Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Wilbur Urban Destroyed Naturalism in 1929

Naturalists are not going to be able to avoid these simple questions forever. But criminal defense attorneys should take special note! There's gold for the criminal mind in them thar reductionisms!

Whether one is talking about materialism or naturalism, what counts against them is the same: Self-referential inconsistency, arbitrary self-exemption, self-reduction, the necessarily-exempt standards of analysis themselves, and most importantly: the attribute "true" in relation to those theories themselves.

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. There's no remainder because that's what a reduction gets rid of.

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 the theories which specify them as all-determining?

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 forever.

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.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Where Atheist and Theist Agree: The Crypto-Theism of Reason

The set of rational standards for analyzing the issue of God's existence---is already itself a God-level  integrated system of ultimate authoritative universal rules and relations.

If you give reasons either way---for atheism or belief that God exists---either those reasons or whatever principles justify those reasons, are already the God-level, root access mind-governing system indicating what you ought to believe, a higher-level set of claims that work together and “tell you” the ground rules and whether or not conclusions are true.

That statement-evaluating system functions as an invisible cognitive friend, and is indistinguishable from a real one that might come along.

And this is empirically verifiable. Merely chronicle for yourself how people justify their belief or non-belief or disbelief in the existence of God.

In other words, to think rationally at all, is to already function according to an ultimate ideality or even god of thought---depending on how you construe personhood. One cannot really argue against this ideal system without thereby using that same system as the ideal for guiding that case-building logical process itself.

It doesn't have to be identical in details in all minds for this point to be true. It just has to be true about some necessary core of rules, identities, and other relations. Necessarily true of necessary statements.

Denial here tries to do what it says this kind of system theory cannot do.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Ayer's Nightmare: The Self-Referential Algorithm of Deception

How can one claim that any of the following theories themselves  are true, when by their own assertions truth is merely the cognitive product of the comprehensively explaining-determining factors that those theories specify?

Is belief that naturalism is true itself completely determined by natural causes and laws, merely the function of our adjustment as organisms to our environment?

If physical matter is the only reality, how can materialism itself be true, in addition to being merely a physical object or merely a function of physical objects?

Is relativism itself relative?

Is subjectivism itself subjective?

Is Marxism itself merely an economically determined set of brain actions?

Is behaviorism itself merely an observable and quantifiable behavioral event?

Is psychologism itself merely the product of psychological factors?

Is skepticism itself as uncertain and unknowable as all the other items of possible knowledge it denies?

Does empiricism itself have any empirical evidence or sense experience that justifies believing it?

Is existentialism itself unexplainable and absurd?

Is idealism itself a mere mental construct about alleged objects of external perception?

Is logical positivism itself meaningless because it can't be logically analyzed into elementary  tautologies or empirically verifiable statements?

Is pragmatism itself  true, or merely practical? How could anyone know it's practical without the fact of its practicality itself being merely practical and in that way merely repeating the problem of truth beyond sheer practicality?

 Is there a reason why rationalism excludes empirical factors in knowing?

Is utilitarianism itself merely an attempt to be happy, and not even a theory?

Is Quine's holistic naturalized epistemology itself even a theory, when the revisability principle driving that entire view, by its own assertion, cannot itself survive its own revision as just another belief in the network?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

5 Smooth Stones

The Magic Question of Self-Referential Metaphysics

You can count these stones on one hand.

Memorize the following:

1 What
2 about
3 that
4 statement

The whole point of having you memorize that question is so that when you are exposed to general universal claims about knowledge, truth, or reality, you will think about what the implications are for that view itself.

A friend memorized that question, had a eureka moment, it blew his mind, and it changed his life.

Here's a few expanded versions of the question:

Is that statement itself merely the product of the factors it cites as fully explaining or determining everything?

Is that statement ITSELF relative, subjective, economically determined, socially determined, psychologically determined, genetically determined, environmentally determined, evolutionarily determined, illusion, maya, bs, meaningless, stated only because of the speaker's or writer's background, or due solely to some combination of explanatory or determining factors?

Or is that statement itself getting its own free ride past scrutiny?

Memorizing at least the first of these key questions is your ticket to developing a thoroughly rational metaphysic without having to read a lot of books, online essays and discussions, journal articles, and so on.

I'm doing all that dirty work, remember? In fact, what I'm telling you now is part of the result of my reading and analyzing all those sources so that you can benefit from it without having to pick-and-shovel your way to these insights for decades of your life like I did.

Let me do that for you. I will anyway.

Here are the benefits of memorizing the 5-word question and a few others that make up the basis of self-referential metaphysics:

Less to learn
Deepest level of analysis possible
Faster-shorter path to conclusions
Virtually none of the typical obstacles
Opposing arguments build your case for you
A few simple inference tracing principles are all you need
Systemic universal methods of refutation
No more haphazard struggling with first-order objections
Works with all self-referring views

What's not to love? Memorize now!

