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KH vs Sandy: “What you see as “self evident first principles”, others may not see it that way”

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In the Why thread, commenter KH has challenged:

KH, 157:>>What you see as “self evident first principles”, others may not see it that way. And, with respect, the tone in which you berate them I’d not going to do anything to convince them that you are right.>>

Now, the issue is of course both more complex than that and more simple than that.

On tone, it is easy to pose as on one side of an issue as a moderate then spend one’s rhetorical effort undermining that side. Given the history of abuse, targetting and trollery that regularly invades UD, that unfortunately has to be reckoned with; and in a wider context of addressing very serious and destructive agendas haunting our civilisation. But of course “tone” is always a challenge and one we must all ponder; in pondering such, we must not allow that to distract us from addressing the threat we face. You may not like how I cry out at the top of my voice while the play is in progress in a crowded theatre,  fire and arsonists . . . but if there are indeed arsonists setting fires then that needs to be tackled as issue no 1.

I don’t know if it was this at 151 that drew KH’s remarks on tone:

>> it is not formal definitions, it is acknowledging self evident first principles that we

A summary of why we end up with foundations for our worldviews, whether or not we would phrase the matter that way}
A summary of why we end up with foundations for our worldviews, whether or not we would phrase the matter that way}

are concerned with, given that there has been a challenge all along that on tracing back is now at worldview root level. Remember even the concept that when A is accepted, it raises the issue why leading to B, C etc in a chain of warrant came in for challenge. The conclusion is that we have a major breakdown of basics of logic, reasoning, warrant, evidence and coherence here to address. It did not have to come to this, if there were not patent intransigence all along the line. But as of now, the conclusion I am reaching is that there is a widespread failure at basic rationality, to the point that it is a further factor adding to my increasingly pessimistic view of the prospects of our civilisation. This sort of thing is how classical civilisation broke down — I even note that in my son’s community college course, he is now doing “Communication Studies,” not general studies with a focus on solid reasoning — which I taught years ago. And yes, I take rationality that seriously: civilisation- foundational. But then I am a Christian intellectual fully cognizant of Him who is Communicative Rationality Himself and Wisdom Himself. Yes, part of this turning from root rationality is a reflection and consequence of the overgrown teen ager rebellion directed at God.>>

Or perhaps this at 148 directed to C, who had spoken of a “debate” though I had already pointed out the problem of debate i/l/o Jefferson’s summary: that wicked art that makes the worse appear the better case, being aided therein by rhetoric . . . the art of persuasion as opposed to proof:

>>You would love this to be a debate, wouldn’t you; something decided on rhetorical manipulation.

Ain’t gonna be so.

The only reliable basis for views, conclusions and systems of thought is fact and logic relative to those facts.

It is precisely because in thread after thread something was wrong that it was chased back to worldview roots and chains of warrant. Lo and behold, it came out that the problem starts with the first principles of right reason.

The bottomline here is that if you are unwilling to acknowledge the issue of distinct identity and its direct corollaries, LOI, LNC and LEM, there is no basis for reasoned discussion informed by fact and logic towards a sound or at least empirically reliable and coherent solution.

And if there is a whole side that is resisting such self evident first principles, we need to generally recognise that.

For it means that side, by directly resisting, or enabling or studiously refusing to correct the blunders, is abandoning reason.

Including the reason involved in using distinct letters and keys to type messages in this thread, which is a case of the world partition and consequent LOI, LNC, LEM at work.

Until your ilk accepts that here is a basis for reasoning, there is no argument to be had, just manipulation and selective hyperskepticism backed up by nasty power games to take institutional science and science education captive to a priori evolutionary materialist scientism as a lab coat clad ideology.

FYI, science pivots on inductive reasoning, especially abduction, and requires deductive reasoning especially in the mathematical aspects. Sound science education should acknowledge this.

On that, the evidence is actually pretty solid, that we have natural and artificial causes, which often may be reliably distinguished on tested signs such as functionally specific complex organisation and associated information. But so long as dialectic is being displaced by rhetoric and agit prop, no progress will be feasible.

So, what is left to us is to state our position and put it up.

Soon enough, there will be summaries for the interested person, but no way will there be an open season for the usual points scoring selective hyperskepticism, institutional imposition and the like.

Then, we can discuss, on the merits.

With the logic up-front, centre.>>

But I believe both of these are fair comment in context of what has been going on.

For a very long time now.

