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L&FP 40: Thoughts on [neo-?] Reidian Common Sense Realism

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We live in a civilisation haunted by doubt and by hyperskepticism. One, where skepticism is deemed a virtue, inviting hyper forms in as champions of intellect. The result has gradually led to selective hyperskepticism that often uncritically takes the word of champions or publicists for Big-S Science, while doubting well founded but unfashionable analyses or even self-evident truths.

H’mm, just in case someone is unclear about or doubts that Self-Evident Truths exist, here is one . . . with an extra one for good measure:

(Of course, I also have argued that there are self-evident truths regarding duty; particularly, inescapable first duties of reason that actually govern responsible reason, argument and discussion, starting with duties to truth, right reason, warrant and wider prudence, etc. Thus, that there are MORAL SETs. For, example, not even the most ardent objector can avoid appealing to these principles to try to give his arguments rhetorical/persuasive traction. Inescapable, so true and self-evident. I just note that for the moment.)

How, then, can we exorcise the ghosts of acid doubt and restore a better balance regarding knowledge claims?

I think, Thomas Reid and other champions of “[refined] common sense” have some sound counsel. That is, I wish to champion a principle of responsible, common sense guided credulity:

PRINCIPLE OF “MODERATE” CREDULITY: It makes good sense to accept that our conscious self-awareness, sense of rational, responsible freedom (with first duties of reason) — “common sense,” so-called, and sense of being embodied as creatures in an objectively real physical world are generally warranted though they may err or have limitations or oddities in detail

Magenta (used in CMYK printing), violet and purple. Notice, Magenta seems a modified pinkish Red, Violet a modified Blue, Purple a reddened modified Blue

A case in point helps to clarify. Here, colour vision. There are two related but somehow distinct colours, violet and purple. The former is spectral [i.e. a “pure” colour coming from certain wavelengths of light], the latter is not. [Generally, purple is seen as a mix of red and blue, e.g. the Line of Purples on the CIE tongue of colour framework.] Why, then, the similarity, despite the difference?

The answer turns out to depend on our colour sensors and onward processing in our eyes and visual system. Simplifying, it turns out that our Red response system has a secondary peak towards the high frequency end of the visible spectrum, near Blue:

Colour response of our visual system, as modelled. Notice the secondary peak for “Red”
Blue Jeans are Indigo

The result is that at the Blue, short wavelength end, we distinguish Blue-Green [e.g. Cyan], Blue, Indigo [cf. dark Blue Jeans], Violet. And the relationship with Purple becomes obvious, Purple superposes Red and Blue colours, which is typically going to be significantly redder than Violet.

So, we see here how our perception of colours is shaped by our embodiment and specifics of our bodily tissues and cells, but corresponds to objective phenomena. Indeed, the colour screen you are most likely using to view this on, works by superposing tiny pixels with Red, Green and Blue. If you were to print off on a modern colour printer, it will most likely blend dots of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black, with the paper providing White.

I add, on metamerism, so we can see how two closely similar colours can be composed in quite distinct ways:

Here we see two ways to a brassy amberish colour. One is spectral, with a suitably low light level that excites our LMS cones in a certain pattern. The other uses Red and Green light sources that yields a similar stimulation. So, a simple look at the objects might not tell the difference. This is of course part of how RGB displays work [HT Wikipedia]

There is no good reason to airily sweep such away as being beyond some ugly, impassable gulch between what we can access internally through consciousness and a dubious external world of appearances. That is why we can take the principle that yes, we may err on particular points or details but on the whole there is no good reason to dismiss our conscious awareness — we symbolise C:( ) — and what it immediately presents, the self [= I] embedded in the world [We].

Let us symbolise:

C:(I UNION We)

So, we notice that it is our consciousness that carries everything else and instantly presents us with our sense of ourselves embedded in the world beyond our bodies. Our bodies, of course, are part of the physical world. Where, our reasonings are part of that self-awareness and are inextricably entangled with perceptions and language describing what we are aware of and perceive. The union is used as our bodies are embedded in the world and we are somehow present within it.

I have often pointed to Eng Derek Smith’s two-tier controller, cybernetic loop model as a context for discussing how that can be, esp. with quantum influence:

The Eng Derek Smith Cybernetic Model

In this light, the Plato’s Cave type shadow-show world of grand doubts or delusions can be set aside as self-defeating:

Plato’s Cave of shadow shows projected before life-long prisoners and confused for reality. Once the concept of general delusion is introduced, it raises the question of an infinite regress of delusions. The sensible response is to see that this should lead us to doubt the doubter and insist that our senses be viewed as generally reliable unless they are specifically shown defective. (Source: University of Fort Hare, SA, Phil. Dept.)

For, there is no natural firewall, so to give a general challenge to our consciousness, self awareness, sense of the self or perception of the world is to undermine the whole process. That is as opposed to having errors in detail or to recognising processes and limitations of sensing, neural network computation etc and the quantum physical substructure associated with that awareness. As, Violet vs Purple indicates.

In short, the point is to recognise limitations without falling into hyperskepticism or reductionism. This is of course a part of the old philosophical problem of the one and the many. In a sense, there is nothing new under the Sun.

In this context, I find Michael Davidson helpful as he discusses what he terms Reid’s Razor, in effect a manifesto of defeasible but heuristically generally effective common good sense reasoning:

[Reidian Common good sense as definition and razor, 1785:] “that degree of judgement which is common to men with whom we can converse and transact business”

Davidson shrewdly points out, how the Razor shaves:

Take a philosophical or scientific principle that is being applied to a particular situation: ask yourself whether you would be able to converse rationally and transact business with that person assuming that principle governed the situation or persons involved. If not dismiss the principle as erroneous or at least deeply suspicious. For example, suppose someone proposes that things-as-they-appear-to-be are not things-as-they-really-are. I do not think I would buy a used car from this man.

That seems a fair enough test of habitual adherence to first duties of reason — or otherwise. Y’know: to truth, right reason, prudence, sound conscience, neighbour, fairness and justice, etc.

In that context, he abstracts from Thomas Reid, a list of defeatable, default rules of thumb for credulity vs skepticism:

REID’S RULES OF COMMON SENSE REALISM

1) Everything of which I am conscious really exists [–> at minimum as an object of conscious awareness, and often as a particular or abstract entity, the presumption is, if I perceive a world with entities, it is by and large real]
2) The thoughts of which I am conscious are the thoughts of a being which I call myself, my mind, my person.
3) Events that I clearly remember really did happen.
4) Our personal identity and continued existence extends as far back in time as we remember anything clearly.
5) Those things that we clearly perceive by our senses really exist and really are what we perceive them to be.
6) We have some power over our actions and over the decisions of our will.
7) The natural faculties by which we distinguish truth from error are not deceptive.
8) There is life and thought in our fellow-men with whom we converse.
9) Certain features of the face, tones of voice, and physical gestures indicate certain thoughts and dispositions of mind.
10) A certain respect should be accorded to human testimony in matters of fact, and even to human authority in matters of opinion.
11) For many outcomes that will depend on the will of man, there is a self-evident probability, greater or less according to circumstances.
12) In the phenomena of Nature, what happens will probably be like what has happened in similar circumstances.

Davidson comments:

According to Reid, anyone who doubts these principles will be incapable of rational discourse and those philosophers who profess to doubt them cannot do so sincerely and consistently. Each of these principles, if denied, can be turned back on the denier. For example, although it is not possible to justify the validity of memory (3) without reference to premises that rest on memory, to dispense with memory as usually unreliable is just not philosophically possible. Reid qualifies some of these principles as not applying in all cases, or as the assumptions that we presume to hold when we converse, which may be contradicted by subsequent experience. For instance with regard to (10) Reid believes that most men are more apt to over-rate testimony and authority than to under-rate them; which suggests to Reid that this principle retains some force even when it could be replaced by reasoning.

I endorse Reid’s principles as normally true and what we must assume to be true to engage in argument and discussion. But, as Reid acknowledges, not all may be true all the time. I thus see Reid’s principles as epistemological rather than metaphysical. Psychologists might point to such things as optical illusions, false memory, attentional blink, hallucinations and various other interesting phenomena which might throw some doubt over some of Reid’s assertions. But these are nonessential modifiers that if entertained as falsifications of these principles would lead to the collapse of all knowledge. Very few philosophers have not acknowledged that the senses can deceive us or that reason is fallible, but to say the senses consistently deceive or that reason is impotent is too big a sacrifice. That the senses can deceive and reason is fallible is good reason to be cautious in our conclusions but not a good reason to dispense with observation and reason all together.

That seems to me to be a useful backgrounder and 101, if not quite a Manifesto. I think it deserves a place in the ongoing UD series on Logic and First Principles of Reason. END

PS: It seems helpful to append on how on Opponent Processes, sensors and signal processing can use LMS sensors to generate four colour channels — Red, Yellow, Green, Blue — via suitably scaled subtraction:

Thus, we can see economising of types of sensors, enhancing resolution by keeping effective pixels in only three types and gaining enhanced colour sensitivity.

U/D Apr 17: For completeness, I add a view of the Munsell, colour spindle type colour model with gradation from Black to White as level, hue on a wheel model and saturation as a radius vector:

Where, we may envision one branch, at the hue that involves the classic artist’s earth pigment colour, Yellow-Ochre:

Further to such, observe the classic 1931 CIE tongue of colour model, with the line of purples bridging blue/violet and red along the spectrum locus arc, also with various colour gamuts for display or printing systems marked:

Such an approach, further allows us to understand how the visual system, with limitations and possibilities for error, exhibits high quality design giving us a veridical perception of an important dimension of the world, colours tied to chemical composition, chemical-physical interactions and linked quantum processes in a key octave of the electromagnetic spectrum associated with energy transitions of 1.65 – 3.10 eV, a bit short of the damaging actinic range starting with UV. Illustrating:

It seems further advisable to provide an overview of the visual system:

Such then allows us to use Reidian Common Sense to find safe sailing between the Charybdis of poor design fallacies and the Scylla of imagining ourselves into grand doubt/grand delusion on alleged ugly gulches regarding ourselves as conscious, minded, conscience guided, responsible, rational significantly free creatures credibly embodied and participating in a common physical world. (See here on the Mythological reference.)

99 Replies to “L&FP 40: Thoughts on [neo-?] Reidian Common Sense Realism

  1. 1
    kairosfocus says:

    L&FP 40: Thoughts on [neo-?] Reidian Common Sense Realism

  2. 2
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: We may find Locke’s counsel as he began his essay on human understanding to be also helpful:

    [Essay on Human Understanding, Intro, Sec 5:] Men have reason to be well satisfied with what God hath thought fit for them, since he hath given them (as St. Peter says [NB: i.e. 2 Pet 1:2 – 4]) pana pros zoen kaieusebeian, whatsoever is necessary for the conveniences of life and information of virtue; and has put within the reach of their discovery, the comfortable provision for this life, and the way that leads to a better. How short soever their knowledge may come of an universal or perfect comprehension of whatsoever is, it yet secures their great concernments [Prov 1: 1 – 7], that they have light enough to lead them to the knowledge of their Maker, and the sight of their own duties [cf Rom 1 – 2, Ac 17, etc, etc]. Men may find matter sufficient to busy their heads, and employ their hands with variety, delight, and satisfaction, if they will not boldly quarrel with their own constitution, and throw away the blessings their hands are filled with, because they are not big enough to grasp everything . . . It will be no excuse to an idle and untoward servant [Matt 24:42 – 51], who would not attend his business by candle light, to plead that he had not broad sunshine. The Candle that is set up in us [Prov 20:27] shines bright enough for all our purposes . . . If we will disbelieve everything, because we cannot certainly know all things, we shall do muchwhat as wisely as he who would not use his legs, but sit still and perish, because he had no wings to fly.

    A gem of thought. KF

  3. 3
    kairosfocus says:

    Notice the buy a used car from X test.

