• Theologian
    160
    Incidentally, this is completely trivial and by the way. But I notice you say that:

    The foundations of mathematics are examined in metamathematics and the foundations of physics by metaphysics.Dfpolis

    I'm not sure how much formal philosophical education you've had (I'm just a beginner myself), but the term "metaphysics" is just a historical accident. It is not "meta" in the way that modern academics generally use the term. I'm not sure if you're aware of that or not. Forgive me if I'm just belaboring the obvious.

    I think I should log off for a bit. Otherwise I'm going to spend the entire day on this forum, and I do actually have other things I should be doing! :razz:

    Not to worry: I will be back. And probably sooner than I should! :wink:
  • god must be atheist
    2.2k
    Premise 6: A finite being cannot explain its own existence.
    — Dfpolis

    This is where you should have started and ended. Positing an unexplained God as an explanation of what cannot be explained is conjuring.
    Fooloso4

    ...what cannot be explained by itself. It can be explained, by another... be it another finite being or be it an infinite being. But either way, the assumption that something necessarily can explain a finite being IS, like you said, not a necessary consequence. And the existence of that something is the second assumption that is wrong, as you say conjuring, because its existence is not necessary, either.

    So Dfpolis piled one not necessarily following consequence on top of another not necessary consequence, and insisted that they are both necessary.
  • Dfpolis
    1k
    First, "not being able to do things that are logically impossible" would be a limitation. So if a god can't do things that are logically impossible, then the god isn't infinite, either.Terrapin Station

    I defined "infinite being" as being able to do any possible acts. If you want to see being unable to instantiate contradictions, be my guest. Such labels do not change the content.

    If, instead, we say, "'infinite ability' refers to 'no limitation of ability within the scope of abilities that are possible'," then we invite discussion as to why we should consider logical-but-not-physical possibilities as within the scope of abilities that are possible, because we seem to be conflating what "ability" refers to.Terrapin Station

    This is because logical possibility is based on the nature of being, not on contingent restrictions as physical possibility is. For example, the reason for the logical principle of noncontradiction is that it is impossible to instantiate a contradiction in reality. On the other hand, the laws of nature are contingent and need to be discovered empirically.
  • fresco
    578

    'Rationality' is merely a mental exercise with a particular 'coherence' claim, 'logic' being merely one such exercise. And you appear to be using 'truth' in an absolutist sense which for me begs the question of dubious status of any 'absolute' including 'God'.

    IMO, debates about 'existence of God' are futile. As an atheist, the 'God concept' has no utility for me, whereas for believers it does. As a pragmatist any concept stands or falls on the basis of its utility. Hence I'm quite happy with 'God's existence' for believers provided that belief doesn't impinge on my well being. Atheists who engage in debate on the basis of 'evidence' or 'logic' are wasting their time since 'evidence' lies in the eye of the beholder, and 'logic' has limited applicability even in physics.
  • Devans99
    2.7k
    Assuming there is one, if it is timelessly, it is necessarily. This necessity is either intrinsic (in which case it is self-explaining), or it is derived (in which case it is explained by another). In either case, it has an explanation.Dfpolis

    Timeless things should be able to exist without an explanation (as a brute fact). I believe the first cause is of this nature. Asking for an explanation is like asking what engine size an elephant has; the first cause simply does not have a 'why' property.

    I made no claim that God is "in" (limited to) the cosmos.Dfpolis

    So there must be a wider (timeless) container that contains God and the cosmos. The wider container cannot just be 'nothingness' - nothing can exist in nothing - no dimensions. It must be something, and if it is something, then it is finite (infinity has the property ∞+1=∞ which implies it can be changed without being changed which is a straight contradiction).

    But your definition of infinite seems to be omnipotence which I think is defined as ability to achieve anything possible. God must clearly be benevolent, so how do you account for the problem of evil? Having a deist view of God myself, the problem of evil is simply not relevant; the universe is a good as God could make it which is not perfect. It seems obvious to me that a first cause must exist. Omnipotence complicates logical / scientific justifications unnecessarily.
  • Dfpolis
    1k
    Therefore, to prove the theorem, we would need access to the axiomatic construction logic of the real, physical world, also called, the theory of everything (ToE)alcontali

    I think you're considering the wrong realm of discourse. As metamathematical proofs do not belong to mathematics, so metaphysical proofs do not belong to physics. So progress (or lack of progress) toward a physical ToE is entirely irrelevant.

