Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The principle of noncontradiction

The principle of non-contradiction is not a provisional postulate, it is a necessary truth based in reality. If it isn't, we are screwed. Our science is about cloud cuckoo land, not reality. Logic is ontologically prior to the material world. Reality is fundamentally intelligible, and at the foundation of everything is a rational, not a material explanation. Even the philosopher Thomas Nagel, who is careful to avoid any theistic implications for this line of reasoning, realizes this. 

If you say we agree to the convention, that implies we could have done otherwise. We can't. We bump up against reality, not our own rules, when we do so. When we agree to conventions, we could have done otherwise. When we are facing reality, we cannot do otherwise without, well, scraping ourselves against reality.

55 comments:

John Moore said...

Logic is not prior to the material world, but it's an integral part of the material world. Logic is just prior to our understanding of the material world. There's a big difference between the world and our understanding of the world.

Victor Reppert said...

But the laws of logic hold in possible worlds in which there are no material objects. If there is a world in which God exists, and God does not create matter, it still cannot be the case that God exists and does not exist. If logic were a part of the material world, this would not be the case.

For something to be really material, it has to be lacking in logic. Otherwise, you can build enough into the concept of matter to include God himself. In which case I would be happy to join the crew of materialists. It will be up to you guys to kick me out.

Joe Hinman said...

You could have a world in which all God does is hold matter together such that God = strong force. In such a world logic still applies e en tough everything apart from God is matter.

I have discovered that none really knows what matter is, Matter is energy what is energy? people give labels like "electrons" but when challenged to say what they are made of they don't know they just give names but the names just mean "more energy." Materialism, is really a sham.


btw see my article on Metacrock's blog frmmy old academic Journal i used to Run (Negatioons) it;s on Schweitzer and The Death of Civilization

John Moore said...

In a world without material objects, it's meaningless to say 1+1=2. It's meaningless to say triangles have 3 sides. It's meaningless to say a thing that exists does not not-exist, because no things exist.

Oh, is God a thing? If so, then maybe logic can exist without material objects. But you can't use the one as evidence for the other. That would be circular logic.

Two definitions of logic:

a) It's the fundamental underlying structure of space-time that determines how mass-energy changes.
b) It's a set of rules we use in our minds to predict how we will see mass-energy changing.

Type (a) logic is prior to type (b) logic.

You yourself wrote that the principle of non-contradiction is "based in reality," which I interpret as the fundamental structure of space-time. So logic wouldn't exist in a world without space-time. And the theory of relativity suggests that space-time itself can't exist without matter-energy.

Yes, I'm assuming materialism and defining logic to suit my assumptions, but you do the same thing when you assume theism and define logic your way. It's just two different perspectives, and neither can prove the other wrong.

What does it mean for something to be lacking in logic? A rock exists within space-time, so maybe it "has" type (a) logic. But a rock has no mind, so it certainly lacks type (b) logic. Is the rock "really material" or not?

Hugo Pelland said...

Victor, John, this is about the primacy of consciousness vs primacy of material existence, which I brought up here a few times over the years :)

Victor always assumes consciousness exists, John assumes the material world exist, and you both go on with your deductions from there.

And Victor is wrong imho...

John Mitchell said...

"In a world without material objects, it's meaningless to say 1+1=2. It's meaningless to say triangles have 3 sides. It's meaningless to say a thing that exists does not not-exist, because no things exist."

Horrible...

Victor Reppert said...

Hugo, if you assume the primacy of the material, you may or not get to the mental. And if you define as I suggested above, I maintain you won't. And if there is no mental, then even if there is a physical world, no one knows that there is. A world without the material is perfectly coherently possible. A world without aw mind might exist, but no one could possibly know that it does. That is why the mind is primary.

Hugo Pelland said...

Correct, if we assume the primacy of the material, we may not get to the mental. But we do. I have no problem with the theory that the mental is entirely a consequence of the material. What else is the mental if not humans' conceptual representation of the material world?

Hugo Pelland said...

*** that's kind of long; posting separately ***

That's actually what James Moore explained, but James Mitchell found horrible. If we assume the material first:
it's meaningless to say 1+1=2. It's meaningless to say triangles have 3 sides. It's meaningless to say a thing that exists does not not-exist, because no things exist.

