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Sci Fi Writer John C Wright on self-evidence, honesty and reason

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Mr Wright observes:


From time to time it is useful for sane men in an insane world to remind themselves of basic truths.
The first truth is that truth is true. A statement that there is no truth, if true, is false.

We know this truth is basic because without it, no question can be answered, not even the question of whether or not truth is true.
Truth is a subtle and complex topic, but what we mean by the word can be said in a short sentence using words of one syllable: Truth is when one says ‘it is’, and it is as one says.
The second conclusion springs immediately from the first. We know that truth is true because to say truth is untrue is illogical. A statement that truth is true is a self-evident statement, hence a true one. A statement that truth is untrue is a self-contradiction, hence false.
The second truth is that logic is valid. Nothing follows from a statement that logic is invalid.
By saying this, we are not attempting to convince any being who does not use reason to adopt the use of reason. The only point of the comment is to point out that whatever is undeniable is true.
Even to answer the question of whether or not reasoning is valid, we must use reason.
One is free to put aside reason, from time to time, I suppose: but when one does, nothing necessarily follows.
A third truth is that one ought to be honest. Honesty is a virtue one ought to practice. Anyone who says otherwise is dishonest.
Even to answer the question of whether or not honesty is a virtue one ought to practice, one ought to be honest. A dishonest answer to this question is not only untruthful and illogical, it is also vice.
In other cases, there may be an honest difference of judgment among rational men as to whether the particular dishonesty is expedient, justified, or mitigated, but not in this case.
This is the general cases that includes all others: if there is no rule against dishonesty at all, then there is no rule against dishonesty in the particular case.

It is time to call the gaslighting of our civilisation in order to undermine basic first truths and first duties of reason out for what it is. And, Mr Wright also has some choice words for that stunt:

Reminders of the obvious are useful and necessary in world where all our major public institutions are engaged in a reckless policy of gaslighting the public, that is, of saying obviously false, absurdly illogical, and morally repugnant things with an assumed air of nonchalance, as if you, dear reader, were the madman for not conforming to the appearance of a consensus.

The resemblance of such to things that too often have popped up here at UD but also pop up all around us like mushrooms after rain, is NOT coincidental. A civilisation that arrogantly turned its back on the heritage of Christendom, despising God, is reducing itself to utter irrationality.

What a surprise — NOT! END

42 Replies to “Sci Fi Writer John C Wright on self-evidence, honesty and reason

  1. 1
    kairosfocus says:

    Sci Fi Writer John C Wright on self-evidence, honesty and reason

  2. 2
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Notice, yet another undeniable, inescapable, self-evident, incorrigibly certainly known truth:

    From time to time it is useful for sane men in an insane world to remind themselves of basic truths.
    The first truth is that truth is true. A statement that there is no truth, if true, is false

    The legion of ideologies and worldviews pivoting on reducing truth to opinion, fail yet again.

    KF

  3. 3
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Skipping over the logic point for the moment, notice, too, how first duties of reason appear:

    A third truth is that one ought to be honest. Honesty is a virtue one ought to practice. Anyone who says otherwise is dishonest.

    Even to answer the question of whether or not honesty is a virtue one ought to practice, one ought to be honest. A dishonest answer to this question is not only untruthful and illogical, it is also vice.

    Moral, self-evident truth and expression of first duties to truth, justice, sound conscience, etc.

    KF

  4. 4
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Picking up on logic, money shot clip no. 3:

    The second truth is that logic is valid. Nothing follows from a statement that logic is invalid.
    By saying this, we are not attempting to convince any being who does not use reason to adopt the use of reason. The only point of the comment is to point out that whatever is undeniable is true.
    Even to answer the question of whether or not reasoning is valid, we must use reason.
    One is free to put aside reason, from time to time, I suppose: but when one does, nothing necessarily follows.

    This indicts our civilisation in our time.