    I think that Godel's work has little to say about a ToE, because the method of physics is not the method of mathematics. Physics is not built on a closed axiomatic foundation, but an open experiential foundation. That does not make a ToE possible, but it does make the analogy with mathematics highly questionable.

    This implies that it is not possible to prove anything at all about the real world. It is not possible to prove that anything exists, and science does not prove anything about the real world.alcontali

    Again, you are confusing methodologies. Natural science uses the hypothetico-deductive method, while metaphysical proofs often use strict deduction. We can know with certitude that finite beings exist, that there is change and other facts which provide an adequate foundation for sound metaphysical conclusions.

    Since you cannot prove anything about the real, physical world, you cannot prove anything about its creation.alcontali

    If by this, you mean its historical origin, this is a standard Aristotelian-Thomistic position. Nothing in my OP depends on the detailed history of the cosmos, and nothing in it draws any conclusions about its historical origin. So, while I disagree with your premise, I agree with your conclusion.

    This does not mean that God exists or does not exists. It only means that our knowledge methods fail to reach the answer to this question.alcontali

    "Not proven." You've done a lot of hand waving, but provided little evidence-based argument. In fact, your entire line of thought seems self-contradictory. On the one hand, you claim we can prove nothing about reality, and, on the other hand, you seem to claim to have proven that we can prove nothing about reality -- which is proving something about reality.

    For example, access to existing knowledge is insufficient for the purpose of discovering new knowledge.alcontali

    This shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of knowledge as awareness of present intelligibility. Knowledge is new if previously unactualized intelligibility is actualized by awareness. Yes, what is new may have been implicit in existing knowledge, but that only means that it was intelligible, not that it was actually known.

    Otherwise, our existing knowledge would allow us to enumerate all possible knowledge theorems, and use that to discover new knowledge.alcontali

    This is a complete non sequitur. Just because what we already know can be the basis of some new knowledge, does not mean that it can be the basis for all possible knowledge. New knowledge can come both from reflection on what we already know and from new types of experience, e.g. the kinds of observations and experiments that have informed science since antiquity.

    That is exactly, however, what Gödel's incompleteness theorems disallow.alcontali

    Let's consider the second incompleteness theorem, which rules out self-proofs of consistency. If we have a set of axioms that are not merely posited, but properly abstracted from reality, we do not need to prove that they are consistent, because no contradstictions can be instantiated in reality. That means that simultaneously instantiated axioms have to be mutually consistent. It is only if one restricts the knowledge base to an abstract system that there is a problem. Opening ourselves to reality can often resolve such problems.

    Further, with respect to the first incompleteness theorem, while our axiom set may not allow us to prove that theorem is true, if it is true, it may be instantiated and if it is, we may be able to see and abstract it as new knowledge.

    I suggest you read Roger Penrose, The Emperor's Mew Mind, in which he shows that human minds are able to solve uncomputable problems.
  • Dfpolis
    1k
    Do *I* have an explanation, and if so, what is it? You seem to be saying that every being has a purpose.Pattern-chaser

    I'm talking about efficient causality or actualization, not final causality or purpose (we can discuss that later). Since you came to be, you need to have been actualized by something already operational. Since you continue to have your potential for further existence actualized, you need an operational on-going source of actualization.
  • Dfpolis
    1k
    Positing an unexplained God as an explanation of what cannot be explained is conjuring.Fooloso4

    I have not said that God is unexplained, but self-explaining.
  • god must be atheist
    2.2k
    I have not said that God is unexplained, but self-explaining.Dfpolis

    Still. Where does god enter the picture? Just because something is not explained, (the finite to his self) AND assuming an explanation is possible, it does not necessarily follow that there is someone or something that can and will explain it.

