Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Lush As Logician

It's funny how someone can read something on my blog, and assume I believe it. I believe a lot of it, some I don't. If you don't want to read it, don't read it. If you want to assume I believe X because X was on my blog, that's your business. What can we infer about you from the same kind of fallacious reasoning? Take that and run with it.

Microsoft collectivism would say:

What conclusions would you like to jump to today?

Sunday, July 16, 2006

My Theory of Knowledge 1

Our knowledge comes from two sources in the mind.

Knowledge comes from receiving impressions and representations of objects, combined with spontaneously conceptualizing those representations.

Receiving representations provides given objects. Conceptualizing those representations produces thoughts about those objects. Therefore, neither by themselves can produce knowledge. Consequently, intuition and concepts are two necessary elements of all knowledge.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Rational Necessity, Existential Premises, and Objectivity 4

Another objection: You're using rational categories to refute an argument which purports to deny their universal applicability.

My response: Both objections and answers can be intelligible only by using those categories. Hence, the objection is self-contradictory. Therefore, it's invalid.

And if anyone thinks they can formulate just one objection or answer without them, by all means let me know. Just try not to slip back into that nasty category habit in the process, ok?

Monday, July 10, 2006

Rational Necessity, Existential Premises, and Objectivity 3

An objection: The word necessarily changes the situation and removes the difficulty, since it is maintained that the rationally necessary is not necessarily the objectively real, and not that it simply is not the objectively real.

However, that which is not necessarily the case, or not necessarily actual, is either false or without sufficient rational grounds. If false, then the objection cancels out and is invalid, for the word necessarily may be dropped. If believed without sufficient rational grounds, then the definition may be substituted in the original statement---the rationally necessary is what is believed, without sufficient rational grounds, to actually be the case---and is therefore self-contradictory. In either case, then, the original objection fails.

Rational Necessity, Existential Premises, and Objectivity 2

The statement:

"The rationally necessary is not necessarily the objectively real"

is itself either rationally conceivable or not. If it is not rationally conceivable, then it is meaningless and the objection vanishes. If it is rationally conceivable and intelligible, then it must be either a statement about what is objectively and actually the case or not.

If the statement is not objectively and actually the case, it is false and the objection collapses again.

But if it is objectively and actually the case, then it is still false, since it claims that what is rationally necessary is not necessarily actually the case.

Moreover, is that statement itself  "rationally necessary"? Even my slowest readers should be able to get this point.

Thus the objection is self-contradictory in several senses.

Rational Necessity, Existential Premises, and Objectivity

If what is logically necessary to conceive, starting from existential premises such as the contingency of the phenomenal world or the existence of anything, is not applicable and necessary, then knowledge at every level of experience is impossible.

Knowledge exists only when it is rationally intelligible, resulting from a self-consistent application of the mind's categorical structure to the data of experience. Therefore, either what I must rationally conceive, on existential premises, is objectively the case, or no knowledge is possible.

But the position that knowledge is impossible is self-contradictory, since its truth involves its falsity. Therefore, what is rationally necessary to conceive, on existential premises, is objectively the case.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Arguing To Survive

If naturalistic evolution is true, then our cognitive faculties have resulted from blind mechanisms like natural selection, working on sources of genetic variation such as random genetic mutation. And the ultimate purpose or function or chore of our cognitive faculties, if they have one, is survival. Survival of the individual, the species, the gene, or the genotype.

Consequently, it's unlikely our cognitive faculties produce beliefs that are true. They can only help survive. Consequently, given naturalistic evolution, the probability or our faculties' being reliable is low, even when applied to naturalistic evolution itself.

--From Alvin Plantinga
"An Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism"

Monday, July 03, 2006

Perfect-Mind Questions

Someone asked me about the wisdom of searching for or being preoccupied with a perfect mind.

First, I discovered the perfect mind long ago. To question there was one seemed to assume one, or assume my embodiment of one in that self-same process, so I just gave up and realized there is a universal brick wall in any attempt to even question it.
Questioning a perfect mind does the same thing.
That question assumes a perfect mind to analyze the wisdom of my belief in it to possibily recognize it to be deficient or to be a defection, in some way and to some extent, from a perfect habit of mind.

It's the same thing, in other words. There are just as many perfect-mind assumptions behind denials of a perfect mind, as there are in the perfect-mind belief itself.