    KF

    PS: Noticed this one:

    to be gullible about impossible things and skeptical about self-evident things is [deemed] the height of intellectual achievement. Wisdom is [perceived to be] folly.

  5. 5
    vmahuna says:

    Peace and joy. I read a LOT of History. And the problem with History is which bits are “true”. (Um, Europeans repeatedly came to North and South America before they were “discovered” by Columbus…) Certain things are rejected by the History Establishment, and so any non-compliant truth is declared to be false, by definition…
    The other major problem with History is what is now called “spin”. Germany’s Kaiser Bill was an evil, perhaps insane, man who is personally responsible for everything bad that happened during WWI… If any part of that is NOT True, then a huge body of mainstream History collapses. And mere mortals start asking questions they’re not supposed to ask.
    But back to the False claims that Europeans repeatedly came to the Americas before Columbus. When French missionaries came to what is now called Canada, they found a tribe who had a written language. Not knowing how to make paper, they wrote on birch bark. And so the missionaries and some of the locals translated portions of the New Testament into the local language and wrote the translation out on birch, which was carefully preserved and is currently held by a Canadian museum. One of the more surprising things that the missionaries found was that a number of technical words, including “Redeemer”, had corresponding words in the local language. This was all generally forgotten as the locals transitioned to French and English. Now skip ahead 300 years… Some amateur looking at the birch bark Bible noted that the alphabet used in the “Canadian” Bible was clearly Egyptian hieroglyphics. A quick check confirmed that this was true (It is True that the alphabet and the written words are Egyptian.). But this created another problem: from early in the Christian period until translation of the Rosetta Stone in the mid-19th Century NO ONE ON EARTH could read or write hieroglyphics…
    So, Mediterranean folk (or Space Aliens) MUST have come to Canada while the specific variant of hieroglyphs used by the Canadians was still in use. But that CANNOT be True because it contradicts a HUGE body of Established History. So the Bible still sits gently in the museum and NO ONE ever, ever, ever speaks in public about what is True, but must be False.

  6. 6
    kairosfocus says:

    VM, connections to the key and pivotal themes in the OP? KF

    PS: BTW, no competent history views the Kaiser as solely responsible for the needless catastrophe of 1914, though he and the German elites have more than their fair share.

  7. 7
    EDTA says:

    Vmahuna @ 5,

    Do you have the name of the document(s) written on the birch bark, and the name of the Canadian museum currently housing them? Thank you. (I googled some, and didn’t come up with anything.)

  8. 8
    Ed George says:

    The first truth is that truth is true. A statement that there is no truth, if true, is false.

    Agreed. But the existence of self-evident truth doesn’t mean that everything you declare to be a self-evident truth, is one. I’m pretty sure we have been over this before. If the premises that form the foundation of your “truth” are wrong then your “truth” may not be true.

  9. 9
    ET says:

    Ed George:

    If the premises that form the foundation of your “truth” are wrong then your “truth” may not be true.

    Agreed. But there has to be a solid case made that the premises are wrong.

  10. 10
    kairosfocus says:

    EG,

    you first overlook the import of the three key SET’s on the table here, one ontological, one logical, one moral. JCW (who is heavily influenced by Epictetus) has aptly pointed out that truth [that which says of what is, that it is etc . . . ] is undeniably real. Likewise, to deny the force of logic is instantly self-defeating and the duty of honesty is real, i.e. we are undeniably morally governed as a first truth. Where, a first point of honesty is the duty to truth and like onto it is the duty to justice, thus also duty to sound conscience, which undeniably provides a compass-sense regarding duty.

    Now, in haste to cast doubts on first principles and first duties of reason, on track record, your gambit is to suggest empty question-begging assertions on our part; in an attempt to impose the priority of selective hyperskepticism. In effect, prove to your satisfaction to arbitrary standard that first inescapable principles and duties of reason are so. But of course, you have long since been notified that the relevant duties are antecedent to and inescapably involved in any attempted proof. Indeed, your own attempted rebuttal implies appeal to first principles and duties of reason.

