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

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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 to proof and which therefore inescapably pervade our reasoning, including proofs and [attempted] dis-proofs:

DISCOURSES CHAPTER 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 as know whether it is necessary or not? [Notice, inescapable, thus self evidently true and antecedent to the inferential reasoning that provides deductive proofs and frameworks, including axiomatic systems and propositional calculus etc. Cf J. C. Wright]

These examples and others that could be brought forward show that SET’s are true, and for one with adequate experience, background and insight to understand, will be seen as necessarily true once understood. That is, the attempted denial is in some way immediately, manifestly absurd so that the certainty of the SET is assured.

Thus, SET’s are objective, warranted to full certainty.

Which makes them suspect to those enamoured with today’s all too common relativism, subjectivism and emotivism. Clearly though if SET’s have been demonstrated — as we saw — then the claim or suggestion that truth is a perception or agreement or feeling regarding an opinion only . . . true to me or to us, that’s all . . . manifestly fails.

Starting with, 2 + 3 = 5 and with, error undeniably exists or that we are undeniably self-aware (conscious) and able to reason responsibly. Illustrating, by contrast with a rock (even one formed into computer hardware!):

However, as the Angelic Doctor long ago noted, having adequate background and inclination to understand and acknowledge the force of a SET can be an issue. Indeed, the case with Epictetus’ interlocutor shows that one may have to be educated to be able to understand a SET. (Recall, we have to be taught basic addition and multiplication facts.)

Epictetus also shows that one might have to be corrected regarding a SET. The silence in response suggests, too, that such correction may not be welcome.

For sure, self-evidence does not mean utterly simple and obvious to one and all.

We may now expand:

SELF-EVIDENT TRUTHS — CHARACTERISTICS:

1] A SET is just that, true, it accurately describes actual states of affairs, e.g. split your fingers on one hand into a 2-cluster and a 3-cluster, then join, you necessarily have a 5-cluster, || + ||| –> ||||| accurately describes a state of affairs.

2] Further, a SET is understandable to anyone of appropriate experience and maturity to have formed the basic concepts and to therefore recognise the sentences expressing it.

3] A SET, is then recognisable as not only true but necessarily and manifestly true given its substance, though of course some may try to evade it or deflect it.

4] That necessity is backed up by a certainty mechanism, specifically that the attempted denial immediately manifests a patent absurdity, not by step by step reduction such as incomensurateness of the side and diagonal of a square, but blatant absurdity manifest on inspection.

5] Where such patent absurdities of denial may come in various forms, e.g.:

– Absurd incoherence or blatant error [ 2 + 3 = 4 X],
– undeniability [E= error exists, ~E is a claim it is error to assert E, so E is undeniable],
– inescapability [Epictetus’ interlocutor who tried to demand a logical proof of the necessity of logic . . . and — yes — the inescapability of appeals to the authority of Ciceronian first duties of reason, even in the face of an ongoing campaign to dismiss and sideline . . . to truth, to right reason, to prudence (including, warrant), to sound conscience, to neighbour, so too to fairness and justice etc . . . where, moral truths are truths regarding states of affairs involving oughtness, i.e. duty — we ought to respect the life, body, freedom and dignity of a young child walking home from school, never mind convenient bushes and dark impulses in our hearts],
– blatant self-referential absurdity [e.g. trying to deny one’s self-aware consciousness and the associated testimony of conscience or crushing of conscience],
– moral absurdity [trying to evade the message of the sadly real world case of a kidnapped, sexually tortured, murdered child]
– etc, there is no end to the rhetoric of evasion.

6] So, SET’s are not private subjective, GIGO-limited, readily dismissible opinions or dubious notions. They are objective and in fact warranted to certainty backed up by patent absurdity on attempted denial. More than objective, they are certainly true, and especially as regards first principles and first duties of right reason, they are inescapably authoritative and antecedent to reasoned thought or argument.

7] Indeed, self-evident first truths and duties of reason are before proof and beyond refutation. The attempt to object or evade, inescapably, implicitly appeals to their authority in attempting to get rhetorical traction, and attempts to prove equally cannot escape their priority, the first truths and duties are part of the fabric of the attempted proof. So, we are duty bound to acknowledge them, to be coherently rational.

Of course, we are always free to choose to be irrational and/or irresponsible. And others are equally free to note the fact and duly reckon the loss of credibility. Where, cheap shot turnabout projections only confirm the loss of credibility.

As a final point, SET’s are relatively rare, so rare in fact that they cannot by themselves frame a worldview or school of thought. So, what we use them as is plumb lines that test our thinking, especially when we are tempted to make a crooked yardstick into our imposed standard for what political correctness, newspeak word magic, agit prop and lawfare call truth, right, rights, tolerance, conspiracy theories, follow the science, X-phobias, facts, knowledge etc. So, pardon another oldie but goodie:

Self-evident truths are important and precious. Let us therefore prize and use them aptly. END

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

  1. 1
    kairosfocus says:

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

  2. 2
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: John C Wright, on some self-evident truths:

    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. [–> reasoning collapses]

    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. [–> See, Epictetus!]

    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. [–> a case of corrupting evil]

    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.

    Notice, overlaps with Cicero and how the Ciceronian duties pervade the chain of thought.

    KF

  3. 3
    Barry Arrington says:

    KF, thank you for your indefatigable resolve. You bring us back to first things again and again. Why? Because, sadly, it is fashionable to deny the undeniable. Yes, it is stupid and harmful. But as O’Leary recently observed, many people do not mind being stupid so long as they feel they are being fashionably stupid. Tragically for our culture, this particular brand of stupidity, though fashionable, is a wind that will beget — indeed is now begetting — the whirlwind.

  4. 4
    jerry says:

    many people do not mind being stupid so long as they feel they are being fashionably stupid.

    Yes, as long as it has no immediate obviously harmful effects.

    For example, to believe in Darwinian evolution has no immediate harmful effects. It obviously has long term effects because it slowly erodes underlying additional beliefs that are necessary for a stable society.

    But then, a sizable number of the population helped elect Joe Biden and currently believe he is doing a good job and his policies are working. But are they? I’m not proposing a debate on this which would be a near infinite diversion but only that this belief if false may quickly affect their well being if wrong. While beliefs in Darwinism will not.

    So some stupidities are more dangerous than others.

  5. 5
    asauber says:

    So we literally are back to the household gods. They are placed on altars in the rooms of our homes and elsewhere, and we spend many hours a day in worship. They give us vivid visions of our most exciting fantasies. Almost real. And you can sell your soul with one click.

    Andrew

  6. 6
    jerry says:

    The value of truth. From Gummi Bear.

    When you keep doubling down on lies, eventually the tower of [SNIP] will come tumbling down

  7. 7
    mahuna says:

    The fingers thing is wrong in the real world. Many people have fewer than 5 fingers (e.g., due to accidents) and there are people born with 6 fingers.

    A lotta things are “self-evident” within a community (e.g., the Army) while the questions cannot be understood.

    I read a WHOLE LOT about the History of the Bible, and most all of it (Old and New Testaments) are simply [SNIP]. I’m currently reading a book about the history of “forgive our DEBTS as we forgive our DEBTORS”. In ancient Babylon, the tradition, which ran for a couple THOUSAND years, was ALWAYS about the king LITERALLY declaring that this year ALL debts to the king were written off. The logic was that the LAST thing a king wanted to do was to IMPOVERISH a big chunk of his subjects during a drought or some such.
    Someplace along the line, with a different role for kings and a more cash-based economy, a WHOLE LOTTA people wanted THEIR money back, even if you had to sell your children and wives into slavery.

    So, the Catholic Church reworded the sentence to make it about MORALITY.

  8. 8
    kairosfocus says:

    Mahuna,

    the case uses fingers of a normal hand as illustrating the principle in

    || + ||| — > |||||

    That some may not have normal hands makes no difference.

    We are not talking about popular mis-uses of “self-evident.” Indeed, it was specifically noted that SE does not mean obvious, likewise it does not mean imposed by an Army or whatever.

    Perceptions and opinions on Bible topics or Catholicism are irrelevant.

    I will snip language.

    KF

  9. 9
    asauber says:

    mahuna,

    Have you been at the homebrew this morning? 😉

    Andrew

  10. 10
    William J Murray says:

    The essential aspects of KF’s “self-evident truths” explanation/description being contested:

    . . . and — yes — the inescapability of appeals to the authority of Ciceronian first duties of reason,

    What does “duty” mean in this statement?

    and

    moral absurdity [trying to evade the message of the sadly real world case of a kidnapped, sexually tortured, murdered child]

    As far as I know, nobody is “evading” that case. We all understand and I think agree on the logical absurdity quality of self-evident truths (other than whatever “duty” is supposed to mean.) What is a “moral absurdity?”

    You don’t just get to add the term “duty,” or include a concept like “moral absurdity,” without explaining what you mean. So far, I haven’t seen an explanation that makes sense and is undeniably apparent once one understands what is being said with the same force and undeniability as 1+1=2, A=A, or “I exist.”

  11. 11
    jerry says:

    What does “duty” mean in this statement?

    This has already been covered on previous threads so why bring it up?

    The attack Kf meme on the obvious reappears. It seems like an obsession.

    Duties mean required behavior or obligations to meet objectives.

    For example, a stable society. All of Cicero’s duties are necessary for a society to remain stable. They’re not arbitrary and there may be others and they may be overlapping. If some wish to ignore these duties they become parasites, but the over all society would mainly function unless too many ignored these duties. When parts of societies were more on the margin such behavior was not tolerated by the majority and usually punished.

    What is a “moral absurdity?

    Seems self evident to me. The example is obviously self evident.

    What’s more self evident? Torturing an innocent child for one pleasure is harmful for a stable society or A=A? Most people would say there is little difference. But then there are sociopaths.

  12. 12
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, Jerry has raised issues you need to ponder. There is absolutely no need to go over what has already been more than adequately addressed, KF

  13. 13
    William J Murray says:

    Jerry said:

    Duties mean required behavior or obligations to meet objectives.

    Duties to what, or whom? To the “objectives?”

    What’s more self evident? Torturing an innocent child for one pleasure is harmful for a stable society or A=A? Most people would say there is little difference. But then there are sociopaths.

    It appears here you are saying that the duty is to the objective of “a stable society,” and this makes the statement about the child self-evidently true. This is in the form of an if-then logical consequence; IF “a stable society” is the goal, THEN one must not torture children. The problem is the statement “one ought not torture children” in this case is not self-evidently true; it is only arguably true given the premise, or the objective.

    What if someone has a different objective, other than “a stable society?” Does a “moral absurdity” depend upon the objective one has duties in relation to?

  14. 14
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, in earlier discussions, it was long since clarified that there are relevant ends many of which are naturally evident. Duties and goods support these or express these, evils etc frustrate or wrench out of alignment. The case of the child was extensively discussed. It’s over and the objections failed. There is moral absurdity that is as clearly manifest as arithmetical absurdity. In addition, your own objection exemplifies several of the duties in question, you implicitly expect us to acknowledge first duties to truth, right reason, warrant, fairness etc, which was the point. The duties, however structured are clearly and inescapably embedded in our rational discussion. That’s enough to recognise self evidence as a property. KF

  15. 15
    jerry says:

    It appears here you are saying that the duty is to the objective of “a stable society,” and this makes the statement about the child self-evidently true. This is in the form of an if-then logical consequence; IF “a stable society” is the goal, THEN one must not torture children. The problem is the statement “one ought not torture children” in this case is not self-evidently true; it is only arguably true given the premise, or the objective.

