• Terrapin Station
    13.5k
    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.Dfpolis

    The Euthyphro problem in a nutshell here is that either God could do things that are "logically impossible" if He were to choose to do so, or logic is primary/prior to God, who must obey it.
  • Fooloso4
    1.1k
    You use the term explanation to mean:

    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.Dfpolis

    You avoid Aristotle's causal language but do not side-step the problem. What distinction do you make between the fact(s) and some state of affairs? You said:

    Proofs show us how to assemble facts we already know to see something we may not have noticed.Dfpolis

    Your argument is that there are these facts because of some other fact(s). There are finite beings because there is an infinite being, that the infinite being is the "explanation" of finite beings, and that the infinite being needs no explanation because it is infinite. In Scholastic terms you make the distinction between contingent beings and a necessary being. A first cause. An uncaused cause.

    The same tired old argument.
  • Dfpolis
    907
    I have not said that God is unexplained, but self-explaining. — Dfpolis

    Then your "proof" would be superfluous
    Fooloso4

    This is silly, As most people are unaware that what God is entails that God is, it is quite worthwhile explaining this fact.

    Your appeal to intuition is a dodge and circular - God is only self-explaining to those to whom this is intuitively evident.Fooloso4

    My actual claim is quite the opposite. It is that a proof is possible because most people know, via ordinary experiential means, all that they need to know to prove that God exists, but lack the extraordinary intuitive insight to see the connections. Fortunately some (e.g. Aristotle, ibn Sina, and Aquinas) have had the insight to point the way.

    I would assume that your infinite God could explain itself to everyone without your help!Fooloso4

    It does not help you case to equivocate on the two meanings of "explanation" (verbal vs effective) that I carefully distinguished. A careful reading of my OP may refresh your memory.

    With regard to your distinction between essence and existence, what is the essence of what is not?Fooloso4

    As I explain earlier, essences specify possible acts, while existence makes powers operational. Knowing what a thing is, is convertible with knowing what it can do. But, knowing what a thing could do if it existed is not the same as knowing that a thing actually exists. So, essence and existence are distinct concepts.

    How do you explain the claim that if a being exists, its explanation must exist? There is nothing self-evident about this claim.Fooloso4

    I already answered this in a response to Echarmion on p.3, giving three reasons. I did not claim it was self-evident, but a requirement of scientific thought.

    Science does not explain existence in toto.Fooloso4

    Agreed, That is why we need to study metaphysics.

    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).Fooloso4

    Definitions of terms are only intended to explain how the relevant terms are used.

    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.Fooloso4

    If there are facts with no underlying dynamics/explanations ("brute facts" that "just are"), then the logic of science fails. Once you allow exceptions to avoid a consequence you do not like, a principle is no longer universal, and there is no reason to think it applies when you like its consequences. If the principle is not universal, any scientific observation may be a "brute fact" with no underlying dynamics -- and not evidence confirming or falsifying a hypothesis. Thus, denying the universality of the principle converts science from an objective search for truth into an enterprise ruled by subjective whim.

    I know that this is a practical, not a theoretical argument, but it shows the grave implications of your line of thought. Since it is only practical, I gave two theoretical justifications in my response to Echarmion,
  • god must be atheist
    956
    Dfpolis, your argumenting style resembles to me more and more the style that Logic used to use on a slightly different website. That style is learned, with impeccable grammar, clear though complex, while the content is either entirely nonsensical or self-contradictory

    A clear similarity that you both use is to hide behind jargon when cornered. There are other similarities, such as not getting emotional. Everyone gets emotional when under a lot of fire. Except BOTs and those participants who 1. have nothing at stake because 2. they know themselves they are not putting forth their own sweet convictions although 3. they don't play the devil's advocate either, but instead 4. are trolling in haute vogue for whatever their reason is.
  • god must be atheist
    956
    Dfpolis, your style sucks in the best of thinkers at first, but later they realize you are trolling and they abandon you and responding to your posts in dismay.
  • Relativist
    851
    Your focus on "explanation" seems a red-herring. Explanations are post-hoc semantic descriptions. The leap to a conclusion that explainability is a metaphysical requirement is unjustified. Determinism entails explainabilty. The state of a quantum system (e.g. the quantum system that is the universe/multiverse) is "explainable" by it's prior states because its evolution is describable in a Schrödinger equation. This does not imply the quantum system itself is necessarily explainable by something external.
  • Devans99
    2.1k
    This does not imply the quantum system itself is necessarily explainable by something external.Relativist

    There must be an explanation for everything that is not a brute fact. Brute facts can only exist outside of time. So I assume the quantum system you refer to exists outside of time and is somehow responsible for the creation of time. What is the mechanism by which time is created? I doubt a dimension could be created by evolution of a quantum system. The start of time would seem a discontinuous, unnatural process.
  • Relativist
    851
    There must be an explanation for everything that is not a brute fact. Brute facts can only exist outside of time.Devans99
    Your first sentence is a definition: a brute fact is something that exists without a reason for existing. But why believe that brute facts can only exist "outside of time"?
    I grant that they don't seem to exist WITHIN spacetime, but that doesn't necessarily have bearing on spacetime itself. Spacetime doesn't exist "within" spacetime, so our intra-universe observation/intuition doesn't apply.
  • Devans99
    2.1k
    Something that exists outside of time can exist in a tenseless state - it just 'IS'. It can have nothing temporally or logically before it. It has no reason/cause in the same way an elephant has no engine CC - it simply does not have a 'why' property.

    Anything that exists within time must have a start. It is impossible to exist 'forever' in time - forever has no start. If something has no temporal start, then it has no start+1, start+2 and so by induction it does not exist. So a brute fact cannot exist in time. Everything in time is subject to causality and requires an explanation. Spacetime itself must also have an explanation.
  • Relativist
    851
    Anything that exists within time must have a startDevans99
    The sort of thing that clearly has had a "start" are merely configurations of fundamental stuff. The fundamental stuff itself has no apparent "start", and I see no justification for believing it necessary had one.
  • Devans99
    2.1k
    IMO matter/energy has to have a start too. If something never comes into existence, it does not exist. Think of a matter particle for example; it has innate attributes like mass etc... If it has no start, then there is no time at which it could acquire those innate attributes and it would be null and void.