    Without distinct identity you cannot say or write anything, much less refer to any particular concrete or abstract entity; where distinct identity brings with it the triple cluster LOI, LEM, LNC.

    Similarly, without the first duties, there is no force in objection, and we are as free to ignore or slander as we would be to kill you to silence inconvenient objections. Moral government is an a priori of being a rational, responsible, significantly free creature. And without such freedom, reason collapses.

    That brings us back to the underlying nature of SET’s. True. Seen as true and necessarily so for one in a position to understand what is being claimed. Further, necessary on pain of immediate, patent absurdity on the attempted denial. (Other necessary truths can be shown so on examination of steps of consequence that reduce the denial to absurdity indeed, but that is not patent, e.g. demonstrating that the sides and diagonal of a square are incommensurate. To do such demonstrations, self-evident first principles and duties will be involved at every step.)

    So, no, the mere assertion that someone can propose a self evident truth of undefined character in error does not suffice to overturn the relevant specific SET’s on the table. Indeed, such brings the Josiah Royce truth to the fore, that error exists. Undeniably, not just as a matter of commonly recognised fact. The attempted denial, ~E, means that it is an error to assert E. The very possibility of error that motivates skeptical dismissals, turns on a SET and on the duty to truth and prudence requiring responsible warrant. Where, warrant for claims of knowledge can be explained:

    warrant is the process and result of so fulfilling cognitive duties of care that the said result is credibly true and reliable, worthy of being acted on — even, in those cases . . . the vast majority, in practice . . . that we cannot deliver utterly incorrigible certainty. Warrant, is not to be equated with mere persuasion, it is asking if the reason for a belief or opinion is sound or at least reliable (not, that we merely have a personal or collective right to it or that we may agree to accept it) . . . In effect, subjects S1 to Sn may agree to or hold a proposition p, but that is so far only opinion or belief that may be shared. They may also — a further step — be within epistemic rights to hold that p, but under certain circumstances . . . explored by Gettier and others . . . that personal justification and actual truth might be “accidentally” or otherwise “unreliably” connected due to circumstances faced by S1 to Sn that fail to justify independent of personalities and their particular situation. (For simple example, our visual, auditory and other senses can lose proper functionality or be in situations that create illusions, etc.) For p to be warranted (and notice the shift from subjects to the propositions), the connexion between epistemic rights and credible truth and reliability must not be accidental or personality/group-dependent. Warrant, in short, must be objective.

    Here, we see how so-called intersubjective consensus [or reducing n to 1, intrasubjective view] fails to warrant knowledge and truth, or for that matter to redefine such successfully. That is relativism, authoritarianism of the guild of relevant ideologues or “scholars” forming a new magisterium, or subjectivism and emotivism all fail.

    Similarly, Wiki has described (against known general ideological tendency) regarding objectivity:

    Objectivity is a philosophical concept of being true independently from individual subjectivity caused by perception, emotions, or imagination. A proposition is considered to have objective truth when its truth conditions are met without bias caused by a sentient subject.

    That is, we may profitably discuss degrees of truth:

    [i] subjective truth as perceived to be so by some individual or group (which is not at all to be dismissively equated with delusion or imagination or whim), with

    [ii] absolute truth which is true, the whole material truth and nothing but that truth (say, as known to God [who knows perfectly and completely]), and again with

    [iii] objective truth, i.e. what we [who are finite and fallible but rational . . . ] may have good warrant and even a duty to hold as credibly and reliably true independent of our particular subjectivity (given the adequacy of the warrants) but which is open in principle to sound correction.

    Yes, we are fallible but that does not render self evident first principles and first duties of reason suspect or dismissible at hyperskeptical whim.

    It is time for the cultural marxist and ultra-modernist [ aka post modern] gaslighting to cease.