    Are you really that dense or are you trying to play somebody really stupid for this forum?

    Without a stable society, you’re dead.

  16. 16
    William J Murray says:

    KF said:

    WJM, in earlier discussions, it was long since clarified that there are relevant ends many of which are naturally evident.

    Saying that over and over, and repeating Cicero saying that over and over, does nothing to make the case that such “relevant ends” are “naturally evident.” What are the “relevant ends?” A stable society? Relevant to what, or to whom? Everyone? What is the “naturally evident relevant end” I am missing, exactly, that makes that statement self-evidently true, and not just arguably true in light of the premise of “a stable society?”

    Duties and goods support these or express these, evils etc frustrate or wrench out of alignment.

    State clearly the “naturally evident relative ends,” please.

    The case of the child was extensively discussed. It’s over and the objections failed.

    Not from where many of us are standing. From my perspective, the objections and challenges obliterated your entire argument thus far. You can say “you win” all you want. You can even believe it. I’m sure you believe you made your case, but from where I’m sitting, all you are doing is repeating the same things over and over and leaving the pertinent questions unanswered.

    There is moral absurdity that is as clearly manifest as arithmetical absurdity.

    I consider myself a pretty smart guy, and I have no idea what you are talking about even though I spent weeks asking you question after question to an attempt to understand what you are saying when you say “duties.” I don’t think I’m asking unreasonable questions here.

    In addition, your own objection exemplifies several of the duties in question, you implicitly expect us to acknowledge first duties to truth, right reason, warrant, fairness etc, which was the point. The duties, however structured are clearly and inescapably embedded in our rational discussion. That’s enough to recognise self evidence as a property. KF

    Again, you use the term “duty” as if I’m supposed to just know what you are talking about. Even if I do expect you to argue rationally to the best of your ability and recognize a truthful statement, even if I operate myself from such adherence to truth and reason, I don’t understand why you claim it is a duty. I feel no such duty. I am aware of no such duty. Duty to whom? To what? To “truth?” I feel no such duty, as I have explained before.

    To “warrant?” To “prudence?” To society? I certainly prefer and enjoy doing certain things a certain way in different circumstances. I certainly, logically expect certain outcomes to certain behaviors, but …. duty? I have no idea what you are talking about.

  17. 17
    William J Murray says:

    Jerry said:

    Without a stable society, you’re dead.

    We all live for a while and then die whether a stable society exists or not.

  18. 18
    William J Murray says:

    I understand “duties” in terms of legal obligations; but someone’s mere “expectation” does not a duty on the other person make. In legal terms, a duty can be imposed on me, whether I know it or not, and like it or not, but if I am unaware of the duty, I cannot be said to be myself acting in relationship to (fulfilled or not) or from a duty.

    In my daily interactions, to one degree or another I behave as if other people (whom I trust) are telling me the truth (as best they can.) But that doesn’t translate, for me, into the idea that they have a “duty” to do so. Most people, though I do not even have an expectation that anything they say is “the truth.”

    I understand having duties to perform when I have a job; my continued services are tied to my successfully performing my duties. So I understand “duty” in the sense of a “contractual obligation.”

    In both of these forms, there are consequences to not performing my duties, imposed on me or contractually agreed upon by me. If I’d rather go to jail or be fined, I can not do my legal duty. If I don’t mind being fired and perhaps sued, I can not do my contractual duty. In both cases, there is an agency that holds me accountable to fulfill my duties; if there was no such agency, no such duty can be said to exist.

    What then are the duties you are talking about? What agency is holding me responsible? So what if I am willing to accept the consequences of a duty imposed on me for not doing an existential duty? What are those consequences so I can make an informed decision?

    These are questions that need answers, and information that is required for me to understand what you are talking about when you say I have “duties.” Just saying I have them, end of discussion, is not an argument.

  19. 19
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, it is naturally evident that the end for a child on the way home from school is not to be seized, dragged into bushes, bound, sexually tortured and murdered to fulfill what ten minutes of dubious pleasure of some warped soul. Is that clear enough, explicit enough? Do you want me to add that it is the manifest duty of that warped soul to not seize and abuse a helpless child like that. In any case, you again show that you expect us to acknowledge and fulfill our duties, showing the point of inescapability again. That is enough to show pervasive first principles at work, KF

  20. 20
    Sandy says:

    Mahuna
    Many people have fewer than 5 fingers

    Many people have mental problems and shouldn’t be allowed to post garbages on internet.

    William J Murray
    I understand “duties” in terms of

    You are a necessary being whatever you say is a law for mortals who read your nonsense. Hahaha!

  21. 21
    William J Murray says:

    KF said:

    WJM, it is naturally evident that the end for a child on the way home from school is not to be seized, dragged into bushes, bound, sexually tortured and murdered to fulfill what ten minutes of dubious pleasure of some warped soul. Is that clear enough, explicit enough? Do you want me to add that it is the manifest duty of that warped soul to not seize and abuse a helpless child like that. In any case, you again show that you expect us to acknowledge and fulfill our duties, showing the point of inescapability again. That is enough to show pervasive first principles at work, KF

    You see, KF, you’re not answering any of my specific questions that might bring me to understand what you’re talking about; you’re just asserting that I have a “manifest duty” to prevent that from happening, or to not do it. You have no problem making the other aspects of your argument clearly understood. You’re getting zero disagreement about those aspects of the argument.

    But, all you have to support the supposed self-evident nature of a moral duty, or the “moral absurdity” of not doing that duty, is just an assertion that it is so accompanied by an example that appeals to almost universal emotional reaction.

    I could say you’re “evading” answering my questions, but unlike you, I don’t attempt mind-reading. Nothing you have said so far shows I have any moral duties whatsoever, much less inescapable ones, much less self-evident ones.

  22. 22
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, I am simply sickened, saddened. For cause, cause you well understand. The yardstick case is far too plain and is not in doubt. Reaction to it is what is in reality under test. And, the pervasiveness of the first duties which show up in your objections is equally plain. Of a piece with your credibility self-destruct in the previous thread. KF

  23. 23
    jerry says:

    We all live for a while and then die whether a stable society exists or not.

    It’s kind of hard to imagine anyone wrote this and meant it.

    Which means anyone making such a comment is not being truthful. But wait we already know this.

  24. 24
    vividbleau says:

    WJM
    “You don’t just get to add the term “duty,” or include a concept like “moral absurdity,” without explaining what you mean. “

    WJM I am one of your biggest fan and certainly no match with you intellectually however the above sure looks like to me that your appealing to some kind of duty on KFs part. A duty to explain what he means.

    Vivid

  25. 25
    kairosfocus says:

    Vivid, I think debate is over, what is on the table calls for something else, prayer. KF

  26. 26
    jerry says:

    your appealing to some kind of duty on KFs part

    Murray is constantly challenging Kf on trivial and obvious things. It is what he does and some others here do it too.

    He just said people getting killed in an unstable society is nothing out of ordinary since they will die anyway.

  27. 27
    Karen McMannus says:

    Folks, the bottom line here is this:

    KF describes a philosophy (as mangled as it is) of prescriptions that are grounded in unstated subjective religious commitments, which are not obvious or acceptable to anyone without such a commitment.

    WJM describes a philosophy of description that describes what humans actually do, and is obviously and objectively true to anyone with eyes and honesty to see the real world every one us actually lives in and experiences. I think Cicero and the Stoics would be proud.

    Never the twain shall meet.

  28. 28
    vividbleau says:

    KF
    “Vivid, I think debate is over, what is on the table calls for something else, prayer. KF”

    Well Im pretty sure you will get pushback on that but when I read

    “You don’t just get to add the term ‘……….” without explaining what you mean.“

    This is an appeal to reason rightly.

    Vivid

  29. 29
    Karen McMannus says:

    KF: Vivid, I think debate is over, what is on the table calls for something else, prayer.

    I’ve been praying to Vishnu every day for a month, and still you cannot see the error of your philosophy.

  30. 30
    kairosfocus says:

    KM, you again made up and knocked over a strawman. The OP establishes the reality of self evident truths by example. There are SETs that address duty, as cases easily show. In addition, you have again implied the pervasive authority of first duties of reason, which are not religious but reason duties. You have destroyed your credibility, through misrepresentation and patent hostility. KF

  31. 31
    Karen McMannus says:

    KF,

    You don’t even seem to understand the point I just made: even if your philosophy is true, it’s a prescriptive philosophy. Duties! Thou shalt do!

    WJM’s philosophy is descriptive: what humans do.

    You can’t see the difference?

  32. 32
    jerry says:

    You don’t even seem to understand the point I just made: even if your philosophy is true, it’s a prescriptive philosophy. Duties! Thou shalt do!

    WJM’s philosophy is descriptive: what humans do.

    You can’t see the difference?

    The difference is that Murray’s philosophy is not what humans do because it gets them and their families killed. Everyone dies so why not younger and definitely more brutally is not very attractive to anyone.

    Kf’s philosophy is practiced by humans because it ensures their safety and lets them live longer and thrive. It is this understanding of the nature of humans that is his philosophy. The behaviors/duties/obligations that allow this better and longer life are the result of his understanding of the nature of humans.

    Cicero got there over 2000 years. ago.

    So yes, Kf’s philosophy is prescriptive because it leads to positive outcomes for humans while Murray’s philosophy if there is one leads to early and often violent death.

              Take your pick

  33. 33
    kairosfocus says:

    KM, the observation of the pervasiveness of duties of reason is not a philosophy. Building a worldview comes long after observations on SET’s. The OP noted, again, that SET’s do not amount to enough to build a worldview. KF

    PS: Could I suggest, that duty or oughtness is a reflection of freedom? That is, because we are free we can act wisely or ill advisedly, destructively or constructively, i/l/o proper ends or in frustration of such. Passive entities such as rocks are governed by mechanical forces and are not free, they are dynamic-stochastic. Consequently they are not rational, yes, including computational substrates governed by mechanical necessity, stochastic effects and organisation. We are rational, able to choose, able to choose to follow ground-consequent chains, able to judge and acknowledge degree of support for a thesis or proposition or claim, able to decide, responsible to use such agency constructively. That is, to promote or express the proper, often naturally evident ends for entities and persons. A young child on the way home from school is travelling to family and to nurture towards fulfillment of personhood, having gone to an institution set up to equip with knowledge and skills for same. To ambush, bind, sexually torture and murder that child for a few moments of perverse pleasure at expense of violation, pain, fear and violent death frustrates obvious ends and manifests violation of duties to the civil peace of justice. Justice, being, due balance of rights, freedoms and duties. A legitimate right being an expectation to be upheld in certain ways such as life, person, etc, given one’s personhood, conscience, consistent with those of others. One should not have to spell that out for any educated, civilised person.

    PPS: Do I need to highlight explicitly that, in the context of cases such as this, to object to the prescriptive nature of ought or duty is tantamount to inviting nihilistic will to power in its most blatant, chaotic form? Do you see why the civil peace of justice is a proper end of society, and do you not see that the alternative is clan lords and clan blood feuds, often genocidal?

  34. 34
    StephenB says:

    WJM:

    What then are the duties you are talking about? What agency is holding me responsible?