    Or we could consider the collision history of a particle to be represented by a temporal/causal infinite regress. Infinite regresses are impossible.

    I'd also argue that time has a start so everything within time must have a start. If time did not have a start, we would have already passed through all possible states of the universe and some of those states must be equilibrium states - in which case we should still be in equilibrium - we are not.

    Causality requires a brute fact to be the base of the pyramid of causality and brute facts are timeless - this is also strongly suggestive of time having a start.
  • Dfpolis
    907
    The terminology is confusing in this regard, because metamathematics is defined as a subdivision of mathematics, while metaphysics is defined as non-physics.alcontali

    No, mathematics has quantitative relations as its subject matter, and metamathematics has mathematics as its subject matter. the fact that it may use mathematical methods does not make it mathematics anymore than the fact that physics uses mathematical methods makes physics a branch of mathematics. Metaphysics deals with the foundational assumptions of physics, among other matters.

    metaphysics is defined as non-physics.alcontali

    This is simply false. There are many fields that are not physics, and most to not deal with metaphysical issues. What we now call "metaphysics" was called "first philosophy" by Aristotle because it deals with issues fundamental to all other areas of research, including physics.

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

    If you're restricting "science" to disciplines using the hypothetico-deductive method, metaphysics is not that sort of science. Neither are mathematics and metamathematics. Still, all three are sciences in the more traditional sense of rigorous systematic fields of study.

    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.alcontali

    As a physicist, I that is not my understanding of a ToE. A ToE is just like any other hypothetical construct in physics, but its targeted range of application spans all physical phenomena. It is absurd to think that any competent physicist would accept a proposed ToE absent rigorous experimental testing.

    There are axiomatic formulations of a number of fields in physics, e.g. quantum theory and quantum field theory.

    Science does not use the scientific method because it wants to, but simply because the desired alternative, i.e. axiomatic provability, is not attainable.alcontali

    I am not sure an axiomatic approach is the "desired alternative" in natural science. You'd need to make a case for that. It seems to me that many physics like the method of discovery they signed up for.

    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.alcontali

    I don't think that Hawking's view is widely shared. Sir Arthur Eddington tried a similar approach in the 30s and 40s, famously predicting that the fine structure constant was exactly 1/136, then exactly 1/137. (It is neither.)

    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.
    alcontali

    While it is not, let us assume that it is. It is still irrelevant as the subject matter of physics is the measurable behavior of nature (which has intrinsic uncertainties, even in the absence of quantum uncertainty), while metaphysics is concerned with being as being, which is not subject to the vagaries of measurement.

    This impossibility does not prove anything about the real world, but about the relationship between us and the real world.alcontali

    While I'm happy to admit that knowledge is a subject-object relation, I do not see that the admission precludes proofs about reality.

    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.alcontali

    I am sorry, but I do not see nature as an axiomatic construct. Rather, I see it as a complex, intelligible whole from which we may abstract some universal truths. At the simplest level, we understand being well enough to see that (1) Whatever is, is, (2) that a putative reality must either be or not be, and (3) that nothing can be and not be at one and the same time in one and the same way. These ontological insights, informing our thought about reality, give us the logical principles of identity, excluded middle and non-contradiction. Thus, we are able to abstract principles of absolute certitude which can advance our inquiries.

    The nature of knowledge as a justified (true) belief, JtB, requires that it has the shape of an arrow.alcontali

    I reject the thesis that knowledge is any form of belief. To know is to be aware of present intelligibility, and is an act of intellect (awareness). To believe is to commit to the truth of some judgement, and commitment is an act of will, not intellect. If knowledge were a species of belief, we would necessarily be committed to the truth of anything we knew. Clearly, this is not the case. One can be certain that one cannot afford a purchase and buy it anyway, showing no commitment to the known truth. So, knowledge cannot be a form of belief.

    So if there are mathematical results that can not be proved, there are physical problems that can not be predicted.alcontali

    This, is true, but a non sequitur. Mathematical relations are possibly instantiated in nature, not assuredly instantiated. So, it is possible that we could deduce all actually instantiated relationships. The reason your conclusion is true is that we already know from nonlinear math in general (e.g the 3-body problem and chaos theory in particular (e.g. turbulence and neural processing) that there are predictive calculations we will never be able to carry out.

    Still, I fail to see the relevance of this, as mathematics is not the basis of metaphysical thought. We know the consistency of metaphysical premises from the fact that they are instantiated in reality and one cannot instantiate a contradiction.

    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.alcontali

    This analysis precludes any knowledge, for it leads to an infinite regress (How do we know P?). It has been known to be errant since Aristotle examined the foundations of knowledge. We know when our neurophysical system presents intelligible contents to awareness (Aristotle's agent intellect). Then, the intelligibility of the encoded contents is converted to actual knowledge by an act of awareness. Thus, there is no need for an infinite regress of Ps and Qs. We know by being aware of presented contents. We judge by abstracting concepts from those contents and grasping relations between those concepts. We can then deduce further justified relations.

    You consider Q to be knowledge in and of itself. That is contrary to the Platonic definition, JtBalcontali

    I am not a Platonist. I counted 17 errors in Plato's epistemology pointed out by Aristotle in his Metaphysics.

    Also, doxa in Plato means opinion, not belief. So JtB is not Plato's definition, but a modern misreading of the text.

    Well, this is exactly what Gödel tries to achieve in his incompleteness theorems.alcontali

    No. Godel was working in the context of Hilbert's program, which it effectively destroyed. Hilbert's model was one of a priori consistency, with no connection to empirical reality. Godel's work showed that this approach is doomed to failure. Aristotelian metaphysics, on the other hand, is built on a posteriori, empirical foundations. Its concepts are abstracted from sensory experience and its judgements result from analyzing such experience. Because the relationships it builds upon are abstracted from reality, which is necessarily self-consistent, they are guaranteed to be self-consistent.

