Intelligent Design

Descartes Got it Wrong and that Leads to A-Mat Absurdity

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Over at ENV Michael Egnor explains how Descartes blew it and why that has consequences.

The foundation of epistemology is not self-awareness. This can be understood by considering Descartes’s maxim, “Cogito ergo sum.” Notice that we cannot conclude that we exist unless we can conclude. That is, we must first know the principle of non-contradiction — that being is not non-being — before we can conclude that “I think therefore I am.”

“Therefore,” not “I think” nor “I am,” is the crux of the most important thing we know. The principle of non-contradiction is prior to self-awareness.

Failure to give the LNC its due leads to A-Mat absurdity (as we have seen in these pages many times):

It’s worth noting that modern atheists and materialists have a particular problem with non-contradiction. Consider a number of atheist and materialist claims in this light.

Materialists and atheists claim that ID is scientifically wrong, and claim that ID is not scientifically testable. But of course, in order to be scientifically wrong, ID must be scientifically testable. . . . Again and again, materialists and atheists hold opinions that violate the law of non-contradiction. In this sense, atheism and materialism aren’t even really metaphysical theories. They’re just self-refuting nonsense.

The whole article is worth reading.

60 Replies to “Descartes Got it Wrong and that Leads to A-Mat Absurdity

  1. 1

    How dare he attempt to oppress us with his patriarchical, white-supremacist logic!

  2. 2
    kairosfocus says:

    Folks, I incline that all first principles of reasoning are necessary and framework to reality. That’s why I tend to speak of distinct identity and its immediate corollaries, LOI, LNC, LEM. No world can exist without distinct identity. Consciousness is immediately intuited from self awareness and is just as undeniable for one who is conscious. As in if you try to deny or doubt your consciousness, who is denying or doubting? KF

    PS: Several other self evident truths fit in with this. For instance, distinct identity leads to numbers. I suggest too that if a thing A is or is not, we can simply ask or inquire as to why and that power to ask is directly tied to consciousness. If you doubt this, WHO is denying and couldn’t you just as easily be asking? From this weak form principle of [inquiry into] sufficient reason, we can go to inquiry into the logic of being and causality.

  3. 3
    StephenB says:

    Ockham >> Descartes >> Kant >> Madness

  4. 4
    rvb8 says:

    StephenB @3,

    Occam and following his principle leads to madness? Really? I use it almost everyday, as do you too probably, without knowing it. He merely described what already existed, much like Darwin.

    Broadly; Among competing ideas, the one with the fewest unsupported guesses should be assumed to be correct.

    That sounds emminently sensible, both back in the 13th century when it was first uttered, and even up to today. And also into the long distant future.

    Basically, don’t fill ‘gaps’, with guess work.

  5. 5
    ET says:

    rvb8:

    Broadly; Among competing ideas, the one with the fewest unsupported guesses should be assumed to be correct.

    That would be ID when compared to evolution by means of blind and mindless processes, which is all about unsupported guesses.

  6. 6
    rvb8 says:

    “The principle of non-contradiction is prior (meaning, before??)to self awareness.”

    Did I get that right? Before you can be self aware you must be non-contradictory? Who or what must be non-contradicory, before you can be aware that you yourself can think, and therefore exist?

    This is very philosophical and completely above my meagre thought. I, following Occam’s razor believe this:

    ‘A selfaware being must have a metabolism, if not its brain, and by extension self awareness, won’t function.’

    You appear to be putting the cart before the horse. And worse adding, unsupported guesses to what is quite a simple formulation; birth>>selfawareness>>death.

    You’ll notice the complete lack of philosophically multiplied obscuritanism.

  7. 7
    Barry Arrington says:

    rvb8,

    Ockham’s razor may be the only snippet of Ockham’s thought with which you are familiar, but that does not mean Stephen is suggesting that principle leads to madness. If you knew more about Ockham, you would know he is the father of nominalism. And then you would be able to trace the progression outlined @ 3.

  8. 8
    Barry Arrington says:

    rvb8 @ 6.

    Yet again ontology is confused with epistemology.

    From an ontological perspective obviously self awareness is prior. From an epistemic perspective the LNC is prior.
    As explained in the linked article. Which you obviously did not read.

  9. 9
    bornagain77 says:

    While I agree with Dr. Egnor that the Law of Non-Contradiction (LNC) is very important,

    Law of thought –
    The three traditional laws
    1.The law of identity
    2. The law of non-contradiction
    3. The law of excluded middle
    ,,,,Commentary of Aristotle’s Metaphysics – a commentary which is full of the most ingenious and original views, – not only asserts to the law of Identity a coordinate dignity with the law of Contradiction, but, against Aristotle, he maintains that the principle of Identity, and not the principle of Contradiction, is the one absolutely first. The formula in which Andreas expressed it was Ens est ens. Subsequently to this author, the question concerning the relative priority of the two laws of Identity and of Contradiction became one much agitated in the schools; though there were also found some who asserted to the law of Excluded Middle this supreme rank.” [From Hamilton LECT. V. LOGIC. 65-66]
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_thought#History

    The Law of Identity (LOI) is also certainly very important too,,,, And in light of LOI as applied to Descartes maxim, I have to disagree with Dr. Egnor that Descartes metaphysics are the source of such profound mischief in the present day as Dr. Egnor seems to deeply believe it is.

    Surely I am not as nuanced in philosophy as Dr Egnor is, and may be missing something very important, yet, when using the LOI, I have found Descartes’s maxim to be on the mark.

    For instance, one simple way of demonstrating that the mind is not the same thing as the brain comes from utilizing the ‘Law of Identity’ to separate properties of mind from properties of the brain:

    Immaterial Mind – video (Law Of Identity)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=720zEnzgTyM

    How Consciousness Points to the Existence of God – J. Warner Wallace – video – Sept. 2015
    (5 attributes of mind that are distinct from the material brain therefore, via the law of identity, the mind is not the same thing as the material brain)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Ff1jiRpjko

    Dr Egnor himself employs the law of identity to “doubt” that a representation of a memory is a real memory.