    By definition, the moral law is all about duty. By definition, the moral law is about a moral obligation. That is why they call it a “law.” The call to duty is built into the moral code. This is a self-evident truth.

    You don’t just get to add the term “duty,” or include a concept like “moral absurdity,” without explaining what you mean.

    Incredible. You just refuted yourself. To say “you don’t just get to add the term duty or include a concept like “moral absurdity without explaining what you mean” is exactly the same thing as saying “you have a duty to explain yourself.”

  35. 35
    kairosfocus says:

    SB, yes, that is yet another case of failure to observe and recognise the pervasiveness and inescapable legitimate authority of ciceronian first duties in our thought and argument. This pervasiveness of course reflects their governing role in respect of reason, how they act as first principles present as we think, speak, write, argue and quarrel. Going beyond, the progressive, cumulative nature from duty to truth to duty to justice erects a frame for sound law and government, for lawful protective, freedom fostering society. I suspect objectors fail to realise the alternative is the ruthlessness of clan lords and blood feuds. Where, writ large, we are looking at lawless oligarchs imposing will by naked power. To itch at the restrictions of lawful liberty is to return to slavery. Do what thou wilt is a lie. KF

    PS: Such were pointed out, point by point, over and over, or sometimes in summary. The main argument ran that even objectors were unable to escape the inevitable appeal to such, showing inescapable truth thus self evidence. Disregarded. I suspect the fear that this shows moral government as an inescapable part of responsible rationality thus opening the door to a cosmos level moral governor. So they express objection to the latter by denying, dismissing or evading the former regardless of self-referential incoherence.

  36. 36
    Karen McMannus says:

    I ask: who here knows the difference between prescriptive and descriptive?

    If you don’t know the difference, there’s no point in going on.

    Let’s see who knows.

  37. 37
    Karen McMannus says:

    Barry: KF, thank you for your indefatigable resolve.

    Why? Because he’s on your team? You know very well that without the demands of an authoritarian power, “God”, let’s say, there’s no basis for for “demands” or “duties”, except for relative ethical “duties” that one might commit to, such as lawyers and doctors.

    Why have you been so silent? The others are relative nincompoops, but you’re pretty smart. Where art thou, Barry? Make the case if you can. KF and his toadies can’t.

  38. 38
    Belfast says:

    @ Karen McMannus @ 36
    “ I ask: who here knows the difference between prescriptive and descriptive?
    If you don’t know the difference, there’s no point in going on.
    Let’s see who knows.”
    Don’t half fancy yourself, do you, Karen?
    Going to ask if they know about the Principle of Least Action, or Ethical Egoism, or Categorical Imperatives, or how about a simple one like the definition of Triskaidekaphobia?
    Arrogance in the young is unbecoming.

  39. 39
    Karen McMannus says:

    Belfast: Arrogance in the young is unbecoming.

    Fooled many, and never fooled by any.

    I’m an old battle axe, baby doll. 😉

  40. 40
    Belfast says:

    Gave you the benefit of the doubt, assumed you would have out grown bad manners and sneers if you were older.
    My mistake.

  41. 41
    kairosfocus says:

    KM, why are you resorting to personalities? The matter on merits is quite clear, even in your resort to “nincompoops” you imply that we are failing in duties of right reason and warrant; here by reason of alleged incompetence. Where, “toadies” — singularly inapt — implies intellectual dishonesty, thus also wrongful behaviour of the incompetent. Similarly, in decrying my allegedly muddled thinking, you imply much the same first duties of reason are binding, as in clear thinking that is sound. Which yet again underscores the core point you have refused to acknowledge from the outset, that even those who object to the Ciceronian duties, just to gain rhetorical traction, are forced to appeal to their legitimate authority over — and pervading — our life of reason. Such inescapability is precisely the signature of first principles, as say Epictetus discussed 1800+ years ago. Inescapable, so true and self evident as first principles of reason; here, regarding the duties of reason. Yes, that admittedly raises onward issues as to what sort of world . . . and, further onward, therefore, root of worlds . . . accounts for creatures like this, but that is precisely the point, they are ONWARD questions, driven by our self-evident realities of finding ourselves as responsible, rational, significantly free [enough to be rational], en-conscienced, inescapably morally governed creatures. KF

    PS: Just for record, the IS-OUGHT gap is in material part about the difference between what states of affairs obtain vs what should obtain were we to act consistently to the good, wise, true and right etc. The positivist attempt to privilege is failed, long since. And indeed that should have been evident at outset, we clearly have responsibilities and duties of reasoning, even as John C Wright points out, starting with honesty, i.e. truthfulness undergirded by right reason, prudence, sound conscience and duty to neighbour etc. Dishonest reasoning, as he highlighted, is worse than useless. Were it to become pervasive, it would be ruinous to civilisation, indeed that is the lying example commonly used to illustrate the Kantian Categorical Imperative. And yes, human thriving as a social creature in community enjoying the civil peace of justice marked by due balance of rights, freedoms and duties is a naturally manifest proper end of the good state of affairs we term civilisation. For technical details, consult Copi or any other competent Logic 101 textbook. Notice the unmistakable call to duty in such books.

  42. 42
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Notice, again, how truth has been defined. That is, as accurate description of actual states of affairs. If you want to extend to possible worlds not instantiated, as would obtain were they actualised; an advantage for logic of being analysis. Going further, there is thus the understanding that there can be truths regarding duty-bound actual or potentially actual states of affairs.

    More simply, truths about duty, especially as regards the civil peace of justice; involving, due balance of rights, freedoms and responsibilities.

    Yet more simply, there are moral truth-claims, which if valid, are moral truths.

    (What a sad and perilous state our civilisation is in, that reasonably educated people have to be led, step by step, through this.)

    Where, the denial or evasion of such truths is manifestly a truth claim about such a domain, i.e. it is a moral truth claim in disguise. In short it is undeniable that there are moral truths as the attempted denial is automatically such a claim.

    If true it is false, if false — and by self referential incoherence it is false — then directly, moral truths obtain.

    Where, we see here that such is an undeniable truth, and therefore warranted to certainty.

    By demonstration, then, we can and do know moral truths, again invalidating moral-form relativism, subjectivism and emotivism.

    Any scheme of thought that denies objective, knowable moral truth is falsified by undeniability of moral truth, thus knowability as a close corollary. Where, by corollary, it is equally undeniable that there is also moral error, requiring means of right reason to keep us on safe ground.

    Which then brings us back to the Ciceronian first duties. To truth, to right reason, to prudence [including warrant], to sound conscience, to neighbour, so too to fairness and justice, etc.

    KF

  43. 43
    William J Murray says:

    Vivid said:

    WJM I am one of your biggest fan and certainly no match with you intellectually however the above sure looks like to me that your appealing to some kind of duty on KFs part.

    It looks to KF like I and others are being evasive. It looks to Jerry like I’m a troll. “Looks to me like” is not a case for a self- evident, existential, inescapable moral duty.

    WJM, I am simply sickened, saddened.

    By what? That I don’t acquiesce to your emotional pleading?

    KM, the observation of the pervasiveness of duties of reason is not a philosophy.

    You cannot observe these things, KF, you can only infer them from things you observe. Nobody can observe whether or not I am actually appealing to your duty when I say the things I say. That is an inference you have made from my and common behaviors. You infer I and others are being evasive from our behavior. Jerry infers that I’m a troll from my behavior. Lots of people infer lots of things from people’s behaviors.

    I don’t believe or think you or anyone has any duty whatsoever to reply in any particular manner to me. Do I expect a reasonable and rational response, as best you and some others here can provide? Yes, but not because of any duty I believe you have; it is because I have observed your behavior, or what you write here. There are people I do not interact with much because I don’t expect to have an enjoyable, thoughtful, rational exchange with them.

    I also have an expectation that Jerry will turn every comment I make to him into a snarky, but often funny, dismissal of my words. Do I see that as Jerry’s “duty?” If someone always makes snarky, condescending, dismissive comments, and I start expecting them, are they operating from a duty to format their comments that way? Am I then referring to their duty when I interact with them? If everyone expects me to wear a COVID mask, does that make it my “duty” to them to wear that mask?

    The expectations and common emotional reactions of others do not a self-evident duty describe or make. Your inferences about what I’m appealing to when I talk do not a duty make.

  44. 44
    William J Murray says:

    SB said:

    Incredible. You just refuted yourself. To say “you don’t just get to add the term duty or include a concept like “moral absurdity without explaining what you mean” is exactly the same thing as saying “you have a duty to explain yourself.”

    Your inference is not my implication. When I say that, I’m saying I do not accept his insertion of those terms absent a description or explanation of what they specifically mean. If he wants me to accept those terms, he has to explain and describe them adequately. He has to provide the framework any “duty” requires in order to be considered a duty in the first place, much less a self-evident one.

  45. 45
    Sandy says:

    Karen McMannus
    KF,

    You don’t even seem to understand the point I just made: even if your philosophy is true, it’s a prescriptive philosophy. Duties! Thou shalt do!

    WJM’s philosophy is descriptive: what humans do.

    You can’t see the difference?

    Mister McClownnus you don’t seem to understand that what you accuse KF, actually you are doing.
    “You should listen to me McClownnus because I tell the truth.You shouldn’t listen to KF .” ?

  46. 46
    William J Murray says:

    I think SB, Vivid and KM have moved this conversation forward in an instructive manner. KF attempts to make an argument that his use of the term “duties” describes some fundamental aspects of human behavior; however, absent of the description of the framework that provides for the existence of a duty (an agency that holds one accountable and consequences), no such “duty” can be successfully described or said to exist.

    To make up for that, KF attempts to make the case that certain “common” expectations, reactions and behaviors reveal a self-evidently true duty. The problem is that the idea that these expectations, reactions and behaviors are “from” or “in reference to” a duty is an inference from behavior about something (duty) that requires more than just behavior to be said to exist. Duties require a framework that provides for it’s existence, as I’ve pointed out. A “duty” without an authority that holds us responsible, or without consequences, cannot be said to be a duty. Behavior by itself doesn’t make a duty. Self-evidently true statements do not rely on inferences and do not require anything other than understanding the statement.

    On the other hand, when I say that everyone’s behavior is preferential in nature, that by itself has the same force and weight of other self-evidently true statements, to the point of it being a trivial, valid tautology. The case that every willful intention is made towards increasing or managing direct and abstract enjoyments is blatantly obvious to everyone. Indeed, if “doing our duty” carried with it no direct or abstract promise of an eventual outcome that is preferential, more enjoyable than the alternative, SB agrees that nobody would even care about moral duties.

    Also, Vivid and SB have pointed out exactly and directly where they are inferring from my statements when they believe I am appealing to KF’s duties. That is not true. That is not how I think, not what I believe, not how I conduct my business in life. I interact with others based on an entirely different worldview. I have expectations of the behavior of others based to some degree on my history of interaction with them, but I certainly do not hold that pattern as inviolable or representative of some “duty” on their part.

    Again; inferences and common behaviors, emotional reactions, and expectations do not a duty make or reveal, much less a self-evident, inescapable, existential one.

  47. 47
    William J Murray says:

    More mind-reading from Sandy:

    Mister McClownnus you don’t seem to understand that what you accuse KF, actually you are doing.
    “You should listen to me McClownnus because I tell the truth.You shouldn’t listen to KF .” ?

    Thus, the argument for moral duty boils down to mind-reading. Not a good argument.