    THAT is the conjuring in your failed proof.
  • god must be atheist
    2.2k
    In fact, your entire line of thought seems self-contradictory. On the one hand, you claim we can prove nothing about reality, and, on the other hand, you seem to claim to have proven that we can prove nothing about reality -- which is proving something about reality.Dfpolis

    Dfpolis, your wording lends itself to all kinds of fallacies, this time I believe it's a strawman.

    Alcontali claimed (I wasn't there, but I believe you) that we can prove nothing about reality
    Alcontali SEEMED to have claimed (so he did not claim... you put words in his mouth, which he did not say, and you defeat his argument based on something he did not say... hence the strawman) to have proven (which he did not) that we can prove nothing about reality.

    Therefore no contradiction exists, therefore your counter-argument is invalid.

    Dfpolis, you are a shifty arguer. You remind me of somebody on another website, but he was not as lucid as you are.
  • god must be atheist
    2.2k
    Since you came to be, you need to have been actualized by something already operational.Dfpolis

    This is actually not true. A lower-level movement can create a higher-level movement, and there need not be, there is no, actualization process.

    Your counter-argument fails, Dfpolis.
  • Fooloso4
    1.1k
    I have not said that God is unexplained, but self-explaining.Dfpolis

    Then your "proof" would be superfluous. And yet the only explanations I have ever come across are failed human explanations, including yours. Your appeal to intuition is a dodge and circular - God is only self-explaining to those to whom this is intuitively evident. I would assume that your infinite God could explain itself to everyone without your help!

    With regard to your distinction between essence and existence, what is the essence of what is not?

    How do you explain the claim that if a being exists, its explanation must exist? There is nothing self-evident about this claim. Science does not explain existence in toto. It explains some things in terms of others. That there is anything at all is not something that science explains. Your claim that an explanation means the fact(s) that make some state of affairs be as it is does not explain those fact(s). To claim that the fact(s) are self-explaining because without the fact(s) we can't explain anything does not show that the fact(s) exist. It may be that at some point we reach the limit of explanation.

    If you think that you have not posited an unexplained God then you have failed to follow your own failed proof.
  • alcontali
    1.3k
    As metamathematical proofs do not belong to mathematics, so metaphysical proofs do not belong to physics.Dfpolis

    The terminology is confusing in this regard, because metamathematics is defined as a subdivision of mathematics, while metaphysics is defined as non-physics.

    Metamathematics uses the same axiomatic method as mathematics. The reason for the meta is because the objects studied are mathematical theories themselves. It concerns axiomatic theories about other axiomatic theories.

    Metaphysics does NOT use the same scientific method (of experimental testing) as physics. Hence, physics is a subdiscipline of science, but metaphysics is not.

    So progress (or lack of progress) toward a physical ToE is entirely irrelevant.Dfpolis

    The ideal of the ToE is to discard the scientific method, i.e. experimental testing, and be able to do science using the axiomatic method, i.e. proving by axiomatic derivation. The reason why science is not axiomatic, is because the axiomatic base for physics is lacking.

    Hence, science would like to be like mathematics, but does not have the instruments available to do so. Science and its method of experimental testing is therefore some kind of poor man's mathematics. Science does not use the scientific method because it wants to, but simply because the desired alternative, i.e. axiomatic provability, is not attainable.

    I think that Godel's work has little to say about a ToE, because the method of physics is not the method of mathematics. Physics is not built on a closed axiomatic foundation, but an open experiential foundation. That does not make a ToE possible, but it does make the analogy with mathematics highly questionable.Dfpolis

    The ToE is exactly about replacing the scientific method by the axiomatic one. Stephen Hawking explores this possibility at length in his lecture, Gödel and the End of Physics.

    About the ToE, i.e. the ultimate (mathematical) theory of the universe in terms of a finite number of principles (=axioms), Hawking said: What is the relation between Godel’s theorem and whether we can formulate the theory of the universe in terms of a finite number of principles? One connection is obvious. According to the positivist philosophy of science, a physical theory is a mathematical model. So if there are mathematical results that can not be proved, there are physical problems that can not be predicted.

    Some people will be very disappointed if there is not an ultimate theory that can be formulated as a finite number of principles. I used to belong to that camp, but I have changed my mind.