    Brains on Fire: Dr. Steven Novella Explains, “The Mind Is the Fire of the Brain” – Michael Egnor – December 18, 2014
    Excerpt: The difference between a memory and a representation of a memory is obvious. Right now I remember that I have an appointment at noon. I’m writing down “appointment at noon” on my calendar.
    My memory is my thought that I have an appointment at noon.
    The representation of my memory is the written note on my calendar.
    A thought differs from a note. A thought is something I experience; a note is something I write. My memory is a psychological thing. My note is a physical thing. My memory is represented in my note. My memory is not the same thing as my note. A memory is not the same thing as a representation of a memory.
    I hope that’s clear. I’m not sure how I can be clearer.
    – Michael Egnor is a professor and vice chairman of the department of neurosurgery at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....92151.html

    Dr. Michael Egnor again, via the law of identity, ‘doubts’ that the brain produces the mind:

    The Mind and Materialist Superstition – Michael Egnor – 2008
    Six “conditions of mind” that are irreconcilable with materialism: –
    Excerpt: Intentionality,,, Qualia,,, Persistence of Self-Identity,,, Restricted Access,,, Incorrigibility,,, Free Will,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....13961.html

    Thus, although Dr Egnor has been fairly harsh to Descartes overall line of thinking in regards to the Law of Non-Contradiction, in his argumentation utilizing the Law of Identity, Dr. Egnor himself, none-the-less, seems to traveling much the same road as Descartes did in establishing the primacy of mind.

    Supplemental note: Advances in Quantum Mechanics have denied ‘realism’ altogether,,, (realism is the belief that there is a reality ‘out there’ that is independent of whether or not a conscious observer observes it).,,, I suspect Descartes would be very pleased to know that.

    Alain Aspect and Anton Zeilinger by Richard Conn Henry – Physics Professor – John Hopkins University
    Excerpt: Why do people cling with such ferocity to belief in a mind-independent reality? It is surely because if there is no such reality, then ultimately (as far as we can know) mind alone exists. And if mind is not a product of real matter, but rather is the creator of the “illusion” of material reality (which has, in fact, despite the materialists, been known to be the case, since the discovery of quantum mechanics in 1925), then a theistic view of our existence becomes the only rational alternative to solipsism (solipsism is the philosophical idea that only one’s own mind is sure to exist).
    (Dr. Henry’s referenced experiment and paper – “An experimental test of non-local realism” by S. Gröblacher et. al., Nature 446, 871, April 2007 – “To be or not to be local” by Alain Aspect, Nature 446, 866, April 2007 (Leggett’s Inequality: Violated, as of 2011, to 120 standard deviations)
    http://henry.pha.jhu.edu/aspect.html

    Also see Dr Gordon: “The Incompatibility of Physicalism with Physics”

    The Incompatibility of Physicalism with Physics: A Conversation with Dr. Bruce Gordon – 2017 video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wk-UO81HmO4

  10. 10
    StephenB says:

    rvb8,

    As Barry explained, Ockham is the father of nominalism. Among other things, he denied the existence of natures, forms, and formal causality. Would you like to know how that set the stage for Descartes or is that enough for now?

  11. 11
    critical rationalist says:

    The foundation of epistemology is not self-awareness. This can be understood by considering Descartes’s maxim, “Cogito ergo sum.” Notice that we cannot conclude that we exist unless we can conclude. That is, we must first know the principle of non-contradiction — that being is not non-being — before we can conclude that “I think therefore I am.”

    We must know the principle of non-contradiction? What do you mean by “know”?

    First, what about all those human beings the who lived thousands of years before Law of non-contradiction had ever been consciously conceived by anyone in the form presented?

    Second, there seems to be a contradiction as illustrated by this screen capture from this TED talk.

    These two squares appear to be to different colors, until you add the lines. And when you remove them they go back to being different colors. Is this not a concrete example of our brains literally holding a contradiction? This sort of optical illusion is a function of our ability to perceive things in three dimensions.

    Third, what of the examples presented?

    Materialists and atheists claim that ID is scientifically wrong, and claim that ID is not scientifically testable. But of course, in order to be scientifically wrong, ID must be scientifically testable.

    While testability is an important factor, anyone can come up with a testable prediction. For example, solipsism accepts everything you and I observe as external to ourselves with the one exception that these same observations are supposedly facets of one’s internal self. Those are testable predictions, are they not?

    Should we attempt to take it seriously, in that it’s true in reality and that all observations should conform to it, Solipsism presents an implicit theory that there are dream-like aspects of myself that act like autonomous conscious beings which surprise me, have different personalities and even disagree with me on Solipsism. And there object-like facets of myself that obey laws of physics like facets even though, as a non-physicist, I can’t do the math that describes their behavior. Not to mention that these supposed people-like facets of myself discover new things about myself (physics like facets) all the time, which I wasn’t aware of previously.

    IOW, solipsism predicts exactly the same empirical observations we observe, which means every every discovery in technology, medicine and particle physics also “supports” solipsism. They just happen to be internal to the solipsist, rather than external.

    The key difference is that Solipsism makes no attempt to explain *why* object-like facets of one’s self would obey laws of physics-like facets of one’s self, etc. No explanation is presented at all. Instead, the claim is based on a supposed philosophical limitation that we cannot know anything exists outside of our own minds.

    In other words, Solipsism consists of the theory of realty with the added exception of it all being elaborate facets of the internal self. It merely attempts to explain away the currently tenable theory of reality. Despite portraying itself as anti-reality, solipsism is actually a convoluted elaboration of reality, which can be discarded.

    Apparently, ID is compatible with evolution, with the added exception of “that’s just what some designer must have wanted”, which attempts to explain way the current theory of evolution.

    Materialists and atheists believe that our minds evolved by natural selection. But if we evolved wholly by natural selection, we evolved to maximize reproductive success, not to discern truth, and thus we could not trust our belief that we evolved by natural selection.

    We cannot?

    William Warren Bartley compared critical rationalism to the very general philosophical approach to knowledge which he called “justificationism”. Most justificationists do not know that they are justificationists. Justificationism is what Popper called a “subjectivist” view of truth, in which the question of whether some statement is true, is confused with the question of whether it can be justified (established, proven, verified, warranted, made well-founded, made reliable, grounded, supported, legitimated, based on evidence) in some way.

    According to Bartley, some justificationists are positive about this mistake. They are naïve rationalists, and thinking that their knowledge can indeed be founded, in principle, it may be deemed certain to some degree, and rational.

    Other justificationists are negative about these mistakes. They are epistemological relativists, and think (rightly, according to the critical rationalist) that you cannot find knowledge, that there is no source of epistemological absolutism. But they conclude (wrongly, according to the critical rationalist) that there is therefore no rationality, and no objective distinction to be made between the true and the false.

    By dissolving justificationism itself, the critical rationalist regards knowledge and rationality, reason and science, as neither foundational nor infallible, but nevertheless does not think we must therefore all be relativists. Knowledge and truth still exist, just not in the way we thought.