  48. 48
    William J Murray says:

    A duty does not, cannot “reveal itself,” for a very simple reason. The concept of a duty requires (1) an authority that holds one responsible for fulfilling one’s duties, and (2) consequences for both fulfilling and not fulfilling said duty.

    Absent those conditions, it cannot be said that a duty exists. A duty is revealed or made known by the presence of those conditions, QED.

    Furthermore, the only sense by which it can be said that I myself am operating from duty, is if I am aware of and have accepted that duty as my duty. It is irrational to claim I am acting or behaving out of duties I am neither aware of or have agreed to.

  49. 49
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: I think there should be a response too, to the challenge, to who, whom or what are morally freighted duties owed?

    To start with, to oneself. We have manifest capabilities and potential that should be fulfilled as much as possible. Our rationality has truth, in love, wisdom and justice as a patent end and self-frustration of that is a manifest evil. The chaotic consequences of evil are manifest and will spread to our neighbours, starting with our families.

    To our families? Yes, we are part of the chain of the race expressed through its natural units of reproduction and nurture. Family is our first neighbourhood.

    To our communities? Yes, we are part of the circle of society and community is the collective of more or less immediate neighbourhood. This naturally extends to the nation. The civil peace of justice is a framework for our mutual thriving and sets up a framework for sound law and government. The chaotic consequences of subverting, perverting or frustrating such speak for themselves, not least in the bloodily bought, tear stained lessons of history.

    To our civilisation and wider humanity? Yes, the neighbour principle extends. Do I need to say more than, the demonic chaos of two world wars, the Nuremberg trials, a cold war and an emerging fourth de facto global war in a hundred years are lesson enough?

    To the root of reality? Yes, as fulfillment of our proper potential for good is an obvious end for our rational, responsible, freely acting, conscience-guided nature.

    KF

  50. 50
    William J Murray says:

    KF @ 49: Bravo! Now we’re getting to the necessary conditions for it to be said we have any duty at all (described succinctly in #48.) I appreciate it.

  51. 51
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, either you are acknowledging a legitimate first duty or you are cynically manipulating a widespread delusion. If the latter, that already speaks for itself. However, as was pointed out many times over the years, the fact is we do have a built in sense and voice pointing to duty (save for the seriously defective). If any significant aspect of our rationality is delusional, there is no firewall and we are under grand delusion, credibility of rationality collapses. That is patently a reduction to absurdity, it is manifestly self-evident and undeniable on pain of grand delusion Plato’s Cave absurdity that we are legitimately rational, responsible, conscience guided morally governed creatures. That focusses on intellectual responsibility, honesty and justice, which naturally expand into the Ciceronian first duties of reason. Just to remind on what you would brush aside, duties to truth, to right reason, to prudence [including warrant], to sound conscience, to neighbour, so too to fairness and justice etc. Where, too, the holographic/ microcosm/ facets principle applies, the whole is manifest in the facet and the facet contributes to the whole; coherence on steroids. KF

  52. 52
    mahuna says:

    “To our civilisation and wider humanity? Yes, the neighbour principle extends. Do I need to say more than, the demonic chaos of two world wars, the Nuremberg trials, a cold war and an emerging fourth de facto global war in a hundred years are lesson enough?”

    You gotta read more actual History, Jack. For several HUNDRED years, English foreign policy was based on the insane idea that England’s “enemy” was the CURRENT “strongest country on the Continent”. And so after fighting the powerful French for several HUNDRED years, England switched teams after Germany won the Franco-Prussian War and demonstrated they had the strongest Economy on “the Continent”, England SUDDENLY tagged the Kaiser as “the Enemy” and began trying to collect allies to kill Germans. Oh, it’s also important to note that MANY Americans [most especially Franklin Roosevelt] hated Germans as a PEOPLE. And so Germany had to be DESTROYED regardless of the much greater threat from Communist Russia.
    So, you can NEVER understand ANY chunk of History until you understand the actual Goals in the current situation. Current American foreign policy still has holdovers from when we hated Red China because they were dirty Commie rats. Many of the guys currently in charge of the US couldn’t care less who’s a dirty Commie rat because their focus is on international economics.

  53. 53
    kairosfocus says:

    Mahuna, I nowhere said whose policy history was at stake. It is enough that this was the single most destructive war on record, with massive associated genocidal crimes against humanity. I would note for record that English then British policy since the Elizabethan era was to contribute a balance to the dominant AGGRESSIVE European power of the day. In the run-up to WW1, Britain’s splendid isolation was broken by Wilhelm’s folly of creating a rapidly growing blue ocean navy with Britain as obvious target. Germany could easily have thrived without that, but a threat to Britain’s sea arteries was and is a survival threat, as the Kaiser was explicitly counselled but ignored. However, that is just a note for record, it is far afield from the issue of the reality of self-evident truth as a first principles level issue. KF

    PS: My understanding is that as of the post Civil War massive immigration the largest single European ethnicity in the American population was German, and I gather that is more or less still the case though ethnicities are being blended away.

  54. 54
    jerry says:

    The objective is an endless number of inane comments as one nonsense provocation after the other breeds more stupidity by answering.

  55. 55
    StephenB says:

    WJM:

    Your inference is not my implication. When I say that, I’m saying I do not accept his insertion of those terms absent a description or explanation of what they specifically mean.

    The problem is that you often try to deny the plain meaning of words when you think it will help your case. What you said to Kairosfocus means exactly this: “You have a duty to explain yourself.” They are embedded in the words “You don’t get to,” meaning that Kairosfocus has a moral duty (obligation, moral responsibility) to explain himself. There is no other way to interpret your comment. The point is that YOU showed that YOU believe that Kairosfocus has a duty to explain what he means.

  56. 56
    William J Murray says:

    KF said:

    WJM, either you are acknowledging a legitimate first duty or you are cynically manipulating a widespread delusion.

    I understand those are the only two options available to you under your worldview. That’s really the essential problem in this debate.

    I’ve already addressed the rest of your comment in prior posts.

  57. 57
    William J Murray says:

    SB said:

    The problem is that you often try to deny the plain meaning of words when you think it will help your case.

    Nope. I don’t deny the plain meaning of any words. I apprise people when the implications of the meaning of some words are different under the IRT paradigm than they are under the usual DRT paradigm, such as “objective.” Objective still means objective (existing regardless of any individual’s perspective,) but it doesn’t imply the same thing – an external of mind concrete physical-material world. It is objectively available information, which different individuals can subjectively experience.

    What you said to Kairosfocus means exactly this: “You have a duty to explain yourself.”

    I’m sure that’s what my words mean to you, because you are interpreting what I say from basically the same paradigm as KF. That’s obviously not what they meant to me when I said “You don’t get to ….” because I’ve explicitly stated what I meant when I said those words.

    I have explicitly stated what I believe duty to mean, and have argued what conditions are logically necessary for a duty to be revealed as such. I have explicitly explained my meaning when I used the words “you don’t get to.” For you to claim I didn’t mean what I have explicitly stated and defined what I mean, and did not mean, is just an irrational attempt at mind-reading or perhaps caused by an inability or unwillingness to think outside of your paradigm.

    I guess it’s easier to win arguments when you get to tell other people what they mean when they say whatever they say.

  58. 58
    Barry Arrington says:

    I have time for a very quick comment.
    KM writes:

    You know very well that without the demands of an authoritarian power, “God”, let’s say, there’s no basis for for “demands” or “duties”, except for relative ethical “duties” that one might commit to, such as lawyers and doctors.

    You are in the right ballpark. More accurately, without an objective basis for duties, there is only a subjective basis. This is certainly true and I wonder why you think I would be reluctant to admit that.
    It is practically a synthetic statement.
    The issue is and always has been, does an objective basis exist. As KF and SB and others have argued there are many good reasons for believing so. Can any of these reasons be established in an apodictic sense? No, and neither can their negations. We all start with first plausibles, not first certainties, as KF as explained.

  59. 59
    William J Murray says:

    KF said:

    To the root of reality? Yes, as fulfillment of our proper potential for good is an obvious end for our rational, responsible, freely acting, conscience-guided nature.

    From my #48:

    A duty does not, cannot “reveal itself,” for a very simple reason. The concept of a duty requires (1) an authority that holds one responsible for fulfilling one’s duties, and (2) consequences for both fulfilling and not fulfilling said duty.

    Absent those conditions, it cannot be said that a duty exists. A duty is revealed or made known by the presence of those conditions, QED.

    Without God (root of reality) as the agent that holds us accountable, and inescapable outcomes, no existential, inescapable duty can be said to exist. These are ontological conditions. Thus, the idea of such duties are necessarily the product of a particular ontology that contains the necessary conditions for any such duty to exist, much less be revealed or understood as such a duty.

  60. 60
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, ontological cart before going concern world, epistemological horse. We reveal the first principles in our behaviour, even in your further you got me wrong argument, an appeal to duties to truth, right reason and warrant. Noting those inescapably authoritative first principles from observable consistent patterns of behaviour it is reasonable to ask, what sort of world best explains that. But the pattern revealing pervasive first principles comes first. KF

  61. 61
    Sandy says:

    People who don’t agree with KF, just by posting their messages appeal(oh, cosmic irony) to a type of duty they themselves use to reject it . Self defeater. 🙂
    McClownnus and WJM have a duty to their ego( or their pleasure or whatever ) and even it’s a (morally)wrong type of duty their actions postulates the universality of moral duty because all players in this game of “there is duty , there is not” use a duty.

  62. 62
    Karen McMannus says:

    Sandy: “Mister [it’s miss not mister] McClownnus you don’t seem to understand that what you accuse KF, actually you are doing. You should listen to me McClownnus because I tell the truth.”

    No, KF should listen if he wants to be consistent and for me to take him seriously. It’s not a self-evident intrinsic duty grounded in a (putative) objective ontology. It’s merely a prescription related to an outcome.

    The “should” in, “you should take an aspirin if you want to cure your headache” is not a duty and neither is what I said that you quoted.

    Hope that helps.

  63. 63
    Sandy says:

    Karen McClownnus
    “Mister McClownnus you don’t seem to understand that what you accuse KF, actually you are doing. You should listen to me McClownnus because I tell the truth.”

    🙂 it’s not relevant the genre on morality issues . By the way between my quotation mark is what you say.

    …No, KF should listen if…

    Your message double confirmed me.

  64. 64
    Karen McMannus says:

    Sandy: Your message double confirmed me.,

    Okie dokie.

  65. 65
    Fasteddious says:

    This subject reminds me of an old joke I heard:
    A math professor begins his lecture with, “It is self evident that X” (X is some starting proposition).
    A student asks, “but I don’t see how that is self evident.”
    The prof moves to another blackboard and after scratching his head for a minute, begins furiously writing equations and logic diagrams.
    After twenty minutes, he replies, “There you see, it is self evident!”

  66. 66
  67. 67
    Karen McMannus says:

    Barry: The issue is and always has been, does an objective basis exist.

    No, the issue has been that sans an ontological grounding of a duty, is a putative duty “self-evident” or not? While does KF acknowledge that his philosophy is grounded in his version of the Christian God, he essentially claims this is not a necessary grounding, that the duties are “self-evident” by merely considering human nature, and quotes Cicero (a non-Christian and non-Jew) in an attempt to demonstrate this. There we cry foul.

    As KF and SB and others have argued there are many good reasons for believing so.

    Such as?