  4. 4
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Falsehood exists as self-evident. Thus, truth exists.
    That which is True, relates to that which is real.
    That which is not-real (illusory) relates to that which is false.
    The proposal “everything is an illusion” (Alex Rosenberg,
    Donald Hoffman: “The cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman uses evolutionary game theory to show that our perceptions of an independent reality must be illusions.”) is incoherent.

  5. 5
    kairosfocus says:

    SA, yes of course but regrettably such do not even recognise the significance of such incoherence. Hence the buy a used car test. KF

  6. 6
    jerry says:

    Kf,

    I tend not to read your long OPs because they are often obscure at best. It takes too much time unpacking them. I spent a few minutes on this and believe it could be said in 300 words or less.

    One piece of advice, don’t engage with the skeptics here because they are not people of good will. It just leads to endless discussions that go nowhere. You will generate a lot of comments but not much else.

    And you will never convince one of them of anything. No matter how much right reasoning or evidence you use. They are not honest debaters. Or as you say no one should buy a used car from any of them.

    That is common sense or the razor of preference you should use.

  7. 7
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Jerry @ 6

    What you say about the skeptics is true. Not only is it a continual irritation, but they’re not even entertaining (although sometimes unintentionally humorous).
    But I think KF would agree that there can be a good, ulterior benefit for attempting to engage. The open-minded, serious, educated reader of these dialogs can just take a look and see. Whatever our opponents have to say is all very nicely on display. Obfuscation, dodging bullets, lame defense, tangential distractions, pretenses of expertise and authority, straining out gnats …

  8. 8
    jerry says:

    But I think KF would agree that there can be a good, ulterior benefit for attempting to engage.

    I disagree. The discussions end up in a morass. I’m for answering questions politely but as simply as possible. So the distinction between opinions then becomes obvious and doesn’t get bogged down in endless paragraphs and repeats. And then when the commenters fails to engage responsibly to let go.

    We had in recent months several threads of over a thousand comments that endlessly repeated the same thing over and over.

    Kf is an incredible source of ideas. For example, Davidson’s article above on Reid was excellent and well worth an OP in itself. I’ll probably now read some other things by Davidson.

    I’m currently reading a book because of kf’s off hand comment on TRIZ. His OPs on treating C19 led to a lot of good information and I’m healthier because of it. I’m now aware of the importance of Cicero in our culture. Lots of good stuff.

    But the never ending responses to disingenuous comments and nonsense are not productive. They lead nowhere. I doubt that onlookers read them when most of us who comment don’t.

  9. 9
    Viola Lee says:

    I will take these last couple of posts as a good reason to leave, I guess, and leave you guys to your own devices.

  10. 10
    jerry says:

    I will take these last couple of posts as a good reason to leave

    Actually little if any of what I said was referring to you. Your posts are usually short and specific. I was criticizing long repetitive comments that most do not read.

    I don’t agree with most of what you say you believe but try to answer your posts if I think it will have value. They don’t appear to be disingenuous as many are. You also stay away from the science that ID discusses.

    For example, you asked about Darwinism twice and I explained it to you as best I understand it. People here use the term differently and some will rarely use it.

    But obviously participate or not as you see fit. Kf’s OP is about honest responses not ones we disagree with. One of the tags for this post is about “defending our civilization” which has nothing to do with ID.

    No one wants anyone to not participate unless they are being specifically disingenuous. For example, some commenters refuse to acknowledge that their comments have been answered and were essentially non sequiturs but do it again and again.

  11. 11
    EDTA says:

    KF,
    >E = error exists, ~E means it is an error to assert error exists.

    Conventionally, doesn’t “~” mean “it is not the case that _____”? So ~E would mean “it is not the case that error exists.”

    I tried looking up Royce, but didn’t find any explanation of why ~E is interpreted the former way. Can you provide a brief explanation or link as to why it’s interpreted as “it is an error to assert ______”? Thanks.

  12. 12
    Viola Lee says:

    Well thanks, I guess? 🙂 It seems to me that some of the critiques you mention apply just as much to some predominate posters on the “other side” of some of these discussions as they do to the people you are probably complaining about.

    I also don’t think that some of the main people discussing with KF, BA, you, etc (and this would include me) are not lacking in good will, the use of reason and evidence, etc. We are coming from some different points of view, so most of them time we are just disagreeing with each other: one set is not being worse people than the others. (I can think of one “pro-ID” person who maybe doesn’t fit this description.)

    A specific example: You write, “One piece of advice, don’t engage with the skeptics here because they are not people of good will. It just leads to endless discussions that go nowhere”

    Well, I’ve engaged on number of issues where I was skeptical of the view being put forth, and contributed to discussions that went on and on, partially because, in my opinion, the person I was discussing with engaged in some of the weaknesses you are attributing to the skeptics, including the lack of good will.

    So I guess I’ll watch and see if there are any further discussions I want to participate in, and perhaps save posts 6-8 to refer back to.

  13. 13
    EDTA says:

    Viola,
    I think you discuss in good faith.

  14. 14
    kairosfocus says:

    EDTA, with E on the table, the denial ~E directly entails holding that E is mistaken. I acknowledge debt to Royce, I am not elaborating his argument. KF

  15. 15
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, I am making a case; a bare assertion would not be enough. Some doubt SETs so that is needed, and it is worth pausing to note this goes to moral SETs. The principle of credulity needs drawing out on what room for limitations and limited errors means. Colour perception especially regarding violets vs purple is a good case in point. (We are principally visual creatures.) That also extends to other colours. Along the way, the mind the body and the world clearly lurks and Derek Smith poses a useful framework. The elaboration and summary of Reid helps. KF

  16. 16
    kairosfocus says:

    VL (& attn Jerry and SA), it is unfortunate that such a polarised tangential matter came up so early. Jerry is partly right that there are trollish people in and around UD who have shown a track record of bad faith ranging up to outright slander and stalking. In my case, that has extended to dragging in fairly distant relatives on the ground here. There doubtless are others who have objections and views that are sincerely held, though sometimes that is a matter of crooked yardstick issues. The challenge of balance and that of case making informed by knowledge of the hostile climate may then require saying more than at first seems necessary, often by way of clearing brush to open up a trail. Above, that included showing the reality of SETs by example and using a case study from our most important single sense, vision. Besides I think the secondary peak of response of the red detecting aspect of vision is significant in itself, pointing to the soundness of colour wheel based models: B > V> Pu > R, with of course W in the centre. I guess, for me, considering the visual system as an instrument is interesting in itself and as illustrating credible access to the world through our limited senses. Beyond that, I have not found you, VL, to be trollish in approach. KF

  17. 17
    kairosfocus says:

    SA, Reid’s razor seems to be a useful way to shave away gross hyperskeptical errors and trollery, allowing us to focus discussion. “Would you buy a second hand car from this man?” — given, how he argues — says a lot. I think, onward, this may be very useful in dealing with such. KF

  18. 18
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, didn’t the eye recently come up with exchanges over its capabilities and limitations, with the issue of appeal to allegedly poor design? KF

  19. 19
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, is skepticism an intellectual virtue [as opposed to prudence]? Why or why not? KF

  20. 20
    Viola Lee says:

    I’m a prudent skeptic, in general. I think both are intellectual virtues.

    And prudence is one of the many words that you use frequently that really doesn’t have any precise criteria and is subject to quite subjective interpretations by different people.

    Why did you ask me that?

  21. 21
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, whatever virtue may lurk in the general neighbourhood of skepticism is a matter of prudence — which includes duty to warrant. KF

  22. 22
    Viola Lee says:

    Warrant is another one of those words that is very hard to make precise in practice. And given how easy it is for one to feel much more certain about what one thinks one knows than is warranted, I would say it is often prudent to be skeptical.

    And why are you asking me these questions, I wonder? Is this a topic for a discussion you’d like to have? Why did it come up at this particular time?

    And P.S. I don’t think of skepticism as “lurking”. I think having the sense that one might be justified in questioning the certainty about many of our beliefs ought to be front-and-center in our minds, not lurking in the corners.

  23. 23
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: As for the dismissiveness to one of the cardinal virtues, that inadvertently highlights the poverty of modern education and media. Where — and as has already been raised at UD but doubtless was skimmed over — prudence can be first understood via Aristotle’s summary:

    “. . . [which aptly] defined prudence as recta ratio agibilium, ‘right reason applied to practice.’ The emphasis on ‘right’ is important . . . Prudence requires us to distinguish between what is right and what is wrong . . . If we mistake the evil for the good, we are not exercising prudence—in fact, we are showing our lack of it.”

    Such right reason of course involves recognition of self-evident first principles and duties of reason, strengths and limitations of our intellectual faculties as well as the limitations due to our bounded rationality and the press of the times forcing a decision now in the face of gaps in what we can know, and much more.

    This, too, is how prudence becomes “auriga virtutum — the charioteer of the virtues” (as Aquinas put it); the skilled steersman who guides and controls the chariot. Or even, the ship of state (e.g. what is implicitly in view in the Proverbs: “[t]he proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel”, Prov 1:1).

    In short, we have been 1984-ed, cut off from thousands of years of wisdom as regards core things.

    The amazing thing is, too often we don’t even notice that the blind spots are there, in strategically telling places.

    KF

    PS: Even a glance at a good dictionary is instructive here, cf AmHD:

    pru·dent (pro?od?nt)
    adj.
    1. Careful or wise in handling practical matters; exercising good judgment or common sense: a prudent manager of money.
    2. Characterized by or resulting from care or wisdom in practical matters or in planning for the future: a prudent investment.
    [Middle English, from Old French, from Latin pr?d?ns, pr?dent-, contraction of pr?vid?ns, present participle of pr?vid?re, to provide for; see provide.]
    pru?dence (pro?od?ns) n.
    pru?dent·ly adv.
    American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

  24. 24
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, warrant is a gateway term. In context, it is tied to the understanding that knowledge is warranted, credibly true [and so, reliable] belief. That is, warrant points to the measured, good reason to take claims as true or plausible or at least provisionally acceptable as reliable enough to be acted on as if they were true. Thus, it points to the field of epistemology, as has been discussed many times here at UD — but too often has been skimmed over. The further point is, that warrant is a significant, often technical worldviews level challenge that demands serious due diligence. By sharp contrast, skepticism is far too often an addictive, destructive intellectual bad habit; particularly when it becomes selective and hyper-ised, thus weaponised to undermine what we should acknowledge while becoming simultaneously credulous to what in all prudence we should question. For, if we are led to systematically disbelieve what we should not reject or sideline, such is directly tied to our having been led to believe what we should doubt or reject — the issue of crooked yardsticks posing as standards of straight, upright, accurate etc. That it is common nowadays to see skepticism prized and prudence sidelined speaks volumes on the intellectual impoverishment of our day. KF

  25. 25
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: I just now appended on opponent processes, showing how LMS sensors can generate four channels of vision, RGBY, with each colour in our gamut of vision having a particular balance of lms signals. This speaks to the effectiveness of the design of the eye, not just limitations. Of course at low levels, rods take over, enhancing sensitivity. It is argued that they may contribute to colour awarenes at low light levels too. One of the tricks there, is to look off from what one wishes to observe as more rod rich areas then allow picking up the faint light. The eye and wider visual system reflect high quality design, taking advantage of subtle properties to achieve a result. KF

  26. 26
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Of course, such undercuts the poor design arguments we still see far too often, directly or by suggestion. Instead, let us appreciate the visual system for what it is and how it does it.

  27. 27
    jerry says:

    A specific example: You write, “One piece of advice, don’t engage with the skeptics here because they are not people of good will. It just leads to endless discussions that go nowhere”

    Things get written in haste here because of the nature of responding and writing comments. One word is missing from the above comment I wrote. That is “continuously” before “engage.” So it should read

    One piece of advice, don’t engage continuously with the skeptics here because they are not people of good will. It just leads to endless discussions that go nowhere

    So engage but not endlessly and certainly not more than a couple times and definitely don’t continuously repeat the same things.