    KF

    PS: Gaslighting? Yes, JCW is apt: Reminders of the obvious are useful and necessary in world where all our major public institutions are engaged in a reckless policy of gaslighting the public, that is, of saying obviously false, absurdly illogical, and morally repugnant things with an assumed air of nonchalance, as if you, dear reader, were the madman for not conforming to the appearance of a consensus . . . . [a sign of the insanity of our age is that] to be gullible about impossible things and skeptical about self-evident things is [deemed] the height of intellectual achievement. Wisdom is [perceived to be] folly.

    KF

  11. 11
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS, another writer long since observed:

    Rom 1:28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God or consider Him worth knowing [as their Creator], God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do things which are improper and repulsive, 29 until they were filled (permeated, saturated) with every kind of unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice and mean-spiritedness. They are gossips [spreading rumors], 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors [of new forms] of evil, disobedient and disrespectful to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful [without pity]. [AMP]

  12. 12
    BobRyan says:

    vmahuna @ 5

    There are other things that point to an interesting history that is mostly unknown in North America. In 1860, David Wyrick was excavating an burial mound in Newark, OH. If you’ve ever heard of one of these things is not like the other, there were actually three in this case. He found a Keystone, a stone bowl, and a Decalogue Stone. All three are of Jewish origin and no one knows how it got into a burial mound.

    http://www.jhmuseum.org/index......oly-stones

    In 1881, British archeologist Flinders Petrie was at a site near the great pyramids in Giza. He found a 4000 year old chunk of construction debris called core sample 7. It’s believed to be a plug of red granite drilled to form a door pivot. Drilled is the right word, not chiseled. The markings show they were able to drill through granite with a force that is 500 times greater than what we can do today.

    Ancient Egypt had the most powerful navy of its day and could have used currents to explore North America thousands of years before Columbus.

    http://www.theglobaleducationp.....dunn-3.php

    https://notestoponder.wordpress.com/tag/core-no-7-ancient-egypt/

  13. 13
    kairosfocus says:

    ET, just to argue implies the inescapable first truths and first duties of right reason. No person of significant understanding and awareness of conscience can be ignorant of such. Indeed, in objecting, whatever rhetorical force is deployed depends implicitly on our intuitive awareness of such principles and duties. They are inescapable first truths. KF

  14. 14
    DATCG says:

    KF,
    thx for the link 🙂 simplified and yet full of wisdom.

  15. 15
    Ed George says:

    KF

    JCW (who is heavily influenced by Epictetus) has aptly pointed out that truth [that which says of what is, that it is etc . . . ] is undeniably real.

    I don’t disagree with this. Truth exists.

    Likewise, to deny the force of logic is instantly self-defeating and the duty of honesty is real,

    I agree with the statement of logic. Properly used, logic can lead you to “truth”. The problem I have is with your use of logic to declare your self-evident truths. They rely on the factual truth of some premisses that have not been conclusively demonstrated.

    i.e. we are undeniably morally governed as a first truth.

    I agree that we all have something that we call a sense of morality. Where we disagree is where these rights and wrongs that fill this sense come from. You believe that they are objectively derived (come from God). I argue that they come from early teaching, repetition, feedback, reinforcement, indoctrination, reason, etc. All of the observable evidence and recorded human history much better supports my model than yours. Blaming all of this on human error is just denying the evidence before your eyes in favor of what you need to be true in order to continue to accept your worldview.

  16. 16
    Ed George says:

    ET

    Agreed. But there has to be a solid case made that the premises are wrong.

    No, the burden of proof lies with the person using these premisses to support his claim. With respect to the claim for objective morality, this burden has not been met.