This is axiomatically true, because we start with the assumption that the material does exist. It does not match your definition, I agree. Because yours does in fact assume the primacy of consciousness.

If we assume the non-material (or mental) first: the laws of logic hold in possible worlds in which there are no material objects. This is axiomatically true, because we start with the assumption that the mental does exist, independently & regardless of the material world.

So why is the primacy of existence preferable? It actually starts with something that 'is' and not with something that is 'not'; because the mental is just that, not-material. The assumption does not say what it is, just that it does exist.

Now, why is it tempting to use the primacy of consciousness? Because of what you just said, among other things:

- And if there is no mental, then even if there is a physical world, no one knows that there is.
-- Correct. That's how the physical world was before any animal had any mental activity, before there were any humans basically nor any less complex animals capable of pseudo-reasoning.

- A world without the material is perfectly coherently possible.
-- Not if you start with the primacy of the material. It works for you because you already assumed the mental, i.e. the non-material. Moreover I would argue that no, it is not coherent at all to have a world without the material.

I will add one more counter-argument to grill that point more; hopefully it's not a strawman:
- I think therefore I am. I know I exist because I think. My consciousness is real to me regardless of the existence of an external reality.
--That seems so tempting, but the fact is that we cannot even think of something that would be purely non-material. That's why we can only say non-material in the first place. What we think of are bits and pieces of material things, because the mental is nothing more than the brain remembering what it experienced and combining these building blocks into almost seemingly infinite combinations.

Mortal said...

In a world without material objects, it's meaningless to say 1+1=2. It's meaningless to say triangles have 3 sides. It's meaningless to say a thing that exists does not not-exist, because no things exist.

This comment fascinates me. One could take it as support for the Nicene Creed's "Creator of all things visible and invisible." If mathematics and logic have no meaning absent a material world, then God actually is the creator of those (invisible) things, alongside our material universe.

Hal said...

And if you define as I suggested above, I maintain you won't.

I see little reason for accepting your definitions.

A world without the material is perfectly coherently possible.

It doesn't seem so to me. I can't imagine what such a world would be like. What does a mind think of in such a world? Even idealists who deny the existence of the material world have to populate it with mental things that look and feel and taste and sound like material things.

We do know that the universe existed for a time without any beings capable of thinking. And observing the diversity of living things provides some clues as to how beings with the capacity to think evolved.

Aron Zavaro said...

Even the sentence "The principle of non-contradiction is not a provisional postulate" requires you to adopt the law of noncontradiction as a necessary truth. That sentence is being proposed as a TRUTH, and as a denial of any contradictory sentences.

Victor Reppert said...

I don't believe that the universe ever existed without a thinking being. I am a theist.

Victor Reppert said...

Look, you have to define the material by DELETING the mental. You can't even give an account of what the material is, without using what is called the via negativa. Look at this definition:

physical substance in general, as distinct from mind and spirit; (in physics) that which occupies space and possesses rest mass, especially as distinct from energy.

So, I can't start with the material. Quite the contrary, in order to know what the material is unless you know what the mental is, and state that, at least on the basic level, the mental isn't there.

Hal said...

I don't believe that the universe ever existed without a thinking being. I am a theist.

I'm talking about the things that exist in this universe. One can certainly be a theist and still accept the fact that it took a long time before beings capable of thought came into existence.


Look, you have to define the material by DELETING the mental. You can't even give an account of what the material is, without using what is called the via negativa.

Certainly one can distinguish between mental objects and material objects. In the same way, one can distinguish between living substances and non-living substances. That doesn't entail accepting your position that the mental is ontologically prior to the material.

The mental depends on the material. It is only because we have material bodies that we can can sense and experience the world we live in. It is only because we have material bodies that we can express our thoughts and share them with others.

Hugo Pelland said...

Victor,
You got this backward in my opinion. I don't define the material by deleting the mental; it's the mental that is defined as non-material under the primacy of material existence. This was one of the point I made above. Again, what is the mental if not a representation of the material?

Under the assumption of the primacy of consciousness however, you already have a mental existence to start with, and you then define the material as something else. But you run into the same issues: what is the mental in that case? How can you even discuss the mental without referring to the material? Your assumption requires that you are able to describe the mental, but you do so in material terms because you and I are material people. How can you, as a human being, discuss the mental without referring to the material?

