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Thread: When does proving one's truth claims come to an end?

  1. #241
    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tassman View Post
    What “limitation” does science have? “Empirical facts” exist in the natural physical world and all knowledge of the natural world is potentially capable of being verified or falsified by observation or experiment. The only “limitations” would be if you reject the notion of a purely physical natural world and posit the incoherent notion of a dualistic world.
    Science is based on a given methodology and set of assumptions. It is suited to investigate certain aspects of reality much better than other aspects of reality. These facts are open to many different metaphysical interpretations. They do not necessarily lead to metaphysical dualism or supernaturalism or any other metaphysical position. Science is a human endeavor that is extremely successful and powerful within its domain of expertise, but like all human endeavors, it is not all-powerful. It is a given cognitive project within a given cognitive scope. It does not possess a mysticalmagical decoder ring to all of the knowledge of all of reality. It is important to regard it in light of its metaphysical foundations and its sociological and historical setting. It is a human, not a super-human, endeavor.

    Science investigates extrinsic, third-person repeatable phenomena that are generally spatial and mathematically analyzable. It investigates properties that have structural, relational expression. It is best-suited to investigate phenomena in terms of their structure and their dynamics.



    Science can also “uncover new conceptual facts about the world, new hitherto undiscovered entailments and implications” but, unlike philosophy, it can test their veracity via experimentation. Or, are you suggesting that philosophy exists in a vacuum?
    That's a glob of confusion I don't even want to wade into right now. I feel like I'm debating a member of the "Scientific Taliban". And no, as I've said before, philosophy doesn't exist in a vacuum. It requires sense data and science.



    No, YOU are the one implying that there’s more than the natural world so, what can that “more” be if not ‘super-natural’?
    You have no idea WHAT I'm implying. You keep trying to force me into the 'straw man' slot you want me to fit into. This is a perfect example of why consciousness is primarily a conceptual and not an empirical issue and why it's so plagued with misconceptions.

  2. #242
    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    Jim justified what? You have plied assertion on assertion. You have not defined "the good" apart from circular reasoning. Look, this is the bottom line. God by nature offers a source for immutable, absolute ethics that are both universal and enforceable. I don't see how you get there. Perhaps if you lay out your argument in a straight forward deductive syllogism it would be easier for me to follow your argument.
    It's difficult to boil them down to syllogisms. I'll try to put a few of them into argument form. But first here's an excerpt from an article from the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy about Kai Nielsen's argument against the Divine Command Theory:

    For a command of God’s to be relevant to our moral obligations in any particular instance, God must be good. And while the religious believer does maintain that God is good, Nielsen wants to know the basis for such a belief. In response, a believer might claim that she knows God is good because the Bible teaches this, or because Jesus embodied and displayed God’s goodness, or that the world contains evidence in support of the claim that God is good. However, these responses show that the believer herself has some logically prior criterion of goodness based on something apart from the mere fact that God exists or that God created the universe. Otherwise, how does she know that her other beliefs about the Bible, Jesus, or the state of the world support her belief that God is good? Alternatively, the religious believer might simply assert that the statement “God is good” is analytic, that is, that it is a truth of language. The idea here is that we are logically prohibited from calling any entity “God” if that entity is not good in the relevant sense. In this way, the claim “God is good” is similar to the claim “Bachelors are unmarried males.” But now another problem arises for the religious believer, according to Nielsen. In order to properly refer to some entity as “God,” we must already have an understanding of what it is for something to be good. We must already possess a criterion for making judgments of moral goodness, apart from the will of God. Put another way, when we say that we know God is good we must use some independent moral criterion to ground this judgment. So, morality is not based on God because we need a criterion of goodness that is not derived from God’s nature. It follows that God and morality are independent.

  3. #243
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    Jim justified what? You have plied assertion on assertion. You have not defined "the good" apart from circular reasoning. Look, this is the bottom line. God by nature offers a source for immutable, absolute ethics that are both universal and enforceable. I don't see how you get there. Perhaps if you lay out your argument in a straight forward deductive syllogism it would be easier for me to follow your argument.
    These aren't straightforward deductive syllogisms, but I've tried to lay them out in argument form:

    1. If God is identical to the Good, then the Good cannot be understood in terms of anything else that could make it good, like compassion, love, justice, etc.
    2. 1. is true because if the Good could be understood in terms of other things making it good, then the Good would be logically dependent on those things.
    3. If the Good were logically dependent on those things, then there would be a standard of goodness logically independent of God.
    4. If there were a standard of goodness logically independent of God, then God would not be identical to the Good.
    5. But if 1., 2., and 3. are true, then the Good lacks any property that could make it good. The Good would therefore be unintelligible.
    6. If 'the Good' were unintelligible,' there would be no reason to call it good as that word is normally used. "The Good" would simply mean "what God is."
    7. There would therefore be no reason to identify God with the 'Good' as that word is normally used.