    Hawking believed that the ToE is not attainable because of Gödel's incompleteness theorems.

    Again, you are confusing methodologies. Natural science uses the hypothetico-deductive method, while metaphysical proofs often use strict deduction.Dfpolis

    Well, the ToE is exactly about replacing the one by the other, and the very reasons why this is not possible. In the discourse on the ToE, the confusion is simply deliberate.

    On the one hand, you claim we can prove nothing about reality, and, on the other hand, you seem to claim to have proven that we can prove nothing about reality -- which is proving something about reality.Dfpolis

    This impossibility does not prove anything about the real world, but about the relationship between us and the real world. It just means that we do not have access to a copy of the axioms from which the real world has been/is being constructed.

    This shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of knowledge as awareness of present intelligibility. Knowledge is new if previously unactualized intelligibility is actualized by awareness. Yes, what is new may have been implicit in existing knowledge, but that only means that it was intelligible, not that it was actually knownDfpolis

    The nature of knowledge as a justified (true) belief, JtB, requires that it has the shape of an arrow. If Q can be justified from P, then Q is knowledge. Having access to Q is insufficient. It is not knowledge, until the necessity of the arrow, i.e. the justification, has been demonstrated.

    You consider Q to be knowledge in and of itself. That is contrary to the Platonic definition, i.e. JtB, which places knowledge in the arrow between P and Q. If knowledge cannot be written in arrow format, P=>Q, then it is not knowledge. In that case, Q is merely a conjecture.

    This is a complete non sequitur. Just because what we already know can be the basis of some new knowledge, does not mean that it can be the basis for all possible knowledge. New knowledge can come both from reflection on what we already know and from new types of experience, e.g. the kinds of observations and experiments that have informed science since antiquity.Dfpolis

    Well, this is exactly what Gödel tries to achieve in his incompleteness theorems. He maps encoded knowledge statements onto numbers, and their justification, i.e. proof, onto other numbers. Then, he investigates if he could enumerate all numbers that constitute formally valid language and verify if it has a corresponding number representing proof.

    The simplest way to figure out if it could work, is to try to solve Turing's halting problem by enumerating all possible programs, and verify if they actually halt, i.e. if their computation stops:

    Assume that we have a consistent and complete axiomatization of all true first-order logic statements about natural numbers. Then we can build an algorithm that enumerates all these statements. This means that there is an algorithm N(n) that, given a natural number n, computes a true first-order logic statement about natural numbers such that, for all the true statements, there is at least one n such that N(n) yields that statement.

    We already know that such procedure cannot exist. Therefore, if Gödel's procedure exists, then it would solve Turing's Halting problem too. That is exactly what is not possible. Hence Gödel's procedure cannot possibly exist. In other words, even though you can represent all knowledge theorems as numbers, you cannot just enumerate all possible numbers to discover all possible knowledge.

    Let's consider the second incompleteness theorem, which rules out self-proofs of consistency. If we have a set of axioms that are not merely posited, but properly abstracted from reality, we do not need to prove that they are consistent, because no contradictions can be instantiated in reality. That means that simultaneously instantiated axioms have to be mutually consistent. It is only if one restricts the knowledge base to an abstract system that there is a problem. Opening ourselves to reality can often resolve such problems.Dfpolis

    That is a very constructivist remark (constructivism).

    In the philosophy of mathematics, constructivism asserts that it is necessary to find (or "construct") a mathematical object to prove that it exists.

    Traditionally, some mathematicians have been suspicious, if not antagonistic, towards mathematical constructivism, largely because of limitations they believed it to pose for constructive analysis. These views were forcefully expressed by David Hilbert in 1928, when he wrote in Grundlagen der Mathematik [...]

    Even though most mathematicians do not accept the constructivist's thesis that only mathematics done based on constructive methods is sound, constructive methods are increasingly of interest on non-ideological grounds.


    Constructivism is a long debate. To cut a long story short, I consider constructivism to be heretical.
  • alcontali
    1.3k
    I suggest you read Roger Penrose, The Emperor's Mew Mind, in which he shows that human minds are able to solve uncomputable problems.Dfpolis

    I assume that the book is copyrighted, but I have still found a summary.

