the hypothetical.

"A differentiating subject that is competent to differentiate the "in itself" without the differentiating process becoming phenomenal. I don't deny that we can offer a hypothetical conjecture of an "in itself" but I do deny that it is anything more than trivial."

Ibid.

"First, if big God exists, then noumenon is identical to God's point of view.

Exactly. And God is the only competent to deal with noumenon to call things as they are. Humans are limited and stuck dealing with phenomena and nothing more."

Then you concede your above points.

"BTW, I make this point to Christians over and over that their religion is not about having access to absolute truth but about receiving the grace and mercy of a loving God, which is an immediate emotional, phenomenal experience. Most Christianity today is Oprahfied, new age horseshit that god would spew from his mouth."

Blah blah stay in your Christian ghetto, posturing I'm on your side. BS.

"This is exactly where I knew you were headed with this. You want more openness to religious faith,"

Gay. Ad hominem. Beat the argument or I win, even if my intention in creating it is to summon moloch to personally sodomize you.

"I have a better argument for Christian faith:"

No you don't, and this isn't that.

"Your arguments are not likely to produce the consequences you probably desire."

Irrelevant.

Anonymous Asher January 20, 2013 7:08 PM  

@ Koanic

"the smallest chunk of noumena possible to reasonably represent the given phenomena."

There is no "chunking off" of noumenon. That process is what we call perception, which we pertains solely to phenomoena. "Chunking off would require a subject whose process of "chunking" does not involve perception, at all. Human beings are not such a subject, that is simply not who we are.

Thus it is both phemonenon and noumenon

It is not. It is either noumenon or phenomena but not both. "Chunking off" requires an acting subject which implies perception, and if we have perception then we have phenomena and "phenomenal" is a sufficient explanation for phenomena; noumenon is unnecessary and extraneous, it's not needed.

It doesn't matter whether you like it or not. It's taken as a hypothetical;

Only by you. For me, that hypothetical is incoherent gibberish. That's not an insult, I consider a lot of what Kant wrote to be incoherent gibberish and he was clearly a first rate mind.

I'm allowed to do that.

Sure, but everyone listening is just going to shrug and walk away. You're allowing to utter incoherent gibberish but we're not required to accept it.

The fact that you're resisting the proof so strongly belies your denial that it has any bearing on the culture war.

Ah, now we're getting somewhere. It has every bit to do with the culture war. It's a LOSING argument. That's my problem with it. If it achieved the goals you desire then I'd endorse it. My sole concern is with the results it produces and not the validity of the reasoning. What it's going to result in is not more devout Christians but more worshipers at the altar of Oprah Winfrey or Karl Marx.

Anonymous scoobius dubious January 20, 2013 7:17 PM  

"My sole concern is with the results it produces"

I hate to be the one to break it to ya, but...

oh, never mind. I'll let somebody else do that errand.

Anonymous Koanic January 20, 2013 7:18 PM  

"There is no "chunking off" of noumenon. That process is what we call perception, which we pertains solely to phenomoena. "Chunking off would require a subject whose process of "chunking" does not involve perception, at all. Human beings are not such a subject, that is simply not who we are."

Big God can create inherently chunked noumenon. Millionth time. Ffs. You are so dumb.

"Thus it is both phemonenon and noumenon

It is not. It is either noumenon or phenomena but not both. "Chunking off" requires an acting subject which implies perception, and if we have perception then we have phenomena and "phenomenal" is a sufficient explanation for phenomena; noumenon is unnecessary and extraneous, it's not needed."

Consciousness is both to the conscious one. There isn't necessarily any chunking off involved. If you're saying there has to be noumenon beyond consciousness, prove it.

Unnecessary and extraneous are your subjective evaluations. I find it useful for my proof, and there is no logical contradiction, so I use it, to your discomfiture.

"For me, that hypothetical is incoherent gibberish. "

Naked assertion. Demonstrate the incoherency.

Gay don't care about your social philosophy.

Anonymous Asher January 20, 2013 7:22 PM  

@ Koanic

If he meant that reality in itself is undifferentiated, then what he said was stupid too.

Ugh. Are you trying to be obcurantistic? All Quine is saying that all differentiation requires a differentiating subject. Since the only observable differentiating subject we have is human beings and their perception we are never dealing with noumenon only phenomena.

I am original.

Original is only a relative concept. BTW, this is a blatantly unbiblical claim. There is nothing new under the sun. See, whenever I hear Christians try to put substance to God what they are really doing is imputing their particular experience of themselves to God and calling that God, which is the satanic sin of pride.

By biblical standards what you are doing is satanic, and I take the bible seriously so I make the charge seriously. As someone else already pointed out the exercise of logical proofs for god is, in effect, idol worship.

That is an unjustified denial of a universal perspective.