    So, it seems that this is a contradiction if we assume knowledge is justified, true belief.

    Materialists and atheists believe that determinism is true and that free will is not real. But if determinism is true and we lack free will, then our opinions are determined by physical processes, which are not propositions and which lack truth value. Chemical reactions are neither true nor false, so a materialist’s opinion that determinism is true and free will is not real has no truth value.

    Again, this is yet another example of presenting a specific conception of free will, then claiming that conception is incompatible with deterministic processes.

    Of course “that” conception is. But words are shortcuts for ideas. And we should be willing to accept the terms of others to have a discussion.

    Materialists and atheists believe that the universe spontaneously came from nothing, and they define nothing as the laws of quantum mechanics.

    See above.

    This couldn’t possibly mean that what we previously considered “nothing” actually turns out to be a see of quantum fluctuations. is this a contraction?

    Atoms a contradiction? After all the origin of the word atom is…

    “late 15th century: from Old French atome, via Latin from Greek atomos ‘indivisible,’ based on a- ‘not’ + temnein ‘to cut.’” Yet, atoms can be divided.

    is this a contradiction?

    Materialists and atheists believe that the existence of evil disproves the existence of God, yet if there is no ultimate Source of right and wrong, there is no evil and no good; there are merely circumstances we like or dislike. Nietzsche, unlike the New Atheists, understood this.

    Is the author really suggesting there is no distinction between taking someone else’s claims seriously, for the purpose of criticism, and personally holding that belief?

    To use an example, imagine if a bank robbery was thwarted by woman wearing a green suit with a big Z on her chest, but not before she was shot in the leg by a conventional handgun. Now imaging someone claimed this woman, now in the hospital being treated for a gunshot wound, was Superman.

    Would I have to actually, personally believe that Superman exists to point out that Superman is supposedly a man, not a woman, who is impervious to conventional bullets? No, I don’t.

    So, why would I have to personally believe in “evil”, In the same sense as a theist, to criticize their position?

  12. 12
    critical rationalist says:

    Supplemental note: Advances in Quantum Mechanics have denied ‘realism’ altogether

    You’ll have to be more specific as to which “advances” are you referring to and how they actually represent “advances.”

  13. 13
    critical rationalist says:

    While were at it, can anyone here explain how Jesus could have been 100% man and 100% God?

    How is that not a contradiction?

  14. 14
    EDTA says:

    CR @ 13

    >While were at it, can anyone here explain how
    >Jesus could have been 100% man and 100% God?
    >How is that not a contradiction?

    The “100%” is added by people trying to get the idea across that He was man and God, in some way. Since it is a matter that ultimately lies beyond our world, I don’t expect an explanation that is fully accessible to us to be possible.

    ——————–
    BA77, nice to see you posting!

  15. 15
    rvb8 says:

    Barry @7, Stephen @10,

    Occam is the father of Nominalism? OK.

    And a large part of nominalism denies the existance of, ‘abstract objects’. These are objects existing outside, ‘space and time’.

    How Occam squared this circle, with his belief in a divine God is an Intelligently Designed piece of masterful manipulation.

    Question; why should ID be fond of this particular branch of Nominalism, when ID has clearly stated that the designer may in fact be beyond space and time?

  16. 16
    Seversky says:

    The foundation of epistemology is not self-awareness. This can be understood by considering Descartes’s maxim, “Cogito ergo sum.” Notice that we cannot conclude that we exist unless we can conclude. That is, we must first know the principle of non-contradiction — that being is not non-being — before we can conclude that “I think therefore I am.”

    There are two problems with this.

    Epistomology is the branch of philosophy which is concerned with the theory of knowledge. Knowledge can only exist in the mind of a ‘knower’ so the existence of such – “I think therefore I am” – is presumed in the concept of knowledge. The ‘knower’ precedes knowledge.

    A second problem is whether existence is a property of things which exist like other properties such as dimensions or color. For example, I can say that I have four gold coins in my pocket or I can say that I have four non-gold coins in my pocket and both claims can be true. However, while I can say I that have four coins in my pocket – which can be re-stated as “There exist in my pocket four coins” – does it mean anything if I say “There are four non-existent coins” in my pocket or is it absurd because it is stating a contradiction?

    It’s worth noting that modern atheists and materialists have a particular problem with non-contradiction. Consider a number of atheist and materialist claims in this light.

    No, we don’t. We recognize square circles and stones so heavy God cannot lift them as contradictions as much as you do. We also note, however, that at the quantum level there are entities which appear to be both waves and particles at one and the same time.

    Materialists and atheists claim that ID is scientifically wrong, and claim that ID is not scientifically testable. But of course, in order to be scientifically wrong, ID must be scientifically testable.

    We don’t claim ID is wrong. We allow that it is possible that there was some sort of intelligent designer that involved in the appearance of life on Earth but we also agree with Paul Nelson that the lack of a fully-fledged theory of biological design is a real problem for the ID community.

    Materialists and atheists believe that our minds evolved by natural selection. But if we evolved wholly by natural selection, we evolved to maximize reproductive success, not to discern truth, and thus we could not trust our belief that we evolved by natural selection.

    This argument is flawed because it assumes that a mind optimized for survival is unable to discern truth. It should be quite obvious that having a true understanding of the environment in which an individual has to survive is going to be a great advantage to that individual compared with competitors who have false beliefs.

    Materialists and atheists believe that determinism is true and that free will is not real. But if determinism is true and we lack free will, then our opinions are determined by physical processes, which are not propositions and which lack truth value. Chemical reactions are neither true nor false, so a materialist’s opinion that determinism is true and free will is not real has no truth value

    A/mats recognize that consciousness is a hard problem but there is no denying the correlation between consciousness and the physical brain. Damage to the physical brain can impair consciousness and destruction of the physical brain inevitably leads to a permanent loss of the consciousness associated with it.

    Materialists and atheists believe that the existence of evil disproves the existence of God, yet if there is no ultimate Source of right and wrong, there is no evil and no good; there are merely circumstances we like or dislike. Nietzsche, unlike the New Atheists, understood this.

    A/mats believe that there are events and behaviors in human history – loosely described as evil – which are inconsistent with the loving and paternalistic God as conceived by some contemporary Christians. There are accounts in the Old Testament of what would now be characterized as atrocities or crimes against humanity committed by God or His proxies which fully justify Richard Dawkins’s famous condemnation. These are massive contradictions for Christians, not a/mats.