    Gödel's procedure is actually just a special case, i.e. merely an example, of the fact that human minds are able to solve uncomputable problems. Gödel proves that there is no knowable procedure possible to discover new knowledge. Still, humanity obviously did it. So, yes, just the discovery of new knowledge is already one such uncomputable problem.

    In other words, it will indeed never be possible to explain (as in knowledge) why humanity has managed to discover its existing stock of knowledge. If the human brain were just some kind of biological computer, it would not have been possible at all.

    Furthermore, there is something in that human brain that allows us to decide the otherwise (computationally) undecidable problem whether God exists or not. At the same time, there is absolutely no input that you could ever feed to a computer, short of the undiscoverable ToE (Theory of Everything) that will allow it to decide this question.
  • Relativist
    1.5k
    Premise 4: If a being exists, its explanation must exist.
    If this were not true, science would be impossible. If things "just happened," the observations would not be underlying dynamics, and could neither confirm nor falsify hypotheses. Note that “explanation” has two senses: (1) the fact(s) that make some state of affairs be as it is. (We may or may not know these.) This is the sense I am using. (2) Our attempt to articulate our understanding of (1). This is not the sense I am using here.
    Dfpolis
    I object to your claim that "explanation must exist". First, I'll note that this contradicts your definition of existence (" Existence adds a new note of comprehension: that the thing we are talking about can act in reality"): an "explanation" cannot act, and therefore explanations don't exist. Explanations "exist" (in a broadened sense of "exist") in minds, but only after theory has advanced to do so, and theory depends on the prior existence of minds that are capable of articulating it. The universe operated without existing explanations for quite a long time (and we obviously don't understand every aspect of material reality even now). I expect you're actually referring to the fact that mind-independent laws of nature exist, rather than semantic/mathematical descriptions of these laws. However, this can't suit your argument: laws of nature exist, but this provides no grounds for extrapolating beyond the universe (i.e. the totality of material reality) as you're trying to do. Everything within the universe is causally connected to everything else; it is these causal connections that constitute the laws of nature. But the existence of these intra-universe causal connections does not imply there is a causal connection to something external to the universe - there's no basis for assuming that to be the case.

    .
  • Dfpolis
    1k
    My point was and is that the completely unlimited is logically incapable of being the fact that makes some state of affairs be as it is. It is incapable of being that fact because by definition it is equally of making the same state of affairs not be as it is.Theologian

    If you're saying that unlimited being has free will, I agree, but having free will does not preclude causal efficacy. Nor does the prior co-possibility of contrary states preclude the actualization of either possibility. Power need not be actualized to be power. For example, I may choose to go to the store or not, but if I choose to go to the store, I am the agent effecting my going to the store -- even though it was in my power to choose not to go.

    You need more far more argument to show that that a free-willed being can't be causally effective. All you have actually shown is that God must have free will to be truly infinite.
  • Dfpolis
    1k
    :Being human: is present tense affirmative (nominative). Human is being, and therefore the human exists.

    At one point you say that being human means the human exists, at another point you say being human means that the human does not exist.
    god must be atheist

    I hope that you are not wasting my time, but have a sincere inability to make the distinction between what a thing is and that it is. If you can't see that what a human is does not make it exist, I can see that following the OP would be difficult. As I do not see how to overcome that difficulty, there is no point in our continuing.

    Thank you for your consideration.
  • Dfpolis
    1k
    I'm not sure how much formal philosophical education you've had (I'm just a beginner myself), but the term "metaphysics" is just a historical accident.Theologian

    Yes, I know that it is because of the placement of Aristotle's work on first philosophy after his work on nature; nonetheless, there was a reason for the placement, viz. because the Metaphysics examines issues fundamental to, but outside of the scope of, the Physics -- just as metamathematics does with math.

    I appreciate the thought you and other commenters are expending on my post.
  • Theologian
    160
    If you're saying that unlimited being has free will,Dfpolis

    No... that's not really it. Although I do agree that -

    God must have free will to be truly infiniteDfpolis

    - at least as you have defined your terms for the purposes of this proof. But that wasn't really my point.