  28. 28
    jerry says:

    warrant is a gateway term

    Kf, When I saw this, my thoughts were what does this sentence mean. You use the term “warrant” all the time and I have never seen another person in speech or writing use it like you do. I’m sure you could point to someone but as I said, I have never seen it used like you do.

    You use shorthand and cryptic terms all the time to demonstrate inescapable conclusions but because of the cryptic and proprietary nature of your descriptions the meaning is actually lost most of the time on me and I assume on most others here.

    When I try to get behind the shorthand to what is actually being said, it is usually extremely insightful. But most times your posts are TLDR and full of these cryptic words that I say to myself why bother. There is only so much time.

    I actually believe this style of writing gets in the way of communicating and definitely in the way of convincing others.

    You are an amazing font of knowledge but it’s often difficult to get at exactly what you are saying. By being too precise and using too much short hand at the same time in the midst of extremely long comments or OP’s you are not communicating.

    For example, I gave up on your color example above in the OP because I didn’t have a clue what you were trying to do.

  29. 29
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, kindly start with noted philosopher Alvin Plantinga and the associated internalism-externalism debates in epistemology informed by Gettier counterexamples on justification in that context. One may be internally justified to hold a belief that happens to be true but there is not objective warrant. Hence, the shift in terminology and concepts from knowledge is justified, true belief to warrant, then multiply by the soft, corrigible form of warrant for say scientific knowledge etc and you will see why I typically speak of knowledge as warranted, credibly true [so also reliable] belief. Sorry, unavoidably a technical issue. KF

    PS: I am specifically putting the Reidian common good sense razor on the table to more directly address those who wish to engage in endless selective hyperskepticism and worse. BTW, in certain cases, if you fall silent after a time, there will be the claim of victory by default.

  30. 30
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: Colour vision responds to the issue that our senses can be limited but access the real world successfully. Notice, here, the impact of a secondary peak in the light response of L cones in our eyes, on how we perceive the spectral colour Violet and why this colour is closely related to purples. Also, this case happens to illustrate high quality design, which responds to yet another recent exchange. You may want to know that RGB and CMYK etc colour schemes respond to these issues in addressing how colour displays and printers work. Which, the objectors happen to also regularly use.

  31. 31
    jerry says:

    Kf,

    I haven’t a clue what you are saying in either of your two previous comments. I understand RGB and CMYK but the rest of it is lost on me. If it is that we do not see perfectly but enough so that we can ascertain most of the outside world to survive, I understand that.

    in certain cases, if you fall silent after a time, there will be the claim of victory by default.

    This is the “dog barking in the night” proof which is so prevalent in the evolution debate. This I understand.

    I love the common sense argument because it assumes nearly all humans recognize the same phenomenon. It is not used for most of science because these explanations remained hidden from common observation. Specifically the basic laws of nature except for gravity.

    One exception is that most think it is common sense to recognize “natural selection” as obvious. It is obvious but only for the trivial which common sense does not recognize as being trivial.

  32. 32
    Viola Lee says:

    Typical KF responses

    1. Didn’t answer the questions I asked.

    2. Misrepresents my responses: Writes, “As for the dismissiveness to one of the cardinal virtues,…’ when I didn’t dismiss prudence, but rather pointed to the problems in deciding what is prudent.

    3. Condescendingly quotes definitions that don’t address the specificity issues I mentioned: I know what the word “prudent” means.

    4. Similarly doesn’t address the specificity problem with “warrant”, discuss it with words that are similarly vague and hard to pin down in practice.

    5. Rather than address my comments on why one would be skeptical, goes off on a sky-is-falling rant:

    “By sharp contrast, skepticism is far too often an addictive, destructive intellectual bad habit; particularly when it becomes selective and hyper-ised, thus weaponised to undermine what we should acknowledge while becoming simultaneously credulous to what in all prudence we should question. For, if we are led to systematically disbelieve what we should not reject or sideline, such is directly tied to our having been led to believe what we should doubt or reject — the issue of crooked yardsticks posing as standards of straight, upright, accurate etc. … — the issue of crooked yardsticks posing as standards of straight, upright, accurate etc. That it is common nowadays to see skepticism prized and prudence sidelined speaks volumes on the intellectual impoverishment of our day.”

    I’ll note I did not “sideline prudence”, and I’m not sure I “prized skepticism”: Rather than addressing what I wrote KF just used my comments as a springboard for a repeated statement of his prejudices.

    I refer people back to the posts 6-8. I see nothing about KF’s response to me that exhibits good will, or engages in productive discussion.

    I’ll let the reader decide who is an “honest debater” here, and who you would buy a used car from. 🙂

  33. 33
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Viola,
    I wasn’t referring to you. Actually, I can’t think of anyone still here who the term “skeptics” as I was thinking of it referred. I was really meaning “disruptors” of the sort who argue in bad faith.
    I actually hope you, and others, who oppose ID (on honest grounds) will feel welcome here.
    Sorry for communicating the opposite impression there.

  34. 34
    Silver Asiatic says:

    KF and BA77 are sometimes criticized for long posts and a lot of cut-paste.
    However, I think we have to remember the long history that ID has had, not just trying to win over opponents (which is more the goal these days) but just defending itself from hostile and ignorant attacks.
    The techniques that KF and BA used, I discovered, were the very best defense. Clearly, ID was caught in a no-win situation from the Darwinian majority. If we responded with short comments, just directed at the issue at hand -without a doubt, the opponent would run to another issue.
    Besides that, a single, clear refutation of the anti-ID position is nowhere near enough.
    BA wisely reasoned (as I imagine it), that we have to absolutely bombard the opposition with reference after reference, expert after expert.
    I think that strategy has been tremendously successful in this (still) first wave of combat. Without that barrage of support, the ID-opposition would walk away thinking they’re victorious having the last word.
    Instead — they walk away silenced. They have to read the pages of supporting material — read, understand, and respond properly. That never happens.
    Now, year after year, even decade after decade of this — and we do not get those frivolous attacks.
    Without long, detailed, abundantly documented and referenced posts – our opponents find every possible loophole. Then it’s just a war of short jabs, which often end up as insults.
    What KF and BA and many others here (johnny, etc) are saying is – “take it seriously – here’s a comprehensive view”.
    Yes, it could get dull for long-time members here.
    But I do suggest reading through the long posts, then especially, clicking through to the reference documents.
    I have done this with BA77s links and they are truly an amazing source of knowledge. He provides a university level education for anyone willing to read and study all of the material offered. Very much the same with KF.

  35. 35
    jerry says:

    There are two things going on here which I was trying to point out.

    First, I do not believe Kf is communicating very well and it is due to long involved OP’s and comments that are often indecipherable even in his shorter comments. I am certain Kf understands them and when finally explicated make good sense and express good will.

    Second, there are comments here that are proffered only because they are contrary, whether the person making them believe them or not. This does not apply to every contrary comment. One can always have a contrary opinion and that is often how a better understanding happens. But also contrary opinions are often expressed not for their potential understanding or good will but to disrupt. It is such opinions that should be answered briefly and coherently and then further ignored.

    That is what is not happening. The threads are often endless rehashing the same ideas and criticisms over and over. They do not lead to understanding.

    I don’t believe Viola Lee has expressed any ideas on ID but has offered objections to several non ID ideas expressed mostly by Kf and some others.

    Kf has expressed a lot of concern for the future of Western civilization based on some obvious things that have happened. It is expressed in his very long and difficult to understand OP’s. I happen to share this concern and so do a lot of others in our society.

    However, given the political polarization in the West, it is unlikely that any of these analyses and pleas would have much traction even if they were clearly presented. But they have nothing to do with ID. It just seems that ID is lined up on one side of the line and the others are on the other side.

    It is as if I am a fan of this particular sports team and no matter how bad they are, I am going to root for them and support them no matter what they do. Even if it leads to their own personal downfall and what they care for.

  36. 36
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Jerry

    I love the common sense argument because it assumes nearly all humans recognize the same phenomenon.

    I like that also. Some of our opponents argue against the concept of common sense itself. That puts all of their thoughts outside of common human experience, and thus makes them absurd (like the idea “everything is an illusion”).

  37. 37
    jerry says:

    like the idea “everything is an illusion

    That is not actually believed by the people making it. It is meant as a disruption and should be ignored. But people are answering it as if it is serious.

    The logic to answer this is if everything is an illusion then this comment is also an illusion and logically there must exist things that are not an illusion. The same is used to those who say there is no truth. It is self contradictory.

    This argument has been made several times to answer such nonsense by Kf and others but during each thread it should be used just once and then contrary opinions ignored.

  38. 38
    Viola Lee says:

    Who is arguing that everything is an illusion? KF says that is true about WJM’s metaphysics, but WJM explains why that is a misrepresentation. BA often claims that atheist materialists believe that, but people here on this forum don’t say that, I don’t think.

    And who is arguing against common sense? We often argue about whether something is common sense, but that is different.

  39. 39
    Viola Lee says:

    And who says there is no truth? Again, we may differ both about what constitutes truth (is it truth or Truth), and about whether something is true or not, but I don’t see anyone arguing that there is no truth.

  40. 40
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Jerry

    This argument has been made several times to answer such nonsense by Kf and others but during each thread it should be used just once and then contrary opinions ignored.

    That’s a strong point – I can’t argue against it. In fact, it’s a difficult truth maybe as I think about it.
    Alex Rosenberg, for example, wrote perhaps the perfect book on atheism “The Atheist’s Guide to Reality”. It’s perfect because the entire book is focused on arguing for that one, single point, “everything is an illusion”. By the end, Rosenberg talked himself into a contradictory and confused mess – so bad, that many prominent atheists didn’t like is work. But Rosenberg was just giving the unvarnished view. He was letting the cat out of the bag.
    But then what happened was, pro-IDists or Theists of every kind, argued against Rosenberg. Theistic philosopher, Ed Feser, did a 4-part, detailed rebuttal of the book. But in the end, all Feser was saying, and all he had to say was your statement here:

    The logic to answer this is if everything is an illusion then this comment is also an illusion and logically there must exist things that are not an illusion. The same is used to those who say there is no truth. It is self contradictory.

    That’s it. Done.
    So I ask myself, what was going on here? – and perhaps we do the same here on UD.
    Well, Rosenberg is the easiest of all targets. He is totally lost in a confusion of babble, that starts and ends with his unwillingness to face the simplest logic, as given. The idea “everything is an illusion” which is the core of atheism (in his “Atheist’s Guide”) is just stupid an absurd. No number of academic degrees, PhD’s or scholarly awards can overcome that problem.

    Then, what is the problem with prolonged arguments against such? For a guy like Dr. Feser – he set is target very very low. That is really shooting fish in a barrel (or not even as hard as shooting them, but just using a net). Feser was criticized for attacking the “lowest of the new atheism”, but Feser rightly said that Rosenberg represented exactly what atheism is. And why not expose the numerous fallacies and idiotic, absurd results that come from this?
    But isn’t there a risk of elevating something that is total nonsense, to the level of a serious proposition? Do we do the same thing with multiverse opinions which are unverifiable and incoherent in either scientific or philosophical terms?

    Ok, I conclude. The tough-love position is that you simply and clearly refute the nonsense and do not address it again.
    However, there is a belief (which I have) that people need to see the extreme absurdity of their arguments, and also we can and do actually win people over and convince them that they are wrong. It happens frequently that people leave atheism aside. People are converted to the pro-ID view all the time. This happens because they see, again and again, that atheism-evolutionism-materialism (etc) does not work on multiple levels. All that was required, strictly speaking, was the one argument. However, with multiple arguments of every kind – we see the idea failing again and again.
    People who hold this irrational belief system will always run for some shelter from the barrage of reason (and from God). They’ll hang on to the tiniest scrap of possibility, even when their arguments have been devastated by multiple lines.
    So, I think it’s worthwhile to try to eliminate even that tiny little possibility they hang on to.
    The risk is, that we elevate an irrational argument to the level of seriousness that it does not deserve.
    But the payoff is that maybe we will discover an argument that really does change things – that totally destroys any possibility.
    That’s really what ID tries to do. That’s why it speaks in the terms that Darwinists can understand. There are many design arguments that use just philosophical proofs, but people who believe in scientism will reject them out of hand.
    The genius of ID is that it uses the exact methodology and terminology and observations that evolution (or any branch of science) uses. This is done for the sake of science, but also to make the design inference palatable for people who think only in scientific terms.
    The same is with our arguments with ID-opponents here. We should assume they have good faith and then try to convince them.