You are simply positing such a hypothetical as a postulate for your proof. I reject your formulation of noumena for the purposes of this subject unless you can justify it. I don't really need to justify my interpretation of "noumena" as "undifferentiated reality" because I don't use the term moumena/on, at all, to argue for anything. I only offered my understanding because others use the term and I'm not a big fan of the logical postivist trick of telling people that what they're talking about is pure nonsense.

Anonymous Asher January 20, 2013 7:36 PM  

@ Koanic

Big God can create inherently chunked noumenon. Millionth time.

Totally agree. But the human mind lacks the capacity to contemplate such chunks EXCEPT through the activity of perception. At that point noumenon becomes phenomena and is to longer contemplated as noumenon except in the most formal, trivial sense.

There isn't necessarily any chunking off involved.

Either noumena are necessarily chunked off or they're not, but not both. I don't really care which way you go but pick one. The problem is that if you go the "chunked off" route then your going to have to have a subject that does the chunking off absent perception. On the other hand, if noumenon is just "undifferentiated reality" then it's trivial and not worth including as a postulate for a proof.

See, I was not making a firewall but challenging you to pick whether you regard "noumenon" as undifferentiated reality or as predifferentiated things in themselves. You can't have it both ways. Pick one and stick with it. The problem with picking the route of chunked off noumena is that then you're arguing that noumena, more specific, exist without overarching noumenon, more abstract, which goes against the very idea of noumena as being a process of abstraction.

Anonymous Koanic January 20, 2013 7:37 PM  

Atheists have no standing to rebuke Christians within the Church.

Your response to the Big God differentiating noumena in itself hypothetical is "lalalalala".

You're retarded, and you're no longer responding to points or advancing the argument. Those who can't do, teach.

Anonymous Koanic January 20, 2013 7:43 PM  

Oh hey back on track.

We are not contemplating the chunks, merely positing their existence. Naming is not loading.

" I don't really care which way you go but pick one. "

No. Either works for me. And frustratingly for you, you can't close off both. Beauty of hypotheticals.

"your going to have to have a subject that does the chunking off absent perception."

No, God.

"On the other hand, if noumenon is just "undifferentiated reality" then it's trivial and not worth including as a postulate for a proof."

No idiot I just covered that case.

"See, I was not making a firewall but challenging you to pick whether you regard "noumenon" as undifferentiated reality or as predifferentiated things in themselves."

Yes, go back and revise your egregious errors.

"The problem with picking the route of chunked off noumena is that then you're arguing that noumena, more specific, exist without overarching noumenon, more abstract, which goes against the very idea of noumena as being a process of abstraction."

Noumena is not a process of abstraction. My proof. I make the definitions.

You are not smart enough for this discussion.

Anonymous Asher January 20, 2013 7:50 PM  

@ Koanic

Unnecessary and extraneous are your subjective evaluations

All evaluations are of a subjective nature as they are made by acting subjects. God's evaluations are the most subjective as he is a being of pure subject, i.e. spirit. People get confused by the term "objective" a lot. It doesn't mean absolute. An "objective evaluation" is a subjective evaluation about the objective world and a "subjective evaluation' is one pertaining to a subjective evaluation about the subjective world.

I find it useful for my proof

You pretty much admitted to having a cause in search of a method. You want to win the same culture war I do. I just think you're going about it the wrong way, and the arbiter is not logic.

Naked assertion. Demonstrate the incoherency.

I've already done this several times. "noumenon" must EITHER refer to undifferentiated reality OR to specific things in themselves, but it can't refer to both. Before I will even substantively engage you proof I need to know your working understanding of "noumenon", is it undifferentiate or predifferentiated prior to perception. If the former I am just going to dismiss it as trivial and if the latter I am going to ask you to name your specific differentiating subject.

Gay don't care about your social philosophy.

I'm guessing you meant "gays". I have difficulty understanding what "gays" have to do with anything. There is a simple solution to the culture war: divide up the US and let various peoples have their own countries to run themselves as they see fit. Let the gays have their own country where they rule themselves and let's see how everything looks in about eighteen years. Your necessary conclusion to the culture war involves Christians ruling over vast swathes of non-Christians or vice versa, conclusions that I find equally unacceptable.

God did not give the bible as a command for Christians to rule non-Christians, believers are not commanded by God to militarily conquer the world for Christ, but that is the logical conclusion to your reasoning: everyone has the choice to accept Jesus as Lord and if you don't we gots guns that are gonna force the issue.

Anonymous scoobius dubious January 20, 2013 7:53 PM  

"whenever I hear Christians try to put substance to God what they are really doing is imputing their particular experience of themselves to God and calling that God, which is the satanic sin of pride."