I would therefore quietly suggest that KH consider that the smell of smoke and the group clustering around that bright orange glow off in the corner are in fact a case in point of civilisational arsonists at work. Though of course, perhaps KH believes the real issue is my tone rather than the arsonists at work and the fire that is being set.

Having noted that in hopes of rebalancing tone and priorities, here is my response to KH on substance, in light of a fictional twelve year old girl, Sandy sitting with the two of us in a conversation:

KF, 159: >> . . . self-evident first principles are just that. Once one is in a position to understand — for most relevant things that is the 12 y o intelligent child — then one readily sees that something T is so, and is necessarily so on pain of clinging to absurdities on attempted denial.

Take, yardstick SET no 1, Josiah Royce’s Error exists, E.

A 12 yo will be instantly familiar with red X’s on sums and grades in school. So, s/he will understand the truth and will be familiar with it. No sane person will doubt its truth, it is at least morally certain, so beyond reasonable doubt.

Now sit such a child down and introduce the denial ~E. In effect, it is an error to claim error exists. Immediately it will be obvious that ~E is an error, so E is undeniably, self-evidently so.

I would point out that this shows that truth exists by direct example of being true, it shows that truth can be warranted as so, i.e. knowledge exists, and that our experience can often show us what is true. However, we also make errors, and should have the humility to use certain points of knowledge of foundational character, as plumb-lines and yardsticks to test other claimed truths, in order to think soundly and soberly. Reckoning that we are finite, fallible, morally struggling — I would actually introduce the concept, fallen — and too often ill-willed and stubborn.

Do you think such a child would be on the way to becoming a willfully blind, hate-driven potentially violent terrorist or the like? {I add, I here allude to the sort of talking point that says or implies things like: evolutionary materialist scientism flies men to the moon, religion flies planes full of hostages into buildings, as though that captures the essence of ethical issues on worldviews.}

I suggest, just the opposite.

Likewise, I would set a bright red ball on a table in front of the child, say Sandy.

Tag it A.

Explain that the world can be seen as partitioned i/l/o the distinct identity, A:

W = {A|~A}

A, patently is itself, sitting there on the table, and cannot be at the same time in the same sense ~A. And anything x in the world will be A or else ~A, not both and not neither. Where the ball is just a handy example.


You may want to say, these are the key first principles of right reason pioneered by Aristotle 2300+ years past:


I: A thing A is itself [(A => A) = 1, or A = A], LOI

II: no thing x in W can be both A and ~A, (A AND ~A) = 0, LNC

III: Any x in W will be A or else ~A, not both or neither, (A X-OR ~A) = 1. LEM.

Point out that just to use letters and words or computer keys or have a distinct tune etc to think, communicate and operate in community, one necessarily relies on these things. Paul of Tarsus pointed that out 2,000 years ago in 1 Cor 14.

Point out how just trying to deny such or cast doubt on it becomes futile as it must rely on what it disputes, just to communicate.

I am highly confident Sandy will instantly realise the foundational, self-evident nature of such principles.

Einstein’s Office Chalkboard as he left it

And given the abuse of Q-mech etc to try to undermine respect for such laws, I would call up Einstein’s office chalk board as he left it and point out how, in order to do Q-mech, physicists and chemists have to rely on the laws just to reason and do the mathematics, or to make and write down observations or to see if they support or overturn predictions of various theories.

I would introduce the idea of sawing off the branch on which we all are sitting as a profoundly antisocial act.

Indeed, I would bring it up as a case of behaviour that profits by parasiting off the fact that most people most of the time do not act like that, and ask what would happen to societies in which such principles and their implications are routinely disregarded.


Then, I would introduce the Categorical Imperative, emphasising the forms that others should be treated as ends in themselves and the test on what happens if the behaviour spreads. I would connect the Golden Rule. I would then point out moral self evident truths as a key category, and link the foundations of modern liberty and democracy.

Do you think Sandy would be inclined to imagine that self evidence is unimportant or a mere matter of opinion?

I think she would know very differently, and would understand how people can be indoctrinated into clinging to politically correct absurdities, to the detriment of society and maybe their own souls.

And, I am sure Sandy would agree with BA’s maxim as stated just now:

If a man tells you he cannot know the truth, you can be sure he will probably act as if he has no obligation to tell the truth.