    We already know that such procedure cannot exist.alcontali

    Yes, we do, but that is entirely irrelevant to the present discussion. Metaphysics does not even aspire to a physical description of the cosmos or a complete enumeration of all possible theorems in any axiomatic system. It deals with being qua being, abstracting away from both quantifiability and the detailed laws of nature.

    That is a very constructivist remarkalcontali

    So?

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

    That is not what I am saying. I am speaking of the epistemological basis of noetic systems, not their rules of application. Also, I do not consider philosophy to be a closed axiomatic system, but an open one -- always open to new, experientially based knowledge.

    I consider constructivism to be hereticalalcontali

    Please don't burn me!

    Gödel proves that there is no knowable procedure possible to discover new knowledge.alcontali

    He does no such thing. He only considers closed, formal systems, not empirically open systems. If your claim were true, we would never have made progress in any science.

    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.alcontali

    Your conclusion is Penrose's point. However, I think we can explain how we come to know if we do not confine ourselves to a priori, axiomatic ways of thinking, but work out the implications of such facts as those we are discussing -- which is a point i develop at length in my book.

    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.alcontali

    I never thought there was. It is easy to show that the mind cannot be purely neurophysical. The neural representation of seeing a ball and the retina being modified by the image of a ball are identical, but their conceptual representations are not.
  • Relativist
    851
    IMO matter/energy has to have a start tooDevans99
    Matter and energy (which are interchangeable) are just configurations of fundamental stuff. The intuition (which is not a proof) is rooted in our experiences with configurations of stuff having a "start." This leads to the conclusion there is a past infinite series of configurations (every configuration "started", having been caused by a prior configuration), but even so - this doesn't entail a beginning for the fundamental stuff itself - just a beginning for any particular configuration.
  • Devans99
    2.1k
    Matter and energy (which are interchangeable) are just configurations of fundamental stuffRelativist

    The 'fundamental stuff' must of had a start in time. Else how did it come about? A quanta of energy remains a quanta of energy even if its form can change. So that quanta requires a start in time - 'always' existing is not the answer because that explicitly rules it out from starting to exist - leaving only wishful thinking to explain its existence.

    The situation with space is analogous - think about an object with no spacial start point(s) - it would be nothing. Time works like space - a quanta of energy with no temporal start does not exist - it would be exactly analogous to an object in space with no spacial start. Its worldline in spacetime would be length zero.

    This leads to the conclusion there is a past infinite series of configurations (every configuration "started", having been caused by a prior configuration)Relativist

    That leads to a causal/temporal infinite regress - which is impossible - for example: imagine a pool table. The cue hits the white ball. The white ball hits the black ball. The black goes in the pocket. Would the black ball go in if the cue did not hit the white? No - if we remove the first element in the time ordered regress, the rest of the regress disappears. So the first element is key - it defines the whole of the rest of a regress. If it is absent, as in the case of an infinite regress, then the regress does not exist - temporal/casual infinite regresses are impossible. So this chain of configurations requires a temporal start.

    There is also impossibility of the actually infinite to consider. There are many arguments for the start of time (and the start of everything within it) based on this, here is one: imagine an ever-lasting time traveller travelling backwards in time whilst counting. From our perspective, the past is completed, so the time traveller must have counted every number if the past is infinite. But there is no largest number, so that is impossible - time must be finite.

    Then there are other arguments like entropy (it is too low for infinite time), the measure problem, the BB, BGV theorem. All of these point to a start of time and a temporal start for all 'fundamental stuff' within time.
  • Relativist
    851
    The 'fundamental stuff' must of had a start in time. Else how did it come about?Devans99
    Why believe the fundamental stuff required a start in time? Your intuition about the need for a start is based on experience with configurations of the fundamental stuff, and when you extrapolate this to the fundamental itself, you commit the fallacy of composition.

    A quanta of energy remains a quanta of energy even if it s form can change.
    Quanta are disturbances in a quantum field. Fields are fundamental (or at least, MORE fundamental), so quanta are just configurations of the more fundamental field.
  • Devans99
    2.1k
    Why believe the fundamental stuff required a start in time? Your intuition about the need for a start is based on experience with configurations of the fundamental stuff, and when you extrapolate this to the fundamental itself, you commit the fallacy of compositionRelativist

    I have given you arguments based both on the 'fundamental stuff' and its composition. If the fundamental stuff exists then its composition exists as well. So both basis are covered and I am not committing the fallacy of composition.

    Also, It is not intuition; it is logic: things must first come into existence in order to exist - the alternative is just a belief in magic. You cannot have something like a particle existing as an infinitely long world line in spacetime with one end missing - it would be nothing. It would also be fundamentally partially defined - which means it is undefined - meaning it cannot exist. I have already given adequate proof of this IMO, all I can do is reiterate:

    1. Assume a particle does not have a temporal start point (IE its existed ‘forever’)
    2. If the particle does not have a start, then it cannot have a ‘next to start’ (because that would qualify as a start and 1 says that it does not have a start)
    3. So particle does not have a next to start (by Modus Ponens on 1 and 2).
    4. etc… for start+2, start+3…
    5. Implies particle does not have middle
    6. etc… unto start+∞ (now)
    7. Implies particle does not have a (temporal) end
    8. Implies particle never existed

    Quanta are disturbances in a quantum field. Fields are fundamental (or at least, MORE fundamental), so quanta are just configurations of the more fundamental field.Relativist

    If you prefer to view it that way, then I would say those fields and the disturbances in them need a temporal start too. One configuration of the field is caused by a previous configuration of the field. If there is no first configuration of the field, there is no second configuration, no third, and by induction, no configurations at all.

    And say we find X is actually fundamental (be it a string or whatever). X will have innate properties. That will require a temporal start at which these innate properties are acquired. Else X has no innate properties and X is null and void.
  • Fooloso4
    1.1k
    It does not help you case to equivocate on the two meanings of "explanation" (verbal vs effective) that I carefully distinguished.Dfpolis

    What is self-explaining (meaning 1) but cannot be explained (meaning 2) is a conjuring act. What is self-explaining but by which you cannot explain anything is empty. It amounts to saying that nothing in the universe can explain itself (1) and so there must be something else that explains what is in the universe, but can't be explained (2) and does not need explanation (1 and 2).

