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The study of knowledge and its conditions

L&FP, 48i: Dallas Willard on the legitimate authority of knowledge (vs the radical narrative of oppression)

In the course of exploring the marginalisation/disappear-ING of moral knowledge, Professor Dallas Willard gave an expanded definition of knowledge that also draws out the legitimate authority of knowledge; including, moral knowledge, i.e. knowledge of duty to right conduct etc. As we can see from his handout for a 2010 video lecture: What is knowledge and what does it do? Knowledge is the capacity to represent something as it is, on an appropriate basis of thought and experience. It and it alone confers the right and perhaps the responsibility to act, direct action, formulate policy and supervise its implementation, and teach. This helps us see what disappears along with “moral knowledge.” He goes on to note on the “[f]ear or resentment Read More ›

L&FP, 48h: Building sound Government on a built-in, Natural Law base (The US Declaration of Independence as a case study)

The natural, built in law framework in 48g culminates: . . . in civil society with government, justice is a principal task of legitimate government. In short, nihilistic will to power untempered by the primacy of justice is its own refutation in any type of state. Where, justice is the due balance of rights, freedoms and responsibilities. (In Aristotle’s terms as cited by Hooker: “because we would take no harm, we must therefore do none; That since we would not be in any thing extremely dealt with, we must ourselves avoid all extremity in our dealings; That from all violence and wrong we are utterly to abstain, with such-like .”) Thus also, 11] Eleventh, that as the US DoI, 1776 Read More ›

L&FP, 48g: Is a child the moral equivalent of a fish we catch and eat for lunch?

Here, we follow up from the yardstick case of a child kidnapped, sexually tortured and murdered. No 60 in L&FP48a: >>Compare to such, a fish, that we lure to bite on a hook, then land, kill and eat for lunch without compunction. (And even for those who object to so treating a fish, they will do so by extension of the protective sense we have about say the young child — not the other way around.) But, unless there is a material difference between a young child and a fish, that sense of wrong is frankly delusional, it is just a disguised preference, one that we are simply willing to back up with force. So, already, once we let radical Read More ›

L&FP, 48f: Orwell exposes how Language and meaning are being relativised, too, with hints on how to correct it

When we have to resort to Orwell, it is a sad sign of how far the rot has gone. LF&P 48, no 146: >>it seems language itself (so, dictionaries and other reference resources by extension . . .) is under the gun of the elephant game. Orwell wrote about Newspeak replacing Oldspeak in the interests of IngSoc . . . English Socialism (the National Socialist English Worker’s Party we suppose), and how part of the dumbing down was to make it impossible to conceptualise heresy against the partyline. There was also Doublethink: To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to Read More ›

L&FP 48e: Plato’s anticipation of and exposure of radical relativism (and linked evolutionary materialism) c 360 BC in The Laws, Bk X

Now that the six blind men and the elephant paradigm is broken, we may look at Plato with fresh eyes. Here, 92 in LF&P 48a: >>Plato . . . is highly relevant to our own mutiny on the good ship civilisation. For, the lessons of sound history were bought with blood and tears; those who neglect, forget, dismiss or disdain those lessons doom themselves to pay in the same coin over and over again. Let’s therefore listen to Plato, as he lays out how ancient evolutionary materialism on the part of the sophists and others of the avant garde of c 430 BC led to radical relativism, amorality, nihilistic factionalism and chaos — and we will also trace the like Read More ›

L&FP, 48d: The failed six blind men of India paradigm for relativising thought, truth and knowledge

Again, let’s go out of chronological order in 48a (Plato comes later as there is a dismissive attitude) and speak to a paradigm story used to radically relativise our thinking from elementary school days on. Here, 143: >>In a world in which abstract processes such as logical inference and explicit argument are increasingly “other” and subject to hyperskeptical side-stepping . . . a world where logic is fast joining morality in the zone of disappeared seemingly discredited “fake” knowledge (oh, the folly of neglecting and dismissing things that were so hard-bought) . . . we have to take up a narrative fight. Take, then, certain blind men B1 to B6 in India — irony — and a narrator N1, with Read More ›

L&FP 48c: Supplement, addressing the disappearance of core knowledge of first principles of right reason (aka Logic)

In the course of speaking to disappearance/restoration of moral knowledge, I realised that there was need to stop the rot on core right reason also. Accordingly, I commented at 153 in LF&P 48a, and as it is obviously logically prior, I now headline out of rough chronological order: The issue of self-referential incoherence, regrettably, does not seem to move objectors anymore. That is strongly suggesting to me that we are seeing a SECOND “loss” of knowledge: logic in the historic sense, of first principles and practices of right reason. In short, relativism spreads. First, it attacks morality thus justice: [ NB: Plato, The Laws, Bk X, c 360 BC, in the voice of Athenian Stranger: “[Thus, the Sophists and other Read More ›

L&FP, 48b: Dallas Willard and the disappearance/ restoration of [authority of] moral knowledge

Knowledge, of course, is best understood as warranted, credibly true [and so, reliable] belief. Where truth is, similarly, accurate description of actual entities, states of affairs etc. Willard, in the closing decades of his life, spoke to the disappearance of moral knowledge (and was writing a book which was completed posthumously in 2018, five years after his passing), as was picked up at 43 in the discussion thread for LF&P 48a: [DW, in “Where Is Moral Knowledge?,” 2007:] when I speak of the disappearance of moral knowledge, I am not saying that it does not exist, or that it is unattainable. Those are views sometimes maintained in academic circles and by cultural icons who presume to be “in the know” Read More ›

L&FP, 48a: Is the denial of objective moral truth an implicit truth claim about duty to right conduct etc? (Thus, subject to Reductio?)