  17. 17
    kairosfocus says:

    EG, you still refuse to acknowledge that in every step of every argument you make, there are implicit, inescapable appeals to known first principles and first duties of reason. Which, are antecedent to all proofs, as the very act of trying to prove or demonstrate must use these very same first things. From this, as JCW aptly summarised, we see that these first truths must be acknowledged before we can do anything with our rational, responsible mental faculties. It is the strength of that refusal in the teeth of what is manifest that is diagnostic. The conclusion we may freely take, is that such first principles lead to an import that you are determined to avoid ever yielding to. Worldview level, ideological question begging in short; which is then projected to those who point out that there are first principles and duties of reason that are inescapable and antecedent to any attempt to prove. KFKF

  18. 18
    Ed George says:

    KF

    EG, you still refuse to acknowledge that in every step of every argument you make, there are implicit, inescapable appeals to known first principles and first duties of reason.

    You are really having a difficult time following along. I have never denied the existence of truth. NEVER. All I have ever done is question your claims of certain things that you claim to be truths. But rather than addressing these, you keep insisting that I don’t accept the fact that that truths exist. Frankly, I can’t see the point in me wasting my time trying to talk to you when you repeatedly misrepresent what I say. I think I will bow out of this discussion. You may take pleasure from receiving praise from, and supporting, homophobes like Joe, but I prefer not to give people like him any air. When you want to have a serious discussion, let me know. Until then, bye.

  19. 19
    ET says:

    Ed George:

    With respect to the claim for objective morality, this burden has not been met.

    Of course there will always be the lunatic-fringe deniers. It’s to be expected.

  20. 20
    ET says:

    Ed George:

    I argue that they come from early teaching, repetition, feedback, reinforcement, indoctrination, reason, etc.

    The early teaching was derived from the objective morals. The repetition allowed changes to creep in. We know this happens just by looking at the evolution of languages. The feedback and indoctrination reinforces the changes. Then you come along and “reason” it all just happened due to something.

    All of the observable evidence and recorded human history much better supports my model than yours.

    What model? That somethings happened and we subjectively contrived morals from the events? Then we used feedback and indoctrination to reinforce that farce? Really?

  21. 21
    ET says:

    Ed George:

    You may take pleasure from receiving praise from, and supporting, homophobes like Joe, but I prefer not to give people like him any air.

    BWAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA- Dude, you are just an infant projectionist. You give me air? You are so freaking clueless.

    When you want to have a serious discussion, let me know.

    Why? Are you going to call a grown up and have them read what he writes? 😛 😎

  22. 22
    kairosfocus says:

    EG,

    it is quite clear that in every comment you make, you expect us to acknowledge truth, and a duty to correct errors.

    Similarly, to follow what is warranted or reasonable.

    That already shows the inescapable first duties of reason in action; duties that are antecedent to any attempted proofs, indeed the very attempt or expectation of proof or warrant assumes and necessarily involves these duties.

    Further to such, I draw attention to JCW’s summary on honesty:

    A third truth is that one ought to be honest. Honesty is a virtue one ought to practice. Anyone who says otherwise is dishonest.

    Even to answer the question of whether or not honesty is a virtue one ought to practice, one ought to be honest. A dishonest answer to this question is not only untruthful and illogical, it is also vice.

    Is it true or false (or meaningless, or delusional or whatever) that one ought to be honest? (Which includes duties to truth, warrant, prudence, right reason, justice.)

    KF

  23. 23
    kairosfocus says:

    PS would such duties change were we taught in early childhood otherwise? Think here of children raised up as part of a subculture of theft. Or, would we say instead, that these were being groomed in evil, a very wicked thing.

  24. 24
    Ed George says:

    KF

    it is quite clear that in every comment you make, you expect us to acknowledge truth, and a duty to correct errors.

    Again, when have I denied the existence of truth? You seem to think that proving the existence of truth proves your point. All I have argued is that some of the things that you have claimed to be true have not been proven beyond reasonable doubt.

    Here is my prediction. KF will dismiss my argument by claiming that I deny the existence of truth. Again. As I mentioned previously, there is no point in continuing this discussion as you are incapable of accurately representing, and thereby countering, my views.

