Sometimes, a blog comment is so cogent that it desrerves headline billing. In the following case, Origenes brilliantly rises to that level in responding to frequent critic, CR. So, from the moral grounding thread:
Origenes, 268:>>CR @
CR: My point was and has continues to be: how does a proposition obtain the status of being “already true” before reason has its say?
No, that is not your point at all. Your “point” is that every proposition is fallible. According to you, it can never be settled whether a proposition is true or false — “no proposition is immune to criticism.” One problem with this is that certain propositions are obviously immune to criticism. Here you apply a little trick: by not making a distinction between successful and failing criticism (‘criticism is criticism’) you claim that there is criticism nonetheless — irrespective of the fact that there is no criticism of e.g. ‘error exists’ which makes any sense whatsoever.
You then go on to claim that:
CR: Criticisms failing and continuing to fail as we develop new ones are all we have.
This is yet another self-defeating statement, as can be easily demonstrated:
1. We only have criticism.
2. Objects of criticism are not criticism.
Therefore, from (1) and (2)
3. We do not have objects of criticism.
4. We do not have criticism.
If we only have criticism then there is nothing to criticize. And if we have nothing to criticize then we do not have criticism.
CR: No one has addressed #207.
A blatant lie — see #217.
CR: It’s particularly humorous that you yourself are a fallibilist about fallibilism, and apparently didn’t recognize it.
I hold that fallibilism is a self-defeating and incoherent idea, which is not quite the same as being a ‘fallibilist about fallibilism.’>>
Let us ponder what has happened to our civilisation that lends plausibility to self-falsifying ideas but stubbornly refuses to acknowledge that self-evident truths exist and are important. In some cases, literally being foundational to reasoning, thinking and communicating. END
12 Replies to “Origenes vs CR on the challenge of criticism”
CR argues as if one can begin with rational criticism; you cannot. To criticize any idea, one must have a basis and a format by which one holds that process of criticism meaningful or valid.
CR might say that we can always rationally criticise the basis and structure of the criticism being applied, but from what basis or structure is that criticism leveled?
What CR is apparently advocating is an infinite regress of criticism. That doesn’t get anyone anywhere. Unless there are self-evident logical axioms from which one can be confident in to grant validity to their criticism, there is no end to the criticism loop, and all one can be engaging in is, ultimately, rhetoric.
In the case of morality, unless there are self-evident and/or necessary truths to begin with, then all one can do is just subjectively pick a basis for their moral views. That might be simple personal preferences, or they might come up with something like “social benefit”, which would still just be however they prefer to define “social benefit”.
With an infinite regress of non-absolute forms of criticism, all one has left are rhetorical arguments supporting their personal preferences – which is, in fact, what we get from these people.
WJM, and that is the actual intended point, isn’t it. To reduce reason to manipulative rhetoric backed up by intimidatory power. Nihilism, in one word. KF
PS: Plato on the mutinous ship of state:
Thank you for headlining my comment. Since CR has been flooding this forum with self-defeating statements and theories, it may indeed be necessary to highlight the issue of self-reference.
Perhaps CR holds that self-defeating statements are okay, because his hero Karl Popper shows an extraordinary fondness of them. A few examples:
Does that go for your claim as well Popper?
So, what does your claim mean?
Popper, assuming that your claim is a scientific statement that refers to the world, I take that it must also be refutable. If so, what does it mean?
But, per your claim, you are not certain about that, so, what, in the blue blazes, is it that you are saying?
Are you certain about that, Popper? Oh sorry, of course you are not certain. But … if you are not sure, what the !@#$ are you saying?
Absolutely “impossible” to attain….? Certain about that? Ah! Not certain! I see. Of course not! … As you say no theory “can be established neither as certainly true nor even as ‘probable’”. So, not only are you not sure about your claims, you cannot even confirm that they are probable.
Then what is it that you are saying??
Are you completely … Oh my god are there no limits?
– – – – –
These self-defeating statements spring insuppressibly from the theory of fallibilism, which is the philosophical claim that no belief can have justification which guarantees the truth of the belief.
This theory is self-defeating:
1. No belief can have justification which guarantees the truth of the belief.
2. [*No belief can have justification which guarantees the truth of the belief*] is itself a belief.
Therefore, from (1) and (2)
3. [*No belief can have justification which guarantees the truth of the belief*] cannot have a justification which guarantees its truth.
4. Fallibilism is self-defeating or meaningless at best.
It’s either the point or CR is a useful idiot, trained into this nonsense by academia. Ultimately though that is the goal – to destroy proper critical thinking and replace it with rhetorical talking points that can be triggered on command into action.