    My point was purely and simply that completely unlimited being, by which you seem to mean completely unlimited capacity to do, cannot be the fact that makes some state of affairs be as it is.

    It is logically incapable of being that fact because it is incapable of rendering any specific state of affairs necessary. Or perhaps to make things more concrete, I could say that it is incapable of rendering any specific state of affairs inevitable.

    That's because completely unlimited being as you define it could equally well lead to any other state of affairs. Therefore it does not "explain" - in any sense of the word - any specific state of affairs.

    So if you ask "Why did completely unlimited being produce this state of affairs and not a different one?" you will never have an answer.

    Never.

    It's unexplained - again, in any sense of the word.

    Either there is no explanation - the LORD thy God is a capricious SOV - or there is some other explanation. Those are your only choices.
  • Dfpolis
    1k
    'Rationality' is merely a mental exercise with a particular 'coherence' claim, 'logic' being merely one such exercise. And you appear to be using 'truth' in an absolutist sense which for me begs the question of dubious status of any 'absolute' including 'God'.fresco

    I see "truth" not as an absolute, univocal term, but as analogously predicated. Following Isaac be Israel and Aquinas, I see truth as the approach to equality (adaequatio) between intellect and reality. This leads me to reflect on how near an approach need be. I key my response off the English cognate "adequate." What is adequate to the needs of one realm of discourse may be entirely inadequate in another. Still, respect for truth is due because it is a means of human self-realization.

    I see logic as the art and science of correct thinking, where by "correct" I mean truth-preserving, not power preserving. So logic is not merely one exercise among many, but an indispensable means of dealing with reality -- and even more so in an era in which POTUS has told over 10,000 public lies since coming to office. Those who attack and belittle truth support, knowingly or ignorantly, the atrocities that such lies minimize.

    So, while you are free to proceed irrationally, I choose to proceed with the greatest respect for truth, evidence and the kind of thinking that preserves them.
  • Theologian
    160
    Yes, I know that it is because of the placement of Aristotle's work on first philosophy after his work on nature; nonetheless, there was a reason for the placement, viz. because the Metaphysics examines issues fundamental to, but outside of the scope of, the Physics -- just as metamathematics does with math.Dfpolis

    I might as well admit that I don't know enough about this topic to have an intelligent opinion of my own. But my understanding - based solely on the pronouncements of others - is that it's not quite that straightforward.

    The intro and section 1 of this article are quite readable and on point:

    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/metaphysics/

    From section 2 onwards it descends into one of the worst pieces of explanatory writing I have ever had the misfortune of attempting to read, but... that's already been discussed on another thread.
  • Theologian
    160
    I appreciate the thought you and other commenters are expending on my post.Dfpolis

    Oh, PS

    Speaking only for myself, you're welcome. I quite enjoyed it. Though I may have to bow out of the discussion. As I was saying on yet another thread, this forum has the capacity to eat pretty much ALL of your time and energy if you let it. Since I arrived I've been struggling to find the right forum-life balance. :meh:
  • Dfpolis
    1k
    Timeless things should be able to exist without an explanation (as a brute fact).Devans99

    "Should"? Why? What is the force of this "should"? And, what is the error of my analysis?

    Asking for an explanation is like asking what engine size an elephant has; the first cause simply does not have a 'why' property.Devans99

    On what do you base this admitted belief?

    The way I see it, I've presented a sound argument that shows the existence of an infinite, self explaining being. You object that you do not believe my conclusions. I give arguments you do not reply to. That is your privilege, but its not very persuasive.

    So there must be a wider (timeless) container that contains God and the cosmos.Devans99

    It's a category error to think an infinite being can be confined to a location. If a being is contained, it can act in the container, but not outside of it, and so is limited.

    It must be something, and if it is something, then it is finite (infinity has the property ∞+1=∞ which implies it can be changed without being changed which is a straight contradiction).Devans99

    This argument fails because we are not speaking of numerical but ontological infinity -- the capacity to do any possible act. An infinite being cannot change because an infinite being is a necessary being, and whatever is necessary cannot possibly be different.