In other words, that's the big problem here I think: you cannot ignore what we know about the world we live in when it comes to philosophical discussions. We know a lot about how humans think, how the universe works, and how we came to be what we are. Therefore, stating that you don't believe the universe ever existed without a thinking being is nothing more than stating your belief in God without justification; it's unconvincing. In reality, we know that there was a time when no human beings existed and thus no human minds at all, yet material existence did exist. With that knowledge in hand, it makes perfect sense that minds came to be part of that material universe as material observers able to conceptualize what they perceive, creating building blocks for more concepts, which are used to think of so many different things, both purely material and mental, but always using material building blocks as an ontological basis.

Hal said the same basically but he's better at being brief!

Victor Reppert said...

Well, what is it for something to be material? Is occupation of space enough, or do you need something else? Do you need some reference to laws?

Mortal said...

Is occupation of space enough, or do you need something else?

You need "stuff" - tangible, solid, stuff. Not dependent on whether anyone knows it's there, but in and of itself "there".

Hugo Pelland said...

From our point of view, as material human beings, it's what we perceive with our senses. Then, when thinking about what it means 'to exist', we can try the primacy of existence: let's assume that what we perceive truly is a base reality. Can we then get to justifying our mental existence? Absolutely, as our mental existence is nothing more than the conceptualization of that material world we assume exists.

Victor Reppert said...

Material objects, by definition, obey the laws of matter. The laws of physics are definable in terms which make reference to what kinds of beliefs will produce the truth. Whether I will form beliefs in accordance with those principles which will produce true beliefs reliably or not is not specified in the basic-level description. So, how can truthful reasoning be given a purely physical description.

A mentalistic world can be simply a world with God in it and no creatures. That is coherently possible. Are you saying that a God who never creates a world is logically impossible?

Hugo Pelland said...

The laws of matter were built by humans to describe material objects' behavior. That's why they are approximation, even when we call them laws; Newton's laws being the prime example given that they were replaced by relativity principles, which in turn might get refined with some other explanations.

I genuinely don't understand what a 'mentalistic world' world means given that the only 'mental' I know of is what I keep describing as a 'representation of the material world'. Again, how can you even talk about mental stuff without any reference to the material world? or how can you do any kind of truthful reasoning?

And no, I am not saying that a God who never creates a world is logically impossible, because we could have a material God creating a material universe. That's one logical option. It's not the God you believe in, I know, but for something to be logically possible, we just need one valid option, and we do have one in this case.

Hal said...

Material objects, by definition, obey the laws of matter.

Not sure why you would think that. Do you not believe in miracles? Do you not think the water that was turned into wine by Jesus was a material object?



Hal said...

A mentalistic world can be simply a world with God in it and no creatures. That is coherently possible. Are you saying that a God who never creates a world is logically impossible?

What is a "mentalistic world"? Did God create it? If so, then I don't see how that supports your claim that it is logically possible for God to never create a world.

Victor Reppert said...

A mentalistic world might include God alone. But it also could include created spirit beings.

Hugo Pelland said...

But how can you, a human being, talk about spirit beings that are not material? What are they, besides 'not' material? Again, the mental experience we have, as far as I can tell, is entirely based on the experience of the material world we had. What would spirit being experience? What does 'thinking' even mean for them?

Take a more specific example: what does a triangle mean for them? Is it a shape with 3 sides? But then what is a side when you don't have shapes to refer to, or what is 3 when you don't have material things to refer to to explain the convention that is the number 3?

The question of the laws of physic was directly related to that. Your definition of what the laws are was inaccurate. They are not about what's 'true', they are about describing things.

Hal said...

The principle of non-contradiction is not a provisional postulate, it is a necessary truth based in reality.

It is a rule. Rules are neither true or false. Like other rules of logic it is partly constitutive of what it means to think and reason.


A mentalistic world might include God alone.

That doesn't really explain what a mentalistic world is. Are you saying that God has to live in a mentalistic world? Earlier you said that God need not create any worlds. What is this mentalistic world God has created?

Victor Reppert said...

Nobody seems to have defined material.

A mentalistic world is a world in which mental explanations are fundamental explanations.