  17. 17
    kairosfocus says:

    Seversky, I suggest that for a distinct possible world to exist, distinct identity exists. Instantly, LOI, LNC and LEM are present as corollaries. I suggest Dr Egnor may not be thinking in that unified frame but by pointing to one aspect he implies all that goes with it. BTW, from this we see numbers also and the logic that governs structure and quantity, aka mathematics. Of course, further to all this, we are self-evidently self-aware, conscious creatures of contingent character. Consciousness is our first fact, the fact through which we are aware of and address all other facts. So, it is self-evident and knowable to utter certainty that we are aware. Descartes’ valid point in this context is that if one doubts, WHO is doubting suffices to show the absurdity of doubting one’s knowledge by awareness of existence. I suggest, this is ONE SET, but not the only one. It is ONE place to start from in thought. But, the core SET’s for the life of the mind are tied to distinct identity. Indeed, the more I reflect on it the more seems to lurk in the issue of being with distinct identity thus core characteristics. KF

    PS: On the attempt to put up the outdated problem of evil, post Plantinga’s successful free will defense, I suggest here as a 101.

    PPS: Perhaps Egnor’s clip from the angelic Doctor may help:

    By nature our intellect knows being and the immediate characteristic of being as being, out of which knowledge arises the understanding of first principles, of the principle, say, that affirmation and denial cannot coexist (opposition between being and non-being)

    (Summa Contra Gentiles: II, 83. Cf Ia IIae, q. 94, a.2.)

  18. 18
    bornagain77 says:

    CR states:

    “You’ll have to be more specific as to which “advances” (in quantum mechanics) are you referring to and how they actually represent “advances.””

    Which is interesting since I cited this:

    (Dr. Henry’s referenced experiment and paper – “An experimental test of non-local realism” by S. Gröblacher et. al., Nature 446, 871, April 2007 – “To be or not to be local” by Alain Aspect, Nature 446, 866, April 2007 (Leggett’s Inequality: Violated, as of 2011, to 120 standard deviations)

    and this

    Also see Dr Gordon: “The Incompatibility of Physicalism with Physics”

    The Incompatibility of Physicalism with Physics: A Conversation with Dr. Bruce Gordon – 2017 video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wk-UO81HmO4

    ,,, but to go further,,

    Divine Action and the World of Science: What Cosmology and Quantum Physics Teach Us about the Role of Providence in Nature – Bruce L. Gordon – 2017
    ,,, Introduction excerpt:
    So does the reality we inhabit bear the hallmarks of transcendent intelligent causation, and does scientific investigation lead us to its discovery? In a word, yes.
    It is the purpose of this essay to show how the evidence from cosmology and quantum physics enables us to infer it.5,,,
    http://jbtsonline.org/wp-conte.....ressed.pdf

    Quantum Mechanics and Consciousness: 5 Experiments – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5qphmi8gYE
    Paper
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1rqqkxxQighIbyqtE0VeBZmu9D3GvUQfO5v1xwOTyp_E/edit

    Experiment confirms quantum theory weirdness – May 27, 2015
    Excerpt: The bizarre nature of reality as laid out by quantum theory has survived another test, with scientists performing a famous experiment and proving that reality does not exist until it is measured.
    Physicists at The Australian National University (ANU) have conducted John Wheeler’s delayed-choice thought experiment, which involves a moving object that is given the choice to act like a particle or a wave. Wheeler’s experiment then asks – at which point does the object decide?
    Common sense says the object is either wave-like or particle-like, independent of how we measure it. But quantum physics predicts that whether you observe wave like behavior (interference) or particle behavior (no interference) depends only on how it is actually measured at the end of its journey. This is exactly what the ANU team found.
    “It proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it,” said Associate Professor Andrew Truscott from the ANU Research School of Physics and Engineering.
    Despite the apparent weirdness, the results confirm the validity of quantum theory, which,, has enabled the development of many technologies such as LEDs, lasers and computer chips.
    The ANU team not only succeeded in building the experiment, which seemed nearly impossible when it was proposed in 1978, but reversed Wheeler’s original concept of light beams being bounced by mirrors, and instead used atoms scattered by laser light.
    “Quantum physics’ predictions about interference seem odd enough when applied to light, which seems more like a wave, but to have done the experiment with atoms, which are complicated things that have mass and interact with electric fields and so on, adds to the weirdness,” said Roman Khakimov, PhD student at the Research School of Physics and Engineering.
    http://phys.org/news/2015-05-q.....dness.html

    etc.. etc…

  19. 19
    bornagain77 says:

    of humorous note:

    Descartes’s Maxim:

    “I think therefore I am.”

    Atheistic Materialist’s maxim

    “I have thought about it and I do not exist”

    🙂

    The Confidence of Jerry Coyne – Ross Douthat – January 6, 2014
    Excerpt: then halfway through this peroration, we have as an aside the confession that yes, okay, it’s quite possible given materialist premises that “our sense of self is a neuronal illusion.” At which point the entire edifice suddenly looks terribly wobbly — because who, exactly, is doing all of this forging and shaping and purpose-creating if Jerry Coyne, as I understand him (and I assume he understands himself) quite possibly does not actually exist at all? The theme of his argument is the crucial importance of human agency under eliminative materialism, but if under materialist premises the actual agent is quite possibly a fiction, then who exactly is this I who “reads” and “learns” and “teaches,” and why in the universe’s name should my illusory self believe Coyne’s bold proclamation that his illusory self’s purposes are somehow “real” and worthy of devotion and pursuit? (Let alone that they’re morally significant:,,) Read more here:
    http://douthat.blogs.nytimes.c.....oyne/?_r=0

    “What you’re doing is simply instantiating a self: the program run by your neurons which you feel is “you.””
    Jerry Coyne
    https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2015/04/04/eagleton-on-baggini-on-free-will/

    “The Astonishing Hypothesis is that “You,” your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. As Lewis Carroll’s Alice might have phrased: “You’re nothing but a pack of neurons.” This hypothesis is so alien to the ideas of most people today that it can truly be called astonishing.”
    Francis Crick – Astonishing Hypothesis: The Scientific Search for the Soul (p. 3)

    “The neural circuits in our brain manage the beautifully coordinated and smoothly appropriate behavior of our body. They also produce the entrancing introspective illusion that thoughts really are about stuff in the world. This powerful illusion has been with humanity since language kicked in, as we’ll see. It is the source of at least two other profound myths: that we have purposes that give our actions and lives meaning and that there is a person “in there” steering the body, so to speak.”
    [A.Rosenberg, The Atheist’s Guide To Reality, Ch.9]