    You claim that:

    There are logically possible acts that the universe cannot do.Dfpolis

    All that is actual is possible, and our concern is with what is actual, that is, the universe as it is, was, and will be. Any imagined possible acts that are impossible within the universe have no bearing on the universe as it is.

    In addition, we do not know the limit of what is possible within the universe. We cannot extrapolate from our limited acquaintance with limited things to a universe that is limited.

    If there are facts with no underlying dynamics/explanations ("brute facts" that "just are"), then the logic of science fails.Dfpolis

    The "logic of science" works quite well without recourse to an a priori first cause, or in your terms, without something that does not require an explanation because it is self-explaining.

    As I explain earlier, essences specify possible acts, while existence makes powers operationalDfpolis

    This is what you said:

    Essence, what a thing is, is the specification of its possible actsDfpolis

    A thing cannot be what it is if it is not. Nothing is possible for what is not. Essence separate from existence is an abstract fantasy.
  • alcontali
    729
    No, mathematics has quantitative relations as its subject matterDfpolis

    Number theory is no longer the dominant axiomatization in mathematics, and has not been for over a century (Dedekind-Peano). Nowadays, it is set theory that is considered the dominant axiomatization in mathematics (ZFC, aka, Zermelo-Fränkel-Choice).

    In set theory, Zermelo–Fraenkel set theory, named after mathematicians Ernst Zermelo and Abraham Fraenkel, is an axiomatic system that was proposed in the early twentieth century in order to formulate a theory of sets free of paradoxes such as Russell's paradox. Today, Zermelo–Fraenkel set theory, with the historically controversial axiom of choice (AC) included, is the standard form of axiomatic set theory and as such is the most common foundation of mathematics.

    Number theory is not even Turing-Complete, and hence, considered to be a relatively weak and incomplete axiomatization.

    Besides set theory, there are numerous other Turing-complete axiomatizations such as function theory (lambda calculus), type theory, combinator theory, and so on. Every Turing-complete axiomatization is capable of expressing all possible knowledge in its associated language.

    Numbers are just one type of building brick in mathematics. Sets, functions, types, combinators, and so on, are other types. You can trivially express numbers as sets, with e.g. Von Neumann ordinals:

    0 = { }, 1 = {{ }}, 2 = {{ }, {{ }}}, 3 = {{ }, {{ }}, {{ }, {{ }}}}, and so on. Therefore, numbers are not a separate building brick in set theory -- that would be unnecessary -- but are just set expressions.

    Hence, mathematics is not just about quantities, or numbers, which are not even essential in math. Mathematics is the set of all theorems that you can derive using the axiomatic method from any consistent axiomatic system. Number theory is merely one such axiomatization.
  • alcontali
    729
    No, mathematics has quantitative relations as its subject matterDfpolis

    Mathematics, science, and history are not subject matters.

    They are epistemic domains, i.e. the sets of knowledge statements -- with knowledge a justified (true) belief (JtB) -- that you can legitimately justify using their associated epistemic justification methods.

    There is no mathematical subject matter, nor a scientific subject matter, nor a historical subject matter.

    If you can justify a claim using one of these methods, then the claim legitimately belongs to that epistemic domain. For example, any claim that you can justify using the scientific method, is part of the science epistemic domain.

    Furthermore, these epistemic domains exclude each other. It is not possible that a proposition can be justified by one epistemic method and also by another.
  • Relativist
    851
    Also, It is not intuition; it is logic: things must first come into existence in order to exist - the alternative is just a belief in magicDevans99
    It's bad logic. If the past is finite, then something existed without "coming into existence" because that would entail a state prior to its existence, and this is logically impossible.

    The following two quotes appear to reflect the same point:
    If the fundamental stuff exists then its composition exists as well. So both basis are covered and I am not committing the fallacy of composition.Devans99

    If you prefer to view it that way, then I would say those fields and the disturbances in them need a temporal start too. One configuration of the field is caused by a previous configuration of the field. If there is no first configuration of the field, there is no second configuration, no third, and by induction, no configurations at all.Devans99
    If there is fundamental stuff, it is metaphysically impossible for it not to exist (i.e. its existence is metaphysically necessary). A finite past implies the fundamental stuff was in an initial state (configuration) and perhaps this state could have been different (i.e. the specific state is contingent), but why think that it impossible for an initial, uncaused, contingent state to be impossible? You need to provide a justification for this that is not based on the subsequent temporal states and the composition fallacy.

    The formal argument you gave is inconsistent with a finite past. A finite past implies an initial state, and I see no reason to think an initial state cannot have some contingent properties.

    1. Assume a particle does not have a temporal start point (IE its existed ‘forever’)
    2. If the particle does not have a start, then it cannot have a ‘next to start’ (because that would qualify as a start and 1 says that it does not have a start)
    3. So particle does not have a next to start (by Modus Ponens on 1 and 2).
    4. etc… for start+2, start+3…
    5. Implies particle does not have middle
    6. etc… unto start+∞ (now)
    7. Implies particle does not have a (temporal) end
    8. Implies particle never existed
    Devans99

    I don't follow your argument. It appears you're treating particles as fundamental. What do you mean by "next to start"? An eternal particle doesn't start to exist (nor cease to exist) but it exists in contingent relations to other eternal particles that collectively configure into higher level objects. These higher level objects are what come into existence.

    And say we find X is actually fundamental (be it a string or whatever). X will have innate properties. That will require a temporal start at which these innate properties are acquired. Else X has no innate properties and X is null and void.Devans99
    Again, you just seem to be asserting (without support) that contingent things cannot exist uncaused. My response is the same: any initial state will necessarily have contingent properties. This is true even if there is a God. A God that exists in an initial state would have had had an uncaused plan for a universe in his mind - i.e., an intent to create THIS contingent universe rather than all other metaphysically possible universes.
  • Devans99
    2.1k
    It's bad logic. If the past is finite, then something existed without "coming into existence" because that would entail a state prior to its existence, and this is logically impossible.Relativist

    Things came into existence/time at the point time started - either by creation ex nilhilo (see zero energy universe hypothesis) or because these things existed timelessly already (and they entered time at the start of time). This explains how matter/energy came about - your explanation of things existing 'forever' is impossible - everything in the universe would be null and void.