As the Greeks used to say — now, I cite a favourite saying of my Mom — a word to the wise is sufficient.>>

I trust that this makes the point clearly enough and in a tone that is not too outre. I think we have a fire, and some arsonists to deal with in a crowded theatre. What about you, why? END

Wow how stupid can some people get. It's clear the avarage materialist don't know the meaning of word truth and the word fact. Guess I should not be surprised after all their monkey brains evolved for fitness and Darwin did say those brains carry no convictions. Andre
Hint 2: Why is it that
a: invidious comparison of the peaceful witness of early Christians sealed with their blood because of judicial murder or riotous lynching with 9-11 terrorist hostage takers and murderers was tagged by KH "The comparison, although crass and emotional, I think is a valid one. The only difference is perspective . . . " whilst b: concerns on longstanding and sometimes trollish selective hyperskepticism and intransigence in the face of self-evident truth (as the OP notes) are met with "the tone in which you berate them I’d not going to do anything to convince them that you are right"?
Why is there such "friendly fire" whilst there is oh we must be willing to effectively equate peaceful martyrdom and murderous suicide terrorism? (Given the glaring disproportion in response, is this Stockholm Syndrome or the like? Or, just the notorious tactic of the "I'm on your side but endorse the other side's agenda" enemy- in- the- gates trollish tactic?) I think this calls for some explanation. KF kairosfocus
kf, indeed. Philosophy of Science. "He [Karl Popper] is generally regarded as one of the greatest philosophers of science of the 20th century." - Wikipedia Popperian, not so much. Mung
Hint: What is the significance of chains of warrant for the logical and empirical structure of scientific theories? KF kairosfocus
Mung, Baa, and Baa again. Yup, serendipity can lead to knowledge. Some truths are plain and simple but function as gateways. Lock them and the more "interesting" truths are forever barred. KF kairosfocus
Seversky, Kindly examine the OP. Go back to red X's on sums in elementary school and build up from there as is discussed with aid of the fictional Sandy. (I ducked Sophie . . . ) As to Royce, he was seeking a common point of agreement across the board and hit on it there so it is pretty clear he used the man in the Clapham bus stop sense. That errors exist can then be reckoned as, the set that would collect such is inherently non empty. As to God, he would obviously know propositions that are false and those that beyond falsity err in seeking truth. The many side tracks inadvertently testify to the main issue. KF kairosfocus
I sheep + I sheep = II sheep Mung
kairosfocus @ 8
Popperian, predictable side tracking off on tangents leading to favourite talking points. If you agreed that error exists was true and even self evidently so, a simple yes would have been readily forthcoming. Likewise if you were willing to acknowledge distinkt identity. For the former, I say ~E means it is an error to hold that error exists, as in E is undeniably true.
What do you mean by error? More to the point, what did Royce mean by error? If the existence of error is a fundamental property of existence, does that mean your God is capable of error? Seversky
Popperian, predictable side tracking off on tangents leading to favourite talking points. If you agreed that error exists was true and even self evidently so, a simple yes would have been readily forthcoming. Likewise if you were willing to acknowledge distinkt identity. For the former, I say ~E means it is an error to hold that error exists, as in E is undeniably true. For the second,kpj6rfystyufrs is as good as any other meaningless string in reply, i.e. language and communication are undermined. The import, being forced to cling to absurdity, is patent. KF PS: Let's be direct. Go to a greengrocers or whatever. put three apples in a bag, then two in your hand. Place the contents of your hand in the bag. Do you know that there will be five and only five apples in the bag? Do the thought exercise in your head with imaginary peaches and bag. If you were to repeat on the ground with Kiwi fruit, would you know the result ahead of time, and would 2 + 3 = 5 be true, knowable and even self-evident? kairosfocus
KF, I've already addressed key parts of your OP. You're conflating the idea that some explanations are fundamental in that they play a hard to vary, important role in nearly all of our best, current explanations, with the epistemological view of justificationism. Specifically, your diagram assumes the latter, has no provisions for the former and "The faith point" represents the arbitrary suspension of criticism. As for error, the idea that if we were just pure enough, or look in the right place (consulted the right sources) we could be error free is not the same as all ideas start out as guesses. So, No, I would not say that error exists in the form you seem to be suggesting, is manifest. Popperian
Popperian, start with the specific cases in the OP. Is it manifest to one and all that beyond reasonable doubt error exists? That, attempting to deny such, only manages to confirm it? Can you post an objecting textual comment here without using the distinct identities of letters and keys on a keyboard, etc? KF kairosfocus
Popperian: So, how does one find knowledge? By looking for it and not looking for it. Popperian: Is the truth manifest? Yes and No. Mung