    God must clearly be benevolent, so how do you account for the problem of evil?Devans99

    I agree that it is a real problem, but having a problem does not mean that the proof is unsound. I think the problem is that what might be good for other things need not be good for humans. If dinosaurs could think they would have thought the asteroid that ended their era was evil, but it was good for us.
  • Wayfarer
    10.1k
    In fact, the term "Platonic" is just a figure of speech to refer to an abstraction, i.e. a mere language expression. I just use it to distinguish them from physical, real-world objects. So, a chair is a physical object, but the language expression "chair" is not.

    There is a simple litmus test for platonicity of the target of a language expression.

    If you can translate it into other languages, then it must be a language object. For example, "5" is a language object, because you can also write "five", "cinque", "fünf", or "101" (binary). Therefore, it has nothing to do with the real, physical world. It is an idea instead of something physical.
    alcontali

    The question I have is, if language objects have nothing to do with 'the physical world', then how come instructions, specifications, formulas, recipes, architectural designs, programming languages, and many other symbolic systems actually produce real changes in the physical world? How can we communicate information about the world using language, if language has 'nothing to do' with the 'real world'? Because we plainly do communicate information and produce changes.

    I agree that ideas are not physical, but I rather prefer a dualist interpretation, whereby humans are able to interface between the Platonic realm of abstractions, and actual objects, to produce neat things like:

    nasa-spacewalk-375x375.jpg
  • alcontali
    1.3k
    I agree that ideas are not physical, but I rather prefer a dualist interpretation, whereby humans are able to interface between the Platonic realm of abstractions, and actual objects, to produce neat things like:Wayfarer

    Say that L is the set of all possible expressions in language, then Lr is a subset of L in which the language expressions seek to be isomorphic with the real, physical world R.

    I agree that:

    Lr ⊂ L and Lr ≈ R

    Let's call Lr "the map" and R "the territory".

    One major problem is, of course, that R is actually unknown. As Immanuel Kant famously quipped: Das Ding an sich ist ein Unbekänntes. (The thing in itself is an unknown).

    We often use Lr and R interchangeably, and that is often no problem, but in the cases in which it is a problem, we may soon run into an abstraction leak, because ultimately the map is not the territory:

    The map–territory relation describes the relationship between an object and a representation of that object, as in the relation between a geographical territory and a map of it. Polish-American scientist and philosopher Alfred Korzybski remarked that "the map is not the territory" and that "the word is not the thing", encapsulating his view that an abstraction derived from something, or a reaction to it, is not the thing itself. Korzybski held that many people do confuse maps with territories, that is, confuse models of reality with reality itself. The relationship has also been expressed in other terms, such as Alan Watts's "The menu is not the meal."

    As coined by Joel Spolsky, the Law of Leaky Abstractions states:

    All non-trivial abstractions, to some degree, are leaky.

    Not only do abstract models not represent reality at all, unless you painstakingly expend effort to maintain such isomorphism, they do not even need to do so, in order to be useful. Mathematical axiomatizations, for example, never represent reality, while theorems must not be considered to be mathematical unless they belong to such axiomatization. They could be something else, however; such as scientific, for example.

    In other words, a theorem can be mathematical or can be scientific, but can never be both at the same time.
  • Wayfarer
    10.1k
    I've taken the liberty of starting a new thread for this discussion here, as it's tangential to DFPolis' discussion.
  • Devans99
    2.7k
    "Should"? Why? What is the force of this "should"? And, what is the error of my analysis?Dfpolis

    There must be at least one timeless thing without at explanation and it must be capable of acting as a causal agent - the pyramid of causality within time requires a first cause.

    So I think the difference of opinion is that I have God as a timeless brute fact which clashes with your premise 4 - you have God as a 'self explaining being'. I also have God as a non-omnipotent being.

    I do not understand the concept of 'self explaining being' and I am not sure it hangs together logically.
    As I mentioned before, nothing can exist 'forever' in time so the concept of timelessness seems to be required, which leads to the existence of brute facts.

