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Thread: Underlying Presuppositions

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    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Underlying Presuppositions

    In a recent (extended) discussion with Seer, the issue of presuppositions/assumptions came up. The suggestion was made that we have differing presuppositions, making it difficult (impossible?) for a discussion between worldviews. That has had me thinking a bit. So I thought I would toss the question out there. If you had to identify the core presuppositions underlying your worldview, what would you put on the list. These are the things you start with as assumptions - not the things you conclude.

    I have several things on my list:

    1. The laws of logic and mathematics are immutable, universal, and eternal.
    2. The universe is intelligible - it operates according to principles that can be codified and understood.
    3. I have the ability to use my five senses to (imperfectly) collect information about the reality of the universe.
    4. I have the (imperfect) capacity to reason and process that information to arrive at conclusions.
    5. Because my sensing and reasoning is imperfect, I should check my reasoning against that of others as much and as often as possible. That will help me to find flaws in my reasoning.
    6. Because of 3) and 4), it is never possible to be 100% certain about any conclusion.
    7. I should never add something to an explanation that is not strictly necessary to arrive at the conclusion (Occam's Razor)


    Sitting here, writing quickly, that's my initial list. Does yours add or exclude anything? I would like to see if the various worldviews can find a common starting point we all agree on that makes it possible to communicate more easily.
    The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy...returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

    -Martin Luther King

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    tWebber shunyadragon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    In a recent (extended) discussion with Seer, the issue of presuppositions/assumptions came up. The suggestion was made that we have differing presuppositions, making it difficult (impossible?) for a discussion between worldviews. That has had me thinking a bit. So I thought I would toss the question out there. If you had to identify the core presuppositions underlying your worldview, what would you put on the list. These are the things you start with as assumptions - not the things you conclude.

    I have several things on my list:

    1. The laws of logic and mathematics are immutable, universal, and eternal.
    2. The universe is intelligible - it operates according to principles that can be codified and understood.
    3. I have the ability to use my five senses to (imperfectly) collect information about the reality of the universe.
    4. I have the (imperfect) capacity to reason and process that information to arrive at conclusions.
    5. Because my sensing and reasoning is imperfect, I should check my reasoning against that of others as much and as often as possible. That will help me to find flaws in my reasoning.
    6. Because of 3) and 4), it is never possible to be 100% certain about any conclusion.
    7. I should never add something to an explanation that is not strictly necessary to arrive at the conclusion (Occam's Razor)


    Sitting here, writing quickly, that's my initial list. Does yours add or exclude anything? I would like to see if the various worldviews can find a common starting point we all agree on that makes it possible to communicate more easily.
    I will agree with 2 through 7, but #1 needs more clarification, and I cannot accept it as worded. I consider the Laws of logic and math to be human constructs from human intellect and rational relationships. Math evolved as part of our tool box and is valid as long as it is usefully descriptive, as in science, and every day life since the first pre-humans began counting things.
    Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
    Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
    But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

    go with the flow the river knows . . .

    Frank

    I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

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    tWebber Starlight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    The laws of logic and mathematics are immutable, universal, and eternal.
    I would weaken this slightly to granting the possibility that these may have come into existence some time 'prior' to our universe and thus that there may exist a point beyond which we cannot reason.

    The universe is intelligible - it operates according to principles that can be codified and understood.
    I would also weaken this one to say that using my intelligence is how I understand things and how our human society does so, and thus how we have learned much about the universe and how it appears to work. (Thus backing away from the assertion that the universe in its entirety necessarily works in this way)

    I should never add something to an explanation that is not strictly necessary to arrive at the conclusion (Occam's Razor)
    I can't put my finger on why, but I don't like this phrasing of it, but I agree with the general gist of it.

    Does yours add or exclude anything?
    8) I exist (I directly experience my own existence, ergo I exist).
    9) Qualia / subjective conscious experience exists.
    10) The past is/was real and my memory is at least a somewhat reliable guide to it - i.e. for pragmatism's sake and for the sake of not going bonkers I choose to assume that the past indeed exists and that I wasn't spontaneously created a second ago with fake memories of the past put into my head.
    11) That the world I perceive around me and the people I interact with are at least somewhat real (and thus worth interacting with, as opposed to say, ignoring).

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    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shunyadragon View Post
    I will agree with 2 through 7, but #1 needs more clarification, and I cannot accept it as worded. I consider the Laws of logic and math to be human constructs from human intellect and rational relationships. Math evolved as part of our tool box and is valid as long as it is usefully descriptive, as in science, and every day life since the first pre-humans began counting things.
    What I mean by #1 is that the laws of mathematics are dependent on a sentient mine to be articulated, but they reflect an objective reality that is not. These foundational laws (e.g., law of identity, etc.) are a priori true without a need for proof and have always and every been so (in this universe, anyway). In other words, if someone proposes that "2 is not equal to 2" is a true statement, I will question their sanity, not the mathematical proposition. Same with the basic laws of logic. Indeed, my mind cannot grasp a hypothetical universe in which they are NOT true.

