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.