Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Using Abstract Objects to Deny Their Reality

Until Now by Ralph Hertle

Abstract Objects Are Merely Useful Fictions, This I Know.
For The Abstract Objects Tell Me So!


Whenever someone argues that abstract objects don't really exist, remember that they are USING abstract objects as their intellectual and logical authority to determine what really exists. I wonder how abstract objects got that kind of supervisory authority to arbitrate what really exists, when they don't even really exist themselves!


If you clearly understand this post, its an easy analogy to understanding why rationalist-objectivist atheism is necessarily theistic about reason and logic, as we all are in reasoning about universals---including the universals that make up general reason and logic themselves.

The boot-strapping problem of abstract objects being used to ontologically self-adjudicate still remains, and I haven't seen anything yet that even mentions it---much less actually deals with it.

Abstract objects and universals are necessarily real, the sine qua nons of all possible knowledge of contingent reals. If they are necessary for adjudicating ontological status, they themselves must have an even higher supervisory ontological status, which means they are *necessarily* more real than any other objects we ordinarily take as real. There's simply no way around this without ending up in the old self-referential cul-de-sac.

Objector: I'm not sold on the necessity of abstract objects since I think that necessarily existing entities existing independently of God impugn the doctrines if divine aseity and creation ex nihilo. However, I'll throw in with the Thomists and say it's clear that universals located in the divine intellect are necessary and exist necessarily.

Response: They are all necessarily components of the divine mind, and their absolute inescapable necessity is what guarantees this. Knowledge of divine aseity itself necessarily depends logically on them.

If you examine closely what you mean by universals, abstract objects, irreducibly basic categories, and so on---that examination itself would not be possible without those same categories already operating in advance at the highest cognitive levels.

As Boyle proved, Thomistic metaphysics is necessarily self-referential metaphysics at its logical base. Russell's prohibition of self-referencing statements is an instance of what it prohibits, and so on. It's all about self-reference and ultimate universal criteria and standards of analysis, which are already there logically prior to any actual analysis of anything including reasoning about current preferences.


That system is already in place and we're always trying to approximate it in some sense and degree, even regardless of prior misses of goals.

The bottom line is that if you give reasons for God, those reasons are already assumed to have an ultimate God-level authority in order to adjudicate the knowledge and claims about the possible reality of God.

Why does faith have to be reasonable or smart or even plausible? Why does it still try to be rational about what it declares itself to be exempt from? Why must there be any intellectual defense at all? If reason is not God-level already, why must theistic or Christian belief have reason and logic's seal of approval in the first place in the slightest? The entire discussion is a submission to reason's authority, whether one is a believer or an atheist.

In fact, the whole issue about the relationship between faith and reason is itself just one big cognitive worship-fest dedicated to reason.


Artwork: Until Now by Ralph Hertle. Available at:
http://www.bluestardesign.us/

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Criterial Argument for the Existence of God V 5


Certain assumptions are logically basic criteria of all thought.
 

Therefore, these criterial assumptions are necessary for recognizing and knowing that certain objects of our experience are minds or persons.
 

But only a mind or person can recognize and know the nature of any object.
 

Therefore, only the ultimate criteria of thought can determine whether or not an object is a mind or person.
 

Therefore the ultimate criteria of thought are indistinguishable from an ultimate truth-determining mind or person.
 

Therefore, these criterial assumptions are necessary for recognizing and knowing that certain objects of our experience are minds or persons.
 

Any argued denial of the necessary universality of this set of assumptions logically depends on those same assumptions for its own truth, meaningfulness, significance, goodness or value, and so on.
 

Therefore, this system of assumptions necessarily adjudicates all truth claims about everything including itself, as well as their denials.
 

Therefore, this system of assumptions is omniscient as the truth-evaluating 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 level of supervisory authority over all issues concerning all domains of predication.
 

Furthermore, these assumptions are the specifying standards for defining everything including minds or persons and God.

Consequently, this set of necessary and logically basic assumptions are as ultimate and mind-like or person-like as any personal ultimate God is conceivable of being.
Treating this aggregate mind-structured 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 system factor.
 