    Who wrote Richard Dawkins’s new book? – October 28, 2006
    Excerpt:
    Dawkins: What I do know is that what it feels like to me, and I think to all of us, we don’t feel determined. We feel like blaming people for what they do or giving people the credit for what they do. We feel like admiring people for what they do.,,,
    Manzari: But do you personally see that as an inconsistency in your views?
    Dawkins: I sort of do. Yes. But it is an inconsistency that we sort of have to live with otherwise life would be intolerable.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....02783.html

    Atheist Philosopher Thinks “We Never Have Direct Access To Our Thoughts” – Michael Egnor July 20, 2016
    Excerpt: Materialist theories of the mind border on the insane. If a man walks into a doctor’s office and says “I never have direct access to my thoughts and I have no first person point of view,” the man will be referred to a psychiatrist and may be involuntarily hospitalized until it is established that he is not a danger to himself or others.
    If the same guy walks into the philosophy department at Duke University, he gets tenure.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....03010.html

    Also of note, although atheists deny they have free will, it turns out that free will is ‘built into’ the equations of quantum mechanics:

    In the following article, entitled ‘The Trouble with Quantum Mechanics’, Steven Weinberg states free will’s primary role in the equations of quantum mechanics as such, “if we regard the whole process of measurement as being governed by the equations of quantum mechanics, and these equations are perfectly deterministic, how do probabilities get into quantum mechanics?,,,” “In the instrumentalist approach,,, humans are brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level.” “Thus the instrumentalist approach turns its back on a vision that became possible after Darwin, of a world governed by impersonal physical laws that control human behavior along with everything else.” In quantum mechanics these probabilities do not exist until people choose what to measure,,, Unlike the case of classical physics, a choice must be made,,,

    The Trouble with Quantum Mechanics – Steven Weinberg – January 19, 2017
    Excerpt: The trouble is that in quantum mechanics the way that wave functions change with time is governed by an equation, the Schrödinger equation, that does not involve probabilities. It is just as deterministic as Newton’s equations of motion and gravitation. That is, given the wave function at any moment, the Schrödinger equation will tell you precisely what the wave function will be at any future time. There is not even the possibility of chaos, the extreme sensitivity to initial conditions that is possible in Newtonian mechanics. So if we regard the whole process of measurement as being governed by the equations of quantum mechanics, and these equations are perfectly deterministic, how do probabilities get into quantum mechanics?,,,
    The instrumentalist approach,, (the) wave function,, is merely an instrument that provides predictions of the probabilities of various outcomes when measurements are made.,,
    In the instrumentalist approach,,, humans are brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level. According to Eugene Wigner, a pioneer of quantum mechanics, “it was not possible to formulate the laws of quantum mechanics in a fully consistent way without reference to the consciousness.”11
    Thus the instrumentalist approach turns its back on a vision that became possible after Darwin, of a world governed by impersonal physical laws that control human behavior along with everything else. It is not that we object to thinking about humans. Rather, we want to understand the relation of humans to nature, not just assuming the character of this relation by incorporating it in what we suppose are nature’s fundamental laws, but rather by deduction from laws that make no explicit reference to humans. We may in the end have to give up this goal,,,
    Some physicists who adopt an instrumentalist approach argue that the probabilities we infer from the wave function are objective probabilities, independent of whether humans are making a measurement. I don’t find this tenable. In quantum mechanics these probabilities do not exist until people choose what to measure, such as the spin in one or another direction. Unlike the case of classical physics, a choice must be made,,,
    http://www.nybooks.com/article.....mechanics/

    Determinism vs Free Will – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwPER4m2axI

  20. 20
    Origenes says:

    Throughout Egnor’s article, cogito ergo sum is wrongly conflated with self-awareness. Cogito ergo sum is an argument for the existence of “I”, which is not the same as arguing for self-awareness. To be clear, Descartes argues that one’s existence is undeniably true to oneself, not one’s self-awareness.

    Egnor seems to be arguing a strawman, by continually arguing that LNC is prior to self-awareness. And even here his arguments fail to convince. Egnor is correct when he says that one cannot make the argument ‘cogito ergo sum’, or any other argument, without the ability to think — which implies knowledge of LNC, LOI (Bornagain77) and more —, but this does not tell us that these things precede one’s existence or even one’s self-awareness.

  21. 21
    AnimatedDust says:

    So great to have you back BA!!!

  22. 22
    cmow says:

    StephenB @10,
    I caught the nominalism link between Ockham and Descartes, but I would be interested to see this drawn out more, if you have the time.
    Thanks.

  23. 23
    StephenB says:

    Origenes, I think you are on to something when you make the distinction between *I exist* and *I am aware that I exist*.

    On the other hand, I don’t think Egnor’s argument is a strawman. It seems to me that he is saying this:

    I think, therefore I am, is an *if/then* proposition. As you know, all if/then propositions (or syllogisms, for that matter) presuppose and depend on the law of non-contradiction. So the latter is more basic and comes first in the order of logic.

    However, Descartes real error is to begin with the mind rather than the object of the investigation. If you begin with the mind, you never get outside of it–the investigator ends up investigating only himself, and doing it poorly.

  24. 24
    StephenB says:

    Born again 77, it is great to read your posts again.

  25. 25
    critical rationalist says:

    @EDA

    So, there are some things that we simply cannot comprehend, which are actual contradictions?

  26. 26
    Origenes says:

    StephenB @23

    SB: I think, therefore I am, is an *if/then* proposition.

    I am okay with that: if I do anything, then I must exist.

    SB: As you know, all if/then propositions (or syllogisms, for that matter) presuppose and depend on the law of non-contradiction.

    All acts of reasoning depend on the LNC and much more. For instance, it also depends on the ability to perceive and manipulate one’s thoughts.

    SB: So the latter is more basic and comes first in the order of logic.

    More basic then the argument ‘cogito ergo sum’? Sure. I agree. In that sense the LNC is more basic then any argument. But my criticism on Egnor’s article comes down to this: neither consciousness nor self-awareness are arguments.

  27. 27
    critical rationalist says:

    You’ll have to be more specific as to which “advances” (in quantum mechanics) are you referring to and how they actually represent “advances.”

    None of those quotes indicate how they actually represent advances.