  41. 41
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Viola

    And who says there is no truth? Again, we may differ both about what constitutes truth (is it truth or Truth), and about whether something is true or not, but I don’t see anyone arguing that there is no truth.

    Yes, but we’re talking about the Origin of things. Many will say “of course truth exists”, but when asked about where it came from, that’s the problem. Is truth a function of physicality alone? If not, then scientism is false.

  42. 42
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    Who is arguing that everything is an illusion?

    Alex Rosenberg – the Atheist’s Guide to Reality. The whole book argues this.

    also, just recently:

    The Evolutionary Argument Against Reality
    The cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman uses evolutionary game theory to show that our perceptions of an independent reality must be illusions.
    https://www.quantamagazine.org/the-evolutionary-argument-against-reality-20160421

    Professor Hoffman is saying that everything is an illusion. “Reality” is an illusion – and that’s incoherent and self-contradictory.

  43. 43
  44. 44
    jerry says:

    The same is with our arguments with ID-opponents here. We should assume they have good faith and then try to convince them.

    I agree and don’t agree. Do it once, maybe twice in a thread but that is it. There will be other threads to do it again if needed. If the person is sincere, they will see the logic and evidence.

    But some have been exposed thousands of times and have not budged even to acknowledge the evidence is accurate and the logic is good. They are committed to their sports team no matter what.

  45. 45
    Silver Asiatic says:

    This is an article very worth reading in its entirety for an understanding of what atheism professes. Reviewing Alex Rosenberg’s book.

    https://www.firstthings.com/article/2011/11/scientia-ad-absurdum

    The Atheist’s Guide to Reality is refreshingly and ruthlessly consistent. It is also utterly incoherent”and precisely because it is so consistent. In drawing out its absurd consequences, Alex Rosenberg, an atheist professor of philosophy at Duke University, has written a compelling refutation of modern atheism. That is not what he planned to do. In fact, he didn’t plan to do anything, since there are in his view no plans, designs, or purposes of any sort at all. But I’m getting ahead of myself, or I would be if there were “selves” to get ahead of”Rosenberg assures us that there are none of those either.

    But Rosenberg is just getting started. Since what is real is only what is reducible to physics, there are no meanings, purposes, designs, or plans of any sort, not even at the level of the human mind. Our thoughts only seem to be “about” things. And if they have no meaning, we cannot really have any plans and purposes at all. Indeed, the self that appears to think meaningful thoughts, to form plans, and to persist through the continual rewiring of the neural circuitry of the brain is also an illusion.

    Yet we are repeatedly assured by Rosenberg that there are no purposes or meanings of any sort whatsoever. But then, how can there be illusions and falsehoods? For that matter, how can there be truth or correctness, including the truth and correctness he would ascribe to science alone? For these concepts too are normative, as they presuppose the realization of a purpose and the accuracy of a meaning or representation.

    The last paragraph above restates the argument that Jerry presented. We cannot know that everything is an illusion unless reality exists.
    It’s the same as KF’s reference to the “existence of error”.
    The statement: “Error exists” is necessarily true. Obviously, to say it is false is to confirm that error exists.
    On the contrary, “everything is false” – is the same as “everything is an illusion”.
    We cannot affirm “everything is false” without contradicting that (since the statement would be true by affirmation.
    This is the simplest refutation of the denial of truth, but many academics, even do not understand or realize it.

  46. 46
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Jerry

    But some have been exposed thousands of times and have not budged even to acknowledge the evidence is accurate and the logic is good. They are committed to their sports team no matter what.

    True. We see some of those being banned for bad-faith arguments like that, or just disruption, but then coming back with a new user name. We should be able to ban by IP address. There’s the rare chance that a banned individual has changed his ways and is willing to learn, but again – very rare.

  47. 47
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    BA often claims that atheist materialists believe that, but people here on this forum don’t say that, I don’t think.

    I think you’re right that ID-opponents don’t say that. But we’re trying to show that their viewpoint actually does mean that, so they should say it.
    BA gives an argument from consistency, or something like that.
    If you’re worldview is that everything is reducible to physicality (particles, etc) and there is no God but only blind, unintelligent matter and forces – then just be consistent. There can be no “reality” since blind particles cannot be aware of such a thing. A combination of particles does not become “aware of anything” – there are only particles.

  48. 48
    Viola Lee says:

    I have no idea who Rosenberg is. I was just referring to people who post here.

    Also, there is a solid tradition in philosophy that the reality we experience. mediated by our senses, is not thing in itself. Kant, for instance, believed ” that while “things-in-themselves” exist and contribute to experience, they are nonetheless distinct from the objects of experience.’ [Wikipedia]. And quantum theorem certainly says that in some sense everything is an illusion: there really is no table. So there is genuine, nuanced philosophy to discuss on this topic, FWIW.

  49. 49
    Viola Lee says:

    I strongly disagree when SA says, “But we’re trying to show that their viewpoint actually does mean that, so they should say it.”

    That’s a conversation breaker from the beginning. It’s one thing for you to try to understand another point of view and say “I don’t agree with you,” but it’s disrespectful and non-productive to tell someone “You don’t really mean that, you mean this.” I think I’ll bow out of trying to discuss things with you folks, as you’re idea of discussing with good will and mine obviously aren’t in harmony.

  50. 50
    jerry says:

    The link Kf pointed to is one of a long series of lectures that if anyone read or understood they would be a wiz on current philosophy. His link to a Plantinga lecture is part of the Gifford lectures which appear to be philosophically dense.

    https://www.giffordlectures.org/lectures

    There are several on evolution and cosmology and areas relevant to ID.

    I will try to understand Plantinga as he describes the concept of “warrant” but I expect it will be tough sledding. The first few paragraphs were difficult. It seems to focus on how much we can assess something we believe as true or close to true. And how to evaluate that relationship.

    Maybe Kf should make this lecture which is almost 30 years old the subject of an OP.

  51. 51
    JVL says:

    Jerry: But some have been exposed thousands of times and have not budged even to acknowledge the evidence is accurate and the logic is good. They are committed to their sports team no matter what.

    We are all looking at the same physical evidence. We come to different conclusions. I do not expect to ‘convert’ anyone to my point of view. I do like to fully understand what ID’s position is so I ask questions because I want to know what the ID proponents here think.

    The comment about being committed to one’s team can be applied to both sides of the debate. Which is why I don’t expect to nor am I trying to change anyone’s mind.

  52. 52
    jerry says:

    I do like to fully understand what ID’s position is so I ask questions because I want to know what the ID proponents here think.

    This is not the place to ask or answer this. It has been explained a zillion other places. Go to one these OPs and ask.

  53. 53

    .
    JVL,

    We are all looking at the same physical evidence.

    Your issue is not about physical evidence. It is the blatant double-standard you apply to that evidence, and then refuse to address it.

  54. 54
    asauber says:

    I just want an acknowledgement after all these years that there is a certain segment of the atheist/materialist/progressive/statist tribe that just comes here to oppose ID. They have nothing to offer by way of new ideas or insightful thinking or anything other than stale tribal narratives.

    Hostility to Christianity. We get it already. Not holding my breath.

    Andrew

  55. 55
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    it’s disrespectful and non-productive to tell someone “You don’t really mean that, you mean this.”

    You misunderstood what I said and you’re saying it was disrespectful (?).
    Eliminative materialism is a distinct idea. It means something. It is an idea that carries consequences.
    When a person professes the belief in that, but then denies the consequences there is a problem.
    It is not disrespectful to correct someone when they’re mistaken. Just because someone has a personal opinion, does not mean that we have to accept that opinion as being correct. If the person can defend the opinion, then that’s what dialogue is all about.
    I accept Jerry’s warning that certain discussions are, as you say, “non-productive”. If there is not an attempt to make one’s views clear, accept the consequences of one’s views, or attempt to understand the issues (or what others are saying), then that’s non-productive.
    If we saw, for example, someone admitting that the ID inference stands unrefuted, but will not accept the consequences of that admission., then that needs to be corrected.
    If a person does not accept the correction, and at the same time has no further argument by which to defend his view — then that’s just being obstinate.

  56. 56
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Plantinga’s summary of a multi-volume discussion, offered for record:

    The question is as old as Plato’s Theaetetus: what is it that distinguishes knowledge from mere true belief? What further quality or quantity must a true belief have, if it is to constitute knowledge? This is one of the main questions of epistemology. (No doubt that is why it is called ‘theory of knowledge’.) Along with nearly all subsequent thinkers, Plato takes it for granted that knowledge is at least true belief: you know a proposition p only if you believe it, and only if it is true. But Plato goes on to point out that true belief, while necessary for knowledge, is clearly not sufficient: it is entirely possible to believe something that is true without knowing it . . .

    [Skipping over internalism vs externalism, Gettier, blue vs grue or bleen etc etc] Suppose we use the term ‘warrant’ to denote that further quality or quantity (perhaps it comes in degrees), whatever precisely it may be, enough of which distinguishes knowledge from mere true belief. Then our question (the subject of WPF): what is warrant? My suggestion (WPF, chapters 1 and 2) begins with the idea that a belief has warrant only if it is produced by cognitive faculties that are functioning properly, subject to no disorder or dysfunction—construed as including absence of impedance as well as pathology. The notion of proper function is fundamental to our central ways of thinking about knowledge. But that notion is inextricably bound with another: that of a design plan.37 Human beings and their organs are so constructed that there is a way they should work, a way they are supposed to work, a way they work when they work right; this is the way they work when there is no malfunction . . . We needn’t initially take the notions of design plan and way in which a thing is supposed to work to entail conscious design or purpose . . .

    Accordingly, the first element in our conception of warrant (so I say) is that a belief has warrant for someone only if her faculties are functioning properly, are subject to no dysfunction, in producing that belief.39 But that’s not enough. Many systems of your body, obviously, are designed to work in a certain kind of environment . . . . this is still not enough. It is clearly possible that a belief be produced by cognitive faculties that are functioning properly in an environment for which they were designed, but nonetheless lack warrant; the above two conditions are not sufficient. We think that the purpose or function of our belief-producing faculties is to furnish us with true (or verisimilitudinous) belief. As we saw above in connection with the F&M complaint [= Freud and Marx], however, it is clearly possible that the purpose or function of some belief-producing faculties or mechanisms is the production of beliefs with some other virtue—perhaps that of enabling us to get along in this cold, cruel, threatening world, or of enabling us to survive a dangerous situation or a life-threatening disease. So we must add that the belief in question is produced by cognitive faculties such that the purpose of those faculties is that of producing true belief. More exactly, we must add that the portion of the design plan governing the production of the belief in question is aimed at the production of true belief (rather than survival, or psychological comfort, or the possibility of loyalty, or something else) . . . .

    what must be added is that the design plan in question is a good one, one that is successfully aimed at truth, one such that there is a high (objective) probability that a belief produced
    according to that plan will be true (or nearly true). Put in a nutshell, then, a belief has warrant for a person S only if that belief is produced in S by cognitive faculties functioning properly (subject to no dysfunction) in a cognitive environment [both macro and micro . . . ] that is appropriate for S’s kind of cognitive faculties, according to a design plan that is successfully aimed at truth. We must add, furthermore, that when a belief meets these conditions and does enjoy warrant, the degree of warrant it enjoys depends on the strength of the belief, the firmness with which S holds it. This is intended as an account of the central core of our concept of warrant; there is a penumbral area surrounding the central core where there are many analogical extensions of that central core; and beyond the penumbral area, still another belt of vagueness and imprecision, a host of possible cases and circumstances where there is really no answer to the question whether a given case is or isn’t a case of warrant.41 [Warranted Christian Belief (NY/Oxford: OUP, 2000), pp 153 ff. See onward, Warrant, the Current Debate and Warrant and Proper Function; also, by Plantinga.]