  25. 25
    ET says:

    Ed George:

    KF will dismiss my argument by claiming that I deny the existence of truth.

    Or just reject it because it is nonsense. Have you found an adult to help you?

  26. 26
    kairosfocus says:

    EG, you are refusing to acknowledge the inescapability of certain truths regarding first duties of reason, even as every attempt to argue that you present turns on them. KF

  27. 27
    Ed George says:

    EG

    Here is my prediction. KF will dismiss my argument by claiming that I deny the existence of truth.

    KF

    EG, you are refusing to acknowledge the inescapability of certain truths regarding first duties of reason, even as every attempt to argue that you present turns on them.

    Prediction confirmed.

  28. 28
    vividbleau says:

    E.G.

    “Here is my prediction. KF will dismiss my argument by claiming that I deny the existence of truth.”

    But he did not dismiss your argument by claiming you deny the existence of truth!! He is referring to “certain truths “ It would be helpful if you would address the argument he is making not the one you think he is making.He is saying you by your objection you are affirming the very thing you deny.Just a friendly suggestion.

    Vivid

    Vivid

  29. 29
    kairosfocus says:

    Vivid [attn EG]:

    Prezactly, EG has unfortunately set up a strawman caricature which he is knocking down. Not realising, that even so, he is implying that we have duties of care to right reason, to truth, to prudence [so, warrant], etc.

    The point was, is, and remains, that the first principles and first duties of reason are inescapable, antecedent to any argument as any argument unavoidably pivots on these. They are therefore PRIOR TO DEMONSTRATIONS OR PROOFS. They are start-points of reasoning that any proofs, demonstrations, axiomatisations, inductive frameworks, bodies of knowledge etc must unavoidably rely on.

    Such is not question-begging [and explicit or implicit appeal to avoiding fallacies is of course a case of appeal to first duties of right reason . . . ], it is pointing out that one form of self evidence as to necessary truth is inescapability.

    The absurdity on attempted denial, comes by being forced to implicitly rely on what one wishes to deny or dismiss.

    That is and should be quite evident to a reasonably aware person; but, such duties point to reality root, worldview challenges that many will find unpalatable. That is, we need a good answer to bridging the IS-OUGHT gap in the world root. That points to needing the inherently good and utterly wise as the necessary being source of worlds.

    KF

  30. 30
    kairosfocus says:

    EG, Vivid is right. I spoke to CERTAIN– particular, identifiable — truths, not to truth in general. Truth, understood as that which says of what is, that it is; and of what is not, that it is not. The truths summarised as first principles and first duties of right reason, are inescapable, unavoidable, antecedent to attempted proofs or warrant. Such attempts must rely on the first principles and duties. They are canons of rational, responsible freedom, lurking in every rational act, thought or utterance we make. These, therefore, are part of the roots of any viable worldview. KF

    PS: For background, I again point here on http://nicenesystheol.blogspot.....u2_bld_wvu

  31. 31
    Ed George says:

    KF

    November 24, 2019 at 3:11 am
    EG, Vivid is right. I spoke to CERTAIN– particular, identifiable — truths, not to truth in general.

    Fair enough. If you concede that objective morality is not one of these “TRUTHS” then we can simply agree to disagree about their source.

  32. 32
    ET says:

    Ed George:

    If you concede that objective morality is not one of these “TRUTHS”…

    Why would he do that?

  33. 33
    kairosfocus says:

    EG, you saw a direct demonstration of the inescapable, so self-evident truth of first duties of reason; which are truths of moral character. It seems that you have a blind spot there. KF

    PS: Let’s note from JCW, again to see one way that is made plain:

    A third truth is that one ought to be honest. Honesty is a virtue one ought to practice. Anyone who says otherwise is dishonest.

    Even to answer the question of whether or not honesty is a virtue one ought to practice, one ought to be honest. A dishonest answer to this question is not only untruthful and illogical, it is also vice.