To proceed in thinking at all, we must approximate whatever reason is always indicating as the perfection standard of thought.
 

Moreover, there is no controversy about the ultimate authority of what this standard or specification reveals to me, even if I don't live up to it, or perfectly actualize the rational ideal in some way. Those actions are what they are only when judged by that same rational ideal.
 

Any contemplation of these ultimate assumptions of mind such as reason, formal logic, the rule-set of an ordered context of reality, a hierarchy of values, and the obligation to proceed according to a system of rules---all methodological primitives---results in an endless stream of new knowledge when applied to our ongoing experience of the world.
 

Consequently, these ultimate decisive rules and ideals of thought actually communicate knowledge and even wisdom by merely contemplating them and their relationship to our belief systems and our world of objects.
 

The fact that we must reference these principles implies an equally ultimate purpose.
 

And an ultimate purpose, necessarily depends on a hierarchical set of equally ultimate values.

This system of assumptions is a unified instrument and object of cognition, which necessarily obligates, defines, and influences the mind as the ultimate operating system for thinking about anything.


Consequently, all thinking already necessarily both assumes and references an unchanging and enduring God-level personal mind object made up of prescriptive criterial evaluative principles of thought taken together as a system for the possibility of thinking, that adjudicates everything including mind and personhood themselves, and makes possible inquiry into anything and everything that can be thought.
 

Therefore, in all defining senses, this comprehensive mind object is indistinguishable from an ultimate personal mind or God.
 

The rationally necessary is necessarily the existentially real.

Any argument denying this is self-contradictory in trying to rationally necessitate its own truth about the existentially real in spite of what that argument asserts.
 

And if two objects are indistinguishable from each other with respect to all of their properties, then they are identical.
Therefore, this comprehensive mind object---this necessarily operating rational ideal system of thought---is itself an ultimate personal mind or God.

[NOTE: The only real problem with this argument is in what constitutes a person. The nature, status, and role of reason is indisputable.]

Friday, March 14, 2014

System, Grace, and Entropy

Brand Blanshard
There is no will strong enough to stay focused on anything completely, without it having some importance. And when the purpose is important, and we are completely focused on it, and what we are aware of both directs and constantly aims at that purpose against hindrances---our work is effortless.

--*Heavily* redacted from Brand Blanshard, 1939, The Nature of Thought, Volume 1, pages 208-209.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

When Theistic Pigs Will No Longer Fly



If it weren't for the criterial argument, which I generalized from it's moral corollary, the moral criteria argument, which in turn is derived from Kai Nielsen's Independent Moral Criterion Argument, I would not even consider belief in God.


I would instead be an atheist who believes in some kind of quantum naturalistically transcendent reality in the logically prior system of general reason, formal logic and a necessary hierarchy of values in view of motives, goals, and the necessary value assumptions of thought.

So I have Nielsen to thank for issuing the challenge that forces a clarification of the case for personhood in an ultimate being, even though it never challenged the fact of this personhood in the criterial argument, only its exact anthropomorphic nature. And even deeper, it's a case of self-referential inconsistencies galore. The criterial argument bypasses all that. It's important that the concept of personhood be developed and it's fascinating, but it's not in itself a problem for the existence of God. Personhood is already assumed in any discussion of it, as well as the criteria for any such discussion.



After several years of being stuck, tonight I finally figured out what will crush Nielsen's argument for the incoherence of the concept of God. I mean, he begs some questions, but it's still a great and powerful argument and causes conniption fits in most all believers, who will gladly commit T. S. Eliot's Greatest Treason if it will mean not having to read anything or have to come to grips with opposing arguments.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Persuadability Fatigue

Social Physics by Alex Pentland
I do suspect that both the Kalam and Aquinas's 2nd Way arguments are successful. But they are not widely persuasive, and both are bogged down bigtime in various issues, both empirical and theoretic. While both have major infinite series issues and the issue of crossing over from cause to person, Kalam is heavily involved in questions about nothingness, beginningness, quantum theory,  multiverses, time itself, and so on, while Aquinas's 2nd Way only has the problem of simultaneity in causation, but a foundational metaphysical problem in assuming but not proving that any tendency of any object is directed by intelligence. If they can prove that, I think Thomistic metaphysics is successful and has tremendous implications for philosophy of science and even science itself. But for both arguments, the infinite series and personhood issues by themselves are major obstacles to both satisfactory certainty of the truth of God's existence on the part of believers, and culture-wide persuasive efficacy.