    If there is fundamental stuff, it is metaphysically impossible for it not to exist (i.e. its existence is metaphysically necessary). A finite past implies the fundamental stuff was in an initial state (configuration) and perhaps this state could have been different (i.e. the specific state is contingent), but why think that it impossible for an initial, uncaused, contingent state to be impossible? You need to provide a justification for this that is not based on the subsequent temporal states and the composition fallacy.Relativist

    I do not think an initial uncaused state is impossible - it is possible, but only possible outside of time. The justification is causality - everything must have a cause - unless it is beyond causality (IE beyond time).

    I don't follow your argument. It appears you're treating particles as fundamental. What do you mean by "next to start"? An eternal particle doesn't start to exist (nor cease to exist) but it exists in contingent relations to other eternal particles that collectively configure into higher level objects. These higher level objects are what come into existence.Relativist

    By 'next to start', I mean if we label the temporal start as t=0, then next to start is t=1. The argument then continues with induction out to infinity to establish that the particle cannot exist without a start.

    Everything, including fundamental stuff, must be accounted for. IE it must either be created or exist permanently. As I've pointed out, it is impossible to exist permanently/'forever' in time - you simply cannot have a brute fact within time because causality (which is a feature of time) requires everything to have a both a prior and ultimate cause. So only possible conclusion is that at a timeless brute fact exists and it is the ultimate cause of everything in time/causality.

    Again, you just seem to be asserting (without support) that contingent things cannot exist uncaused. My response is the same: any initial state will necessarily have contingent properties. This is true even if there is a God. A God that exists in an initial state would have had had an uncaused plan for a universe in his mind - i.e., an intent to create THIS contingent universe rather than all other metaphysically possible universes.Relativist

    I have excellent support for 'things in time cannot exist uncaused' - it is causality - everything in time must have both a prior and ultimate cause. Things that exist outside of time however can clearly be uncaused.

    I am not sure precisely how the state of timelessness works beyond the fact that it required. Without timelessness, there are no brute facts. Without brute facts, there is nothing. God may exist within what is referred to as the 'eternal now' - all is simultaneous - causes do not precede effects. God's plan is part of God (a brute fact) so it can exist uncaused.
  • Dfpolis
    907
    The terminology is confusing in this regard, because metamathematics is defined as a subdivision of mathematics, while metaphysics is defined as non-physics.alcontali

    No, mathematics has quantitative relations as its subject matter, and metamathematics has mathematics as its subject matter. the fact that it may use mathematical methods does not make it mathematics anymore than the fact that physics uses mathematical methods makes physics a branch of mathematics. Metaphysics deals with the foundational assumptions of physics, among other matters.

    metaphysics is defined as non-physics.alcontali

    This is simply false. There are many fields that are not physics, and most to not deal with metaphysical issues. What we now call "metaphysics" was called "first philosophy" by Aristotle because it deals with issues fundamental to all other areas of research, including physics.

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

    If you're restricting "science" to disciplines using the hypothetico-deductive method, metaphysics is not that sort of science. Neither are mathematics and metamathematics. Still, all three are sciences in the more traditional sense of rigorous systematic fields of study.

    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.alcontali

    As a physicist, I that is not my understanding of a ToE. A ToE is just like any other hypothetical construct in physics, but its targeted range of application spans all physical phenomena. It is absurd to think that any competent physicist would accept a proposed ToE absent rigorous experimental testing.

    There are axiomatic formulations of a number of fields in physics, e.g. quantum theory and quantum field theory.

    Science does not use the scientific method because it wants to, but simply because the desired alternative, i.e. axiomatic provability, is not attainable.alcontali

    I am not sure an axiomatic approach is the "desired alternative" in natural science. You'd need to make a case for that. It seems to me that many physics like the method of discovery they signed up for.

    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.alcontali

    I don't think that Hawking's view is widely shared. Sir Arthur Eddington tried a similar approach in the 30s and 40s, famously predicting that the fine structure constant was exactly 1/136, then exactly 1/137. (It is neither.)

    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.
    alcontali

    While it is not, let us assume that it is. It is still irrelevant as the subject matter of physics is the measurable behavior of nature (which has intrinsic uncertainties, even in the absence of quantum uncertainty), while metaphysics is concerned with being as being, which is not subject to the vagaries of measurement.

    This impossibility does not prove anything about the real world, but about the relationship between us and the real world.alcontali

    While I'm happy to admit that knowledge is a subject-object relation, I do not see that the admission precludes proofs about reality.

    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.alcontali

    I am sorry, but I do not see nature as an axiomatic construct. Rather, I see it as a complex, intelligible whole from which we may abstract some universal truths. At the simplest level, we understand being well enough to see that (1) Whatever is, is, (2) that a putative reality must either be or not be, and (3) that nothing can be and not be at one and the same time in one and the same way. These ontological insights, informing our thought about reality, give us the logical principles of identity, excluded middle and non-contradiction. Thus, we are able to abstract principles of absolute certitude which can advance our inquiries.

    The nature of knowledge as a justified (true) belief, JtB, requires that it has the shape of an arrow.alcontali

    I reject the thesis that knowledge is any form of belief. To know is to be aware of present intelligibility, and is an act of intellect (awareness). To believe is to commit to the truth of some judgement, and commitment is an act of will, not intellect. If knowledge were a species of belief, we would necessarily be committed to the truth of anything we knew. Clearly, this is not the case. One can be certain that one cannot afford a purchase and buy it anyway, showing no commitment to the known truth. So, knowledge cannot be a form of belief.

    So if there are mathematical results that can not be proved, there are physical problems that can not be predicted.alcontali

    This, is true, but a non sequitur. Mathematical relations are possibly instantiated in nature, not assuredly instantiated. So, it is possible that we could deduce all actually instantiated relationships. The reason your conclusion is true is that we already know from nonlinear math in general (e.g the 3-body problem and chaos theory in particular (e.g. turbulence and neural processing) that there are predictive calculations we will never be able to carry out.