    This is excerpt, there is a multivolume discussion engaging all sorts of factors and issues at world class level, from Plato et al forward. Along the way for instance, Thomas Reid’s common sense puts in an appearance including why credible testimony and reasonable authorities are valid sources of adequately warranted knowledge.

    It should be obvious that I am not going all the way with truthful belief, given that particularly in science, there is room for possible error. That is why I have spoken of warranted, credibly true [thus, reliable] belief.

    Such soft form, weak sense knowledge can be defeated, but the burden to provide the defeat rests on the objector. There is no presumption that there is a hyperskeptic’s veto.

    And yes, this may be derided as long, complex, a cut-paste, TLDR etc etc.

    At this point, if you are so disinclined to recognise a responsible answer on a significant technical subject for what it is, offered in the teeth of a fairly dismissive and frankly condescending objection [is is reasonable to suggest, given track record, that I would use a fairly unusual term on a technical matter without very good reason?], I cannot help you further.

    For record,

    KF

  57. 57
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, the Gifford Lectures are world famous, for cause. KF

  58. 58
    William J Murray says:

    When your philosophy of what a well-warranted worldview requires that which has been demonstrated to not exist (the causation of experience by specified states existing independent of observation/measurement), it’s time to figure out a “well-warranted” worldview that takes that into account. Or, it’s time to change the “well-warranted” playbook.

    External-of-mind reality has been disproved. Time to put on our big-boy pants and move on.

  59. 59
    William J Murray says:

    It’s amazing that we live in a time where idealism of some sort has been scientifically proved, and materialism has been scientifically disproved. Who would have even thought that was a possibility?

  60. 60
    EDTA says:

    SA @ 45,
    >The statement: “Error exists” is necessarily true. Obviously, to say it is false is to confirm that error exists.

    That made it clear. Thanks for the rephrasing.

  61. 61

    It’s just more of your do-goodery. Remember, it’s an intelligent design blog. We should discuss the creationist ideas, that are basic to the logic of intelligent design theory.

    Creationist conceptual scheme of reality.
    1. Creator / chooses / spiritual / subjective
    2. Creation / chosen / material / objective

    Emotions, personal character, feelings, the soul, the spirit, God all belong in category 1. They can only be identified with a chosen opinion.

    The physical universe, fantasy, concepts, language, mathematics, they all belong in category number 2. A fact is obtained by evidence of a creation, forcing to produce a one to one corresponding model of it, in the mind.

    Evolutionists generally use a different conceptual scheme of reality.
    1. Material / Objective
    2. See 1

    Which is why evolutionists generally lack morality, a good judgement. They have simply thrown out that entire category.

    That lack of good personal judgement, may then lead to them botching up objective issues as well.

    That their science is taken over by prejudices working behind the scenes of their argumentation, because they have no clue about how to prime their emotions for honesty.

    Also their science about decisionmaking processes is completely absent.

  62. 62
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: I have further added on light, the visual spectrum, colour spindle models and the fitness for purpose of our visual system informed by actinic radiation effects. This is relevant to further understanding the subtle, high quality design and veridically oriented proper function of our visual system towards a Reidian safe passage between poor design fallacies and ugly gulch despair of the veridicality of our common world. KF

  63. 63
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM (& attn Jerry), it seems that part of the issue is causation. That tips the balance in favour of a further addition to OP on the visual system as a case study of embodiment and participation in the physical world, drawing on the properties of a key octave of the EM spectrum i/l/o the photochemistry just short of damaging actinic UV etc bands. Where, on a related issue, our oxygen rich, biosphere-influenced [terraformed] atmosphere filters out much of that destructive band. In that context, physical-chemical cause-effect patterns, complex functional structures manifesting high quality design and linked signal processing in the visual system give us high confidence in the veridicality of the vision system and sense of sight as successfully informing us of the world we live in. Confidently, per Reidian common sense, we acknowledge that there is a world well warranted as objective, independent of our own individual and collective minds, and we may responsibly accept that that world [showing cosmological fine tuning and high quality complex design in the world of life including ours] reflects the design and sustaining work of the root mind, the root of reality. KF

  64. 64
  65. 65
    William J Murray says:

    KF,
    You’re like a materialist holding onto materialism against conclusive evidence to the contrary, or a Darwinist insisting on unguided evolution against conclusive evidence to the contrary. The way you believe all of what you have written above is instantiated and occurs – specifically, that we are experiencing states of things that exist in and of themselves (1) outside of our experience and (2) prior to our experience of them – has been conclusively demonstrated false.

    I understand that you have probably spent a lifetime constructing your model about what is going on, and it seems obvious to you that it is only through your model that we can be rational beings well-guarded against delusion. That model represents a huge investment of time and commitment, a big portion of self-identity and confidence. It’s obviously difficult to let go of such a worldview or to even consider that it might be wrong.

    Unfortunately for you, science has incontrovertible evidence to the contrary: things we experience do not have innate states or qualities outside of that experience. This is why so many quantum physicists have stated that consciousness is fundamental to reality, and reality cannot be divorced from our conscious observation/experience/measurement of it.

    Reality – whatever it is – resides in experience, not in things outside of experience causing the experience. This is actually good news because we do not have to rely on rube goldberg contraptions we hope bring a high-fidelity approximation of reality into our experience. Our experiences are the reality itself.

  66. 66
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, enough has been said and one current side tracked thread is enough. There is no need whatsoever to resort to schemes of thought that imply or assume or invite inference of the non veridicality of our embodiment and participation in our common world, thus of our self-awareness and consciousness. Down that road lies chaotic undermining of rationality in general, i.e. absurdity. KF

  67. 67
    kairosfocus says:

    EDTA, glad that that phrasing by SA helped. My own summary is the denial of “Error Exists” automatically means — note, means not “states” — that it is an error to assert “Error Exists.” So, “Error Exists” cannot be effectively denied as the attempt confirms that indeed error exists. It is undeniably, inescapably, self-evidently true. KF

  68. 68
    jerry says:

    I suspect this thread will die so I will use it on going to help understand the term Kf uses constantly, namely “warrant.” So feel free to ignore these posts. From the article by Plantiga

    whatever precisely warrant is, which together with truth makes the difference between knowledge and mere true belief. (Difference between knowledge and true belief not explained)

    More specifically, my topic is contemporary views of warrant. I shall begin by looking briefly at the twentieth-century received tradition with respect to warrant; but first, how shall we initially pin down, or locate, or characterize this property or quantity I propose to discuss? (There seems to be a difference in quality as well as quantity that comprise a warrant)

    It is that which distinguishes knowledge from mere true belief, of course; but note also that there is obviously something normative or evaluative about warrant. To attribute warrant to a belief is to appraise that belief, and to appraise it favorably; and we use such terms as ‘warranted’, ‘justification’, ‘justified’, and the like as “terms of epistemic appraisal.”1 To say that a belief is warranted or justified for a person is to evaluate it or him (or both) positively; his holding that belief in his circumstances is right, or proper, or acceptable, or approvable, or up to standard. (it seems warrant applies to all of our beliefs and is used to assess which are valid or more likely valid by using some process that evaluates the belief. We frequently hear the comment, in my opinion this is so. But the real question is do we have a good basis for that opinion or do we have a valid warrant for that opinion)

    whatever precisely it is, which together with truth makes the difference between knowledge and mere true belief.

    More specifically, my topic is contemporary views of warrant. I shall begin by looking briefly at the twentieth-century received tradition with respect to warrant; but first, how shall we initially pin down, or locate, or characterize this property or quantity I propose to discuss? (sounds like how do we evaluate the level of the warrant to justify the belief or opinion)

    It is that which distinguishes knowledge from mere true belief, of course; but note also that there is obviously something normative or evaluative about warrant. To attribute warrant to a belief is to appraise that belief, and to appraise it favorably; and we use such terms as ‘warranted’, ‘justification’, ‘justified’, and the like as “terms of epistemic appraisal.”1 To say that a belief is warranted or justified for a person is to evaluate it or him (or both) positively;

    his holding that belief in his circumstances is right, or proper, or acceptable, or approvable, or up to standard. We evaluate a person’s beliefs (more exactly, her believings) as warranted, or justified, or rational, or reasonable, contrasting them with beliefs that are unwarranted, unjustified, irrational, unreasonable.

    The evidentialist objector to theistic belief, for example, claims that a theist who believes in God without evidence or argument is so far forth unwarranted and unjustified in that belief; he offers a negative appraisal of the belief or its holder. (Perhaps he claims that in believing in God in that way she is flouting some duty, or (more charitably) is suffering from a sort of cognitive dysfunction, or (still more modestly) that the module of our cognitive establishment that issues in theistic belief is not aimed at truth but at something else.) (is this being turned around on the atheist who traditionally claimed that beliefs in God were unwarranted because they were just superstitious while today the belief there is no God is really the unwarranted belief and the atheist is the superstitious one)

    We evaluate a person’s beliefs (more exactly, her believings) as warranted, or justified, or rational, or reasonable, contrasting them with beliefs that are unwarranted, unjustified, irrational, unreasonable. The evidentialist objector to theistic belief, for example, claims that a theist who believes in God without evidence or argument is so far forth unwarranted and unjustified in that belief; he offers a negative appraisal of the belief or its holder. (Perhaps he claims that in believing in God in that way she is flouting some duty, or (more charitably) is suffering from a sort of cognitive dysfunction, or (still more modestly) that the module of our cognitive establishment that issues in theistic belief is not aimed at truth but at something else.)

    I’m trying to use Kf’s frequently used term to assess just what an opinion means. Is it a warranted opinion or not? My guess is that a lot of people who say my opinion is just as good as yours don’t want the scrutiny implied by the concept of warrant. Actually some opinions are more valid than others. The term “warrant” is the evaluation of that opinion or belief.

    So is belief in a naturalistic system of evolution unwarranted? That is really turning the tables on a lot of people who thrived on making this claim against those who believed in ID or its equivalent throughout history.

    Is the term “warrant” best replaced by the term “justified.?”

  69. 69
    Silver Asiatic says:

    That was good – I read the whole thing. Good commentary.

    We evaluate a person’s beliefs (more exactly, her believings) as warranted, or justified, or rational, or reasonable, contrasting them with beliefs that are unwarranted, unjustified, irrational, unreasonable. The evidentialist objector to theistic belief, for example, claims that a theist who believes in God without evidence or argument is so far forth unwarranted and unjustified in that belief; he offers a negative appraisal of the belief or its holder.

    Warranted, to me, is more like “reasonable” and somewhat different than “justified”. I’d put “reasonable” on the softest side and something like “validated” or “verified” on the hard side (actually “proven” is the hardest in that scale).
    Plantinga talks of the “evidentialist”. That’s the person saying “there’s no evidence”.
    In discussions about God, this almost always resolves into someone asking for physical, scientific-based, observed evidence.
    But if the question is “warranted”, then as said – is atheism in any way a reasonable position to hold?
    Theism is supported by multiple arguments for the existence of God. Clearly, theism is a reasonable position. In light of that, the denial of a reasonable position (or calling it unreasonable) is unwarranted.