That seems a little grand. Most people aren't nearly proud enough to approach the scale of the satanic, c'mon. There's a lot of other ways to view this (I mean outside the professional shop-talk you guys have been using, which is a thing, granted, but it's not the only thing -- and not even the only way to do philosophy). I'll give you one example: God says He's going to judge us for our actions. So we need some sort of basis upon which to order our actions, so as not to fall foul of His judgement. But we're humans, so we tend to use a human basis. That may or may not be the best idea available, but then again we don't have reliable access to other sorts of mind, divine or angelic or otherwise; and besides our time is limited, and so is the energy we can expend on such efforts, and so is our capacity for thinking. If God had wanted us to spend our entire time on earth sweating these particulars, then maybe He shouldn't have made us so damn dependent on agriculture and animal husbandry and clean water and heating fuel and so forth.

I'm with you and zen0 in thinking that logical proofs or disproofes of God are by definition a bit rich. But who knows, they may have their uses within the context of time, which we may not readily perceive. 'They also serve, who only' etc etc. For instance I don't find Aquinas terribly persuasive as a thinker, but who knows? In his historical time, and in the sight of God, perhaps he served his purpose not so much a thinker but rather as an armorer, or a maker of fortifications whose ends he himself could not see. Lots of things are sort of hard to know.

Anonymous Asher January 20, 2013 7:53 PM  

@ Koanic

Atheists have no standing to rebuke Christians within the Church.

Correct. And Christians have no standing to rebuke atheists outside the church. The simple solution to this political impasse is an amicable political divorce.

Your response to the Big God differentiating noumena in itself hypothetical is "lalalalala".

No it's not. My response is that no human can contemplate such a distinction, so it's completely inapplicable to human reasoning.

Anonymous Darth Toolpodicus January 20, 2013 7:57 PM  

To me: the argument reads like a long-winded version of: "the existence of rules implies the existence of a Rule-maker" With the added (dubious) proviso that one rule-maker is necessary to identify another.

Anonymous Asher January 20, 2013 7:59 PM  

@ Koanic

yeah, I understand 1 Cor 16(?) talks about Christians judging all tings, but that is clearly about judgement day after the resurrection. The next verse talks about judging angels and I doubt human beings living on this earth have the standing to judge angels in the present.

I don't have a problem with Christians judging atheists via the human faculty of reason, but that faculty is given to Christians and non-Christians, alike. When Christians try to use the bible to judge non-Christians in this world they are overstepping their authority and taking the place of God. that is heresy, as I've been pointing out for years.

That said, I can imagine an overwhelmingly Christian country where atheists choose to live and willingly allow themselves to be judged by the bible and, in doing so, giving the authority to Christians to judge them by the bible. Their choice would be based on human reason due to the possibility that it is better, in mundane terms, to live under laws influenced by the bible than otherwise.

Anonymous Koanic January 20, 2013 8:00 PM  

"And Christians have no standing to rebuke atheists outside the church."

Hahahahahaha.

And I called you retarded, not Satanic, by the way. I would never insult Satan that way.

Anonymous Asher January 20, 2013 8:25 PM  

@ Koanic

We are not contemplating the chunks, merely positing their existence.

No, no, no. That is EXACTLY what you're doing while simultaneously claiming to not do so. It's a rhetorical strategy you use to establish your proof. That is being double minded. When god said that the heart of man was sinful and desperately wicked he was not excluding Christians.

No. Either works for me. And frustratingly for you, you can't close off both. Beauty of hypotheticals.

True. Facts demand that we confront them, but another beauty of hypotheticals is that we can simply walk away from them if we do not accept the postulates. You are the one trying to establish a proof here, not me. The onus is on you to establish the validity of the postulates. I deny that you have sufficiently justified your postulates

One big step toward offering a justification would be for you to pick "noumenon" or "noumena" because they are mutually exclusive of one another. Holding radically different notions of the same term makes that term incoherent.

No, God.

You don't realize this but you're equating yourself with God. If you can contemplate what only a god's mind is competent to do then you are indistinguishable from God, Himself. I doubt that God looks kindly on such a declaration, explicit or implicit.

Yes, go back and revise your egregious errors.

See, most of your comments involve unsubstantiated allegations like this. What is that firewall, be specific.

Noumena is not a process of abstraction. My proof. I make the definitions.

Sure. And everyone else who doesn't already accept your postulates will simply regard you as a pretentious jackass and walk away from you. You'll convince no one.

You are not smart enough for this discussion.

If that were the case then you should be able to directly answer my challenges and provide postulates that we could both agree on. That has no happened. One thing I used to tell my students is that if someone didn't accept their postulates then there was almost certainly something wrong with their postulates.

Sure, you can endlessly claim "my proof, my definitions" but you're not going to end up convincing anyone of anything. And what's the point of having a proof if that's where it ends up? I mean isn't the point of a proof or argument to convince someone of a position?

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