    Still, I fail to see the relevance of this, as mathematics is not the basis of metaphysical thought. We know the consistency of metaphysical premises from the fact that they are instantiated in reality and one cannot instantiate a contradiction.

    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.alcontali

    This analysis precludes any knowledge, for it leads to an infinite regress (How do we know P?). It has been known to be errant since Aristotle examined the foundations of knowledge. We know when our neurophysical system presents intelligible contents to awareness (Aristotle's agent intellect). Then, the intelligibility of the encoded contents is converted to actual knowledge by an act of awareness. Thus, there is no need for an infinite regress of Ps and Qs. We know by being aware of presented contents. We judge by abstracting concepts from those contents and grasping relations between those concepts. We can then deduce further justified relations.

    You consider Q to be knowledge in and of itself. That is contrary to the Platonic definition, JtBalcontali

    I am not a Platonist. I counted 17 errors in Plato's epistemology pointed out by Aristotle in his Metaphysics.

    Also, doxa in Plato means opinion, not belief. So JtB is not Plato's definition, but a modern misreading of the text.

    Well, this is exactly what Gödel tries to achieve in his incompleteness theorems.alcontali

    No. Godel was working in the context of Hilbert's program, which it effectively destroyed. Hilbert's model was one of a priori consistency, with no connection to empirical reality. Godel's work showed that this approach is doomed to failure. Aristotelian metaphysics, on the other hand, is built on a posteriori, empirical foundations. Its concepts are abstracted from sensory experience and its judgements result from analyzing such experience. Because the relationships it builds upon are abstracted from reality, which is necessarily self-consistent, they are guaranteed to be self-consistent.

    We already know that such procedure cannot exist.alcontali

    Yes, we do, but that is entirely irrelevant to the present discussion. Metaphysics does not even aspire to a physical description of the cosmos or a complete enumeration of all possible theorems in any axiomatic system. It deals with being qua being, abstracting away from both quantifiability and the detailed laws of nature.

    That is a very constructivist remarkalcontali

    So?

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

    That is not what I am saying. I am speaking of the epistemological basis of noetic systems, not their rules of application. Also, I do not consider philosophy to be a closed axiomatic system, but an open one -- always open to new, experientially based knowledge.

    I consider constructivism to be hereticalalcontali

    Please don't burn me!

    Gödel proves that there is no knowable procedure possible to discover new knowledge.alcontali

    He does no such thing. He only considers closed, formal systems, not empirically open systems. If your claim were true, we would never have made progress in any science.

    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.alcontali

    Your conclusion is Penrose's point. However, I think we can explain how we come to know if we do not confine ourselves to a priori, axiomatic ways of thinking, but work out the implications of such facts as those we are discussing -- which is a point i develop at length in my book.

    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.alcontali

    I never thought there was. It is easy to show that the mind cannot be purely neurophysical. The neural representation of seeing a ball and the retina being modified by the image of a ball are identical, but their conceptual representations are not.
  • Relativist
    851
    Things came into existence/time at the point time started - either by creation ex nilhilo (see zero energy universe hypothesis) or because these things existed timelessly already (and they entered time at the start of time).Devans99
    "Ex nihilo" = from nothing, implies a state of "nothingness" existed, a self-contradictory term ("nonexistence exists"). If x exists at all times, and the past is finite, then x did not "come into" existence - that would entail a prior existing state of affairs into which x appears, which is impossible because x exists at all times. Further, the scenario assumes x is fundamental to everything that exists - everything in existence is composed of x.


    I do not think an initial uncaused state is impossible - it is possible, but only possible outside of time.Devans99
    What is your justification for believing something causally efficacious can exist outside of time, and can somehow reach into time and interact?

    Everything, including fundamental stuff, must be accounted for. IE it must either be created or exist permanently.Devans99
    The fundamental stuff is necessary for all existence, since everything is composed of it. It therefore exists permanently. It can't have been caused, because all possible causal factors (like everything else in existence) are composed of this fundamental stuff. That's what it means to be fundamental. Your only optiob is to deny that there can exist some fubdamental stuff.

    As I've pointed out, it is impossible to exist permanently/'forever' in time - you simply cannot have a brute fact within time because causality (which is a feature of time) requires everything to have a both a prior and ultimate cause.
    You have provided no justification for believing this.
  • Dfpolis
    907
    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.
    Theologian

    I almost agree. Which is to say that I agree with some of your formulations, but not with others. Clearly, being capable of any possible act does not necessitate any specific act, because it is equally capable of a contrary act or no relevant act at all. That is why we agreed that an infinite being must have free will.

    It further follows that any state of affairs it effects must be intrinsically contingent, not necessary. Thus, I agree that "it is incapable of rendering any specific state of affairs [intrinsically] necessary." I agree further that the mere existence of an infinite being does not logically imply the inevitability of any further state of affairs. That is why theologians in the Christian tradition, at least, consider creation a free act, not one necessitated by the nature of God.

    I further agree that many, and specifically pagan neoplatonists such as Plotinus, have seen this as highly problematic, as they believed that the One, being intrinsically complete had no need to act outside of its own being.

    The problem with this line of argument is that we know more than "there exists an infinite being." So our fact base is not confined to this alone. We also know that there are contingent beings, a whole universe full of them. This logically entails that the infinite being does, in fact, act outside of itself.

    So, it is not necessary that the existence of infinite being logically (a priori) necessitate finite beings. They are logically necessitated a posteriori by our experience.

    Further, infinite being's lack of logical necessity to act outside if itself, in no way precludes it from freely acting outside of itself, nor does it preclude it from being the agent effecting (the dynamical explanation of) such effects.
  • Dfpolis
    907
    The intro and section 1 of this article are quite readable and on point:

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

    It has been my experience that most contemporary philosophers have a hearsay acquaintance with Aristotle.

    I also know what you mean about time management. That is why I have been absent for some time. We will miss your reason.
  • Dfpolis
    907
    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.Devans99

    I agree with your conclusion, but not your time-based reasoning.

    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'.Devans99

    The problem with this is that if you allow one brute face, one exception to the need for adequate dynamics, one thing with no intelligible explanation, then there is no reason not to allow others -- and once you do that, your entire line of reasoning breaks down. If one arbitrary finite being can have no explanation why can't any arbitrary finite being have none, be a brute fact? So I see your reasoning self-refuting.