Think about biological explanations, which might include teleology. These are considered naturalistic because they are not basic explanations. But if there is a mental explanation, naturalism requires that it not be a fundamental explanation.

Hugo Pelland said...

I did actually, the material is:
From our point of view, as material human beings, it's what we perceive with our senses.

It's not deleting the mental, it's embracing the fact that the mental comes as a consequence of this experience.

The mental is a basic explanation because you assume that the mental is a base existence. But why don't you even try to consider the material as a base existence?

You might find a flaw, and I would love to hear it.
But so far I have never ever heard any, and I do see flaws in the primacy of consciousness, as expressed above.

Victor Reppert said...

You use the term material to define it. That doesn't define anything. If I didn't know what material meant to begin with, I still don't know.

Hugo Pelland said...

This is bizarre honestly. Here we are, we are all people who can smell, touch, taste, hear, see things, or at least some of these 5 things; basically we are all humans with bodies and these bodies are experiencing things, sensing things. We can interact using these same senses and, because of thousands of generations of humans before us, have really efficient tools to do so. Through these interactions, we can agree not only on labels to describe what we perceive directly with our senses but also on labels that are used to describe things we can only think about, and not perceive with our senses: material things and mental things. The labels we use to make a difference between what we perceive outside of our body versus what we think of, inside our private mental palace, our mind.

So what's wrong with saying that from our point of view, as human beings, the material is what we perceive with our senses? I even re-arranged the words a bit to make it clear that it's not actually using the word material to define the material...

Moreover, what is the mental anyway in your world? Was that it: "For something to be really material, it has to be lacking in logic."

Victor Reppert said...

OK, some people say that they perceive God with their senses. Does that make God material? I perceived a whole bunch of thing when I was dreaming last night. Are they material?

Victor Reppert said...

What about what I perceive through introspection. Is that material? I am aware of the thoughts of what I am going to write here before I write it. Is that of something material?

Do material entities entail other material entities?

Do they have perspectives. If I perceive something one way and you perceive it the other, is it the same material thing?

Hugo Pelland said...

People actually seeing things, not hallucinating, are necessarily perceiving material things, yes. I don't know why they would call any of that God; seems like a different topic.

Dreams are not perception of the world around us. They are memories, mental images, sounds. Therefore, no, you did not perceive anything during your sleep, you just experienced your own mental memories, which are based on prior material perceptions.

I get that the word 'perceive' can be imperfect here, as it feels like we perceive things when we sleep, but I meant the literal perception of objective reality: the material world we experience. f you have a better word, let me know, but I was very clear: we are all people who can smell, touch, taste, hear, see things, or at least some of these 5 things; basically we are all humans with bodies and these bodies are experiencing things, sensing things. So why would you mention dreams anyway?

I think I know the answer but that is putting words in your mouth, so correct me if I am wrong: you consider that perceptions of the mental is in and of itself a base reality. Because you accept the primacy of consciousness. Therefore, the mental things you are thinking about exists, regardless of the non-mental world that these things may or may not map to. In other words, things that you think about exists (primary) and they may or may not point to things that also exists physically (secondary).

I had started to write that before you wrote the 2nd part, and interestingly enough, it seems that it addresses it already.

Joe Hinman said...

Jesus mytherism is a symptom of one dimensional man

Victor Reppert said...

My thought about a unicorn exists, even if there are no unicorns.

But isn't it possible that material objects do not exist? That is to say, we appear to interact with an external material world, but either it doesn't exist, or it is very different from what we think it is? If I doubt my own mind, I strike an immediate incoherence. If I doubt the physical world I end up with a lot of weirdness, but nothing incoherent.

Hugo Pelland said...

But how can you think of a unicorn in the first place? What bits & pieces are you thinking about to come up with a concept that doesn't exist in reality, but that we can still discuss?

Yes, for you, it's possible that material objects do not exist, because you assume the primacy of consciousness. Don't tou think that's a problem?

But not on my assumption since that's exactly what I start with, as basic assumption for what it means to exist. So it cannot possibly be the case that material objects don't exist. Plus, if I get to a point where I doubt my own mind, then you are correct, that would be incoherent. But it's not the case. My mind is easy to account for actually. See above, or ask for more... and tell me what's incoherent.

