Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Feser's Ontological Parts Warehouse: You Name it, We've Got it!

The real world is as complex as the vocabulary required to describe it.

--Slightly redacted from Edward Feser, The Last Superstition, page 171. I deliberately don't quote his actual core arguments because I want people to read the book. These examples are either just great quotes *about* the issues, aphoristic provocations such as the above, or sheer intellectual-cultural commentary. Always keep in mind that I'm only interested in his strictly philosophical views and arguments, and may not even agree with his act-potency, causation, hylemorphism, or his argument for God. The jury's still out, although so far I suspect his metaphysics is correct.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Hitchens, Shave Thyself

Hitchens assures us that theists "have consistently failed to overcome [Ockham's] objection [to a First Cause]." In fact, as we have seen, it was overcome long before Ockham was born. What Hitchens should have written is: "I wouldn't know the difference between conceptualism and realism, essentially and accidentally ordered causal series, Aristotle and Hume, etc., *even* *if* I were intellectually honest; but then neither will the book reviewer at the New York Times, so who cares?"

--Edward Feser, The Last Superstition, pages 169-170.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Usual Self-Exempting Suspects

"Hitchens is no scientist, but he did take a degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at Oxford forty years ago, where, presumably, he came upon Karl Popper's dictum that "a theory that is unfalsifiable is to that extent a weak one." It never occurs to him that by refusing to allow even one of the 100 million corpses produced by Communism to count as evidence against the moral claims of atheism, he makes his own position far more "unfalsifiable" than anything Paley ever said (since, after all, the latter did allow that it was at least *possible* that organisms could have arisen through impersonal process). But then, that is the Christopher Hitchens recipe for Serious Journalism: one part real knowledge, one part filibuster, one part sheer bluff."

---Edward Feser, The Last Superstition, page 160.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Left Out

Liberalism: The view that you're a bigot and I'm not.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Final Causal Hypocrisy

"Compared to the way in which final causality has maintained its grip on biological thinking in actual practice, the Darwinian revolution is a trivial blip on the continued silent and unacknowledged hegemony of Aristotle. The unhealthy fixation of Dawkins, Dennett, and Co. on the relatively insignificant Paley has kept them from seeing this fatal difficulty with their position. They have been frantically shooting their flit guns at a gnat even while an elephant grinds them into paste under its feet."

--Edward Feser, The Last Superstition, page 130.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Hidden Ghosts of Materialism 2

If thought is merely the motion of physical components in the brain (or anywhere else in the organism for that matter), how can I remember a previous experience? Once a motion becomes a past motion, it never recurs as the same motion. How could one know or even be aware of generic similarities between two motions? To classify two entities within the same genus, I must observe some similarity between them. But materialism claims that the thought "This motion and that motion are similar" would also itself be merely a motion. And before the motion of predicating that similarity occurs, the motion of the original experience and the motion of the alleged memory experience would be in the past, and no longer exist. And no motion could connect two motions that no longer exist. Consequently, for it to be even possible for me to think generically similar thoughts, which is necessary to remember anything, I must assume that materialism is false.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Hidden Ghosts in Materialism's Inferential Methodology Machine

1.  The very process of materialist theory development already involves its falsity.

To seek correlates in the brain and nerves of the organism to explain observed differences in how we perceive things such as colors---already assumes that:

(1 the conscious state is -something- distinct from the physical correlate one is seeking for it,

(2 the conscious state can pass judgment on physical reality and all distinctions and relations between objects (such as those between correlation and the objects correlated), and

(3 all physical correlates are necessarily insignificant to the most basic and transcendent universal judgments about the comparative status of conscious states, and judgments about conscious states, in relation to those physical objects.

--Highly redacted from Stuart Hackett, The Resurrection of Theism, 1957, page 222.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Analysis Predicts The Empirical

Computer simulations based on just 50 or 60 atoms are able to mimic the properties of real matter. If a small group of atoms is surrounded by other identical groups, every atom behaves as if it were part of a larger material. This makes it possible, for example, to simulate the behaviour of solids and liquids at high temperatures, and to study chemical reactions at surfaces to aid in the design of better analysis.

--Slightly redacted from the QPB Science Encyclopedia, "Quantum Simulation"

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

The Uninferable System of Inference

Any kind of distinction between what is and what is not empirical is *itself* a non-empirical object. Moreover, the necessary system of thought whose aim is necessarily truth, is uninferred. Not only that, it is uninferable in the strict sense of inferential sequence. But at epistemic rock bottom, that's really not a problem, due to two factors.

First, the definition of the system, in the nature of the case, epistemically exempts the system itself already, yet the reasons that *are given for that system---logic, general reason, and so on---still provide *some kind of justification on the basis of motives, which are in turn driven by values. The reason this is necessary is because the system already has a set of operating values in its standards of intellectual propriety, And because that propriety itself is made up of universals, that system necessarily predicates universal values.

Second, if you could infer this thought system, it would not be the system as defined, because it would itself be justified as true *only* by means of one or more premises that are even more epistemically basic, which contradicts the original definition of the system as the methodologically basic set of cognitive assumptions. If it's basic, it does not itself need a logical basis.

But the system does need an existential basis in motivation and values to be meaningfully preferred as the necessary means of purposive thinking in the pursuit of universal truth---or anything else for that matter. The system of inference is still operating in that sense, but on top of a set of background universal predications of both the rules of thought and basic values, including the values behind standards of intellectual propriety with regard to such universals---as well as those standards themselves.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Empirical Void Discovered in Axiomatic Mummies During Epistemic Audit

There's no -logical- basis for logicality in the strict sense of inferential sequence, since logicality itself must be merely preferred at the outset of thought as an operative value. Otherwise, a fallacy of logic is committed in an attempt to provide such a basis. The necessity of logic, even in these statements of mine themselves, is an -existential- necessity based on a situated grasp of a -system- as a whole, with logic as an integral aspect (along with a set of definitions, an instruction set, language rules, contextual simples, and other primitives). But this cannot be said to be merely -arbitrary- since that claim to arbitrariness would -itself- rely on the same uninferable necessity of logic to have any import.

But again---reasoning at that epistemic level is an existentially or heuristically or if you like, an intuitively grasped inference system. It is, and functions as, the ultimate operating system of thought, some grasp of which occurs in not-so-ultimate finite minds with the various tendencies toward willed self-contradiction and the need for constant tune-ups, both caused by defecting from the envisioned ideality of the structure of God's mind. And even though that structure is operatively a set of predications, operative is the key term. God's mind is an irreducible design integrity, as Buckminster Fuller might have said (at least if he had talked to me at length), and IS a set of simultaneous predications, the rational necessity of which determines the structure of the world, God, and all reality. Aside from also being an aspect of God's being, namely God's mind.

So the necessity of logic at that basic level would be intuitive, although not in a vacuum. Logic's necessity in this sense is a situated grasp of a comprehensive and universal system whose aim at truth is existentially necessary (an intuitive sine qua non or epistemic cul-de-sac) as a heuristic package deal. It -would- be arbitrary and relative, except that any claim to that effect would -itself- be dependent on this same -existential-, and not inferential, necessity. Nice try. Too bad. You're still singing my song in spite of yourself.

But just what is it, this necessity? Un-inferred, it's still---itself---an inference system. But in the case of this particular system (or engine, make the synonym circle---still doesn't change anything) the aspects of its nature can only be a mind object, precisely because a universal ultimate inference system and a universal ultimate mind are indistinguishable.