Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

A corrective to some remarks regarding first principles of reason, showing that such first principles are just that . . .


It seems I need to headline a corrective footnote on basic reasoning, from an ongoing exchange in a current discussion thread:


>> I decided to take a look around via Google.

It was saddening but unsurprising to see the party-spirited objections to first principles of reason coming from the circle of objector sites. Inadvertently, they show the very reason why there is a serious problem of want of basic rationality in our civilisation in general, but in particular among those strongly influenced by avant garde, ideologically popular secularist, evolutionary materialist progressivism and that species of ultra-modernity that likes to call itself post modernism.

A few points:

1 –> The first steps in reasoning do start with our common sense status as potentially reasonable creatures in our world. And in that context, the first step of reasoning is to recognise distinctions.

2 –> Those distinctions exist as realities before we recognise them and make accurate statements — i.e. true ones — about them.

A bright red ball on a table
in a wider, distinct world:
{ A | NOT_A}

3 –> The bright red ball on the table, NR, is there whether or not you accept that reality. Long before Boole et al came along, or for that matter Aristotle et al.

4 –> And if our ball is bright cherry-red because it just came out of a furnace, if you have any common good sense you had better adapt to the reality instead of expecting that reality to reflect your whims and fancies, talking points or whatever.

5 –> Once that reality of distinction is there, NR, the rest follows is IMMEDIATELY, instantly present. That is the ball is distinct, it is diverse from what is not the ball (including the tongs and leather gloves, safety goggles etc) and there is no conflation or confusion of the two.

A red-hot ball
A red-hot ball (carsandwater, YouTube)

6 –> Perceptions, descriptions, symbols, reasonings etc reflect and recognise that reality, such as the symbol: { A | NOT-A }. This act of distinction is the first step of thought and indeed of language and communication. And yes, that reality is prior to taking sides in design debates. Thank God for the small mercy that many recognise these things whatever side of issues they fall on. But, for many years now it has been a pattern to see design objectors following down the usual ideological lines and almost predictably swallowing ultimately absurd objections to first foundational principles of reasoning.

7 –> Notwithstanding, all reasoned thought, all symbolic expression thereof, all speech, all writing immediately and implicitly, inescapably uses it. Such is truly foundational. We cannot but build on it, and to try is to immediately land in patent self referential absurdity. As has so often happened in and around UD.

8 –> To be direct, again . . . it is so hard to break through avant garde programming and fashionable views: once an object is distinct, the identity cluster obtains as reality. And our symbolic representation will inevitably use such and states such.

9 –> Similarly, the matter is prior to the theory or frame of classic propositional logic. And yes one may play all sorts of games with symbol systems, even try to reject such principles. But lo, the very symbols in use are distinct things that depend on our recognition: { A | NOT-A } etc. In short, there is a little matter of having a more foundational use of the identity cluster, even when one pretends to have a system that upends it.

10 –> This is the context of my remarks in and linked onward from the UD WACs on how Quantum physics reflects these principles, it does not violate them. Contrary to a set of popular talking points.

11 –> Likewise, EL, you should recognise that we are dealing with realities we can accurately and commonly recognise. Verbal games about objects being prior to axioms cut no ice when you make mistakes with red hot iron balls on tables. And debates over whether or no we are objects cut no ice when that pain from your burnt hand hits your consciousness of pain, intense pain occasioned by folly.

12 –> I therefore suggest a modest proposal. Lay aside the polarisation, the avant garde programming and party line, the dismissive sense of superiority over those IDiots etc, the snide talking points and reflect a bit on the matters pointed out here on. >>


I trust this will help set some matters straight in the teeth of some talking points out there. Discussion can continue at the linked thread. END