To be clear, I am not trying to convince you; that would be foolish of me. What I am looking for is why you think my assumption is wrong, or the deductions that follow. It would be nice to come to a specific point where we just have to agree to disagree, but I have never been able to pinpoint that.

Jimmy S. M. said...

Vic:

"A mentalistic world might include God alone. But it also could include created spirit beings."

If I was a non-physical being in a non-physical world that would be very strong evidence for the primacy of the non-physical(whatever that is).

So as a physical being in a physical world, I consider that very strong evidence for the primacy of the physical.

Victor Reppert said...

But if the world is a physical world, then all my thoughts are the products of nonrational causes, and science is impossible. If the physical is primary, and the physical is defined to exclude the mental at the basic level, then, we don't use logic and science is impossible.

On the other hand, the primacy of the material, as Hugo defines it, and the primacy of the mental, as I define it, can be reconciled through panpsychism. As Stoljar writes in the Stanford article.

Imagine the possibility of panpsychism, i.e. the possibility that all the physical objects of our acquaintance are conscious beings just as we are. Would physicalism be true in that situation?

That would reconcile physicalism and the primacy of the mental. Care to go there?

Jimmy S. M. said...

"But if the world is a physical world, then all my thoughts are the products of nonrational causes, and science is impossible."

I realize that's your hobby horse per Lewis, Plantinga, but that seems to me to simply be a non-sequitur. I'm ok with our maps and models simply having better or worse explanatory scope & power, predictive power. I don't see physicalism or even determinism to be an impediment to that. Rationality is the ability to recognize these differences and update our views accordingly.

"If the physical is primary, and the physical is defined to exclude the mental at the basic level, then, we don't use logic and science is impossible. "

I accept weak emergence- a system has properties as a whole that no smaller unit of the system has, so I don't see a problem.

"That would reconcile physicalism and the primacy of the mental. Care to go there?"

It's hard for me to even imagine what evidence would convince me of panpsychism

David Brightly said...

Victor: If the physical is primary, and the physical is defined to exclude the mental at the basic level, then, we don't use logic and science is impossible.

I'm afraid I have never understood this. There seems to be an assumption that logic is an exclusively mental phenomenon. But logic appears to be a species of law or rule following, and one thing we are confident of about the material is that, at least in macroscopic quantities, it observes laws.

Victor Reppert said...

The material obeys laws, but does it obey logical laws. If so, then why does Donald Trump, who according to materialism is a material being, contradict himself so much?

Victor Reppert said...

I accept weak emergence- a system has properties as a whole that no smaller unit of the system has, so I don't see a problem.

I accept weak emergence as well, but this weak emergence is too weak to support rational minds in a materialist universe. A brick wall is ten feet high even if the bricks in it are not ten feet high. OK. But in that case there is a way of "adding up" from the unit from the subunits to the system level. We don't have that with the mind.

Hugo Pelland said...

Victor said:
"But if the world is a physical world, then all my thoughts are the products of nonrational causes, and science is impossible. If the physical is primary, and the physical is defined to exclude the mental at the basic level, then, we don't use logic and science is impossible. "
Your thoughts are the products of your brain; they are representations of the material world. I don't see how that makes science, or using logic and reason, impossible. Again, the physical is not defined to exclude the mental, and it does explain the existence of the mental when we start with the physical as an assumed basic objective reality.

"On the other hand, the primacy of the material, as Hugo defines it, and the primacy of the mental, as I define it, can be reconciled through panpsychism. As Stoljar writes in the Stanford article.

Imagine the possibility of panpsychism, i.e. the possibility that all the physical objects of our acquaintance are conscious beings just as we are. Would physicalism be true in that situation?

That would reconcile physicalism and the primacy of the mental. Care to go there?
"

No, I don't see why I would go there as it's not using the definitions nor deductions I proposed. Again, I would appreciate critiques of what I actually believe and present here, for my own learning...

Regardless, it's also absurd as far as I can tell; we consider humans conscious beings because we interact with each other, we can use language, have abstract thoughts, etc... and some animals have some form of simpler consciousness, which we usually don't see as self-aware. But objects? I don't see the point at all.

"The material obeys laws, [...] "

It's already the 3rd time you mention this flawed statement here in this thread, regarding the material supposedly obeying laws. I disagree and you have not explained why I should accept your definition here.