    Can any of these reasons be established in an apodictic sense? No, and neither can their negations. We all start with first plausibles, not first certainties, as KF as explained.

    Not the point of the discussion. As WJM has correctly stated, if the grounding ontology does not contain the “self-evident duty”, nothing derived from the grounding is a “self-evident” duty.

  68. 68
    Sandy says:

    McClownnus “sit” on a higher moral ground than KF and tell people not to consider that morality as a duty…and is not able to see the irony.

  69. 69
    kairosfocus says:

    FE, if it requires an extensive proof it may be analytically demonstrated but it is not self evident. KF

  70. 70
    kairosfocus says:

    KM, you are trying to equivocate away the ought-loaded import of “should,” above. However, you did bring out that oughts appear in the context of ends, which can be built in and naturally evident in many cases. Evils undermine, wrench away from or block/frustrate/prevent fulfillment of ends. Duties, foster or express support towards these ends. As I noted but you likely skimmed over, the proper end of a school child on the way home from school had nothing to do with being seized, sexually tortured and murdered to give a few minutes of perverted pleasure to some sicko. Instead, going home to nurturing family and attending school providing education are contrasting goods towards achieving potential. None of this is news to you or any reasonably educated person, so the resistance to acknowledging such becomes manifest and telling. Beyond, it is manifest that your objections, never mind equivocations and evasions, still manifest expectation of our recognition of the legitimate authority of first duties of reason. Enough on old business which by now is repeated for record, the point is that the pattern of our reasoning, including objections shows pervasiveness of first duties of reason. This inescapability is a signature of self-evident first principles, here addressing truths regarding duty. On the self-defeating failure of attempts to deny the reality of such duties, I point to 42 above. KF

  71. 71
    kairosfocus says:

    Folks, please turn down rhetorical voltage, it only helps those who wish to poison, cloud, polarise and distract. KF

  72. 72
    jerry says:

    f it requires an extensive proof it may be analytically demonstrated but it is not self evident

    I posted this a couple times because it actually happened to me in a logic course in graduate school. Except the expression was “intuitively obvious” not self evident.

    you are trying to equivocate away

    Kf, There is no serious attempt to understand, improve, or correct in what’s going on. It’s all a charade brought on by a few to try and embarrass you.

    Trying to analyze their nonsense and then respond will just generate new nonsense by them. It’s what they want. They want another 1000 comments that gets nowhere. They are not interested In ontology, epistemology, first principles, self evident truths or Cicero. Nobody could be as dumb as they are so assume otherwise. I would look elsewhere for motivation. Actually towards perverseness.

  73. 73
    kairosfocus says:

    KM, you too are putting the ontological cart before the epistemological, observation-driven horse. The whole province of science — drummed into us from elementary school on — pivots on recognising consistent patterns in the midst of data, which may be noisy, so this is not exactly a dubious, idiosyncratic readily dismissed whimsy. It is a massive fact of observation that we show rational, responsible, conscience guided [or at least, prodded] significant freedom. Likewise, we are error prone and struggle with doing what we sense we ought to. Further, it is a readily seen pattern of expectations in reasoning that we find ourselves duty bound to honest, responsible, truth-directed, justice framed thought, argument, deeds. When these are flouted, that alone becomes causus belli so to speak and our quarrelling is almost all about showing the other in the wrong. Where, those who do not fit this pattern, are numb to duty and experience no sound guidance by conscience are rightly regarded as pathological and are often quite dangerous. We find, overall, a pattern of first principles of duty (and see 49 above on objects of duty). The Ciceronian first duties summarise the pattern as manifested even in objections, as has been repeatedly pointed out on cases. These first duties pervade, are antecedent to and govern our rational lives. That is a signature of self evidence. So, onward — repeat, ONWARD — we need to live with the ontological issues that raises. KF

  74. 74
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, the correction is there for record and the grinding attrition is over. At this point, the question of willful obtuseness is on the table. I hate to have to put it in those terms, but that is what we now face. We may freely summarise, HT J C Wright, that we rightly expect honesty, soundness and justice in thought, reasoning, argument, decision and action. Expanding, amenable to framing law through jurisprudence pivoting on duty of justice as coeval with our humanity, we see the Ciceronian first duties. From that we may frame sound civil law and address needed, sound reform. One suspects, those who have enabled the unsound and the rise of lawless ideological oligarchy acting under colour of law, may perceive something that highlights fatal cracks in their supported schemes. But if we are to restore civilisation to soundness, to the first duties we must go. Yes, ends and responsible means. KF

  75. 75
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Where, understanding self evidence in general and as addressing first moral principles, is material. It is also material, in my opinion, to understanding the refusal to attend to compelling evidence of design such as discovering string data structure based 4-state digital code, algorithms and executing molecular nanotech machinery in the heart of cell based life. A sound civilisation would have immediately acknowledged and celebrated the import, the actual history since 1953 is diagnostic of a sick civilisation. There is no short cut that evades defending and renewing the intellectual and moral core of our civilisation. Which, will be contested with sometimes outright ruthless ferocity.

  76. 76
    kairosfocus says:

    BA, yes, first plausibles that because of self-evident, antecedent, pervasive character are what we have to recognise in order to prove or support. We cannot disprove as the process of argument already embeds. We cannot prove as the proof already embeds. We cannot rationally dismiss, as we land in instant, patent absurdity. However, that last will not stop those who are invested in rejecting such principles from clinging to favoured absurdities. Sometimes that means paradigms shift one funeral at a time. But some need to learn that 1984 was satire, not an instruction manual in the power of newspeak word magic, agit prop, lawfare and state terror. Mr Smith, what is 2 + 2? KF

  77. 77
    StephenB says:

    WJM:

    Without God (root of reality) as the agent that holds us accountable, and inescapable outcomes, no existential, inescapable duty can be said to exist. These are ontological conditions. Thus, the idea of such duties are necessarily the product of a particular ontology that contains the necessary conditions for any such duty to exist, much less be revealed or understood as such a duty.

    I have answered these objections several times. First, the argument for a moral law is not necessarily (though it could be) the product of an ontological world view, which flows backwards from the object of the investigation to the thinking subject. In KF’s case (and mine) It is the product of a epistemological process of apprehending the moral law, which flows forward from the thinking subject to the object of the investigation. In other words, the epistemological process of discovery, which is prior, shapes the the ontological convictions that follow and not the other way around. Ignoring that point does not make it go away.

    Second, any discussion about the objective moral law is, by definition, a discussion about duties, moral obligations, and moral responsibilities. Again, by definition, to speak of the moral “law” is to speak about what it is morally binding. The ought to component is an essential part of the laws structure. Hence, The moral law cannot be logically separated from its binding nature because that IS its nature – to bind consciences, not just of those who respect it, but also those, like yourself, who militate against it because you would “prefer” that it not be true. In that sense, you have much in common with Marxist revolutionaries, who would “prefer” to overthrow the natural order of things.

  78. 78
    Sandy says:

    Anyway God made the moral law in such a way that an immoral human being can have the delusion of escaping moral duty. If he/she wants to…Free will is paramount.

  79. 79
    Karen McMannus says:

    SB: First, the argument for a moral law is not necessarily (though it could be) the product of an ontological world view, which flows backwards from the object of the investigation to the thinking subject.

    Yeah, your mere opinion and feeling. That’s the not the point of conversation, however. It orbits around “self-evidence.” Hehe. Keep up.

    Again, folks, there is what humans do (descriptive) and what you think humans ought to do (proscriptive based on your feelings and/or commitment to theology.) I implore you to keep those two domains separate. It seems like some of y’all have trouble doing that.

    With much love, K.

  80. 80
    kairosfocus says:

    KM, you are spinning SB’s point; ontological cart before epistemological horse continues. You know full well that an observed pattern is a start point for knowledge-building and that historically such has changed worldviews over and over again, showing that epistemology based on observation first is sound and not trapped in any one worldview. KF

  81. 81
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: The refusal to acknowledge the priority and freedom of empirically anchored and self-evident truth opens the door to ideological manipulation and domination, Newspeak word magic backed by agit prop, lawfare and in the end state terror. 1984 is a satirical warning not an instruction manual — see what is 2 + 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJz77y4d_JA Notice the implication of crushing duty to truth.

  82. 82
    StephenB says:

    Karen McMannus;

    Yeah, your mere opinion and feeling. That’s the not the point of conversation, however. It orbits around “self-evidence.” Hehe. Keep up.

    I am not offering my opinion. I am offering incontestable facts. Epistemology precedes ontology in the order of knowing, but Ontology precedes epistemology in the order of being. The former flows forward from the thinking subject to the the object of the investigation; the latter flows from the object of the investigation back to the thinking subject.

    When you resort to cynicism and mockery, especially when you use wildly inaccurate and misdescriptive phrases such as “orbits around self-evidence,” you show your readers that you have nothing of substance to say. If you mindlessly follow WJM’s irrational sophistry, you will continue to make mindless comments like the one you just made.

  83. 83
    kairosfocus says:

    SB, the scare quotes on self evidence tell a story, a sad one. I have already spoken to the plumb line role of SET’s, as established independent verified — patent absurdity on attempted denial — fact that worldviews and arguments or imposed standards alike account to under comparative difficulties. As the OP documents, SETs are real, by direct demonstration of cases. SET’s addressing moral government of reason, first duties of reason, appear as pervasive patterns in thought and argument, even objections. KM et al keep ducking or trying to evade that little fact. In 42 above, it is shown that moral truths exist, the Ciceronian first duties are the sort of thing we should expect to see. KF

  84. 84
    StephenB says:

    Kairosfocus:

    PS: The refusal to acknowledge the priority and freedom of empirically anchored and self-evident truth opens the door to ideological manipulation and domination,

    Exactly right. It is WJM who tries to impose his own ontological assumptions as a means of ruling out rational arguments in principle. He knows that when reason confronts his world view, his world view will lose. That is why he tries to redefine the common meaning of terms – to muddy the debate waters and escape (he hopes) the force of reason.

  85. 85
    vividbleau says:

    Stephen B
    “Epistemology precedes ontology “

    Can this be any other way? Im trying to see if there is any common ground to be found in Stephens comment? Just this narrow focus.

    Does anyone disagree?

    Vivid

  86. 86
    StephenB says:

    Vivid, please add the proper context to my comment. Epistemology precedes ontology (in the order or knowing, not in the order of being.)

  87. 87
    vividbleau says:

    Stephen B
    “Epistemology precedes ontology (in the order or knowing, not in the order of being.)?

    Does anyone disagrees?

    Vivid

  88. 88
    Sandy says:

    StephenB
    Epistemology precedes ontology (in the order or knowing, not in the order of being.)

    True. In our case is about knowing(or pretending to know). Without reason you don’t have ontology , I mean you have but you don’t have the tool (reason ) to access it,understand it and formulate it and ontology will be under our radar.

  89. 89
    kairosfocus says:

    Sandy, we live in a going concern world and experience degrees of knowing, seeking to understand that knowing. How reliable? Self-evident truths regarding first principles and first duties of reason provide a framework for that. We have been conditioned to think in terms of proofs and empirical facts, but that is not the beginning. First principles and duties of right reason come before that and lend confidence when we do due diligence, or they may highlight limitations, e.g. error exists. Ontology, the core being framework of the world is not obvious, as error-prone creatures, so we need to start with knowledge and work out to what we can know about the fundamental stuff of reality and its roots. By inverting that order and suggesting smuggled in worldview question begging, objectors are undermining knowledge — including, by way of self-reference — their own. But if you are in an epistemically weak position . . . e.g, proposing a view that implies grand delusion in our common sense awareness and understanding of our common world, that may rhetorically blunt the force of that weakness. Then, one can push aside the issue as if it were not there. KF

    PS: The objectors also know or should that when it comes to worldviews there is a going concern world approach that allows us to move beyond question begging, comparative difficulties across factual adequacy, coherence and balanced explanatory power (neither ad hoc nor simplistic). But before that can be done seriously, we need to address knowledge and reasoning. SETs are a key part of that.