    The genius of Aquinas's insight that God's essence is His existence is that it gives us an intelligible reason why God requires no extrinsic explanation.

    To be a being is to be composed of information - otherwise we have null and void.Devans99

    I see no reason to accept this definition. Information is the reduction of possibility, while every new existent makes more acts possible. I agree that finite beings have an intelligible/informative essence that specifies what they can do, but the essence of infinite being does not limit possibility, and so is utterly uninformative. (This is confirmed by trans-cultural reports of mystical experience -- see W. T. Stace's works.)

    Common sense is based on the common experience of finite being and does not conform to reports of mystical experience.

    How is it possible to do anything possible and not be changed by the doing?Devans99

    It is possible if the change terminates outside the agent. If an agent is fully actualized intrinsically, it has no unactualized intrinsic potency and so cannot change intrinsically. That does not preclude acts terminating extrinsically.

    There are things in the universe that are just plain bad for all intelligent beings. Black holes for example are purely destructive.Devans99

    There seems to be a black hole at the center of each galaxy, hinting that they may be essential to the formation of galaxies and the possibility of life.

    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
    Devans99

    I've rebutted many such arguments in my book. If you have a new one, please state it.

    Peace, Dennis
  • Devans99
    2.1k
    "Ex nihilo" = from nothing, implies a state of "nothingness" existed, a self-contradictory term ("nonexistence exists"). If x exists at all times, and the past is finite, then x did not "come into" existence - that would entail a prior existing state of affairs into which x appears, which is impossible because x exists at all times. Further, the scenario assumes x is fundamental to everything that exists - everything in existence is composed of x.Relativist

    Yes, sorry, I should have been more specific. The zero energy universe hypothesis (which I don't necessarily buy) has some sort of 'seed' causing a chain reaction that then generates the rest of the matter/energy in the universe in exchange for negative gravitational energy. So I agree something permanent must exist (at least a seed, maybe all matter/energy if the hypothesis does not hold). But permanent existence is only possible outside of time so whatever existed permanently has its origin outside of time.

    What is your justification for believing something causally efficacious can exist outside of time, and can somehow reach into time and interact?Relativist

    There is no other option; the start of time need a timeless cause:

    - I gave several justifications for the start of time above. You did not respond to my argument regarding gravitational equilibrium which I feel is particularly strong.
    - A second instance of time causing our time leads to an infinite regress of nested times - which is impossible - there must be something timeless - a brute fact - as the root cause.

    The fundamental stuff is necessary for all existence, since everything is composed of it. It therefore exists permanently. It can't have been caused, because all possible causal factors (like everything else in existence) are composed of this fundamental stuff. That's what it means to be fundamental. Your only optiob is to deny that there can exist some fubdamental stuff.Relativist

    I am saying that the fundamental stuff must of originated outside of time because of the requirement for things in time to have a start, IE: 'It can't be X if it never started X' - substitute any action for X and the statement is always true: counting, walking, sitting, spinning, vibrating (eg a string), existing.

    The BB is consistent with this view of matter/energy coming into time at the start of time.

    You have provided no justification for believing this.Relativist

    I feel I have justified that permanent existence within time is impossible. Here is another justification:

    1. A system has a state (be it a particle or a universe)
    2. The state is determined by the previous state
    3. If it existed forever in time, there is no initial state
    4. So all the states of the system are undetermined (because there is no initial state to make any of the other states 'real' - they form an endless chain of undetermined states)

    An example using a pool analogy: Imagine a frictionless perfect pool table. The balls are all wizzing around. We know they cannot have been wizzing around eternally - we can infer an initial state of the white being set in motion by the player. If that initial state did not exist, then there would be no motion (and no balls either - the balls are part of the initial state within time).
  • alcontali
    729
    the fact that it may use mathematical methods does not make it mathematics anymore than the fact that physics uses mathematical methods makes physics a branch of mathematics.Dfpolis

    Physics does not use the axiomatic "method". Physics uses mathematical formalisms to maintain consistency in its theories, but has actually nothing to do with mathematics. Maybe I did not express myself clearly. With the term "method", I meant "epistemic method", i.e. knowledge-justification method, as in axiomatic "method", scientific "method", and historical "method". I did not mean algebra or mere symbol manipulation. It was an epistemic concern only.

    No, mathematics has quantitative relations as its subject matterDfpolis

    Well, we will have to agree to disagree here.

    Mathematics is not (Dedekind-Peano) number theory, which is no longer the dominant axiomatization nowadays. Contemporary mathematics defaults to Zermelo-Fränkel-Choice (ZFC) set theory as its dominant axiomatic context. The switch dates back to 1905. So, this has been the case for over a century now.

    What we now call "metaphysics" was called "first philosophy" by Aristotle because it deals with issues fundamental to all other areas of research, including physicsDfpolis

    Metaphysics does not establish the epistemic method for any area or research, including physics. It is epistemology that does that job.

    Mathematics is what you can justify using the axiomatic method, science using the scientific method, and history using the historical method.

    That is not a metaphysical but epistemic concern.

    Still, all three are sciences in the more traditional sense of rigorous systematic fields of study.Dfpolis

    According to Karl Popper's 1963 "Science as Falsification", which has in the meanwhile become the dominant view in the philosophy of science, science consists of the theories that you can justify by experimental testing. Mathematics never does that. Hence, mathematics is not science. Mathematics is not empirical and uses the axiomatic method instead. Therefore, it does not make sense to count mathematics under the nomer science. Furthermore, mathematics and science exclude each other. It is not possible to justify a theorem with both methods. It is the one or the other. Metamathematics is just a subdiscipline in mathematics, i.e. one particular axiomatization amongst many.

    It is absurd to think that any competent physicist would accept a proposed ToE absent rigorous experimental testing.Dfpolis

    According to the late Stephen Hawking, the problem will never even occur. According to him, there simply won't be anything to test.