  70. 70
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, no and that is the point. One may be justified to believe what is true but is not knowledge; that is the heart of the Gettier problem, something blocks a rationally desirable tie between the justification one has and the credible or actual truthfulness, undermining reliability. Plantinga goes on to tease out using cases, issues, considerations, history etc to draw out as I excerpted above. Compressing, warrant is objective good reason that makes a claim credibly true and so reliable enough to ground prudent belief. Much of this addresses relevant intellectual faculties and their fitness for purpose, which may be partly naturally evident. I will append a core summary from Plantinga. KF

    PS: The excerpt from the excerpt, and yes this is technical:

    Put in a nutshell, then, a belief has warrant for a person S only if that belief is produced in S by cognitive faculties functioning properly (subject to no dysfunction) in a cognitive environment [both macro and micro . . . ] that is appropriate for S’s kind of cognitive faculties, according to a design plan that is successfully aimed at truth. We must add, furthermore, that when a belief meets these conditions and does enjoy warrant, the degree of warrant it enjoys depends on the strength of the belief, the firmness with which S holds it. This is intended as an account of the central core of our concept of warrant; there is a penumbral area surrounding the central core where there are many analogical extensions of that central core; and beyond the penumbral area, still another belt of vagueness and imprecision, a host of possible cases and circumstances where there is really no answer to the question whether a given case is or isn’t a case of warrant.41

    PPS: IEP on Gettier:

    Gettier problems or cases are named in honor of the American philosopher Edmund Gettier, who discovered them in 1963. They function as challenges to the philosophical tradition of defining knowledge of a proposition as justified true belief in that proposition. The problems are actual or possible situations in which someone has a belief that is both true and well supported by evidence, yet which — according to almost all epistemologists — fails to be knowledge. Gettier’s original article had a dramatic impact, as epistemologists began trying to ascertain afresh what knowledge is, with almost all agreeing that Gettier had refuted the traditional definition of knowledge. [–> jutified, true belief]

    See the problem? And why Plantinga first gives a general requirement that whatever warrant can be substantiated to be it must meet the criterion of reliably transforming true belief into knowledge? The cat was set among the pigeons in 1963 and feathers have yet to settle down.

    As a Gettier example teams A and B meet in a televised championship match. Viewer W knows this is scheduled and watches, seeing that B wins. However, unbeknownst, difficulties led to rebroadcast of a previous match between the teams with the same result. B wins, W is justified by his lights to think so, and yet the connexion is broken.

  71. 71
    jerry says:

    See the problem?

    As often the case I haven’t a clue what you are saying. Which is why I copied the first paragraph from Plantinga above and annotated it. To understand just what is being claimed.

    What this cries for is case studies and the two teams on TV is a trivial mostly irrelevant one.

    I will get the Gettler short paper to see what it says. Somehow this seems to be a distinction without much difference while other aspects represent great distinction. Conflating the two leads to complete confusion.

    At the present time I am failing to see much value in using the term warrant as opposed to justified. I could change my mind.

  72. 72
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, the two teams case is a simple case in point of the Gettier problem, which blew up the justified, true belief account of what knowledge is, in 1963. That is by no means a triviality, and BTW it was not my voice or my real or perceived infelicities of expression etc, I was citing remarks at IEP on Gettier’s key achievement. The point is, that one can be justified to believe what is actually true but fail to have knowledge. So, we need to find something else to fit the bill of requisites of moving reliably from justified true belief to knowledge. Warrant comes in first as a place holder then is filled in in detail through a theory as to what constitutes warrant. Your clip is the start-point, not the end point, as was my earlier clip from the Gifford Lectures; I did that in the main to show that the term warrant is not idiosyncratic, with intent to go fill in. I took time to later fill in and to excerpt IN THAT CONTEXT, where Plantinga went in seeking to fill in what warrant means. KF

    PS: For completeness, I further excerpt IEP on Gettier’s actual test case I:

    The case’s protagonist is Smith. He and Jones have applied for a particular job. But Smith has been told by the company president that Jones will win the job. Smith combines that testimony with his observational evidence of there being ten coins in Jones’s pocket. (He had counted them himself — an odd but imaginable circumstance.) And he proceeds to infer that whoever will get the job has ten coins in their pocket. (As the present article proceeds, we will refer to this belief several times more. For convenience, therefore, let us call it belief b.) Notice that Smith is not thereby guessing. On the contrary; his belief b enjoys a reasonable amount of justificatory support. There is the company president’s testimony; there is Smith’s observation of the coins in Jones’s pocket; and there is Smith’s proceeding to infer belief b carefully and sensibly from that other evidence. Belief b is thereby at least fairly well justified — supported by evidence which is good in a reasonably normal way. As it happens, too, belief b is true — although not in the way in which Smith was expecting it to be true. For it is Smith who will get the job, and Smith himself has ten coins in his pocket. These two facts combine to make his belief b true. Nevertheless, neither of those facts is something that, on its own, was known by Smith. Is his belief b therefore not knowledge? In other words, does Smith fail to know that the person who will get the job has ten coins in his pocket? Surely so (thought Gettier).

    That is Gettier’s Case I, as it was interpreted by him, and as it has subsequently been regarded by almost all other epistemologists. The immediately pertinent aspects of it are standardly claimed to be as follows. It contains a belief which is true and justified — but which is not knowledge. And if that is an accurate reading of the case, then JTB is false. Case I would show that it is possible for a belief to be true and justified without being knowledge. Case I would have established that the combination of truth, belief, and justification does not entail the presence of knowledge. In that sense, a belief’s being true and justified would not be sufficient for its being knowledge.

    But if JTB is false as it stands, with what should it be replaced?

  73. 73
    jerry says:

    I just read the Gettler paper. It’s gobbledygook.

    https://fitelson.org/proseminar/gettier.pdf

    The fact that he uses absurd examples means he didn’t have relevant ones. Why not pick an example from everyday life?

    The TV game example is another irrelevant example.

  74. 74
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, it is clear from the course of events since 1963 that Gettier’s thought exercises I and II made the point and re-opened a major issue; beyond, others have multiplied cases and it seems there have been precursors for a long time. As I noted, the feathers have not settled yet. In any case, it is reasonably clear why I use warrant, why this is not a triviality, a vague notion or gobbledygook, and why it is reasonable for Plantinga to have stated a bill of requisites for a fresh term, then set out to fill it. In my opinion, with significant success. As you will also see, there is a reason why I think a weak form sense of knowledge is relevant, and in the general context why the Reidian, common sense approach makes good sense in the face of limitations of our senses etc, starting with vision, our dominant sense. KF

  75. 75
    jerry says:

    More from the Plantinga article on warrant. I am going to use the words warrant and justification interchangeably till I see where one is preferred over the other.

    In the same way we may appraise the belief that all contemporary flora and fauna arose by way of random genetic mutation and natural selection from primitive forms of life, which in turn arose via similarly ateleological processes from inorganic material. And of course the less spectacular beliefs of everyday life are also subject to such evaluation and appraisal.

    in other words we use the concept of warrant and justification all the times in our lives and couldn’t get along without it. But rarely use these specific words. This begs the question that many or even most things/beliefs in our everyday life may not be warranted but it doesn’t affect our everyday existence. For example, I can believe the galaxy is full of alien civilizations and it wouldn’t affect one thing I did in the next 10 years or longer.

    We appraise a person’s beliefs, but also her skepticisms or (to use another Chisholmian term) her withholdings, her refrainings from belief. An unduly credulous person may believe what she ought not; an unduly skeptical (or cynical) person may fail to believe what she ought.

    A lot of people hold or withhold justified beliefs. Or all of us have some of each. So everyone can be challenged on their opinions for or against something. But again it may affect nothing in our daily lives.

    Further, we may hold a belief more or less strongly, more or less firmly; we appraise not only the belief itself, but also the degree to which it is accepted. If I believe that Homer was born before 800 B.C. and believe this with as much fervor as that New York City is larger than Cleveland, then (given what are in fact my epistemic circumstances) my degree of confidence in the former proposition is excessive and unwarranted.

    Important point is that some of our opinions are strongly held while some are weakly so. This is different from that there is strong justification or weak justification for holding an opinion which is next paragraph. Again may have little or no effect on everyday life.

    Finally, warrant comes in degrees. Some of my beliefs have more by way of that quantity for me than others. Thus my belief that I live in Indiana has more by way of warrant, for me, than my belief that Shakespeare wrote the plays commonly attributed to him; my belief that 2 + 1 = 3 has more warrant than my belief that the Axiom of Choice is equivalent to the Hausdorff Maximal Principle. (This is not to say, of course, that I am not equally rational and equally justified in accepting these beliefs to the degrees to which I do in fact accept them; for I believe the latter member of each pair less firmly than the former.) But then we can distinguish degrees of positive epistemic status, at least for a given person. Initially, then, and to a first approximation, warrant is a normative, possibly complex quantity that comes in degrees, enough of which is what distinguishes knowledge from mere true belief.

    still no understanding of the difference between knowledge and true belief. I know the sun will rise tomorrow morning and that’s knowledge as well as it rose this morning. But what is a true belief? My initial reading o Plantinga is that he does not define it clearly.

    Interesting paper so far but there’s a good reason few trust philosophy and philosophers to explain the real world clearly. The first three paragraphs have been enlightening.

  76. 76
    jerry says:

    it is reasonably clear why I use warrant, why this is not a triviality, a vague notion or gobbledygook,

    I didn’t say the use of the concept of warrant was gobbledygook. I said Gettler’s article was and gave the reasons. If it had some non trivial effect on life in this world what is it?

    Also if everyone does not understand how you are using a word, expression, abbreviation or acronym then it is vague and what follows is consequently vague. I certainly didn’t understand the meaning of warrant as defined in the Plantinga paper and so did another commenter. I’m sure we are not the only ones.

    I’m finding the Plantinga paper very informative in many ways but probably not in the way he intended for his audience. I find it insightful when used to fine tune our common sense. So far there is nothing I don’t recognize but now have a clearer frame for understanding and challenging others when they say their opinion is as good as yours. Most opinions are BS and warrant is a good way to break them down and expose this.

  77. 77
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry,

    there are two independent uses of the term, gobbledygook. Beyond, Gettier is in fact eminently comprehensible and sensible, though he seemingly uses trivial examples. They have the advantage of undeniable focus, so distractive tangents were averted.

    Imagine, the frustration of side-tracking tangents, if he had embarked on say addressing how selectively hyperskeptical historical scholarship turning on crooked yardsticks tracing to ideologies had seriously warped ability to provide objective reliability for what was taken as knowledge in, say, NT scholarship or economic scholarship or the attempt to scientifically portray the remote past of origins. Or even, how our vision system allows us to obtain a reasonable access to our world, despite limitations etc.

    Plantinga’s response recognised that a given key term had become too loaded to communicate effectively across what we used to call paradigms and he brought in a stand-in for that which fulfills a bill of requisites. Namely, “warrant.”

    That’s what his Gifford lecture excerpt from one of his books discusses.

    (Again, I used it for the purpose of showing that my usage was not idiosyncratic. I went on to dig up a further place in the series of books, where he lays out in summary resting on details of a multivolume series, how he has found a way to fill the bill of requisites. That summary gives important context and is itself only a summary. There is a major technical matter of core phil on the table and Oxford’s university press found the series worth publishing given importance, substance, context and author.)

    He proceeded to explore that over several years, at multivolume world class professional philosophy level. In which context, I put up a summary from the last work in the series, above, made in the context of what he termed the Freud-Marx complaint. A complaint that in both cases BTW, is self-referentially incoherent and ruinous to the credibility of reason: if early life psycho-social circumstances and stresses determines us on a path of empty rationalisation, or class circumstances driven by dialectic materialism etc, then that implicitly indicts the theorists too.

    Hence, the relevance of the crooked yardstick question.

    In that context, we have a definition by way of task assignment, that tells us what we will have to fix to get objective grounds for credible [even if provisional] truth and for prudent belief, thus knowledge.

    Our intellectual faculties relevant to knowledge need to be reliable [and/or corrected or suitably augmented . . . prescription glasses, telescopes, microscopes etc are good cases in point with highly suggestive history — the Galileo Debate], in appropriate macro and micro environments, exhibit signs of a reliably successful design aimed at obtaining the truth, need to be appropriately applied to produce a degree of support for the conclusion that rises above the gaps in an individual’s [or group’s] access to evidence and capability to think a matter through, etc.