  90. 90
    William J Murray says:

    Vivid said:

    “Epistemology precedes ontology (in the order or knowing, not in the order of being.)? Does anyone disagree?

    Ontology provides the “what exists” for there to be any knowledge about. One must first have a thing to identify before one can identify it as a thing. What exists (ontology) precedes an knowledge about what exists (epistemology,) even if one’s ontological assumptions are subconscious.

  91. 91
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, we live in a going concern world, and the roots of reality are not generally directly evident to us. Building confidence in knowledge allows us to confidently access what now is (a problem for your preferred worldview), from which we can proceed to of what stuff it is, what sort of being it is, did it begin, was it always there, what are the roots of reality etc. One proceeds from the relatively simple and directly accessible to provide tools and a framework to address the relatively remote and abstruse; demanding solutions to the hardest most abstruse issues while rejecting credibility of tools of thought as a first step in dealing with issues is ill advised at best, willfully obtuse and calculatedly frustrating at worst. In the particular case of SETs, because of their close accessibility as certain, we can have first principles for reasoning [both as tools and as duties on using tools correctly] and first facts [such as, that self-aware existence is undeniably real even if contents are error prone, or the undeniable, certainly knowable truth that error exists], backed up by the manifest absurdity of attempted denials. Such truths are trans-worldview, due to self-evidence. They are not tainted by Cicero or Aristotle or Epictetus having been pagan, likely polytheistic thinkers, and they help us as plumb lines that detect key errors. All of this is beyond responsible denial. KF

  92. 92
    William J Murray says:

    So the basis of knowledge acquisition is the fundamental principles of logic.

    Identity: A=A
    Non-contradiction, or A does not equal B.
    Excluded middle, the necessary distinction or difference between A and B.

    What does the A and the B represent in those principles? They are placeholders for ontological entities; they are what epistemology is about. Without something to gain knowledge about, there is no knowledge to be gained.

    What is one using as a reference to formulate a valid means of gaining knowledge, if not ontological entities? What is presumed to be ontologically existent that can even gain knowledge in the first place? Even “I exist,” or “knowledge can be acquired” are ontological commitments.

    Now, to get specific, what does it mean for KF and SB to say that they had “knowledge” of the existence of moral duties before they developed the ontology that provides for the existence of said duty?

    Let’s leave moral duty out of it for a minute. In any other case, can a duty be known without (1) an authority that holds one responsible for fulfilling one’s duties, and (2) consequences for both fulfilling and not fulfilling said duty? In any ordinary sense of the word “duty,” such as in law, the military, or in the workplace, can a duty be said to exist (whether one is aware of it or not) without those conditions? Can any person – in the non-moral sense – understand or recognize that they have a duty without being aware of those conditions?

    Of course not. To say I have a non-moral duty to fulfill where those conditions do not exist is nonsense. Moving back into morality, SB agrees that unless those conditions exist, there is no such thing as a moral duty. Unless those conditions exist existentially, there is no such thing as an existential moral duty.

    Yet, SB and KF would have us believe that they recognized their duty before they knew or accepted that those necessary ontological conditions existed. What then was their epistemological process for gaining that knowledge? They claim it as self-evident, but even all self-evidently true statements are about ontological entities. What was their self-evidently true statement “existential morality exists” about, if not the ontological conditions necessary for any duty to exist?

    The only thing I can think of, and SB and KF can tell me if I’m wrong, is their personal experience of a “sense of duty” and their observation of the behaviors and reactions of others. Why would one even call whatever they are “feeling” or “sensing” a “duty,” if the conditions by which one can recognize a duty are not established or known? Why would one infer from whatever they felt or sensed and others agree they felt or sensed that it represented a duty at all?

    Now, KF can make a sound argument that society represents a kind of de facto authority even if no formal laws exist. I’ll agree to that. Also, it can be argued that there are social consequences to various behaviors that the social authority does not permit. Here KF can establish that social duties exist because the conditions have been met. He can call these duties “moral” if he wishes, but they are more accurately called “social duties.”

    However, this obviously does not rise to the level of existential and self-evident duty. These duties are understood as duties in relationship to the conditions present.

    So, why call whatever KF and SB are experiencing and observing a “duty?” People behaving as if they have a duty does not establish that a duty actually exists. Feeling that one “must” do X if Y does not establish that that sensation represents a “duty.” Everyone (and that is not the case) agreeing that they feel that they must do X if Y does not establish that feeling as a duty. Labeling everyone who disagrees with you as intellectually or morally compromised or deficient is an argument of convenience that assumes your conclusion that such a duty exists in the first place. It organizes and labels the evidence in favor of your ontological conclusion.

    Strong feelings and common human behaviors do not reveal self-evident truths, much less the existence of self-evident existential duties.

    KF and SB can say all they want that their recognition of their moral duty precedes their ontological commitment to the conditions necessary for any duty to be said to exist; I accept that they believe this is an honest representation of their experience. However, logically speaking, there is no rational reason to call a thing a “duty” unless one recognizes the conditions necessary for a duty to exist. Certainly, strong feelings and common human behavior do not an “existential duty’ make or reveal.

  93. 93
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, we are in a going concern world. I started with a bright red ball on a table to examine law of identity by way of instructive example. LNC and LEM turn out to be close corollaries of LOI, that corrected the instruction that there was no difference of consequence across the 17 core tautologies of Boolean Algebra. Distinct identity, as Paul of Tarsus stressed by way of C1 101 example, is at the heart of communication so rational thought and learning. Absent distinct notes, no tune. Absent distinct sounds, no intelligible speech. Extending, absent distinct symbols, glyphs or states, no written text. All of these show the force of observable patterns and manifest entities in the going concern world, directly evident and leading to key SETs. But likewise, duty to truth and to honest thought, also to justice are at fundamental, pervasive first principle level. If you doubt this, let George Orwell’s cinematic interpreters — an artifact of the going concern world — forever change your view through the scene on Mr Smith, what is 2 + 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJz77y4d_JA This shows the faceted nature of the pervasive, inescapable, so self evident first principles and duties of reason; each flashes because of the contribution of the others and all draw on the contribution of each facet . KF

  94. 94
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: If you want a TL/DR, I challenge you to post a comment here without making use of the first of the inescapable and so self-evident principles of right reason, distinct identity. You cannot, and it is manifest that from going concern world experiences we can see that this and several other SETs are pervasive first principles of right reason. That such reason has as naturally evident end, reliable access to truth is manifest and undeniable. Evils of reason frustrate such access and duties to truth etc foster it. Mr Smith what is 2 + 2 demonstrates why honesty, justice etc cannot be neatly side stepped.

  95. 95
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: I repeat, for record, it is by these first steps that we can profitably go onward to try to answer worldview questions on being, roots etc. [Ontological] cart before the [epistemology- of- a- going- concern- world] horse fallacy is self-defeating.

  96. 96
    William J Murray says:

    So I want to backtrack just a bit. I said above that ontology precedes epistemology, but that isn’t exactly true. As I’ve also said (contradictory to the above), there is a point at the root of making any statement about anything where ontology and epistemology are “the same thing,” and that is an ontological, self-evidently true statement, like “I exist.” Beyond such statements, ontology precedes epistemology.

    I am confident that none of us started thinking about how one can acquire true knowledge absent at least a subconscious or unconscious ontology, such as living in an objective, physical, material world that is external of mind. Now, one can use epistemology to recognize, think about or question that basic common programming we all were raised with, but one does not begin thinking about epistemology absent ontological programming or commitments.

    It took me many years of epistemological thought to even recognize that I was organizing that thought around, and that it was rooted in and stemming from, an a priori unconsciously assumed ontology – that of an actual, external (of mind) physical-material world.

  97. 97
    William J Murray says:

    KF & SB, let me make my position here clear. I am not arguing that existential, universal moral duties do not exist. I am not arguing that a common, strong “sense of duty,” conscience, common human behaviors, and almost universal reactions to extreme moral questions do not make a plausible case for the existence of such duties.

    My argument is that such evidence, and your argument to date, does not and cannot establish that such duties unequivocally exist absent demonstrating factually, or in some logically necessary way, that the aforementioned conditions actually exist. This is because an actual duty requires those conditions to be actual before some behavior or “sense of duty” can to considered to represent or be in relation to an actual duty.

  98. 98
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, as a matter of being the root of reality is antecedent to worlds, and so SB is correct to say that ontology and broader metaphysics we safely add, comes before creatures struggling with error proneness in the struggle to know reliably and confidently. We already know we are unable to know completely, we are not omniscient. This you full well know. Further you full well know that the epistemic struggle comes first in the context of a going concern world as we need to have a framework for responsible, reasonable confidence in making worldview claims. Repeated obfuscation of that fairly blatant point does not commend whatever you wish to promote. KF

    PS: You again show that you cannot but use distinct identity etc, and are yet again appealing to first duties in your challenge that SB and I somehow have failed to reason rightly to reliably correct conclusions. Your case collapses yet again.

  99. 99
    William J Murray says:

    So, I challenge anyone who is willing to answer the following question:

    Absent these factually established conditions: (1) an authority that holds one responsible for fulfilling one’s duties, and (2) consequences for both fulfilling and not fulfilling said duty, does a duty actually exist?

    Yes or no?

  100. 100
    William J Murray says:

    KF said:

    Further you full well know…

    Do you think attempted mind-reading is part of a rational argument? I’m asking because you employ it in a large number of your comments.

  101. 101
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, your case has collapsed, and what reasonably educated persons know in common is a relevant consideration. KF

  102. 102
    jerry says:

    Yes or no?

    Yes!

    Yes – If you want you and your family to stay alive and thrive and not be ruthlessly killed.

    No – if you don’t care that you and your family will be killed very likely brutally. Murray says everyone will die. So what’s the big deal. Why not young and violently. There’s no obligation to protect one’s own life let alone one’s family.

    Take your choice.

  103. 103
    William J Murray says:

    Let me make KF’s & SB’s (et al) argument easier, by agreeing arguendo to some basic observations.

    1. Most people operate from a self-acknowledged sense of duty under the commodity referred to as conscience.
    2. Most people call that sense of duty from conscience morality, and refer to the options available in terms of right and wrong, as if there are universal “rights” and “wrongs.”
    3. Most people react almost identically to extreme moral questions.
    4. These factual observations make a good prima facie case that perhaps universal, existential, actual duties in fact exist.

    The problem, though, is that this prima facie case is insufficient to establish that such actual duties unequivocally exist, because the conditions necessary for such actual duties to exist have not been shown to actually exist. To show an actual duty unquivocally exists, the conditions for any duty, much more one claimed to be existential and universal, must be unequivocally shown to exist.

    Making a good, plausible case that such duties actually exist from observable evidence and inference doesn’t make it self-evidently true that such duties actually exist, even given the above listed considerations. The ontological conditions of the authority and consequences, as described in prior comments, must be established before an actual duty can be demonstrated to actually exist.