    I am not sure an axiomatic approach is the "desired alternative" in natural science. You'd need to make a case for that. It seems to me that many physics like the method of discovery they signed up for.Dfpolis

    Well, the ToE is an axiomatic system, and physicists seem to dream of finding it. The late Stephen Hawking clearly did, but then he eventually concluded that it cannot be done.

    I don't think that Hawking's view is widely shared.Dfpolis

    Well, I do not think that Hawking was infallible. He was just influential in his circles, and with a rare connection, say, even fascination from the general (layman) public. Especially because of his debilitating disease, people admired his tenacity, willpower and willingness to do some real work in spite.

    metaphysics is concerned with being as being, which is not subject to the vagaries of measurement.Dfpolis

    Well, metaphysics seems to have very little influence nowadays on the practice of physics. This is not true for metamathematics, which thoroughly dominates the discourse in mathematics.

    While I'm happy to admit that knowledge is a subject-object relation, I do not see that the admission precludes proofs about reality.Dfpolis

    It is otherwise an epistemic view widely shared by lots of mathematicians and scientists. If it is provable, then it is not about the real world. If it is about the real world, then it will not be provable. It harks back to the definition of the term "proof" as the derivation path between a theorem and its underlying axioms. Without axioms, no "proof".

    A mathematical proof is an inferential argument for a mathematical statement. In the argument, other previously established statements, such as theorems, can be used. In principle, a proof can be traced back to self-evident or assumed statements, known as axioms, along with accepted rules of inference.

    You can clearly see that this is not possible in science. Science is backed by experimental testing. So, science cannot provide us with such derivation path to something that does not even exist in science, i.e. axioms.

    I am sorry, but I do not see nature as an axiomatic construct.Dfpolis

    Well, you will always be right, because according to Stephen Hawking, nobody will ever be able to supply you with the axiomatic construct that will prove you wrong. The ToE is just an unattainable pipe dream anyway.

    Rather, I see it as a complex, intelligible whole from which we may abstract some universal truths.Dfpolis

    Well, these "truths" -- I would rather say experimentally-tested "theories" -- have only been tested at best against observations in the visible part of the universe. I do not see how it would be possible to justify with observations anything about the non-visible part of the universe. Hence, it is very local knowledge, the visible part of the universe being deemed just a small fraction of the complete universe, most of which is merely being conjectured about.

    At the simplest level, we understand being well enough to see that (1) Whatever is, is, (2) that a putative reality must either be or not be, and (3) that nothing can be and not be at one and the same time in one and the same way.Dfpolis

    Well, there seem to be physics theories that do not abide by this, such as Schrödinger's cat and the entire concept of entanglement.

    But then again, these theories are too physical-world to my taste. That is why I do not know particularly much about them. I personally prefer the abstract, Platonic worlds of mathematics, for which you only need pen and paper. In fact, I actually, actively avoid physics, because I do not want to end up needing a gigantic particle accelerator or anything of the sort.

    I reject the thesis that knowledge is any form of belief.Dfpolis

    The mainstream view is that knowledge is a justified (true) belief:

    Justified true belief is a definition of knowledge that gained approval during the Enlightenment, 'justified' standing in contrast to 'revealed'. There have been attempts to trace it back to Plato and his dialogues.

    This analysis precludes any knowledge, for it leads to an infinite regress (How do we know P?).Dfpolis

    P does not need to be knowledge. For example, axioms are not knowledge, because they are not justified. Therefore, there is no infinite regress in axiomatic knowledge. There is no infinite regress in scientific knowledge, because the final justification is provided by experimental test reports, which are historical knowledge, and justified by the historical method (Did they really take place?).

    Also, I do not consider philosophy to be a closed axiomatic systemDfpolis

    I agree. It is obviously not. Otherwise, it would be mathematics. Still, you have to start somewhere. It will initially, and possibly even never, be possible to turn a philosophical idea into a rigorous system.

    He does no such thing. He only considers closed, formal systems, not empirically open systems. If your claim were true, we would never have made progress in any science.Dfpolis

    Yes, of course. However, with access to the ToE -- which will never happen -- the distinction between axiomatic and empirical would disappear. Furthermore, knowledge of science is not enough to discover new science. There is another ingredient than mere knowledge that is needed for such discovery.

    It is easy to show that the mind cannot be purely neurophysical.Dfpolis

    Agreed. If it were, it would not even work.
  • Dfpolis
    907
    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

    I responded as I did because I assumed that you were talking about a point I made about the actualization of potency. If your not talking about that, it's hard to see what you are driving at.

    Let's go back to what you said.
    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

    Lower level movements do not create higher level movements, they are the same movement thought of in two distinct ways. I can think of a whole as a whole, or I can think of a whole in terms of its parts, but my way of thinking about the whole is purely subjective and does not change the objective reality of the whole in any way. So, lower-level movements do not create higher-level movements.

    You can also see this in terms of priority. Temporally, lower and higher level movements simultaneous, and so neither can be a temporally prior event leading to the other (an accidental cause). Logically, one think of wholes without thinking of decomposing them into parts, but one cannot think of parts without reference to the whole of which they are parts. So, wholes are logically prior to parts and high level changes to low level changes.

    Even if we completely forget about the relation of wholes and parts, your argument proves nothing. Why? Because it admits that there are low-level changes, which are still changes -- still the actualization of a potential insofar as it is still in potency -- and the union of all the lower level potencies is the higher level potency.

    If you say that there's no potential for the relevant change, that is equivalent to saying that there is no possibility of the relevant change, which denies experiential reality of observed change.

    Now, what point are you trying to make?

    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
    ...

    My criticism stands both ways. Both if you consider explanation verbal, and if you consider explanation effective.
    god must be atheist

    First, I did not assume that anything is unexplained effectively, so your premise ("Just because something is not explained") is not mine, and consequently your criticism does not apply to my argument.

    Second, I did not assume "an [effective] explanation is possible," but showed that it is necessary. Again, you are criticizing an argument I did not make.
  • Dfpolis
    907
    The Euthyphro problem in a nutshell here is that either God could do things that are "logically impossible" if He were to choose to do so, or logic is primary/prior to God, who must obey it.Terrapin Station

    In my understanding, logic is consequent on the nature of being, and all being is traceable to God. So, logic is posterior, not prior, to God.
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