Over the past month or so, there has been an exchange of comments regarding my OP L&FP 48, where I note how New Atheist Stefan Molyneaux, in his “Universally Preferable Behavior” (2007), stumbled across the Ciceronian first duties of reason. As a part of that, sometime objector VL raised the claim: Obviously, for one to say that it is objectively true that there are no moral truths is absurd. But that is not what those who are arguing against the idea of objective truths are saying . . . I responded in comment 1110, and think it worth the while to headline that response, with slight adjustments: >>Saying and pretty directly implying are of course two distinct things. Relativists typically Read More ›

L&FP, 47 – i: The credibility of the concept and existence of God

I see from News, that Egnor and Dillahunty have had a debate on the reality of God. Egnor has put on the table ten arguments to God and Dillahunty has rebutted, as News reports. Some of this caught my eye and I took pause from an ongoing life crisis to comment on some things that are key. I believe these are worth headlining as addressing logic and first principles questions. First, on the general concept and credibility of God: [KF, 4] >>I see: [MD:] since I’m dealing with someone who’s a Catholic, I think we can begin with at least the qualities generally associated with the God of classical theism. We’re talking about some sort of agent that is timeless, Read More ›

L&FP, 47: The challenge of “proof” in a world of radical doubt and hyperskepticism

“Prove it . . .” is a familiar challenge, one, often strengthened to “unless you prove it I can disregard what you claim.” However, ever since Epictetus, c. 100 AD, it has met its match: DISCOURSESCHAPTER XXV How is logic necessary? When someone in [Epictetus’] audience said, Convince me that logic is necessary, he answered: Do you wish me to demonstrate this to you?—Yes.—Well, then, must I use a demonstrative argument?—And when the questioner had agreed to that, Epictetus asked him. How, then, will you know if I impose upon you?—As the man had no answer to give, Epictetus said: Do you see how you yourself admit that all this instruction is necessary, if, without it, you cannot so much Read More ›

L&FP 46: A big questions challenge — confident objective knowledge vs grand delusion in a going-concern world

In recent weeks, we have seen again and again how the acid of hyperskepticism has reduced our civilisation’s confidence in self-awareness much less understanding of the world and its roots. Even as Evolutionary Materialistic Scientism, Officialdom and their media promoters (and censors) seek to create a dominant narrative. So, how do we attack this issue? First, let’s reduce it to a graphic: Once that is on the table, it is clear that our diverse worldviews and the extent to which any such can claim to be well warranted knowledge are at the crux of the matter. As a key aspect, as we are ourselves embedded (“apparently,” embodied with brains, senses tied to brains and self-awareness) in the going concern world, Read More ›

L&FP 45: The Hypothetical Syllogism — a lecture

Here: This syllogism is of considerable practical importance: This raises the issue of denying the consequent, ~q. If p –> q and ~q, then as q is necessary for p, ~p. Where, p is sufficient for q, by reason of its core characteristics, the states of affairs associated with p, causal power, requirement of logic of being etc. Let us note, p –> q is equivalent in import to ~q –> ~p. (Let’s add, that denying the antecedent, thinking this falsifies the consequent also fails, p –> q does not mean there isn’t another way, say r, to get q. There’s more than one way to skin a cat-fish.) Connected to ID, Newton’s rules demand that causal adequacy be shown Read More ›

L&FP 44a: What is 2 + 2, Mr Smith? (1984 as demonstration of how first duties and first truths are inextricably intertwined)

1984 is a classic satirical novel on the nature of tyranny in the mass media driven, information age, totalitarian surveillance state. Accordingly, it is vital to appreciate the force of the Winston Smith on the Rack scene — yes, taken from the related movie — where the issue of the self-evident truth 2 + 2 = 4 comes up: First truths, in short, are inextricably intertwined with first duties, and both are equally self-evident. As one clear manifestation, gross injustice is always rooted in false, unreasonable, unwarranted, dishonest thinking. In case one is tempted to imagine that this is a dismissible satirical exaggeration, kindly ponder the sickening judicial torture-murder of Czech national hero and martyr, Milada Horakova and others on Read More ›

L&FP44: What are Self-evident truths [SET’s] and why do they matter?

A classic case in point of self-evident truth can be seen by splitting our fingers into a two and a three then joining them again — and, sorry, this needs to be hammered home hard as we are cutting across the grain of current education and cultural conditioning. So, pardon demonstration by undeniable example and re-use of an illustration: As a bonus, we see another SET that is like unto the first, self-evident, but is subtler. That error exists is not only a massive empirical fact but an undeniable truth. The attempted denial actually supports the Josiah Royce proposition. By way of Epictetus (c. 180 AD), we can see a third case, SET’s that are first principles of reasoning antecedent Read More ›