    It may be reasonable to conclude that such duties actually exist, but that does not by any stretch of the imagination meet the criteria for something to be called “self-evident.”

  104. 104
    William J Murray says:

    I asked:

    Absent these factually established conditions: (1) an authority that holds one responsible for fulfilling one’s duties, and (2) consequences for both fulfilling and not fulfilling said duty, does a duty actually exist?

    Jerry answered “Yes!” And the makes his case against the above conditions by expressing those same conditions: The authority of those that protect me from those that will brutally kill me, or the authority of those who will do the killing, if I do not perform my duties, and the consequences of longer life vs shorter life.

    Know how you can recognize what is either self-evidently or necessarily true? When you can’t even argue against a thing without employing the very thing you’re arguing against to make your case.

  105. 105
    William J Murray says:

    KF said:

    WJM, your case has collapsed …

    Oh, well, since you put it THAT way …. !

    …and what reasonably educated persons know in common is a relevant consideration.

    An appeal to “what reasonably educated people know in common?” That’s not condescending or dismissive at all.

    Care to answer the question @99, KF?

  106. 106
    jerry says:

    And the makes his case against the above conditions by expressing those same conditions: The authority of those that protect me from those that will brutally kill me, or the authority of those who will do the killing, if I do not perform my duties, and the consequences of longer life vs shorter life.

    Know how you can recognize what is either self-evidently or necessarily true? When you can’t even argue against a thing without employing the very thing you’re arguing against to make your case.

    This is gibberish.

    Human beings have certain objectives. Staying alive and protecting one’s family are two of these objectives. Behaviors that lead to these objectives are desirable. These desirable behaviors are called duties.

    These objectives are innate and built into the species. In the last week two different turtles appeared out of the woods behind our house and laid eggs in our front area. Its normal behavior.

    This obvious observation of humans has been said several times on various threads. So why the constant denial of the obvious by Murray. His ideas are incoherent.

    The real question is why the constant assault on reason with incoherent gobbledegook? Why would anybody do this?

  107. 107
    jerry says:

    But this nonsense will go on and on as the real objectives are not truth or understanding but attacks on individuals they don’t like for whatever reasons.

    It would all go away quickly if the incoherence was ignored. But this has been pointed out several times and ignored. So the only explanation is that people don’t want this babble to end.

  108. 108
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, your case has collapsed, watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJz77y4d_JA — satire (not an instruction manual!) but makes the point clear that self-evident first truths, first principles and first duties all come as a package deal. KF

  109. 109
    StephenB says:

    WJM :

    Ontology provides the “what exists” for there to be any knowledge about.

    That is exactly what I said: Ontology precedes epistemology * in the order of being.* In that sense, the object of the investigation, the what, precedes the thinking subject (the investigator) because the investigators knowledge of the what depends on the existence of the what. But the story doesn't end there.

    In the *process* of knowing, the thinking subject (the investigator) begins in ignorance of the what and ends with a knowledge of the what – FIRST by first observing that it exists, and THEN,, either quickly or gradually, coming to know What it is. This sequence of events cannot be reversed: Observation PRECEDES knowledge in the order of knowing.

  110. 110

    Rule 4 states:
    “4] That necessity is backed up by a certainty mechanism, specifically that the attempted denial immediately manifests a patent absurdity, not by step by step reduction such as incomensurateness of the side and diagonal of a square, but blatant absurdity manifest on inspection.”

    Certainty and absurdity, are commonly subjective qualifiers.

    One can feel absolutely certain that the earth is flat, it does not make it so. Feelings of certainty are associated to statements of fact. A fact is a 1 to 1 corresponding model of a creation. The model of the earth as flat, does not correspond to the shape of the actual earth. The stated fact is inaccurate.

    So rule 4 associates feelings of certainty to what is accurate, and feelings of absurdity to what is inaccurate.

    It is moralising logic, so that one should care to be logical. So as that if one makes the inaccurate statement that the earth is flat, then one should care to correct that statement, to make it an accurate statement that the earth is round.

  111. 111
    William J Murray says:

    KF @108,

    Care to answer the question posed @ #99?

  112. 112
    jerry says:

    Care to answer the question posed @ #99?

    It has been answered. Your post in response was nonsense.

  113. 113
    jerry says:

    From Jordan Peterson

    The best indication of somebody’s belief is to look at their actions rather than what they declare their beliefs are.

    Because I believe the best indication of one’s belief is their actions rather than their statements about their beliefs.

    But we know many of people’s beliefs are mainly false because they cannot be justified.

    The question then becomes do these false beliefs have any harmful effects. In the short term. Probably not. But in the long term we have ample evidence they often do.

    Also by Jordan Peterson

    Columbia University and North Korea are the same

    https://mobile.twitter.com/jordanbpeterson/status/1403728197657759746

    Orwell has come to the Unitrsd States

  114. 114
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, the OP more than adequately addresses how we access SETs in a going concern world, starting with cases. KF

  115. 115
    kairosfocus says:

    MNY, certainty is not certitude; it is not we are confident but the proposition is warranted true beyond reasonable doubt or prospect of material alteration: 2 + 3 = 5 is not merely our view. Likewise relevant absurdities are plain on inspection and have been exemplified. KF

  116. 116
    William J Murray says:

    KF @114,

    That’s what I expected.

  117. 117
    StephenB says:

    WJM:

    Absent these factually established conditions: (1) an authority that holds one responsible for fulfilling one’s duties, and (2) consequences for both fulfilling and not fulfilling said duty, does a duty actually exist?

    Yes. If there is such a thing as the good, it is our duty to pursue it, and if there is such a thing as its attendant moral code, it is our duty to honor it. As I have pointed out on many occasions, the duty is inherent in the structure of the moral code; the two cannot be logically separated.

  118. 118

    Sure, that 2+3=5, is logic, and not anybody’s personal view. Still calling logic certain, and illogic absurd, is about caring to follow logic.

  119. 119
    StephenB says:

    I am simply going to state what should be obvious to any rational person. We know immediately – as a self evident truth — that some things are good for us such as, life, procreation, knowledge, society, and reasonable conduct, and that the absence of the good things (defined as evil) is bad for us. This is undeniable.

    So the first self-evident truth is that the good exists and that, by extension, there is a natural moral code that provides the needed direction for pursuing it. The latter exists as a self-evident truth because the former exists as a self-evident truth. By denying the existence of the good, and its attendant moral law, WJM (and his mindless echoes) are both suicidal and dangerous.

    They carry on as if they were rational people by acknowledging the law of non-contradiction as a standard of reasonableness, but this is an empty gesture. While it may not be the case for all of them, many have made it clear that they are not motivated by logic at all.

    By their own admission, they hold God and his moral universe in contempt. Could it be that they deny the self-evident nature of the objective moral code simply because they hate it? Remember, I didn’t bring the subject up in these interactions, they did.

    Two of them demanded to know how I could worship what they perceive to be a horrible, murderous, and evil God. Is this why they reject the good, which is the foundation for the natural moral law?

  120. 120
    William J Murray says:

    SB said:

    Yes. If there is such a thing as the good, it is our duty to pursue it, and if there is such a thing as its attendant moral code, it is our duty to honor it.

    Let’s say there is such a thing as a good and a moral code. Why is it my duty to pursue/honor it? Why should I?

  121. 121
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, you are going in rhetorical circles. Above such things were addressed in 42 and 49, and your response was, bravo. The case is over and 1984 is satire not an instruction manual https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJz77y4d_JA . It does however manage to show in a few moments what Havel wrote out in detail in his epochal Power of the Powerless https://www.nonviolent-conflict.org/wp-content/uploads/1979/01/the-power-of-the-powerless.pdf — compare the Green Grocer posting slogans in the Window to what the rack did to Winston Smith. More to the point, soberly ponder the fate of Milada Horakova at the hands of real totalitarians https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milada_Hor%C3%A1kov%C3%A1 Straight, truthful, honest thinking as duty and justice as duty are inseparable; with our safety in the balance, this is not just empty games with words, there are lessons bought with blood and tears here. In that context, you already know you cannot but appeal to the Ciceronian duties even to object to them. KF

  122. 122
    Karen McMannus says:

    WJM: Know how you can recognize what is either self-evidently or necessarily true? When you can’t even argue against a thing without employing the very thing you’re arguing against to make your case.

    I literally LOL’d when I read what Jerry wrote. Both items #1 and #2 started with an “if” which grounds what I call a “relative duty” of a preferred outcome. He doesn’t seem to understand what the discussion is about. I’m thinking of making him the thread poster boy. 🙂

  123. 123
    kairosfocus says:

    KM,

    Much the same applies to you:

    The case is over and 1984 is satire not an instruction manual https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJz77y4d_JA . It does however manage to show in a few moments what Havel wrote out in detail in his epochal Power of the Powerless https://www.nonviolent-conflict.org/wp-content/uploads/1979/01/the-power-of-the-powerless.pdf — compare the Green Grocer posting slogans in the Window to what the rack did to Winston Smith. More to the point, soberly ponder the fate of Milada Horakova at the hands of real totalitarians https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milada_Hor%C3%A1kov%C3%A1 Straight, truthful, honest thinking as duty and justice as duty are inseparable; with our safety in the balance, this is not just empty games with words, there are lessons bought with blood and tears here. In that context, you already know you cannot but appeal to the Ciceronian duties even to object to them.

    That is the wild fire you are playing with, that is the crumbling cliff-edge you are dancing on.

    KF

  124. 124
    jerry says:

    He doesn’t seem to understand what the discussion is about.

    Why don’t you clearly state what the discussion is about? Mocking doesn’t get it done.

    Until you do, I will define it as I understand it.

    I understand that it is about whether certain behaviors are necessary to fulfill objectives that are innate in humans. If so, they are obligatory and a term commonly used for such is “duty.” These obligatory behaviors are obvious and self evident in that they are necessary to reach the innate objective.

    I gave one such objective as survival. Then all behaviors that are necessary for survival are obligatory. For example, two self evident obligatory behaviors are eating and drinking.

    The OP is about self evident truths. A self evident truth is that humans seek survival. So does every other species on the planet.

  125. 125
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, we are dealing with denial at this point. KF

  126. 126
    jerry says:

    we are dealing with denial at this point

    No, they don’t believe what they say. Nobody could be this stupid.

    They are just trying to cause aggravation. That is their only goal. Which is why I recommended they be ignored.

    That way there might be something accomplished. For example, I bring up survival as an example of an innate objective. It might be useful to explore all that is involved in this. But no, the discussion gets bogged down in absurdities. What other objectives are built in is another area to explore.

    The real question is why are they doing this? They will never tell you. We can guess.

  127. 127
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, denial. KF

    PS: Cognitive dissonance.

    PPS: yes collective survival and thriving are naturally evident ends, as is fulfillment of potential requiring an environment reflecting the civil peace of justice. Justice cannot be separated from duties, including to honesty and truth, right reason and prudence. This is not, inverted broomstick balancing on a fiery jet highly nonlinear system rocket science.

  128. 128
    William J Murray says:

    WJM, you are going in rhetorical circles.