The laws of physics are descriptive; they explain how things work based on experiments humans conducted. They represent, to the best of our knowledge, how things work and are expected to work in the future. In other words, the laws are pattern-recognition and some patterns are so stable over space and time that we label them 'laws'.

"The material obeys laws, but does it obey logical laws. If so, then why does Donald Trump, who according to materialism is a material being, contradict himself so much?"

First of all, we did not get to materialism yet, not at all. Materialism, as in 'all that exist is material' is an impossible claim to defend. Starting with the primacy of the material does not exclude the existence of anything else. It's an assumption of what exists, not of what does not exist.

Second, yes, Trump is material being, capable of mental thoughts, I suppose... but I am not sure I see the link with the discussion on existence here. Is it about one's ability to make contradictory statements in general? I wrote too much already so I will wait, and there's more below...

Hugo Pelland said...

" I accept weak emergence as well, but this weak emergence is too weak to support rational minds in a materialist universe. A brick wall is ten feet high even if the bricks in it are not ten feet high. OK. But in that case there is a way of "adding up" from the unit from the subunits to the system level. We don't have that with the mind. "

Yes we do! That's exactly the building blocks I was referring to earlier. You, as a human person with a brain, and thus a human mind, cannot possibly think of things you have never experienced at all. Your thoughts are entirely the result of your brain having had prior experiences of smaller bits and pieces of thoughts.

That's why people who can see UV light have such a hard time to describe what they see; our common language never had words for that. That's why we cannot really imagine how birds can "see" the magnetic field of the Earth. That's why we cannot think of squares with 3 sides. That's why we cannot think of literally nothing nor literal infinity. That's why mystic experiences are so strong and hard to explain; they are experiences the brain cause without external outputs, solely based on internal memories and feelings. That's why Mary in her black & white room could not possible know what colors looked like. That's why 3-year-olds cannot understand that other people also have thoughts; they have not built the foundation of their own theory of minds yet.

Of course it's not easy to pinpoint what the building blocks are, and there are tons of very complex examples to assess, but that would actually be the main way of disproving the theory of existence that I embrace; that's why it's falsifiable. If you could explain just 1 example of something purely non-material that we can think of, then the existence of some independent, purely non-material universe would be likely.

David Brightly said...

Does the material obey logical laws? It can do, if assembled in the right way. But can it be proven that consistency in one's public utterances is the optimum policy for achieving one's political aims? Or even a necessary component of a tolerably good policy? Being logical is valuable in many aspects of life but it isn't the dominant value.

Victor Reppert said...

Is the brain an entity? Given materialism, I can't see how it is. It is a composite of things we call a brain. But who are we? Brains? But we can't be brains, we can only be composites of things we call brains, needing an entity to do the "calling", as it were.

Hume puts it this way:

I answer, that the uniting of these parts into a whole, like the uniting of several distinct counties into one kingdom, or several distinct members into one body, is per|formed merely by an arbitrary act of the mind, and has no influence on the nature of things.

So, according to Hume's principle, there cannot be a brain unless there is a mind that performs the arbitrary act of putting it together. So, in order for there to even be a brain, there has to be a mind that is not a brain.

Hugo Pelland said...

Why are you not addressing the points I, and others, made?

Going to the next thread to answer your comment...

Victor Reppert said...

What is a piece of a thought? Is it a physical state? If so, its thought content is not given in the physical description, so how can it even be a piece of a thought?

Experience is even itself hard to capture with physicalism because it entails a perspective. Scientific descriptions of mental states, if they follow the no-skyhook rule, do not include anyone's perspective, they are third person. In fact, before you get minds, everything has only a third person description. And the laws governing the atoms don't change once a mind arrives. My computer does a lot of mental stuff by I don't attribute to it any first-person states. It can be the crap out of me in chess but will never experience the thrill of victory, or the agony of defeat when I occasionally beat it.

Victor Reppert said...

Material systems follow logical laws when intelligently designed to do so.

Hugo Pelland said...

Answers in the newer thread to avoid following two...

Stardusty Psyche said...

Victor Reppert said...

" What is a piece of a thought?"
A thought is a dynamic brain process.

" Is it a physical state? "
It is a process of physical states.