    It's a category error to think an infinite being can be confined to a location. If a being is contained, it can act in the container, but not outside of it, and so is limited.Dfpolis

    To be a being is to be composed of information - otherwise we have null and void. That information must have a representation. That requires some form of container. Maybe not a physical container as we understand it, but a container none the less and containers are finite. A belief in spiritualism does not escape this requirement (unless we also dispense with common sense - assume that nothing can be something).

    This argument fails because we are not speaking of numerical but ontological infinity -- the capacity to do any possible act. An infinite being cannot change because an infinite being is a necessary being, and whatever is necessary cannot possibly be different.Dfpolis

    How is it possible to do anything possible and not be changed by the doing? I can only think of future real eternalism - God would have done everything already (in a sense) so would be completely static from the perspective of 4D spacetime. Maybe this is the way things are but it is a lot to swallow (no free will for example).

    I must admit this is a challenge for my point of view too - how can a timeless being effect change? Possibly essential causality might help? Maybe change is possible without time. Maybe God has something like time within him (it cannot be without him - cannot exist 'always' in any form of time).

    I agree that it is a real problem, but having a problem does not mean that the proof is unsound. I think the problem is that what might be good for other things need not be good for humans. If dinosaurs could think they would have thought the asteroid that ended their era was evil, but it was good for us.Dfpolis

    There are things in the universe that are just plain bad for all intelligent beings. Black holes for example are purely destructive. But they are a necessary consequence of gravity which is necessary for life. I would have thought an unlimited God would have gravity and also somehow intercede to prevent the negative consequences?

    If a proof leads to a conclusion that clashes with reality, one has to question the proof. One or more of these has to give:

    - Omnipotence
    - Omnipresence
    - Omnibenevolence

    Personally I belief none of the 3 hold - leading to a deistic God - which is much easier concept to prove and defend.

    I think your proof is an excellent effort but you are trying to prove something that is impossible.
  • Dfpolis
    1k
    Still. Where does god enter the picture? Just because something is not explained, (the finite to his self) AND assuming an explanation is possible, it does not necessarily follow that there is someone or something that can and will explain it.god must be atheist

    I think you are confusing the two meanings (verbal and effective) of "explanation" I distinguished. the proof deals with what makes things so, not with our articulation fo what makes things so. Things work in a certain way whether or not anyone tells us they do.

    Alcontali claimed (I wasn't there, but I believe you) that we can prove nothing about reality Alcontali SEEMED to have claimed (so he did not claim... you put words in his mouth, which he did not say, and you defeat his argument based on something he did not say... hence the strawman) to have proven (which he did not) that we can prove nothing about reality.god must be atheist

    It is not just that he claimed we can prove nothing, but that he did so in the context of proof theory, which is a highly logical structure. I acknowledged that he provided no actual proof, but the claim being made in that context, and with appeals to Godel's incompleteness theorems, strongly hinted at the existence of a proof. My post was designed to elicone if he had one. It was intended to be a challenge awaiting response, not the final word.

    This is actually not true. A lower-level movement can create a higher-level movement, and there need not be, there is no, actualization process.god must be atheist

    Then no potential ever becomes actualized and there is no change,
  • god must be atheist
    2.2k
    This is actually not true. A lower-level movement can create a higher-level movement, and there need not be, there is no, actualization process.
    — god must be atheist

    Then no potential ever becomes actualized and there is no change,
    Dfpolis

    Your conclusion is a non-sequiteur, and it does logically not follow. You said something completely incongruent to my statement. You made an absolutely false claim because it does not pertain to my claim.
  • god must be atheist
    2.2k
    Still. Where does god enter the picture? Just because something is not explained, (the finite to his self) AND assuming an explanation is possible, it does not necessarily follow that there is someone or something that can and will explain it.
    — god must be atheist

    I think you are confusing the two meanings (verbal and effective) of "explanation" I distinguished. the proof deals with what makes things so, not with our articulation fo what makes things so. Things work in a certain way whether or not anyone tells us they do.
    Dfpolis

    My criticism stands both ways. Both if you consider explanation verbal, and if you consider explanation effective.

    You more and more resemble someone I know from another site. He makes claims out of the blue, and he says it so that it is hard to notice he is saying falsehoods.
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