    For example…

    Physicists at The Australian National University (ANU) have conducted John Wheeler’s delayed-choice thought experiment, which involves a moving object that is given the choice to act like a particle or a wave. Wheeler’s experiment then asks – at which point does the object decide?
    Common sense says the object is either wave-like or particle-like, independent of how we measure it. But quantum physics predicts that whether you observe wave like behavior (interference) or particle behavior (no interference) depends only on how it is actually measured at the end of its journey. This is exactly what the ANU team found.
    “It proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it,” said Associate Professor Andrew Truscott from the ANU Research School of Physics and Engineering.

    Except, quantum mechanics doesn’t say anything about observers being immune to the wave function. So, you’d need to add something to quantum mechanics to reach that conclusion.

    What might that be?

  28. 28
    critical rationalist says:

    @everyone

    So, there are some things that we simply cannot comprehend, which are actual contradictions?

    Does everyone else agree with this? I’m asking because this seems to conflict with the idea that the law of non-contridction plays some key role.

    If we exist in a bubble of explicability, which resides is a sea of inexplicability, then the best explanation that could be had in that sea is that “Zeus rules” there. However, since everything in this bubble supposedly *depends* on that sea, the best explanation we can have inside our bubble is that “Zeus rules” here as well, unless one carefully avoids asking certain questions.

    IOW, if the law of non-contradiction depends on some inexplicable realm and actual contradictions are possible there, how can we rule out them being possible here for some reason we cannot comprehend as well?

    For example, Jesus supposedly being both man and God, seems like one of those questions we must careful avoid asking, despite playing a key role in atonement / salvation, because it would represent an actual contradiction. Does accepting that represent logic or faith?

    If logic, then it’s unclear how non-contradiction is a key part of logic.

    And, if faith, is that somehow more fundamental than logic?

  29. 29
    StephenB says:

    cmow

    I caught the nominalism link between Ockham and Descartes, but I would be interested to see this drawn out more, if you have the time.
    Thanks.

    By denying the forms, essences, and natures of individual things, he was saying, in effect, that we cannot know *what* a thing is, but only *that* it is.

    Naturally, he also ruled out formal causes as well, which introduces a who new set of problems.

  30. 30
    StephenB says:

    Origenes

    But my criticism on Egnor’s article comes down to this: neither consciousness nor self-awareness are arguments.

    I think you are on to something. Perhaps he could improve the article by focusing on the fact of existence and the nature of argument, rather than introduce the concept of consciousness. I am not sure that the latter expression is even necessary to make his broader point, which I think is very good. A/Mats violate the law of non-contradiction and Descartes played a significant role by starting with the investigator rather than the object of investigation.

  31. 31
    bornagain77 says:

    CR, the advance in the paper you quoted, which was right below what you quoted, was that it was done with atoms instead of photons. The Leggett’s experiment, which I also cited, was an advance in the mathematics of inequalities over and above Bell’s inequality, if you want to get technical about it. Other than that, it is obvious you are only trying to play games as you usually do. I have no time for that.

  32. 32
    Origenes says:

    Cogito ergo sum doesn’t get a fair treatment.

    For a person to think: “I do something (e.g. I doubt my existence), therefor I exist” is a unique rational experience. Here, denying “I exist” immediately contradicts itself. Denying that one exists is confirming one’s existence. “I deny my existence, therefore I exist.”

    This is completely different from contemplating the non-existence of e.g. the universe, the laws of nature, matter, or even, yes, the law of non-contradiction. Even if one quickly realizes that the LNC must exist, because otherwise one cannot reason at all — I think therefore the law of non-contradiction exists?)— it does not have the kind of immediate impact as cogito ergo sum.

  33. 33
    StephenB says:

    Cogito ergo sum doesn’t get a fair treatment.

    Once it was put on the table, it encouraged the investigator to intrude on the investigation and sent philosophy in the wrong direction. The proper formulation should be, “I exist, therefore I can think.” Thinking comes out of being; being does not come out of thinking.

  34. 34
    Seversky says:

    bornagain77 @ 18

    “It proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it,” said Associate Professor Andrew Truscott from the ANU Research School of Physics and Engineering.

    Once again, if reality does not exist if you are not looking at it, what is the “it” you are looking at to make reality come into existence?

    And if you have several observers looking at this object that can only be in one of two forms, why do they all see the same one? Why don’t different observers see different outcomes of the same event?

  35. 35
    Seversky says:

    bornagain77 @ 19

    of humorous note:

    Descartes’s Maxim:

    “I think therefore I am.”

    Atheistic Materialist’s maxim

    “I have thought about it and I do not exist”

    Christian maxim:

    “God thinks therefore I am.

    So God is thinking about me thinking about Him.

    And I am thinking about Him thinking about me thinking about Him.

    I think.

    Or maybe I don’t.”

  36. 36
    J-Mac says:

    Seversky @36

    “Once again, if reality does not exist if you are not looking at it, what is the “it” you are looking at to make reality come into existence?”

    Concepts, potentialities, or the realm of possibilities…

  37. 37
    EDTA says:

    CR @ 25,

    >So, there are some things that we simply cannot comprehend, which are actual contradictions?

    I don’t expect contradictions in anything that is real. But if there is a realm beyond our material one, say that of our maker, then the existence of things beyond our ability to comprehend them shouldn’t surprise us.

    Looking at it from the other direction, it is not possible to argue that everything that is, has to be comprehensible to us.

  38. 38
    critical rationalist says:

    @bornagain77

    Again, quantum mechanics doesn’t say anything about the observer being immune to the wave function. So, apparently, these advances are in quantum mechanics + some addition to the theory.

    So, how can they be said to be advances in quantum mechanics, per se?

  39. 39
    critical rationalist says:

    @EDTA

    I don’t expect contradictions in anything that is real. But if there is a realm beyond our material one, say that of our maker, then the existence of things beyond our ability to comprehend them shouldn’t surprise us.

    But, as I pointed out in #28, our realm is supposedly dependent on this realm beyond our own. So, then the existence of things in our realm “beyond our ability to comprehend” shouldn’t surprise us, here, either.

    At which point, it’s unclear why we shouldn’t expect the existence of contradictions here, which we cannot comprehend, as well.

    For example, didn’t Jesus represent just such a contradiction?

    So, apparently, the law of non-contridction only applies, except when it doesn’t, for reason we cannot comprehend?

  40. 40
    EDTA says:

    CR @ 39,

    I wouldn’t be surprised if our realm contained things beyond our ability to comprehend either.

    As for Jesus’ nature being a contradiction: I could be a father and husband at the same time. No contradiction there. (But those are roles.) A being having two natures, or some combination of natures? Doesn’t seem to be a contradiction per se, if we keep in mind that human language might not be able to fully express the actual idea to its fullest.