(Image credit: lightwise / 123RF Stock Photo)

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

What's Wrong with Divine Command Theory

While I think divine command theory can surmount all the objections to it, I reject it as superfluous as well as ignoring the moral obligations operating prior to its own moral theorizing.
Just as some supervisory theory of truth must be in force already in order to evaluate competing theories of truth, so morality and moral goodness are already necessarily embedded in the propriety of rational principles of thought and in the criteria we must use to evaluate moral theories.
Moral theorizing is merely a particular instance of the higher category of universal rational standards on which that theorizing itself logically depends. If there is no moral obligation to think rationally, there can be no moral obligation to think rationally about morality or act rationally with regard to morality.

If we’re not morally obligated to recognize reason and logic, then why do people who disagree with me use reason and logic to arbitrate the status of moral obligation?  Are they just inventing the authority of reason and logic to obligate themselves to think of all morals in one way instead of some other way?.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

The Problem of Evil: Conceptual Welfare Chiseler

Definitional dependency embarrasses the mere concept of the problem of evil.

You don't add anything to dislike by calling it evil. Just as Schopenhauer said about pantheism: you don't add anything to the world by calling it God.

To recognize anything to be evil or negative in any sense beyond human dislike already requires a problem-free ultimate ideal goodness to contrast itself to and therefore give it meaning and recognizability as evil instead of being merely disliked, however extreme, exceptionless, and absolute that dislike might be on its own. This is how the problem of evil steals its meaning.

Evil can be recognized as evil only in the light of a contrasting already-existing problem-free good.

Without some concept of perfect goodness, you don't get to add the histrionic "evil" label to "everyone dislikes it" and get out of that anything more than "everyone dislikes it".

So the whole problem of evil is on definitional welfare. When you need evil so much that you're willing to steal its criterion of meaning from the concept of ultimate perfect goodness to even know that it's evil in the first place.

This is why the problem of evil is a childishly stupid objection.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Days of a Future Sayonara Past

We necessarily use reason as an invisible theistic Mind-God. This is understood by only a handful of theists, but it's a death-knell issue for atheism if it's not addressed, and it's not going to go away.

Self-referential, criterial, metaphysical, and philosophy of logic issues are where the debate is headed. Atheists continue to beat the same old drums while the theists are facing every single lingering issue with deeper and deeper research.

The last 50 years has seen a global rejection of atheism's parading of reason as some kind of cognitive crypto-theism. Merely continuing to tread that stagnant water is hardly going to get atheism any street cred, especially when science is so overwhelmingly dominated with political and commercial vested interests.

The real issues with atheism are those that continue to be avoided. Dismissiveness won't make them disappear.

In fact, the New Atheism movement has been a flash in the pan that is now backfiring. They are in the same situation as Japan after attacking Pearl Harbor. At that pivotal moment in history, Admiral Isaroku Yamamoto was said to have remarked, "I fear that all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant, and fill him with a terrible resolve." Atheism is doomed.

Reason is assumed to be some kind of mind-influencing, mind-defining, mind-obligating unity. Logic is the instrument of definition and justification, and can only itself be assumed. Any defense of logic necessarily proceeds logically to proceed at all, but that defense of logic cannot itself be anything more logically basic than logic itself. So only existential necessity justifies logic and reason, but since this is common to all persuasions, it's not an issue in the God debate between believers and atheists.

Logic is logically basic by definition, which involves the notion of premises being basic to their inferred conclusions. God's mind is ontologically basic but embodies the components of logicality and general reason. But the word basic here is simply logical basicality. The facticity of logic is an ontological notion, but that has nothing to do with justification or the order of knowing. Even ontology itself must proceed according to logical rules of justification and therefore of inferential priority and basicality. God's mind IS the embodiment of logic and general reason. Having no other method or instrument for justification or explanation is at rock bottom precisely what is meant by necessity, both existential and logical. The rationally necessary is necessarily the existentially real. And it's metaphysically basic precisely because of this same principle. The question of metaphysical basicality itself assumes this in its demand for what implies that same basicality.

If logic is logically basic to thought, then by that defining characteristic, it does not itself need a logical foundation, only an existential explanatory foundation to illustrate or clarify its place in the mind's theater of environmental objects. But even that must proceed according to that same logic, since it's necessity is a necessity of thought itself generally.

Logic and reason are not God, of course, but there is no subordination of one characteristic of God's being to any other. They are all co-equal ultimates. Obligation depends on logic for its intelligibility and meaning, while logic depends on obligation for its rules to be followed as a mind-guiding instrument of knowing and communicating. Since this is all used and expressed by preferential choices, goodness ia another ultimate that drives obligation and proceeds in its role as ideal according to logic as well.