So, how does one find knowledge? Is the truth manifest? Popperian
Popperian: Truth is that which says of what is, that it is; and of what is not, that it is not. Knowledge is warranted, credibly true belief. That is, credible truth that for reasonable cause is accepted as such. In the case of self-evident truth, one who understands will recognise the truth, and will further recognise that the matter is so on pain of absurdity. As was just shown regarding error exists and that once distinct identity exists, LOI, LNC and LEM apply. Which you had to use just to comment. You will also note that I used warrant, to address the Gettier counter example problem. As has been pointed out to you repeatedly, this highlights that the warrant -- grounds that show cause to acknowledge a claim to be credibly true -- is not merely subjective or subjectivist, but objective. It would be appreciated if in future you would acknowledge the difference. Where, objectivity means, here per Collins Dict:
objective (?b?d??kt?v) adj 1. (Philosophy) existing independently of perception or an individual's conceptions: are there objective moral values?.
Or, from the same Wikipedia:
Objectivity is a central philosophical concept, related to reality and truth, which has been variously defined by sources. Generally, objectivity means the state or quality of being true even outside of a subject's individual biases, interpretations, feelings, and imaginings. A proposition is generally considered objectively true (to have objective truth) when its truth conditions are met and are "bias-free"; that is, existing without biases caused by, feelings, ideas, etc. of a sentient subject. A second, broader meaning of the term refers to the ability in any context to judge fairly, without bias or external influence; this second meaning of objectivity is sometimes used synonymously with neutrality.
IEP adds:
The terms “objectivity” and “subjectivity,” in their modern usage, generally relate to a perceiving subject (normally a person) and a perceived or unperceived object. The object is something that presumably exists independent of the subject’s perception of it. In other words, the object would be there, as it is, even if no subject perceived it. Hence, objectivity is typically associated with ideas such as reality, truth and reliability. The perceiving subject can either perceive accurately or seem to perceive features of the object that are not in the object. For example, a perceiving subject suffering from jaundice could seem to perceive an object as yellow when the object is not actually yellow. Hence, the term “subjective” typically indicates the possibility of error. The potential for discrepancies between features of the subject’s perceptual impressions and the real qualities of the perceived object generates philosophical questions.
Plumbline, self-evident truths such as that error exists, that fistinct identity and its corollary LOI, LNC and LEM stand, are capital examples of certain and undeniable truth that is objectively warranted to absolute certainty. On the strength of such, the notion that we are locked in to our interior life and face an ugly gulch to things in themselves, is readily found to be self-refuting by being an exceedingly stringent claimed knowledge about the outside world, made while trying to deny such a possibility. In short, acknowledging self evident truths is a powerful, liberating and at the same time humbling us as error exists is a first SET. KF kairosfocus
If a man tells you he cannot know the truth, you can be sure he will probably act as if he has no obligation to tell the truth.
I'm not suggesting that reason or knowledge do not exist. I'm suggesting you're confused about what truth and knowledge is and how it grows. That is, I'm presenting criticism of your explanation for the growth of knowledge, or the idea that it doesn't really grow at all. From the Wikipedia entry on Critical Rationalism...
William Warren Bartley compared critical rationalism to the very general philosophical approach to knowledge which he called "justificationism". Most justificationists do not know that they are justificationists. Justificationism is what Popper called a "subjectivist" view of truth, in which the question of whether some statement is true, is confused with the question of whether it can be justified (established, proven, verified, warranted, made well-founded, made reliable, grounded, supported, legitimated, based on evidence) in some way. According to Bartley, some justificationists are positive about this mistake. They are naïve rationalists, and thinking that their knowledge can indeed be founded, in principle, it may be deemed certain to some degree, and rational. Other justificationists are negative about these mistakes. They are epistemological relativists, and think (rightly, according to the critical rationalist) that you cannot find knowledge, that there is no source of epistemological absolutism. But they conclude (wrongly, according to the critical rationalist) that there is therefore no rationality, and no objective distinction to be made between the true and the false. By dissolving justificationism itself, the critical rationalist regards knowledge and rationality, reason and science, as neither foundational nor infallible, but nevertheless does not think we must therefore all be relativists. Knowledge and truth still exist, just not in the way we thought.
A parable of KH, Sandy and KF sitting at a table with a bright red ball on it. kairosfocus

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