    I explicitly did NOT include the so-called "laws of nature." Some of them we do NOT know are universal, and we do not know if there are other possible universes in which they do not apply.
    The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy...returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

    -Martin Luther King

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    tWebber seer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    In a recent (extended) discussion with Seer, the issue of presuppositions/assumptions came up. The suggestion was made that we have differing presuppositions, making it difficult (impossible?) for a discussion between worldviews. That has had me thinking a bit. So I thought I would toss the question out there. If you had to identify the core presuppositions underlying your worldview, what would you put on the list. These are the things you start with as assumptions - not the things you conclude.

    I have several things on my list:

    1. The laws of logic and mathematics are immutable, universal, and eternal.
    2. The universe is intelligible - it operates according to principles that can be codified and understood.
    3. I have the ability to use my five senses to (imperfectly) collect information about the reality of the universe.
    4. I have the (imperfect) capacity to reason and process that information to arrive at conclusions.
    5. Because my sensing and reasoning is imperfect, I should check my reasoning against that of others as much and as often as possible. That will help me to find flaws in my reasoning.
    6. Because of 3) and 4), it is never possible to be 100% certain about any conclusion.
    7. I should never add something to an explanation that is not strictly necessary to arrive at the conclusion (Occam's Razor)


    Sitting here, writing quickly, that's my initial list. Does yours add or exclude anything? I would like to see if the various worldviews can find a common starting point we all agree on that makes it possible to communicate more easily.
    Yes, the presupposition that the God of Scripture exists and gives the best explanation for why all your assumptions work and are possible.

    https://www.monergism.com/topics/apo...al-apologetics
    https://www.monergism.com/topics/apo...ental-argument
    Last edited by seer; 02-08-2018 at 01:14 PM.
    Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await our execution...

  6. Amen Jedidiah, Mountain Man amen'd this post.
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    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    Yes, the presupposition that the God of Scripture exists and gives the best explanation for why all your assumptions work and are possible.

    https://www.monergism.com/topics/apo...al-apologetics
    https://www.monergism.com/topics/apo...ental-argument
    Wow. THAT explains a great deal. If you start with this as a presupposition, rather than arriving at it as a conclusion, then it is essentially immune to examination and discussion with someone like me is essentially impossible. I wish I had known that earlier. We could have saved a lot of time. No WONDER you kept thinking I was asking you to examine things from the perspective of my worldview.
    The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy...returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

    -Martin Luther King

  8. Amen JimL amen'd this post.
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    tWebber 37818's Avatar
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    1. The laws of logic and mathematics are immutable, universal, and eternal.
    There is a more fundament presupposition to those - Existence itself. Which is presumed with them that those concepts are.

    Yes, the presupposition that the God of Scripture exists and gives the best explanation for why all your assumptions work and are possible.
    This presupposition typically presumes "God exists." But I will ask, do to the traditional arguments for God, why does existence need God? All the traditional arguments for God argue for God's existence, existence is presumed.

    So the problem is existence does not need God, God needs existence.

    The concept of 1 + 1 = 2 is a matter of existence. Why does item 1. need God to be true?

    To answer the question and to make arguments we need item 1. of the list.
    . . . the Gospel of Christ, for it is [the] power of God to salvation to every [one] believing, . . . -- Romans 1:16.

    . . . that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: . . . -- 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4.

    Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: . . . -- 1 John 5:1.

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    tWebber seer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    Wow. THAT explains a great deal. If you start with this as a presupposition, rather than arriving at it as a conclusion, then it is essentially immune to examination and discussion with someone like me is essentially impossible. I wish I had known that earlier. We could have saved a lot of time. No WONDER you kept thinking I was asking you to examine things from the perspective of my worldview.
    Carp, you do realize that presuppositions are accepted and not proven. And I'm not sure why we couldn't discuss things. For instance your claim that laws of logic and mathematics are immutable, universal, and eternal. You can not prove that, it is accepted at face value. And to me, a rational, logical Creator who is immutable, universal, and eternal best explains these truths.
    Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await our execution...

  11. Amen Mountain Man amen'd this post.
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    tWebber shunyadragon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    What I mean by #1 is that the laws of mathematics are dependent on a sentient mine to be articulated, but they reflect an objective reality that is not. These foundational laws (e.g., law of identity, etc.) are a priori true without a need for proof and have always and every been so (in this universe, anyway). In other words, if someone proposes that "2 is not equal to 2" is a true statement, I will question their sanity, not the mathematical proposition. Same with the basic laws of logic. Indeed, my mind cannot grasp a hypothetical universe in which they are NOT true.

    I explicitly did NOT include the so-called "laws of nature." Some of them we do NOT know are universal, and we do not know if there are other possible universes in which they do not apply.
    Thank you for your clarification. We are on the same page, but with some differences. I am uncomfortable dealing with absolutes as you described them. Some Laws of Logic and identity are relatively certain, and parallel the nature of our physical reality, but do not represent absolutes. I could potentially envision a universe in which ALL may not be true.
    Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
    Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
    But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

    go with the flow the river knows . . .

    Frank

    I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

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    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    My presupposition is that I am right and everyone else is wrong.

  14. Amen Leonhard, Cerebrum123 amen'd this post.

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