William J Murray @1
Exactly. However, it should be noted that CR did offer a feeble attempt to ground criticism:
The obvious follow-up question for Popper and CR is: What are those “traditions of criticism” based on?
So, criticism comes from some self-criticizing democratic process — not only is it supposedly the source of all criticism but also the end of the line, where all criticism stops. And this democratic process is somehow determined to lead to truth.
Looking forward to your comments.
On marches of folly due to manipulation of the public: http://kairosfocus.blogspot.co.....-year.html
I try to avoid getting involved in discussion or debates with interlocutors like CR. If there are no true interpersonal moral standards or obligations how can we trust anything he says or asserts? I don’t think that we can. To have an honest discussion or debate you need some kind of interpersonal, or “transcendent,” standard of truth and honesty.
He’s using a rhetorical ploy that we have seen here before, pseudo-humility: “I’m not certain about moral truth, therefore, no one else can be either.” Even if the first part of what he apparently believes is true, how can he consistently believe the second? (That no one else can be certain about moral truth.) If he maintains or makes an argument that that’s true he is making a universal truth claim about truth, which he is claiming with his first premise no one can do. That’s a logical contradiction. But maybe he doesn’t believe the rules of logic are universal either.
A “useful” idiot? I don’t think so. Just an idiot.
Who decides what a problem is? Who decides what constitutes an “error”? Who decides what form criticism should take? Who decides what it means for a criticism to be considered valid? Without self-evident truths to draw from, everything CR says is nothing but word salad that could be interpreted and criticized infinitely.
Most of the time I don’t even bother reading CR’s nonsense.
This is just so wrong I don’t even know where to start. Criticism of an idea without a self-evident truth to draw from could be applied in any way – for more slavery or less, to abolish it or reinstate it. Where does one’s criticism begin? What form does it take? What is it trying to accomplish? Without a necessary direction, it can be used to accomplish and argue anything.
Look at the assumed direction of the criticism; Popper is relying on the recognition of self-evident truths in order to plead his case, even though it could equally be pled in the opposite direction. “Better” ideas? According to whom? “Errors”? According to what system of evaluation? Why shouldn’t Democracy be a mechanism for forcing the will of the majority upon the minority?
These people spout this kind of nonsense because they know few people have the critical reasoning skills to recognize that they are relying on that which they dismiss to support their case.
If they can get people to dismiss the idea that they have unalienable rights, then they can convince them it’s a good idea for them to give them up by “criticizing” the “effects” of “allowing” them to have those rights.
Thus free speech and the right to bear arms and own property are eroded, all because of nothing is self-evident, a natural right, or necessarily true. That’s exactly what oppressive worldviews want – a populace you can convince of anything with word salad based on rhetoric and emotional pleading – emotional pleading that taps into our internal recognition of truth and the moral good, but twists it for other purposes.
John @ 7
I think you may find comfort for your position in the comment of Hans Zinnser who said, “the right to criticise should be purchased in terms of knowledge and not lightly assumed.”
Kairosfocus, CR @
Isn’t it telling that CR never mentions ‘understanding’? In CR’s world, a belief comes from a guess and next it (temporarily) withstands criticism or it does not, but nowhere does he acknowledge that a belief can be understood.
It seems that, in CR’s view, a belief is formed only by (temporary) lack of good criticism, not by understanding in any way. In an ultimate sense, a belief is nothing but failed criticism — CR: “criticisms failing is all we have.”
But this is not what we see:
One sees that ‘Socrates is mortal’ follows from the premises. If the premises are true, we positively know that Socrates must be mortal, because we see — because we understand — that it follows from those premises.
CR, on the other hand, will argue that ‘Socrates is mortal’ is not produced by understanding, but, instead, by a process of guesses alternated by rounds of criticism — similar to random mutations and rounds of selection.
CR needs to do all this to back-up his insane attack on consciousness, which he claims is not part of any explanation of knowledge.
I absolutely love this site, but then again, how can I be sure?
But I digress.
About halfway through the comments I was reminded of Samuel Clemons’ admonition to,
“Never argue with a fool, because people passing by might not be able to tell the difference”
WillSpeaks, our problem is folly is increasingly in control of the civilisation right now, so we have but little alternative. This is not a matter of the village rationalist on a soapbox shouting out his speculations. our interlocutors are echoing very dominant narratives and ideas in circulation and which are demonstrably influencing or even driving the big decisions. KF