  34. 34
    Ed George says:

    KF, I believe that honesty is important for a stable society. Any third grader could reason this out from first principles. But that doesn’t mean that it is objectively true that we must be honest. It is just one of the rules we have to follow if we want to be welcome in society. If I chose to live by myself in a cabin in the hills I would have no obligation to be honest to the rare person that stumbled upon me.

    It is interesting that you picked the example of honesty. If there truly is a moral obligation for honesty, why doesn’t everyone here post under their real names? I would go further to assert that honesty is an excellent example of a value that we obtain through early teaching, repetition, indoctrination, feedback, repetition and rational extrapolation to possible consequences. I have never met a young child that has never lied through his/her baby teeth. They don’t stop doing this until they find out that the social consequences for lying are often more serious than what they are lying about.

  35. 35
    ET says:

    Ed George:

    I believe that honesty is important for a stable society.

    And yet you are not honest, Ed.

    I would go further to assert that honesty is an excellent example of a value that we obtain through early teaching, repetition, indoctrination, feedback, repetition and rational extrapolation to possible consequences.

    You must have skipped those lessons, Ed.

  36. 36
    kairosfocus says:

    EG,

    Besides the point. Generally speaking we have to be very carefully taught addition facts, times tables and key uses, even though these are necessary truths. How we may learn or grow in awareness regarding or contemplate something has nothing to do with whether it is true or inescapable.

    For example, it usually takes structured teaching experience and focussed reflection to appreciate the principle of distinct identity and its close corollaries. That has nothing to do with whether they are inescapable and self-evidently true. And, of course, there are a fair number of things we pick up in childhood that are anything but well warranted. Warrant and personal circumstances are categorically distinct, as has been pointed out to you several times.

    I remind, from Wiki speaking against ideological bent:

    Objectivity is a philosophical concept of being true independently from individual subjectivity caused by perception, emotions, or imagination. A proposition is considered to have objective truth when its truth conditions are met without bias caused by a sentient subject.

    Similarly, JCW’s point obtains regardless of how we mature enough to appreciate it. Let’s refocus:

    A third truth is that one ought to be honest. Honesty is a virtue one ought to practice. Anyone who says otherwise is dishonest.

    Even to answer the question of whether or not honesty is a virtue one ought to practice, one ought to be honest. A dishonest answer to this question is not only untruthful and illogical, it is also vice.

    That stands, regardless of our early childhood experiences, etc.

    ______________________

    ET,

    pardon, but no need to be snarky.

    KF

  37. 37

    .
    Ed at 34,

    [re: Ed on telling the truth]
    It is just one of the rules we have to follow if we want to be welcome in society. If I chose to live by myself in a cabin in the hills I would have no obligation to be honest to the rare person that stumbled upon me.

    Yes, you’ve been very concise on this feature of your belief system, and we understand you. If you live in a society then you have to tell the truth as a moral obligation to the consensus of that society (who collectively believe that people should tell the truth). But if you live out on your own, then you are your own consensus, and as you clearly say, you ”have no obligation” to tell the truth to some poor sap who might happen upon you.

    You’ve made yourself perfectly clear on this.

    And if that poor sap who happens to come upon you on your hill also happens to be of the fairer variety, with breasts and a vagina … well tough shit, eh Ed?

    I’ve asked you repeatedly if a woman being raped needed the consensus of a group in order to know for certain that the brutalization she feels is actually valid. That is certainly the belief you seem to espouse here. You promote this as the advanced and enlightened view of human life, and judging by your insistence, you apparently think others should follow your lead on the matter, particularly those god-fearers around you who still mistakenly believe that raping a woman is an immoral act whether or not there is even one other ‘effing human being on the entire surface of planet who thinks so.