    Which all makes good, suitably sobering sense.

    KF

    PS: We live in a Google world, with high quality dictionaries and encyclopedias a click or two away, as well as site search. Technical terms tracing to general history of ideas or wider debates can readily be further explored and the history of discussion here at UD. If such discussion is treated as TLDR, there will be gaps in following issues that should not be projected to the other. Especially when, on a specific case in use for a decade, just about every time I use an acronym that is essentially unique to me, FSCO/I, I have expanded and explained it. That habit should be a clue that for cause I believe certain terms are either established, accessible or already adequately discussed at responsible length. Prudence, Warrant and Right Reason are all cases in point that turned out to be far, far from vague, ill-defined buzzwords with incoherent or poorly worked through concepts or the like. The first and third, with translation, trace to classical times as standard vocabulary. The second is coming from the work of a major scholar I have repeatedly acknowledged debt to, and have discussed previously. I note this for record, there is no real point to having to repeatedly revisit much the same attempted dissection of claimed stylistic and substantial deficits, especially when you have repeatedly implied skimming rather than substantial engagement. I trust this is enough, given eg the issue VL raised early in the thread on comments 6 – 8.

  78. 78
    jerry says:

    Kf,

    Are you talking to yourself and no one else?

    to provide objective reliability

    Your previous comment seems to be doing just the opposite by saying that long dense cryptic discussions are the only way to communicate accurately when I personally find them uncommunicative. I have seen enough clear communication to know the difference.

    I will proceed with the analysis of the Plantinga article for my own benefit. At the moment I see little difference between the words “warrant” and “justification.” There are some very significant and useful ideas in the article. And I can see that very simple and straightforward sentences are all that are needed to communicate them.

    One of the interesting things is that it seems Plantinga invented the use of the meaning of “warrant” that you use so much.

  79. 79
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Let us observe regarding our visual system.

    This system is likely our main sense, providing us with information on our surroundings. Also, through culture, it allows us to read, a key means of acquiring information.

    Can it provide us with knowledge?

    Yes, we routinely recognise and learn about our world through sight, trusting vision to give us accurate information as we walk, watch, drive, read etc. Where we have vision defects, this becomes limited but we routinely correct through using glasses. On colour, we can discern apparently ~ 10 million distinct values in our colour vision gamut. Defects are recognised and may limit our colour vision. Supportive glasses seem to make a difference.

    So here we have a cognitive faculty, that though limited credibly yields reasonably accurate information about our surroundings. We routinely trust its deliverances, which on the whole are objective and allow us to warrant certain things as credibly true. In the case of reading, we come to directly know the text, images etc, and then may proceed to second order evaluation of the information which may in turn become knowledge. What we see on TV etc may, with help of hearing, be much the same.

    So, we are warranted to take our vision system as a valid case of a knowledge creating, warranting cognitive faculty.

    On examination, we see optical and neurological aspects.

    The eye is a full motion, pan tilt zoom camera with specialised cells as a sensor array sensitive to about an octave in the electromagnetic spectrum, a band that is photochemically active [note how photosynthesis uses red light], is above a thermal noisiness floor and below where seriously destructive actinic radiation begins. Not coincidentally, our O2-rich atmosphere filters off a good proportion of damaging UV. That seems to depend on terraforming by the biosphere across eons, especially photosynthesis.

    The neural network processes LMS cone data [and esp at low levels of light Rod data], apparently creating B/Y and R/G channels, i.e. four colour channels, and processes shape data. Facial recognition seems to have its own processing centre. The process uses neural networks, i.e. part of what we rely on is a computer architecture and linked built in signal processing. It is unknown how visual awareness arises as an aspect of subjective consciousness, but we do know that our vision system generates a 3-d picture with our embodied selves located in our visualised space.

    All of this, we intuitively trust and gives us a simple first paradigm of cognitive, knowledge producing faculties that reliably inform us of truth about our world and ourselves. This integrates with other senses in consciousness, involving embodiment. So strong is vision that a common saying is, seeing is believing.

    In that context, we can err, beyond defects of vision. We can have optical illusions, colour vision is prone to many challenges such as lighting conditions and surrounding colours distorting perceived colours etc. So, valid knowledge can come from processes and systems that are limited and error-prone, but which are trustworthy on the whole.

    We are drawing out a richer picture — telling word — of knowledge.

    Thus, we can see why warrant counts through reliable intuitive or reasoned grounds for taking information as credibly true and believing it. Where our means of acquiring warrant are trustworthy though perhaps limited and error prone. This immediately extends to how we reason itself.

    The significance of Reidian common good sense emerges, as allowing us to strike a responsible balance, trusting tested trustworthy means to knowledge on the whole while being open to correction in detail. Hyperskepticism is hereby exorcised, whether global or selective. Prudence and right reason take pride of place, with first duties of responsible reason starting with duty to truth.

    We have a reasonable basis for knowledge, thought, decision and action.

    KF

  80. 80
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, enough has been said and has emerged to show the true balance. There is responsible argument present from the OP on, and for example I just used just about the first thing you dismissed above as excess cryptic verbiage and the like as a key paradigm to clarify what knowledge and warrant are about, going on back to the value of Reidian common sense. Had you noted wider context, you would have seen that the visual system (and esp violet vs purple as an aspect) is allowing us to put flesh on the bones of why it is appropriate to take our self-aware, conscious sense of being embodied in a surrounding real external world seriously. I will make no attempt to get into a tiresome, personalities prone crocodile death roll on stylistics or the like [sadly, more prone to clouding than to resolving substantial issues], I just note that I will always seek to be as clear as I can while addressing a difficult matrix of complex and thorny issues prone to objection from multiple directions at the same time. For instance, on the strength of exchanges above, I will have to make time to address warrant, knowledge, logic and first duties of reason as a cluster, I suppose in part as due penance. I will never be able to satisfy everyone but I do believe there is something that needs to be contributed and in absence of others, here I stand, God help me. KF

  81. 81
    jerry says:

    I will have to make time to address warrant, knowledge, logic and first duties of reason as a cluster

    It sounds like you will prepare another dense indecipherable OP that no one will understand

  82. 82
    jerry says:

    Kf,

    I have rewritten you comment above on vision. I have taken out the word “warrant” and replaced it with “justification,” “assessment” and “reliable.”

    This system is likely our main sense, providing us with information on our surroundings. Also, through culture, it allows us to read, a key means of acquiring information.
    Can it provide us with knowledge?

    Yes, we routinely recognise and learn about our world through sight, trusting vision to give us accurate information as we walk, watch, drive, read etc. Where we have vision defects, this becomes limited but we routinely correct through using glasses. On colour, we can discern apparently ~ 10 million distinct values in our colour vision gamut. Defects are recognised and may limit our colour vision. Supportive glasses seem to make a difference.

    So here we have a cognitive faculty, that though limited credibly yields reasonably accurate information about our surroundings. We routinely trust its deliverances, which on the whole are objective and allow us to assess certain things as credibly true. In the case of reading, we come to directly know the text, images etc, and then may proceed to second order evaluation of the information which may in turn become knowledge. What we see on TV etc may, with help of hearing, be much the same.

    So, we are justified to take our vision system as a valid case of a knowledge creating, a reliable cognitive faculty.

    On examination, we see optical and neurological aspects.

    The eye is a full motion, pan tilt zoom camera with specialised cells as a sensor array sensitive to about an octave in the electromagnetic spectrum, a band that is photochemically active [note how photosynthesis uses red light], is above a thermal noisiness floor and below where seriously destructive actinic radiation begins. Not coincidentally, our O2-rich atmosphere filters off a good proportion of damaging UV. That seems to depend on terraforming by the biosphere across eons, especially photosynthesis.
    The neural network processes LMS cone data [and esp at low levels of light Rod data], apparently creating B/Y and R/G channels, i.e. four colour channels, and processes shape data. Facial recognition seems to have its own processing centre. The process uses neural networks, i.e. part of what we rely on is a computer architecture and linked built in signal processing. It is unknown how visual awareness arises as an aspect of subjective consciousness, but we do know that our vision system generates a 3-d picture with our embodied selves located in our visualised space.

    All of this, we intuitively trust and gives us a simple first paradigm of cognitive, knowledge producing faculties that reliably inform us of truth about our world and ourselves. This integrates with other senses in consciousness, involving embodiment. So strong is vision that a common saying is, seeing is believing.

    In that context, we can err, beyond defects of vision. We can have optical illusions, colour vision is prone to many challenges such as lighting conditions and surrounding colours distorting perceived colours etc. So, valid knowledge can come from processes and systems that are limited and error-prone, but which are trustworthy on the whole.

    We are drawing out a richer picture — telling word — of knowledge.

    Thus, we can see why assessment counts through reliable intuitive or reasoned grounds for taking information as credibly true and believing it. Where our means of acquiring assessment are trustworthy though perhaps limited and error prone. This immediately extends to how we reason itself.

    The significance of Reidian common good sense emerges, as allowing us to strike a responsible balance, trusting tested trustworthy means to knowledge on the whole while being open to correction in detail. Hyperskepticism is hereby exorcised, whether global or selective. Prudence and right reason take pride of place, with first duties of responsible reason starting with duty to truth.

    We have a reasonable basis for knowledge, thought, decision and action.

    So I found others meanings for the word “warrant” as you use it. This is good reason to avoid this word as the multiple meanings will confuse. This does not mean that the Plantinga article is not valuable. It has been an eye opener in pointing to simple ways to analyze and assess arguments. Simplicity communicates much better when it is accurate. And it can often be made accurate.

    By the way my wife and I have a very good friend who is legally blind but has a master’s degree. She can see but is best corrected to 20/800 and has to use large magnification to read. So we are aware of the limitations of sight to one’s understanding of the world.

  83. 83
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Just a marker for the moment, showing that Plantinga didn’t just pluck a word out of the dictionary at random (unlike what was reputed to be the case with the Dada movement):

    war·rant (wôr??nt, w?r?-)
    n.
    1. An order that serves as authorization, especially:
    a. Law A judicial writ authorizing the search or seizure of property, arrest of a person, or the execution of a legal judgment.
    b. A voucher authorizing payment or receipt of money.
    c. An option to buy stock at a specified price from an issuing company.
    2.
    a. Justification for an action or a belief; grounds: “The difficulty of predicting the future is no warrant to ignore it” (Brian Hayes).
    b. Something that provides assurance or confirmation; a guarantee or proof: “The kind of uncertainties and ambiguities … which may damage [his] essays … are often a warrant of authenticity in [his] fiction” (John Edward Hardy).
    3. Authorization or certification; sanction, as given by a superior.

    4.
    a. A warrant officer.
    b. A certificate of appointment given to a warrant officer.
    tr.v. war·rant·ed, war·rant·ing, war·rants
    1. To provide adequate grounds for; justify or require: What could he have done that would warrant such a punishment?
    2.
    a. To guarantee (a product).
    b. To guarantee (a purchaser) indemnification against damage or loss.
    3. Law To guarantee clear title to (real property).
    [Middle English warant, from Old North French, of Germanic origin; see wer- in Indo-European roots.]
    war?rant·a·bil?i·ty n.
    war?rant·a·ble adj.
    war?rant·a·bly adv.
    war?rant·less adj.
    American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

    Sooo . . . a glance at normal dictionary senses would suggest that we are looking at a sign of reliability or trustworthiness or even a near-synonym for justification. In short, a reader could see the basic point even if s/he is not catching the issues surrounding Gettier counter examples, internalism, objectivity, defeat-ability of claims etc. (Notice, here I actually shy away from the technically more correct but abstruse defeasibility.)

    Recall, the phrase being challenged: warranted, credibly true (so, reliable) belief, as a definition for weak form, common usage knowledge. Where too, grounds, basis and foundation all have to be fought for as foundationalism, so called is under heavy skeptical attack.