    1. 'Torturing puppies for fun' is wrong because it causes needless suffering and because it is cruel and unjust; that is, there are reasons why the torturing is wrong.
    2. If there are reasons why 'torturing puppies for fun' is wrong, then there are reasons for the moral wrongness and rightness of some actions.
    3. If 2. is true, these reasons would be logically independent of any individual, including God.
    4. If 3. is true, then God is not the source of morality.


    1. Morality, including moral deliberation and responsibility, free will and the individual as rational agent all require a crucial role played by reasons and reasoning.
    2. We normally analyze why something is good or right or ought or ought not to be done through the use of reasons.
    3. Reasons are why morality is not just a matter of instinct or rote memorization but of rational deliberation.
    4. Because what is good and right are essentially connected to reasons, there is a rational standard for what is good and right.
    5. This standard is equally demonstrable and accessible (ideally) to all rational individuals.
    6. Because of 5. this standard is logically independent of any such individual.
    7. God is such an individual.
    8. This standard is logically independent of God.

  4. #244
    tWebber Tassman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    Science is based on a given methodology and set of assumptions. It is suited to investigate certain aspects of reality much better than other aspects of reality.
    There are not degrees of reality – merely reality. So, what parts of “reality” are you suggesting cannot be investigated by scientific methodology - why can they not be so investigated?

    You have no idea WHAT I'm implying. You keep trying to force me into the 'straw man' slot you want me to fit into. This is a perfect example of why consciousness is primarily a conceptual and not an empirical issue and why it's so plagued with misconceptions.
    All mental phenomena are ultimately physical phenomena. To deny this is to claim a non-material component to the natural world. So, please explain how consciousness is primarily a conceptual and not an empirical issue. If it’s not ultimately physical what is it?
    “He felt that his whole life was a kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.” - Douglas Adams.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    These aren't straightforward deductive syllogisms, but I've tried to lay them out in argument form:

    1. 'Torturing puppies for fun' is wrong because it causes needless suffering and because it is cruel and unjust; that is, there are reasons why the torturing is wrong.
    2. If there are reasons why 'torturing puppies for fun' is wrong, then there are reasons for the moral wrongness and rightness of some actions.
    3. If 2. is true, these reasons would be logically independent of any individual, including God.
    4. If 3. is true, then God is not the source of morality.

    Let's take one syllogism at a time. First, how can reasons be independent of any individual since it takes an individual to formulate reasons? One has to first assume that needless suffering is unjust (a moral consideration) before you can launch into the argument. But why should anyone accept that? Is it not one's natural inclinations that causes one to feel that way? If not what does? What if one's inclination is to see the suffering of others as a good if that benefits him? He too can offer reasons. Reasons can not be independent if they are first grounded in an assumption since assumptions are not objective.
    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 your execution...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqgC1tqifV8

  6. #246
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tassman View Post
    There are not degrees of reality – merely reality. So, what parts of “reality” are you suggesting cannot be investigated by scientific methodology - why can they not be so investigated?
    I didn't say degrees of reality; I said aspects of reality. Something can be singular in nature and present various aspects. There are no imaginable ways for science to investigate matters of values, meaning or purpose, or the 'ultimate' questions such as the reason for existence or if there is a reason for existence, or the reason for one's own existence or the meaning of life. Or why there is anything rather than nothing at all or questions about being itself. Or matters of ethics or aesthetics or intrinsic properties.

    I can already anticipate your responses because we've been around this merry-go-round a few times before:

    1.) How do you know that science can't answer such questions? Because of the nature of science, its methodologies, its working assumptions, etc., there is no conceivable way for the sciences the way they are constituted now to be able to address these matters. All we have to go on is what we have the best reasons to think is the case . If science could expand its assumptions to be able to address these matters, then it would become something else, and the name "science" the way that word is currently used wouldn't strictly apply.

    2.) These are non-scientific questions and therefore they are illegitimate questions. They don't count. I hope you can see that this is circular reasoning and question-begging. You're rigging it so that your thesis, that science can explain everything, cannot even conceivably be falsified.

    All mental phenomena are ultimately physical phenomena. To deny this is to claim a non-material component to the natural world. So, please explain how consciousness is primarily a conceptual and not an empirical issue. If it’s not ultimately physical what is it?
    But you see, you have to explain what you mean when you say that "All mental phenomena are ultimately physical phenomena." It doesn't have a clear sense. Do you mean that all mental phenomena are caused by physical phenomena, or are strictly identical? Type identical or token identical? You said earlier that consciousness was an 'illusion,' which suggests that you're really an eliminativist. Which is it? This is why I keep saying that this is first and foremost a CONCEPTUAL matter. We first have to have some glimmer of an idea what we're talking about. If we don't, all the empirical data in the world is, as Raymond Tallis calls it, just 'neuro-trash' and 'neuro-hype'. It's not my job to explain what it is. I'm saying that there's a problem with the scientific reduction of consciousness. You're the one making the positive assertion that "All mental phenomena are ultimately physical phenomena." That's a bold statement. You've taken the burden squarely, confidently, upon yourself.
    Last edited by Jim B.; 02-19-2020 at 01:03 PM.