    You’ve understandably refused to answer my question, of course, but you’ve certainly shed some light on the matter now. Whatever happens to that curvy sap who happens upon your hill, she can’t really say that what’s happening to her is “wrong”, per se, she’ll just have to keep in mind that what’s happening to her literally goes with the territory, and in this instance, she was merely on the “wrong” territory. As you say, there is no moral dilemma on your part, having acted on your decision. It’s just a geographic misfortune on her part. Hell, it could even be sheer dumb luck.

    But you view this whole thing as a trick question, a “loaded question” as you called it. We all know that you aren’t the type of man so hardened of heart that you would actually ever rape a woman (regardless of when and where she happens upon you). It’s just that you are the type who is hardened enough to think that you decide if it is wrong for her to be raped. It’s a deformity of reason, but I see you come here daily to sell it in public — and you seem to really enjoy it, with that special kind of superior arrogance: Does a woman being raped need the consensus of society in order to know for certain that the brutalization she feels is valid. Yes she does, but a man living by himself on a hill outside society can rape her without any moral obligation whatsoever.

    Frankly, given those answers, I can understand why you don’t like to engage “loaded questions”. You know, you might ought to think about just abandoning this whole big pitch you keep making for your moral superiority, and just deal with the science questions that come up. I think I’ve suggested this to you once before. If you choose to accept that suggestion, you are welcome to engage the subjects I’ve already brought up. You might remember I recently asked you about a particular prediction, various physical evidence, and some of the documented history of science itself.

  38. 38
    DATCG says:

    Upright,

    Well said.
    I think he won’t answer your question because he has no retort sufficient to rebut your argument.

  39. 39
    kairosfocus says:

    UB, on target. KF

  40. 40
    kairosfocus says:

    DAT, let’s see. KF

  41. 41
  42. 42
    john_a_designer says:

    Here is an interesting moral dilemma that was raised by science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke in his novels 2001 and 2010 where he explores some questions brought up by advanced or “strong” AI. Could a computer like the fictional computer HAL be programmed to be conscious? If it’s conscious does it become moral or could it be programmed to be moral. How can we trust a computer– a machine– if it is by nature amoral? Personally, I think it’s at least possible in principle that a computer could be programmed “not to lie.” Truth and falsehood are based things that are really very objective. That is the way HAL was programmed in 2001. But that created a logical dilemma for “him” when he was instructed keep the new (or revised) mission goal of the Discovery One secret. However, circumstances created a dilemma which HAL solved by killing or trying to kill D1’s crew members.

    Dr. Heywood Floyd: Wait… do you know why HAL did what he did?

    Chandra: Yes. It wasn’t his fault.

    Dr. Heywood Floyd: Whose fault was it?

    Chandra: Yours.

    Dr. Heywood Floyd: Mine?

    Chandra: Yours. In going through HAL’s memory banks, I discovered his original orders. You wrote those orders. Discovery’s mission to Jupiter was already in the advanced planning stages when the first small Monolith was found on the Moon, and sent its signal towards Jupiter. By direct presidential order, the existence of that Monolith was kept secret.

    Dr. Heywood Floyd: So?

    Chandra: So, as the function of the command crew – Bowman and Poole – was to get Discovery to its destination, it was decided that they should not be informed. The investigative team was trained separately, and placed in hibernation before the voyage began. Since HAL was capable of operating Discovery without human assistance, it was decided that he should be programmed to complete the mission autonomously in the event the crew was incapacitated or killed. He was given full knowledge of the true objective… and instructed not to reveal anything to Bowman or Poole. He was instructed to lie.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086837/quotes

    In other words, HAL had been programmed not to lie but he had not been programmed not to murder. So to solve the logical problem he was faced with he killed the crew so he could complete his mission autonomously.

    Humans, on the other hand, have something known as a moral conscience. However, a moral conscience is of no value unless there are objective moral values (moral truth.) Again how can we have a meaningful discussion or debate about morality unless both sides in the discussion can trust each other to be honest and truthful?

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