    Note further, that I have taken time to excerpt the more extended development by Plantinga and have gone on to address as a paradigm case, our visual system. Which actually starts with looking at how we perceive violets and purples.

    Food for thought for the moment.

    Later.

    KF

  84. 84
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: I caught a tail, You just reminded me of Ginger who is head of a dept here and has very special computing machinery to help her deal with a technical, heavy reading dept.

  85. 85
    jerry says:

    Gettier just died a month ago. He was 94.

  86. 86
    kairosfocus says:

    A salute is due to Gettier.

  87. 87
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry,

    justification, assessment and reliable all have multiple uses [see translations of Romans] and linked challenges. Such is first tied to an inherent aspect of language, ambiguity, which leads to context sensitive meaning. In particular, reliability to date is known to fail as an adequate criterion, and assessment though involved has to be successful, an issue for explanations and development rather than the central terms of a definition that reforms a 2400 year old classic result.

    The ideas history has used justified, true belief since Plato et al, and the Gettier counter examples rocked the professional philosophical world starting with 1963 and the resulting shaking has not settled down to date.

    It is in that context that Plantinga’s strategy — as noted already — was to introduce a fresh term into the technical discourse as first a place holder for a bill of requisites. Notice, his first volume published by Oxford was Warrant, the current debate. He then went on to Warrant and Proper Function. Those are two book length technical philosophical discussions that are not targetted at intro to phil textbooks much less the general public. He followed with vol 3, on Warranted Christian Belief, which applied the results to what is a hot button issue.

    (It bears noting that Plantinga’s career effort has turned the tide in Philosophy, so that professional philosophy is one of a very few domains in the academy where ethical theism in the Judaeo-Christian Tradition is sufficiently re-established as having gravitas that the sort of ingrained reflex hyperskeptical dismissiveness that has been common, is on the defensive. Philosophy, of course, in the long haul, is the very intellectual centre of the academy, senior to the Arts, Sciences, Mathematics etc. Let’s just say that there is a very good reason why Newton’s great work, in English translation, would be titled, Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, and why Adam Smith was addressing Moral Philosophy, and much more.)

    My context is explicitly philosophical, and warrant is a proper term for what I have addressed. Knowledge, in the weak form commonly used [cf. the Natural Sciences], is warranted, credibly true (so, reliable) belief. Strictly, I do not need to add the explanatory phrase, and it could be expanded as tested, reliable to date etc, but all of that can be drawn out. The term is connected to the past sixty years of ferment and echoes the contribution of two revolutionary figures. BTW, I found it sadly amusing that the usual ideologues at Wikipedia could not bring themselves to allow warrant and Plantinga to remain in the opening remarks or main body with any significance, but relegated Plantinga to a footnote on sources.

    That tells us a lot.

    KF

  88. 88
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: My longstanding comment here [revised from a course lecture note of 2003] may be useful. I excerpt:

    2. Epistemology

    It has been classically said that knowledge is “justified, true belief” — as the Oxford English Dictionary confirms. This leads to key questions: Can we know? Can beliefs be justified? Can we be confident that we know?

    This issue is subtler than one might think. For, over the past several decades, so-called Gettier counter-examples have been identified: cases [sometimes, somewhat contrived] in which one is subjectively justified in holding a belief that happens to be true, but in fact objectively one is not warranted to claim the belief as knowledge. An example discussed by Moreland and Craig in their Philosphical Foundations for a Christian Worldview [Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2003], p. 75, is that of a man believing he is watching a live championship match, and concluding that a certain team has won. But, in fact this is the second time that the same two teams have met, and due to technical difficulties, he is in fact seeing a rerun of the previous match that just happens to have the same outcome. Now, he is [subjectively] justified and believes what just objectively happens to be true, but it obviously hardly counts as a case of knowledge. To resolve this, Plantinga has introduced a slightly different terminology [and a massive, 3-volume technical discussion to back it up!] for an objective justification, i.e. warrant.

    Warrant of course, comes in degrees, and is in at least some cases defeatable but credible at whatever level is appropriate. This is consistent with the implication of the above considerations on logic, explanation and proof, i.e. that there are at least some important cases where even confidently held knowledge is not absolutely certain. Indeed, that is also a longstanding conclusion of Simon Greenleaf, a father of the theory of evidence, as stated in his famous 1874 work, Testimony of the Evangelists — of course, using less technical language:

    In the ordinary affairs of life we do not require nor expect demonstrative evidence, because it is inconsistent with the nature of matters of fact, and to insist on its production would be unreasonable and absurd . . . .

    In proceeding to weigh the evidence of any proposition of fact, the previous question to be determined is, when may it be said to be proved? The answer to this question is furnished by another rule of municipal law, which may be thus stated:

    A proposition of fact is proved, when its truth is established by competent and satisfactory evidence.

    By competent evidence, is meant such as the nature of the thing to be proved requires; and by satisfactory evidence, is meant that amount of proof, which ordinarily satisfies an unprejudiced mind, beyond any reasonable doubt . . . . If, therefore, the subject is a problem in mathematics, its truth is to be shown by the certainty of demonstrative evidence. But if it is a question of fact in human affairs, nothing more than moral evidence can be required, for this is the best evidence which, from the nature of the case, is attainable. [Testimony, Sections 26, 27, emphases added.]

    See how Greenleaf has ably anticipated the whole matter and has given us an apt summary of what warrant does . . . proof, also being not particularly the right term. Though, it is commonplace.

  89. 89
    jerry says:

    Kf,

    I am going to disagree with you. I see no value in the word “warrant” in the discussion of belief. By saying that all words have multiple meanings and then substituting for well understood words an unfamiliar word with multiple meanings seems senseless.

    Then using extremely highly contrived situations that are so rare as not to have ever happened as justification for its use reinforces my point. You seem to have a fondness for Plantinga as you have used his ideas several times. However, after trying to digest his Gifford lecture which can best described as obtuse, I don’t have this fondness no matter how many books he wrote.

    The lecture starts out well and was very insightful but then quickly veers into all sorts of incoherence. I’m sure it’s coherent to Plantinga and a few others but I bet most people with masters degrees wouldn’t understand it. After the first few paragraphs I don’t have a clue what he is trying to say.

    I argue for simplicity and I believe all relevant arguments can be made coherent and simple if understood correctly. Yesterday while traveling the roads of New Hampshire, my wife and I were listening to Matt Ridley’s book on innovation. You like to cite the printing press as something that changed the world. Well it didn’t and was strictly a tool of the theocracy for quite awhile. That is till Luther then used it to provide simple understandable texts for the average German. It was simplicity of communication that made the printing press revolutionary.

    I believe that many of the long threads that have happened over the last six months are due to confusion and Ill will. The ill will should have been short circuited with clear but simple illustrations of the ill will. In other words confusion allows the ill will to survive.

    The best example of this is the thread on natural law.

  90. 90
    jerry says:

    As far as the term “knowledge” and the expression/term “justified true belief” (JTB) is concerned i am one of those people with a masters degree (actually two if I pressed it) who had never heard of the discussion but after seeing it for the first time believe it is trivial.

    Not the basis for belief, both true and false belief, which I view as essential for discussion but any argument over JTB. I hope this doesn’t generate a long involved OP with many philosophical references, contrived examples and intricate diagrams to prove me wrong.

    I believe discussions of it should remain as I said above simple.

  91. 91
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, the record is there for those who wish to see. I have adequate warrant and I will continue to use this term, which is not unduly confusing or meaningless. KF

  92. 92

    The problem of arbitrary hyperskepticism is based on rejection of subjectivity.

    First the materialists throw out subjectivity. Because materialism only validates objectivity and fact.

    Then they get emotional problems, for having no room for subjectivity. So then they simulate a kind of subjectivity, where they are free to accept a fact or not, arbitrary hyperskepticism.

    Facts are forced by evidence, there is basically no freedom in the logic of fact. A fact is obtained by evidence of a creation, forcing to produce a 1 to 1 corresponding model of it, in the mind.

    Opinions on the other hand, are formed by spontaneous expression of emotion with free will, opinions are freely chosen.

    So the materialist inserts the freedom of opinion, into the logic of fact, in order to get some emotional relief.

    And the correct response to that is to separate matters of opinion from matters of fact, validating each in their own right, with the two fundamental categories of creator (subjective) and creation (objective). The creationist conceptual scheme.

    The creationist conceptual scheme can be taught in high school, to great benefit, because it is already an established education goal to teach the difference between fact and opinion. And only creationism explains that difference.

  93. 93
    jerry says:

    I will continue to use this term, which is not unduly confusing or meaningless.

    I will continue to point out its use and similar approaches leads to confusion and thus to a lack of understanding. I continue to thank you for lots of good information. I’m glad that you referenced the Plantinga lecture. It solidified my understanding of belief which probably still has a long way to go and at the same time pointed out the futility of using the word “warrant.”

    Seems ironic!

    So the materialist inserts the freedom of opinion, into the logic of fact, in order to get some emotional relief.

    I like that except for the word “materialist.” I like this better.

    So the skeptic inserts the freedom of opinion, into the logic of fact, in order to get some emotional relief.

    It’s not just materialists who are prone to false beliefs and bad thinking but often the very religious. But also especially the very educated. Hans Rosling pointed out the better educated one was the more likely one was wrong on the state of the world.

    The invalidity of using opinions as equivalent to facts is one of the many seeds of confusion that persists in our current world. It’s one of the main drivers of confusion of the 1000 + comments on many threads.

  94. 94
    jerry says:

    Here’s my point:

    I believe I have adequate warrant that use of the term “warrant” creates confusion.

    But better

    I believe I have adequate justification that use of the term “warrant” creates confusion.

    But it’s by far not the only thing leading to confusion. It’s actually quite trivial.

    Opinion masquerading as fact is a much greater driver of confusion. False facts are even more deleterious. Our world is divided primarily by fake news which lead to false beliefs or opinions that have no basis in reality.

    I live on a cul de sac of 18 houses of which I bet the annual income for all is fairly high. Everyone is to a person very nice and well educated. I bet more than half of them voted Democratic based on false opinions they have about the world.

  95. 95
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, as noted: the record is there for those who wish to see. I have adequate warrant and I will continue to use this term, which is not unduly confusing or meaningless. KF

  96. 96
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus:

    Which definition of warrant are you using?

    https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/warrant

  97. 97
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, I am using Plantinga, i/l/o context as discussed with particular recognition of the contribution of the late Mr Gettier. I noted from AmHD above, that his choice was not like Dada, by chance [reputedly], as highlighted there are usages that send some of the message. Obviously, the full force is developed at length. This is also part of why I used the case of colour vision, starting with violet vs purple. KF

  98. 98
    jerry says:

    Kf,

    Here is a video that discusses the problems of today’s world. One of the best I’ve seen

    Roots of the ‘Civilizational Crisis’ Facing the West—Dr Stephen Blackwood | American Thought Leaders

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTDp0MLBGVM

    He’s got me interested in Boethius who I had never heard of before. One of the comments

    The Consolation of Philosophy was written in AD 523 during a one-year imprisonment Boethius served while awaiting trial—and eventual execution–for the alleged crime of treason under the Ostrogothic King Theodoric the Great. Boethius was at the very heights of power in Rome, holding the prestigious office of magister officiorum, and was brought down by treachery. This experience inspired the text, which reflects on how evil can exist in a world governed by God (the problem of theodicy), and how happiness is still attainable amidst fickle fortune, while also considering the nature of happiness and God. It was described in 1891 as “by far the most interesting example of prison literature the world has ever seen.” Wikipedia Funny how much this sound like what was done to our President Trump. Treachery brought him down too.

  99. 99
    Querius says:

    This is a nice excerpt from the Wall Street Journal a couple of days ago:

    Over a century ago, G.K. Chesterton was reportedly asked by a British journalist what is wrong with the world today. His reply? “I am.” I can change nothing in this world except myself, and that is plenty.

    -Q

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