"If so, its thought content is not given in the physical description,"
Is there a flower in your computer? Is there a picture of a flower in your computer? How is it that you can open a file on your computer and see an image of a flower?

The computer stores the image of the flower symbolically. There is an analog of the flower stored in the computer. A complicated set of dynamic processes allowed a real flower to be "seen", converted into signals, stored in analog form, and reconstituted as an image.

" so how can it even be a piece of a thought?"
I suggest you cease looking for a single piece of a thought as thought thinking were a static object to be dissected and viewed under a microscope.

" My computer does a lot of mental stuff by I don't attribute to it any first-person states. It can be the crap out of me in chess but will never experience the thrill of victory, or the agony of defeat when I occasionally beat it."
How do you know our machines will never achieve consciousness and experience first person states?


April 28, 2017 11:41 AM

Stardusty Psyche said...

Stardusty Psyche said...

Victor Reppert said...

" The principle of non-contradiction is not a provisional postulate, it is a necessary truth based in reality."
Please prove it from first principles that are not themselves founded on provisional postulates.

" If it isn't, we are screwed. Our science is about cloud cuckoo land, not reality."
Please prove I am not god and you are not a figment of my divine imagination.

" Reality is fundamentally intelligible,"
Again, please prove this from first principles that are not themselves provisional postulates.

" If you say we agree to the convention, that implies we could have done otherwise. We can't. We bump up against reality,"
We who? Some people live, so to speak, in a world of their own reality. We consider them insane, but they consider us insane. If you were insanely delusional and thought you were sane could you necessarily discover your own insanity?

" When we agree to conventions, we could have done otherwise."
Indeed, and over history other conventions have been agreed to different from our modern conventions, and I think prudence calls for the possibility that future conventions will be different from present conventions.

" When we are facing reality, we cannot do otherwise without, well, scraping ourselves against reality."
Please prove your perceived reality is really real based on first principles that are not themselves provisional postulates.

One thing I like about the presuppositional interrogation technique is its similarity to the child incessantly demanding "why" "why" "why" "how do you know" how do you know" "how do you know". Descartes did something similar, finally doubting himself all the way back to cogito ergo sum. But he found himself unable to build back up again, nor has anybody been able to since.

Our absolute truths are founded on our self awareness. I know of none that extend further outward beyond certainty that there is an existence as opposed to absolutely nothing at all.

The rest is provisional postulates and convention. Perhaps we are screwed, but there it is.


April 18, 2017 3:39 PM
https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=10584495&postID=4839252914440044297

April 18, 2017 6:00 PM Delete

David Brightly said...

Victor, are you sure you want to say that your computer does mental stuff? I would have thought that undermines the thesis of the exclusivity of the physical and the mental. In my view your computer has absolutely nothing of the mental about it.

Victor Reppert said...

It produces the behavioral equivalent of the mental stuff, to be more exact.

Stardusty Psyche said...

Victor Reppert said...

" It produces the behavioral equivalent of the mental stuff, to be more exact."
By "stuff" I presume you mean "process" as opposed to "material".

Yes, I can add numbers and communicate a result. So can my computer. We know the underlying mechanisms are different material arrangements but I see no reason to suppose either is anything other than a process of material.


In the OP you repeat and expand upon a number of postulates you say are not postulates, yet you offer no logical proof of these assertions from first principles that are not themselves postulates.

Logic is founded on postulates, which are inherently provisional. Math is founded on such postulates. The intelligibility of the universe is itself a postulate, sometimes called the postulate of the basic reliability of the human senses.

"The principle of non-contradiction is not a provisional postulate, it is a necessary truth based in reality."
Please provide your fist principle proof of this assertion.

" If it isn't, we are screwed."
Tough luck for us then.

" Our science is about cloud cuckoo land, not reality."
Please prove your perception of reality is really real.

" Logic is ontologically prior to the material world. "
Please prove this from first principles. If there were absolutely no material existence of any sort where exactly would your Platonic logics reside?

"Reality is fundamentally intelligible,"
Please prove this (prove you are not god dreaming)

" and at the foundation of everything is a rational, not a material explanation"
Please prove this (prove that rationality can somehow exist prior to and without any sort of material existence)


April 29, 2017 5:43 PM