    There’s nothing about my argument that is rhetorical except the question I asked in #99. I’ve established what conditions are necessary to show that a duty exists. You are attempting to make the case that such conditions are not necessary for a duty to be known as such. A “duty” without (1) an authority that holds people accountable, and (2) consequences for doing or not doing my duty, is not a duty by any definition of the word. A “sense of duty” is not an actual duty. An inescapable behavior is not a duty. Common behaviors and reactions do not reveal a duty. Conscience does not reveal a duty.

    You refuse to answer #99. It’s a simple question about whether or not those conditions are necessary for a duty to exist. As I said, that’s a rhetorical question, which drives home the point: of course they are. Jerry could not even formulate his rebuttal without reference to the very conditions he says are not necessary. SB made a better attempt, but so far has not said why I have a “duty” to what he calls “the good,” or why I should do my duty. Those questions cannot be answered absent the two necessary conditions I listed.

    The problem is, admitting it destroys your entire argument and demonstrates that a duty cannot be “self-evident.” An actual duty is only evident in light of the necessary conditions.

  129. 129
    StephenB says:

    WJM:

    Let’s say there is such a thing as a good and a moral code. Why is it my duty to pursue/honor it? Why should I?

    Because, as I explained, the ought to ethic is inherent in the moral code; it is built into the mandate; they cannot be logically separated. By definition, the moral code says you “ought to” follow it, which is the same as saying that you have a duty to follow it, which is the same as saying that you have a moral responsibility to follow it, which is the same as saying that you have a moral obligation to follow it.

  130. 130
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, it’s over:

    The case is over and 1984 is satire not an instruction manual https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJz77y4d_JA . It does however manage to show in a few moments what Havel wrote out in detail in his epochal Power of the Powerless https://www.nonviolent-conflict.org/wp-content/uploads/1979/01/the-power-of-the-powerless.pdf — compare the Green Grocer posting slogans in the Window to what the rack did to Winston Smith. More to the point, soberly ponder the fate of Milada Horakova at the hands of real totalitarians https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milada_Hor%C3%A1kov%C3%A1 Straight, truthful, honest thinking as duty and justice as duty are inseparable; with our safety in the balance, this is not just empty games with words, there are lessons bought with blood and tears here. In that context, you already know you cannot but appeal to the Ciceronian duties even to object to them.

    That’s the crumbling cliff you and too many others are dancing on the edge of, KF

  131. 131
    kairosfocus says:

    SB, absurdity is absurdity, one of the features of SETs is attempted denial — logical sense — immediately goes there. It’s sad we are here but we are. KF

  132. 132
    William J Murray says:

    SB said:

    By their own admission, they hold God and his moral universe in contempt.

    That never happened, as far as I remember.

  133. 133
    William J Murray says:

    KF said:

    WJM, it’s over …

    Yes, I agree. I appreciate your participation. It was very enjoyable and it helped me clarify several things, at least for myself.

  134. 134
    Karen McMannus says:

    SB: By their own admission, they hold God and his moral universe in contempt.

    Not me. And not WJM or anyone else as far as I can tell.

    I’ve stated a few times in effect that this thread and the other one are really religious threads thinly disguised as philosophy. Nothing wrong with religious threads. But there’s no reason for the thin disguise. I can’t imagine that it’s helpful to anyone in the “real world.”

    WJM: I appreciate your participation. It was very enjoyable and it helped me clarify several things, at least for myself.

    Amen.

  135. 135
    StephenB says:

    WJM:

    Let’s say there is such a thing as a good and a moral code. Why is it my duty to pursue/honor it? Why should I?

    I dealt with the moral code @ 129, so now I will take up the good In this section. Not much needs to be said except that one ought to do what is good for him. Again, this is self evident. It is better to pursue individual goods such as life, procreation, knowledge, society, and reasonable conduct than the corresponding evils, such as death, sterility, ignorance, isolation, and unreasonable conduct. I don’t know what else to say to someone, like yourself, who denies the existence of these particular goods, except to say what I have always said: You have chosen to be irrational by denying what is obviously true.

  136. 136

    You are still only saying, one should care to follow logic. It is not shown that getting a sum wrong, that 3+2=4, is immoral. It is just not logical. The term wrong here essentially refers to, does not compute.

    What is very bad, is that you disregard the logic of subjectivity. A subjective opinion is formed by choice, and expresses what it is that makes a choice.

    Which means that to be forced to say a painting is beautiful, provides a logically invalid opinion, because of it not being chosen, in spontaneous expression of emotion with free will.

    So why do you throw out this logic, in saying you follow logic?

    You only follow the logic of things being forced, and aren’t dealing with the logic of choice. 2+3=5 the result is forced. One could also make an example of choosing between 1 and 2. If you then choose 3, it is illogical, same as answering 4 was illlogical.

    And ofcourse, morality applies to choices, not to things forced. If someone chooses 1 instead of 2, then one can choose either opinion that 1 was chosen out of evil or goodness. Both options would be equally logically valid. It is equally logically valid to say a painting is beautiful or ugly.

  137. 137
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, you really need to ponder the Horakova case, to see the force of the issues at stake, real world and ending in judicial torture-murder. Those are the sorts of things that haunt me, having lived through a situation that could well have ended like that. These are not rhetorical games or ivory tower issues, we are dealing with lessons paid for in blood and tears. KF

  138. 138
    kairosfocus says:

    MNY, should carries the full force of sacred duty, duty written and underscored in blood and tears. KF

  139. 139
    StephenB says:

    SB: By their own admission, they hold God and his moral universe in contempt.

    Karen McMannus:

    Not me.

    Clearly, Karen is disgusted by the God she finds in the Old Testament, which is also the God who designed the universe and its moral order.

    Let’s check the record.

    Karen McMannus
    (alluding to that same God, in particular the one described in the books of Samuel and Numbers)

    “the fact that some of you people can go along with the murder of children in the name of your God’s desires proves that you don’t believe killing babies is “self evidently wrong”

    Karen McMannus on another occasion::

    What’s the difference between people who believes this stuff and the World Trade Center terrorists?
    Nothing. It’s murder in the service of their belief of what they think their “God” wants.

    Karen McMannus, popping off again:

    … the fact that some of you people can go along with the murder of children in the name of your God’s desires proves that you don’t believe killing babies is “self evidently wrong.” If it were self evidently wrong, it would always be self-evidently wrong.

    On another occasion, she writes this,:

    You know damn well you don’t believe that really happened. So stop making excuses for these idiotic fictions that you don’t believe.

    And again, and in another place, she writes,

    You believe that your God commanded it, as the text claims?

    To show that she feels the same way about the God of the New Testament, she writes this

    And some people think the marvelous Creator will torment people forever
    Aren’t you embarrassed by that idea?

    Is this the same Karen McMannus who just said, “not me.”

  140. 140
    Karen McMannus says:

    SB,

    You’re statement was not “Karen is disgusted by the God she finds in the Old Testament”, it was, “they hold God and his moral universe in contempt”.

    Changing the goalposts. You might be surprised to find that not everyone has the same views of “God” as you do. But yeah, no problem being disgusted by what some Old Testament writers claim God commanded in the Old Testament.” No problem at all.

    which is also the God who designed the universe and its moral order.

    A bald assertion.

    You are free to believe in whatever description of God you want. Nobody here has ever said otherwise.

    Again, your post proving this is a religious thread masquerading as a philosophy thread.

  141. 141
    kairosfocus says:

    KM, your antipathies are showing. Again, I point you to the Milada Horakova story, we are dealing here with lessons written in blood and tears. KF

  142. 142
    StephenB says:

    Karen:

    You’re statement was not “Karen is disgusted by the God she finds in the Old Testament”, it was, “they hold God and his moral universe in contempt”.

    Well, I did change the emphasis somewhat in my latest statement, so I can grant you some slack in that context. However, the God of the Old Testament that you so disapprove of is the same God that created and designed the moral universe that I was alluding to. As it says in Scripture, ” God created the heavens and the earth.” Like it or not, that is the God that you attacked. It’s all on the record, and quite a record it is.

    You might be surprised to find that not everyone has the same views of “God” as you do.

    No surprise at all. I think that the God of the Old Testament was justified in his every act. You think He is (was) a murderer. Obviously, we do not have the same view.

    But yeah, no problem being disgusted by what some Old Testament writers claim God commanded in the Old Testament.” No problem at all.

    Right. You made it clear that their report was, in your judgment, the same as saying that God is (was) a murderer. That was your mistake. It isn’t the same thing at all. Not all killings are murders. Even humans are permitted to kill if there is a good reason for it.

    You are free to believe in whatever description of God you want. Nobody here has ever said otherwise.

    How open minded you are for granting me permission to think that the God of the Old Testament had good reasons for taking back his gift of life in some cases. How closed minded you are for not knowing about those reasons.

    Again, your post proving this is a religious thread masquerading as a philosophy thread.

    I have never used religious arguments to support my views on the natural moral law. I don’t need them. You are the one who kept going on and on about an evil God without having the slightest idea about why you might be wrong about that. You should be ,more circumspect when making statements that are not fully informed, especially when they are being used as a calculated distraction away from the natural law argument.

  143. 143
    kairosfocus says:

    SNIP, see below

  144. 144
    Sandy says:

    2+3=5 the result is forced. It is equally logically valid to say a painting is beautiful or ugly.

    It is not shown that getting a sum wrong, that 3+2=4, is immoral. It is just not logical.

    :)))

  145. 145
    kairosfocus says:

    WordFence is up to problems again.

  146. 146
    kairosfocus says:

    Sandy, the case of what is 2+2 Mr Smith is already on the table, showing the direct connexion between mere error and evil imposition in defiance of duties of justice. Just, the inconvenient relevance is being side-stepped as usual. KF

  147. 147
    kairosfocus says:

    SB &KM, it is obvious that we are seeing yet another side-track from a primary focus on the nature and relevance of self-evident truth into precisely the sort of debates on theology, exegesis etc that are not only beyond UD’s remit and general expertise [where, as noted there are other fora for such discussions and where links that provide a balancing picture have clearly been consistently ignored], lead only into polarisation, poisoning and clouding the atmosphere, frustrating discussion on the priority issue for restoring soundness to civilisation. Where, SB’s counsels on lack of a balanced informed basis on the part of KM (and others led to think like that) are in order so the pushing of flawed distractive arguments should be set aside. Whatever its merits, if the tertiary matter is to be further discussed towards a better balance, another forum would be advisable; though, SB may wish to provide some links. Meanwhile, it is quite clear that the substantial matters on the table here are about self-evident truth, which is shown to exist by cases in the OP and such are drawn out in terms of the structure of a SET. That there are moral SETs and moral absurdities is clear from the case of the sadly real world matter of a kidnapped, sexually tortured, murdered child. An existence argument in 42 above shows that the attempt to deny objective moral truths is self-defeating as it is itself a claimed objective moral truth. Likewise, in 49, it was drawn out that once reasonable ends are recognised, moral duties are owed to any number of entities, starting with oneself etc, where evils frustrate or pervert good ends. The general problem is not with warrant for SETs or even moral SETs, it is that such does not fit with currently dominant, ill advised cultural themes and agendas tied to radical relativism, subjectivism [not, subjectivity] and emotivism; which all fail as accounts for truth, knowledge, right, law etc. KF

  148. 148
  149. 149
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: subjectivism etc in the other part of axiology, aesthetics, is equally suspect. No wonder ugliness has so often been imposed on the public through architectural eyesores in the name of beauty in the eyes of certain beholders. The ruin of London’s skyline is a capital case in point. KF

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