  7. #247
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    Let's take one syllogism at a time. First, how can reasons be independent of any individual since it takes an individual to formulate reasons? One has to first assume that needless suffering is unjust (a moral consideration) before you can launch into the argument. But why should anyone accept that? Is it not one's natural inclinations that causes one to feel that way? If not what does? What if one's inclination is to see the suffering of others as a good if that benefits him? He too can offer reasons. Reasons can not be independent if they are first grounded in an assumption since assumptions are not objective.
    Reasons are normative, in other words they can be assessed in terms of whether or not they were ideally justified. In that sense, reasons are different from psychological motivations which spring from personal, psychological causes. So I had reasons to refrain from torturing that puppy for fun when my friends were urging me to join them. The reasons weren't merely because I was squeamish or didn't feel like it, but because of the reasons I talked about. So those reasons are logically independent of me and my personal psychology.

    If I have those reasons to refrain from the torture, it's because I believe that needless suffering, cruelty and injustice are bad things. Those bad things are analyzable in terms of other bad things that ultimately can be explained in terms of real objective values (normative realism). You can't depend on 'natural inclinations' for an explanation of morality, because people have natural inclinations for self-preservation, greed, lust, fear, anger, as well as sharing, love etc. So inclinations cannot be the 'cause,' reason motivated by volition is the cause.

    The torturer can't usually offer 'reasons'; he can offer motivations, like "I like to do it" "It feels good," etc.

    Every explanation, even yours, ends with some brute inexplicable fact, ie Why is God good? Why is justice good and injustice bad in God's view?

    The basic argument is that if the wrongness of wrong action A is connected to reasons R, then that poses a problem for the idea that A is wrong simply because God says that it is wrong. If wrongness is entirely dependent on God and His nature, then R would be entirely unrelated to wrongness.

  8. #248
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    Reasons are normative, in other words they can be assessed in terms of whether or not they were ideally justified. In that sense, reasons are different from psychological motivations which spring from personal, psychological causes. So I had reasons to refrain from torturing that puppy for fun when my friends were urging me to join them. The reasons weren't merely because I was squeamish or didn't feel like it, but because of the reasons I talked about. So those reasons are logically independent of me and my personal psychology.

    If I have those reasons to refrain from the torture, it's because I believe that needless suffering, cruelty and injustice are bad things. Those bad things are analyzable in terms of other bad things that ultimately can be explained in terms of real objective values (normative realism). You can't depend on 'natural inclinations' for an explanation of morality, because people have natural inclinations for self-preservation, greed, lust, fear, anger, as well as sharing, love etc. So inclinations cannot be the 'cause,' reason motivated by volition is the cause.

    The torturer can't usually offer 'reasons'; he can offer motivations, like "I like to do it" "It feels good," etc.

    Every explanation, even yours, ends with some brute inexplicable fact, ie Why is God good? Why is justice good and injustice bad in God's view?

    The basic argument is that if the wrongness of wrong action A is connected to reasons R, then that poses a problem for the idea that A is wrong simply because God says that it is wrong. If wrongness is entirely dependent on God and His nature, then R would be entirely unrelated to wrongness.
    Jim it seems to me that you are just defining terms to support your position. So let's drill down, your reasons against torturing puppies for fun is grounded in the belief that needless suffering is wrong. So let's begin there - why is needless suffering wrong? If that is not a natural or culturally induced inclination, what is it? Exactly.
    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 your execution...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqgC1tqifV8

  9. #249
    tWebber Tassman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    I didn't say degrees of reality; I said aspects of reality. Something can be singular in nature and present various aspects. There are no imaginable ways for science to investigate matters of values, meaning or purpose, or the 'ultimate' questions such as the reason for existence or if there is a reason for existence, or the reason for one's own existence or the meaning of life. Or why there is anything rather than nothing at all or questions about being itself. Or matters of ethics or aesthetics or intrinsic properties.
    You are begging the question by assuming there is a “reason for one's own existence” or a “meaning of life”. There is no objective basis for such assumptions. Any “meaning” we obtain in life is subjective and grounded in our evolved instincts.
    “He felt that his whole life was a kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.” - Douglas Adams.

  10. #250
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tassman View Post
    You are begging the question by assuming there is a “reason for one's own existence” or a “meaning of life”. There is no objective basis for such assumptions. Any “meaning” we obtain in life is subjective and grounded in our evolved instincts.
    I didn't assume there is a reason. I assumed that they are legitimate matters to ponder about. And you are providing a (possible) causal account of human cognitive capacity for thinking about meaning. I was referring to the meanings themselves. Causal reduction is not ontological reduction. And even your causal account is far from being established. You are representing one theory as if it is definitively established fact, so you are the one who once again begs the question.

    If you ever want to get back to talking about consciousness, let me know...

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