    Not sure what to make of the idea of contradictions in our universe that we can’t comprehend. And of course, nobody can/could provide an example…so nowhere to go with that idea.

  41. 41
    Origenes says:

    StephenB: The proper formulation should be, “I exist, therefore I can think.” Thinking comes out of being; being does not come out of thinking.

    “Thinking comes out of being” is exactly how I understand cogito ergo sum: the fact that “I think” can only be true if “I exist.” “I think” is an effect that can only be explained by an existent cause, namely, me.
    I have never understood Descartes to be arguing that being comes out of thinking.

  42. 42
    goodusername says:

    Origenes,

    StephenB: The proper formulation should be, “I exist, therefore I can think.” Thinking comes out of being; being does not come out of thinking.

    “Thinking comes out of being” is exactly how I understand cogito ergo sum: the fact that “I think” can only be true if “I exist.” “I think” is an effect that can only be explained by an existent cause, namely, me.
    I have never understood Descartes to be arguing that being comes out of thinking.

    Agreed. “I exist, therefore I can think” would be a strange formulation because it would imply that we first notice that we exist, and from that we conclude that we must be thinking.
    You don’t come to the conclusion that you’re thinking – you already knew you were thinking. You come to the conclusion that you exist based on the fact that you notice that you are thinking (since someone must be having the thoughts).

  43. 43
    kairosfocus says:

    SB, Origenes & GUN: We are back at the ontology-epistemology interface again. Descartes was trying to ground knowledge and saw consciousness as a key point. In epistemology we start from basic or acquired ignorance and have to work out from something that bridges to warrant thence a base of knowledge. Reality grows into a world from its roots. Here I suggest, having doubted and found errors, the thinker is asking: how can I go forward on surer footing? Okay, I doubt even my own existence. But, who is this that is there to be doubting? In short, in recognising self-aware thought, one implies the prior fact of existence and the undeniability of consciousness as the first, self-evident fact of agency. Then too, one may explore, but in thinking, I must mark distinctions and use distinct identity. So too, I see the first principles of right reason: LOI, LNC, LEM. likewise, h’mm, I exist and do so in a world where I am aware of much else with other distinct identities. So, I cannot consistently live in the world and imagine it a grand delusion, though I may and do err. Next, when I ponder some entity, may I not freely ponder: why is it? And, in answering, may I not pursue the logic of being: impossible vs possible, contingent vs necessary with cause as a [near?-]corollary of contingency? Also, may I not explore moral government and the pervasiveness of duty in thought — to truth, to sound reason etc? Thence, may I not ponder the IS-OUGHT gap and issues it raises at world-root level? And more? KF

  44. 44
    StephenB says:

    Origenes,

    The problem with *I think, therefore I am,” is that it begins with investigator rather than the object of investigation. It is a true statement, of course, but it offers no potential for any further knowledge. Don’t think that Descartes ideas stopped with his “method.” He also believed that all we can know are our own ideas, (idea of an apple) not the things that those ideas represent (the apple itself). If you begin with the mind, you remain in the mind–you never transcend it and make contact with the outside world. That is the problem. Epistemology has its place, but not as the definitive means of acquiring knowledge.

  45. 45
    StephenB says:

    Also, there is a prior consideration. How does Descartes know that he and not someone else is doing the thinking unless he presupposes the law of identity?

  46. 46
    critical rationalist says:

    @EDTA

    I wouldn’t be surprised if our realm contained things beyond our ability to comprehend either.

    if there are things we cannot compared, then it’s unclear what It would mean to say it followed the law of non-contridction?

    As for Jesus’ nature being a contradiction: … A being having two natures, or some combination of natures? Doesn’t seem to be a contradiction per se, if we keep in mind that human language might not be able to fully express the actual idea to its fullest.

    So, a married bachelor wouldn’t “seem” to be a contradiction if we could just express that idea using language, such as the term “machelor”?

    Not sure what to make of the idea of contradictions in our universe that we can’t comprehend. And of course, nobody can/could provide an example…so nowhere to go with that idea.

    How could you know something isn’t an example of a contradiction if you cannot comprehend it?

  47. 47
    EDTA says:

    CR@ 46,

    >So, a married bachelor wouldn’t “seem” to be a
    >contradiction if we could just express that idea using
    >language, such as the term “machelor”?

    If we express that idea fully enough, we see that the two sets are non-overlapping, and so know it was a contradiction. And it’s two earthly classifications, so we can successfully see that. Perhaps other things, such as being man and God at the same time are not contradictions, which might be more apparent if we knew more about each. To be convinced that Jesus cannot be both God and man, I would have to know a lot more about what it meant to be God. Have you formulated an argument to the effect that Jesus couldn’t be both God and man?

    >How could you know something isn’t an example of a
    >contradiction if you cannot comprehend it?

    You are right that I could not be sure. I don’t expect contradictions to be real, but that’s just an expectation, not something I can argue for.

  48. 48
    Origenes says:

    StephenB: How does Descartes know that he and not someone else is doing the thinking unless he presupposes the law of identity?

    How does this LOI work? How does it enforce its rule upon reality? Is one supposed to understand that before one can understand something much more available namely one’s own existence? I think that I can explain cogito ergo sum to a three year old, but not the law of identity.

    And how about the LNC? Egnor again:

    … a thing cannot be and not be at the same time. It is the most fundamental thing we know, because if we do not know it, even Descartes’s first principle — cogito ergo sum — is not true. If being and not being could coexist, if contradiction were metaphysically possible, then it would be possible for me to think and at the same time not to exist.

    Contrary to cogito ergo sum, I cannot explain Egnor’s LNC to a three year old. Moreover, I am not even sure if it make sense to say that there is a “law” which prevents being and not being to coexist. How does that law operate? Somewhat like the law of gravity? What does the law look like?
    I cannot envision it, so how can I be more sure about the LNC than my own existence, which is mysterious also, but is, and here lies the difference, immediately undeniably unignorably given.

  49. 49
    kairosfocus says:

    Origenes,

    the LoI is at work so soon as we get to “one” and to awareness of a distinction between me and ~me.

    Indeed, as any possible world has distinct identity, we may partition potential reality P:

    P = {A|~A}

    This summarises that A is itself and is distinct from ~A, where the two jointly yield potential reality. That seemingly trivial point then yields

    LoI: A is itself

    (Implications include core characteristics C = {c1, c2, . . . cn} that tie to the logic of A being, and to the issue that A may interact with the rest of P across the boundary allowing a flow of information I that is observable, though perhaps tainted by noise. This allows us to credibly though perhaps provisionally characterise A per a reasonable set of observations; i.e. we may inductively learn about and know about A and partially know C. For example, through scientific investigations.}

    LEM: any x in P is A x-or ~A

    (That is, the partition is clean and crisp.Any entity x in P is on one side or the other..)