The criteria argument is the only thing that's going to save the day, folks. The world is already suffering persuadability fatigue from the standard arguments, evangelicalism, and the parroting of bad arguments by all kinds of apologists who stay insulated from sophisticated atheistic arguments that are persuading the leaders of the coming generation. And the good arguments are so hazy and complicated in their cross-examinations for the vast majority of people, even the most educated, that only a more direct systemic approach will stop the trends in their tracks.


In a few months, when I start interacting with the local atheist groups, I'll document what I've said over the last few years in the discussions with local atheists, and document the precise verbal termination points where typical believers and atheists begin talking past each other and even mutually ignore more basic issues than the ones being discussed in relation to the existence of God.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Automatic Transmission




God is inert yet always active---always on, so to speak. God's Mind is necessarily the active universal transcendent structured being, embodying in its system a common necessary structural integrity of analytic rules, identities, and other truth claims functioning as operative assumptions containing the set of necessary truths governing all mind operations in some sense and to some extent. A procedural algorithm based on a system of specifiable operative rules, definitions, and standards.

But they do not exist separately: this set of control statements is a functional mind entity, and therefore a mind.

We necessarily use and reference this mind structure of principles, and it's always with us as the operative specification of all possible thinking procedures, no matter what one's thoughts are about or pertain to. The Thought God is always with you.

While we must come from some God's-eye level vantage point to decide these issues for ourselves, we reference---separately from our own defective approximative minds---we must to some extent embody the rational ideal in our interaction with the total reality. That is, we assume a somehow active uniquely God-like mental structure with nothing higher than itself, all argued denials only making this point even deeper, by assuming that same set of identities, definitions, rules and procedures as necessary and exceptionless in order to thereby deny those same statements.

In fact, this ideal system is there even in the logically question-begging myth of the problem of evil. And if the good itself is a myth, then neither does evil get a pass as an assumed reality beyond mere personal preference or distaste.

The world is getting too dangerous for rickety thoughts safely contained and insulated. Sorry about that.

Merry Christmas

(Picture at wisegeek.com)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Wilbur Urban Destroyed Naturalism in 1929

Atheists---and scientists themselves---are not going to be able to avoid these simple questions forever. But criminal defense attorneys should take special note!

Whether one is talking about materialism or naturalism, what counts against them is the same: Self-referential inconsistency, arbitrary self-exemption, self-reduction, and criterial assumptions.

As Wilbur Urban argued with regard to naturalism, if the naturalist thesis is taken as an account of all knowledge, then that thesis itself cannot claim to be true. It can only claim to be a product of its own posited universal explanatory factors.

According to naturalism, the truth of the naturalist account itself, like every other item of knowledge, is merely the function of the adjustment of the organism to its environment. Therefore, the truth of the naturalist account has no more importance than any other adjustment except for its possible survival value.

But the general principle applies to all reductive, fixed-factor, universal theories. There's simply no way for those theories themselves to break out of their respective explaining/determining factors and be considered true in addition to being themselves merely the product of those factors.

Key questions to ask are: When do we get to add the label "true" on top of the explanatory/determining factors of these kinds of reductive theories? What's the criteria? And how can materialists and naturalists criticize theism, when theism too is just as legitimately explained and determined by those same factors as those theories which specify them?

Urban's writings were a major influence on Stuart Hackett (who Norman Geisler once told me personally was in his opinion the world's greatest living Christian philosopher), and reading just the first few mind-halting pages of Language and Reality will clearly show why---as well as blow your mind.

Principle works:
The Intelligible World. Allen and Unwin, 1929.
Language and Reality. Allen and Unwin, 1939.
Beyond Realism and Idealism. Allen and Unwin, 1949.
Humanity and Deity. Allen and Unwin, 1951.