    LNC: no distinct x in P is BOTH A and ~A

    (That is, the partition is crisp. No A has mutually exclusive and exhaustive characteristics of being A and ~A, i.e. A and ~A are distinct.)

    Of course the three are closely bound up in one another and to discuss them we are implicitly relying on them. Just so, any attempted proof will implicitly rely on them, it will beg the question. These are where proof must begin. But, the discussion helps us to achieve clearer understanding so it is worthwhile.

    We see also that the triple principles are self-evident. The attempt to deny will also implicitly rely on them. They are effectively undeniable.

    All of this is difficult to grasp in a world steeped in subjectivism, relativism, nominalism, post modernism . . . actually, ultra-modernism . . . and more, but such things are critical to progress.

    KF

  50. 50
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: I suspect we can explain LNC to a 3 year old, e.g the bright red ball on the table cannot be the table or the floor etc also.

  51. 51
    Origenes says:

    KF: the LoI is at work so soon as we get to “one” and to awareness of a distinction between me and ~me.

    Indeed, something is at work, since there is me and not me. But what is at work? Is it clear that it must be a law which rules that there is “me” and a “not me”? And is it necessarily a law that rules (causes) that me and not me are not the same?
    Why is this distinction between me and not me necessarily caused by a law? How do we know?
    And if it is caused by a law, how does that law operate? By what kind of causation does it force “me” and “not me” to be not the same? How does that work?

    KF: I suspect we can explain LNC to a 3 year old …

    That’s good to hear. Explain it to me first please. What does the law look like? How does it operate? By what kind of causative power?

  52. 52
    kairosfocus says:

    Origenes, laws in this sense describe the way of the world accurately; they do not directly cause. We are distinct individuals aware of me vs not me. As in, stub your toe against a tree stump and you instantly know the difference. And that directly extends to nothing being and not being “me” in the same sense and circumstances. KF

  53. 53
    StephenB says:

    Origenes

    That’s good to hear. Explain it to me first please. What does the law look like? How does it operate? By what kind of causative power?

    It is a law in the sense that it cannot not be true. It has no causal power we just use the word “law” to describe the reality. Recall the discussion about the “if/then” proposition. Here is an example:

    Socrates is a man, all men are mortal, *therefore* Socrates is mortal. The foundation of this syllogism is the law of non contradiction. If it wasn’t a law, we couldn’t say, “then Socrates MUST be mortal. The syllogism works only because Socrates cannot exist and not exist at the same time, and a man cannot be mortal and not mortal at the same time. If that were not the case, then we could not use the process of deductive reasoning and be sure that our conclusions were true.

    However, that law didn’t *cause* the conclusion to be true; it simply describes the reality that contradictions are not possible, and based on that reality, we can be confident in conclusions the follow the process of deductive reasoning (if no logical mistakes are made): If the premises are true, then the conclusion follows infallibly.

  54. 54
    StephenB says:

    Contrary to cogito ergo sum, I cannot explain Egnor’s LNC to a three year old.

    Once one reaches the age of reason, the LNC becomes self evident.

    7 year old: Where are my toys?

    Father: They are in the closet.

    7 year old: I just searched the closet, they are not there.

    Father: I know. I took them away. They are no longer there.

    7 year old: What is wrong with you? They cannot both be there and not be there.

    Father: Why not?

    7 year old: Because it is impossible.

  55. 55
    Origenes says:

    KF: It is a law in the sense that it cannot not be true.

    So, it is an absolute law — no exceptions.

    KF: It has no causal power we just use the word “law” to describe the reality.

    So, something other than the LNC causes what the LNC merely describes?

  56. 56
    Origenes says:

    SB: I think, therefore I am, is an *if/then* proposition.

    It may be squeezed in that form, but I do not believe that it fits well. The following is an if/then proposition: If A does something then A exists.

    But in cogito ergo sum there is no *if*. “I do something” is a given — continually and undeniably.

    I do something, therefore I exist. It is not: If I do something, then I exist.

  57. 57
    kairosfocus says:

    Origenes, non-contradiction, excluded middle and identity are instant corollaries of distinct identity. As for a world to exist there has to be distinct identity (“a world . . .”) then necessarily, such must obtain. That is, we are dealing with the framework of reality here. No world can be save these conditions are met, and to describe that fact is to acknowledge a necessary and indeed self-evident truth of reality. Such laws would fail only were there utter non-being, as no world would exist. No reality. Which is manifestly not the case. KF

    PS: Similarly, once that obtains, two-ness obtains and in it one-ness also, thence the natural counting numbers.

  58. 58
    Origenes says:

    KF: … non-contradiction, excluded middle and identity are instant corollaries of distinct identity.

    ‘Distinct identity’ does that imply that there is an A ontologically distinct from B?

    KF: As for a world to exist there has to be distinct identity (“a world . . .”) then necessarily, such must obtain.

    Again, I would like you to clarify what you mean by ‘distinct identity’. Is the world ontologically distinct from God? Or is the world an aspect of God and not ontologically distinct?
    Suppose that my thoughts and feelings are not ontologically distinct from me, suppose that they are aspects of a larger unity (distinct identity!?) that is me, would it be correct to say that my thoughts have a ‘distinct identity’ from my feelings? If so, in what sense?

  59. 59
    critical rationalist says:

    To use StephenB’s example, the child is looking for his toys. This is a problem to solve.

    The father is implying the child’s toys are both someone are not somewhere. This is presenting what is supposedly both a solution and non-solution. Does it only solve the problem some of the time, but not others? If so, when does it solve the problem and when does it not, so the child can use it to access its toys? If not, then it’s unclear how this actually represents a solution to the child’s problem.

    IOW, from the context of a problem, it fails as a solution. As such it is discarded.

  60. 60
    Origenes says:

    @Kairosfocus

    kairosfocus:
    the LoI is at work so soon as we get to “one” and to awareness of a distinction between me and ~me.

    Could it be argued that consciousness forms the LOI, instead of (somehow) the other way around?

    Like this:
    First there is consciousness and self-awareness: me. Next the realization that there is also ~me.
    And finally these concepts of me and ~me provide a foundation for the basic laws of reason; similar to your ‘red ball, not-red ball’ example.

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